13 February 2013
Zimbabwe's key referendum on a new constitution has been "tentatively" set
for 16 March, government minister Eric Matinenga has said.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the referendum would herald a major
step towards democratic reform, AFP news agency reports.
It would be followed by elections, expected to be contested by Mr Tsvangirai
and President Robert Mugabe.
The date was announced as the election chief resigned, citing ill health.
The 88-year-old Mr Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980.
Details of the new constitution, agreed by Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai, have
not been officially released.
But it is believed that it sets a limit of two terms for future presidents.
'By hook or by crook'
Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai are expected to urge voters to approve the
constitution, opening the way for elections to be held under the new rules.
The election would herald the end of the shaky coalition the two leaders
formed after the disputed 2008 election, when Mr Tsvangirai - the leader of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - boycotted a run-off after
claiming he had been robbed of victory during the first round.
Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party was also accused of unleashing violence against
MDC supporters, an allegation it denied.
The two parties then formed a coalition government under pressure from
"I can confirm 16 March is the tentative referendum date," said Mr
Matinenga, the constitutional affairs minister, an MDC member.
"I've indicated that maybe there's a need to rethink so that at least we
have two days of voting for the referendum," he added, in a briefing to
journalists in the capital, Harare.
Sources say the general elections are expected to be held between 15 and 30
Mr Tsvangirai told AFP he would fight to ensure that "no-one is
disenfranchised by hook or by crook" in the elections.
"If Mugabe's position that we need a free and fair election is a ruse, then
he would have cheated me," he is quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, election commission chief Simpson Mutambanengwe, who was expected
to organise the votes this year, has resigned, said Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa of Zanu-PF.
"The resignation is on the grounds of health," Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald
newspaper quotes Mr Chinamasa as saying
MDC Secretary-General and Finance Minister Tendai Biti said his decision was
"The judge is a man of good standing," he said.
A replacement for Mr Mutambanengwe, a retired judge who was appointed after
the disputed 2008 poll, would be chosen after discussions involving the
coalition partners, Mr Chinamasa said.
Zimbabwe's crash-strapped government has also repeatedly said it does not
have enough money to hold the votes.
"We are looking for the money," Mr Tsvangirai told AFP.
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Wednesday he expected presidential and
parliamentary elections to be held in July after a nationwide vote on a new
constitution next month.
Addressing a human rights forum on the new constitution, Tsvangirai said the
power-sharing government which was formed after disputed polls in 2008 would
seek a fresh election in July.
When asked when the elections would be held, Tsvangirai simply said "July".
There was no immediate comment from Zanu PF on whether the timetable given
by Tsvangirai had been agreed with President Robert Mugabe, the 88-year-old
political veteran who has ruled the country since independence from Britain
But for months, Mugabe has said he wants fresh polls by mid-year before the
country hosts a global conference on tourism, which analysts say Harare
wants to use to rebrand itself after years of isolation.
Before Tsvangirai's comments at the human rights forum, Constitutional
Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga told reporters the power-sharing government
had set March 16 as the tentative date for the referendum on the
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, worried that there might not be enough money
for the vote on the constitution and the general election, has approached
donors for help.
By law, the next elections are due when the current presidential and
parliamentary terms expire at the end of June although there has been
speculation Zanu PF and the MDC could extend it while working on more
The last polls were marred by violence and allegations of vote-rigging,
blamed mostly on Mugabe's war veteran supporters and Zanu PF youths.
13 FEB 2013 20:33 - AFP
Zimbabweans will vote on a new draft Constitution – a key reform ahead of
new presidential polls that should end the power-sharing deal.
Morgan Tsvangirai pulled Zimbabwe from chaos by forming a unity government
with President Robert Mugabe, and still struggles to guide the country
toward democracy from within his narrow corridors of power.
The new presidential polls in July 2013 may just see him become only the
second president since the country's independence in 1981.
Tsvangirai, the founder of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), emerged
in the late 1990s as a powerful political force when he headed the country's
largest labour federation, spearheading national strikes against Mugabe's
After years in the opposition, he stood poised to claim the presidency in
2008 elections, but abandoned the run-off against Mugabe to stem a wave of
violence that killed more than 200 of his supporters.
At the time, hyperinflation had pushed the economy into freefall, more than
half the nation needed food aid, and a cholera epidemic was swirling.
Under intense regional pressure, Tsvangirai and Mugabe formed a unity
government in February 2009, with the MDC taking over most ministries
dealing with the economy, while Mugabe's ZANU-PF retained the security
forces and the mines.
Tsvangirai became Prime Minister under Mugabe.
The result has been a rocky coalition, with the two rivals often steering
the country in opposite directions, especially when it comes to implementing
the democratic reforms required under their unity pact.
"The progress that has been secured so far has been far from satisfactory,
especially on political reforms," Tsvangirai said in 2011.
"However, you will agree with me that there has been notable progress ever
since the consumation of this government, and that progress is in the social
Zimbabwe's economy has stirred back to life. Food supplies are more reliable
and once-shuttered hospitals are back open.
But Tsvangirai battles to exert his influence. His supporters, even his
ministers, still suffer routine arrests and harassment.
His personal scandals – two very public divorces – have dented his
Tsvangirai claims to have been the target of four assassination attempts,
including one in 1997 when he said assailants tried to throw him out of his
Despite the violence directed at him and his party, the 60-year-old has used
his persuasive speaking skills to keep his supporters focused on non-violent
activism for "a new Zimbabwe."
"I have done my part to promote reconciliation in this country. Even after
winning the election, I have compromised for the sake of Zimbabwe," he once
told a rally.
But four years after formation the unity government has been hampered by
disagreements over key economic policies and the slow progress of human
He grew up in the eastern district of Buhera, and was forced by poverty to
leave school early and earn a living to enable his younger siblings to get
Unlike most of Zimbabwe's politicians, Tsvangirai did not take part in the
Chimurenga liberation war against white colonial rule.
Born in Gutu, south of the capital Harare, he was the eldest of nine
children and the son of a bricklayer. He was 28 when Zimbabwe won
independence from Britain in 1980. Tsvangirai's rise to power came with
intense personal loss.
Just three weeks after taking office, his first wife Susan died in a car
crash that also left him in hospital.
He has been detained twice for his political activism and was twice cleared
of treason charges.
In March 2007, he was among dozens of opposition activists who were
assaulted as they tried to stage an anti-government rally, suffering head
"Yes, they brutalised my flesh. But they will never break my spirit. I will
soldier on until Zimbabwe is free," he said in a message from his hospital
bed. – AFP
February 13 2013 at 09:06pm
By Andrew Beatty
Harare, Zimbabwe - Veteran strongman Robert Mugabe once said, apparently in
jest, that he would rule Zimbabwe until he turned 100.
If Zimbabweans vote for a new constitution on March 16, he will not get the
chance, but he may yet come very close.
Wednesday's unveiling of dates for a constitutional referendum and July
elections set Mugabe up for another decade in power. The new basic law would
allow Zimbabwe's president to run for the office again, and at two terms of
five years each he could stay on as president until 2023, when he would be
But he first faces another battle in his long, controversial and frequently
bloody 32 years in power.
Mugabe, who turns 89 this month, is Africa's oldest ruler and is eyeing
reelection in July polls that should end an uneasy unity government with his
rival Morgan Tsvangirai.
Ahead of the vote Mugabe has been shoring up his hero status among the party
faithful with hardline policies that have coloured his rule.
