News - Africa news
Politics - Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, said here Friday
that the country would hold by-elections for 38 parliamentary constituencies
which fell vacant after their sitting legislators either died or were
expelled by their parties.
The country's ruling three-party coalition had agreed not to hold any
election to avoid violence and allow for reconciliation following
inter-party fighting in the last general elections in 2008 which claiming
the lives of scores of people.
This was also meant to allow for reconciliation, and a cooling down of
But the country's Supreme Court last week threw out the agreement as
This followed a petition to the court by three legislators who wanted
by-elections to be held in their constituencies after they were expelled by
But Chinamasa said the inter-party agreement would now fall away, and the
country would head to polls in 38 vacant parliamentary constituencies.
'Country-wide, we will have to run harmonised elections for all vacant seats
in both parliament and local elections,' he said.
'The implication is we can't hold by-elections in three vacant
constituencies only, but in 38 parliamentary vacant seats and in all vacant
seats in local authorities as well,' said Chinamasa.
WONAI MASVINGISE, 8 hours 2 minutes ago
Mugabe would call for harmonised polls to fill vacant posts in the Senate,
Mugabe would call for harmonised polls to fill vacant posts in the Senate,
The two MDC formations on Friday welcomed indications that President Robert
Mugabe will order by-elections in 38 vacant constituencies, saying they are
ready for the polls.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa told the Senate on Thursday that the
by-elections would be held before the end of the year following a Supreme
Court ruling last week ordering Mugabe to call for House of Assembly polls
in Bulilima East, Lupane East and Nkayi South.
This was after former MPs Njabuliso Mguni, Abedinico Bhebhe and Norman Mpofu
dragged the veteran ruler to court for delaying the by-elections.
Chinamasa said instead of confining the elections to the three
constituencies, Mugabe would call for harmonised polls to fill vacant posts
in the Senate, House of Assembly and local councils.
Analysts yesterday said Zanu PF would try to use the polls to test the mood
in the country ahead of a crucial general election due before June next
Douglas Mwonzora, MDC-T spokesperson, told NewsDay that although it was not
Chinamasa’s role to announce when elections would be held, his party was
ready to contest in the by-elections if they were held in a free and fair
“First of all, it is not Chinamasa who has the responsibility of announcing
when and where elections will be held,” he said.
“He is not the President of Zimbabwe nor is he the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, so what he has said must be taken for what it is: a statement of
wish by a Zanu PF functionary.
“Having said that, the MDC is not worried over whether the elections will be
held in three constituencies or in 38. The MDC is insisting that it is ready
for elections at any time.”
He said the elections must be free and fair without any political violence.
“For as long as that is done, we are ready for elections at any time and we
will win those elections,” Mwonzora said.
“These elections will test the sincerity of the parties in the GPA (Global
Political Agreement), especially Zanu PF and Mugabe.”
Kurauone Chihwayi, MDC deputy spokesperson, concurred with Mwonzora saying
his party was more than ready to participate in the by-elections.
“Our understanding is that the judgment was for the three by-elections,”
Chihwayi said. “We don’t have a problem if they hold the elections in all
the 38 constituencies if they have the resources.
“We as a party are ready to contest. Our congress resolution made at our
last congress meeting was that we agreed that we would go to every part of
this country and contest anywhere where there is an election.
“We are ready and we are very confident that in those 38 we won’t enter as
“We have made inroads, we have adequate ammunition to wrestle for those
seats. We are hoping to prove that we have covered a lot of ground and we
are a national party.”
Zanu PF hardliners have been calling for by-elections in the 38
constituencies that have fallen vacant since 2009 saying it would be one of
the ways of collapsing the inclusive government, which they say has become
The party believes it has regained support after a dismal performance in
2008 where it lost control of Parliament to the two MDC formations in 2008.
Analysts believe Zanu PF has not managed to reverse its decline and faces a
real test in the next polls. - NewsDay
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, also the MDC mainstream party President,
has urged the international community to support the democratisation process
by Tawanda Majoni
Addressing participants to a United Nations University debate on Africa’s
democratisation in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, Tsvangirai said there was need
for international players to help consummate a fragile transition process in
‘‘(It) would be remiss of me to leave this platform without seeking your
support for the delicate transition process towards democracy that is taking
place in Zimbabwe,’’ Tsvangirai said.
His MDC is part of a three-party coalition government formed in early 2009,
after the 2008 Global Political Agreement providing a roadmap to a new and
democratic political dispensation.
Zanu (PF), led by President Robert Mugabe, and a smaller MDC party led by
Welshman Ncube, complete the Government of National Unity that all parties
acknowledge is marred by discord.
The GPA was agreed on by the three parties in Sadc-brokered talks following
a wave of politically motivated violence that resulted in the deaths of more
than 300 people aligned to Tsvangirai’s party during a presidential run-off
in June 2008.
Tsvangirai had beaten Mugabe in the first round but could not form a
government because he did not garner enough votes to do so.
The GPA exhorts the parties to implement key electoral, media and political
reforms that would create a conducive environment for the holding of a free
and fair poll.
‘‘As we prepare for the next election, I urge all of you to support the call
for a free and fair election in Zimbabwe in which the people's will is
respected and protected. I urge all of you to be ambassadors of democracy,
torch bearers for a peaceful environment in our country that will enable
citizens to cast their vote without let or hindrance,’' he said.
