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Zimbabwe parliament mulls constitution that reduces presidential powers, seeks peaceful change

http://www.washingtonpost.com

By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2:53 AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s parliament Wednesday began discussing a new
constitution that reduces some of the president’s powers, demands political
impartiality from his longtime loyalists in the police and military and
paves the way for a peace and reconciliation commission to investigate a
decade of human rights and electoral abuses.

The 160-page draft, completed after three years of bickering between
hardliners and reformists during often bitter and violent nationwide
canvassing, will be voted on in a national referendum slated for April,
ahead of elections to end a shaky coalition formed after the last disputed,
violent polls in 2008.

Regional mediators made a new constitution a key condition for fresh
elections. Lawmakers will not be able to change the draft unless there is a
last minute revolt against it in the legislature, Veritas, an independent
legal monitoring group, said Wednesday.

There was no immediate sign of that in the Harare parliament house
Wednesday. Paul Mangwana, co-chair from President Robert Mugabe’s party of a
parliamentary panel in charge of rewriting the constitution, told
legislators the lengthy, delayed process cost about $45 million.

“It has been a long journey and we think did our best for the country,”
Mangwana said.

He described the funding, including United Nations and foreign donations, as
money well spent.

“People will ask why, but democracy is very expensive,” Mangwana said.

All main party leaders have called for a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum after
years of violence, uncertainty and economic meltdown that has left the
nation weary and demoralized.

The parliament debate is expected to wind up after several sittings in
coming days, followed by a month for distribution of the proposed
constitution to electors nationwide, said Veritas.

The draft shows Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
Movement for Democratic Change both made concessions over points in dispute.

According to the proposed constitution, a person can be president for a
maximum of two five year terms, but the term limit is not retrospective.

That means Mugabe, who turns 89 this month and has been in power for 33
years, can run for president again and if he wins could rule to the age of
94, and even to 99 if he ran for, and won, a second term.

But according to the draft, Mugabe would no longer have the power to veto
legislation and presidential decrees, which Mugabe has often used
unchallenged, would need parliamentary approval, mostly by a two-thirds
majority of lawmakers.

The president would not be able to arbitrarily appoint the ten powerful
provincial governors from his party and provinces will be able choose their
own chair, or premier.

Increasingly frail at public appearances, Mugabe is seen to have recently
lost much of his trademark combative spirit. Tsvangirai’s party agreed not
to insist that presidential candidates nominate a running mate for the next
poll, so Mugabe will not have to pick a possible successor in his fractious,
rivalry-ridden former ruling party. The draft allows the victorious
president to personally appoint two vice presidents.

The new constitution binds the police and military to be impartial and not
to “further the interests of any political party or cause.” Military
commanders, accused of condoning past political violence blamed on Mugabe
militants, have refused to salute Tsvangirai, 60, repeatedly vowing
allegiance only to Mugabe, the nation’s first black ruler and leader of the
guerrilla war that led to independence from Britain in 1980.

A beefed-up constitutional court with powers over all other courts and the
new peace and reconciliation commission are proposed as reforms to a
judicial system critics say has long been packed with pro-Mugabe judges and
officials.

The constitutional court would deal with violations of the charter and abuse
of power or governance.

The proposed constitution says the often violent seizures of white-owned
farms since 2000 restored land to blacks who were “unjustifiably
dispossessed” of it by colonial-era settlers and states that the seizures
cannot be reversed. Displaced white farmers say that clause legitimizes
theft and the plunder of internationally-recognized property rights.

The new reconciliation body was praised as “a hopeful sign that victims of
political violence may obtain some justice” by the Open Society Initiative
for Southern Africa, a non-governmental organization that encourages
democracy.

Despite continuing arrests of rights and democracy activists in Zimbabwe,
the constitutional changes represented some “significant gains,” said the
organization.

OSISA said the proposals were “better than feared but far from ideal.”


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NCA isolated in rejecting draft constitution

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Tichaona Sibanda
06 February 2013

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) could turn out to be the only
civil society organisation urging a no vote on the draft constitution,
sources in Harare said on Wednesday.

SW Radio Africa was informed that a group of civic leaders met in the
capital on Tuesday to discuss the stance adopted by the NCA. Lovemore
Madhuku, the chairman of the pressure group, had earlier in the day
announced they would ask Zimbabweans to reject the COPAC draft because it
was ‘neither people-driven nor democratic.’

Madhuku told journalists his organisation was confident of getting enough
support to defeat the draft at a referendum, expected at the end of March.

All parties to the GPA have said they will be campaigning for the approval
of the draft. A source said the ‘Yes’ team brings together political rivals
from ZANU PF and the two MDC formations, to form a formidable camp.

Others opposed to the NCA stance said that while the draft is not perfect it
is much better than the existing Lancaster House constitution.

‘There are improvements in the draft constitution, but the good has been
mixed with some bad points that the NCA highlighted. There is word already
that the CSO’s will urge Zimbabwe to turn out in large numbers and vote for
the proposed constitution,’ the source said.

He said there is a belief that the forthcoming referendum gives the country
an opportunity to end the long search for reforms.

‘People in the CSO’s are saying the time has come for Zimbabweans to make a
decision that will lead to the re-birth of a new republic. They will
campaign for all Zimbabweans to vote Yes so that the proposed constitution
passes with an overwhelming majority.

‘They fear that supporters of the draft constitution who will not vote will
indirectly give a boost to the No camp,’ our source added.

Meanwhile Douglas Mwonzora, the COPAC co-chairman representing the MDC-T, on
Wednesday presented a draft copy of the constitution and full report of the
exercise to Parliament. He was seconded by Paul Mangwana, the COPAC chair
from ZANU PF. MPs from all sides of the House adopted the motion, triggering
singing and ululation in Parliament.

It’s believed by next week the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will
effectively take over the baton for the last phase on the road to a new
constitution, by preparing the public for the referendum.

The public vote has to take place within 60 days of the publication of the
proposed constitution. ZEC will have 30 days to conduct civic education on
the issue.

But if politicians don’t abide by constitutional rights, it doesn’t matter
what is written in the new constitution.


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NCA: Zimbabwe Should Suspend Dreaded Security Law

http://www.voazimbabwe.com

Thomas Chiripasi
05.02.2013

HARARE — The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) is demanding that
Zimbabweans are given at least two months to debate the draft constitution
produced by the parliamentary select committee (COPAC) or risk court action.

NCA chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, told a news conference in the capital
Tuesday that his organization wants the unity government to give Zimbabweans
enough time to debate the content of the draft constitution so that people
can vote wisely during the referendum.

The NCA said the Public Order and Security Act, which restricts people from
gathering without permission from authorities, should be suspended for the
duration of the constitutional campaign.

Madhuku threatened to take the unity government to court if his
organization's demands are not met.

Madhuku said the NCA will campaign for a "no" vote because it is against the
constitution-making process, which he said was “not people driven”.

The constitutional body says there is nothing positive in the entire draft
charter, adding that the proposed governing charter gives more powers to the
president.

Madhuku said it is better for Zimbabweans to go for elections under the
current constitution than to adopt the COPAC draft.

Madhuku said his organization will work with other civic society
organizations including the working class and students to campaign for a
“no” vote.