He recently championed a controversial law which forces foreign-owned firms
to cede their majority shares to local people, and earlier drove thousands
of white commercial farmers off their land.
The former teacher is known for his long-winded political speeches,
punctuated with stinging criticism of his opponents, particularly Western
His road to the top office has been marred with bloodshed.
In June 2008, he was re-elected to a sixth term after entering a
presidential runoff uncontested.
Tsvangirai withdrew from the race citing state-sponsored violence against
his supporters, including torture and killings.
The two later formed an uneasy power-sharing government.
Born on February 21, 1924, at Kutama Mission northwest of the capital
Harare, Mugabe was described as a studious child and a loner.
He qualified as a teacher at the age of 17.
An intellectual who initially embraced Marxism, he took his first steps in
politics after enrolling at Fort Hare University in South Africa.
There he met many of southern Africa's future black nationalist leaders.
He then resumed teaching, moving to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and later
Ghana - whose founder president Kwame Nkrumah profoundly influenced the
As a member of various nationalist parties that were banned by the
white-minority government, Mugabe was detained with other nationalist
leaders in 1964 and spent the next 10 years in prison camps or jail.
But he used his incarceration to gather three degrees, including a law
degree from London, through correspondence courses.
He also consolidated his position in the Zimbabwe African National Union in
that period and emerged from prison in November 1974 as ZANU-PF leader. He
then left for Mozambique, from where his banned party conducted a guerrilla
Economic sanctions and war forced Rhodesian leader Ian Smith to negotiate.
After that ZANU, which drew most of its support from the ethnic Shona
majority, swept to power in the 1980 election.
Mugabe also crushed dissent among the minority Ndebele people with his North
Korean-trained Fifth Brigade in a campaign that killed an estimated 20,000
In 2000 he launched controversial land reforms, driving out white farmers
and seizing their land. Some white farmers were accused of joining forces
with his Western foes in a campaign to topple him using the opposition as a
The implementation of land reform laws saw productive commercial farms
redistributed to his cronies, army veterans and family members.
The chaotic process plunged the former regional breadbasket into a
decade-long crisis, with most rural dwellers relying on food handouts.
Under pressure to end the crushing economic decline, which reduced the
exchange rate to nothing and caused inflation to gallop to over 230 million
percent, Mugabe entered into an agreement with Tsvangirai to form a unity
But four years on, the unity government has been hampered by disagreements
over key economic policies and the slow progress of human rights reforms. -
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:02
HARARE - Zimbabwe's Principals have given the Cabinet taskforce a June 29
deadline to align the new draft constitution with existing laws, a
co-chairperson of a body writing the new constitution has said.
Co-chairperson of the Constitution Select Committee (Copac), Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, told a briefing meeting with stakeholders on the
Zimbabwe constitution-making process in Johannesburg last Friday that the
process has moved a gear up after endorsement of the draft constitution by
Parliament on February 6.
“Now there is a committee of seven tasked with ensuring that implementation
of the draft constitution is done,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said, referring to
Patrick Chinamasa, Tendai Biti, Eric Matinenga and three Copac co-chairs
Douglas Mwonzora, Paul Mangwana and Edward Mkhosi as well as herself.
“This has to be done before June 29, because that is the last day of seating
of the 7th Parliament,” he said.
Zimbabweans will vote next month to approve, or reject the draft
constitution — a potentially pivotal moment for the southern African nation
that underwent a violent and disputed election in 2008 and, more recently,
has seen rapprochement between rivals.
President Robert Mugabe is expected to announce a referendum date on the
The proposed constitution is being taken countrywide, with all parties
campaigning for a YES vote after four years of haggling.
Even opposition parties seem to have resigned themselves to the fact that
they cannot successfully de-campaign the draft.
Opposition Zapu led by Dumiso Dabengwa said its National Executive Committee
(Nec) meeting held on February 9, after consultations and internal debate,
resolved to vote a qualified YES in the forthcoming referendum.
“Many of our party’s key expectations have not been met and we believe that
goes for those of many stakeholders, but we firmly believe that in order not
to start from the beginning in fighting for a truly people-centred
Constitution for Zimbabwe we should give this draft a qualified YES vote in
the forthcoming referendum,” said Strike Mkandla, secretary general of Zapu.
Meanwhile, Misihairabwi-Mushonga told the Joburg indaba, organised by the
Open Society Institute of Southern Africa that Zanu PF was trying to dampen
the gains to weaken and divide pro-democracy forces.
“Zanu PF is now sending signals that even with a new constitution, people
can still be cheated,” warned Misihairambwi-Mushonga.
“The draft constitution is a step forward as it largely enshrines women’s
rights. It has a commission on peace and reconciliation to deal with post
conflict matters, executive terms limits. The new constitution deals with
security sector excesses by providing a clear transparency and
accountability framework. Devolution is also provided for in the new
charter,” she said.
“We don’t get everything in a Constitution but it provides a framework for
an open, transparent society and Bill of Rights.”
Critics see the ongoing process as an undemocratic grab of power by the
Principals who hijacked the constitution-making process from Parliament to
negotiate their own deal and then whipping MPs to pass without vigorous
debate and scrutiny.
The grab has engendered sharp opposition within civil society, with the
pro-democracy National Constitutional Assembly ruling it invalid, and
campaigning for a NO vote.
NCA leader Lovemore Madhuku told the Joburg indaba that the initial problems
of the polity in Zimbabwe were not a result of the Constitution.
“The first problem in Zimbabwe is the absence of a culture to adhere to the
Constitution,” Madhuku said. “When the NCA was founded, the idea was to
challenge the flawed process.
“The idea of people driven was not to define a way but to anchor the process
on openness and inclusivity. Through campaigning NO, we are promoting
openness and plurality.”
Misihairambwi-Mushonga, who is also the minister of Regional Integration,
said it was important for people to read the draft constitution in the
context of the negotiations which resulted in its writing, and warned the
actions by the NCA were divisive and said Madhuku and his troops needed to
make a strategic decision for the sake of the people of Zimbabwe.
“Prof. Madhuku, do you understand the damage that you are causing to the
broader cause through the NO vote campaign?” she queried.
The secretary general of the smaller MDC said if pro-democracy forces did
not “pull up their socks”, or remained divided, it would provide a
“priceless gift — like manna — for those in Zanu PF who are bent on
reversing the gains realised during the transitional period.”
By Violet Gonda
13 February 2013
Police on Wednesday violently broke up a peaceful demonstration by the Women
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and briefly detained eight activists outside
Parliament building in Harare.
WOZA leader Jenni Williams sent SW Radio Africa a text message saying: “8
terribly beaten and tear gassed, me, Magodonga (Mahlangu) and 6 others.”
Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme witnessed the police using ‘sjamboks’ as
the WOZA women were being bundled into a police car.
He said 50 women had taken to the streets, protesting against the draft
constitution that is set to be put before a referendum on March 16th.
Some of the fliers distributed by the pressure group read: “The final draft
constitution is as a result of negotiations behind closed doors and a deal
that suits the principals and the political parties in the inclusive
“Therefore this draft may not survive the test of time because it was
written for a current political climate and not for the future generation. A
constitution is supposed to be written by the people because they should
determine how they want to be governed. It is their role to give the rule to
Dr. Tarisai Mutangi from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights went to
assist the activists at Harare Central Police Station. He said they were
released without charge after being held for a couple of hours.