He added: ‘‘I urge you all to support SADC and the regional effort in
stabilising the situation in Zimbabwe so that the people in our country are
allowed to choose their own government without violence and intimidation. I
call upon every one of you to stand by us in this delicate moment, aware
that we must all become global citizens ready to defend peace and democracy
He described the fight for a democracy in this country as ‘‘an
extra-ordinary struggle by ordinary people keen to create a new culture and
a new country with new values’’ and hoped for a ‘‘new Zimbabwe with a
legitimately elected government and in which the ordinary citizen will be
free to pursue and live their dream’’.
The dates for the next general elections are yet to be announced.
Mugabe has been calling for the immediate holding of elections, but local
and international pressure against that position seems to have prevailed,
with 2013 increasingly becoming the likely year to conduct the polls.
Tsvangirai took a swipe at coalition governments in Africa, saying they
shortchanged the electorate.
‘‘What we have seen in coalitions such as the one in my country, Zimbabwe,
demonstrates a serious breach and betrayal of the will of the people because
those who lost the election were brought back into government through the
formation of undemocratic “inclusive”
governments. Inclusive governments that are exclusive to the people's will.
They have become more of elite pacts than the true expression of the will of
the people,’’ he said.
Written by Editor
Saturday, 21 July 2012 13:13
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has made an international appeal
to pressure President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF to end violence and to ensure
a credible poll in Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai told delegates at the United Nations University in Tokyo
yesterday that Zimbabwe was preparing for an election he hoped regional and
international leaders would monitor to ensure a credible result to help end
the troubled coalition government.
“As we prepare for the next election, I urge all of you to support the call
for a free and fair election in Zimbabwe in which the people’s will is
respected and protected,” Tsvangirai said.
“The people of Zimbabwe would greatly benefit from a global campaign to end
violence and to ensure a credible poll in our country.
“I urge you all to support Sadc and the regional effort in stabilising the
situation in Zimbabwe so that the people in our country are allowed to
choose their own government without violence and intimidation,” he said
referring to South African leader President Jacob Zuma, who has a regional
responsibility to mediate in the Zimbabwean power-sharing deal.
“I call upon every one of you to stand by us during this delicate moment,
aware that we must all become global citizens ready to defend peace and
Tsvangirai is on an official visit to Japan and was proceeding to Australia
and New Zealand where he was officially invited by the two governments.
The Prime Minister said he was confident he would win the next election to
end the power-sharing deal he entered with Mugabe, adding that his main task
would be to revive Zimbabwe’s economy.
Mugabe wants the elections held this year, but Tsvangirai has demanded
“Any government and leadership that claims to be in charge should have the
clear mandate of its people,” he said.
“What we have seen in coalitions such as the one in my country, Zimbabwe,
demonstrates a serious breach and betrayal of the will of the people because
those who lost the election were brought back into government through the
formation of undemocratic ‘inclusive’ governments.
“Inclusive governments that are exclusive to the people’s will. They have
become more of elite pacts than the true expression of the will of the
The fragile coalition government has been marred by disagreements between
the former political foes, with Tsvangirai claiming that Mugabe is reluctant
to make Zimbabwe a democracy.
The Prime Minister has said elections would be held in 12 months.
Tsvangirai said while all African nations have gained their independence
with the last bastion of a racist edifice collapsing with the advent of a
new South Africa in 1994, he said he has had to wage a new struggle for
democracy against some of the former nationalists who have perfected the
same repression used by colonists to subjugate Africa for almost a century.
“As an opposition leader in our democratic struggle in Zimbabwe, I was
treated with scorn, vilified with impunity and generally treated as an
enemy. How dare I have a different view?
“This intolerance polarised the nation, scarred society and the people
suffered as a consequence,” he said.
“When the inclusive government was formed after protracted negotiations in
2009, I became Prime Minister, sharing national responsibilities with
“I had won an election but did not win power because of certain pillars in
the State that decided not to allow the will of the people to prevail. Now
the barriers of suspicion are slowly collapsing and I am now an opponent and
not an enemy.”
The PM said the misfortune of Africa was that leaders have helped to confirm
and to entrench the negative stereotype of a continent of political
violence, conflict, disease, hunger and war.
“They have pilfered national resources, pick-pocketed the collective people’s
struggle and shut their ears to the loud national demand for democracy and
good governance,” Tsvangirai said.
“They have personalised national institutions, perfected the art of
political patronage and undermined their own legacy.”
He said this was the same culture that brought about the Arab Spring
revolution that swept long-serving dictators in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya out
of power. Tsvangirai said African leaders must realise that they were not
immune to the revolutionary fervour that has swept through North Africa and
now the Middle East.
“That challenge for us as the new crop of African leaders is to consign
repression and mis-governance to the dustbins and to create a new society
with new values,” he said.
“We are a new generation which must focus on building strong economies,
creating jobs and developing a qualitative and affordable social delivery
system especially in the fields of health and education.
“We must embrace ICTs and become part of the global village. ICTs will
enable us to realise our full potential and bring all citizens to the same
level in terms of economic development and access to information.”
20 July 2012
Violet Gonda | London
Zimbabwe's draft constitution, completed this week by the parliamentary
select committee responsible for crafting the country's new charter, will
see the Southern African nation adopting 16 official languages, up from just
The final draft states that Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan,
Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana,
Venda and Xhosa will be treated equally.
Law lecturer at Kent University in the United Kingdom, Alex Magaisa, was one
of the expert advisers to the select committee.
He says the official languages issue created heated debates during
discussions with many arguing the need to recognize different cultures in
But the legal expert said a practical approach still needs to be taken on
the issue. It's one thing, he says, to have an official language but another
to have a language of record.
