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State opposes bail for media rights group members

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Alex Bell
07 December 2011

Three members of the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), who were
arrested and detained in Gwanda this week, will remain behind bars until the
weekend after the State opposed their release on bail.

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 in connection with a civic education meeting
held there last month. The State claims that the meeting was held without
permission, as dictated by the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), despite
the meeting not being public. 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.”

The MMPZ members appeared in Gwanda Magistrates Court on Wednesday, where
the State opposed their release on bail. The State prosecutor argued that
the three MMPZ members were “likely to interfere with witnesses,” and that
the two advocacy officers (December and Chimhanda) are “still of a young and
impressionable age and therefore likely to flee given the publicity the
matter has generated in and outside Zimbabwe and the gravity of the offense
they are facing.” Magistrate Douglas Zvenyika reserved ruling on their
release until Friday.

Meanwhile MMPZ Project Coordinator Andy Moyse, who was taken in for
questioning in connection with the Gwanda case on Tuesday morning, was
released later in evening. He told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that the
police had a warrant to search their offices for a DVD they claimed had
details about the Gukurahundi.

“They took me in for questioning and seized about 127 DVDs, which are the
DVDs we have been releasing which basically contains a message to the media,
asking them to conduct themselves fairly during elections. It had nothing
relating to the Gukurahundi at all,” Moyse said.

He explained that these are the DVDs that were shared at the Gwanda meeting
last month, which has resulted in the arrest of the three MMPZ members. He
said that he had to write a statement, which was sent to Gwanda, about who
was responsible for the DVDs and why they were produced.

“The police looked through all 127 copies of that DVD and basically they
realised there was nothing to hold me on. So I was eventually allowed to
leave,” Moyse said.

The MMPZ arrests have seen a surge of anger from civil society, who have
called for the release of the MMPZ staffers and for the end of persecution
of the media in Zimbabwe. The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) on Wednesday
said the arrests are part of “an increasing crackdown on independent media
organisations, which appears is aimed at insulating public officials from
scrutiny and blocking unflattering information about their conduct from
flowing into the public domain.

“For example, at least six cases of journalists’ harassment through the
obnoxious Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act have been recorded this
year alone. All of them work for the private media and their arrests related
to stories they wrote, which reflected badly on public officials,” MAZ said
in a statement.

On Wednesday, the US Embassy also voiced “regret and concern at the
increasing frequency of arrests and detention of media workers and civil
society activists throughout 2011.”

“This has been an important year in laying the groundwork for a new
constitution, which will hopefully set a better, more peaceful course for
the future of all Zimbabweans. Ultimately, good laws are only as good as
their implementation, and the abrogation of the rule of law in the service
of individuals or partisan interests undermines the interests and security
of the state,” a statement from the Embassy said.

It added: “The United States calls on the three parties to the Global
Political Agreement to pro-actively implement their written commitments to a
free and unfettered media and civil society and to allow Zimbabweans their
right to receive and impart news and information from a diversity of
sources.”


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‘Blood diamonds’ on sale for £103m as China and Mugabe benefit from split

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/africa/article3250159.ece

Marange miners have gone on strike Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Jan Raath Harare

December 7 2011 12:01AM

A company jointly owned by China and Zimbabwe has started selling diamonds from the notorious Marange field, the first such auction since the international ban on President Mugabe’s “blood diamonds” was lifted.

Gems worth $160 million (£103 million) were on sale in a secure room of the state-owned Zimbabwe Minerals Marketing Corporation in Harare. Attendance was by invitation only.

“The response from buyers was pleasant,” said Prince Mupazviriwo, the Permanent Secretary in the Mines Ministry. “The buyers were from various countries of the world.”

He refused to give details of the volumes traded, but reports said that selling on Monday had to be extended by another day “because of the large number of bidders and the number of diamonds offered”. The diamonds were put up for sale by Anjin Investments, a locally-registered joint venture between a Chinese state corporation and the Zimbabwe army.

Mr Mugabe’s Government seized the British company that owned the Marange field at gunpoint in 2006 and turned it over to thousands of illegal diggers. Two years later, they were driven off in a brutal military clearance operation that claimed the lives of some 200 people.

The Government started secretly to issue mining licences to foreign companies in partnership with Mr Mugabe’s military cronies. Anjin was allocated a stretch of the 1,800-hectare alluvial diamond field where thousands of loose diamonds lay on the surface. Anjin officials have said they invested $310 million in their open-cast mine, which is surrounded by impenetrable layers of razor wire, and stockpiled as much as two million carats while they were barred from trading by the Kimberley Process, the diamond watchdog.

Last month, the Kimberley Process, which seeks to keep “blood diamonds” off the world market, lifted its ban on the Marange field. On Monday, Global Witness Foundation (GWF), the environmental pressure group based in London, withdrew from the certification scheme in protest.

“The KP has failed to deal with the trade in conflict diamonds from Ivory Coast, breaches of the rules by Venezuela and diamonds fuelling corruption and state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe,” said Charmain Gooch, the Global Witness founding director. She said the decision to endorse diamond sales from Marange in eastern Zimbabwe “has turned an international conflict prevention body into a cynical corporate accreditation scheme”.

Obert Mpofu, Minister of Mines in Zimbabwe, could scarcely conceal his delight. “We are not surprised by this move by the Global Witness,” he said. “They survived on opposing the trading of Zimbabwean diamonds on the international market. Now that Zimbabwe has been fully admitted, they have no work to do.”

After giving Zimbabwe their stamp of approval, Kimberley Process monitors pledged to keep a close watch on the Marange field, but diamond industry sources in Zimbabwe expressed little confidence in their work.

“It’s a sham now,” said one. “Everyone knows that the top boys cream off the best stones at source.”

Global Witness has reported endemic corruption in the management of the Marange field by Mr Mugabe’s officials. It revealed recently that one of the Zimbabwean directors of Anjin was Brigadier-General Charles Tarumbwa, a serving army officer who is under travel and investment sanctions imposed by Western countries.

Global Witness has warned that Marange’s massive diamond wealth would merely be filling the coffers of Mr Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party.

There were fresh problems at Anjin’s mine this week when 600 workers went on strike over pay of $180 per month and poor working conditions.


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Zimbabwe Monitoring Panel Again Seeks Meeting With Police Chief Chihuri

http://www.voanews.com/

06 December 2011

Chihuri's refusal to meet with JOMIC has focused attention on his term,
which ended in September and has yet to be renewed by President Mugabe
though the president is said to intend to re-appoint him in February

Blessing Zulu | Washington

Police Commissioner Chihuri’s tenure has been the subject of intense debate
within Zimbabwe's national unity governmen

Zimbabwe's Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, created to track
compliance with the 2008 Global Political Agreement, has for a second time
asked Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to ask Police Commissioner General
Augustine Chihuri to meet the panel to discuss political violence and
allegedly partisan police enforcement.

Last week Chihuri dismissed a similar request saying the committee has
already met with his staff so he did not see the point of meeting with JOMIC
himself.

Chihuri's refusal to meet with JOMIC has focused attention on his term,
which expired in September and has yet to be renewed by President Robert
Mugabe, though sources said the president intends to reappoint his ally for
a year in February 2012.

Chihuri’s tenure has been the subject of intense debate within Zimbabwe's
national unity government, with Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF resisting any moves to
retire him while the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change
and human rights groups are pushing for the appointment of a new Zimbabwe
Republic Police chief.

Thabitha Khumalo, representative on the Joint Monitoring and Implementation
Committee for the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said
the panel might appeal to the unity government principals if Chihuri snubs
the committee again.

Political analyst Trevor Maisiri said the principals - Mr. Mugabe, Mr.
Tsvangirai, and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara - have the muscle to
order Chihuri, otherwise a law unto himself, to comply and meet with the
monitoring committee.



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Motion in parliament to cancel controversial radio licences

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Lance Guma
07 December 2011

An MDC-T legislator on Tuesday gave notice of his intention to move a motion
in parliament, calling for the cancellation of the two radio licences
controversially awarded last month. Settlement Chikwinya, the MP for Mbizo,
also wants the current Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to be
dissolved.

Speaking to SW Radio Africa on Wednesday Chikwinya said the BAZ board was
unilaterally appointed by Information Minister Webster Shamu in 2009. He
said both Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai also conceded that
proper legal procedures were not followed and that the matter should be
revisited.

It is on this basis that Chikwinya’s motion in parliament will seek to annul
the† granting of national commercial radio licences to, “the two politically
aligned players, Zimpapers Talk Radio and AB Communications.” He said the
move would allow for further consultations to take place with all the
relevant stakeholders.

Explaining the process, Chikwinya said that if by next Tuesday enough MP’s
support the motion it will be adopted and a vote on it passed. Any decision
on the matter that is taken by Parliament will then be forwarded to the
executive arm of government, which includes the President and the Prime
Minister. In the past he said Mugabe has refused to implement such
decisions.

Asked what would happen if Mugabe again refused to act on their vote,
Chikwinya said in terms of their powers all they could do would be to summon
the Information Minister before parliament and demand an explanation for the
decision. The MP said it was also up to media pressure groups and others in
civil society to lobby around his motion and exert pressure.

Despite apparent consensus that the BAZ board is illegally constituted, the
same body at the end of November invited applications for 14 ‘local’
commercial radio licenses, to be dotted around the country’s major urban
centres. These licenses will be in addition to the two national commercial
broadcasting licenses they issued.

The application fee and radio broadcasting service license cost of US$2,500
and US$7,500, in addition to a basic license fee of US$50,000, has already
been slammed as expensive. There is also a feeling that as happened with the
two licences awarded last month, these 14 would also be given to ZANU PF
people.

As if the prevailing confusion and controversy was not enough BAZ also
called for applications for licenses for free to air satellite usage. The
advert was worded in a complicated manner, leading to experts remarking that
it was just another attempt to stop any Zimbabwean initiative from
broadcasting a radio service, in any form.

NB: Next week Settlement Chikwinya, the MP for Mbizo who is moving the
motion to cancel the two controversial radio licences and also dissolve the
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe board, will be our guest on Question
Time.