He confirmed that the women sustained injuries and that he had left them at
the charge office where they were filing a complaint against the police for
Meanwhile, co-Home Affairs Minister Teresa Makone held a press conference in
Harare where she revealed that some ministers had expressed concern during
Tuesday’s cabinet meeting over police brutality.
She said police should first investigate, rather than arresting to
Makone said cabinet discussed the unwarranted arrested by police of innocent
citizens during the Zimbabwe Peace Project offices raid, and the arrest of
ordinary people in Lupane, Matabeleland North who had gone for voter
Although the co-home affairs minister is in charge of the police, she
admitted that she does not have the power to make the police respect the
constitution or the rule of law.
By Tichaona Sibanda
13 February 2013
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Simpson
Mutambanengwe, has resigned just months before the country holds crucial
The Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa confirmed to the
state media on Tuesday that Mutambanengwe resigned on health grounds.
Mutambanengwe, a London-trained lawyer, was appointed as ZEC chairperson on
31st March 2010. But a Harare based lawyer said since his appointment the
former Judge of the High Court has never been in charge of ZEC, leaving that
role to Joyce Kazembe, the deputy chair.
‘He has been a captain of a plane who was never in charge of the cockpit. It
was only the first officer (Kazembe) who has been in charge since 2010,’ the
Senator Obert Gutu, the deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, said
the former Judge’s resignation is ‘one of the saddest pieces of news’ he’d
Gutu, who only knew of the resignation from reading the state controlled
Herald, told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday: ‘It is the timing of the
resignation that has taken me by surprise. The telltale signs of
Mutambanengwe being not fully in charge of ZEC were there for all to see.’
He added that anyone taking over from the former judge will have to be an
individual with a legal background.
This requirement rules out Kazembe, who holds a Bachelor of Administration
degree from the University of Zimbabwe. There are accusations that Kazembe
and most members of the ZEC secretariat are too pro-ZANU PF.
Gutu explained that for anyone to be appointed chair of ZEC, they should be
a qualified lawyer with at least 7 years experience in legal matters.
Already several names are being touted around as replacements for
Mutambanengwe. These include former Supreme Court Judge Wilson Sandura and
current ZEC commissioners, Professor Geoff Feltoe and Theophilus Gambe.
Feltoe is a world renowned criminologist having spent 40 years teaching law,
mainly at the University of Zimbabwe. Gambe is a senior legal counsel of the
High Court of Zimbabwe, and a senior partner in the law firm Gambe and
Commenting on the sudden resignation, Hopewell Gumbo, a Harare based social
and economic justice activist, said Mutambanengwe had had health problems
for some time. He added: ‘His decision to resign when important assignments
are around the corner is a bit worrying. The fear is that he will be
replaced by a partisan person worse, before the new constitution comes into
effect. What is more worrying is the developing trend of high profile
resignations, after the Human Right Commission chairperson resigned recently’.
By Alex Bell
13 February 2013
Residents in Bikita have raised concern that sub chiefs in the area are
diverting critical food aid to ZANU PF supporters only, and threatening
anyone who dares to report it.
A resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, told SW Radio Africa that
food aid provided by international charity organisations, specifically for
vulnerable people, was being handed over to sub chiefs.
“These are organisations like Care international, the Red Cross, and they
provide food for the elderly and for orphans,” the resident said.
He explained that local representatives of the organisations, who distribute
the food, are being threatened by the sub chiefs who force them to handover
the aid packages. These representatives do not report that the food aid is
not going to its intended recipients, because of fear of possible
retribution by the sub chiefs.
“I’m sure that Care and the other groups don’t know because the
representatives are scared to report what is happening,” the resident said.
It’s understood that the sub chiefs are distributing the food aid to ZANU PF
supporters and keeping much of it for themselves.
“The problem is we can’t report it. We thought we could get a group together
and report it, but people are scared they will be known and expelled from
the district,” the resident said.
The Red Cross told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that, “we presently do not
have any running programmes in the area.”
“The only assistance we gave to Bikita district was in form on non-food
relief items (tents, blankets, kitchen sets and black polythene) in view of
the storm disasters and flooding that affected most areas around Zimbabwe
early this year. We have it on good record that those relief items reached
the intended beneficiaries as informed by our assessments thanks to our
volunteer structures that guarantee us presence in every area. Our name must
certainly have been erroneously dragged into the matter,” the Red Cross said
in an emailed response to questions.
Care International was also approached to respond, but they requested more
information before making a comment.
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 13:30
HARARE - Over 2 000 convicts are roaming the streets as their appeals are
still to be heard owing to shortages of personnel and recording equipment,
Judicial Service Commission (JSC) deputy secretary Rex Shana has said.
The criminals are enjoying freedom after being granted bail pending appeal.
Speaking to reporters at the High Court yesterday, Shana said there were a
lot of procedures that were to be taken for an appeal to be heard and the
process was expensive, especially for ordinary people.
He said each copy from the record costs a dollar to be transcribed and an
applicant has to make seven duplicates of each copy.
“The transcription takes a lot of time because they (transcribing personnel)
are dealing with thousands of records.
“We have got a limited establishment which we cannot expand because of a
freeze on the posts,” said Shana.
He said because of the tiny pool of transcribing personnel, delays in the
hearing of appeals were inevitable.
Shana said the shortage of personnel, coupled with resource constraints were
the factors that created a major setback on appeals.
He further said the courts in the country were using old recording machines,
which gave transcribing personnel a torrid time when typing since some tapes
are inaudible at times.
“There is no single company in Zimbabwe that deals with the machines. We
have to import them,” he said.
Shana told reporters that they had received seven digital recording machines
from United Nations Development Programme in 2008, but these had not helped
to alleviate the backlog.
Currently there is approximately 2 000 pending appeals that are to be heard,
filed from the Magistrates’ Courts to the High Court.
The Supreme Court also has 122 appeals to deal with emanating from the High
Court, Shana said. - Tendai Kamhungira
WASHINGTON — Zanu-PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo is accusing the United States
and other western governments of using local non-governmental organizations
to interfere in Zimbabwe’s internal politics.
Mr. Moyo made the remarks in a meeting with U.S ambassador Bruce Wharton and
Swiss ambassador Luciano Lavazzari.
The three met at Zanu-PF headqurters in Harare on Tuesday. In response, the
U.S said it is only interested in supporting national development.
Human rights groups accuse the police of clamping down on civil society
organizations and democracy campaingers ahead of the constitutional
referendum and general elections expected later this year.
President Robert Mugabe is yet to proclaim the dates for the referendum and
Police say they are only working to ensure peace as Moyo accused NGOs of
tarnishing the image of the country and instigating violence.
Despite the accusations, American ambassador Wharton said the meeting with
Zanu-PF was cordial, though acknowledging that there were disagreements.
When asked about the NGO agenda, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition cordinatior
MacDonald Lewanika dismissed suggestions that they are interfereing in the
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:24
BULAWAYO - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF has scoffed at the “NO” vote
campaign being spearheaded by pro-democracy group National Constitutional
Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairperson Killian Sibanda told journalists at
the Bulawayo Press Club at the weekend that NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku is
just a bitter man who is wasting his time.
He claimed the constitutional law expert will never succeed with his “Vote
NO” campaign against the Constitutional Select Committee’s (Copac) draft
“Madhuku is just a bitter man because he was not involved in the drafting of
the new constitution. That is why he is talking about a Vote “NO” campaign,”
“But we know that won’t succeed and he is just wasting his time. This is a
people-driven constitution where all political parties were involved and the
process is moving smoothly. So, Madhuku is just wasting time.”