“A language of record means if you go to a court of law it is the language
which the records are kept. If you are going to have multiple languages then
you might have a very serious problem," said Magaisa.
“Let’s assume you go to Chipinge and Ndau is used there as a language of
record, and someone else does not speak Ndau and only speaks Tonga, and
someone else might want to get a record in English – it means you have to
prepare the record in three languages and that is going to be a practical
He said the list appears to be exclusive and that it would have been easier
to simply say all indigenous languages in Zimbabwe are official languages in
addition to English to keep the list open.
In a wide-ranging interview analyzing critical issues in the proposed
charter, Magaisa told the VOA’s Violet Gonda that other notable aspects
include an emphasis on the issue of gender equality and specific rights
given to women.
“Women will have the same rights of guardianship as men. There are also
issues of protection of women in marriage insofar as property is concerned
and in regards to inheritance where there has been discrimination against
women and widows,” revealed Magaisa.
There are also ‘some’ positive steps being made to recognize that women
should get more space in politics, through proportional representation.
“The draft goes to great lengths to safeguard the rights to personal liberty
and also the rights of persons who have been arrested.
“So I think it is going to be very difficult to sustain the abuse or misuse
of the Section 122 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act which has been
used routinely against political activists.”
However, he said the gay rights lobby will be disappointed as the new
charter does not recognize gay rights.
The proposed charter separates the Attorney General’s office into different
entities. It will now be restricted to legal advisory roles to the
government with a National Prosecuting Authority being created to
exclusively prosecute all criminal matters.
The document also restores the right to vote for so-called aliens or
Zimbabweans with one foreign parent, who for long have been disenfranchised
and denied passports.
Other positive developments include the acceptance of devolution as a
structure of government and the acceptance of dual citizenship for citizens
by birth. However, there is provision for parliament to regulate dual
citizenship for citizens by descent or by registration.
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga said the
draft will be handed over to unity government principals anytime now.
The document, to replace the Lancaster House constitution that has been
amended 19 times, will also be presented before an All-Stakeholders
Conference in the next few weeks before going for a national referendum.
Magaisa said there are some clauses that were in the first draft that appear
to have disappeared.
These include allowing the Diaspora vote in the presidential race, and the
parliamentary public appointments committee, which was supposed to recommend
or vet appointments made by the president.
The expert said there is still room for improvement, especially on the issue
of presidential powers, to ensure the checks people demanded in the outreach
exercise are put in place.
The new charter does not have a cap on the number of cabinet ministers and
deputies, despite criticisms that the current establishment is too big for a
It has abolished the death sentence for women and those under the age of 21
and above 70 years, but pro-life activists say it does not go far enough.
Among other notable aspects, the new charter adopts the American and Malawi
system where a presidential candidate has a running mate who automatically
takes over if the head of state is incapacitated or unable to continue in
office. Critics say there is no need for Zimbabwe to have two running mates.
They say it's a waste of resources.
“For all those people who were arguing so hard about who is going to succeed
who, in the different political parties, the signal will be shown by who is
selected as a running mate in the elections. So that is important for
Zimbabwe," Magaisa appointed out.
He says the draft will be criticized by many but adds what is important is
that Zimbabweans finally have a starting point to discuss and shape their
Written by Chengetai Zvauya, Parliamentary Editor
Saturday, 21 July 2012 13:36
HARARE - Zimbabwe’s new draft constitution recognises war veterans, war
collaborators and political detainees who participated in the war of
liberation struggle in the 70’s.
In the present constitution the war veterans are not mentioned although they
are being administrated through an Act of Parliament the War Veterans Act.
War veterans have been fighting for their recognition in the constitution so
their welfare can be catered for by the state.
In the draft constitution, under Section 2.15 it states that war veterans
should be accorded respect, honour and recognition from the government and
Their welfare should be catered for by the state and they are also entitled
to economic empowerment, according to the draft constitution.
The section includes those that fought in the war of liberation, war
collaborators and detainees — to be assisted by the state.
During the outreach programme gathering people’s views, the war veterans
issue was one of the items people were being asked to comment on.
The war veterans thematic committee was chaired MDC Senator Morgan Femai.
Constitution Select Committee co-Chairperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the
inclusion of the war veterans in the draft constitution.
“They are a specific group that played an important role in the history of
this country. We recognise that most of the genuine war veterans and their
families are suffering and it is the duty of the state to take care of them.
“The recognition of war veterans is not unique to Zimbabwe alone as other
countries in the world like United States of America (USA) and United
Kingdom (UK) and South Africa do look after them as mentioned in their
constitutions,” said Mwonzora.
Mwonzora said in the event of a new political party taking power to govern
the country, the war veterans will continue to be helped by the state.
“Zanu PF has been monopolising on the issue of war veterans but we know they
are dealing with fake war veterans because genuine war veterans respect
citizens of this country. Any future government has to help war veterans,”
He said during the outreach programme people had spoken about the issue of
war veterans and mentioned that they ought to be respected.
“But they were also expected to respect human rights. The people also argued
the citizens who assisted them were also important and were to be respected
equally as the war veterans.”
Under the leadership of late Chenjerai Hunzvi in the 1990’s war veterans
staged demonstrations countrywide demanding to be compensated by the state
resulting in government bowing down to their demands. Close to 50 000 war
veterans were paid Z$50 000 each.
However, since beginning of the millennium the war veterans have been
associated with beating and brutalising MDC supporters, during election
Delays in delivering justice to the victims of human rights violations
during the bloody 2008 elections and the Gukurahundi massacres in
Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces in the 1980’s could drive them to
take the law into their own hands and seek revenge.
by The Zimbabwean Harare
Speaking at a talk show organised by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition on
Wednesday, ZimRights Director, Okay Machisa, said it was highly likely that
people would explode.