He told reporters that the “no” vote campaign would be door-to-door because
his organization does not have money to mount a fully-fledged campaign.

The NCA made it clear right from the beginning of the constitutional
revision process that it will push for a no vote because it did not want the
program to be driven by politicians.

But the three parties in the unity government say they will campaign for the
adoption of the draft to pave way for fresh elections that are expected to
be held sometime this year.


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No military reforms — Mnangagwa

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

By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 12:26
HARARE - Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has wadded into a political
storm with his stonewalling comments on military reforms.

Addressing senior military personnel this week Mnangagwa, a potential
successor to President Robert Mugabe, declared there will not be any
security sector reforms as long as he remains in government leadership.

“The current government is anxious to reform you and anxious for security
sector reforms. They do not want to have a defence force which is
knowledgeable, focused and revolutionary. We are against it,” the defence
minister is quoted as saying.

While Mnangagwa was taking a hard-line stance on security sector reforms,
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo seemed not entirely against military
re-alignment but not before elections.

“I suppose one can safely say the issue of security reform is not one issue
that should be discussed now because we are seized with the
Constitution-making process and the Referendum. Any reforms that may take
place perhaps can come after the elections, we cannot engage the military
now,” Gumbo said.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said
his party is not worried about the utterances coming from Mnangagwa.

“As far as we are concerned, security sector reforms will happen. The new
constitution is clear on what behaviour is expected of our military
establishment and that is what will happen,” Mwonzora said.

Former Zanu PF politburo member and now opposition Mavambo/Kusile Dawn
leader Simba Makoni said Mnangagwa had a warped understanding of what
security sector reform is.

“If that is his understanding of military reforms, then he needs to school
himself. The clamour for security sector reform has never been about change
of government but to make sure our military personnel are professional in
the discharge of their duties,” Makoni said.

“I have not heard Morgan Tsvangirai (Prime Minister) or anybody in the
opposition movement agitating for an ignorant defence force. Rather it is
Zanu PF that has turned a national institution and a venerated one at that
into a partisan force that panders to a political party’s whims.

“If Mnangagwa wants to maintain the status quo then he is seriously
misdirected. We want a non-partisan and apolitical force that respects
democratic ideals and norms,” said Makoni.

Although Industry minister Welshman Ncube was not available for comment, his
party deputy secretary-general Moses Mzila Ndlovu last week told the Daily
News security sector and media reforms remain a grey area that needs to be
dealt with before the expiry of the term of the current Parliament.

Known as Ngwena/Crocodile in political circles, the defence minister is
hedging his chances of landing the party and country’s biggest political
post on support from the army, his rivals say.

Calls for security sector reform have reached a crescendo particularly after
the 2008 bloodbath in the presidential election run-off in which the
military was fingered as having been the power behind murders and
disappearances that forced Tsvangirai to pull out at the eleventh hour.


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Grumbling chiefs offside, says Copac

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

Wednesday, 06 February 2013 11:34
HARARE - Chiefs who are seeking to derail the constitution- making process
are out of line as the programme is now beyond individuals or groups, the
Constitution Select Committee (Copac)) has said.

Traditional leaders are particularly miffed by the new draft constitution
because it whittles down their powers.

They are also against the imposition of presidential term limits in the
draft negotiated by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai.

Copac, the parliamentary body that has been steering the constitution making
since 2009 before Mugabe and Tsvangirai hijacked the process, says it is
meaningless for chiefs to involve Mugabe or any other Principal at a stage
the country is preparing for a referendum.

Douglas Mwonzora, a Copac co-chairperson representing Tsvangirai’s MDC, said
the chiefs are offside.

“The chiefs are late, we consulted them on the Constitution and they gave
their input. They cannot preside over areas that are beyond their
jurisdiction,” said Mwonzora.

Chiefs, who are accused by civic society organisations and then MDC of
propping up Zanu PF through coercing their followers to vote for the former
ruling party, feel the draft constitution usurps their royal powers on
issues and assets such as land.

Clause 15.3 (2) of the draft states that: “Except as provided for in Act of
Parliament, traditional leaders shall have no authority, control or
jurisdiction over land except communal land or over persons outside communal
land unless the cause of the action arose within the area of the traditional
leader’s jurisdiction.”

Chiefs are now seeking audience with Mugabe who ironically endorsed the
draft constitution along with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara and Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube.

Paul Mangwana, Copac co-chairperson representing Zanu PF, said chiefs have a
democratic right to engage the president but should know that the clause was
inserted to avoid confrontations over areas of jurisdiction.

“We have provided the best for our chiefs and they are reading the clause
wrongly. This clause calls for an orderly jurisdiction over land.

“We give them the normal jurisdiction in communal lands but then we approach
other areas case by case. We are trying to find peaceful resolution to
possible disagreement,” said Mangwana.

Mugabe and his counterparts in the uneasy coalition government are
campaigning for the adoption of the draft constitution in the referendum.

With Parliament, which is dominated by Mugabe’s Zanu PF and the MDC, set to
rubber stamp the draft agreed to by Mugabe and Tsvangirai, Mwonzora says
there is little room for the chiefs to manoeuvre.


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Byo water situation improves - Mayor

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

06.02.13

by Gladys Ncube

Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo’s water situation has improved and
will reduce the rationing periods, said the Mayor, Patrick Thaba-Moyo.

The Bulawayo’s water crisis had seen more than a million people going
without the precious liquid for four days a week and devastating an already
reeling local economy facing massive deindustrialization.

“Yes, the water situation has improved. we have received significant inflows
of water into our supply dams in the past few weeks. So we don’t see any
reason why we should not reduce water rationing hours. We will definitely
reduce the water shedding periods for the benefit of our residents and also
for the city'sdevelopment,” Moyo told The Zimbabwean this morning Wednesday.

Moyo added that the connection of the much awaited 42 km Mtshabezi water
pipeline three weeks ago also boosted the water supply situation in
Bulawayo.

Last year the local authority asked residents to participate in a “big
flush” concurrently at 7:30pm every Saturday evening so that human waste
does not solidify in the city’s aging sewerage pipes. Out of the five water
supply dams to Bulawayo two have so far been decommissioned. In November
last year hundreds of people gathered for a rain prayer meeting at the Large
City Hall organized by various church organisations and the city council.
Several pastors from church organisations like Evangelical Fellowship of
Zimbabwe EFZ, Zimbabwe Union of Churches (ZUC) and Zimbabwe Council of
Churches led the rain prayer meeting.

Last year the mayor told residents that if the water crisis persisted the
council would be forced to draw water from the Zambezi river using the
National Railways of Zimbabwe goods trains in order to save the city.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently said his office would work hard to
resolve Bulawayo's critical water situation by connecting to the Mtshabezi
dam.


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Harare faces water rationing

http://www.herald.co.zw/

Wednesday, 06 February 2013 00:00

Evelene Taadira Herald Reporter

CITY of Harare will soon introduce water rationing as part of efforts to
find a lasting solution to water problems afflicting the city. Most suburbs
have been receiving water intermittently for the past four days following a
major pipe burst at Prince Edward Water Works.

There are also perennial water shortages in some areas that council has
failed to address.
Town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi yesterday said the city would come up with a
proper water rationing schedule as they continue to refurbish the city’s
water equipment.

“We are going to be scheduling and publishing the water cuts to residents as
we battle to replace the obsolete equipment in the city’s water system,” he
said.

In parts of Kuwadzana, Budiriro, Glen View, Mufakose, Kambuzuma and other
western suburbs, residents only receive water at night.

“I fail to understand what they mean by that because they started rationing
water long back.
“What surprises us is their billing system. In some cases we receive huge
bills that do not justify the little water that we receive,” said Mr Robert
Mazarura of Glen View.

Areas such as Mabvuku, Tafara, Ruwa, Greendale and others in the eastern
parts of Harare have had perennial water challenges.

Mbare hostels are the worst affected as they use communal toilets that
double up as bathrooms.
There has been no water in most of the hostels for the past four days,
posing a health scare.

In hostels such as Nenyere Flats, residents were fetching water from a
nearby industrial park while others were resorting to unsafe water sources
such as drains and shallow wells along Mukuvisi River.

“We have nowhere else to go to, though we are not aware of where this water
is coming from.
“This is the only source of water we have at the present moment,” said
Rodgers Manyeruke of Mbare.
Council authorities attributed the crisis to ageing equipment, shortage of
water treatment chemicals and incessant power cuts by Zesa.

Harare Residents Trust director Mr Precious Shumba said Harare mayor Mr
Muchadeyi Masunda should resign because he has failed to run the city.

“We are advocating that the mayor steps down as he has dismally failed to
develop the city. When residents go without water we expect local
authorities to intervene through bowsers,” he said.

Mr Shumba accused city fathers of fabricating petty excuses to justify their
failure.
“They come up with excuses in a clear demonstration of their failure to
prioritise provision of clean water.

“They have failed to upgrade the infrastructure and to improve their water
sources,” he said.
Mr Shumba urged the city authorities to seek assistance from the central
Government and other humanitarian organisations.

Recent assumptions are that Harare is producing enough water but is losing
up to 60 percent of it through leaks.


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Harare water outrage ‘a ticking time bomb’

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
06 February 2013

Residents’ associations in Harare have warned that public outrage over
ongoing water problems in the city is reaching boiling point, with city
authorities being urged to hurry up and deal with the issues.

Intermittent water supply and sewage issues in the capital have been
recurring problems for years, and most recently several suburbs across
western Harare were left without water for days because of a break down at
the Warren Control Pump Station. The areas have included the densely
populated Mbare suburb, as well as Glen View, Budiriro, Rugare, Sunningdale
and others. Almost a week later, most of the areas are still without clean
water.

Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda has promised that there will be an improved
water supply soon, after meeting with South African municipal water
authorities for advice.

“If everything goes according to plan, we should start seeing considerable
improvement in the provision of potable water from March onwards,” Masunda
told the Standard newspaper.

Masunda said the city council expected to spend about US$2 million on its
plan to reduce the ‘pressure’ on the water system, which he said was
currently too high.
“Our pipes are too old, some of them dating back to the mid-1970s, so you
can imagine what this pressure, which is high enough to kill a person, does
to them,” Masunda said.

But Masunda is being criticised for taking too long to come up with
solutions to the problems that have been dogging city residents for so many
years. The council has been repeatedly blamed for not doing enough and
residents have now said they have had enough.

The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) said this week that locals are “sick and
tired” of the situation, and are demanding changes. The Combined Harare
Residents’ Association (CHRA) echoed this sentiment on Wednesday telling SW
Radio Africa “the situation is a ticking time bomb.”

“There is a time when people are going to rise up and say ‘enough is enough’
and that time is coming and it is coming fast,” CHRA chairman Simbarashe
Moyo warned.

He said the city authorities have failed again and again to provide clean
water, and are always relying on the intervention of NGOs like UNICEF, which
has in the past sunk boreholes for communities.

“We cannot keep turning to the donor community. We are done with that. The
challenge must be solved by the municipality,” Moyo said.


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Mayor trashes pressure groups

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

Wednesday, 06 February 2013 12:18

HARARE - Harare residents representative groups are wasting their time
attacking council over service delivery issues in the media, the city’s
mayor Muchadeyi Masunda has said.

Masunda took a swipe at service delivery activists who have been “making
noise” on public platforms.
“All the problems bedevilling greater Harare require long-term and
sustainable solutions,” Masunda told the Daily News.

“The answers are certainly not going to come out of scoring brownie points
against each other in one-sided programmes on television or unbalanced
stories in newspapers,” he said.

Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) and Harare Residents Trust
(HRT) have been vocal in their criticism of council performance.

He called on residents representative organisations to join hands with the
struggling local authority to restore Harare’s sunshine status.

“I would like to extend an olive branch to pressure groups that have
mushroomed more recently to join forces with us in proactively grappling
with the myriad problems.

“These include indiscriminate vending and littering, domestic and industrial
pollution, traffic congestion caused by a proliferation of commuter
omnibuses, unmetered taxis and vehicles for driving schools, children and
homeless people living on the streets as well as the serious inconvenience
caused by commuter omnibuses to licensed shops and bona fide shoppers,” said
Masunda.

Meanwhile, Masunda chairs the John Sisk & Son board not Murray and Roberts
as stated in our Sunday paper. - Wendy Muperi


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Zimbabwe Secures $30 Million Grant For Water, Sanitation

http://www.voazimbabwe.com

Thomas Chiripasi
06.02.2013

The Australian government on Wednesday unveiled a $30 million grant that
will be channeled towards water and sanitation rehabilitation programs in 14
small towns in Zimbabwe.

Officiating at the grant handover ceremony, Margaret McKinnon, First
Assistant Director General of the Australian Agency for International
Development (AUSAID), said her government was committed to help Zimbabwe in
programs that uplift the standards of living of its people.

Accepting the small towns’ water, sanitation and hygiene programme grant,
Water Resources Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, said the resources would help
Zimbabwe fight the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera and
typhoid.

Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo said his ministry would ensure
that the local authorities will put the money to good use.

Interim UNICEF representative in Zimbabwe, Gianni Murzi, the Australian
grant will help Zimbabwe to achieve its millennium development goals on
health.

The grant will be managed through UNICEF.

Responding to a question from a journalist on why donor agencies continue to
channel their resources through organizations such as UNICEF, Minister Nkomo
said Zimbabwe remained under sanctions and cooperating funding partners have
indicated that they can only help Zimbabwe through UNICEF and other UN
agencies.

The grant availed by Australia will be used to improve the operational
capacity and efficiency of piped water supply systems in 14 targeted towns
through the rehabilitation of sewage and water reticulation systems and
treatment plants.


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Civil society ‘under siege’ as police raid youth offices in Bulawayo

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Violet Gonda
06 February 2013

Bulawayo police raided the offices of the National Youth Development Trust
on Wednesday, two days after arresting two youths from the organization for
allegedly possessing voter registration receipts.

Initially 40 people were detained on Monday but were later released, leaving
Brilliant Goboza and Ray Ncube.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights information officer, Kumbirai Mafunda,
said the two were released on Wednesday after their lawyer, Charles Moyo,
successfully challenged and convinced the prosecutor that they had not
committed a crime, resulting in them being freed before going to court.

Mafunda said during the raid on Wednesday police searched the group’s
offices looking for voter registration certificates or material which
‘negatively affected the state’.

There were no arrests this time around, but the police are said to have
confiscated some documents, including the organization’s workshop schedule
and transport reimbursement details of its members.
Mafunda said civil society is ‘under siege’ as the police intensify their
crackdown against activists ahead of elections.

He said ZimRights offices in Harare, Chinhoyi, Gwanda, Bulawayo have been
raided in recent weeks and several people have been arrested with charges
linked to voter registration.

There are currently four people, including Leo Chamahwinya (deputy programs
manager for ZimRights) still in detention, facing similar charges of
undertaking an “illegal” voter registration exercise ahead of the
forthcoming polls.


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Street kids rounded up by police in central Harare

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Staff Writer
6 February 2013

Streets kids and vagrants were this week rounded up in a police swoop that
involved organizations that work with vulnerable children.

Duduzile Moyo, a director with Streets Ahead, an NGO that works to protect
children living on the street from violence and abuse, said the exercise on
Monday was meant to reunite children with their families.

She said the raid on the streets was carried out after a meeting of all
stakeholders, who included the social services, police and NGO’s. Moyo also
confirmed that none of the children who were taken from the streets were put
in police cells or slept in custody.

‘As they were brought to the police stations we had our members waiting to
take them away to a safe, clean environment where we provide counseling,
rehabilitation and education,’ Moyo said.

While police said the kids’ presence on the streets of the capital had
transformed the city into a hostile environment for shopkeepers, commuters
and residents, Moyo said not all of them were out to cause problems.

‘Obviously there is growing concern when you see such a high number of these
kids rooming the streets and becoming unruly or engaging in violent
activities. This is where we come in to try and keep them away from trouble,’
she said.

Asked what forced the kids onto the streets, Moyo said there are many
complex reasons.

‘Poverty, family disintegration due to death or abandonment, abuse, neglect,
loss of parents due to HIV/AIDS, are all often triggers that result in a
child living on the street and doing hazardous work.

‘It is evident that conflict and poverty disasters can decimate communities,
leaving children helpless, without parents and family and resorting to a
life on the street, they simply have nowhere to go,’ Moyo added.

Our correspondent in Harare, Simon Muchemwa, cited business
sources who said many of the children and adults engaged in unlawful
activities like stealing, drug abuse and prostitution. The street kids have
also invaded food courts, becoming a public nuisance to customers keen to
enjoy their meals with family and friends.

Muchemwa said most of the children are not on the streets by choice but
forced out from their homes by circumstances beyond their control. He said
most are forced to go out and beg for money to supplement whatever little
income the family gets.

‘Lack of financial resources, cruel treatment and neglect are among the
factors that facilitate the huge presence of street children in the city,’
Muchemwa added.

A police spokesman Tadious Chibanda said street kids can be a danger to the
public as many become habitual criminals.

He explained that the police had received complaints from the public about
street children who end up robbing people or assisting criminals in
committing crimes in the Central Business District.


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MISA slams ‘misleading’ broadcasting licence call

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
06 February 2013

Media rights group MISA-Zimbabwe has slammed the national broadcasting
authority for attempting to “mislead” the public, by announcing new licences
were available.

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has announced that licences are
available for companies and individuals that that provide broadcast content.
This includes hotels, banks and even bus operators who broadcast radio or
television content to its clients. BAZ has since instructed all of these
groups to apply for licences or risk contravening the Broadcast Services
Act.

In a notice, BAZ said the licences were “not subject to a public inquiry:”

“The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe wishes to advise the public that the
law defines a broadcasting service in Section 2 (1) of the Broadcasting
Services Act (Chapter 12:06) as ‘any service which delivers television or
radio programmes to persons having equipment appropriate for receiving that
service’,” reads part of the notice.

The licence applications fees range from US$300 to US$10,000 depending on
what category the affected groups are listed under. For example; banks, five
star hotels and other business entities are expected to pay US$10,000 per
year if they broadcast television or radio content. Even bus operators, who
broadcast on their coaches, are subject to a US$100 per vehicle annual
licensing fee.

This new licensing structure comes as there is still an urgent need for the
opening of the airwaves in terms of independent radio groups and community
radio projects. To date, the only commercial ventures to be given broadcast
licences are Star FM and ZiFM, which have both been linked to ZANU PF and
the highly partisan state media.

MISA-Zimbabwe director Nhlanhla Ngwenya told SW Radio Africa that BAZ is
trying to “mislead the public that they are doing something about opening
the broadcasting sector.”

“It is clear this won’t do anything to help ordinary Zimbabweans access
information. It does nothing for people who need information across
Zimbabwe,” Ngwenya said.

The agreement that formed the unity government in 2009 clearly states that
media reform must be undertaken before an election. But Ngwenya warned that
this latest move by BAZ indicates such reform was unlikely. He said this was
a sign of BAZ’s reluctance to “open up the media space and offer more than
piecemeal changes.”

“We have witnessed this piecemeal approach to reform clearly in line with
what has been happening in Zimbabwe for ten years, with BAZ delivering so
little while appearing to give so much,” Ngwenya said.

He added: “It would appear we would not be having any meaning
democratisation of the media sector before elections.”


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Central bank governor blasted for ‘sanitising’ Makandiwa & Angel

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Violet Gonda
6 February 2013

Zimbabweans have expressed shock after seeing the country’s central bank
governor, Gideon Gono, appearing to give credence to the so-called ‘miracle
money’ prophets, Emmanuel Makandiwa and Eubert Angel, at a press conference
in Harare on Tuesday.

Economist John Robertson told SW Radio Africa the Reserve Bank Governor
missed the chance to caution the general public against the prosperity
gospel prophets. Instead Gono appeared to confirm that ‘miracle money’ is a
reality and his only concern was that such miracle money had to conform to
the laws regarding currency. Money being miraculously materialized should
come with a paper trail and proper serial numbers.

Social commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said the Gono press conference with this
controversial pair is in the same league as the incident of the diesel n’anga,
Rotina Mavhunga, who fooled ZANU PF ministers into believing that she could
miraculously draw diesel from a rock.

Ngwenya said this shows “Zimbabwe is a land of ‘jokers’, where you have the
head of the country’s bank paying attention to such ‘frivolous’ beliefs.

The two self-styled prophets have been dominating the news and drawing
thousands to their churches, claiming they can perform extraordinary
miracles, promising wealth and a better life to their followers.

Some worshippers reportedly found cash in their wallets, pockets and bank
accounts, while others claimed to have found diamonds and gold during the
church service. Some said they experienced equally ‘extraordinary miracles’
like hair being extended, sudden loss of weight and new teeth.

After the meeting with Makandiwa and Angel at the Reserve Bank offices Gono
said: “We, as the central bank, came in to give our views concerning their
work. They belong to the spiritual realm, we are charged with ensuring that
earthly laws are observed, implemented and monitored.”

Previously the banker had described the prophets’ claims as “very dangerous”
and said they could be breaching international laws governing the printing
of money. But in a complete u-turn Gono said he was now “sure that what the
two men of God do is not in violation of any rules.”

Gono said he could not prove that they had broken any laws, even though
there was no explanation as to how the ‘miracle money’ is being deposited
into individuals’ bank accounts without following normal banking
transactions or regulations.

Some observers have said that the central bank governor should be dealing
with facts and not hobnobbing with these prophets, which undermines his
credibility.

Robertson said Gono should never have allowed himself to be associated with
this activity in any way at all. “The implications now are that many people
are clever at defrauding other people and they are going to get away with
it.

The prosperity gospel duo in-turn said their “miracles” were based on
“restoration of what one would have lost” and “not on creation of money”.

Ngwenya said there is a fine line between “religious freedom and religious
insanity but then again Zimbabweans have a history of extreme behavior.”

The commentator said it is possible that with ZANU PF in the middle of an
election campaign it is looking at this huge block of potential voters from
the Pentecostal movement, and wanted Gono to do a bit of ‘damage control’.

“This to me is just one of those political jokes that is only meant to prove
that ZANU PF accommodates these eccentric characters for the purposes of
political capital.”

Ngwenya believes this ‘incites a sense of laziness in Zimbabweans that manna
comes from heaven.”

He pointed out that it is difficult to say how the prophets have committed a
crime since none of the so called beneficiaries have gone to a bank and
produced the money that has allegedly been materialized with the help of the
prophets.


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Gono meets prophets over ‘miracle money’ claims

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

05/02/2013 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono on Tuesday met
“prophets” Emmanuel Makandiwa and Uebert Angel Mudzanire over claims they
are making money appear miraculously in the pockets and bank accounts of
their followers.

Gono had previously described the claims as “very dangerous”, warning that
the “prophets” risked bringing international scrutiny on the country over
possible breach of international conventions relating to money laundering
and funding of terrorism.

But Makandiwa and Mudzanire told Gono during a meeting in Harare that their
“miracles” were based on “restoration and not on creation of money”.

Said Mudzanire: "We are not crazy! We did not say we are creating money.
This was merely restoration of what one would have lost.

“For instance, if you lose US$20 in Mutoko, when God restores that money you
will get it all back with serial numbers and everything.

"God is doing these miracles. Miracle money was a sign that God is able to
do greater things. But let it be put on record that we are not trying to
make people lazy."

Makandiwa added: "Today, we have made ourselves clear on how we operate to
the governor. We know there are laws that should be followed and we are
determined to do just that.

“Sometimes when we pray, things that most people do not understand might
happen. These things will continue happening.”

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the RBZ chief said he had only been
concerned by a possible violation of the law.
He said: “It was necessary to meet these people to understand whether they
are printing or minting money. As a superintendent of the financial sector,
you can’t stand disinterested when newspapers are awash with wild claims.

“They committed to observing earthly laws and that to me was very important.
There is no contradiction between what the prophets have been doing and the
laws of the land.

“Following the meeting, we are sure that what the two men of God do is not
in violation of any rules. There is no violation of the nature we feared.”

And speaking barely a week after Finance Minister Tendai Biti revealed that
Zimbabwe’s public account was down to US$217 after paying civil servants,
Gono joked: “The miracles, signs and wonders of this nature will not result
in the growth of the broad money supply. We should, therefore, not expect
the liquidity situation of the country to change.”

The two wealthy “prophets" have attracted widespread attention after
promising followers “wealth, health and a better life” in a country still
struggling to shake off the effects of a decade-long economic recession and
political strife.

Followers of Mudzanire claim to have “found” extra cash in their purses and
pockets during prayer sessions while Makandiwa’s congregants last month
claimed to have found themselves with diamonds and gold nuggets in their
hands during a miracle session.

In response to media reports, Gono had accused the “prophets” of making
irresponsible claims and urged them to find other ways of “pleasing their
followers”.

“I can safely say that what they are telling people is very dangerous indeed
and they must stop it forthwith. You cannot just wake up in the morning and
say that my account has this much money (but) I cannot tell where it came
from … it’s not possible,” Gono said.

“It is possible however, that our men of God are not aware of all these
serious earthly laws and could be at risk of breaking them unknowingly, but
then, as the saying goes, ignorance of the law is no defence.

“We are a country still under illegal sanctions and economic siege and, in
any case, where were these miracle men and women of God during the period
1998 to 2008 when some of us were trying every trick in and outside the book
to keep this country afloat?”


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Zimbabwe’s central banker warns about SA imports

http://www.bdlive.co.za

BY RAY NDLOVU, FEBRUARY 06 2013, 07:26

HARARE — The governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, has
warned that the country’s overreliance on imports from South Africa could
undermine Zimbabwe’s economic recovery prospects.

South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner, with trade between the
two countries growing from R19.2bn in 2011 to R22.5bn last year — mostly in
South Africa’s favour.

"Exports realised over the period January to December 2012 amounted to
$3.8bn, which compares unfavourably with imports of $7.5bn," Mr Gono said.
"It doesn’t require rocket science to appreciate the fact that where a
country is relying more and more on importation of finished products,
particularly those that it can produce on its own, is on a path of
self-destruction and deindustrialisation."

Mr Gono, who presented the central bank’s monetary policy statement last
week, painted a grim picture of the country’s economic state that reflected
low exports, limited foreign direct investment and weak international
commodity prices. The affected minerals included platinum, copper and
diamonds.

Zimbabwe relies heavily on minerals for revenue generation.

Analysts have said the stalled economic growth was an indictment of the
four-year-old unity government that has been fraught with political
bickering and economic policy inconsistency.

Zimbabwe’s trade deficit stands at $3.6bn and its manufacturing industry is
reeling under the weight of imports from South Africa, which account for 65%
of the total into the economy. As a result, industry capacity utilisation
declined from 57% in 2011 to slightly under 44% last year.

According to the industry and commerce ministry, Zimbabwe’s industry
requires about $2bn for re-capitalisation after being decimated by
hyperinflation in 2008.

Economics professor at the University of Zimbabwe Tony Hawkins said the
economy was characterised by excess consumption spending by the private
sector and the state, negligible savings, and an unsustainable balance of
payments position.

The country’s overall balance of payments remains in deficit and stood at
$498m last year. Zimbabwe is further saddled with a $10bn debt. It owed the
World Bank $1.2bn, the African Development Bank $500m, the International
Monetary Fund $200m and the Paris Club of Creditors $3bn, among many others.

Trevor Maisiri, a senior analyst based at the Johannesburg office of the
International Crisis Group, said yesterday that goods from South Africa
would continue to flood the Zimbabwean market because they were cheaper. The
Zimbabwean manufacturing sector is in decline and unable to meet local
demand.

"Zimbabwe will need to resolve the current liquidity challenges, high
interest rates, low volumes of capital and restrictive capital sources ," Mr
Maisiri said. "However, these challenges are not merely operational, (they )
are structural and dependent on the overall political and economic landscape
."


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Zimbabwe implicated in CIA torture report

http://www.insiderzim.com/

Wednesday, 06 February 2013 10:00

Zimbabwe has been implicated as one of the 54 countries that were involved
in assisting the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States in
torturing individuals who were suspected of being involved with Al Qaeda
following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in Washington and New
York.
It is alleged to have detained Fahad al Bahli, Ibrahim Habaci, Khalifa Abdi
Hassan, Mahmud Sardar Issa, and Arif Ulusam after they were arrested in June
2003 in Malawi, in a joint operation involving the CIA and Malawi’s National
Intelligence Bureau.

The five are said to have been flown to Harare, where they were held for
almost a month, and ultimately flown to Sudan where they were released,
according to a report by the Open Society Foundation released yesterday.

The report says there were no known judicial cases or investigations in
Zimbabwe relating to its participation in CIA secret detention and
extraordinary rendition operations.

But it adds that while primary responsibility for the human rights
violations associated with the CIA’s secret detention and extraordinary
rendition operations no doubt lies with the United States, countries that
participated or assisted in these operations also bear responsibility for
these violations.

“International human rights law not only bars states from directly
committing the violations associated with the extraordinary rendition and
secret detention programmes, but also obligates them not to transfer
individuals to states where they are at real risk of torture or to otherwise
cooperate with or facilitate the commission of those violations,” the report
says.

The report lists 136 individuals reportedly subjected to the CIA operations
in 54 countries.

The 54 governments identified in the report are: Afghanistan, Albania,
Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt,
Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland,
Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia,
Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania,
Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria,
Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen,
and Zimbabwe.


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Solidarity demo for WOZA

http://www2.amnesty.org.uk
WOZA demonstrationMembers of WOZA peacefully demonstrating, Feb 2012 Private

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) was formed in 2003 to give women an united voice against the social and human rights conditions in Zimbabwe. Since then, WOZA members have been repeatedly arrested, harassed and beaten by police after exercising their right to peacefully protest.

Next week will be the tenth anniversary of WOZA’s first Valentine protest and to mark the occasion Amnesty activists are organising a demo in London on 16 February. The details are below if you're interested in taking part.

The demo will take place from 1-2pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe
429 Strand
London
WC2R 0JR
The nearest underground station is Charing Cross

Please bring a single paper rose (or real if you prefer) to lay outside the embassy gate before the demo.

For more information, please contact Maggie Towse, the Zimbabwe Country Co-ordinator: maggie.towse@amnesty.org.uk.

You can find out more about WOZA here.


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$600 000 for Mugabe's 89th birthday bash

http://www.news24.com

2013-02-06 14:01

Cape Town - Preparations for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's 89th
birthday celebrations have begun, with the fundraising committee aiming to
raise $600 000 for the event, according to a report.

The state-owned Herald reported on Wednesday that the funds were expected to
be raised from the country’s 10 provinces.

The celebrations, slated for Chipadze Stadium in Bindura on 23 February,
will be held under the theme "Youth for Indigenisation, Empowerment,
Development and Employment Creation".

The chairperson of the fundraising committee, Absolom Sikhosana, could not
be drawn to disclose how much had been raised so far, but said "everything
was on course", adding that "those assigned to carry out various tasks were
working timeously".

"We have raised a substantial amount for the event. Everything is moving
according to plan and it is our hope that we will meet our targets," he
said.

Sikhosana said donors were providing overwhelming support and called on
others to be involved in the celebrations.

Over 60 000 people were expected to attend the occasion.

Although Mugabe is now one of Africa's oldest leaders, age hasn't dented his
enthusiasm for office and he is set to contest in upcoming elections after
more than three decades in power.


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Coltart responds to 81 percent O level failure rate

http://nehandaradio.com/

on February 6, 2013 at 8:03 am

By Staff Reporter

Zimbabwe was plunged into serious debate after 81.6 percent of children
failed their 2012 Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) Ordinary
Level examinations, a drop from the previous year’s equally shocking 80.5
percent.

Only 31,767 pupils out of 172,698 countrywide passed in five subjects with
Zimsec attributing the decline to an increase in the number of students who
registered for the exams, which went up by over 20,000 from last year.

Education, Sport and Culture Minister Senator David Coltart reacted to the
news and gave the following reaction.

It is important to put the O level results in context. When I took office on
the 13th February 2009 the O level exams had not even been marked, never
mind announced. The O level pass rate for 2008 was 14.44% for the 207212
children who wrote.

The pass rate for 2012 is 18,4% for the 268854 children who wrote. So whilst
these results are very serious they must be out in their proper context.
Enormous damage has been done to our education system in the last decade.

For example we lost 20000 teachers in 2007 and 2008 and the damage done by
that alone to a generation of children cannot be easily undone. Whilst we
have made significant strides in stabilizing our education system much
remains to be done.

The same applies to the other exams. For example in 2009, 272397 children
wrote Grade 7 exams and the pass rate was 20.11%. That has now risen in 2012
to 292375 children writing and the pass rate is now 31.5%.

In 2008 33985 children wrote A levels with a pass rate of 67.21% which has
risen in 2012 to 36678 children writing at a pass rate of 82.09%. This
gradual overall progress has been achieved in an environment of minimal
Government funding for education outside of the payment of teachers.

Whilst donor support through the Education Transition Fund has been generous
it has been small compared to the amount of donor support the education
sector got in the 1980s. For example in one year alone in the 1980s the US
Government contributed over US$100 million to the education sector.

The total US Government support for the sector since I took office in 2009
has been US$1 million, and no support whatsoever has been forthcoming for
the 2nd phase of the Education Transition Fund from that quarter.

The damage done to the education sector by the chaos of the last decade (and
underfunding for two decades) is incalculable but we see the effects through
these low pass rates.

It is going to take our collective, and sustained, effort as a Nation and
increased international support if we are to restore excellence to our
education sector.

There has been absolutely no discussion regarding the 2012 Grade 7 results.
In 2011, 288365 children sat with a pass rate of 28.89%. In 2012 that went
up to 292375 with a pass rate of 31.5%.

Relevant to this is the fact that we concentrated on the Primary sector
first – for example we got text books out to the Primary sector in 2011.
Textbooks for Secondary schools were only distributed at the end of 2011 and
we are still in the process of completing that exercise.

So many of the children who wrote O levels last year at best only had
textbooks in Form 4. Anyone who expects children to do well without
textbooks simply doesn’t understand the basics of a good education system.


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Zimbabwe to have open prison system

http://www.zimdiaspora.com/

WEDNESDAY, 06 FEBRUARY 2013 00:09

By Correspondents

ZIMBABWE is to start building first ever open prisons in the country, a
senior Government official has said.

The development follows recommendations that the current convectional
incarceration system is not ideal as some inmates have to live with their
babies in prison.

At the moment 69 babies are living with their mothers in prison.

Responding to journalists during a recent media tour of Harare Central
Remand Prison recently, Commissioner of Prisons Retired Major General
Paradzai Zimondi said the site had been identified in Marondera.

Rtd Maj Gen Zimondi lamented gaps resulting from shortages of finance in the
department.

“Finances remain a major challenge, the service has partnered with the
corporate world, religious and civic organisations, as well as individuals
who felt the need to extend their generous hand to prisoners,” said Rtd Maj
Gen Zimondi.

“Some have since withdrawn their assistance while others are continuing to
assist and this has alleviated challenges of feeding and clothing
prisoners.”

It is estimated that construction of the prison will cost close to US$700
000.

There are 16 315 people in the country’s prisons.

Of these 587 are women.

The open prison system allows inmates with relatively light sentences to
check in at the prisons, yet be free to visit their families during
weekends.

In some instances, prisoners may be allowed to go back home every evening if
they are able to report to the prison in the morning.

Male prisoners have an open prison at Connemara in the Midlands Province.


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Zimbabwe selling elephants cheap to China

http://www.mercurynews.com

By Erin Conway-Smith, GlobalPost
Posted: 02/05/2013 08:01:03 AM PST

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Over and over again, the baby elephant scrapes
its skin against the metal bars of a zoo in northern China, appearing
agitated and distressed.

Not long ago this elephant lived with its family herd in the wilds of Hwange
National Park, the largest reserve in Zimbabwe. Then it was caught, and
along with three other young elephants, flown halfway around the world.

At Taiyuan Zoo, where Chinese animal lovers filmed the plight of the little
lone elephant behind bars, another that came from Zimbabwe died soon after
its long and difficult journey. The elephants arrived in late November,
during a winter of record cold temperatures.

Now animal rights groups in Zimbabwe are fighting to stop more of their
country's baby elephants from being taken from the wild and sold to zoos in
China, which pay handsomely for these animals from Zimbabwe's cash-strapped
national parks.

China and Zimbabwe have close political and economic ties, with trade
between them reaching more than $800 million last year. There is no shortage
of elephants in southernAfrica and there is demand in China, but animal
rights groups argue it's inhumane to take young animals from the wild and
send them on difficult journeys to overseas zoos where they are kept — often
in dire conditions.

Dave Neale, director of animal welfare for the Animals Asia Foundation, said
that trade in wild elephants caught and sold by Zimbabwe to China is legal
under CITES, the international authority that regulates trade in wildlife.

But it is “far from ethical,” he said.

Elephant calves form close bonds with their mothers and other female
relatives, Neale explained, and removing a young elephant from its herd in
the wild to captivity is devastating. Many of the calves die, he added.

“From a moral standpoint, removing a highly intelligent, social animal from
its family group and wild habitat to be shipped to another country and
placed inside a concrete cell cannot be justified,” Neale said. “This trade
in wild-caught elephants is morally repugnant and should stop immediately.”

After news of the young African elephant's death at Taiyuan Zoo, five other
3- and 4-year-old elephants slated to be sent to China were returned to the
wild following weeks of pressure from the Zimbabwe National SPCA. While
animal lovers cheered this success, by that point it was impossible for the
young elephants' family herds to be located.

And while that shipment was stopped, animal rights groups say there are
reports of four more baby elephants soon to be exported to China.

Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, has been
working to draw attention to the situation, and fears this won't be the end.
He said that Chinese zoos have paid for a total of eight elephants, and when
public attention lessens, the rest of the order will be shipped.

“When everybody cools down, these animals are going to go,” Rodrigues said.

He said that Zimbabwe's national parks badly need the money — they have been
unable to pay the wages of employees the past few months.

Caroline Washaya-Moyo, spokeswoman for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife
Management Authority, the government agency that runs the country's national
parks, couldn't be reached by phone despite repeated attempts, and didn't
respond to emails requesting an interview.

Ed Lanca, chairman of the Zimbabwe National SPCA, said this moneymaking
venture by Zimbabwe's national parks “is basically kidnapping.”

“It's unacceptable that a baby elephant is taken from its mother and sent to
a foreign country with substandard conditions,” he said.

Lanca said the Zimbabwe National SPCA, which is barely surviving on limited
private donor funding, has too few resources to help monitor the exports of
elephants. His organization only has two animal welfare inspectors for the
entire country, and their last truck capable of making out-of-town trips
recently broke down.

“If another export happens, we can't assist because I don't have the means
to intervene,” he said. “It's dire.”


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New book reignites debate over Zimbabwe land reform

http://www.amsterdamnews.com

Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 10:32 am

Feb. 5 (GIN) – Authors of a new book, Zimbabwe Takes Back its Land, have set
off sparks with the claim that despite political violence and
hyperinflation, the black farmers who received land under President Robert
Mugabe’s “fast track” land reform are doing relatively well, improving their
lives and becoming increasingly productive, especially since the US dollar
became the local currency.
The authors, Teresa Smart, Joseph Hanlon and Jeannette Manjengwa, scholars
from UK universities, reject the dominant media narratives of oppression and
economic stagnation in Zimbabwe. They spoke at a recent UK roundtable at the
thinktank Chatham House.
“Fast track” land reform made headlines around the world when Pres. Mugabe
acceded to demands of liberation war vets to receive land occupied by
whites. Thousands of landless Black farmers and some friends of the Mugabe
administration received small and large plots.
Today, a growing number of writers and researchers, including New York Times
correspondent Lydia Polgreen, are moderating their criticism of the south
African country.
Polgreen noted that fewer than 2,000 farmers were growing tobacco when
fast-track began in 2000, and most of those farmers were white. “Today,
60,000 farmers grow tobacco, the vast majority of them black and many of
them working small plots … Most had no tobacco farming experience yet
managed to produce a hefty crop, from a low of 105 million pounds in 2008 to
more than 330 million pounds this year.”
Not all Zimbabweans, however, share her views. Jaquelin Kataneksza, writing
on the blog Africa is a Country, wrote scathingly: “What this book
achieves … is to sanitize and trivialize a decade of mayhem. Mugabe, the
“champion of mass justice,” asserted that the redistribution of land in
Zimbabwe would redress the wrongs of colonial injustice. Yet, it was
conducted in a way that appears to make a mockery of the very notions it
supposedly espoused–those of justice, equity and freedom.”
Zimbabwe Vigil, a dissident group in the UK also found fault: “If, as
claimed in the book, agricultural production is returning to former levels,
the Vigil warmly welcomes it. But this assertion does not square with the
statement by the UN that 1.6 million Zimbabweans are facing starvation –
some 12% of the population – and for yet another year Zimbabwe needs
international food aid.”
Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land is available in paperback on Amazon.com


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Take Charge: Vote no in the referendum (NCA Press Statement)

http://www.sokwanele.com

AUTHOR:SOKWANELEDATE:FEB 05, 2013

TAKE CHARGE: VOTE NO IN THE REFERENDUM - NCA PRESS STATEMENT Presented at
Bumbiro/Isisekelo House

SAY NO TO A CONSTITUTION BY POLITICAL PARTIES: THE PEOPLE MUST WRITE THEIR
OWN CONSTITUTION

1. The mission of the NCA has remained unchanged over the years. It is
to advocate for a new, democratic and people-driven constitution in our
country. By a people-driven process, we mean a process led by an independent
Constitutional Commission not answering to the dictates of politicians of
the day. It is on the basis of this approach and its mission that the NCA
rejected the COPAC process and vowed to urge the people of Zimbabwe not to
accept any constitution authored for them by three self-serving political
parties. It is now clear that COPAC is exclusively an affair of three
political parties. The COPAC Draft Constitution is neither people-driven nor
democratic and must be rejected. The NCA is campaigning for A NO VOTE in the
envisaged referendum.

2. The NCA calls upon the inclusive government to ensure that the
referendum is credible and that the people be afforded a free and fair
framework to exercise their choice in the matter. The following are the
conditions we demand:

Making the Draft available as widely as possible in the major languages.
Adequate period for the campaign to enable all voters to have a full grasp
of the provisions of the Draft Constitution before making their choice. A
minimum of two months is required. Our lawyers have been instructed to make
an urgent challenge in the Supreme Court should a shorter period be given.
Suspension of the provisions of POSA for campaign meetings. If this is not
done, the NCA reserves its right to campaign without being restricted by
POSA.
Equal access to the public media by both the YES and NO voices.
Impartial civic education on the contents by the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission and civil society (other than NCA). The NCA regards any outreach
programmes by COPAC on the draft as partisan.
Peaceful campaigns and in this regard call upon the political parties in the
inclusive government to desist from any forms of violence and intimidation.
3. The NCA recognises that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is an
independent body. We call upon it

to provide training to polling agents for both the YES and NO sides. The NCA
has no resources to train its agents.
to announce details relating to eligibility to vote(whether its by IDs only
or there is a voters roll) and polling stations at least two months before
polling day.
to monitor provisions on equal access to the media.
4. The NCA`s main campaign strategy will be door to door and small
group meetings.

5. Here are our reasons for the VOTE NO CAMPAIGN.

A. PROCESS

1. This is not a democratic and people-driven constitution. A
democratic constitution must be people-driven.

2. This is a constitution being imposed on us by three political
parties, yet the people are bigger than these three political parties.

3. No political party or group of political parties must be allowed to
give the country a constitution. A constitution must come from the people.

4. It is not about what people wanted or said but about the selfish and
personal interests of politicians. We need a constitution that will survive
the test of time and not a deal for current politicians.

5. Politicians spent 4 years and squandered over US$50 million to
produce a constitution which is not good for the country but for themselves.

6. If people say YES to a constitution being imposed by political
parties, they will be giving away their power permanently and politicians
will never respect the people and the country will not develop.

7. A NO vote is the answer. It will allow people to write their own
constitution after the elections through an INDEPENDENT CONSTITUTIONAL
COMMISSION.

B. CONTENT

8. The constitution leaves all power in the President, who is allowed
to do what he/she wants. Here are the powers of the President:

The President is head of state, head of government and commander in
chief.(sec 89).
The powers of the President as head of state are unlimited.(sec 110(1)).
The president appoints all Ministers and Deputy Ministers on his/her own
without the approval of Parliament.(sec 104).
There is no maximum limit on the number of Ministers and Deputy Ministers.
It is up to the President.(sec 104).
The President alone constitutes the Cabinet.(sec105). The statement in the
Draft Constitution saying the President exercises executive authority
“through cabinet” has no value because the Cabinet is the President`s baby.
All Cabinet Ministers are hired and fired by the President at his/her
pleasure.
The President is allowed to appoint up to three Ministers from outside
Parliament. This is bringing back appointed non constituency MPs. (sec
104(3)).
The President appoints all ambassadors without consulting anybody.(sec 204).
The President has the final say over the appointment of all permanent
secretaries.(sec 205).
The President appoints all security chiefs (Army Commanders, Commissioner of
Police, Director of CIO etc). In making these appointments, all the
President is required to do is to consult one of his/her Ministers.(Chapter
11).
The President has the final say over the appointment of all judges. (sec
180). Although there is provision for interviews, the President has power to
refuse to appoint any of those recommended and order the Judicial Service
Commission to start afresh.
The President has the final say over the appointment of all Commissions
including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. (chapter 12).
The President approves salaries, allowances and benefits for all civil
servants from the lowest to the highest worker. (sec203(4)). The President
still has this power after appointing a Minister for the Public Service and
the Civil Service Commission.
The President has power to dissolve Parliament if it refuses to pass his/her
government`s budget.(sec 143(3)).
The President also has power to dissolve Parliament if it passes a vote of
no confidence in his/her government. (sec 109(4)).
The Constitution does not impose a duty on the President to answer questions
in Parliament. It leaves this to be decided by a future Parliament so that
the political party controlling Parliament will shield the President from
answering questions.(sec 140(3)).
The President has unlimited immunity while in office and is allowed to plead
“good faith” after leaving office.(sec 98).
The President has power to declare war. The role of Parliament in this
regard is useless.(sec 111).
The President has power to pardon his/her political allies. (sec 112).
The President has power to declare a state of emergency. (sec 113).
9. There are 2 Vice Presidents.(sec 92). We no longer need 2 Vice
presidents in a new constitution.

10. The size of Parliament has been increased to a total of 350 MPs( 270
National Assembly and 80 Senators).(sec 120 and 124). We have no resources
for such a huge legislature.

11. The increase in the size of Parliament is coming from an additional 60
seats for women. The quota for female MPs should be taken out of the
existing number of MPs without increasing the size of Parliament.

12. Despite its huge size, Parliament remains very weak. It is just a talk
shop. So why increase the number of MPs to join a talk shop. The political
parties are just creating employment for their supporters at the expense of
the people.

13. There are no term limits for Members of Parliament.

14. Except for the Bill of Rights, this constitution can be amended by
Parliament without a referendum.(sec 328). This means that all provisions
including those on term limits will be amended by future Parliaments, thus
maintaining the current problem where the constitution has been amended
several times.

15. For the next ten years, if the President resigns or dies, there are no
by-elections for the President. The country is given a President by the
political party of the former President, yet people elect a person and not a
political party as President.( see paragraph 14, schedule 6). This means
that if there are internal fights in the political party concerned, the
country will have to go without a President until the political party sorts
itself out. Is this not making political parties more important than the
country? Further, does this mean that a citizen not nominated by a political
party cannot stand for the office of President? The issue of running mates
which will apply after ten years did not come from the people.

16. There is no devolution at all. There are very weak Provincial Councils
composed of the same people who are in Parliament. MPs will have two jobs:
the province and Parliament. The provincial Councils do not govern anything
in the Province.(chapter 14).

17. There is no provision compelling the State to allocate a specified
minimum percentage of the nation`s revenue to deal with the needs of the
poor. A people- driven constitution will allocate specific funding for food,
health, education and water.

18. Most rights in the Bill of rights are listed for decoration as there is
no mechanism for their realisation.

19. For workers, the right to strike is very restricted and will not be
available, while government workers will continue to be subject to
conditions of work different from those of other workers, such as with
collective bargaining.

20. There is no right to vote for Zimbabweans in the diaspora.

21. The Zimbabwe Media Commission established by the constitution(sec 248)
will be an instrument used by the state to undermine freedom of expression.

22. The winner-take-all electoral system is still intact despite the demand
by the people for a mixed electoral system, allowing proportional
representation for half the MPs.

23. The death penalty does not apply to all female murderers and males above
70 years. This is undesirable. If the death penalty is retained, it must not
be applied in this discriminatory way. (sec 48).

24. There are provisions which will apply after several years ranging from
seven to ten years. Why have them in the constitution now? The idea is to
have a constitution which will not affect the political leaders promoting
this constitution. Some provisions will disappear after ten years.

SIGNED: LOVEMORE MADHUKU

NCA CHAIRPERSON (5 FEBRUARY,2013).


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