The draft constitution sailed through Parliament last week. Madhuku has
threatened to roll out a door-to-door “Vote No” campaign. The draft
constitution is due to be put to a referendum next month.
Madhuku did not rule out the possibility of the NCA combining forces with
other civic organisations and student unions during the campaigns.
The NCA boss said politicians spent four years and squandered over US$45
million to produce a draft constitution that was not good for the country
but for themselves.
The Zanu PF Bulawayo chairperson also defended war veterans’ leader Jabulani
Sibanda’s campaigns in the rural areas saying they were peaceful.
“There is nothing wrong being done by Jabulani, he is campaigning for the
party (Zanu PF) and it is a lie that he is causing violence,” Sibanda said.
“Even if he wants to start campaigning for Zanu PF in Bulawayo, we will give
him the go ahead.”
The war veterans’ leader is currently in Mashonaland East where he is
holding rallies with villagers campaigning for Zanu PF.
Last year, he was in rural Masvingo. The two MDCs have accused the war
veterans’ leader of causing violence during his campaigns in the rural
areas. - Pindai Dube
By Alex Bell
13 February 2013
The failures of the four year old unity government, to honour and implement
key issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA), are hampering Zimbabwe’s
This is according to a group of civil society organisations that have been
monitoring the government’s implementation of the GPA, since the coalition
was formed in February 2009. The Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism (CISOMM)
on Wednesday marked the four year anniversary of the government by stating
the milestone “is marred only by the failure to fulfil the commitments laden
in the letter and spirit of the GPA.”
“Whilst the agreement was far from perfect, being dogged by a secretive and
exclusive negotiation process, it nevertheless contained useful provisions
meant to address the critical areas of governance vital for the attainment
of an open and democratic society,” the CISOMM report said.
The group said that key provisions in the GPA, like those to do with the
rule of law, the National Healing Programme, a land audit and others “remain
dormant; unimplemented and forgotten.” The group said it is “hardly
surprising” that the failure to implement the GPA has been coupled with
wider problems. This includes “the outbreak of water-borne diseases such as
typhoid and dysentery, the deterioration of maternal care in hospitals,
shortage of anti-retroviral drugs, general lack of improvement in service
delivery, lawlessness and continued impunity evidenced by the perpetuity of
human rights violations.”
“These ills, whilst tragic, are manageable and should never be beyond a
measure of control. They are symptomatic of a broader failure of political
will to implement the provisions of the GPA,” the report said.
CISOMM spokesperson Dzimbabwe Chimbga told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that
the unity government “has not delivered,” adding that it is highly unlikely
the reforms promised in the GPA “will ever happen.”
“Realistically we don’t expect there will be the full implementation of the
GPA provisions before elections (expected this year). It took four years to
reach this point and I don’t think realistically in a few months all these
provisions will be implemented,” Chimbga said.
CISOMM meanwhile lauded the few “positive developments” that have been seen
under the GPA, including economic stability and “relative peace that was
brought by the inclusive government.” They also said a positive step was
that “two more radio stations were licensed and more media houses were
licensed, signalling progress, albeit limited, in getting more players on
the airwaves.” This is despite the radio stations that received licences
being strongly linked to the ZANU PF aligned state media.
“As CISOMM organisations however, we state that it cannot be sufficient to
celebrate the licensing of two radio stations when there is still only one
electronic broadcaster which has an inherent bias towards one political
party. It cannot be enough to laud the creation of a Human Rights Commission
that still awaits resources to efficiently carry out its operations. Where
no substantive reforms have been made to our Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
and other institutions whose functions are to ensure a peaceful, credible,
free and fair election whose outcome is respected, it is not possible to
have full confidence as a referendum and national polls approach,” CISOMM
By Nomalanga Moyo
13 February 2013
Hundreds of Zimbabweans are expected to gather at the National Art Gallery
in Harare tomorrow, as the global campaign to end violence against women and
girls comes to a climax.
The event is being coordinated by Her Zimbabwe, as part of the One Billion
Rising global initiative, which aims to get at least one billion supporters
worldwide to rise up collectively to highlight the plight of women.
It is estimated that of the 3.5 billion women in the world, at least one
billion will suffer some form of physical violence in their lives. The
initiative pays tribute to these women and hopes to involve anyone who
cares, to do something on Valentine’s Day.
Tabitha Khumalo, the MDC-T MP for Bulawayo East, hailed the efforts by Her
Zimbabwe and called on all Zimbabweans to support Thursdays event. She also
called on Zimbabweans not to forget the plight of those men who are victims
of physical abuse.
She told SW Radio Africa Wednesday that while a lot is being done by civil
society and the government, what is needed is a change of mindset among
Zimbabweans so that we address the root cause, rather than the symptoms, of
Meanwhile, it is expected that people from 172 countries worldwide will rise
up in common purpose tomorrow and, through music, dance and other activities
demand an end to the violence. The event organized by Her Zimbabwe takes
place between noon and 2pm.
By Nomalanga Moyo
13 February 2013
The on-going trial of the MDC-T activists accused of murdering police
officer Petros Mutedza in May 2011, failed to kick-off Wednesday after the
state asked for a two-week postponement.
According to defence lawyer Charles Kwaramba, the prosecutor asked the court
for more time to obtain clearance from the Cuban government to allow the
doctor who carried out the post-mortem to testify. The Cuban doctor is
understood to be in Zimbabwe.
A bail application for the five activists who are still in custody was
opposed by prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba.
The five are Last Maengahama, Tungamirai Madzokere, Rebecca Mafukeni, Yvonne
Musarurwa and Simon Mapanzure. Some of the activists have spent almost 21
months in remand prison.
Justice Chinembiri Bhunu reserved judgement on the bail application until
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:24
HARARE - A housing project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation(B&MGF) stopped by Chipangano, a Harare-based terror group, is
back on track after mayor Muchadeyi Masunda vowed to tackle the group.
The project was meant to help poor families living in dilapidated structures
in Mbare but was put on hold after Chipangano thugs violently disrupted
Chipangano, which is believed to have links with Zanu PF, was demanding a
share of the $5 million being pumped into the project.
“We are tying up loose ends with the B&MGF of a $20 million housing loan
facility for members of the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation (ZHPF) and
Dialogue on Shelter (DoS) to build low-cost houses for themselves throughout
greater Harare,” said Masunda.
“We will go back to Mbare, in spite of Chipangano’s retrogressive
machinations, to carry out an enumeration exercise at the 58 blocks of flats
with a view to establishing precisely as to ‘who is who’ there and how many
people need assistance with accommodation,” he said.
The city council, through the project, will audit the hostels to establish
the lease-holders of the close to 5 500 apartments.
An estimated 56 000 people reside in the dilapidated structures that are
ranked as part of Harare’s 37 slum settlements.
The apartments, originally built for migrant bachelor workers around 1940,
now houses big families.
Despite Chipangano’s opposition to the project, Local Government, Rural and
Urban Development minister Ignatius Chombo supports the rehabilitation
He has been quoted in the media as saying the hostels needed attention or
should be demolished altogether.
Council, through the public private partnership (PPC) concept, is targeting
thorough decamping of the hostels and housing excess people in new
apartments to be constructed under the B&MGF project.
The rundown Tagarika Flats in the same suburb are an example of structures
which will be affected.
“We have established a tremendous rapport with the private sector in terms
of translating the much-vaunted PPP in concrete results on the ground.