“It’s a possibility that such elements can come when their issues are not
addressed. The delay of justice would provoke these people,”
Machisa said, warning however that taking the law into their own hands would
cause further torment as they would be arrested and prosecuted.
The talk show was discussing the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill which
recently went through the committee stage in parliament after cabinet agreed
to expedite it.
The Bill seeks to limit the jurisdiction of the commission to the post-2008
era, despite many human rights having been committed against innocent
citizens prior to that.
Machisa insisted the commission must stretch back to the early days of
independence that was attained in 1980 and also cover the politically
motivated murders, tortures, rape and other excesses that occurred in 2008
during a presidential runoff from which MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai
Machisa cited the example of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of
Liberia which was established in 2003 but had a jurisdiction going back to
“So in other words we are saying if you are saying the human rights
commission which is going to be in operation in Zimbabwe is as good as the
Truth and Reconciliation Commission, why are you putting a cutoff date two
years down the line?” he queried.
The ZimRights director said the people who were murdered, maimed and had
their properties destroyed would one day demand explanations from
politicians who were making decisions on their behalf without consulting
“We are speaking representing the people whose hands have been cut off. We
are actually representing the people whose houses were burnt,” he said.
However, representatives of the two MDC’s, Douglas Mwonzora and Qobani Moyo,
as well as Zanu PF’s Patrick Chinamsa, defended the cutoff date, saying it
was in the people’s interests as it helped prevent further conflict.
“We negotiated amongst the political parties and one of the core issues that
we had to discuss was the cutoff date. As Minister of Justice, and being a
lawyer, I proceeded from a position which says all good laws and the rule of
law are about the present and the future,” Chinamasa said.
Mwonzora, however, said the MDC- T had agreed to the cutoff date after
realizing that there were chances that the new constitution would provide
for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“The reason why we have agreed to the cut off date is because we are certain
that there could be another organ to deal with what we are worried about,”
He admitted that the victims’ demands, which were echoed during outreach,
had not been included in the Bill. “The views were unequivocal. They wanted
the commission to be independent and they didn’t want the cutoff date,”
Moyo, who is the Director of Policy Research and Coordination in the smaller
MDC, said the Bill was the best they could do as it was not possible to put
a law that would investigate the same people who were making it.
He said laws would be put in place to deal with the issues not covered by
the Bill when the time was ripe. “It wasn’t possible to apply the law going
backwards now,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill, which was passed in Parliament
last week and is now being debated in the Senate, where it is expected to
pass, seeks to operationalise the Human Rights Commission which was
established in 2009.
Reuters – Fri, Jul 20, 2012
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses a memorial service for
retired general Solomon Mujuru at Ruzambo Farm in the Beatrice area, about
65 km (40 miles) south of the capital Harare, May 5, 2012. REUTERS/Philimon
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses a memorial service for
retired general …
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union governments will lift restrictions on EU
development aid to Zimbabwe on Monday and hold out the prospect of easing
sanctions further, depending on improvements in the rule of law, EU
diplomats said on Friday.
The move recognises economic difficulties in the southern African country
and aims to persuade President Robert Mugabe's government to hold a fair
referendum on constitutional changes later this year.
"We will suspend sanctions on development aid," one EU diplomat said,
speaking on condition of anonymity.
Foreign ministers meeting in Brussels will agree to allow the EU to deal
directly with the Harare government on delivering aid, the diplomats said.
Currently the aid has to be directed through non-governmental organisations.
The EU's executive Commission channels around 100 million euros a year ($123
million) in development assistance to Zimbabwe.
Western governments have considered easing sanctions since a power-sharing
deal was agreed between Mugabe and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, following disputed 2008
Fresh elections must be held by next year, with a new constitution drawn up
first. A referendum is expected to be held on such reforms.
The EU could lift asset freezes and travel bans from a number of officials,
not including Mugabe and his inner circle, if the referendum is deemed
credible. Currently, 112 people are affected by such measures.
"One could have a substantial lifting of (sanctions) depending on the
assessment of the referendum," one EU diplomat said.
Mugabe is one of Africa's longest-serving leaders and has been accused of
hanging on to power through vote-rigging. The 88-year-old has denied reports
of ill health and says he is fit enough to contest the next presidential
Bulawayo, July 21, 2012- Wheat production has dropped by over 5000 hectares
compared to last year as a result of government’s failure to avail the
promised US$20million input support scheme to farmers.
Only 9500 hectares of wheat was planted during the winter cropping season
compared to 15 982 registered last year, Donald Khumalo, the Commercial
Farmers Union (CFU) president said.
Khumalo noted that wheat farmers are disappointed with government’s failure
to honour its promise to avail the US$20 million input support scheme to
ramp up production.
“We had numerous challenges with regards to winter wheat farming. The
promised input support scheme never materialised.
“You will recall that the government promised US$20million input support to
wheat farmers but that never materialised again.
“This is the reason why farmers only planted less than 10 000 hectares of
the crop due to lack of inputs,” Khumalo said in an interview.
“Wheat farmers do not have money to buy top dressing fertiliser to protect
their crops and that is a disaster. Load shedding by the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is also threatening the planted crop.
“At the same time, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is yet to pay farmers for
last year’s wheat deliveries leaving wheat farmers in a quandary as they owe
a number of suppliers and banks. Farmers are demoralised ," he added.
