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Constitution of Zimbabwe (Final Draft: January 2013)

http://www.sokwanele.com/
JAN 31, 2013

The FINAL final draft of the proposed new constitution is available for download from our document library at this link: Constitution of Zimbabwe (Final Draft: January 2013.

This will the draft that Zimbabweans will be asked to accept or reject in the forthcoming referendum.


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SADC to observe referendum

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tichaona Sibanda
31 January 2013

The regional SADC bloc will send observers to monitor the country’s
referendum on the new constitution, expected to be held in March this year,
a senior MDC-T official has said.

Tendai Biti, the MDC-T lead negotiator, announced in Harare on Tuesday that
his party was glad that the regional bloc was sending observers for the
forthcoming referendum.

It is believed the issue of observers was discussed during a meeting between
party negotiators and President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team, who were in
Harare this week.

Last month a row over the role of international poll observers threatened to
scuttle the electoral process as ZANU PF maintains that Zimbabwe has the
capacity to hold free and fair elections without observers’ prying eyes.

Leader of the smaller MDC, Welshman Ncube, told journalists recently that
international observers should be a pre-condition. ZANU PF is the only party
in the inclusive government that is not comfortable having observers from
countries that imposed targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies.

Ncube confirmed to the Daily News newspaper last month that having SADC and
the Non-Aligned Movement as observers is not contested, but ZANU PF will not
allow the European Union. He queried why, if they had nothing to hide, they
were afraid of having observers to monitor the elections.

The disputed 2008 harmonized elections sparked off massive electoral
violence that saw over 500 MDC-T supporters killed, thousands more maimed
and around half a million others fleeing their homes.

Analysts warn there is a high risk of a repeat of this violence around the
country during the elections. A long and chaotic constitutional making
process and regular outbreaks of intimidation from ZANU PF supporters have
done little to instill confidence that peace will prevail during the
electioneering period

Mutsa Murenje, a South African based political analyst, told SW Radio Africa
that the inclusive government should invite international observers for the
referendum, and not leave it to SADC alone.

‘The reason why international observers must be invited, apart from regional
and local observer, is to help ward off potential problems and legitimize
the process if it is deemed free and fair,’ Murenje said.


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Zuma Facilitators in Harare For Crucial Talks

http://www.voazimbabwe.com/

Blessing Zulu, Ntungamili Nkomo, Jonga Kandemiiri
30.01.2013

Harare and Pretoria are stepping up efforts to prepare for Zimbabwe’s
crucial general election that will end the troubled unity government
following the constitutional referendum expected to be called in the next
two months.

President Jacob Zuma, the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
appointed facilitator to Zimbabwe, dispatched his envoys to Harare on
Tuesday for a joint meeting with negotiators in the unity government.

The negotiators told VOA Studio 7 that Mr. Zuma wants the parties to deal
with all outstanding issues in the election roadmap to pave way for
election.

SADC is also dispatching monitors to Harare shortly to ensure the electoral
environment is conducive.

Negotiator Elton Mangoma of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Mr. Zuma’s envoys emphasized the need
for reforms ahead of the elections.

Zanu-PF lead negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa and Tendai Biti of the MDC-T,
told the facilitation team that Zimbabwe is too broke to fund a
constitutional referendum and elections.

President Robert Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai have asked the two ministers to
appeal to donors to help fund the crucial elections.

Biti confirmed the development to VOA Studio 7 though he seemed to be
walking back on his remark Tuesday that Harare only had $217 left in its
coffers after paying civil servants their January salaries.

But Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said his party does not want donors to
influence the election.

Mr. Zuma’s facilitators said while they were happy that the three parties
had finally resolved their differences on the new constitution, they wanted
to see a clear election roadmap that will prevent any poll disputes.

Negotiator Moses Mzila Ndlovu of the MDC formation of Industry Minister
Welshman Ncube said the South African delegation also urged legislative
reforms to the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary select committee responsible for the country’s
new constitution is expected to meet in Harare Thursday to endorse the final
draft charter before it heads to parliament for final analysis, along with
the national report detailing the process that led to today.

Principals in the unity government recently rescued the
constitutional-making process after negotiators from the three political
parties in the unity government had failed to agree on outstanding issues
that included devolution, executive powers and dual citizenship.

Co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC formation of Prime Minister
Tsvangirai told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri the draft charter is expected to
sail through without any problems.


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15 injured after soldiers run amok in Chiadzwa

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
31 January 2013

15 people have been left injured after a group of soldiers ran amok at Tenda
village in Chiadzwa, beating up residents and stealing phones.

The attack was reported late Tuesday night. According to the Zimbabwe Peace
Project the incident started at Tenda Business Centre where “some visibly
drunk soldiers in civilian clothes fought over women.”

“The scuffles went further into the night until the police were called in
and arrested one soldier while another escaped,” the Peace Project reported.

The soldier who escaped then went back to the Chipindirwe Army base where he
reportedly told other soldiers that one of their members had been abducted
by “Makorokoza” and Mbada Diamond workers who were drinking at the business
centre.

The group then descended on the village and started attacking people,
dragging them out of their homes and beating them.

One of victims of the attack said soldiers broke into her house in the early
hours of Wednesday morning and dragged her into the street. The Peace
Project said she was severely assaulted with rifle butts, sticks and booted
feet before soldiers “forced her and more than thirty others to roll, for
about fifty metres.”

Another survivor reported that he was sleeping when the armed soldiers broke
down his door and started beating him. He said they “beat him up with sticks
and rifle butts as well.”

“He and others were ordered to lie horizontally on the ground where they
were heavily assaulted and were made to sing revolutionary songs,” the Peace
Project said.

The soldiers accused the villagers of “harbouring criminals” and demanded
that they produce the ‘abducted’ soldier.

The soldiers eventually left but returned on Wednesday afternoon and
confiscated cell phones from anyone they met. They claimed that people were
using cell phones to inform police and others outside Chiadzwa about their
actions.

The attack comes just two months after 40 people were injured when soldiers
went on the rampage in Zhombe, where an MDC-T rally was taking place. At
least five people were hospitalised after that attack which saw the soldiers
beat people with sticks, knobkerries and booted feet.

The same incident also saw the soldiers confiscating cell phones, which were
burnt along with MDC-T t-shirts and posters.

Sadly, the two incidents are not isolated and an internet search for past
stories on ‘rampaging’ Zimbabwean soldiers saw scores of results, with
reports on attacks as recently as December last year, and as far back as
2000. Despite this, there has still been no attempt to rein in the security
forces and there is no sign of the reforms needed in this sector that were
promised by the Global Political Agreement.


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KweKwe terror outfit ‘Al-Shabab’ strikes again in Mbizo

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tichaona Sibanda
31 January 2013

The KweKwe based terror group, Al-Shabab, on Thursday forced the abandonment
of a meeting in Mbizo called to discuss the draft of a new constitution.

Many in the group, allegedly bankrolled by ZANU PF, wore party regalia
emblazoned with pictures Robert Mugabe. They stormed a meeting convened by
the Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) to debate issues
contained in draft constitution, before it is put to a referendum.

The meeting at Mbizo Youth Centre had attracted over 100 residents from the
neighborhood. CCDZ advocacy officer George Makoni told SW Radio Africa the
marauding group was forthright in their demands that they didn’t want any
organization to give an independent view of the new charter.

‘They simply didn’t want us to discuss the new constitution with the
residents of Mbizo, saying the government is the authority that had the
mandate to do so. We tried to explain that this was the job of NGO’s but it
fell on deaf eyes and ended up threatening me,’ Makoni said.

He said the youths sang revolutionary songs and chanted ZANU PF slogans
while at the same time singing songs denigrating Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai.

‘They warned the participants that if they attend such meetings they will
experience the return of the June 2008 violence. It was clear the group’s
actions were meticulously planned,’ Makoni added.

The CCDZ made a report to the police who promised to look into the
disturbances. The activities of ‘Al-Shabab’ have heightened tensions in
Kwekwe and many people suspect ZANU PF is reviving its terror campaign
groups countrywide, ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections
expected in a few months.

Some of the party’s infamous militia groups include “Chipangano” in Harare,
“Top Six” in Chinhoyi, ‘Jochomondo’ in Hurungwe, ‘Jambanja’ in
Marambapfungwe and now Al-Shabab in Kwekwe.


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Culture of violence keeps Zimbabweans on edge

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

By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Thursday, 31 January 2013 10:38

HARARE - With the country’s political protagonists readying themselves for
arguably the biggest elections since the 1980 independence polls, the
generality of citizens are on the edge.

The spectre of violence still looms large given the bloodshed that has
characterised past elections, including the 2008 charade which culminated in
the current fragile ruling coalition.

Institutions set-up by the coalition to deal with peace are many and
impressive, but citizens have questioned their effectiveness.

Parliament has peace committees; government has the National Healing Organ
while a parallel structure in the form of the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (Jomic) which have been rallying people around the
country to accept diversity.

The question Zimbabweans will be asking themselves is have we termed the
beast of political violence?
Zimbabwe’s cycle of violence makes them worry.

Veteran freedom fighter Shadreck Chipanga, a former Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) director general and Mines minister, seems to think it
will be difficult for Zimbabwe to come up with a credible and peaceful poll.

He told a local weekly this week that political parties found it difficult
to accept political pluralism since the early days of resistance to colonial
rule.

“At the time (1964) there was serious rivalry between Zanu and the People’s
Caretaker Council (Zapu’s successor). This was really serious kwete
zvamunotaura zvekuti kune violence neMDC. This is all chicken stuff.

“If you form another party, the older party does not usually accept this. So
Zanu was seen as a sell-out movement that had come to disturb Zapu
programmes,” said Chipanga.

Political commentator Lawton Hikwa said electoral violence in Zimbabwe today
is not justified but thought the country has a chance to move forward.

“The issue of violence in this country is two pronged; pre-independence
violence was a justified means to reach an end of self-determination but now
that it’s being used to entrench a particular clique it is not justified.

“The political leadership is basically accountable for the actions of its
membership and I think looking at the situation and how Mugabe has tried to
rally people around peaceful elections I think the likelihood of a violent
free election is high,” Hikwa said.

He said law enforcement agencies will do themselves a lot of good by
embracing the virtue of non-selective application of the law.

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director Pedzisayi Ruhanya said the country’s
constitutional architecture is not to blame for past violent elections. He
said violence was in the DNA of politicians.

“What we need is a culture for the respect of human rights and rule of law.
We need guarantees of civil liberties and the police in particular to stop
the selective application of the law. Unless Mugabe decides his time is up,
makes up his mind about transfer of power to his opponents then the threat
of violence is still real,” said Ruhanya.

Some major political violence markers in Zim’s political history

- 1960-1970s: Zapu and Zanu violence leads to many unaccounted deaths in
camps and warfront mainly centred on ethnic power struggles.

- 1980: Robert Mugabe, the Zanu leader declares if he does not win elections
his party would continue to fight to guerrilla war.

- 1981-87: After winning the first democratic elections and assuming power
Mugabe begins a manhunt for his erstwhile comrade Joshua Nkomo leading to
Gukurahundi killings.

- 1989-1990: Mugabe’s party former secretary-general Edgar Tekere breaks
away to form the Zimbabwe Unity Movement, but the response from Zanu PF is
violence leading to deaths and injuries, including that of late Patrick
Kombayi in the fight for Gweru Central Constituency with Mugabe’s deputy
Simon Muzenda.

- 1999-2002: The arrival of Tsvangirai’s MDC on the political scene is met
with renewed violence which results in many deaths, the violent farm
invasions and the bloodbath in the 2002 Presidential elections.

- 2005: Tsvangirai’s MDC splits following disagreements over participation
in elections. Violence follows.

- 2007: A prayer meeting in Highfield led by the MDC leads to a wave of
violence that has Tsvangirai bludgeoned to near death in police custody.

- 2008: After losing the first round presidential elections Mugabe turns to
the army for support. The military unleashes a wave of violence that forces
Tsvangirai to pull out of the presidential run-off but Mugabe forces it
through to declare himself winner, a claim that is rejected worldwide.

- 2011: The MDC congress in Bulawayo is marred by violent scenes. The
culprits are yet to be punished despite an investigation and the subsequent
tribunal.


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MDC-T loses 8 senior members in 6 months

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Violet Gonda
31 January 2013

Speaking at the funeral of UZ lecturer Professor John Makumbe, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said his party had lost eight senior members in
the past six months.

Makumbe was a senior member of the MDC-T who played a key role in the
writing of the draft constitution that is due to be presented to the House
of Assembly next week. He died last Sunday of a suspected heart attack, aged
63.

“When I heard about his death, I said am I now going to be a professional
mourner,” Tsvangirai told mourners.

Another prominent University of Zimbabwe professor, Gordon Chavunduka, also
died this month. The 82 year old held several senior positions in the MDC-T,
including Secretary for National Healing and Chairperson of the party’s
Guardian Council.

Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Nketa legislator Seiso Moyo died in
December last year, after suffering a heart attack.

Councilor Martha Nhamburo, the Chitungwiza provincial Women’s Assembly
chairperson, died in November. In recent months other notable senior MDC-T
officials who died include 69 year old Dr. Tichaona Mudzingwa, who was the
Deputy Minister of Transport and Simangaliso Phinias Chikadaya, the MDC
National Youth Organising Secretary.

Recently Zanu-PF also lost two senior members – Vice President John Nkomo
who died this month after a long battle with cancer aged 78, while Minister
for Higher Education Stan Mudenge died in October last year. He was 71.

Several legislators across the political divide have passed away since the
formation of the unity government, resulting in many constituencies
countrywide going without representatives for many years.

“Zimbabwe is a gerontocracy. Also, being less cynical, there are enough
politicians on both sides for deaths to occur quite frequently – it is the
same in the UK. It’s just a statistical probability, nothing sinister. In
Zimbabwe’s case it will happen more often because they tend to be older,”
said UK-based Zimbabwe writer Alan Doyle.

Doyle also said that Zimbabwe is not a healthy place to live. He added:
“There is a lot of stress. It’s a stressful place to live in Zimbabwe
particularly over the last few years.”

It may not be sinister but some say the many deaths of influential thinkers
in the MDC-T is damaging.

Analysts say for a political party to be successful and survive it has to be
able to renew itself by training and promoting young talent. This is often
difficult in Africa where the elderly are held in high regard and the young
are expected to take instructions.

There has been much debate about President Robert Mugabe’s age. He turns 89
in February, but there is no sign he will be stepping down any time soon.

Doyle said grooming younger people is a very sensitive topic in Zimbabwe
because it implies that people at the top have to step down and “no one
wants to do that”.

He added: “The MDC-T has been slightly different because it’s a newer party
but the senior people have been there for 10 years. I am not necessarily
saying it’s a bad thing but that is something you don’t get in other
political systems, like in South Africa for example, which has managed to go
through three presidents since 1994, without the convulsions which everybody
seems to fear in Zimbabwe.”


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Biti urges ‘finality’ to land reforms

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

31/01/2013 00:00:00
by Brian Paradza

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti has urged an end to the country’s land reform
disputes such as compensation white former farmers, warning that, unless a
solution is found, agriculture will continue to underperform and hamper
economic turnaround efforts.

Speaking at a one day Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) conference
in Harare Thursday, Biti said the failure to bring closure to the land issue
was frustrating efforts to maximise agricultural output.

Biti said growth projects from the sector will continue to tumble unless a
solution is found to the land issue starting with the establishment of a
land market.

“Up until 1999 over 74% of the bank lending was going towards the
agriculture but since the 2000 when the country embarked on the land reform
exercise, only 7% of the bank lending is going to agriculture whilst over
20% going to consumptive lending. It’s just not on," Biti said.

“We just need to bring about closure on this issue, have security of tenure
and establish a land market. On the issue of compensation the government is
in agreement but we just need to agree on the framework of calculating the
real value.

“We just have to be realistic on this. I hear figures of a billion dollars.
We just need to agree on the methodology to work with.”

Biti’s call chimes with a recent proposal by the white-dominated Commercial
Farmers Union (CFU) which also warned that agricultural productivity would
not return to the pre-land reform levels unless the compensation issue was
resolved and the government came up with a workable land tenure system.

“Government’s inability and failure to pay compensation and bring closure to
the acquisition process has crippled the institutional capacity to lend into
this sector,” CFU head Charles Taffs said recently.

“We (however) do not wish to turn the clock back. What we want is to go
forward in a pragmatic way.”
Meanwhile, regarding productivity, Biti said the government should look to
liberalise the buying of produce, particularly of maize, in order to boost
the crop’s production.

He said the continued intervention by the government in the procurement of
maize has made the maize production unviable resulting in most farmers
opting to grow tobacco instead of maize thereby affecting the country’s food
self-sufficiency.

“The percentage hectarage of land under maize is now between 40-43% because
of our policies. Tobacco production is on the rise because the government
has no role to play in its production; it’s all contract farming,” he said.

“We need to have the same arrangement with maize production. If you go to
Guruve people are farming tobacco everywhere because of the prices. Tobacco
is the only crop responsible for the positive growth being recorded in the
agriculture sector.

“We just have to bring an end to new invasions. No revolution lasts forever,
it has to end, but you now hear of new invasions.”


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Civil society prepares sanctions fight

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Thursday, 31 January 2013 10:51
HARARE - Civil society groups are girding for a fight as the European Union
(EU) moves to ease travel and financial sanctions on President Robert Mugabe
and his inner circle after the referendum.

Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently cleared a major hurdle
after they agreed to a draft constitution, which is widely considered as key
foundation for future elections.

The EU last year revised its targeted sanctions list and also announced that
it could remove most restrictions if the country holds a peaceful vote on
its Constitution.

The EU’s stance comes in response to what the bloc sees as positive
developments in the troubled southern Africa country but civil society
thinks the situation is still volatile.

Warmed by a mellowing Mugabe, sources say the EU is eager to re-engage the
88-year-old if he holds a peaceful referendum.

The Daily News has heard EU could have dangled the promise to lift
sanctions, a factor that contributed to the completion of the
constitution-making process.

According to the source, the EU is considering suspending the sanctions and
will continue to monitor developments in Zimbabwe before permanently lifting
the measures.

Zimbabwe is likely to go for a referendum in March paving way for a
watershed election to be held most likely by June.

Since the formation of the “unity” government in 2009, there has been a
thawing of the strained relations between Mugabe and the West.

EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia told the Daily News that the
referendum will provide the 27 nation bloc with a chance to further soften
its stance.

“This referendum could provide a milestone for the EU to remove some people
from the sanctions list,” said Arricia.

Last year, the EU removed 51 people from the targeted sanctions list as well
several companies and promised to do more depending on the respect of
civilian liberties by Mugabe’s government.

Arricia said the complete removal of targeted measures on Zimbabwe will be
guided by “the fairness and transparency of elections.”

“The issue is more complex, if the elections are peaceful and free from
violence and reflect the will of the people and if the results are accepted
by everybody it means that there will be no need to maintain the measures,”
said Arricia.

Mugabe used to attack western countries whenever he got the chance, but now
the vitriol is subdued as he prefers to preach peace.

A ministerial team which comprises of officials from Zanu PF and MDC has
been meeting with its EU counterparts for re-engagement.

However, civil society sources say they will campaign to ensure the
sanctions remain in place.

They allege the military is keeping a presence in villages to intimidate
people, the arrest of civilians on “spurious” charges by police and the
general clampdown on democratic space.

At the just ended African Union, summit, civil society groups expressed
disappointment that African leaders failed to discuss the situation in
Zimbabwe.

They demanded:

- Expeditious finalisation of the constitution-making process according to
the provisions of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) so that Zimbabweans
can decide on the draft constitution presented by Copac in a referendum.

- Elimination of State-sponsored violence and the creation of a peaceful
environment.

- Disbanding of all violence related militia groups such as Chipangano and
Al Shabab.

- Immediate cessation of raids and harassment of civil society organisations
and other pro-democracy movements.

- Immediate release of all political prisoners who are in prison on trumped
up charges.

- Full implementation of electoral reforms which will pave way for the
holding of a free and fair election in Zimbabwe and peaceful transfer of
State power.

- A non-partisan security sector that prioritises the security and safety of
citizens and restricts itself to the barracks.

- Transparency in the management of natural resources so that they benefit
the majority of Zimbabweans.The control of diamonds by the military elite
breeds ground for funding conflict not only in Zimbabwe but to our
neighbours.


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Zim govt official wants 'developmental state discourse' rekindled

BY YOLANDA NDLOVU

Harare, January 31, 2013: A cabinet minister wants Zimbabweans to rekindle the conversation proposed by the inclusive government in 2009 about adopting the democratic developmental state model to spur economic development.

“We need to raise a discourse of a democratic developmental state, we need politics of development not politics of power,” said Honorable Gorden Moyo (in attached picture), Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals, during a Food for Thought discussion session held at the United States Embassy’s Public Affairs Section on Tuesday.

“It is na´ve to say that we are a democracy when people are hungry and unemployed, hence the notion of a democratic developmental state. A democratic developmental state is about development and democracy. These are twin processes, so let’s adopt this as a philosophy for ourselves.”

Honorable Moyo spoke about the coalition government formed as a result of the Global Political Agreement in September 2008; at that time the government adopted a policy framework designed to turn Zimbabwe into a progressive developmental state.

He explained that the Short Term Economic Recovery Program (STERP) of 2009 was described as “an emergency short term stabilization program, whose key goals are to stabilize the macro and micro-economy, recover the levels of savings, investment and growth, and lay the basis of a more transformative mid-term to long-term economic program that will turn Zimbabwe into a progressive developmental State.”

Development experts suggest that the developmental state model is the main reason for the rapid economic success of Japan and the East Asian tigers (Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea). The minister contrasted that model with politics for the purpose of power which he claims is hindering the development of most African economies today.

Honorable Moyo, a Chevening Scholar working towards his doctoral thesis on African Leadership, New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and the African Peer Review Mechanism, expressed concern about the absence of continued debate and the lack of implementation of good policies.

“The problem we have in Zimbabwe and in Africa generally is that we have beautiful policies yet we fall short in the implementation of these policies,” said the cabinet minister. “Hence we need scholars of Africa to understand the problems of Africa and then think about the solutions.”

The self proclaimed “afro-optimist” said he foresaw a bright future if the Zimbabwe adopted the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in order to promote transparency and accountability in Zimbabwe.

“I believe in order to build a strong base for corporate governance in Zimbabwe, we need to be part of the APRM and the sooner we accede to it the better,” said Moyo, noting its importance for Zimbabwe if it is “to catch up with the rest of the world.” Launched in 2003 by the African Union, the APRM is a program voluntarily adopted by the member states of the African Union to promote and re-enforce high standards of governance.

“Zimbabwe is now back-pedaling and it is sad that we are now talking about catching up to Mozambique and Zambia, when we used to be second to South Africa in terms of economic growth, ” said the minister.

The APRM process, adopted by thirty African states, focuses on key areas of Democracy and Good Governance by ensuring national constitutions reflect the democratic ethos of a nation, providing for demonstrably accountable governance, and promoting political representation that guarantees all citizens participate in the political process in a free and fair political environment. Fourteen member countries have been peer reviewed between January 2006 and January 2011.

Food for Thought sessions are held every Tuesday afternoon at the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section Auditorium and allow Zimbabwean and American speakers to discuss various issues with members of the public.

# # #

ZimPAS is a product of the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section. Comments and queries should be directed to Jillian Bonnardeaux, Acting Public Affairs Officer, hararepas@state.gov, Url: http://harare.usembassy.gov


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ZimRights officer denied bail again

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Staff Reporter
31 January 2013

Leo Chamahwinya, the ZimRights Education Programs Officer who has been in
police custody since December 13th, was denied bail again on Thursday in the
magistrates court.

Chamahwinya is facing charges of forgery, conspiracy to commit fraud and
spreading falseholds prejudicial to the state. His director, Okay Machisa,
who is facing the same charges, was released on bail Tuesday after spending
15 days in remand prison.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director McDonald Lewanika tweeted that the
presiding Magistrate dismissed Chamahwinya’s bail application, saying
further appeals need to be heard at the High Court.


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Biti on the defensive after being slammed for ‘empty coffers’ statement

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
31 January 2013

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has been put on the defensive in the wake of
stating that the government’s coffers were running on empty, a statement
that has seen him being slammed from different quarters.

Biti told journalists on Tuesday that, after paying civil servants salaries
last week, only US$217 remained in the government’s public account. He said
this was the reason why he was looking to international donors for funding
ahead of a referendum and an election.

“The government finances are in a paralysis state at the present moment. We
are failing to meet our targets,” Biti said.

The revelation of the desperate state of Zimbabwe’s economy was reported
across the world. But a day later, Biti changed his tune and accused
journalists of deliberately taking his comments “out of context.”

He told the UK’s BBC that he made the comments in order to emphasise that
the government was unable to finance elections, not that it was insolvent.
Biti said his statement was ‘metaphorical’.

“You journalists are mischievous and malicious – the point I was making was
that the Zimbabwean government doesn’t have the funds to finance the
election, to finance the referendum,” he said.

He added: “To dramatise the point, I simply made a passing reference,
metaphorically, that when we paid civil servants last week on Thursday we
were left with US$217… but even the following day we had US$30 million in
our account.”

Biti’s turn-around is believed to be a result of castigation from both his
colleagues in government and others. The state media, in particular,
immediately used the opportunity to slam Biti for trying to “create a false
state of insecurity.” The state broadcaster, ZBC, said this was “a
reflection of his party’s fear of elections.”

The ZBC quoted political analysts as saying that Biti’s comments were a
“clear testimony of his party’s failure to deliver on its promise to secure
financial aid from their western masters.”

Political analyst Clifford Mashiri said that the situation has exposed the
hypocrisy in government, which has repeatedly said it has no money for
elections. He said while some Zimbabweans might “feel offended” that their
Finance Minister has announced how desperate things have become, “this is no
different to begging for international support to civil servants salaries.”

Mashiri said that Biti’s comments regarding the media’s role in the
situation are concerning, because it comes so soon after the Minister
reportedly threatened to sue the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper. Biti and
Chamisa have both reportedly threatened the paper with litigation over a
news story it published, and have been criticised by media groups for this
behaviour.

“Biti has lost the plot in engagement in attacks on the media. He is playing
a dangerous game by turning the cannons on the media and it is the worst
thing he can do,” Mashiri said.


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MDC is going to the elections and is ready to govern

http://www.mdc.co.zw

Thursday, 31 January 2013

The MDC is ready to win in the upcoming watershed elections because our
confidence lies in the people’s desire to see a new, better and prosperous
Zimbabwe.

The MDC totally dismisses as false, utterances of an election boycott
attributed to our Secretary General during a press conference held on
Tuesday 29 January 2013 at Harvest House. Hon Biti did not, at any point
during his delivery, mention, let alone insinuate the idea of an election
boycott by the MDC.

[See
http://www.dailynews.co.zw/article/News/0f3752b2-7774-42ed-807f-da250ffa9393
]

It is unacceptable for the Daily News to misrepresent or distort the
statement made by Hon Biti. The statement attributed to Hon Biti to the
effect that, “We are not going for polls if these hooligans are the ones
still in charge of running the elections.” is mischievous and malicious.
Whilst we cherish freedom of press, we in the same vain encourage
responsible journalism and call upon journalists to verify their facts
before publishing.

The MDC takes great exception at the surge of unsubstantiated and negative
reportage which is consistent with a deliberate attack on the party’s
leadership, especially when this comes hot on the heels of another
fabricated report just recently, alleging a rift between Hon Biti and the
Party’s National Organising Secretary, Hon. Chamisa.

To set the record straight, the MDC has always been ready for an election
ever since it was launched in 1999. The fact that the MDC has won in all the
previous elections, particularly the 2008 ones, indicates the desire by the
people of Zimbabwe to see a new and democratic Zimbabwe. It is a pointer
that the people want change.

The people of Zimbabwe have embraced the MDC and have placed their hope in
the party; hence, whatever the magnitude of the persecution from which ever
quarter, the people will vote in their numbers for a new beginning and real
transformation which will be brought about by the MDC government.

The Last Mile: Towards Real Change!!!


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Gono cautions on foreign bank ownership

http://www.thezimbabwemail.com/

Staff Reporter 49 minutes ago

Zimbabwe's central bank chief on Thursday cautioned the government against a
drive forcing foreign banks to hand over majority stakes to locals, saying
this could damage confidence in the sector battling through a fragile
economic recovery.
Gideon Gono also said the current dollar crunch and high interest rates,
which averaged 22 percent in 2012, were a result of political risk and urged
leaders to tone down rhetoric that could scare away foreign investment.
Zimbabwe was on a "path to destruction" with a huge import bill of $7.5
billion last year against exports of $3.9 billion, Gono added.
"The financial sector is a different animal altogether, a one-size-fits-all
approach does not work for the sector," Gono said in a monetary policy
presentation.
He added there was a need to "restore confidence, trust and stability in the
sector."
Foreign firms, already cautious about doing business in the resource-rich
but destitute state, were increasingly skittish about entrenched President
Robert Mugabe's calls forcing them to turn over majority stakes to locals.
Mining firms have faced the most pressure but banks have increasingly become
targets.
Standard Chartered Bank Plc, Barclays Bank Plc , South Africa's Standard
Bank and Nebank all have operations in Zimbabwe.
The southern African country is set to hold a referendum on a new
constitution by April and general elections later this year. It has
approached foreign donors to help finance an election it says it cannot
afford.
The country's economy has stabilised since the formation in 2009 of a unity
government between Mugabe and rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, but
growth is slowing as the country struggles to attract badly needed foreign
cash.

Copy of the moneytary policy statement...
http://www.rbz.co.zw/pdfs/2013%20MPS/Jan%202013%20MPS.pdf


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Photoshopped Mugabe snap lands man in court

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

31/01/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

A MAN who Photoshopped his head onto President Robert Mugabe’s body in a
snap of the Zanu PF leader inspecting a guard of honour has appeared in
court charged with “undermining the authority of the President”.

Graphic designer Ronald Chikambure, 30, fancied himself as the Commander in
Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, say prosecutors.

Chikambure pleaded not guilty to a charge of undermining the authority or
insulting the President before Zvishavane magistrate Story Rushambwa on
Tuesday.

Stanley Ncube, prosecuting, told the court that police were tipped off that
Chikambure had, on the wall of his office, a picture of himself with army
chief General Constantine Chiwenga inspecting a guard of honour.

“The picture had been edited to give a false impression to people who
entered Chikamnbure’s office that it was him in the picture, and not the
President,” said Ncube.

When detectives swooped on his office on January 24, they could not locate
the picture on the wall but a copy was found on his laptop computer.
Prosecutors say he used the popular graphics programme, Photoshop, to crop
Mugabe’s head and replace it with his own.

Chikambure, who is based at the H Tafa and Associates building in the
Zvishavane CBD, is represented by Bulawayo lawyer Jonathan Tsvangirai.

He was remanded out of custody to February 14 on US$100 bail.


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Economy Stutters, Records Low Revenue Inflows

http://www.voazimbabwe.com

Gibbs Dube
30.01.2013

Some Zimbabwean economists say it is not surprising that Zimbabwe is only
left with a balance of $217 in its public account as parties in the unity
government have failed since its formation in 2009 to craft policies
promoting remarkable economic growth.

Reacting to remarks by Finance Minister Tendai Biti that the country’s
coffers are almost empty, independent economist, Eric Bloch, told VOA Studio
7 that the country will fail to meet most of its financial obligations if
its revenue inflows do not improve.

Mr. Bloch said to make matters worse, Zimbabwe does not have monetary
reserves to tackle this finance crisis.

Another independent economist, John Robertson, said the finance crisis
facing Zimbabwe would only come to an end when the country has a stable
government.

Mr. Robertson also said indications are that revenue inflows have been low
in January and would reach critical levels within the next few months if the
government does not create a conducive environment in the country for
running businesses.

TThe minister, who is now claiming that he made the revelation in order to
emphasise that the government was unable to finance elections and not that
it was insolvent, stunned journalists Tuesday when he announced that
Zimbabwe has been left with only $217 in its public account after paying
civil servants’ salaries last week.

According to Biti, the government finances are in a state of paralysis and
Zimbabwe will fail to meet its targets including the funding of elections
this year due to the current finance crisis.

He was reported last night as saying the following day after paying the
workers' salaries, some $30 million of revenue had been paid into state
coffers.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it needs $104 million for holding
crucial polls this year.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) last week announced that it exceeded
its revenue target in 2012 despite the slow pace of economic growth in
Zimbabwe.

ZIMRA said net tax collections amounted to $3.3 billion against a target of
$3.2 billion.

Value-added tax accounted for the largest chunk of tax collections followed
by individual and company tax. Mining royalties brought in only $136
million. The gross tax inflows exceeded the 2011 target by 7 percent.

The country is expected to grow by at least 5 percent this year.


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Zanu-PF's ambush disrupted

http://www.politicsweb.co.za

Eddie Cross
31 January 2013

Eddie Cross says the new Zimbabwe constitution is not perfect, but it is an
important advance

In the war that led to Zimbabwe's Independence in 1980, we learned on both
sides of the war, that to be caught in an ambush was a terrible experience.
It happened to me twice and on both occasions there was complete surprise
and for a few minutes we were given a hammering. There was little we could
do in response but keep our heads down and then had to rely on the follow
up.

However, if you can glean the intelligence that an ambush is planned and
then take appropriate counter measures, it can turn into a turkey shoot,
very tough on the opposition. In the case of Zimbabwe, this political
contest has been going on for 13 years and no quarter has been given on
either side. Looked at from the outside however, it is clear that the MDC
has been slowly pushing Zanu PF back. In response, Zanu PF has been
carefully planning an electoral ambush for the MDC. Unable to defeat us
diplomatically or with violence in its many different forms, they have
fallen back onto their tried and tested system of a manipulated and tightly
managed election.

First call was way back in late 2010, then in early 2011 and in late 2011,
then again in March and September 2012, most recently March 2013. In each
and every case we have simply responded that they (ZANU) cannot call for an
election unilaterally. We have been supported in this view by regional
States and on each occasion Zanu PF has backed down. The ambush was
carefully planned - a manipulated voters roll, the JOC system extended right
down to bases in all Districts manned by agents of the State security
forces, subliminal violence and extra judicial killings, harsh restrictions
on the media and on political activity with restricted movement of people
and restricted freedoms of association, followed by a carefully managed
election with vote rigging, ballot stuffing and finally, if it was needed,
simply falsely reporting the results. They did this in 2002, 2005 and 2008 -
all successful, why not again?

We on the other hand had a powerful tool - in September 2008, they had
signed the Global Political Agreement and this laid down a road map to
elections that would have prevented all these flagrant abuses of the
democratic process. So they developed a mantra that went like this:
"Zimbabwe is a sovereign State. The GNU government is dysfunctional (we
agree), Mr. Mugabe is the State President and has the right to call for an
election. We (Zanu PF) demand an election now to resolve the issue of just
who is in charge."

The plan was to circumvent all these inconvenient reforms and go for an
election that they could win by hook or by crook; declare Mr. Mugabe as
President and then rule the country as before. Our difficulty was how to
avoid the trap and yet make progress? We had all the ingredients in the form
of the undertakings of the SADC States and the views of the international
community, but how to translate that into coercion on those who are
reluctant to commit to the GPA process? Our main problem was the ambivalence
of our neighbors who were reluctant to force the delinquents in their midst
to stick to the rules and play the game properly.

For whatever reason, this situation has suddenly changed and since early
2011, the SADC States have increasingly taken on the task that they accepted
on paper in 2008, to supervise and enforce the process of reform that would
make a free and fair election in Zimbabwe possible. In this they have been
supported by consistent and strong views from both sides of the Atlantic.

This is now being translated into tangible progress on the ground in
Zimbabwe. In the past few weeks the long and prolonged process of drafting
and adopting a new Constitution has been completed. Not without blood on the
floor I might add - but read the revised draft and understand whose blood? I
met the President of the MDC after his marathon meeting with the other
political parties and he looked totally exhausted and wrung out, but quietly
satisfied and confident.

Now suddenly he has started to take charge of the situation - meetings with
all the players are taking place and with the agencies concerned with the
elections. He has the authority to do so and is now using this authority as
Prime Minister to get the conditions for the forthcoming referendum and
elections in place. It is clear that he has the support of regional States
for this and the continued opposition of Zanu PF to these changes and
developments is being gradually overcome. Suddenly this is a new game.

So now we are faced with a national referendum on a new Constitution that is
not perfect - I said the other day that this will not take us into the
Promised Land, but for sure it will get us across the river and give us a
base for further progress. All parties will endorse this and we will ask the
population to say "Yes" so as to allow us to implement the new law that will
reduce the powers of the President, limit terms of office on all key leaders
in the State, grant full citizenship with dual citizenship rights to all who
have been born in Zimbabwe or have Zimbabwe parents, a devolved State that
will share resources equitably and a strong human rights section that will
never again allow the State to abuse the people of this country the way we
have been abused since 1980.

But the other critical thing this does is that it opens the way to an
election in the next six months - certainly before August, where the people
of this country, battered and bruised by decades of conflict and
authoritarian rule, by the near total collapse of the economy and all
services, will be able to go to the polls and decide who they want to take
control of the State. Having done that, for the first time they can do so
with the assurance that this time, there will be a transfer of power and
then real change can begin.

I am just so sorry that John Makumbe and Seiso Moyo will not be there to
celebrate that day with all of us.

Eddie Cross is MDC MP for Bulawayo South. This article first appeared on his
website www.eddiecross.africanherd.com


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