“For example Old Mutual/CABS $15 million housing facility in Budiriro and
$40 million which Old Mutual has put on the table as seed money towards the
establishment of the National Housing Fund,” said Masunda.
Masunda said the B&MGF funded project, which targets 486 housing units in
Dzivaresekwa, is on track. - Wendy Muperi
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 13:39
HARARE - A senior government official has ordered Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGOs) operating in Murewa to submit monthly reports to the
district administrator (DA)’s office.
Phylis Mbwada, the assistant DA for Murewa, accused humanitarian groups of
snubbing the DA’s office.
Even NGOs which are currently not running any activities on the ground
should submit reports, she said.
Speaking at the commissioning of a project to assist orphans and vulnerable
children in the district, Mbwada said development projects were welcome “but
should be done properly”.
The project is funded by the Japanese Embassy in partnership with local
grassroots NGO, Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ).
“We have been encountering problems with CCDZ due to their failure to attend
meetings. We therefore command respect and transparency from the
coordinators of this organisation.
“CCDZ must nurture good relations with both government departments and local
leaders that include the village heads. We would like to remind the
organisation to be apolitical,” she said.
Mbwada said CCDZ was not the only organisation she was having problems with.
“Although we appreciate all of the CCDZ’s efforts to develop this community,
we would like to urge the coordinators of CCDZ to report all their
operations to the District Administrator’s office, social services
department, Murehwa District Council and other line ministries like the
livestock production department in case of poultry and DDF in case of
drilling boreholes,” she said.
CCDZ also took the platform to warn politicians to stay away from the group’s
projects, saying some politicians would want to get mileage out of the
projects ahead of election time.
The project by the Japanese and CCDZ caters for the health and economic
needs of orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV and Aids.
Beneficiaries get a nutrition garden, a borehole and a fowl run. The
Japanese embassy said it has so far contributed $49 000 towards the
project. - Bridget Mananavire
Sapa | 13 February, 2013 15:31
Zimbabwe police said Wednesday they had briefly detained seven "extremely
rude" French tourists in the resort town of Victoria Falls.
The group -- aged between 55 and 66 -- were detained for sneaking into a
game park and refusing to stump up the $15 entry fee.
"They were extremely rude and they even tried to drive off from the police
station, but we managed to arrest them," Jairos Chiona, police chief
superintendent in Victoria Falls, told AFP.
"They refused to pay to watch game at Zambezi national park," he said,
adding that they were released after paying a $20 fine.
Chiona said the group used an illegal cross-border entry from Botswana and
were apprehended by game rangers.
Victoria Falls is a popular tourist resort with the world renowned waterfall
and several game parks which have the big five -- elephants, lions,
buffaloes, rhinoceros and leopard.
BY TAWANDA KAROMBO AND ALLAN SECCOMBE, FEBRUARY 13 2013
ZIMBABWEAN Mines Minister Obert Mpofu says he has seized land from Impala
Platinum’s Zimplats subsidiary — but Implats says it has not been informed
Last month, Implats and Zimbabwean Indigenisation Minister Saviour
Kasukuwere signed a conditional, nonbinding term sheet for an R8.3bn deal to
transfer 20% of Zimplats to employee and community trusts and 31% to a
state-run National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund. The
conditions are to be finalised by June.
Zimplats holds a special mining lease over two areas in Zimbabwe totalling
48,535ha in extent.
Mr Mpofu said on Tuesday that the state had "repossessed" 27,948ha of land
from Zimplats, which is listed in Australia and is 87% owned by Implats. Mr
Mpofu said the land had been seized "with immediate effect " and offered to
"Zimbabwe has not realised significant value from the platinum sector beyond
the traditional statutory payments. We can no longer continue having our
minerals refined outside the country," he said.
"You can only compensate for land that has been bought. The ground belongs
to Zimbabwe and there cannot be talks of compensation when the land belongs
Implats said it had not been notified of an intention to seize its land, nor
told about it on Tuesday.
"We are unaware of it and we are trying to get clarification, but with no
joy," Implats spokesman Bob Gilmour said on Tuesday.
Implats is releasing financial results on Thursday, which makes it difficult
for its executives to fly to Harare for an audience with Mr Mpofu.
Zimbabwean economist David Mupamhadzi, who is also a consultant to the
ministry of economic planning, said on Tuesday that it was "critical for
government officials to ensure that there is policy consistency and
coherence in order to attract much-needed foreign direct investment".
It is not clear whether the land seized contains mineral resources or
whether it formed part of Zimplats’ expansion plans. The company surrendered
51-million ounces of unmined platinum to the Zimbabwean government in 2006
to secure empowerment credits, but did not receive recognition for this.
The term sheet stipulates the Zimbabwean government must pay $153m for those
Mr Mpofu on Tuesday also instructed platinum miners in Zimbabwe — which
include Zimplats, Anglo American Platinum and Aquarius Platinum — to
establish a platinum refinery in the country instead of sending material to
"The ministry has decided that beyond two years, it will stop processing
exports for semi-processed platinum products. This is expected to give way
for companies to begin channelling resources towards value addition through
establishing a PGM (platinum group metals) refinery in the country," he
Implats CEO Terence Goodlace said last month that Zimplats would increase
production from 180,000oz to 270,000oz of platinum by 2015.
Zimplats would consider building a refinery in Zimbabwe after platinum
production in the country topped 500,000oz a year, he said.
Analysts Johnson Matthey estimated that Zimbabwe produced 360,000oz of
platinum last year.
Zimplats has spent $30m on a feasibility study for a refinery in Zimbabwe.
The plant would cost at least $2bn.
Structuring deals for a shared refinery is complicated, and Zimbabwe may not
have sufficient electricity to support such a plant.
Mr Mupamhadzi said it was wrong for the Zimbabwean government to interfere
with the operations of platinum mining companies by ordering them to set up
a refinery. The government should let the companies make their own decisions
on the basis of economies of scale of operations, he said. "The government
must not interfere with operations of companies. The government should be
there to provide regulatory environment, not to give instructions in terms
of how companies should operate," he said.
On Monday, a Zimbabwean high court judge ordered two MPs and senior
officials of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party to vacate a gold mine
they had illegally occupied.
Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi and Zanu (PF) MP Irvine Dzingai and two of
the party’s district officials in Masvingo invaded the Renco gold mine,
owned by Zimbabwe-listed RioZim.
RioZim applied to the high court to regain control and management of
operations at the mine.
In his judgment, Justice Hlekani Mwayera said: "In the guise of resolving
labour disputes at the mine, the three used their political influence and
pretended to be urging the workers to go back to work."
The judge said it was "clear that their intentions were to take over the
mine", and that the takeover bid "displayed a high level of lawlessness" as
the Zanu (PF) officials "acted as if there are no labour laws" in the
"You are ordered to vacate the mine within 24 hours. The deputy sheriff is
on standby and if necessary and under authorisation the Zimbabwe Republic
Police will assist," he said.
Everson Samkange, who represented Mr Mzembi, Mr Dzingai and the two other
Zanu (PF) officials, said his clients would appeal.
Zimbabwean economist Tony Hawkins said the invasion raised questions about
the rule of law. "RioZim is a local and indigenous company," he said.
With Reuters, Bloomberg
(AFP) – 4 hours ago
HARARE — Zimbabwe expects tobacco revenue to increase by 16 percent this
year as new landowning black farmers turn to the valuable export crop, an
industry official said on Wednesday.
"We are expecting the total deliveries to reach 170 million kilograms or
more and earnings of around $600 million," Monica Chinamasa, chairperson of
the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board told AFP.