The US$20 million input support scheme was announced in April with hopes of
helping increase the country’s wheat production to 75,000 tonnes this year.
Wheat production had declined sharply over the years owing to lack of proper
financing and implementation mechanisms by government.
Zimbabwe requires 400,000 tonnes of wheat annually and wheat shortages mean
that the country has to meet the shortfall with costly imports from
countries such as South Africa and Zambia.
by Roman Moyo
A LOW income family of six now requires at least US$560 to survive each
month, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said.
The consumer watchdog said the low income consumer basket for June increased
a marginal 0.18 per cent from about US$560 the previous month.
Incomes for most ordinary people however remain well below that figure with
government employees earning just over US$280 per month.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti ruled out any wage hikes for this year when he
presented the mid-term budget Wednesday and warned that the government faced
a real risk of failing to pay its workers.
"Indeed, even in the absence of such (salary) reviews, government faces the
real danger of defaulting on salary payment," he said Wednesday.
"Hence, we need not take the current monthly payments for granted but
seriously appreciate the limited fiscal space for wage adjustments."
Wages are nmuch better in the private sector either with most companies
still operating well below capacity as the country’s economy struggles to
shake-off the effects of a decade-long recession.
The CCZ said the food basket increased by 0,92% to US$148,88 in June up from
US$147,53 recorded the previous month. The surge was largely due to an
upward swing in the prices of rice, tomatoes and other vegetables as well as
sugar, cooking oil and bath soap.
Prices for mealie-meal eased marginally to US$9,38 per 20kg bag, down from
US$9,90 in May while fresh milk went down 3US cents to 70US cents in the
same period. The transport, rent, water and electricity, health, education,
clothing and footwear basket remained stable at the US$399.
But electricity and water supplies continue to be a challenge, with a number
of households forced to use untreated water and staying in darkness for
periods beyond 12 hours.
The consumer watchdog said it was concerned with the hike in transport fares
during peak hours and would continue to monitor the situation closely.
Bulawayo, July 21, 2012—The MDC-T has embarked on anti-corruption programme
where the party mayors and council chairpersons around the country are
trained on fighting corruption.
Last year the MDC-T fired all its Chitungwiza party councilors after party
investigations reportedly unearthed massive graft within the council. The
party also suspended several councilors around the country on charges of
However on Thursday in Bulawayo Deputy Minister of Local government Sesil
Zvidzai who is also the party secretary for local government started
training MDC-T mayors and councilors in Matebeleland and Midlands region on
“We are teaching our councilors on transparency, we don’t want corruption in
the MDC-T, corruption is for Zanu-PF. We want our councilors to save the
people and not to enrich themselves. We are doing this countrywide ,”Zvidzai
told Radio VOP on Thursday
The MDC-T anti-corruption programme came at a time when Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and the party leadership reportedly declared their
personal assets in the interest of encouraging transparency and
accountability in the party.
The MDC-T leader, his deputy Thokozani Khupe, secretary general Tendai Biti,
along with other members of the MDC-T’s senior hierarchy declared their
assets on Monday last week at Harvest House, the party’s headquarters.
Nearly everyone in the top brass of the party listed houses, land, cars,
livestock and household goods in their inventories to be forwarded to
Parliament soon, according to Speaker of Parliament and MDC-T chairperson,
This comes amid reports of obscene accumulation of wealth by MDC-T officials
during the four-year lifespan of the coalition government. A number of MDC-T
councillors have since been suspended or arrested over corruption charges,
among them expropriation of council property, particularly residential and
Written by Staff Writer
Saturday, 21 July 2012 13:38
HARARE - It has come to the attention of the Harare Residents Trust, HRT
that Harare suburbs have experienced serious power outages over the past two
Guided by Objective Four of the HRT which states clearly that in order to
fulfil our vision of a “free and prosperous citizenry” the organisation
shall “monitor and audit the performance of service providers so that they
deliver quality and affordable services to the citizenry”.
True to its promise to be the eye and the ear of the residents, and through
the organisation’s community coordinators located in various suburbs across
Harare, below is an update on the state of electricity supplies covering the
period of July 16-20, 2012;
Mbare: At Nenyere and Matapi flats, electricity is switched off in the
morning and for the greater part of the day residents resort to firewood and
paraffin as energy sources. Supplies are usually restored around 7pm or 8pm.
Uplands, Shortson, Hilton Park, Derbyshire and Picnic Park: Without
electricity from 4:25 am-1pm.
Highfield, Glen View, Glen Norah, and Mufakose: Generally in these areas
there is no electricity from 4am to about 9pm but in some instances the
electricity supplies are restored by 7pm.
But in Highfield the load-shedding last for about 9 hours daily for instance
when power outages occur around 4.25am, the area will be reconnected around
These suburbs at times go without electricity for more than 15 hours, yet
there is no difference in billing at the end of the month.
Mabvuku and Tafara: Residents feel neglected. Electricity is switched off
from around 5am to 7-9pm.
There are various faulty points within the suburb and along Chizhanje way
and Mashingwe road some houses have no electricity for more than two days
now and the Zesa Holdings (Zesa) personnel have not been proactive in
addressing the problem.
Borrowdale, Hatcliffe and Mount Pleasant: Residents are concerned that power
supplies are inconsistent.
In the past two months Zesa has disregarded its published timetable.
Sometimes power outages are experienced during the night and it can last for
about nine hours.
Kuwadzana and Dzivaresekwa: In these areas on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
and Sundays, the residents spend most of the day with electricity until 5pm.