Listeners can send in their questions in advance of the interview using
Facebook, Twitter or Skype by typing lanceguma, on e-mail
lance@swradioafrica.com and in Zimbabwe you can text +263 772643871.


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Zuma’s team holds final meeting with Zim negotiators

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tererai Karimakwenda
07 December, 2011

It has been revealed that the GPA negotiators from Zimbabwe’s political
parties, and the facilitators representing South Africa’s President Jacob
Zuma, met on Monday to again try to resolve the GPA issues that have not
been implemented and are blocking progress towards elections.

But once again Zimbabweans were not informed of this crucial meeting, which
was to be the last before a report is made to the chief negotiator,
President Zuma.

Elton Mangoma, co-Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation
Committee (JOMIC), told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that the facilitation
team returned to South Africa to brief Zuma and to establish a date for him
to meet with the leaders in Zimbabwe’s unity government.

He added that the Principals are aware they are to meet with Zuma soon.

Mangoma said the Monday meeting was to make sure that when President Zuma
comes, he will be aware of the “issues that were agreed but have not been
implemented and ask why there has been no movement.” He added: “And on the
areas we are disagreeing yet they are so fundamental, how can we move the
process forward.”

Recognizing that progress towards elections was too slow, regional leaders
at a summit back in May resolved to appoint a three member team to assist
JOMIC with the GPA implementation. But 7 months later that team is nowhere
in sight.

Mangoma said the two members already appointed might start working when
JOMIC holds their next meeting, which is scheduled for “sometime next week”.
The third member is from Zambia, where the new government of President
Michael Sata is believed to have endorsed the nominee chosen by the previous
government, but hasn’t officially appointed him.

Asked whether ZANU PF is the party responsible for this apparent lack of
progress in the negotiations, he said: “We see the problems as emanating
from ZANU PF intransigence and it is the job of the facilitator to now say
these are the issues and how do we have a violence free election that is
free and fair, and that has a legitimate outcome.”

Mangoma admitted that progress has been slow and those who accuse the
negotiators of showing no sense of urgency or political will to resolve
Zimbabwe’s political crisis are “well within their limits”. The process has
dragged on for three years.

Unfortunately it is ordinary Zimbabweans who continue to suffer while the
politicians take their time to conduct critical meetings and play games over
implementing what they agreed to, and signed, in the GPA.


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Parliament passes 2012 budget, Zanu PF praise Biti

http://www.thezimbabwemail.com/

By 19 hours 51 minutes ago

HARARE - The House of Assembly yesterday passed the US$4 billion 2012
national budget presented by Finance Minister Tendai Biti last month.

The budget will now be transmitted to the Senate when it resumes sitting
next week. The House of Assembly also approved amendments to the
Appropriation Estimates for the 2011 budget as a result of an increase in
civil servants' salaries in July that were not included in the original
budget.

It was not a smooth flowing affair as legislators from Zanu-PF and MDC-T
engaged in heated arguments over when the budget motion should be debated.
Zanu-PF MPs argued that the motion was deferred to December 13 when the
House of Assembly adjourned last week while MDC-T legislators said debate
had been postponed to yesterday.

Deputy Speaker Ms Nomalanga Khumalo (MDC) concurred with the MDC-T resulting
in the budget motion being debated.

Presenting the report from the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and
Investment Promotion, the committee's chairman Cde Paddy Zhanda (Goromonzi
North, Zanu-PF) said there was need to give

MPs more time to debate future national budgets through setting fixed
timelines in the Public Finance Management Act.

Zhanda commended Minister Biti for coming up with a fair budget under
difficult conditions.

"No budget will ever please everyone so the question is how do we grow the
cake? I, however, want to applause the minister for coming up with a
reasonable budget under difficult conditions," he said.

Zhanda said Minister Biti should have allocated resources to the
Constituency Development Fund as it was the only fairest way to allocate
resources to constituencies.

"The CDF is the fairest way of distributing capital within all
constituencies and the minister should have allocated a mere one percent of
the budget to CDF," he said.

Chairperson of the Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary
Affairs Committee Mr Douglas Mwonzora (Nyanga North, MDC-T) said the money
allocated to the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs and the Parliamentary
Affairs Ministry will go a long way in helping them meet their obligations.
He said it was important for the Treasury to inject capital to the Zimbabwe
Prison Services.

"The prison services have so many projects and the committee feel there
should be an initial capital injection for all ZPS projects like at their
farms," he said.

Mr Mwonzora said Treasury was supposed to consider giving enough money to
the Judicial Services Commission to carry out its mandate in clearing the
backlog of court cases.

Higher Education, Science and Technology Committee chairperson Mr Siyabonga
Ncube (Insiza, MDC) said loans and grants allocated in the budget will help
students in many ways.

Obert Matshalaga (Zvishavane, Zanu-PF) who was the acting chairperson of the
committee on Health and Child Welfare said there was need for Government to
stop relying on donor support.

"At least 98 percent of drugs in the country are donor funded, we therefore
urge the Treasury to ensure we reduce the high donor dependence on drugs,"
he said.

"It is also important to note that most of the funding is curative when in
actual fact we should have funding for prevention."

In his response, Minister Biti said the challenge was to attract investors
and increase the purse for the national budget.

"The resources are not enough, the cake is small, our budget challenge is
how do we expand it?" he said.

Minister Biti said most of the country's revenue was going towards salaries
and it was important that the nation attracted more investors to increase
jobs.


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Worst harvest in 50 years: CFU

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Zimbabwe is heading for its worst harvest in 50 years unless something is
done by the government to secure property rights for farmers, the Commercial
Farmers Union has said.
07.12.1106:32am
by Kirsty Whalley

The warning comes against a background of increased volatility in world food
prices, which reached new heights earlier this year. The impact of food
price volatility on Africa was the subject of a briefing organised in
Brussels by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation
ACP-EU on November 30.

The date was significant because it marked the end of the French presidency
of the G20 which had put the issue of food price volatility at the top of
its agenda. In two panel discussions, those attending the briefing debated
the causes of food price volatility and discussed policy recommendations to
improve food security in developing countries.

In 2008, global food prices spiked due to an increase in the use of food
crops for biofuel, extreme weather affecting crops and an increase in
trading on futures markets. This led to a food crisis in many African
countries and exacerbated the problem in Zimbabwe, where a drought which
destroyed much of the maize harvest, as well as the unstable political
situation meant that about five million people - almost half of the
country's population - was starving and needed food aid.

This, coupled with Mugabe's disastrous land policy, meant the country
produced just 500,000 tonnes of maize in the 2007/2008 agricultural season.
The country needs at least two million tonnes of maize to feed the
population.

Dire outlook

Earlier this year, world prices again reached the levels of the 2008 food
crisis, although it has not had the same devastating impact because the 2010
harvests in many African countries were above average. However, the outlook
in Zimbabwe next year is looking increasingly dire.

With a possible election next year and increasing political violence against
the few remaining commercial farmers, many have been unwilling or unable to
start planting this year.

The situation has alarmed the CFU who are warning that maize production
could drop to as little at 400,000 tonnes next year unless the government
works with farmers to restore property rights and create an active land
market.

Charles Taffs, president of the CFU, said: “We have entered an agriculture
season, which in our view is the least prepared for in over 50 years.
Growers of all sizes, and from all backgrounds have no security; there is
little funding available for inputs and their ability to plan have been
removed due to the constant threat of eviction. Agricultural production has
been held up because of the political situation. I can't understand where
the government position is coming from. I'm going through the country and
the situation is dire.”

He estimates, that at current planting levels, only 400,000 tonnes of maize
will be produced next year, leaving Zimbabwe with a deficit of 1.6million
tonnes. He warned that Zimbabwe could not count on its neighbours to produce
enough export grain to feed the country, despite increased harvests in
Zambia and Malawi.

Import export deficit

"As long as we continue like this, the deficit between import and export is
going to continue to grow until the situation is unsustainable - and we are
nearing that now. It really concerns me."

Despite improved harvests in 2010, the country is still struggling to feed
itself and the situation is getting worse.

More than a million people in Zimbabwe will require food aid between now and
March 2012 with 12 per cent of the rural population unable to buy food,
according to the World Food Programme. But the UN agency is facing a
$42million shortfall in funding to carry on feeding the most vulnerable in
the country over the next four months.

The problem of the situation in Zimbabwe, and the effect it is having on the
region, was raised at the briefing in Brussels. Tobias Takavarasha, from the
New Partnership for Africa's Development agency, talked about food price
volatility in Africa as part of the second panel discussion.

In his presentation he said the political problems in Zimbabwe "appear to
have contributed to price instability in the region - Malawi, Mozambique and
Zambia" admitting that "effective policies are required to address the
problem".

Although he refused to comment directly on the Zimbabwe situation, he did
stress the need for food reserves in southern Africa to alleviate an
impending food crisis.

Great potential

In 2006, SADC did propose a regional food reserve facility to cope with any
disasters in member states, but little progress has been made on
implementing this. Hafez Ghanem, the Assistant Director-General of the FAO,
was also unwilling to talk specifically about Zimbabwe. But he said:

“Africa needs its governments to invest in agriculture. The real way of
reducing food insecurity and increasing productivity is to reinvest in
agriculture. Africa has great potential, yields are so low, we have a real
opportunity for moving up.”

Zimbabwe's finance minister Tendai Biti, has admitted the country needs to
invest $2.5billion a year in agriculture to ensure the country is able to
feed itself.

"The financial requirements for adequate support to agriculture are large,
translating to around $2.5bn per annum for grain, cash crops as well as
livestock production," he said, adding $702million needed to be invested in
grain production.

He has promised a three year finance strategy which will see considerable
investment in agriculture which he has said he will announce early next
year.

"During the first quarter of 2012, I will be announcing the detailed
financing structure of the three-year Agriculture Rolling Financing
Strategy, tapping from both public and private sources,” he said.


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Soldiers take charge of inputs scheme

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

The army has taken over the distribution of farm inputs in parts of
Manicaland province under a controversial operation that sees the security
forces working with Zanu (PF) and traditional chiefs to disenfranchise known
MDC-T supporters in the region, The Zimbabwean learnt this week.
07.12.1102:38pm
by Staff Reporter

The operation, code named “Operation Zunde Ramambo” and being done through
the traditional chiefs, has seen soldiers from the Three Brigade based in
Mutare being deployed to various parts of the province to spearhead the Zanu
(PF) campaign strategy under the guise of leading an exercise to improve
food security.

The soldiers are openly campaigning for President Robert Mugabe, telling the
villagers they would be killed if they do not vote for Zanu (PF) in polls
likely to take place by March 2013.

Senior MDC-T officials in the province told The Zimbabwean this week that
the soldiers have instructed traditional leaders in areas such as Chipinge,
Chimanimani and Nyanga to compile names of their subjects who are known
MDC-T supporters.

The listed MDC-T supporters are being denied free seeds and fertiliser which
are only going to Zanu (PF) activists.

“In some of the affected areas, our supporters have been told to go get the
inputs from (Prime Minister Morgan) Tsvangirai because the seeds and
fertiliser currently being distributed belonged to Mugabe,” a provincial
MDC-T official said.

This is despite the fact that seeds and fertiliser are part of a
government-initiated subsidised input scheme announced by Finance Minister
Tendai Biti recently.

The official also revealed the MDC-T was reliably informed that the lists of
its supporters compiled by the traditional leaders were being handed over to
the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) in Mutare which was
allegedly working with the Registrar General’s Office to doctor the voters’
roll.

“We have it on good authority that CIO is also involved in this operation,
whereby it is conniving with the Registrar General’s Office to remove the
names or alter information of known MDC supporters on the voters’ roll,”
said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of
victimisation by the army.

The Zimbabwean could not verify this information with Registrar General
Tobaiwa Mudede. The incidents in Manicaland are part of a wider Zanu (PF)
campaign to victimise and intimidate opponents ahead of the elections.

The campaign to cow opponents ahead of the polls has also seen a spike in
incidents of political violence across the country, with human rights groups
reporting a rise in cases of violence and human rights abuses – including
assault, intimidation, rape and torture.

Traditional chiefs from Manicaland province have also already been summoned
to a “indoctrination workshop” where Three Brigade commander Douglas
Nyikayaramba allegedly told them to support Zanu (PF) or they would be
deposed from their positions.

Zimbabwe is next year looking to hold a referendum on a new constitution
followed by elections that many analysts have warned could see a return to
violence without political, security and electoral reforms.

Zimbabwe’s elections have been characterized by political violence and gross
human rights abuses with the last vote in 2008 ending inconclusively after
the military-led campaign of violence and murder that forced then opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from a second round presidential
ballot.

A power-sharing government formed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai after the flopped
poll was tasked to stabilise the economy, easy political tensions and write
a new and democratic constitution that would ensure future elections are
free and fair.


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Zambia agrees to export 1m tonnes of maize to neighbours

http://www.agra-net.com

Wednesday December 07 2011

THE Zambian government and the southern African country's biggest farmers'
body have agreed to export 1m tonnes of maize to neighbouring countries
where there is a deficit.

The government was initially hesitant to export the excessive maize because
it wanted to satisfy local consumption, reported the Zambia Daily Mail.
However, Ndambo Ndambo, executive director at Zambia National Farmers Union
(ZNFU), said the government agreed at a recent meeting to export 1m tonnes,
with the majority going to Zimbabwe.


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Independent media barred from ZPF conference

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tichaona Sibanda
7 December 2011

Journalists from the independent media are being barred from covering the
ZANU PF conference which kicked off in Bulawayo on Tuesday.

Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us officials manning the gates at
the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair grounds have made no secret of their
disdain towards independent journalists.

‘What we don’t know is whether this is official policy to bar independent
and freelance journalists from covering the conference. The officials are
being hostile to a point were they’ve told several journalists they were
happy at being covered by state media journalists only,’ Saungweme said.

Our correspondent said there is tension in the city as hundreds of ZANU PF
delegates arrive for the conference. For the second day in a row commuters
and vendors have been targeted in unprovoked attacks, this time by the
infamous Chipangano group.

Saungweme said rowdy gangs in ZANU PF marked vehicles roamed around the city
on Tuesday night sloganeering and shouting obscenities at innocent
bystanders.

‘At one time they got to the Chicken Inn food outlet in the centre of the
city, disembarked from their vehicles and started shouting that they’ve come
to Bulawayo to teach MDC people some manners. Their behaviour was very
threatening and in no time the food outlet was deserted. All around the city
they drove, shouting at people,’ Saungweme added.

He said it seems there has been an undeclared curfew in Bulawayo as people
are disappearing from the streets soon after 8pm, following the spate of
attacks on residents on Monday.

Kombi drivers, commuters and vendors at the Basch street terminus had to
flee for dear life Monday night after anti-riot police went on a rampage,
beating up people indiscriminately. The unprovoked attack took place between
5 and 6pm when the terminus, popularly known as Egodini, was it its busiest.


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The circus comes to Bulawayo

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Zanu (PF)’s annual circus arrives in Bulawayo this week, thanks to the
continued decline of the former liberation party’s political support in the
southern region.
07.12.1108:04am
by John Makumbe

For some reason best known to them, the Zanu (PF) leaders rightly or wrongly
assume that holding the annual consultative conference in the City of Kings
will help shore up political support for the decaying, reeling party. This
is considered critical in the light of possible elections come 2012.

The significance of the Bulawayo meeting is demonstrated by, inter alia, the
fact that President Mugabe has dubbed it “a mini congress,” obviously
implying that there will have to be some decisions made regarding the
leadership of the party.

This will be inevitable since several members of both the Politburo and the
Central Committee have passed on since the last congress of the unpopular
party. There will be need to replace such late members as Masawi,
Karimanzira, Patel and the late retired General Mujuru.

President Mugabe always cherishes the moments when he makes these
appointments as they are crucial for positions in whatever government he may
have to form after elections. This time around, though, the old man is
unlikely to be able to dish out these favours after the next elections where
his political party is expected to be hammered by the MDC-T, by far the most
popular political party in the country.

With the late General Mujuru’s death still shrouded in mystery, the Bulawayo
meeting is likely to see considerable bootlicking of Mugabe by his
underlings, desperate to demonstrate their loyalty to the big man, lest they
be assumed to be hostile. It must be a dog’s life, really.

Visibly ailing

The Bulawayo circus will be taking place at the time when Mugabe is visibly
ailing, fragile and exhausted. This year alone, the geriatric has made a
record eight trips to the Far East, presumably for medical treatment of
undisclosed ailments. This may well be the poor man’s last annual road-show.

There is, however, no likelihood of this conference tackling the perennial
taboo called the succession issue. Frankly, none of Mugabe’s underlings have
the guts to raise that issue in Bulawayo or anywhere else for that matter.
There are numerous ways of inviting death to oneself in Zanu (PF), and this
is only one of them. Some friends were jokingly saying that if Mugabe laid
down his rod (tsvimbo) at the Bulawayo meeting, no one in his party would
dare pick it up. They are all very likely to plead with him to retrieve his
rod and keep it for as long as he likes. They will be petrified of even
secretly thinking of taking over from Africa’s oldest national executive.

Weary of the GPA

Further, the Bulawayo circus is taking place at the time when both Zanu (PF)
and the MDC have grown weary of the gridlocked inclusive government, a
result of the SADC brokered Global Political Agreement.

Both political parties have publicly expressed the need for the holding of
elections as soon as possible. The MDC-T has, however, stated that elections
can only be held after the implementation of all the agreed provisions of
the election road-map. This is unlikely to be realised in time for the
holding of elections in 2012 since Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) have vowed not
to accord the MDC formations any more concessions. This is likely to
frustrate both Mugabe and the Joint Operations Command as the latter is
anxious that elections be held while the former is still able to engage in
an electoral campaign, albeit with great difficulty.

A time to feast

The Zanu (PF) December conference will also be a time of feasting for the
estimated 6000 delegates that are expected to grace the occasion. Mugabe
praise singers will be working overtime and bootlickers will actively seek
to outdo each other at every turn. For the nation as a whole, there is
nothing significant that can be expected from the money-spending event. The
nation has long since grown tired of Mugabe and Zanu (PF).

It is expected that Mugabe will use the occasion to lambast Western
countries, colonialism and imagined imperialism. The call for the lifting of
sanctions will be the battle cry. Some of the recent economic policies of
that party will be highlighted, chief among them the damaging economic
empowerment and indigenisation policy.

The WikiLeaks disclosures pertaining to some of the utterances of Mugabe’s
trusted friends are unlikely to be on the agenda of the Bulawayo meeting.
Weak as that party has come to be, a discussion of the disclosures is likely
to fatally wound the sickly party to the extent that Mugabe may be left
standing alone.

This may even culminate in a split of the party, given the tendency of
Zimbabwean political parties. Rather, the old man is going to keep those who
have bad-mouthed him to American diplomats guessing as to what he may be
planning to do to them and when.

That way none of them is likely to give him any trouble for as long as he is
in office. Whatever happens or does not happen at the Bulawayo meeting of
Zanu (PF) will, most likely be of little, if any, consequence to political
developments in Zimbabwe. That is how irrelevant both Mugabe and Zanu (PF)
have become to this nation.


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Zanu PF prioritise conference over parliament

http://nehandaradio.com

December 7, 2011 2:52 pm

By Thulani Ncube in Bulawayo

Important parliamentary business has been postponed to allow Zanu PF
legislators to attend their party conference in Bulawayo this week. Concerns
are already being raised over this set of skewed priorities given that MP’s
need to debate the 2012 budget and various other motions before Parliament.
Important parliamentary business has been postponed to allow Zanu PF
legislators to attend their party conference in Bulawayo this week.

Important parliamentary business has been postponed to allow Zanu PF
legislators to attend their party conference in Bulawayo this week.

Veritas who monitor legal and parliamentary issues from Harare have already
argued that “the tradition of letting a party conference have priority over
Parliamentary duties should be reconsidered. A question that always arises
at this time of year is why one political party holds its yearly conference
at the busiest time of year for Parliament.”

Motions that could be affected include the motion on unconstitutional
statements by some service chiefs, indigenisation regulations, cross-border
cattle rustling affecting the Lower Zambezi Valley and the Chiredzi
district, and the police inaction on the invasion of Parliament on 23rd July
that disrupted a public hearing on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
Bill.


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Zanu (PF) Mash West Division Saga Deepens

http://www.radiovop.com

Chinhoyi, December 07, 2011 - Zanu (PF) national chairman Simon Khaya-Moyo
threatened to bar Mashonaland West province from attending the party
conference which officially starts Thursday after postponing elections in
the province on three occasions.

Party sources claim Khaya-Moyo indicated that he will not accept provincial
leadership being led by Hurungwe Senator Reuben Marumahoko to attend the
conference that starts on Wednesday.

Last week the province postponed the elections citing the burial of former
political commissar Philip Muguti.

"Khaya-Moyo is bitter that elections were not held. As party national
chairman he want to have election results. He indicated thatthe province may
not be allowed to attend elections although this is unlikely as it will
expose widening divisions within President Robert Mugabe’s home province," a
reliable source told Radio VOP.

"Delegates attending the conference do not know their leadership as
Marumahoko has imposed himself to stay without proper elections,’’ said
another party insider who refused to be identified for fear of
victimisation.

Meanwhile Khaya- Moyo and Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa stand
accused of supporting expelled chairman John Mafa whom they wanted to
endorse them as vice president hopefuls in the post Mugabe era, sources
said.

"Initially they were banking on Philip Chiyangwa but when he was not allowed
to contest, they turned to supporting Mafa..."

The business tycoon Chiyangwa was readmitted into the party following his
espionage charges but President Mugabe blocked him to contest any position.

Mafa is said to be linked to Emmerson Mnangagwa faction that is vying for
the presidential position though in Mashonaland West the Ignatius Chombo led
faction is against Mafa’s return to lead the province.

Chombo’s faction is in favour of Marumahoko who is acting provincial
chairman and is aligned to the Joice Mujuru faction.

Mutasa laughed off the allegations saying he is national leader who cannot
support any faction.

"Zanu (PF) is united under President Mugabe and am a national leader who
cannot be seen supporting individuals at provincial level,’’ he said in a
telephone interview.

Radio VOP was unable to get hold of Khaya-Moyo who is busy with the party's
conference.

Chombo said: "I do not know what you are talking about."

Meanwhile Bulawayo came to a standstill on Wednesday as delegates were
arriving for the conference expected to be attended by over 6000 party
delegates.

Heavily armed police are on 24 hour patrols in the city with the roads
leading to ZITF, venue of the conference closed.

On Tuesday evening Radio VOP witnessed a group of youths packed in a Nissan
Hardbody truck inscribed Zanu (PF) Matebeleland North province insulting and
harassing workers at a fuel garage along 3rd Avenue accusing them of being
arrogant MDC-T supporters who were slow in serving them.

“The situation in this city is now tense people are being harassed every
minute by police and Zanu (PF) youths for no apparent reasons. We wish this
Zanu (PF) conference could now end. Bulawayo is usually a peaceful city and
we don’t want this...” said Luke Mabhande a newspaper vendor.

A Commuter omnibus driver Denver Lunga also said : “Several road blocks have
been mounted at all roads leading into the city centre from high density
suburbs like Mpopoma,Pelandaba,Luveve,
Magwegwe, Nkulumane† and others with thorough searches being† conducted at
every† point by police and Zanu (PF) youths militias.”

Zanu (PF) spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said: “Preparations are going on
smoothly in Bulawayo adding that those who have complaints against his party
members should report to police.”

Bulawayo Police spokesperson Mandlenkosi Moyo only said “police have
tightened security in the city.”


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Replacing Mugabe, a Zanu-PF nightmare

http://www.theafricareport.com/

Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:17

By The Africa Report

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party opens its annual conference
on Wednesday in Bulawayo with the contentious succession issue absent from
the agenda.

Mugabe (87), who has been at the helm of Zanu PF since its formation in 1963
is expected to be endorsed as the first secretary and presidential candidate
for future elections.

However, though not on the official agenda – the succession debate is set to
dominate discussions on the sidelines.

Despite widespread consensus among senior party officials that Mugabe must
retire before the next elections, fear of the unknown has prevented them
from tackling the issue head-on.

"The reality is most people want the president to retire but no one has the
courage to break the ice on that issue," a senior politburo member said.

It is reported that Mugabe suffers from prostate cancer and many expected
him to use this meeting to anoint a successor.

The Zanu PF constitution says one of the powers and functions of the
conference is to declare the president of the party elected at congress as
the party's candidate. Congresses are held every five years, with the last
one having being held in 2009.

Since Mugabe was elected at the party's last congress, he remains its
presidential candidate until the next scheduled congress in 2014, unless an
extraordinary congress is convened to remove him.

But for now senior party officials say they are stuck with Mugabe, whom they
fear will be a liability at the next elections.

Leaked WikiLeaks cables, which dominated political discourse earlier this
year, are also not on the agenda. It was expected that Mugabe would use the
occasion to crack the whip on party members that confided in American envoys
that they wanted him out.

The WikiLeaks cables reveal that Mugabe's possible successors, including
deputy president Joyce Mujuru, had clandestine meetings with US diplomats
where Mugabe's weaknesses were discussed.

Party chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo said the conference was non-elective and
was aimed at gearing up for the forthcoming elections, adding that they
expected 6 000 people to attend.

"It's a defining conference bearing in mind the fact that this is the last
major meeting before the holding of elections," he said.

Moyo says the gathering would be "introspection in terms of how the party
has performed since last year as we prepare for polling next year".

If Zimbabwe holds presidential elections next year and if Mugabe is
re-elected, he could go on to become the oldest ever serving African
president. He would be 93 in 2017 at the end of his next 5-year term in
office.

He could beat Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade, who would turn 91 at the
end of his next presidential term should he remain at the helm of his party
and get re-elected in presidential elections scheduled for 26 March.


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NGOs Call For Audit of Zimbabwe Foreign Debt, Charging Misuse of Funds

http://www.voanews.com

06 December 2011

The Zimbabwe Europe Network, the Jubilee Debt Campaign Coalition and the
European Network on Debt and Development said some development aid was
misused in the 1990s by the then-ruling ZANU-PF party

Gibbs Dube and Tatenda Gumbo | Washington

International civic organizations say the World Bank, International Monetary
Fund and other global financial institutions should conduct an audit of
Zimbabwe’s US$7 billion foreign debt, saying some development aid and loans
secured by Zimbabwe in the 1990s were used by then-ruling ZANU-PF to fund
oppressive political programs.

The Zimbabwe Europe Network, the Jubilee Debt Campaign Coalition and the
European Network on Debt and Development said available evidence suggests at
least part of a US$328 million British funding package was diverted by the
party of President Robert Mugabe to buy police vehicles and military
aircraft instead of funding development.

Tor Olsen, coordinator of the Zimbabwe Europe Network, said it appears the
ZANU-PF government used part of the money secured from the World Bank for
fraudulent tree-planting programs and buying fuel for ZANU-PF during
elections.

In a report entitled "Uncovering Zimbabwe's Debt," the organizations said
there are fears some newer loans and activities are not even fully captured
in official statements.

Olsen told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo it is important for Zimbabweans to
know how development aid and loans have been used since the 1990s.

But economist Eric Bloch said it would be impossible for every cent in aid
spent since the 1990s to be fully accounted for without government
cooperation.

Economic commentator Bekithemba Mhlanga opined that an audit of the US$7
billion debt would be a waste of time, saying there are so many other
pressing issues that NGOs "should not spend precious time chasing such a
hopeless agenda," Mhlanga said.


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Kunonga continues to persecute Anglicans

http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
His Grace has drawn attention to Robert Mugabe's persecution of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe on previous occasions. The dictator's henchmen harass all of the independent churches which are seen as hostile to Mugabe's government. While he singles out Roman Catholic bishops who have ‘a nauseating habit of unnecessarily attacking his person’, it is leaders of the Anglican Church who continue to face the most sustained pressure.

It was hoped that
the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury might have had some effect. Dr Williams provided Mugabe with a dossier of outrages and abuses he has perpetrated against Anglican dioceses over the past four years, which include ‘false imprisonment, violence, denial of access to churches, schools, clinics and mission stations’ at the behest of the excommunicated bishop Nolbert Kunonga. Anglican leaders who refused to submit to Mr Kunonga’s authority say they have been subjected to death threats, spied on by state agents and blocked from worshiping in their churches or burying the dead in Anglican cemeteries.

Nothing has changed.

Kunonga and his allies continue to harass believers and interrupt worship in the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo. His Grace has received the following epistle, which he hopes will exhort the faithful to prayer. Pray for those who suffer, that they might find courage and strength. Pray that they might find the peace that only God can bring. Pray that their faith will not fail, but that persecution might draw them closer to Him and increase their faith. Pray also for Robert Mugabe and Nolbert Kunonga - both professing Christians - that the Lord might blind them with a revelation of Himself, that their evil will cease.
Dear His Grace (The Most Revd. Archbishop A. Chama), Lord Bishops, Clergy in the Province, Partners within the Communion and The faithful. Greetings from the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo.

We profoundly thank you for your continued support during our times of trial and persecution by opponents of the truth. we still request your unwavering support spiritually and socially so that we can overcome the attacks we are continuing to receive from Kunonga and his allies.

Attached is an account of what obtained on Sunday 27th November when the bishop and some clergy went to Daramombe Mission to Celebrate Mass with the faithful there.

God bless you for your support. Have a blessed Christmas.

Regards,
(Name withheld)
For The Diocesan Information Desk-Anglican Diocese of Masvingo

EVENTS THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE FROM 31 JULY TO 30 NOVEMBER 2011

Daramombe Mission falls under Bishop Godfrey Tawonezvi of the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo but Nolbert Kunonga invaded the Mission on 31 July 2011.

On 31 July Kunonga and his supporters in the presence of ZRP officers, forced entry into the Daramombe Church. The local congregation together with their Priest, Father Muyengwa Murombedzi were barred from getting into the Church by Kunonga. Kunonga then celebrated Mass with a handful of his supporters in attendance. During the Church Service he announced to his supporters that Andrew Mugomo, one of his priests who was ordained without any training, was now the priest in charge at Daramombe Mission.

On Sunday 4 August 2011 Mugomo came to the Mission in the presence of 3 ZRP officers with police dogs. Mugomo forced entry into the Church. He then changed locks on all the doors and used the Church as his bedroom.

On 5 September Kunonga illegally evicted Father Murombedzi, School Heads of Primary and Secondary Schools, two teachers, two nurses and 3 ancillary staff from Daramombe Mission. Mugomo then took occupation of Father Murombedzi’s house. The High Court ruled that those who had been evicted be restored. Kunonga reluctantly allowed them back but has since written them letters saying that they should leave the Mission effective 1 January 2012. Copies of these letters were sent to Provincial Education Director of Mashonaland East, Mr. S.Matshaka.

Father Murombedzi who moved back to the Mission on 14 November was again illegally evicted on 29 November by the Chivhu Deputy Sheriff on Kunonga’s instructions. The Deputy Sheriff threatened Fr. Murombedzi that if he refused to move from the Mission, he would be arrested.

Mugomo and a handful of his supporters have been visiting Churches in the Chivhu area that fall under the Diocese of Masvingo locking up churches and terrorizing the faithful and clergy alleging that all Anglican Church property in Zimbabwe belongs to Kunonga.

In Chivhu Town, Kunonga supporters made several attempts to take over Church properties without success. The Priest, Archdeacon Shamuyarira and the Parishioners resisted.

The faithful at Holy Trinity Church were joined by the community and drove away Kunonga supporters who had come to forcibly take control of the Church on 6 & 13 November. Mugomo hires thugs who get drunk before they invade Churches.

Bishop Godfrey Tawonezvi led a delegation of Daramombe Mission Church Council and Church Wardens and Priests and had a meeting with Superintendent Mapuranga Officer in Charge ZRP Chivhu. The Bishop and his delegation informed the Officer In Charge, Chief Inspector Kuwakumire and one other lady officer, that Daramombe Mission congregation that had been barred by Kunonga from using their Church building would return to the Mission on Sunday 27 November. The delegation also expressed disappointment in the manner in which ZRP, Chivhu was handling issues at the Mission, ie always accompanying Kunonga and his supporters when they engage in unlawful activities at the Mission and surrounding Churches.

Superintendent Mapuranga informed the delegation to go and have audience with Chief Superintendent Tsoka, Officer commanding Chikomba. A meeting was convened and Superintendent Tsoka was in the company of Superintendent Muparadzi and Superintendent Mushawavetu. The meeting took one and a half hours. The same sentiments were expressed by Masvingo Diocese delegation. The delegation produced copies of documents that show that Diocese of Masvingo is the Responsible Authority for Daramombe Mission. Copies of the High Court Judgment/Order that was issued by Justice Bhunu [Case No. 8777/11] on 12 October 2011 were given to the Chief Superintendent. The order clearly states that Kunonga should not interfere with operations at Daramombe Mission. But Kunonga has been violating this order since 12 October by directly interfering with operations at the Mission.

Kunonga’s priest, Mugomo, who is at Daramombe Mission, illegally employed people at the High School and Clinic on 15 October 2011. He also demands groceries from the School Tuck Shop free of charge. He demands cash for pocket money and on 22 October 2011 and 19 November 2011 was given $200.00 on each occasion. He has demanded money for petrol and car repairs from the High School. When a beast is slaughtered by the School for use by boarders in the Dining Hall, Mugomo demands a share which includes the liver.

On 26 November, 2 ZRP Officers in the company of Kunonga’s priest Mugomo, went to Father Murombedzi’s house at 12 midnight. Fr. Murombedzi and 8 other Priests who had gone to Daramombe Mission to join the Bishop in the celebration of Mass the following day, were woken up and questioned why they were at the Mission and what their plans were for the following day, Sunday. The Priests had their names taken by the Police officers.

On Sunday 27 November 2011, the faithful gathered for Mass at Daramombe Mission at 8.00am. When Bishop Tawonezvi arrived at the Mission to celebrate Mass, there were 8 ZRP Officers, some of them armed. There was also a police dog. The main entrance to the church was guarded by the police. The Bishop and his faithful who numbered over 300 were denied entry by the police. Superintendent Mapuranga and Superintendent Nhando, officer In charge CID, informed the Bishop to go to Chivhu Police Station. The Bishop was accompanied by the Churchwardens of Daramombe Congregation and 3 Priests. The Bishop, Priests and Churchwardens were at the police station for 2 hours. A meeting was convened with Superintendent Mapuranga, Superintendent Nhando, and Superintendent Mushawavetu. The Bishop was denied use of the church at the Mission and he [the Bishop] opted to use the School Hall instead since the faithful wanted to attend Mass on the first Sunday in Advent.

On arrival at the Mission from the Police Station, the Bishop was denied access to the School Hall by the police officers. He then addressed the faithful outside the church at 4.30pm. He spoke words of encouragement and said that Daramombe Mission belongs to the Diocese of Masvingo. He said that Kunonga was using the issue of homosexuality as a smoke screen, yet in actual fact he wants to grab church property for personal benefit. He expressed disappointment at how the institution is being run down, including the maternity home that was built by the Mothers’ Union in 2009. He encouraged the faithful to be peaceful and vigilant and never allow their churches to be invaded by Kunonga.

Bishop Tawonezvi and Father Murombedzi have received numerous threats from Mugomo and other Kunonga supporters. While they fear for their lives they continue to be in solidarity with the faithful and always pursue peaceful ways of repossessing Daramombe Mission.


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U.S. Statement on the arrests of media workers & civil society activists

United States Embassy

Public Affairs Section

STATEMENT: Arrests of media workers and civil society activists in Zimbabwe

Harare, December 7, 2011:† The Embassy of the United States of America in Zimbabwe notes with regret and concern the increasing frequency of arrests and detention of media workers and civil society activists throughout 2011.† This has been an important year in laying the groundwork for a new constitution, which will hopefully set a better, more peaceful course for the future of all Zimbabweans.† Ultimately, good laws are only as good as their implementation, and the abrogation of the rule of law in the service of individuals or partisan interests undermines the interests and security of the state.† The free flow of information and a strong civil society are critical to the process of political and economic development.†

The United States calls on the three parties to the Global Political Agreement to pro-actively implement their written commitments to a free and unfettered media and civil society and to allow Zimbabweans their right to receive and impart news and information from a diversity of sources.† We further call on the three parties to enforce their commitment to ensuring that all state organs and institutions strictly observe the rule of law and remain non-partisan and impartial.

# # #

Issued on December 7th 2011 by the United States Embassy Harare. Comments and queries should be addressed to Sharon Hudson-Dean, Public Affairs Officer. E-mail: hararepas@state.gov† Tel. +263 4 758800-1, Fax: 758802. http://harare.usembassy.gov

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Constitution drafters get to work

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

The actual drafting of a new Zimbabwe Constitution kicked off on Monday,
with the team of drafters poised to complete the exercise in 35 days.
07.12.1107:28am
by Chipo Sithole

Douglas Mwonzora, co-chair of the Select Committee driving the
Constitution-making process, told a news conference the drafters had been
briefed on their terms of reference and were putting views gathered
countrywide into the new governance charter.

"The three principal drafters, Justice Moses Chinhengo, Priscilla Madzonga
and Brian Crozier got their brief and terms of reference from Copac on the
28th of November to begin their work on December 5," Mwonzora said. "They
will also be working in close consultation with the Select Committee and 17
technical experts. The much awaited drafting process will take at least 35
days from the date of commencement."

Zimbabweans hope a new charter, replacing the much-amended constitution
inked in London in 1979 that has been amended 19 times and barely resembles
the original, will strengthen the role of parliament and curtail the
president's powers. They also hope it will guarantee civil liberties and
political and media freedom.

One of the members of the committee who is spearheading the drafting of the
constitution said the days of the "all-powerful president" were over.

The constitution-making-process, like the establishment of the inclusive
government, has been characterised by delays, frustrations and lack of
communication.

When Zimbabwe started down the path of creating a new constitution just
after formation of an inclusive government in February 2009, the whole
country was geared up and excited, but the momentum has been lost. After
public consultation that enabled the people to debate the proposals and feed
their opinions back, the success or failure of the new Constitution depends
on the politicians agreeing to move the country forward, even if it means
clipping their own wings.


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Ballot Update October-November

Click here for October-November Ballot Update from ZESN


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Mugabe man insists on elections

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Wonai Masvingise, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 14:11

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba insists
elections are on next year, despite slow paced reforms and resistance by
coalition partners.

Charamba said elections will take place next year even though they are not
provided for in the 2012 budget presented to Parliament by Finance minister
Tendai Biti last month.

“The fact that money was not allocated to elections does not mean elections
won’t take place next year. Budget has unallocated reserves so it is very
easy to hold elections,” Charamba told the Daily News in an interview.
“Elections will definitely take place provided we finish the referendum on
time,” he said.

Charamba spoke as his boss prepared to formalise the 2012 poll demand by way
of a resolution at the ongoing Zanu PF conference in Bulawayo.

A resolution by Zanu PF at last year’s conference in Mutare for elections to
be held in 2011 suffered after Mugabe later admitted that gone were the days
when he could unilaterally call an election.

Mugabe and coalition partners Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and a
fractured breakaway MDC faction have agreed that elections can only be held
after the adoption of a new constitution.

Tsvangirai is also insisting on reforms in the media and security sector as
a condition to participating in elections.

A timetable presented by officials handling the constitution making process
this week indicated that the referendum will be held in June at the
earliest.

Biti recently said although he had not directly budgeted for elections, he
could source for the money if Mugabe and Tsvangirai agreed on a date.

He said the issue is more political than budgetary as political processes
have to be agreed on first before an election is held.

“If Tsvangirai and Mugabe want elections by hook or crook they will have
them. But we are not fools. Are they going to be sustainable?”

“Business people have been brutalised. This is an unfortunate country. We
need healing as a country”

“It’s not about resources, whether I have budgeted for them or not. It’s
about commitments that the principals themselves have agreed on,” Biti
reportedly said.

Speaking at a press conference held at his party offices recently, Simba
Makoni, president of Mavambo Kusile Dawn (MKD) said the country could not
afford to hold elections next year because there were too many high key
events taking place next year.

Makoni said the country had no financial capacity to hold a referendum,
census as well as elections all in one year.

Sadc leaders, who played midwife to the fragile coalition government and are
closely monitoring the situation, have said Zimbabwe elections can only go
ahead after the adoption of a roadmap crafted under the supervision of South
African President Jacob Zuma.

Sadc Executive Secretary, Tomaz Salamao, has in the past said no single
party in the coalition has the power to unilaterally call for elections in
Zimbabwe.

“The GPA states that the three political parties will submit to Sadc and
African Union (AU) the date of elections in Zimbabwe.”

“The date should come from the parties who signed the Global Political
Agreement (GPA), and it is binding. They have to sign on that paper that
they agree to the date of elections and they have to do that via the Sadc
mediator — President Jacob Zuma.

“The main objective in the establishment of the Government of Unity was to
pave way for elections. So you cannot disconnect the GPA and elections.
Elections in Zimbabwe are part of the GPA because it was said that because
the elections in 2008 were not recognised as free and fair, let’s put in
place a mechanism to prepare for a free and fair election in Zimbabwe hence
the GPA.

“In a nutshell, when you speak about elections you speak about GPA, and
that's why we encourage all the parties to fully implement the GPA,” Salamao
said then.


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Polls only after reforms

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

By Gift Phiri, Senior Writer
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 14:54

HARARE - Despite mounting tension ahead of the forthcoming general
elections, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC says it is confident a
free and fair poll is still possible.

President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party can still be forced via
internal and regional pressure to fulfil the majority of obligations they
signed to under the power sharing Global Political Agreement (GPA), said
Douglas Mwonzora, spokesman for the MDC.

“A free and fair election means we must have a constitutional framework that
allows free and fair elections. We must complete the election roadmap and
the three fundamental things that are on the roadmap,” he said.

“The ingredients of a free and fair election: there must be complete
freedom, there must be equal access to the electorate, people must be able
to access all corners of the country; there must be freedom from reprisals
after the election; there must be effective, equal access to the media and
there must be an elaborate election justice system and a good constitutional
framework,” said Mwonzora, a lawyer by profession.

Mugabe, 87, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, is fighting for political
survival in the next election. He faces strong challenge from former trade
unionist and now Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, who won the 2008 first
round voting. A subsequent runoff was declared null by African leaders after
Tsvangirai boycotted the poll citing gross violence, forcing the formation
of an awkward, shaky coalition.

Tensions have risen of late as talk of elections heightens.

But Mwonzora said a free and fair poll is still possible if the election
roadmap being implemented under the watch of Sadc appointed mediator Jacob
Zuma is followed through.

“We must sort out the secretariat of Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission),”
Mwonzora said. “These are the same people who took six weeks to announce the
presidential election results (in 2008) and they are going to be in charge
of the next watershed election.

“We cannot possibly agree to that. The fact that we have a new Zec means
there was something wrong with the old Zec,” said Mwonzora.

Following concerns that Zanu PF rigged the last elections and used violence
against its supporters, a unity government formed by long-time foes Mugabe
and PM Tsvangirai created a new Zec.

Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe, a former Zimbabwean Supreme Court judge who
was serving as acting Chief Justice in the Namibian Supreme Court heads the
electoral body. However, the MDC is unhappy that most of the secretariat
staff served under the old Zec and are believed to be loyal to Mugabe.

“This Zec secretariat is made up of members of the army, the Central
Intelligence Organisation and members of the Central Committee of Zanu PF,”
Mwonzora said. “Surely we can’t agree that these people be in charge of
elections that we are contesting because we would like to have a say in the
secretariat. We would like to be represented as well.”

The MDC spokesman challenged Mugabe to disband a youth brigade and war
veterans’ body accused of spearheading pre-election violence as well as
depoliticise State institutions to prove his commitment to free elections.

“We must make sure State-sponsored violence is eradicated,” Mwonzora said.

“State-sponsored violence is the violence that takes place with the
involvement, direct or indirect of State agents. And we have seen that this
is a real threat to Zimbabwe. We need to sort that out before we go to
elections.”

The MDC spokesman insisted on a sea change to the security laws to keep the
military out of local politics.

Zimbabwe’s security service chiefs have openly shown revulsion to
Tsvangirai, branding him a Western front, vowing to rally around Mugabe
while swearing they will never salute Tsvangirai even if he was voted
President.

Said Mwonzora: “Of course, we need security sector reform. Why should we not
have security sector reform when we have four important pointers to security
sector reform?

The 87-year-old Zanu PF leader has said his party will never concede to
security sector reforms saying it was an attack on the country’s
sovereignty.

Analysts say Zanu PF is not going to negotiate themselves out of power.

“Zanu PF has to be forced to accept the reforms through the upping of
political pressure from within Zimbabwe as well as externally from Sadc,”
Dewa Mavhinga, regional co-ordinator for Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition told
the Daily News.

“Sadc must demand reforms, and back that demand with a serious threat of
punitive measures against Zanu PF. The MDC and other pro-democracy forces
must not rely only on the negotiating table, they must mobilise the people
to form a formidable political force to confront Zanu PF. So far Zanu PF has
the luxury to resist reforms because there is no serious political pressure
to contend with.”

Zanu PF and MDC negotiators together with Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team are
expected to hold another round of talks soon on the election.

Zuma has stepped up pressure to have the roadmap implemented to ensure a
free vote in Zimbabwe.


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Zanu propaganda stepped up

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

ZBC listeners should brace themselves for an increase in pro-Zanu (PF) songs
and jingles ahead of next year’s possible elections.
05.12.1111:23am
by Talent Bhachi

Speaking at the launch of yet another album of Mabvuku-Tafara Chimurenga
choir, Minister of Media and Information Webster Shamu said Zanu (PF) was
considering sponsoring all Chimurenga Choirs and make sure that they
received significant air play.

“Your work does not go unnoticed and we are appealing to you to get
organised, because your music reminds the masses of the need to guard
jealously their sovereignty. As a government we will do our part to make
sure you get air play on national radio and television,” said Shamu.

The statements come barely two weeks after the Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe granted radio licences to AB Communications and Zimpapers, pro-Zanu
(PF) companies.

Political analysts said the move to sponsor Chimurenga choirs, and the
granting of licences to pro-Zanu companies, was meant to dominate the
airwaves ahead of the elections next year.

Harare-based political analyst, Abel Gomo, said Zanu (PF) was desperate and
would try everything in its power to tilt elections in their favour.

“Apart from frog marching people to their rallies so that they can gulp
their propaganda, Zanu (PF) will make sure that every time someone turns on
his radio or television, Mugabe will be there,” said Gomo.


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Zanu’s election tactics

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

Over the last couple of months there has been a series of seemingly
unrelated events that have occupied the space of political discourse in the
country, which few of us have bothered to tie together.
06.12.1105:00pm
by Zimbabwe Briefing

In spite of the seemingly unrelated nature of the incidents and
conversations around them, a clear thread can be seen. At the centre of
attacks on Civic Society actors’, or the unrelenting prosecutions for
purposes of persecution that journalists from The Standard and the Daily
News have to endure, is an attempt to intimidate those who are pursuing a
more democratic dispensation in Zimbabwe.

A conundrum

The conundrum that pro-democracy actors have found themselves in is a case
of focusing too much on the incidents, creating the impression that, while
they demand transparency, accountability and good behaviour from the state,
they may appear not to be keen on allowing themselves to be subjected to the
same scrutiny. So, these calculated attacks meant to move people’s attention
away from pertinent political questions, are left unchallenged. The net
effect being that Zanu (PF) gradually succeeds in its attempts.

Credibility is loosely defined as the quality of being trusted or being
believed in. Often, this is a character that one gains through time, effort,
and a track record in ones’ work.

Take for instance the case laid against Nxaba Matshazi of The Standard and
his editor, Nevanji Madanhire. This is not the first time that the Standard
or its Editor has been subjected to unjustified police and judicial action.
It is clear that in this case, there are two primary cases at the centre of
this incident. The first is of misdirection. Credible cases of corruption,
rape involving minors (which seems to have been swept under the judicial
carpet) and release of information in the public interest can be laid
against the Reserve Bank Advisor, Munyaradzi Kereke.

Nxaba is portrayed as a thief for having written the story. We all believe
in ethical journalism and agree that subjects in stories should be afforded
the right of reply. Having said that, we also believe that unwarranted
police and judicial action, especially around civil defamation, is
unwarranted and impedes the greater cause of freedom of expression.
Journalists should not be arrested for doing their jobs.

Neither here nor there

This is an example of how we are forced to divert from issues of corruption,
alleged rape and crumbling medical services to focus on an issue of law and
media ethics, which is neither here nor there.

It is the same case in Minister Ignatius Chombo’s riches saga, a story which
itself was first broken by the Herald in 2010, but which Xolisani and
Stanley Gama from the Daily News are now being persecuted for. In both
instances, the journalists, instead of digging deeper on the issues, are now
having to focus on defending themselves in court. The second issue stems
from the first.

By portraying The Standard and the Daily News as unethical newspapers, their
journalists as thieves and gossipers, and the editors as reckless – there is
a clear challenge to the credibility of the papers. The attempt is to create
a credibility gap between the Newspapers and their readers, while at the
same time intimidating into inaction the journalists in question.

Not very patriotic

Civic Society has not been spared. The Patriot Newspaper has spun
sensational stories based on a mixture of stolen information and Google
journalism. Organisations such as the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network, National Association of Non-Governmental
Organisations, ZimRights and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to name a
few, have been targets of the vicious attacks.

The Patriot, in whose Editorial of the 2nd of December 2011, pretty much
dismissed any pretentions of being an independent newspaper, has been aptly
aided by the captured Public Media. However, it has gone a step further in
propagating hate and putting the lives of democratic actors at risk through
the release of addresses of so-called enemies of the state.

What is the motive behind such actions? It is my hope that Super
Mandiwanzira and his editorial team are aware that if any harm of a physical
nature occurs to these people based on the private information that they
have provided, they will be responsible. - Mcdonald Lewanika, Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition


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Chiwenga graduates

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantine Chiwenga has
acquired a Masters degree in International Relations in what is being seen
as a move to bolster his presidential bid.
05.12.1112:42pm
by Staff Reporter

Chiwenga, described by his subordinates as "knowing very little" about the
military, has gone public with his achievement, taking out an ad in the
Sunday Mail. He obtained the degree from the University of Zimbabwe.

"The Zimbabwe Defence Forces officers, men and women would like to
congratulate the commander of the ZDF General Constantine Guveya Chiwenga on
the attainment of a Masters degree in International Relations and winning
the book prize," says the ad, ostensibly inserted by well wishers. “A good
leader always leads by example. No doubt you are a man of honour, integrity,
diligence and intelligence."

The flattering ad flies in the face of a damning appraisal contained in the
Wikileaks cables by Brigadier General Herbert Chingono, the Inspector
General for the Zimbabwe National Army, and Major General Fidelis Satuku,
the ZDF Director General for Policy and Personnel, who in a January 5 and 6,
2010 meeting with US ambassador Charles Ray, spoke disrespectfully about
their commander as an ignoramus.

"General Constantine Chiwenga is a political general who works hard, but who
has very little practical military experience or expertise," the cable
reads. "Given a choice between a military and a political issue, Chiwenga
will always choose the political, because he doesn't know enough about the
military to be comfortable discussing it."

Confirming a story we first broke that General Chiwenga was harbouring
political ambitions, Chingono says: "He (Chiwenga) will be very disappointed
if he does not get a political position when his tenure as Defence Chief
ends."

Chiwenga's term of office expires in Febraury 2012, and there is good chance
it will not be extended. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said he must
retire.

The military officials told the ambassador that Chiwenga was implicated in
the 2008 violence. Chiwenga, who enjoys the support of most of the army's
top brass, has not hidden his presidential ambitions.

"He is saying, ‘I am educated now and I can run the country’, that was the
object of that ad," said a senior Zanu (PF) official. "He is ambitious and
power-hungry, but certainly not presidential material."


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Attacks on villagers sparks call for crocodile cull

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Tichaona Sibanda
7 December 2011

Crocodiles are now killing and maiming so many villagers on the banks of
Mucheke River in Makoni district that locals are urging authorities to
consider deploying professional hunters to cull the reptiles.

Local councilor for the area, Amen Bungu, told SW Radio Africa’s Hidden
Story program that communities that live along the shores of the river have
lost count of the number of people who have been attacked by crocodiles.

He said some villagers have raised concerns that crocodile attacks are on
the rise in the area because of swelling rural populations encroaching on
the reptile’s habitat.

‘In recent years, we have seen an unprecedented increase in crocodile
populations along the Mucheke river and the reptiles have even become
vicious and daring that they’re attacking some of victims far from the river
bed.The national parks needs to consider culling these crocodiles as we are
getting increased sightings of these man-eater sized reptiles, a kilometre
away from the river,’ Bungu said.

Women and young children are particularly prone to attack by the crocodiles
which lurk where inhabitants of the densely populated Matanhire and Chiduku
villages do their washing, bathe and fetch water for cooking and drinking.
Hundreds of villagers in the area have no access to safe water and are
forced to resort to the crocodile-infested river for their water needs.

Bungu told us he knows of a nine year old school boy who had his stomach
ripped open by a crocodile and died in October, while two others are
currently admitted to Rusape hospital having been seriously injured by
crocodiles while fetching water.

‘One of the victims lost an arm, while the other has very deep wounds on his
leg and different parts of the body following the attacks. In the last five
months alone, seven people have been attacked by crocodiles,’ Bungu said.
Local MDC-T MP Pishai Muchauraya added that another option was to appoint
companies operating crocodile farms, to harvest crocodiles from the Mucheke
river.
Crocodile farming is big business throughout Africa, including Zimbabwe.
Croc eggs are collected in the wild and brought to the farms to be incubated
and hatched, and the hatchlings are raised in captivity. The crocodile skins
are used in the international luxury skin market.
A team of national parks officials visited the area recently following a
request from the MP to look at ways of stopping the attacks.

‘They were in the area for a few days but unfortunately they didn’t kill or
capture any crocodiles. They just warned the villagers to be careful when
crossing the river, fishing or fetching water,’ Muchauraya said.

The MP said he is also calling upon donor agencies to help fund the
construction of a footbridge between Chiduku and Matanhire villages.

‘Villagers from Matanhire have to cross the river everyday to buy groceries
and other essentials from shops in Chiduku. With these increased attacks it
is high time we constructed a foot bridge over the river, to save lives,’
Muchauraya said.


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CZI predicts economy growth

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries President, Joseph Kanyekanye, has
predicted economic growth in 2012.
06.12.1105:21pm
by Brenna Matendere Munyati

Speaking to captains of industry and the local business community at a
recent function, Kanyekanye said the spirit of inclusivity in the government
was generating returns.

“Since 2009, when the Global Political Agreement was signed by major
parties, many companies have picked up production. It is this fact which
makes me confident that as industry, we can do more to grow the economy in
the coming year,” he said.

His words of hope follow projections by Finance Minister Tendai Biti that
the economy will grow by 9.4% in 2012. Kanyekanye reiterated that
co-operation between citizens across the political divide was of major
importance.

“We need to all exploit the potential for the growth of the economy. This
country can reach dizzy heights if we all embrace the spirit of teamwork,”
he said.


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Zim not immune to global crunch

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Eric Chiriga
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 10:49

HARARE - Zimbabwe's fragile economy is vulnerable to the prevailing global
economic crisis, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said.

Biti said the slowdown in global economic activity posed “risks of large and
abrupt capital outflows from emerging economies, including Zimbabwe.”

“This will likely trigger a slow down in financial lending, commodity prices
and export realisations. Banks with underlying vulnerabilities related to
excessive credit, might experience systemic risks,” he said in his 2012
national budget.

This comes after South Africa — the continent’s largest economy and key
trade partner to Zimbabwe — has said growth forecasts deteriorated following
the poor world’s growth outlook.

“Zimbabwe’s vulnerability to growing global financial uncertainties is not
small, given that our current account deficit is to a large extent financed
by inflows of short-term capital,” Biti said, adding that Zimbabwe should
adopt fiscal responses that anchor trade competitiveness and strengthen
policy effectiveness in dealing with both global and domestic shocks.

Biti said Zimbabwe’s economic growth pattern was commodity driven, and
prolonged sluggish global growth would exert harder policy options for the
economy.

“Furthermore, our limited access to external financing necessitates that we
employ strategies for re-building fiscal buffers,” Biti said.

He said productivity and equilibrium must be increased so that Zimbabwe was
better able to protect itself against external shocks.

Meanwhile, Biti said Zimbabwe’s capital inflows remained extremely low with
foreign direct investment (FDI) averaging below five percent of gross
domestic product (GDP).

“Zimbabwe’s capital account inflows, thus, remain a sad story,” said Biti,
adding that more had to be done to boost foreign investment in the country —
emerging from a decade-long economic decline.

He said since January this year, only $125 million FDI had been received.

“Our domestic investment shortfalls necessitate that we intensify strategies
to attract foreign direct investment, which is inextricably connected to
growth and capital formation,” he said.

FDI, which averaged 18 percent of GDP in the 1980s and 20 percent in the
1990s, was a mere 1,1 percent between 2000 and 2009.

Zimbabwe has suffered significantly reduced FDI levels since the land reform
programme in the year 2000.

“…the causes of Zimbabwe’s declining FDI portfolio must be unpacked and
addressed,” Biti said.

While foreign investors worry about respect for property rights and lack of
policy consistence in Zimbabwe, the situation has been worsened by
government’s Indigenisation Act.

According to the Act, government requires that all foreign-owned firms cede
at least 51 percent shareholding to black locals, a demand which has
dampened investors’ confidence and participation in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has suffered a major knock due to the
reduced foreign investor participation.

In its November economic report on Zimbabwe, the African Development Bank
(AfDB) said the ZSE continued to slide in the month of October with both the
industrial and mining indices remaining on a downward trend.

The local bourse’s industrial and mining indices fell from 155,82 points and
152,42 at the close of trade in September to 143,58 and 131,75 at the close
of trade in October respectively.

Statistics indicate that the industrial index was so far 15 percent lower
than its year to date peak and 17,5 percent below the all-time highest
levels during the dollarisation era.


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Could Anjin’s pathetic pay be fuelling diamond smuggling?

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 06/12/11

The strike by over 600 Anjin diamond mineworkers since 3 December 2011 for a
pay rise from US$180 per month exposes the greed of some investors whose
only motive is to maximise on profit without regard for fair compensation to
key stakeholders.

What is more concerning is that proceeds from the sale of a stockpile of an
estimated 2 million carat diamonds following the lifting of the KP ban will
neither reward the workers nor go to Treasury but pay for the controversial
Zanu-pf spy centre.

There should be no misunderstanding about the importance of foreign direct
investment in Zimbabwe. The country desperately needs investment, but Anjin
has shown its contempt for the people of Zimbabwe with impunity.

The industrial action exposes Anjin’s unfair labour practices by paying
salaries below the poverty datum line and exposing workers to risks by not
providing protective clothing.

However, Anjin would not have managed to evade the law enforcement agents
since its arrival in the country, had the government been enforcing
industrial relations and health and safety legislation without fear or
favour.

Oddly, last month Anjin officials briefed President Robert Mugabe when he
was in China about their mining operations at Chiadzwa but obviously would
not have told him that they were paying their workers less than his farm
workers.

In most work situations, it is not difficult to see the link between
pilferage or stock leakages and low pay. It is arguable that the pathetic
pay for diamond mineworkers could be fuelling smuggling of Zimbabwe’s gems.

According to Mines Minister Obert Mpofu there could be massive smuggling of
diamonds from Marange into neighbouring countries.

Ironically, the KP Minimum Standards for Certification of diamonds do not
include fair pay and health and safety for mineworkers who are short-changed
by unscrupulous employers who don’t regard employee welfare as a priority.

Regrettably, the withdrawal of Global Witness from the KP Certificate Scheme
is a major setback to the attainment of high standards in the mining of
rough diamonds which the civil society coalition is campaigning for through
the KP.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,
zimanalysis2009@gmail.com


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Bill Watch 54/2011 of 5th December [Budget to be debated Tuesday 6th December]

BILL WATCH 54/2011

[5th December 2011]

Both Houses will sit on Tuesday 6th December

Coming Up In Parliament This Week

House of Assembly

Budget Business:MPs are expected to start debating the Budget Statement on 6th December - notwithstanding their request last Thursday tohave until the 13th to study it further.Portfolio committee chairpersons will present their committees’ reports on the aspects of the Budget affecting the Ministries they oversee, and individual members will have the opportunity to contribute.

It remains to be seen whether, even with the already-approved fast-tracking arrangements in place, it will be possible to deal with the Estimates of Expenditure, the Appropriation (2012) Bill and the Finance (No. 2) Bill [Electronic versions available from veritas@mango.zw] in the day or two available before the House adjourns to allow ZANU-PF members to attend their party conference in Bulawayo later this week.††

[Comment: MPs have, correctly, pointed out that the Constitution doesn’t say that the Budget has to be approved before the end of the year.But other factors are important: for example, if the Finance (No. 2) Bill is not promptly passed, the proposed increase in the tax-free amount for annual bonuses payable for 2011 will not become law.Do MPs really want to disappoint workers banking on that exemption being applied to bonuses due later this month?A question that always arises at this time of year is why one political party holds its yearly conference at the busiest time of year for Parliament.The tradition of letting a party conference have priority over Parliamentary duties should be reconsidered.]

Other business:There are motions down for debate and, for Wednesday afternoon, a number of written questions for answers by Ministers.But these items will only be dealt with if Budget business is completed in time.

††††† Motions include the motion on unconstitutional statements by some service chiefs and the motion on the indigenisation regulations.

††††† Questions include questions for the co-Ministers of Home Affairs about cross-border cattle rustling affecting the Lower Zambezi Valley and the Chiredzi district, and police inaction on the invasion of Parliament on 23rd July that disrupted a public hearing on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill

Senate

Budget Bills:If the two Budget Bills are passed by the House of Assembly they will be transmitted to the Senate.If satisfied with the Bills the Senate will pass them in the normal way and they will then go to the President for his assent.If, however, the Senate thinks changes are needed, all it can do is to recommend amendments to the House.[Note:The Senate’s limited powers in relation to “money Bills” were explained in Bill Watch 53/2011 of 28th November.]

Other Business:While the Senate waits for the Budget Bills, it will be able to deal with other items on its Order Paper:

††††† Motion to restore Public Order and Security Amendment Bill to the Order Paper:Hon Gonese’s motion is not likely to be dealt with.

††††† Other motions: These include Senator Komichi’s motion seeking a thematic committee investigation of “unethical and unprofessional activities by the media”.

Prime Ministers Question Time Cancelled

Under Standing Orders Prime Minister’s Question Time should be held in the House of Assembly on the last Wednesday of each month, and in the Senate on the last Thursday – but if there is no sitting on the day in question, it is cancelled.So there was no PM’s Question Time in the House of Assembly on 30th November, because the House was not sitting on that day – or in the Senate the previous Thursday, when the Senate sat for only a few minutes because of the Budget.This means that the current session has seen only one PM’s Question Time in the House of Assembly, on 26th October, and none in the Senate; and that the next opportunities for MPs to question the PM will only be at the end of January – if Parliament is then sitting.This is unsatisfactory; it is a pity that a missed PM’s Question Time cannot simply be carried forward for a week rather than a month.The PM’s appearances in Parliament are already rare enough.As he is Leader of Government Business in Parliament [GPA, Article 20.1.4], it is to be hoped that the PM will not only attend Parliament more often, but also make a point of ensuring regular PM’s Question Times in future.

In Parliament Last Week

Members of both Houses were involved in a Budget Workshop and special Budget analysis committee meetings from Monday to Wednesday,so the Houses sat on Thursday afternoon only.

House of Assembly

Budget Debate postponed:Hon Zhanda, chairperson of the Budget Portfolio Committee informed the Speaker that Portfolio Committees needed more time to complete their Budget analysis.

MPs walk out on Minister Welshman Ncube:When Minister of Industry and Commerce Welshman Ncube rose to propose a motion he received a noisy and hostile reception from MPs expressing disapproval of remarks he was reported to have made about Deputy Speaker Nomalanga Khumalo, MP for Umzingwane, at a rally the previous weekend.According to Press reports the Minister had said she was no longer a member of the MDC he leads, having gone over to the MDC led by Professor Mutambara.Some 20 MPs walked out of the House.

International agreements approved:Once order had been restored the House passed, without debate, Minister Ncube’s motions to approve:

††††† the Second Revised Cotonou Agreement

††††† the Trade Agreement with Kuwait

Restoration of Bill to Order Paper:The House also approved Minister Ncube’s motion to revive the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill, clearing the way for its Second Reading stage in due course.

Senate

The Senate’s 48-minute sitting was devoted to oral questions without notice.In the absence of the responsible Ministers, Deputy Minister of Public Works Senator Georgias and Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Senator Gutu valiantly responded to a variety of questions, hardly any of which related to their own Ministries, e.g. Senator Georgias spoke about unemployed nursing graduates and Senator Gutu about agricultural problems.Belatedly, the Deputy President of the Senate pointed out that questions should focus on the Ministries in which the Deputy Ministers serve.Answering a question about prisons, which come under the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, Senator Gutu was enthusiastic about the recent improvement in prison conditions countrywide, and described the new Mazowe Prison complex as a model prison by international standards.

MPs to Receive Sitting Allowance Arrears

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has announced that members of the House of Assembly and Senators will be paid their sitting allowances [$75 per sitting] back to the commencement of the present Parliament in 2008.This followed his undertaking to the House during Question Time on 22nd November to take the matter up with the President and the Prime Minister.Parliamentarians had been angered by the earlier decision of the party principals that the allowances would only be paid for sittings from 1st November 2011 onwards.

House Rejects Allegations Against Portfolio Committee Chair Zhanda

On 24th November the Speaker ruled that that there was a prima facie case of breach of privilege or contempt of Parliament against Hon Zhanda, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development.The ruling followed the receipt of a letter from the Governor of the Reserve Bank alleging misconduct on the part of Mr Zhanda in relation to the Portfolio Committee’s investigation of the affairs of the Reserve Bank.Despite the Speaker’s ruling, the House expressed its confidence in Hon Zhanda by rejecting, without debate, a motion to appoint a Committee of Privileges to go into the allegations.

Alleged Contempt of Parliament: Privileges Committee Appointed

On 24th November the Speaker announced the appointment by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders of the members of a Committee on Privileges to investigate allegations of contempt of Parliament against Mr Gwaradzimba, the Government-appointed administrator of Shabani Mashaba Mines [SMM] under the Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent Companies Act.The members are Hon Mangwana [chairperson], Hon Mnangagwa, Hon Majome, Hon Mushonga and Hon P. Dube.The allegations arise from disparaging remarks about the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy allegedly made by Mr Gwaradzimba in the course of a press interview; at the time the Portfolio Committee was investigating the state of affairs at SMM.

Status of Bills

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

Bill awaiting Second Reading

National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill [restored to the Order Paper 1st December]

Bill Gazetted and Awaiting Presentation

Older Persons Bill [gazetted 9th September]

Finance (No. 2) Bill [gazetted 2nd December]

Appropriation (2012) Bill [gazetted 2nd December]

Bill being Printed for Gazetting

Urban Councils Amendment Bill [Private Member’s Bill to be presented by Hon Matimba of MDC-T]

Lapsed Bills awaiting restoration to the Order Paper

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

Electoral Amendment Bill

Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Amendment Bill

Bills Passed by Parliament awaiting gazetting as Acts

Deposit Protection Corporation Bill [final reading in Parliament – 2nd August.The discovery of an error has necessitated reprinting before submission to the President.]

Small Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Bill [final reading in Parliament – 12th July.Sent to President’s Office – 30th September][Gazetting of this Act seems long overdue.The Constitution requires the Presidentto assent or not within 21 days of a Bill reaching him.]

Government Gazette

Customs and excise duty:SI 142/2011 of 30th November specifies the new duties on cigarettes, effective 1st December, announced by the Minister of Finance in the Budget Statement.

Changes re left-hand drive vehicles and second-hand vehicles:SI 140/2011, dated 25th November, amends sections 10 [steering system] and 65 [type approval of motor vehicle] of SI 154/2010, the Road Traffic (Construction, Equipment and Use)Regulations.The effect is as follows:

††††† to repeal the ban on importing second-hand vehicles more than 5 years old

††††† to repeal the ban on the use of left-hand drive heavy vehicles after 2015

††††† to maintain the ban on importing left-hand drive vehicles [that ban came into effect on 31st October 2011].

[In other words, no left-hand drive vehicles at all can be imported, but all left-hand drive vehicles, heavy or light, already registered in Zimbabwe before 31st October 2011 can continue to be used indefinitely.][Electronic version of SI available.]

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

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