That would be up from just over 140 million kilos last year, worth around
$517 million, according to the board.
Zimbabwe was once the world's biggest tobacco exporter, with sales
accounting for 30 percent of exports.
But the seizure of white-owned farms by Robert Mugabe's government resulted
in a steep drop off in production.
The number of registered tobacco growers has almost doubled in the last year
More than 80 percent of the new tobacco farmers are beneficiaries of
President Robert Mugabe's land reforms, she said.
The Zimbabwean government has urged banks to support fledgling tobacco
farmers, who have no access to bank loans because they do not have
"Most of these farmers are using meagre resources to start production and I
believe if the financial services sector were to open up we would see this
sector develop," Kasukuwere said.
Production has been rising since 2009, though it remains off a peak in 2000
of 236 million kilos.
Production fell to a low point of 56 million kilos in 2006, the weakest
performance since independence from Britain in 1980.
The sudden collapse of commercial farming caused by the land reforms sent
Zimbabwe's already wobbly economy into a tailspin, leading to world-record
After the government abolished the Zimbabwe dollar and made the US dollar
its currency of reference, farm production stabilised and began ticking
Tobacco remains Zimbabwe's biggest agricultural export, though mining has
overtaken farming as the main foreign currency earner.
Written by John Batwell
THE Zimbabwe government says it is negotiating a build, operate, transfer
(BOT) deal with an unidentified South African company to rehabilitate the
rail network at an estimated cost of $US 340m.
The work will involve track relaying, refurbishing signalling equipment and
the purchase of new locomotives.
The government is keen to attract private investment in National Railways of
Zimbabwe (NRZ) which has large debts and is in a very rundown condition
following years of political turmoil and international sanctions. The
initiative follows the government's failed attempt to borrow around $US 400m
to help recapitalise NRZ.
The Zimbabwe government also says it has now secured the funds needed to pay
for 14 locomotives on order from CSR, China. So far, a deposit of 10% has
been paid towards the total cost of $US 29m. CSR had threatened to seek
another buyer for the locomotives, but Zimbabwe's transport and
infrastructure minister, Mr Nicholas Goche, says the locomotives will be
delivered soon without revealing the source of funds to pay for them.
The President’s Office is now handling negotiations with Indian
conglomerate, Essar Africa Holdings, to implement a 2010 deal giving Essar a
majority stake in the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZiscoSteel).
ZiscoSteel board chairman Nyasha Makuvise said the matter was taken over by
the executive after Industry Minister Welshman Ncube and Mines Minister
Obert Mpofu seemed unable to agree on the way forward.
Speaking before the parliamentary industry and commerce committee in Harare
on Tuesday, Makuvise said the President’s Office set up a committee to
spearhead efforts to conclude the deal following a cabinet directive to
implement the deal with Essar last December,.
Makuvise was accompanied by ZiscoSteel chief executive Alois Gowo, who said
he and other ZiscoSteel heads are not primarily involved in the ongoing
efforts but are only consulted to provide information about the company from
time to time.
But the two said following their meeting with the ministerial committee two
weeks ago, they are optimistic that operations at ZiscoSteel might soon
resume. They could not give an exact date, however, saying they are not
involved in the details of the implementation.
Makuvise told parliament that a speedy implementation of the deal would help
the country in many ways and improve the plight of over 3,500 workers.
The two said they are doing everything they can to ensure that workers
receive at least a bit of money but noted that the company cannot afford to
meet the regular payroll when no production is taking place.
The government signed a $750 million deal with Essar to revive ZiscoSteel
but implementing the deal is on hold over differences between the industry
and commerce and mines ministries over its terms, including access to iron
Mr. Mpofu wanted to revisit the terms of the deal because Essar was to pay
only $750 million for iron ore reserves he said are worth more than $30
billion. But in December last year cabinet said the deal should stand as it
In response Tuesday, members of the parliamentary industry committee said
they are concerned at continued delays in finalizing the deal and questioned
why ZiscoSteel board members and managers are not on the implementing
Essar Aftrica Holdings bought a 53 percent stake in the defunct parastatal
and changed the company's name to New Zimbabwe Steel Limited.
Staff Reporter 19 hours 52 minutes ago
HARARE - One of the biggest challenges that have faced the inclusive
government since 2009 is the policy discord as manifested in the infamous
Zanu PF sponsored Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act (IEEA),
President Tsvangirai has said.
He said the somewhat aggressive and clumsy implementation of IEEA has
created the impression that investors are an unwanted lot in Zimbabwe and
that indeed has been the heaviest impediment to investment in the country.
The tragedy is that Zanu PF wants to project itself as uncompromising in
defending the masses even if it means fighting business and bringing the
economy down. Unfortunately, this stance has become hostile to foreign
“The challenges we faced largely arose from policy discord especially around
indigenisation. It would appear the Government was split with Zanu PF going
with its so called indigenisation plan which scared away investors.
“The policy discord affected investor confidence in the country because of
the manner in which indigenisation was implemented. It created so much
discord,” the President said.
Tsvangirai further pointed out that there was need for the country to
prioritise its economic programmes for the benefit of the majority of people
“We hope the nation will be able to set the real priorities when we come to
economic empowerment which we all subscribe to.” Tsvangirai said.
He explained that IEEA as advanced by Zanu PF was discordant and out of sync
with global economic standards and this presented a serious threat to
domestic and foreign investment.
Tsvangirai bemoaned the policy discord created by Zanu PF as manifest in the
manner in which the indigenisation programme was being implemented.
He said the manner in which the programme was being run was subject to
manipulation theft and corruption by a few Zanu PF fat cats and their
cronies and this was bound to affect investor confidence.
“One of the biggest challenges that faced the inclusive government is to do
with policy discord as manifested in the infamous Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment Act (IEEA) which is sponsored by Zanu PF.
“The somewhat aggressive and clumsy implementation of the IEEA, since 2010
has created the impression that investors are an unwanted lot in Zimbabwe
and that indeed has been the heaviest impediment to investment in the
country” president Tsvangirai said.
The President further noted that Zanu PF wanted to project its self as the
champion of the people’s cause and was even risking the economic well being
of the nation and the people they purported to serve by killing existing
industry as well as scaring away those that want to come and do business
here and create employment
“The tragedy is that Zanu PF wants to project itself as uncompromising in
defending the masses even if it means fighting business. Unfortunately this
stance has become hostile to foreign investors,” he said.
President Tsvangirai further singled out the selective application of the
law as scaring away investors. He said the selective application of the law
impacted negatively on the tenets on rule of law.
“In the MDC we have always not been happy about the selective application of
the law mirrored by the Glen View activists’ arrests and denial of bail to
some of them.
The perception that there is selective application of the law does not bode
well for a government that is crying to instil a sense of rule of law,”
President Tsvangirai said.
by Gilbert Nyambabvu
BELGIUM is pressing the European Union (EU) to remove sanctions against
companies operating at Marange in a development that has riled human rights
groups which claimdiamond money could beused to fund election violence .
Industry watchdog, the Kimberly Process, lifted restrictions on global trade
in Marange gems last year, but the United States and the EU maintained
sanctions against companies partnering the State-run Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation (ZMDC) at Marange.
The ZMDC runs five joint venture operations in the area and only Anjin
Investments, a joint venture with the Chinese, is not subject to the
ZMDC produced 8 million carats of gems last year, generating about $685
million in exports. Officials however say the country could have realised
more from its diamonds but for the US and EU sanctions.
Belgium, a major diamond trading centre, this week broke ranks with other EU
countries and called for sanctions against ZMDC to be lifted arguing the
restrictions reduced the amount of money filtering down to ordinary
The move has drawn fire from human rights organisations who accused the
country of taking a self-serving position aimed at promoting its key diamond
industry at Antwerp.
Said the US-based Global Witness group Tuesday: “Global Witness’
investigations point to a serious risk that diamond revenues could be used
to fund violence in this year’s election.
“The Belgian government is claiming concern for the Zimbabwean people;
however its true interests are closer to home in the diamond markets of
“EU members seeking to promote democracy and stability in Zimbabwe should
avoid a ménage-à-trois with Belgium and its diamond dealers this Valentine’s
The EU is set to review sanctions against Zimbabwe next Monday with
diplomats expecting another partial relaxation of the measures to reward
progress made in the country’s constitutional reforms.
EU officials in Harare have however, indicated that a full lifting of the
sanctions would depend on the successful holding free and fair elections
later this year.
Global Witness insisted that restrictions against ZMDC should be maintained
and demanded the addition of Anjin Investments to the embargo.
“Relaxing measures against Zimbabwe’s diamond sector now could mean a
serious cash injection for security forces with a track record of voter
intimidation and violence, just months before the 2013 election,” said the
groups’ diamonds campaigner Emily Armistead.
“The EU should hold a steady course, and restrict trade with diamond mining
operations in Marange until free and fair elections have taken place.”
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who has led charges that diamond revenues were
likely being diverted from the coalition government, has since conceded that
the sanctions had not been helpful.
Meanwhile, Belgium’s call follows increasing concern over the global supply
of diamonds amid reports of huge declines in production at leading miners
such as De Beers as well as other companies in Canada and Russia.
Gem processors in India recently said they would be looking at Zimbabwe to
help plug the gap in global supplies.
"As the rough diamond production at the world's leading mines is on the
decline, Zimbabwe is the only hope for Indian diamantaires. It is only
Surat, which has the skill to cut and polish the Zimbabwe stones,” industry
analyst, Aniruddha Lidbide, told an Indian publication recently.
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 13:20
HARARE - A storm is brewing in Mashonaland East’s Chikomba District where
farmers and villagers accuse a local headman of milking them through
unjustifiable cattle fines.
Villagers say headman Oscar Munengwa Ranga under chief Neshangwe is forcing
them to pay $5 per family for evading cattle tax yet police are also
collecting $10 for the same tax evasion offence.
Farmers are supposed to pay a cattle levy of $1 per cow every year to the
veterinary department but many of them have been unable to pay for years
owing to a punishing economic downturn.
They are now being forced to pay the fines to the headman and police.
Ranga confirmed that he fined several villagers but defended his actions
saying it was his responsibility to bring offenders to book.
“People have been evading livestock tax for some time, cheating on the
number of livestock they own. So it is my duty to correct that,” he told the
“I however, believe those I charge should not be fined again by the police,
but pay up at the veterinary office,” said Ranga.
However, officer commanding Chikomba District Lameck Tsoka accused Ranga of
acting outside the law.
Tsoka, a police chief superintendent, said only the police force and
relevant government departments have the mandate to punish defaulters.
“We are having problems with traditional leaders who do not understand their
roles in terms of the law, especially those below the level of chiefs. They
end up acting outside the law as in this case because they are not supposed
to be charging anyone as it is only the police that has the mandate to make
defaulters pay fines,” said Tsoka.
Villagers are seething with anger over what they described as daylight
Norman Marufu, of Mutomba village, told the Daily News at the weekend that
despite the fact that Ranga had received cash from over 100 families in the
area as fines, police were still confiscating stock cards.
“The chief is asking us to pay fines yet the police are doing the same. We
wonder whether government is benefitting because we are never given receipts
for the fines by the chief yet the police fines are receipted,” said Marufu.
Some villagers are now openly defying Ranga, opting to pay at the police
station. - Mugove Tafirenyika
by Farai Bango
Election monitoring agents and politicians have given mixed reactions to the
suggestion, made at a recent media workshop on election reporting, to use
closed-circuit television during polling to curb possible rigging.
“There is need to use new technology to curb rigging, especially during
counting of the ballot papers at polling stations,” said the official.
“We have heard a lot of reports before whereby ballot papers are imported
into polling stations or some votes disappear. CCTVs will reduce the chances
of rigging as everything will be captured and no one can import or remove
ballot papers,” he added.
CCTV are video cameras used for surveillance in areas that may need
monitoring. They may operate continuously or only as required to monitor a
Zimbabwe Election Support Network Director Rindai Chipfunde said she was not
aware of any country which applied the CCTV system during polls. Besides,
she said, installing it in over 10,000 polling stations in Zimbabwe would be
a mammoth task.
“The idea may be more suitable to monitor and observe the counting and
transportation of ballot papers as we have heard reports of counters
sleeping over ballot papers in previous elections,” she added.
Deputy, spokesperson for the MDC led by Welshman Ncube, Kurauone Chihwayi,
said the use of CCTVs was a brilliant idea but could be abused to intimidate
“Zanu (PF) is likely to abuse the CCTV to instill fear in the electorate.
They have a history of intimidating rural voters using black and white
television sets,” he said, adding that people did not have confidence in
institutions such as ZEC, which he accused of being stuffed with state
“The militarisation of the Zimbabwe Election Commission secretariat remains
an issue of major concern,” he said. “CCTVs could be a brilliant idea in a
country where there is high level of tolerance, voter secrecy, trust and
respect of the electoral process but very difficult to use in Zimbabwe.”
MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora said CCTVs were not a good way of
monitoring and election as they could scare away voters.
“What we need are mechanisms that can be used to safeguard a free and fair
election such as national and international monitors and observers who can
ensure a properly driven electoral process,” he said.
Mwonzora implored ZEC Secretariat to conduct itself in a professional manner
and make sure it does not become Partisan. “ZEC must avoid uttering
political statements and show by action that they are not partisan,” he
Mavambo Kusile Dawn spokesperson, Silver Bhebe, said: “The most important
thing is to have a paradigm shift to respect the voting processes and avoid
unnecessary actions that discredit elections.”
ZAPU spokesperson, Mark Mbayiwa said: “There has been a lot of rigging in
this country, so if the counting and transportation of ballot papers and
boxes are captured on film then it may deter that.”
ZEC Chief Executive Officer Lovemore Sekeramayi refused to comment.
Tuesday 12 February 2013
by Knox Chitiyo, Associate Fellow, Africa Programme
2013 is an important and fraught year for Zimbabwe and also for UK-Zimbabwe
This month, after years of inter-party consultation, negotiations and
bickering, the Zimbabwe Constitution Parliamentary Committee (COPAC)
presented a much revised draft constitution to parliament for review. If
accepted, the draft constitution will be put to a referendum in March or
April, and elections will follow thereafter. Some of the provisions of the
draft constitution are, and may remain contentious, and the four-year
constitutional process has not been without its critics. But there is a
general feeling that, despite its flaws, the post- 2009 constitutional and
electoral process has been about moving the country forward.
This sense of progress contrasts with a proposed UK House of Commons Early
Day Motion (EDM) on the Viscount Massacres in the former Rhodesia (now
Zimbabwe). The motion, which has been moved by six MPs, notes that 12
February marked the 34th anniversary of the shooting down of two Air
Rhodesia Viscount Flights by members of the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary
Army (ZIPRA) in which 107 people died. Some of the survivors of the crash
were subsequently murdered on the ground by bayoneting and shooting.
For the motion to be formally debated in the House of Commons, it needs to
have signatory support from a majority of MPs. Although this is unlikely,
the proposed motion is ill-advised, for many reasons.
Firstly, although there is no denying that the shooting down of civilian
aircraft and subsequent murder of the crash survivors was a brutal act, it
has to be remembered that every side - guerrillas and the Rhodesian forces -
committed atrocities in Zimbabwe's Liberation War. The murder by Rhodesian
forces (who included some British and American personnel) in refugee camps
in Zambia, Mozambique and other countries is still fresh in the minds of
many. The EDM, if passed, would reignite the psychological wounds of a war
which although ended in 1979, still haunts Zimbabwe today.
Just as importantly, the motion would almost certainly have a disastrous
effect on UK-Zimbabwe relations. Since 2009, and despite occasional public
spats and lingering issues, both countries have worked hard to re-engage and
normalize the acrimonious 2000-08 period. Although the EDM is not a UK
government brief, it is likely to be perceived by many in Zimbabwe as
representing or echoing official UK government policy or sentiment. The
timing of the EDM adds fuel to the fire: the EU is due to debate Zimbabwe
sanctions this week and with the forthcoming referendum and elections in
Zimbabwe, there is a real risk that the motion could become a major irritant
in UK-Zimbabwe relations.
The motion also gives the impression of a racial agenda and reinforces the
idea of a white vs black/ 'them and us' paradigm on Zimbabwe. This is not
and should not be the case, but in politics, perception is everything.
Indeed, many white Zimbabweans have expressed their anger about the EDM,
pointing out that it unfairly and inaccurately puts them in the same box as
die-hard Rhodesians who are locked into a radicalized past.
Lastly, the EDM could potentially set a precedent, pointing towards a future
partisan spate of 'atrocity commemorations' not just between UK and
Zimbabwe, but wider afield between the UK and its former colonies. This
could have implications for the Commonwealth and its standing as a
collegiate and post-racial, forward-looking association of equals. Numerous
individuals or groups, using the UK precedent, could stake their claim for
massacre commemorations. These could be well intentioned and deeply felt;
but anything which appears to be sectarian could cut across attempts at
nation-building and international diplomacy.
With regard to Zimbabwe, no one would seek to deny the pain of those who
lost friends and family in the Viscount shootings; just as we cannot ignore
the trauma of those who survived and lost loved ones throughout the
Liberation War. But if we are to acknowledge history and not re-live it,
then there must be a better, more inclusive and more re-conciliatory way
than this EDM.
Thousands of Early day motions are submitted every year for debate in the UK
parliament. Many are frivolous and never see the light of day; others are
serious and achieve cross-party support. For the sake of Zimbabwe and for
UK-Zimbabwe relations, it is to be hoped that the EDM proponents will
rethink and consult with Zimbabweans. If we want to look to the future and
not be hostage to the past, it is clear that this time around there is much
that UK parliamentarians can learn from their counterparts in Zimbabwe.
by Dr Admos Chimhowu
Fast Track Land Reform is fast becoming an interesting area of intellectual
and policy exchange as more empirical evidence of its outcomes emerges. The
most recent event, aptly titled Land Reform in Zimbabwe Revisited: A
Qualified Success?, took place at Chatham House at the end of January. The
event focused on the evidence emerging from the new book Zimbabwe Takes Back
its Land (Kumarian Press) written by Joe Hanlon, Teresa Smart and Jeanette
Even on a cold winter evening in London the event had all the elements of
intrigue that have come to be associated with this issue. There was a
capacity audience, a highly polarised debate and even a small, spirited but
peaceful protest mounted by Zim Vigil outside.
Sir Malcom Rifkind MP was the discussant. Many may not know that he lived
and worked in then Rhodesia in the late 1960s and wrote a very insightful
MSc thesis on the Politics of Land. His views on the book were very
carefully calibrated - recognising the rich historical analysis and the
candidly presented empirical evidence. He focused on his own recollection of
the polarised discourse in the Rhodesia parliament in the 1960s and also
reflected on the post-independence dynamics. Addressing directly the now
infamous 5th November 1997 Clare Short letter (about the British Government
not taking responsibility to fund land reforms), Sir Malcom maintained the
official UK government line that this should not be a British responsibility
but one for Zimbabwe to prioritise.
Teresa Smart and Jeanette Manjengwa gave insights into the key findings of
the book, arguing that notwithstanding all the criticisms of Fast Track,
there is evidence that many smallholders who got land are using it to better
themselves. Much of the discussion on the new book focused on its findings
and it was clear that the polarisation that has characterised the land
reform discourse continues. Some of the early evidence soon after 2000
pointed to a decline in production and productivity but more recent findings
are showing a need to relook at what is happening on the land.
The publication in 2010 of Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities
marked a turning point in what has become a highly polarised discourse on
the FTLR in Zimbabwe. This book was not only a marker of a new
counter-narrative, seeking to challenge a generally accepted view that Fast
Track Land Reform had been an unmitigated disaster, but it also sought to
introduce some academic rigour into what had become a politicised lay and
professional media discourse.
Adding new evidence, Zimbabwe Takes Back its Land supports this new
narrative. It argues that FTLR in Zimbabwe has worked well for some, but
could work better for more people with additional support. There is evidence
of beneficiaries investing in and using land to improve their lives. This
should not have been a surprise, because we know from past experiences of
self resettlement that eventually people use the land to better themselves
with or without state or other support.
At the Chatham House meeting there was a wide-ranging discussion, including
on how the FTLR empowered women; lessons from Zimbabwe for South Africa; the
need for support services for the beneficiaries; the need for more analysis
of those who lost out; issues of employment and labour on the FTLR farms and
patterns of emerging social differentiation on the farms. Others raised the
contradictions between FTLR as being a success in tobacco production, while
the country is still appealing for food aid. There were also challenges from
the Commercial Farmers Union representatives who had flown in for the
meeting on some of the figures used in the book.
As evidence accumulates that the FTLR was not an unmitigated disaster, there
are, in my view, some new dilemmas to address. There are:
1 How can key actors begin to recognise and accept this growing body of
evidence without being seen to endorse the methods used to achieve asset
transfer? With South Africa facing similar challenges, any suggestion that
massive dispossession undertaken at speed can produce good results in the
long term would create problems for some interest groups. But then is
dismissing FTLR as an unmitigated disaster still tenable in the face of
growing and credible evidence? We know that land reform can work to create
the basis for long-term development (e.g. from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan
and China), but what conditions need to be put in place now?
2 If it is accepted that the FTLR has worked to improve some (not all)
people’s lives should it therefore not be accepted and supported (with all
its history and faults)? This is particularly important for donors whose
next question would be how to engage with the beneficiaries without being
seen as endorsing the process through which these outcomes were achieved. It
seems to me that this dilemma can be resolved if the legal issues that
remain unresolved are addressed- especially the issue of compensation. This
is for the GoZ to work through and can potentially unlock further support
for the FTLR beneficiaries.
3 With elections looming in Zimbabwe the various political groups also have
a crucial dilemma. Accepting that FTLR has worked for some and is beginning
to yield results hands over political advantage to those who led or allowed
this to happen. Rejecting the evidence though begins to sound insincere. It
seems to me that this one will only be resolved after the elections! – Dr
Admos Chimhowu is a Zimbabwean scholar working at the University of
Manchester. First published by zimbabweland.