When it is switched off, it is only restored probably after midnight when
most people are asleep.
However, on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays there will be no electricity
from 5.30 am to 9pm.
Kambuzuma, Rugare, Warren Park: on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays’ the
electricity will be available until 5pm but on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays
and Sundays there will be no electricity from around 5.30 to 9 pm.
Greendale, Highlands, Chisipite, Mandara, and Eastlea: Usually experiences
power outages for about eight hours every day.
Zesa is urged to adhere to its published load-shedding schedule and put in
place mechanisms to improve power supplies, recover all the outstanding
debts from senior government and prominent officials.
Residents have a right to realise the full value of their money in rates
from Zesa and all its subsidiaries.
July 21 2012 at 03:59pm
By Lyse Comins
The KwaDukuza Municipality has sounded alarm bells about the future of the
R100-million Ballito property development by Robert Mugabe’s former pilot.
Hundreds of thousands of rand in municipal rates is owed on the property.
This emerged in papers filed in the Durban High Court in response to a
counter-application launched by the property owner, Straightprops 92 and
Formate Pty Ltd. Straightprops was responding to an application by the
municipality to force it to submit building plans for approval, to stop work
and to prevent occupation.
It has now emerged that the municipality obtained a default judgment of R602
225.22 against Straightprops in May.
The company has since been acquired by SalesTalk 403 Pty Ltd. Zimbabwean
diamond mining magnate Robert Mhlanga is the sole director. He is also the
sole director of Formate Pty Ltd and chairman of Mbada Diamonds in Zimbabwe.
A Mail and Guardian report yesterday claimed that a deeds search had
revealed that Mhlanga, using various shelf companies, had bought four other
properties over the past 18 months at inflated prices. These included two
R29m mansions in Hyde Park, Sandton; a R25m house in Umhlanga Rocks and a
R31m apartment in the Oysters, in Umhlanga.
In court papers, Kwadukuza Municipality building control officer Njabulo
Ngwane, said of the Ballito property: “A private residence of the size and
nature proposed cannot be accommodated by the existing zoning or property
“Kwadukuza Municipality is extremely concerned that what is being
constructed will prove too costly to maintain in the long term and become
unmarketable and redundant.
“The first respondent (Straightprops 92) is already in arrears with payment
of rates and judgment has been taken against it,” Ngwane said.
The municipality also outlined its reasons for rejecting the property plans.
It alleged that the development had been undertaken in a “secretive manner”;
that the municipality had not been advised about it; and the developer’s
attitude was “puzzling and completely different from that which the
applicant is used to when dealing with the professionals and contractors
which the respondents have employed”.
He said the developer had not been forthcoming with detailed plans or
“The applicant has been denied access to working plans, drawings and other
documents which will give details of what is being built,” Ngwane said.
However, Mhlanga’s attorney Lazelle Paola said yesterday that her client
questioned the circumstances under which the default judgment had been
granted and was unaware of it until he had seen the responding papers. She
said her client would apply for rescission of the judgment.
“Our client’s dispute the validity of many of the items and many others are
minor and not unusual in the context of a building plan application. All
items are being addressed and the plans will be resubmitted,” Paola said.
“Our client’s dispute that the development has been undertaken in a
“The order did not prohibit access, and construction was not halted by the
court. Only occupation of the new structures is prohibited until the issue
of certificates of occupancy,” Paola said.
“All of the relevant matters raised in the council’s latest affidavits will
be addressed and it is not appropriate to respond at this stage,” Paola
Asked to confirm or deny the report of four additional properties, Paola
said, “it does not pertain to the litigation we are involved in and we hold
no instructions therewith.”
She stated Mhlanga was not associated with Zimbabwean president Robert
“Dr Mhlanga denies having any business or other relationship with President
Mugabe save that Dr Mhlanga is a Zimbabwean and Mugabe the head of state in
KwaDukuza Municipality was earlier granted an interim order by consent in
which the developer agreed not to occupy any of the new structures on the
properties, to submit building plans, to allow access to building inspectors
and to demolish any further work done on the properties should plans not be
The property comprises an existing upmarket dwelling, two new man-made dams,
a new gazebo structure which functions as an entertainment area, a new guard
house and a new changeroom.
Mhlanga had contended that the municipality had obstructed efforts to lodge
plans on several occasions, but the municipality denied this.
Several attempts to contact Mhlanga through his local company in Joburg,
Liparm, were unsuccessful on Friday.
Independent on Saturday
by Staff Reporter
HIGHWAY cops smashed a suspected human smuggling syndicate in Victoria Falls
on Thursday and arrested 16 illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Police believe the 16 evaded immigration authorities in both Zambia and
Zimbabwe on the porous border shared between the two countries either side
of the Victoria Falls Bridge.
The 16 were held together with their Zimbabwean driver of a commuter minibus
which was stopped by cops at a roadblock.
Jairos Chiona, the Victoria Falls police chief, said: ““We are holding 16
Bangladesh nationals on suspicion of illegal entry into the country.
“They managed to evade both Zimbabwe and Zambia immigration procedures and
were only arrested at a police roadblock on their way to Bulawayo.
“They are going to be charged under our immigration laws and if convicted
they will be deported.”
Their driver, who has not been named, was “assisting police with their
investigations”, he added.
The group is expected to appear in court sometime on Friday.
Corrupt immigration officials at the country's border posts are blamed for
an influx of illegal immigrants into Zimbabwe. Many simply bribe their way
HARARE, Zimbabwe — When Roger Boka started his auction business in the 1990s, this city’s tobacco trading floors were hushed places, save the mellifluous patter of the auctioneer. A handful of white farmers, each selling hundreds of bales of tobacco, arrived in sport utility vehicles, checking into the city’s best hotels while waiting for their big checks to be cut.
During this year’s auction season, a very different scene unfolded underneath the cavernous roof of the Bock Tobacco Auction Floors. Each day, hundreds of farmers arrived in minibuses and on the backs of pickup trucks, many with wives and children in tow. They camped in open fields nearby and swarmed to the cacophonous floor to sell their crop. The place was lively and crowded; two women gave birth on the auction floor. The most obvious difference, though, was the color of their faces: every single one of them was black.
“You used to only see white faces here,” said Rudo Boka, Mr. Boka’s daughter, who now runs the family business. “Now it is for everybody. It is a beautiful sight.”
Before Zimbabwe’s government began the violent and chaotic seizure of white-owned farms in 2000, fewer than 2,000 farmers were growing tobacco, the country’s most lucrative crop, and most were white. Today, 60,000 farmers grow tobacco here, the vast majority of them black and many of them working small plots that were allotted to them in the land upheavals. Most had no tobacco farming experience yet managed to produce a hefty crop, rebounding from a low of 105 million pounds in 2008 to more than 330 million pounds this year.
The success of these small-scale farmers has led some experts to reassess the legacy of Zimbabwe’s forced land redistribution, even as they condemn its violence and destruction.
The takeover of white commercial farms was a disaster for Zimbabwe on many levels. It undermined one of Africa’s sturdiest economies, and as growth contracted and its currency became worthless because of hyperinflation, joblessness and hunger grew. Large chunks of land were handed to cronies of President Robert Mugabe, many of whom did not farm them. It spurred a political crisis and violent reprisals by the security forces that have killed hundreds of people. Yields on food and cash crops plummeted.
But amid that pain, tens of thousands of people got small farm plots under land reform, and in recent years many of these new farmers overcame early struggles to fare pretty well. With little choice but to work the land, the small-scale farmers have made a go of it, producing yields that do not match those of the white farmers whose land they were given, but are far from the disaster many anticipated, some analysts and scholars say.
“We cannot make excuses for the way it was carried out,” said Ian Scoones, an expert on farming at the University of Sussex who has been intensively studying land reform in Zimbabwe for the past decade. “But there are many myths that have taken hold — that land reform has been an unmitigated disaster, that all the land has been taken over by cronies in the ruling party, that the whole thing has been a huge mess. It has not. Nor has it been a roaring success.”
The result has been a broad, if painful, shift of wealth in agriculture from white commercial growers on huge farms to black farmers on much smaller plots of land. Last year, these farmers shared $400 million worth of tobacco, according to the African Institute for Agrarian Studies, earning on average $6,000 each, a vast sum to most Zimbabweans.
“The money that was shared between 1,500 large-scale growers is now shared with 58,000 growers, most of them small scale,” said Andrew Matibiri, the director of Zimbabwe’s Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board. “That is a major change in the country.”
The new farmers are receiving virtually no assistance from the government, which for years poured money into larger farms given to politically connected elites.
Instead, farmers are getting help from the tobacco industry, in the form of loans, advances and training. It is in Ms. Boka’s interest to revive the industry, so the company has invested heavily in helping farmers improve the yields and quality.
Tobacco is a tricky crop, requiring precise application of fertilizer and careful reaping. It must then be cured and graded properly to fetch a top price.
Recently, Alex Vokoto, head of public relations at the auction house, spotted several bales of desirable tobacco leaves cured to a honey color on the floor, and hustled the man who grew them, Stuart Mhavei, into the V.I.P. lounge for a cup of coffee and a chat.
Mr. Mhavei, a 40-year-old tile layer, got a small piece of a tobacco farm several years ago in the town of Centenary in central Mashonaland, about 80 miles from Harare.
“All the big guys who got land, they are doing nothing,” Mr. Vokoto said. “But these small guys are working hard and really producing.”
Mr. Mhavei has steadily increased his yield, quality and income. So far this season, he has earned more than $10,000 on part of a vast farm that once belonged to a white family, investing the profits in a truck to transport his tobacco, as well as renting the truck to other farmers.
Mr. Mhavei said that like many of the other people who got land, he supports Mr. Mugabe and his party, ZANU-PF.
“Why should one white man have all this?” he asked, sweeping an arm across the lush, rolling farmland around his fields. “This is Zimbabwe. Black people must come first.”
Charles Taffs, president of the Commercial Farmers Union, said that the industry could have been transformed to include more black farmers in a much less destructive way.
“The tragedy with tobacco is that expansion, if they had the right policies, could have been done in the 1990s in conjunction with the commercial sector,” Mr. Taffs said. Instead, hundreds of thousands of workers have lost their jobs and the country has suffered huge economic losses as a result.
The personal cost for white commercial farmers has been immense. One white tobacco farmer in northern Zimbabwe whose family purchased its land after independence described the slow, painful erosion of his family’s livelihood.
“Now that we are down to less than 200 hectares, there isn’t enough income to support everyone,” said the farmer, who asked not to be identified because he feared seizure of even more land if he spoke out. A plot of 200 hectares is less than 500 acres.
His brother had to leave the farm to find work elsewhere, and his own future was deeply uncertain. The farm employs far fewer workers. Yields are down since critical investments in irrigation and other infrastructure have been put off, he said.
“We are Zimbabweans,” the farmer said. “We employ people, and take care of our workers. It is really painful to see this happening to our country.”
The tobacco yield is still below its peak in 2000, when the crop hit 522 million pounds. But Tendai Murisa, a researcher who has studied tobacco farming since land reform, said that judging the success of land reform by looking at production figures misses a crucial point.
“No one ever argued that this is a more productive form of farming,” Mr. Murisa said. “But does it share wealth more equitably? Does it give people a sense of dignity and ownership? Those things have value, too.”
Dear Family and Friends,
Our new draft constitution has finally been released. It has been four
years in the making and cost over forty million US dollars to get to
this stage. The draft runs to 164 pages; each of its fifty six
thousand plus words has cost over one thousand US dollars. Within
hours of its release the draft constitution had been posted on
numerous websites on the internet.
Despite the vast expense, incessant leaks, political bickering,
accusations and threats, the release of the Draft Constitution did not
make headline news on the country’s one and only TV station. ZBC TV
relegated the news of our new Draft Constitution to a sluggish slot,
twenty six minutes into their main evening news bulletin. The Draft
Constitution came in fifth place after stories of the President
talking at the AU , the President calling for the removal of
sanctions, the President launching a women’s economic empowerment
framework and Zanu PF saying there was no going back on their
disbanding of their party’s district co-ordinating committees.
Inspecting and understanding 164 pages of a document so critical to
the future of our country is no small task but already eyebrows are
being raised about the most contentious topics whose interpretation is
difficult and often confusing. In the grey areas it’s hard to know
which are the guiding principles Zimbabweans really wanted and which
are the result of negotiated settlements between rival political
parties protecting their own interests.
Expecting to read that the current President, in power for the past
thirty two years, would not be able to stand again in elections next
year, the draft constitution has introduced new limits but they will
not disqualify current leaders from standing again. The new draft
reads: “A person is disqualified for election as President or Vice
President if he or she has already held office as President under this
Constitution for two terms.”
Then there is the section relating to citizenship. Despite earlier
assurances that dual citizenship would be enabled in the draft
constitution, it isn’t. Three million plus Zimbabweans living in the
diaspora must be questioning what their place or that of their
children is in the future of our country or in its decision making.
For those Zimbabweans in the diaspora who have faithfully been sending
home millions of dollars every month to support their families, not to
mention the economy, this is a sad, sad day.
Eyebrows are raised at the section relating to the right to life.
Conditions have been significantly increased but it seems the death
penalty will continue to be allowed - for men - but not for women. So
if a man commits aggravated murder he will die but if a woman does the
same she won’t. Surely the question then will easily be: who was
holding the gun?
A referendum on this draft constitution may take place as soon as
October and is expected to cost thirty million US dollars but at this
stage it is not clear which Zimbabweans will actually be able to vote
in that referendum. Will all the born and raised, resident
‘aliens’ already struck off, be allowed to vote in the referendum
or just the resident ‘aliens’ whose parents were born in SADC, or
none of the resident ‘aliens’ until the electoral laws are
changed? NO one seems able to answer the question.
Trying to make headway through the 164 page draft constitution our
attention couldn’t help but he diverted by the sudden freezing
weather to hit the country. Thick frost, frozen hose pipes, outdoor
water bowls and bird baths turned to solid ice and plants burnt and
crisped. According to the met dept a cold continental air flow is upon
us, it will last for a week and night time temperatures of minus three
degrees Celsius can be expected in some centres. The quote which
raised a smile came from the head of the Met Dept who said: “ People
are also advised to put on warm clothing.”
A copy of Zimbabwe’s final draft constitution is posted on my
website following this link: Click here
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy. 21st July 2012.
Copyright � Cathy Buckle. www.cathybuckle.com
PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES SERIES
[20th July 2012]
Committee Meetings Open to the Public 16th to 19th July
NOTE: Members of the public who cannot attend meetings, including Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, can at any time send written submissions to committees by email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thematic Committee and Portfolio Committees will meet this week, in both open and closed session. Only the meetings listed below will be open to the public – as observers only, not as participants, i.e. members of the public can listen but not speak. The meetings will be held at Parliament in Harare. If attending, please use the entrance on Kwame Nkrumah Ave between 2nd and 3rd Streets and note that IDs must be produced.
This bulletin is based on the latest information from Parliament. But, as there are sometimes last-minute changes to the schedule, persons wishing to attend a meeting should avoid disappointment by checking with the committee clerk [see below] that the meeting is still on and open to the public. Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 and 252936.
Monday 23rd July at 10 am
Portfolio Committee: Defence and Home Affairs
Oral evidence from the Secretary for Defence on war veterans projects bids.
Committee Room No 2
Chairperson: Hon Madzore Clerk: Mr Daniel
Public Accounts Committee
Oral evidence from the Ministry of Mines and Energy on their 2009 and 2010 annual reports
Committee Room No. 4
Chairperson: Hon Chinyadza Clerk: Mrs Nyawo
Monday 23rd July at 2 pm
Portfolio Committee: Budget, Finance, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion
Oral evidence from the Deposit Protection Board on the placing of Interfin Holdings Limited under curatorship and the closure of Genesis Bank
Committee Room No. 4
Chairperson: Hon Zhanda Clerk: Mr Ratsakatika
Tuesday 24th July at 10 am
No open meetings
Wednesday 25th July at 10 am
Portfolio Committee: Media, Information and Communication Technology
Oral evidence from POTRAZ on the state of telecommunications in Zimbabwe and the utilisation the of Universal Service Fund
Chairperson: Hon Chikwinya Clerk: Mr Mutyambizi
Thursday 26th July at 10 am
No open meetings
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied