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Tendai Biti receives death threat

http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/archives/4472

Via MDC-T Press Release - The MDC Secretary-General, Hon Tendai Biti, has
received a letter with a live bullet inside it in what the party is treating
as a death threat.

The letter was delivered at the MDC Secretary-General's home in Highlands
and a police report has been lodged at Harare Central police station.

The letter accompanying the bullet was inscribed "Raira nhaka" (Sort out
your Estate), which is an apparent death threat to Hon Biti, who is also the
Minister of Finance.

The MDC believes that these threats cannot be taken lightly, especially
against the background of renewed violence and persecution of MDC leaders,
MPs and members. The threats also come against a background of increased
vitriol against Hon Biti by the public media, Nathaniel Manheru and the Zanu
PF sidekick, Jonathan Moyo, through sponsored articles in which the
 "victims" are never given the right of reply.

The MDC has not forgotten that in 2008, Nathaniel Manheru, the pen name of a
senior official in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity,
predicted that there would be blood on the political floor barely weeks
before Zanu PF went into an orgy of violence following the MDC's historic
victory in the 29 March 2008 plebiscite. Jonathan Moyo's diatribe has been a
forerunner to calamities against forces of progress as evidenced by the
bombing of The Daily News printing press in the early hours of Sunday, 28
January 2001 barely hours after the former Information minister had issued
what he called a "last warning" to the newspaper.

The live bullet delivered at Hon Biti's home is a tragic climax to the
barrage of defamatory vitriol spewed through the public media ever since the
Minister of Finance delivered a pro-poor mid-term fiscal policy position
which was well-received by the various sectors of the economy.

The terror-tactics of sending live bullets to Cabinet ministers is a sure
sign that the desperate forces fighting the new dispensation are getting
more and more desperate every day.

As a party, we hope that there will be full investigation on this matter and
we hope that the justice system will move with speed in getting to the root
of this matter.

Just as a barking dog will not stop a moving train, the childish, petty and
puerile forces of darkness will not deter the MDC officials in the inclusive
government from working tirelessly to save Zimbabwe. This country belongs to
all of us.

This entry was posted by Sokwanele on Monday, July 27th, 2009 at 8:51 pm


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Zimbabwe PM Tsvangirai Sets Consultations With S. African President Zuma

http://www.voanews.com

By Ntungamili Nkomo & Thomas Chiripasi
Washington/Harare
27 July 2009

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will meet Saturday with South
African President Jacob Zuma to inform the chairman of the Southern African
Development Community on issues dividing the Harare unity government, Mr.
Tsvangirai's office said.

Topping the agenda are President Robert Mugabe's unilateral appointments in
late 2008 of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes
Tomana.

Mr. Tsvangirai will also brief Mr. Zuma on what his branch of the Movement
for Democratic Change charges has been selective prosecution of its members
of parliament by members of the judiciary loyal to President Robert Mugabe's
long-ruling ZANU-PF party. The MDC says ZANU-PF is prosecuting its MPs to
whittle away at its parliamentary majority.

A spokesman for Mr. Tsvangirai said he will urge Mr. Zuma to call an urgent
regional summit to take up these issues. SADC is a guarantor of the
September 2008 Global Political Agreement that provides the basis for
Zimbabwe's unity government.

Five Tsvangirai MDC formation legislators have been convicted and sentenced
on charges that range from causing a public disturbance to rape. Other cases
are pending in the courts. The MDC says the charges have been trumped up for
political reasons.

Minister of State Gorden Moyo, attached to Mr. Tsvangirai's office, told
reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the prime
minister hopes the regional organization can broker an amicable agreement on
the outstanding issues.

Meanwhile, the MDC said Finance Minister Tendai Biti, secretary general of
the party, received an anonymous letter at his Harare home with a bullet
advising him to "sort out your estate." The party said it viewed the letter
and its contents as constituting a death threat.

The same kind of missive was sent in 2007 to journalist Bill Saidi, editor
at that time of the weekly Standard newspaper, but was not followed by an
attempt on his life.

The MDC issued a statement condemning the apparent threat. "The terror
tactics of sending bullets to cabinet ministers is a sure sign that the
desperate forces fighting the new dispensation are getting more and more
desperate every day," it said.

Formed in February by ZANU-PF, Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC and the MDC formation
led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, the so-called inclusive
government has been bedeviled by political squabbling, mainly between
ZANU-PF and the Tsvangirai MDC grouping.

Political sources said an agreement was reached recently by the unity
government principals for Tsvangirai MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett to be sworn
in next month as deputy agriculture minister at the same time as newly named
governors named by the party.

Bennett was arrested in February even as the government was being formed on
weapons charges and Mr. Mugabe had refused to swear him in until those
charges were disposed.

Elsewhere, correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported that Tsvangirai MDC
spokesman Nelson Chamisa urged supporters at a rally Sunday in Bikita East
constituency, Masvingo province, to take part in ongoing consultations for
the revision of the national constitution.


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NCA hold constitutional convention in Chitungwiza

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Lance Guma
27 July 2009

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) which is opposing a government
controlled constitution-making process held their own convention at the
Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex on Monday. NCA spokesman Madock Chivasa told
Newsreel they had over 6 000 people from 68 different groups attending the
convention. Speakers included Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions President
Lovemore Matombo, and Secretary General Wellington Chibhebhe, as well as NCA
Chairperson Lovemore Madhuku.

Other groups represented were the Zimbabwe National Students Union, National
Council for the Disabled, Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, Youth
Forum, Media Institute for Southern Africa and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights among the many who turned up. Chivasa denied the convention was the
beginning of a parallel constitution-making process by the NCA, saying
instead they were putting pressure on government to take stock of their
concerns, and change the process.
Two weeks ago a government sponsored convention was disrupted by ZANU PF
supporters at the Rainbow Towers hotel in the capital. Although a day later
proceedings resumed, the NCA dismissed the gathering saying it could not 'by
any stretch of the imagination be described as an All Stakeholders
Conference.'
Speaking to journalists at a press conference, Madhuku said, "it took the
organisers one and half days to open the meeting. When it finally opened it
lasted for less than four hours. It started in order to end. It had a
different agenda from that specified in the GPA (Global Political
Agreement). The meeting made no single discussion. The allocation of sizes
of delegations was arbitrary and ridiculous. Non-existent organisations were
allocated more participants than existing organisations." Chivasa told
Newsreel, if the government persisted with the current process they would
lead a campaign to 'de-legitimise the process.'
The NCA was formed in 1997 as a grouping of individual citizens and civic
organisations including, labour movements, student and youth groups, women's
groups, churches, business groups and human rights organisations. Several
political parties including the MDC are members. The group was set up to
campaign for a new constitution believing the political, social and economic
problems affecting the country are mainly the result of a defective
constitution.


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Thousands turn up for Matabeleland South Rally

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

27 July 2009

By The Zimbabwean

The Parliament will make sure that the constitution making process is people
driven, the MDC National Chairman Hon. Lovemore Moyo said. Addressing over
20 000 party supporters at the 10th Anniversary Celebratory rally at
Dingimuzi Stadium in Plumtree, Matebeleland South province, Hon Lovemore
Moyo, who is also the Speaker of Parliament, said that Parliament was only
making sure that a  people driven constitution was made possible.

"As the Speaker of Parliament, I will make sure that the people's will in
having a truly representative constitution is done. As Parliament, we are
not going to write a Constitution on behalf of the people, but we are laying
the ground for the people's full participation in the Constitution-making
process," he said

The MDC Chairman expressed concern over the continued arrest and persecution
of MDC MPs on various trumped up charges.

Currently, two MDC MPs, Hon Ernest Mudavanhu of Zaka North and Hon Meki
Makuyana of Mutare South are in prison on trumped up charges and thirteen
other MPs are facing various trumped-up charges ranging from rape to
political violence.

Hon Moyo said Zanu-PF was trying to reduce the MDC's majority in Parliament
following MDC's victory in the 2008 March Harmonised elections.

The rally was attended by several senior MDC officials including the deputy
National Organising Secretary Morgan Komichi, MP Seiso Moyo of Nketa and Hon
Reggie Moyo of Luveve.

Hundreds of MDC supporters from Botswana and South Africa also drove to
attend the rally.

Meanwhile, about 8 000 people turned up at a rally at Boora Primary school
in Bikita East constituency in Masvingo province.

In his keynote address, the MDC spokesperson Hon Nelson Chamisa said the
people should drive the Constitution-making process.

He said Zimbabweans from all social stations should drive the process as the
country is to have a people-driven Constitution.

Hon Chamisa said the Party was disturbed by the continued persecution of MDC
MPs, members and civic society activists. He said cases of political
violence against MDC members were increasing despite calls for peace and
reconciliation by the inclusive government.


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Tomana takes over ranch in Masvingo

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=20246

July 27, 2009

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - Attorney-General Johannes Tomana has taken over a ranch in
Masvingo in the midst of an apparent spree of acquisition of properties in
the province by President Robert Mugabe's senior officials.

According to official records, Tomana has acquired Malangani Ranch in
Masvingo.

Tomana, whose appointment as AG by Mugabe has become one of the points of
conflict and controversy faced by the six-month-old inclusive government, is
among senior Zanu-PF officials who have seized ranches in the province.

Tomana has announced publicly he is a Zanu-PF member.

Fortune Charumbira, the president of the Council of Chiefs, has acquired
Dyres Ranch in Mwenezi.

Chivi North Zanu-PF Member of Parliament Tranos Huruva has taken over
Kaywood Ranch while Chivi Central legislator Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, also
a member of Mugabe's party, now owns Wanezi Block Ranch.

Mangwana, a former government minister, is co-chairman of the parliamentary
committee charged with drafting a new constitution.

The acquisitions have reportedly taken place with the blessing of outgoing
governor Titus Maluleke.

The seizures have provoked anger among war veterans in the province. The
former freedom fighters have since approached Vice-President Joyce Mujuru to
intervene to stop the spree of acquisitions.

Former war veterans chairman for Masvingo, Isaiah Muzenda, said on Monday
the war veterans had petitioned Mujuru to revoke the controversial
allocation of conservancies to Zanu-PF officials.

"This is daylight robbery," said Muzenda. "We have asked the Vice-President
to urgently intervene before we take the law into our own hands."

Although no official comment could be obtained from Mujuru Monday, The
Zimbabwe Times has it on good authority that a two-page petition was handed
to her office last week.

"These (people) should be stopped form taking over these properties because
they are just using their political muscle to grab the sanctuaries," said
Muzenda.

He accused governor Maluleke of greed.

"Maluleke is very greedy," said Muzenda. "That is why he allocated these
vast pieces of land to his friends.

"To us this is corruption; therefore, Maluleke should be investigated."

Sources within Zanu-PF told the Zimbabwe Times that Maluleke is doling out
the sanctuaries to his closest friends before a new governor takes over.

Lucia Matibenga of the mainstream MDC led by Prime Minister, Morgan
Tsvangirai, is the governor-designate for Masvingo Province, to take over
from Maluleke.

On Monday, Maluleke confirmed sanctioning the allocation of the properties.
"As governor of Masvingo, I have made sure that these (people) get the land
but I am not the one directly involved," he said.

"Ask Minister (Francis) Nhema who is responsible for (the Ministry of)
Natural Resources. He is the one who gave them the offer letters and not me.
I only played a facilitator's role."

Nhema could not be reached for comment but he is on record as stating that
black Zimbabweans should be given priority in wildlife management.

Tomana's appointment as AG has remained one of the outstanding grievances of
the MDC, partners in the inclusive government formed with Zanu-PF in
February.

Along with the reappointment of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, the MDC
has argued Tomana's appointment by Mugabe was unilateral and against the
spirit of the political agreement signed in September last year.


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Political violence growing in rural areas


Photo: UNICEF
Teachers fear a return to violence in rural areas
HARARE, 27 July 2009 (IRIN) - Families are turning on each other in Zimbabwe's rural areas, where a higher premium is being placed on political allegiance to either President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party or Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), than ties of blood.

Ebba Katiyo, a middle-aged MDC supporter Uzumba, a village in Mashonaland East Province, told IRIN while convalescing after a beating ordered by her uncle because of her MDC membership that relatives were turning on each other over party loyalties.

"My uncle, who is the village head and a ZANU-PF official, summoned me [on 12 July 2009] to a public meeting where he berated me for continuing to be an MDC supporter," she said.

"After he publicly humiliated me, he ordered some youth militia [established by ZANU-PF and often accused of political intimidation and thuggery] to beat me up - they used sticks, their feet and clenched fists to beat me all over my body."

A few days later the same youth militia accosted her and again assaulted her, leaving her for dead. She was discovered by friends and brought to the capital, Harare, for medical treatment.

Mugabe declared three "peace days" from 24 to 26 July "to observe the prevailing peace, [and] promote the ideals of national healing and reconciliation", but in the rural provinces of Mashonaland West, East and Central, Masvingo and Manicaland - once ZANU-PF strongholds - supporting the MDC still carries the risk of a beating.

Morgan Komichi, a senior MDC official involved in rural organization, told IRIN that ZANU-PF violence was increasing as the party went about shoring up its support ahead of the elections expected to take place once a new constitution has been agreed.

Machinery of violence

"What is happening is that ZANU-PF is rolling out its machinery of violence in order to intimidate the population ahead of the constitution making-process; it is a constitutional battle," Komichi said.

"Mugabe has said he wants the new constitution to be based on a draft ... crafted during the inter-party negotiations [which led to the formation of the unity government], while the MDC is for a people-driven process," he commented.

''The reports of violence that we are receiving at our offices are extremely shocking and barbaric. MDC supporters are being axed, while in some instances members of the military are viciously assaulting our members''
"The reports of violence that we are receiving at our offices are extremely shocking and barbaric. MDC supporters are being axed, while in some instances members of the military are viciously assaulting our members. ZANU-PF is now actively pushing the agenda of national healing so that perpetrators of violence find an escape, so that they don't [have to] account for their actions."

Komichi said the violence would end if Mugabe explicitly told his supporters to refrain from it. Mugabe acknowledged the existence of political violence at a ceremony to observe the peace days in Harare, but placed no blame on his own supporters.

"There are still reported cases of political violence, and this must stop. Let us move among the people, promoting the values and practices of tolerance, respect, non-violence and dialogue as a sustainable means of resolving political differences."

Tsvangirai said there was a need for justice before national healing and cohesion could occur. "We must look back resolutely to the pre-independence era, the post-independence Matabeleland massacres, and the more recent political violence that has torn at the fabric of our society."

Zimbabweans fought a protracted war of independence against the white minority government in the then Rhodesia, which brought independence in 1980. Two years later, President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government launched Operation Gukurahundi - in the Shona language, "the early rain that washes away the chaff before the spring rains" - in which more than 20,000 people were killed in the provinces of Matabeleland North and South. 

Rural teachers fear ZANU-PF militia

Political violence has become a feature of ZANU-PF's power struggle against the MDC since 2000, especially during election periods.

Raymond Majongwe, secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), told IRIN that since the emergence of militia groups, teachers in rural areas feared for their security.

"Teachers are apprehensive about the appointment of former soldiers in high-ranking posts at the ministry of education - the government's motivation in this regard is very much unclear. There are youth militias who are intimidating teachers, pupils and  parents in the countryside," he said.
''Teachers are apprehensive about the appointment of former soldiers in high-ranking posts at the ministry of education - the government's motivation in this regard is very much unclear''

ZANU-PF youth militia had become part and parcel of everyday school activities. "The presence of youth militias in schools has been done through several strategies, with one of them being to demand offices from schools around the country, which are manned by what are called 'youth coordinators' without permission from the ministry of education," he said.

"Some youths are instructing schools to appoint some school children as councillors. These councillors are supposed to inform the youth militia about any problems that develop at schools."

Majongwe said he was disturbed by reports that some centres were running history clubs for children. "Who would be worried if they were running mathematics or science clubs? Why history? Whose history?"


[ENDS]

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


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Peace days marred by arrests as police clamp down of protesters

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
27 July 2009

As Zimbabweans united to pray for peace in the country this weekend, 15
people were arrested merely for wearing black in protest at the government's
campaign towards national healing.

The 15 members of the pressure group, Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR)
Zimbabwe were hauled into custody in Harare on Saturday, after police were
apparently tipped off about a planned ROHR protest. The group had urged
members to wear black in protest against the three 'Peace days' gazetted by
Robert Mugabe last week, and to show solidarity for victims of political
persecution and violence. A demonstration was also planned to march
peacefully to parliament.

But on Saturday, a bus loaded with 12 black-attired ROHR members on their
way to the demonstration in the city centre, was rerouted to Mbare police
station. Three other people, not associated with the ROHR group, were also
arrested en-route, because police thought they were part of the
demonstration. The 15 people were detained and interrogated for ten hours
before they were released. By which time the peaceful ROHR demonstration in
the city had been disrupted by the police, who dispersed the rest of the
ROHR members.

ROHR's spokesperson Edgar Chikuvire told SW Radio Africa on Monday that the
arrests "casts shadows on any hopes that national healing can ever be
achieved when people are unnecessarily arrested for peacefully expressing
their displeasure with Government processes."

"There cannot be peace without national healing and that cannot come before
truth, justice and compensation to victims of political violence," Chikuvire
said "That should be approached holistically and whole heartedly rather than
calling for symbolic days and monumental moments celebrating 'new found
peace and unity,' while violence against civilians still continues."

The 'Peace days', Friday, Saturday and Sunday had been set aside as national
days of prayer, and the start of the campaign on Friday saw the government's
leaders call for an end to political attacks. But the campaign has been
widely labelled as 'hypocritical,' with Mugabe shifting the blame of the
country's destruction away from himself or his party. Civil society groups,
who snubbed the government's invitation to attend the 'Peace days' campaign,
said the invitation to participate was aimed at legitimising a flawed
process. The groups, united under the cluster on National Healing within the
Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism (CISCOMM), demanded that the coalition
government declare that there would be no amnesty for those who committed
human rights violations.

"We see the government's belated effort to involve civil society . as a lame
attempt at legitimacy and a ploy by government or sections of it, to gloss
over the serious and ongoing violations in the country," the groups said.


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Civic Group Urges Halt to Zimbabwean Constitutional Revision Process

http://www.voanews.com/

By Irwin Chifera, Jonga Kandemiiri & Patience Rusere
Chitungwiza & Washington
27 July 2009

Zimbabwe's non-governmental National Constitutional Assembly called on the
government and parliament Monday to halt the official constitutional
revision process, warning it will urge voters to reject any constitution
written by politicians and not "people-driven."

NCA Chairman Lovemore Madhuku told delegates the official constitutional
revision process is undemocratic and defective and will therefore produce a
flawed document.

Madhuku said the NCA and allied groups including the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions and the Zimbabwe National Students Union will not let
politicians rewrite the constitution.

From Harare, correspondent Irwin Chifera of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
reported.

Political analyst Farai Maguwu, director of the Center for Research and
Development, said he and staff of his Mutare-based institute attended the
NCA's "people's convention" as well as the recent stakeholders conference
called by the the parliamentary select committee assigned to oversee the
constitutional reform process under last year's power-sharing agreement.

Maguwu told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it
is healthy for Zimbabwean democracy for both groups to hold parallel and
competing conferences.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary select committee on constitutional reform is
seeking prosecution of those responsible for the disruption of a July 13
stakeholders meeting in Harare.

Committee Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora said his panel is drawing on video
footage of the meeting and has also compiled a list of people injured during
the melee.

Mwonzora told Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that prosecution of those
responsible for the disturbance will show that the law is not being applied
selectively.

Press reports have laid the disruption at the doorstep of Zimbabwe War
Veterans Association Vice Chairman Joseph Chinotimba, Deputy Science and
Technology Minister Patrick Zhuwao, a nephew of President Robert Mugabe and
Youth Minister Saviour Kasukwere.

Reached by VOA for comment on such reports, Kasukuwere denied the
allegations and said the chaos was the result of poor planning by the
event's organizers.


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Mugabe's nephew to face court as incriminating videos are released

http://en.afrik.com/article15971.html

Patrick Zhuwawo and Saviour Kasukuwere disrupted constitutional proceedings
  Monday 27 July 2009 / by Alice Chimora

Zimbabwean President's nephew who is accused of leading party militants and
war veterans to disrupt a crucial constitutional conference in Harare would
soon be prosecuted. Patrick Zhuwawo together with Youth Minister, Saviour
Kasukuwere where captured on camera insiting delegates to disrupt
proceedings.
Douglas Mwonzora, the co-chairperson of the parliamentary committee on
constitutional reform said his committee had compiled videos showing the
Zanu-PF legislators in action while leading the disruptions and would hand
it over to the leaders of the political parties and the police for
prosecution to take place.

"We have complied videos and discs which will be used as evidence during the
prosecution of the legislators and other people who disrupted the conference
(...) The videos are going to be used during the prosecution of these people
as the days of lawlessness have to come to an end," said Mwonzora.

Zanu-PF militants and war veterans two weeks ago disrupted the opening
ceremony of a national conference to draw up a new constitution for Zimbabwe
after complaining that the national flag was not on display and that singing
of the national anthem was not on the program.

The war veterans and other Zanu-PF militants sang liberation war songs,
shouting party slogans inside the conference, forcing the Speaker of
Parliament, Lovemore Moyo to leave the podium before he delivered his
opening address.

Kasukuwere and Zhuwawo now stand accused of leading the war veterans and the
party militants to disrupt the conference. They have not denied the charge.

Mwonzora added: "What they did is a crime and they have and will be brought
to book. The parliamentary committee on constitution-making will send the
videos and the disks to the principals after which they will be sent to the
police for prosecution."

Under a unity deal reached between the Zanu-PF party and the two MDC parties
in September last year, a new constitution will be in place in the country
in 18 to 24 months.

A parliamentary committee is steering the process that will lead to new
elections as outlined in Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement.

However, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZINASU) among other civic groups are opposed to
the dominance of politicians, notably a parliament committee in leading the
process.

They argue that the disruptions at the opening of the first Stakeholders
Conference underscores the need for a people-driven constitution-making
process as opposed to a process driven by Parliament.


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Diesel conjurer convicted of fraud for fooling Mugabe's government

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/

Africa News
Jul 27, 2009, 14:56 GMT

Harare - A medicine woman who conned President Robert Mugabe's government
out of about 1 million US dollars by bamboozling ministers into believing
she could tap diesel fuel from a rock, was convicted of fraud at the
weekend, state media reported Monday.

Rotina Mavhunga, who goes by the alias of Nomatter Tagirira, found an
abandoned fuel tank in the bush near the northern town of Chinhoyi in March
2007.

She filled it with diesel, attached a pipe to the outlet and concealed it at
the top of a rock, the Chinhoyi magistrate's court heard.

She then summoned top government official to witness her 'discovery.' At a
signal, a hidden accomplice would open the tap on the pipe and the officials
would gasp in amazement as refined diesel poured down the side of the rock.

A cabinet 'task force' dispatched by Mugabe to investigate the claim
returned to declare that Zimbabwe's persistent fuel shortages were at an
end. Government officials and businessmen lavished money and vehicles on the
medium until several months later, when a second group of ministers began to
express doubt about the woman's bona fides.

Judge Ignatius Mugova found Mavhunga guilty of defrauding the government of
500 billion dollars in the now disused Zimbabwean dollar, the equivalent of
about 1 million US dollars, and of 'misrepresenting to a public official'
that she could conjure diesel from a stone, the state-controlled Herald
daily reported.

The magistrate also named one of the country's most powerful civil servants,
registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede, as 'an interested party' in the fraud.

Mudede, who has run the country's elections since 2000, had supplied 125
litres of diesel, which the mystic poured down the rock, the judge revealed.
When Mavhunga went on the run from police, she was hidden and fed by Mudede,
Mugova said.

While finding his behaviour was 'disturbing' the judge said he was not
convinced Mudede was acting out of self-interest.

Many people who visited Mavhunga's 'shrine' were 'gullible' and were clearly
'frightened' of her alleged spiritual power, referring to reports that
members of the investigating cabinet task force took off their shoes in her
presence.

During the trial, Mavhunga would start growling in the dock before the
terror-stricken public gallery, but the magistrate said she had been faking
a trance to try and have herself declared unfit for trial.

Her conviction was passed 'in absentia', as she had repeatedly failed to
turn up after being served the summons, and was believed to be in hiding,
the Herald said. Sentencing is expected later in the week.


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Mudede role queried as diesel n'anga convicted


From The Herald, 27 July

From Walter Nyamukondiwa in Chinhoyi

A Chinhoyi magistrate has described Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede's
involvement in the diesel-from-a-rock scandal as "disturbing". In convicting
infamous "diesel n'anga" Rotina Mavhunga, alias Nomatter Tagarira, in
absentia on two counts of defrauding the State of about Z$500 billion
between March and June 2007 and misrepresenting to a public official that
diesel was oozing out of a rock at Maningwa Hills in Chinhoyi, Mashonaland
West provincial magistrate Mr Ignatius Mugova last week said Mr Mudede had
"an interest" in the matter. However, he said the court could not establish
if Mr Mudede's involvement was for personal reasons or for the benefit of
the nation. Mavhunga claimed in court that Mr Mudede had supplied her with
125 litres of diesel which she poured through a pipe to deceive public
officials that the liquid was coming out of a rock. "From evidence from
Mavhunga it is abundantly clear that Tobaiwa Mudede had an interest in the
matter, whether for the benefit of the nation or himself is unknown to the
court," Mr Mugova said. The RG's action, he said, was "disturbing" as he
left Mavhunga in hiding and fed her when the police were hunting for her.
Mavhunga said she also got 100 litres of diesel from one Uswahungani and
bought a further 500 litres that she also poured into the pipe on top of the
hill. Mr Mugova convicted Mavhunga's co-accused Lyton Munodawafa and Martin
Mazvazvido on the fraud charge, but exonerated them on the charge of
misrepresenting to the then Mashonaland West Governor and Resident Minister
Nelson Samkange on the grounds that the State failed to provide evidence
linking them to the offence.

Mavhunga has not appeared in court despite several summons, prompting the
court to proceed with her trial and pass judgment in her absence, while
police enforce a warrant of arrest. Mavhunga and her two accomplices now
await sentencing, which was supposed to have been handed down last Wednesday
but was deferred to tomorrow when police are expected to have apprehended
her. It is believed that she is holed up in Guruve. Her co-accused were
immediately put behind bars but have temporarily regained their freedom
after the magistrate said there were some things he wanted to review before
passing sentence. The three denied the charge when the matter first came
before Mr Mugova. In delivering his judgment, Mr Mugova said: "The State
failed to prove that all accused persons supplied false information to a
public official. It only managed to do so in respect of accused one
(Mavhunga). Consequently, all accused are found guilty as charged in respect
of count one (fraud). As for count two (misrepresenting to a public
official) only accused one (Mavhunga) is found guilty as charged," he said.
Magistrate Mugova said Mavhunga and her accomplices exploited the fuel
crisis in the country at the time and many people became "gullible" and
accepted an "otherwise unknown phenomenon", such as refined diesel coming
out of a rock. He said Mavhunga's reasons for lying were for
"self-actualisation and benefit".

He noted that initially Mavhunga pleaded guilty to the charge when she
presented her defence outline after dumping her lawyer Mr Chandavengegwa
Chopamba. However, she later re-engaged him leading to a full trial and
altered her plea. She later claimed in court that she pleaded under duress
after being assaulted by the police. "The State proved beyond reasonable
doubt that Mavhunga and her accomplices defrauded the Government and the
State. The prejudice to the State is difficult to fathom," he said. He said
there were inconsistencies in the evidence from the defence witnesses, which
showed that the "discovery" of diesel was shrouded in secrecy such that "no
two people came up with exactly the same position" on what transpired during
the period. He said it was clear that people had been frightened by the
"spirit" that was supposedly guiding Mavhunga. Mavhunga, he said, wanted to
hide behind the "spirit" of Changamire Dombo and at some stage gave the
impression that the spirit gave evidence in court. He noted that Mavhunga
twice faked a trance during the trial in a bid to hoodwink the court into
believing that she could not give evidence. Mavhunga told the court that she
started conducting rituals at the age of 13 and became Changamire Dombo's
"medium" in 2003. She denied that she solicited anything from Government
saying "Changamire Dombo" and well-wishers provided everything she got.


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Shock figures reveal thousands of Zims deported from Botswana

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
27 July 2009

New figures released this weekend have revealed that thousands of
Zimbabweans, including innocent, legal travellers have been deported from
Botswana, as their impatience with the Zimbabwe crisis grows.
The figures show that an estimated 13 thousand Zimbabwean nationals were
deported between April and June this year, according to information received
by the NewZimbabwe.com online news website. The site reports that in April
alone, more than 6 000 people including, 236 children were deported, while
in May and June over 3 000 people were deported each month. Hebert Mudzvova,
the acting regional immigration officer at the Plumtree border post
reportedly said the figures are expected to peak in July. He added that many
Zimbabwe travelers to Botswana were being deported without question.
Millions of Zimbabweans have fled the country in the midst of its collapse,
escaping political upheaval, violence and economic destruction. The majority
have fled to neighbouring countries often making the dangerous journey by
foot and illegally crossing borders to seek safety, food and jobs. But the
countries hosting the thousands of exiles have started losing patience since
the formation of the unity government, as the coalition was hoped to usher
in real change. Now, more than five months later the only real change has
been in the structures of the government and the dollarisation of the
economy.
Regardless however, policies on Zimbabwean exiles adopted by other countries
are beginning to be less tolerant. In South Africa, many Zimbabweans are
still being hounded by police and threatened with deportation, and thousands
are still taking shelter at Johannesburg's Central Methodist Church.
Meanwhile, Canadian authorities on Friday said the country would no longer
offer asylum to Zimbabweans and people from four other countries if they
attempted to enter the country having first landed in the United States.

Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said in a statement, other
nationals affected by the new regulation were from the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan. People making refugee claims
would be required to seek protection in whichever of the two countries they
enter first, be it Canada or the US. The new regulation effectively suspends
an exemption that had been allowed under the bilateral Safe Third Country
Agreement that bans people from making asylum claims in both Canada and the
US.


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Editor forced to resign over ideology

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=20252

July 27, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The deputy editor of The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, Joram
Nyathi, has been forced by the company's board of directors to resign
allegedly over sharp differences in political ideology, officials at the
newspaper claim.

Nyathi, who has now taken up a job as spokesman for the government's own
watchdog, the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, was forced off
the business weekly after he reportedly clashed with the Zimbabwe
Independent board of directors over "offensive articles" that appeared in
his column.

In his column Nyathi regularly slammed Western sanctions imposed on
Zimbabwe, blaming them for wrecking the economy and absolving the Mugabe
administration from oft-repeated accusations of ruining the economy. He also
openly backed the seizure of white-owned farms. Occasionally he would pour
scorn on the MDC and its leadership for lacking a strategicnationalist
vision.

His controversial column, which is reproduced on the NewZimbabwe.com
website, where Nyathi is a blogger, provoked a regular  flurry of hate
responses from the Independent's readership, with the letters' columnbeing
replete with correspondence from outraged readers urging him to come out in
the open and declare his allegiance to Zanu-PF.

Management eventually capitulated.

"Management has put spin to the whole thing and say Nyathi resigned of his
own accord to take up a job at JOMIC when in actual fact he was asked to
step down," a source at The Independent said.

A farewell party has been arranged for Nyathi, a long-serving member of the
editorial team, who joined the newspaper in the 90s at the peak of its
readership.

Technically, he is still under the employ of the Zimbabwe Independent until
his contract of employment ends on July 31 as he has indicated. He is
supposed to start work as JOMIC spokesperson on August 1.

Nyathi declined to comment on Monday on the circumstances surrounding his
termination of employment at The Zimbabwe Independent, saying he was still
employed at the paper and that the official spokesperson was Raphael
Khumalo, the chief executive.

Nyathi however confirmed he had secured the job of JOMIC spokesperson. He
said he got the job when he was already on leave at the Zimbabwe
Independent.

"I then made an application for release," Nyathi told The Zimbabwe Times.

But Khumalo refused to comment on Nyathi's sudden exit from the newspaper.

"Speak to him, speak to Joram," Khumalo said before switching off his phone.

Sources at the newspaper say Nyathi's column had driven management into a
cul-de-sac, as they were in a quandary over firing the deputy editor for his
"outrageous viewpoints" when the newspaper claims to be a paragon of freedom
of expression.

Bosses at the Zimbabwe Independent watched in consternation as Nyathi
morphed from a vociferous government critic into a fiercely
pro-establishment columnist. He regularly espoused political views in his
column that were clearly not in sync with the pro-democracy movement, which
the Zimbabwe Independent purports to subscribe to.

Matters came to a head when Nyathi penned an article under the headline,
'Why I wanted to be a white man', which was replete with racist undertones
and explicit support for government's controversial "land grab" policy.

Nyathi's controversial article, described by our source as "a bit over the
top" was a response to the saga surrounding US-based Dr Arikana Chihombori
and ML Cremer, a commercial farmer in Chegutu, some 110km west of Harare.
Chihombori, who is a citizen of the Unites States of America, had asked her
sister, a pastor to claim possession of Cremer's farm on her behalf.

According to the Chihombori's sister, Cremer allegedly called her "a cold
stupid kaffir". Cremer is said to have also told her he didn't "take
instructions from a kaffir" to vacate his farm and that he employed 300
blacks to whom he gave instructions everyday. Cremer has denied the
allegations, saying the allegation was created to fix him.

In response, Nyathi wrote in his column that unrepentant whites like Cremer
who were used to titles of endearment such as ikhiwa or murungu, should be
put in their proper place.

Nyathi wrote: "Mugabe has tried to demystify the white man through land
reform regardless of his other human foibles.

"It (the white race) hawks itself as the donor race. It is the same race
which maintains sanctions on Zimbabwe which have become as indefensible as
rape whatever the perpetrator's defence."

Another  source at The Independent said the article was censored on the
instructions of group special projects editor Iden Wetherell after a heated
exchange. Nyathi is said to have defiantly proceeded to submit his article
for publication on New Zimbabwe.com, an online newspaper based in London, on
which he is a blogger.

This reportedly incenced Wetherell, who is said to have recommended to
publisher Trevor Ncube that Nyathi had gone too far and must be shown the
door.

Efforts to verify this with Wetherell were futile as he was not immediately
available to comment.

But our source said Nyathi had been censured regularly for his political
articles, which were said to be "not in sync with the paper's editorial
policy".

Wetherell was said to have intimated that Nyathi was embarrassing himself
and the Zimbabwe Independent through his articles.

"The articles showed he was morphing into a George Charamba," the source
said

Our source said Zimbabwe Independent editor Vincent Kahiya had been
instructed by Ncube to sack Nyathi but had refused, arguing that he must be
given an honourable exit given his long service to the company.

Nyathi was then asked to step down, and he willingly obliged, according to
our source. To manage the fallout, management informed staff that he had
quit to take up the job of JOMIC spokesperson.

"But nothing can be further from the truth," said the source.

Meanwhile, workers at the Zimbabwe Independent are said to be on a go-slow
over salaries amid reports that reporters earn as little as US$200. The
means the two titles, the Zimbabwe Independent and its sister Sunday paper,
The Standard, are the worst paying newspapers in Zimbabwe.

Staff at the newspapers said it was appalling that they  earned a third of
what their counterparts at The Herald were earning. Cub reporters at The
Herald earn a modest US$600, with the scale going up according to job title.

Last week staff at the Zimbabwe Independent were said to have resorted to a
go-slow when negotiations reached a deadlock after management promised to
increase salaries by only 40 percent. Last Friday's issue of the paper was
said to have been produced by senior editorial staff after reporters downed
tools on Wednesday.

Wage negotiations are said to be still in progress.


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Civic groups launching parallel process

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=20226

July 27, 2009

By Our Correspondent

THE country's civic society organisations led by the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) were on Sunday evening putting final touches at the
Chitungwiza' Aquatic Complex venue of a launch on Monday of a parallel
constitutional making process.

The coalition is made up of NCA, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) and Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU).

Maddock Chivasa, the NCA spokesperson, told The Zimbabwe Times Sunday
evening that the conference had attracted 4 000 delegates and will be
attended by 67 other non-governmental organisations who believe that the
people of Zimbabwe must write their own constitution.

"It's a conference of like-minded people who believe that the people of
Zimbabwe must write their own constitution," said Chivasa.

"The conference is going to take place tomorrow (Monday). Most of the
delegates are already in Harare. The delegates are going to attend on their
own will and support our idea that the constitution should be written by the
people not by the politicians. We did not invite any one; the people are
coming because they believe in our approach."

The coalition announced last week, just after the parliamentary select
committee on constitution-making concluded its first conference, that they
were preparing to launch a parallel constitution-making process.

Long-time constitutional campaigner Lovemore Madhuku told journalists last
week that the NCA and like-minded organisations within the civic movement
would take charge of the constitutional making process.

"Our agenda is to get a genuine process that will give our country a
democratic constitution. At the convention we will launch under the banner
of 'Take charge' and thereafter take it to all people in the country."

Madhuku believes the chaotic scenes which were witnessed during the opening
of a constitutional conference organised by the parliamentary constitutional
select committee were testimony that the process is unlikely to produce a
people-driven process.

Madhuku's NCA master-minded the rejection of government's draft constitution
in 2000.

Zimbabweans hope for a new constitution which will guarantee their human
rights, strengthen the role of Parliament and curtail the president's
powers, as well as guaranteeing civil, political and media freedoms.

The new constitution will replace the current Lancaster House Constitution
written in 1979 on the eve of independence from Britain. The document has
been amended 19 times since independence in 1980.

The calls for a new constitution come amid reports that Zanu-PF is pushing
for the adoption of the Kariba Draft as the basis upon which the country's
new Constitution should be drafted. Many are opposed to the draft because it
was an agreement between Zanu-PF and the two MDC parties. The draft leaves
presidential powers intact.

President Mugabe is accused of using these excessive powers to entrench his
29-year-old rule using repressive laws. As if that was not enough there are
reports that Zanu-PF is pushing for President Mugabe to assume a new
identity - that of the country's Supreme Leader. The title is common is some
of the world's despotic countries such as Iran and North Korea.


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Tsvangirai to address thousands of Zimbabweans in Johannesburg this week

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

27 July 2009

By MDC SA Publicity & Information Secretary

The President of the largest political party, Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai will address thousands of exiled Zimbabweans in
Johannesburg this weekend. Tsvangirai will be in South Africa to meet
potential investors as he continues his efforts to salvage Zimbabwe's
collapsed economy.

The President is expected to polish up Zimbabwe's damaged image by imploring
investors to focus on the future and forget about Robert Mugabe's previous
violations of property rights since Zanu PF is surely heading towards the
dustbins of history.
MDC SA province's Organisng Secretary Rodgers Mudarikwa said several
thousands of Zimbabweans staying in South Africa are expected to stream into
Johannesburg to listen to their charismatic leader Tsvangirai, speaking at
the party's Anniversary Celebration.

Ten buses have already been donated by well-wishers to bus Zimbabweans from
around Gauteng to attend MDC's anniversary celebration in South Africa.
MDC's Secretary General Tendai Biti and party Chairman, Lovemore Moyo and
the articulate party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa will be part of the
President's powerful entourage.
The party leaders are also going to meet SADC chairman President Jacob Zuma
to brief him on Zanu PF's 700 violations of the political agreement.

MDC Publicity & Information Secretary
Sibanengi Dube


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CNN, BBC free to come

From The Sunday Mail, 26 July

Sunday Mail Reporter

The government and editors of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and
Cable News Network (CNN) have resolved the sticking points around the
organisations' coverage of Zimbabwe, paving way for the broadcasters to
resume operations in the country. Although it is still unclear when the news
networks will begin coverage, the Government has said their operations
should be carried out in terms of local laws. The minister of media,
information and publicity, Cde Webster Shamu, the ministry's secretary, Cde
George Charamba, and principal director Dr Sylvester Maunganidze, first met
the BBC delegation on Sunday last week before holding discussions with CNN
Johannesburg bureau chief Kim Norgaard on Tuesday. The BBC delegation
comprised BBC World News editor Jon Williams, Africa Bureaux editor Sarah
Halfpenny and Gringo Wotshela.

Cde Shamu told the journalists that they had not been banned from Zimbabwe,
highlighting that they were free to visit the country. In letters to both
media organisations after the meetings, the minister expressed hope that the
interface had "cleared matters and provided a basis for a sustainable
relationship of trust, respect and mutual benefit". The letter to the BBC
reads: "For the purposes of the record, I restate the main points of our
meeting. We acknowledged the need to put behind us the mutually ruinous
relationship of the past. We agreed that whatever communication problems
which the BBC and officials of the Zimbabwe Government may have had in the
past, the Zimbabwe Government never banned the BBC from carrying out lawful
activities inside Zimbabwe. To that end, the issue of 'lifting the ban' did
not arise, with the BBC free to resume activities in Zimbabwe in terms of
the country's laws. The ministry emphasised that it would be important and
helpful if the BBC would ensure that this misconception about 'the ban' was
cleared worldwide, including with Unesco which had been wrongly made to
believe that such a ban ever existed."

According to the letter, the Government and the BBC agreed that the latter
would employ locals at its proposed Harare Bureau. Although the office has
to be set up, in terms of the law, the policy requirement for the
organisation to employ locals will not prevent the network from sending
crews to the country if need be. It was also agreed that the BBC and CNN
would respect local legislation and uphold professional standards. The
stand-off between Government and the two organisations arose in 2000 after
authorities questioned the networks' partisan coverage of the country. The
BBC was seen to represent political interests rooted in Britain's conflict
with Zimbabwe over the land reform programme. The CNN adopted the
anti-Zimbabwe lobby after the land reform dispute erupted


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HOT SEAT interview: The Operations and effectiveness of JOMIC

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk
 
27 July 2009
 
 

violet_gondaHOT SEAT interview: Journalist Violet Gonda interviews JOMIC member Tabitha Khumalo. JOMIC has come under fire for being toothless and doing nothing to ensure the implementation of the Global Political Agreement. The programme this week examines the operations and effectiveness of JOMIC, and it also asks if there are more breaches of the GPA than compliance.

(Pictured: HOT SEAT interview: Journalist Violet Gonda)

VIOLET GONDA: My guest on the Hot Seat programme is Tabitha Khumalo, the MDC House of assembly representative for Bulawayo East and a member of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, JOMIC. Welcome Tabitha.

TABITHA KHUMALO: Thank you Violet.

GONDA:
Now Tabitha, let’s start with you outlining for us your terms of reference.

KHUMALO:
Our terms of reference as JOMIC are to monitor the Global Political Agreement that signed by the three parties in Zimbabwe. Our role is to make sure that the parties that signed that Agreement should implement it in letter and spirit.

GONDA: Right. So JOMIC is supposed to be the safety valve for this Global Political Agreement and as you said, to implement the provisions of the GPA, so in your understanding, has JOMIC been effective?

KHUMALO:
First and foremost, when JOMIC members were appointed, we did not have an office. Nor did we have a secretariat, so what was happening was individual members that were affected, who felt that the GPA was being violated were forming up as individuals. So what would then happen is we would pick up the information, meet as JOMIC, raise those issues but we had no source of keeping that information and a way to follow up because we did not have an office and as I speak now, we have opened an office and we have recruited staff so everything is now rolling.

GONDA: Where is this office?

KHUMALO: Our office is in Harare; 136 Lomagundi, sorry George Avenue in Harare.

GONDA: So since its formation in February, how many times has JOMIC met?

KHUMALO:
Since the formation in February, our last meeting was on the 29th of February and then we had another one recently this month. So we’ve really not been able to meet because what was required then was we were supposed to use the offices of the co-chair that would have been chairing for that month, so if it was the Minister Goche we would go to his ministerial offices.

GONDA:
But what is this you saying about not having had funds, an office to hold meetings when some of your critics say you all seem to have funds to travel the world and if you have money to globetrot, why wasn’t there money to rent a room and hold meetings, for such a crucial and important body? How would you respond to that?

KHUMALO: Well I’m shocked if they’re talking that JOMIC members are globetrotting because I don’t know what globetrotting you are talking about because none of us have been globetrotting. Those of us that have been going outside the country, we are going on business that is completely different from JOMIC business. I mean other ministers will be pushing their agendas of their ministerial desk so obviously as JOMIC members, we are not going in a capacity as JOMIC members, we are going in our capacity, in our roles on the other organisations that we represent.

GONDA: But doesn’t that show where the priorities of the individual members of JOMIC lie because as ministers or MPs you are able to travel all over the world for your missions but when it comes to JOMIC, which is supposed to be the overseer, which is supposed to implement the provisions of this very important Global Political Agreement, people have not been able to meet because they say they don’t have funds.

KHUMALO: Well surely for example are the people then saying, since I’m also a member of parliament for Bulawayo East constituency, I’m then not allowed to be in the constituency to service that constituency because that is where I was voted? Because the issue of JOMIC does not mean that we are supposed to meet on daily basis. We could not meet merely because we did not have access to offices - so you will see the issue of us keeping, collecting the data that we have storage of that data became difficult because each and everyone of us was then supposed to take this data home and every time you come back, you need to reproduce that data. Some of us don’t have the latest technology – where we are going to print that information, and photocopiers that we don’t have in our homes. So then our homes could not be then turned into offices and secondly it does not mean that we are in JOMIC we then forego the other roles that we need to play. We have got roles where we sit on these committees of parliament; we have got roles in the institutions that we came from. For example, I came from the labour movement and that doesn’t stop me representing the labour movement where I’m supposed to be represented just because JOMIC is not sitting. And again does not means that JOMIC then becomes priority over all issues. JOMIC is a priority provided the process is smooth sailing so that we then have a place to start from. We should have people that are on the ground in terms of data information and collection and that information is collected and collated, it is then given to the JOMIC members for the JOMIC members to then raise an alarm in terms of the violation of the GPA.

GONDA: Is JOMIC toothless?

KHUMALO: Well the fact that we are called a monitoring organ, it’s as good as you and me going to monitor elections in any country. What role do we have? The only role that we have is to see whether they are following their laws, electoral laws in terms of voting, and then we then highlight the anomalies that we pick up during that process of monitoring those elections. After picking up those anomalies, you and me don’t have the power to tell that State, to say you are violating a certain section of electoral laws because we don’t have the powers. The only way then that we do is after the elections we then write a report to raise the issues that we saw them to be in violation of the laws of that country. So the same applies to JOMIC. What we are supposed to do is to identify the violations and then raise them with the principals and those principals should then take the corrective action.

GONDA: I’m going to ask you shortly about the state of the GPA but this week we spoke to one of your party members and also a government minister, Nelson Chamisa who said and I quote; “JOMIC is toothless, comatose and they have let people down. If they report back to SADC it will only be about JOMIC’s death and disfunctionality.” What can you say about that?

KHUMALO: Well to me, it’s unfortunate that’s the comment that he made but first and foremost there is need for him to look at this process. You don’t just write this organisation, this so-called JOMIC and the GPA – and no-one bothered to make sure that the process of it to move, you need offices, no-one bothered about that.  The issues of how then do we go to those places, the site visits, no-one bothered about that and they expected us to be moved into JOMIC and start operating. It’s as good as you telling me that I must move out of the home and I go to the bush, where do you expect me to go? No matter of how is this JOMIC going to operate, all what they knew was there must be a JOMIC. The JOMIC was then formed and people were sent into JOMIC and to move that process there was need for funding, there was need for this JOMIC to have an office and a secretariat and the secretariat’s role is to make sure that they gather the information in terms of the violations because we’ve got the other roles that we need to play. We are not in JOMIC 24/7. We are in JOMIC when need arises so how did they expect us to operate when we had nowhere to operate, we are just in a vacuum, we did not have anything to operate from so how do they expect us to operate?

GONDA: But is it really adequate Tabitha, to say that since JOMIC’s formation, you’ve only met twice, you said at the end of February and just recently. Aren’t there any government buildings or offices that you could have used to meet in between?

KHUMALO: We were using those offices, OK? And then, for example look at the issues of the farm invasions. You are then told farms are being invaded. What is needed now is for us to gather information in terms of those farms that are being invaded. One, we have no transport and then even if we manage to gather this information from pressure groups, there is need for us to verify that information from the ministry responsible for those farms and the people that are being accused of doing whatever they are doing, we still also need to verify at the farm, on the site, to double check that the information that we got was factual so that when we write a report in terms of those violations we have gathered enough evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that there was a violation, and we get that information.

GONDA: But Tabitha, you say that you had no transport for example, and correct me if I’m wrong, there are 12 members of JOMIC, seven of those members are ministers with government vehicles. Could you not use as JOMIC, some of their vehicles?

KHUMALO: But those vehicles are government vehicles for their ministries. They have nothing to do with JOMIC. Those cars have been allocated for them to do their ministerial roles so it means to demonstrate if we’re taking their cars to deal with the JOMIC issues, which means they are stopped doing in terms of their business in that ministry. So it means we are going to handicap them again by inconveniencing them in the usage of that, in the usage of their motor vehicles. So you can imagine for example, we want to go to Chegutu to go and check on the farm invasions and the minister has got a meeting somewhere else, so we don’t say OK you don’t go to a ministerial meeting, you give us your car and we go to Chegutu to go and double check on site what is happening. It is not going to happen.

GONDA: But Tabitha, we all know that most of the ministers have more than one car so how really is this an inconvenience to use a government car and when you hear about all these abuses that are still taking place in the country? As a monitoring group, surely it is not too much to ask one of the ministers if you could use their cars since you say you are unable to travel to some of these areas where you are receiving information that violations are continuing. Isn’t this about priorities and commitment?

KHUMALO: But remember that this same minister has got deliverables that he must deliver within his ministry, including such,

GONDA: But…

KHUMALO: … Let me tell you Violet, including SADC, if SADC and the principals were very clear in terms of us monitoring this agreement they should have put the mechanism on the ground for us to be able to reach these places on time and deal with these problems as soon as possible to make sure the Agreement is not violated. So basically what it means, SADC on its own also was not serious by them moving for this monitoring process whereby there are no resources for us to monitor - and we are not going to jeopardise other peoples’ positions in the name of priority. I agree it is priority and there is need for us to rectify these problems because they are part of the problem that is causing this MOU not to move the way it is supposed to move. But at the same time, it must be resourced. Without any resources how then are we going to inconvenience other ministries for us to resource JOMIC? Just remember these ministries don’t even have budgets.

GONDA: Then perhaps the ministers and MPs in JOMIC are just too busy to be part of this monitoring group if it is to be effective.

KHUMALO: Basically when one is a minister, a minister is busier than anything else. Members of parliament who are backbenchers basically most of the time they are attending committee meetings, parliamentary committee meetings so they are not as busy as ministers. But what I am saying, it’s not for me to decide whether ministers should sit in JOMIC or not, it’s entirely up to the principals to say that’s what they chose, that’s what they will get but what we need to do is to put something on the ground, if that is an obstacle then there must be a decision that should be made.

GONDA: OK before we go to the issue of the GPA itself, I go back to comments made by Minister Nelson Chamisa who said there was frustration and anger within the MDC over what he calls the non-existence of JOMIC and he said that the group has done nothing to ensure the implementation of the GPA. Is this a fair comment?

KHUMALO: That is not very true because as we speak, we wrote a letter to the principals and he must bear in mind that in this country, media is for a chosen few and that’s another violation of the MOU, whereby media is biased and does not want to get other issues from other people. So basically most of these things are done behind closed doors because we have no outlet to air that, to say this is what we have done. So far we have written to the principals in terms of the other violations that we have discussed as JOMIC for them to look at them and make sure they correct that. But we don’t have the outlet to send that information to the populace to know that is being done. As we speak now, we are compiling data in terms of the hate speech that we need to submit to the principals to say this is what has been happening for the past four weeks and we need a change on that. So ZBC and the government media cannot challenge those issues, they don’t want that - so how do we then disseminate that information if we are not, we cannot have access to that medium?

GONDA: So what is the state of the GPA?

KHUMALO: Well the state of the GPA is there have been a number of violations that after the compilation, we then take the list to the principals that they work on them and refer them to the violations that they’ve made on the GPA. So the state of the GPA, we are trying to implement it, it’s not as easy as it sounds but that’s what we are doing and we are hoping that the principals will then decide.

GONDA:
Can you give us some examples because according to the MDC, your party, they say that there have been 700 breaches by Zanu-PF and it’s reported that the MDC actually sent a report to SADC with a list of some of these breaches. Now as JOMIC, what aspect of the Global Political Agreement have not received attention?

KHUMALO: The issue of the governors, they have violated the GPA; the issue of the ambassadors, the issue of the swearing in of Roy Bennett, the issue of the hate speech that is being perpetrated day in and day out, the issues of arrests on bogus charges of members of parliament, the issue of arrests of activists, the farm invasions that are taking place because there’s an agreement that there should be no farm invasions; the issue of the governor of the Reserve Bank who was appointed after the signing of the MOU, that’s another breach; the issue of Tomana as well is another breach. So there are a number of breaches, violations that are being made to the MOU so there is need for them to then put their heads together as the principals because they are the people who are supposed to make the final decisions in terms of implementing the GPA. All what we need to do is to highlight the violations only and again that’s where SADC has got to come on board in terms of the decision although they did not give us the mandate to give resolution towards the violations of the GPA.

GONDA: And have you as JOMIC sent any reports or statements to SADC? I know you’ve mentioned the principals, but what about SADC itself, the guarantors of the deal?

KHUMALO: First and foremost we need to send the report to the principals and then the principals when they respond whether positive or negative, from then on we can then go to SADC - because it is pointless for us going to SADC without notifying the principals. So they are the people who are supposed to implement this GPA and when we fail that’s when we can move then to SADC. We have not yet had any response from them and when the time comes and we give them a time limit for them to respond, if that time elapses and then we get the next course of action.

GONDA: What is the time limit?

KHUMALO: We gave them 14 days notice to respond or implement those violations as per the Agreement.

GONDA: And when was that, when is the deadline?

KHUMALO: The deadline is this weekend, this weekend, end of this week.

GONDA: The end of this week. OK and I understand the MDC had already sent a letter to SADC, so is this a separate thing?

KHUMALO:
No, no it doesn’t change anything - remember the guarantor of the GPA is SADC so MDC has got all the right to go to SADC, which means to say that maybe they have negotiated as the three principals and they failed. So the best way out is to go to the guarantor and say we have debated this thing, it’s not being implemented and as the guarantors of this GPA you have to come on board to try and rectify these problems. So they have got the right to do that. So obviously maybe they thought it was better to take all those other issues further up including the ones that we have to them raised with them as well.

GONDA: I read somewhere in some of the reports that SADC said, or South Africa rather because South Africa is the chair of SADC, had said that they’d not received any complaints because they only recognise complaints if they come from JOMIC. That is you can only complain if everyone agrees to complain together. Is this the case - by consensus?

KHUMALO: Well that means to say they need to change the Global Political Agreement because it does not say that the violations of the GPA, all the complaints must be sent to SADC. It says when we identify the violations we have to notify the principals so it means to say they then need to edit or amend the GPA to give us that latitude - to say instead of us sending those violations to the principals we must also send them to SADC. It doesn’t give us that right to do that.

GONDA: And of course there are other reports claiming that most of the issues have now been resolved and that governors for example are going to be sworn in next week and that only the issues of the Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and the Attorney General Johannes Tomana remain unresolved. Is there any truth to that?

KHUMALO: Well that’s our understanding – that the first week of this coming month governors are going to be sworn in because they want the contract of the governors to expire. But again that does not give them the right to do that because in the terms of the GPA there is a violation because these governors were supposed to have been sworn in a long time ago. But what we are saying if that is what they agreed as the principals that they would swear them in August and SADC is happy with it, there is nothing we can do as JOMIC but to follow that. But what is important is we must then be notified to say there’s been a violation of the GPA in whatever section and the reason is because we have agreed that we are going to violate that because of A, B, C, D - so that we also have that information ourselves. So that understanding we have but that still does not stop us from raising that violation to say you were supposed to have sworn those governors by such and such a time as per the GPA. We were supposed to swear in Bennett by such and such time by the GPA. Where they are not agreeing there is need for them to take it further to their guarantor.

GONDA: We have received so many statements from the MDC in recent weeks saying that scores of your activists are getting brutalised especially in the rural areas and especially around this time that you formed this coalition government and there’s supposed to be this unity accord. Is this really happening on the ground, that violence is still continuing on the ground?

KHUMALO: Well violence is continuing because we’ve got an understanding that the militia are opening base camps in the schools so which means to say first and foremost that the teachers are now going to be affected and people are being beaten up obviously, and currently I’m sure what happened at the HICC (Harare International Conference Centre) is a story to be told - to say if it happened there obviously out there it is happening - whey they came and disrupted the constitutional conference. So they are forming bases, people are being beaten up, people are being intimidated, people are being victimised so that’s another violation that needs to be dealt with by the principals.

GONDA: I spoke to Zanu-PF’s co-Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi and he says claims by your party that activists are still being brutalised are actually a fabrication and he also claimed his co-minister Giles Mutsekwa who’s from the MDC has not even brought any of these issues up to him, these cases of violence. What is your reaction to this?

KHUMALO: Such statements from our Zanu-PF colleagues should be expected. Remember Jestina Mukoko disappeared, Jestina Mukoko and others disappeared for four months and Zanu-PF denied any knowledge of where they are and four months down the line they resurfaced and it has been proved beyond any reasonable doubt that they were kidnapped by the State. So that is expected from them, so it’s one statement we should not even bother about. It confirms to say something is happening and obviously they don’t want it to come into the limelight because it’s going to cause a stir so that’s why they are saying there’s nothing like that.

GONDA: So in your view, is the GPA more in breach than in compliance?

KHUMALO: It is more in breach than in compliance and the reason is very simple. There are some people within Zanu-PF who don’t want this process to go ahead because they are benefiting from the chaos in Zimbabwe. So what is now important is for SADC to open its eyes and ears and decide on the way forward because this decision came from the group as SADC. And the truth of the matter is now coming on to the fold that there are more violations than anything out of the GPA. So there is a need for them to come together and come up with a decision in terms of what to do because everybody have tried their best, there’s been negotiations, talks and whatever and there’s no implementation, there’s violations, more violations than implementation.

GONDA: You are talking about SADC opening its eyes and ears, what about the MDC itself? You now have five MDC MPs who have been convicted and statements from your party say that this is a plot to persecute MDC MPs by Zanu-PF to decimate your party’s majority in parliament. If this is the case what is the MDC really doing about this?

KHUMALO: Honestly speaking, the three principals meet every Monday. They do meet. Honestly are we saying when they meet they talk about nothing and forget about all this chaos? They are obviously discussing all these issues…

GONDA: But nothing has changed…

KHUMALO: Somebody’s not budging. How can it be said when the media does not give the coverage that it is meant to be giving? Because by right the role of the media is to disseminate the information as is. But it becomes difficult for this information to be disseminated when it’s coming from the side that they don’t align to; they are only representing the side that they are aligning to. And obviously these principals are meeting every now and again discussing this same issues but the problem is that there is no mouthpiece for that. Obviously they are not agreeing on something and if they are not agreeing they should go back where this disagreement came from and raise those problems because obviously somebody’s not doing their job.

GONDA: But Tabitha, seriously speaking, are you saying it is the fault of the media, are you really saying that it is the media’s fault that Zanu-PF is violating the agreement because what you have outlined to us is Zanu-PF is still continuing to brutalise the people, to brutalise opponents and has not really moved an inch in terms of the implementation of this GPA. So surely how is it the media’s fault that Zanu-PF has failed to comply?

KHUMALO: Well I’m not saying the media has failed to comply. The role of the media is to disseminate, make information about the GPA, what is meant to be done by who and what has been violated by who, OK? But what I am saying is, what is very important is when these principals are meeting every now and then, obviously they are discussing the violations of the GPA but the media as the watchdog of the people of Zimbabwe, they need to highlight these issues so that people can understand. And I want to believe that they cannot just meet, the three of them and just have a cup of tea and jump into their cars and go. They sit there and discuss the violations of the GPA. But it looks like they’re not coming to a conclusion in terms of how to correct that anomaly. So the question is how do we then get this GPA implemented in letter and spirit? There’s need for them to then go back to SADC to say we have tried to implement and party A is not doing this, party B is not doing this and party C is not doing this.

GONDA:
But on the issue of the media are you saying that the media is not highlighting these breaches? How do we do that? I’m speaking as one of those in the media when we don’t even get access to these politicians, when you have even the local media not even getting access to the heads of government but you find them getting interviewed by international media. When you have even JOMIC itself not even sending statements out. So how do we highlight these things when we are not being used?

KHUMALO: Well Violet, you have got the GPA in front of you. If you read the issue of land and the position that was taken by the principals, what is wrong with you as a media to say Article Six of the GPA states blah, blah, blah, blah but what is happening on the ground is this or there is nothing that has been done, nothing has been happening, what is wrong with that? You don’t need to interview them. The GPA is certifying what needs to be done, when, by whom and by what time.  And those are the violations that we are supposed to be monitoring as JOMIC to say, for example the issue of the governors, it is specific when they are supposed to be sworn in and they were not and the media can highlight that to the people. The governors of Zimbabwe are supposed to be sworn in on such and such a day and to date they have not been sworn in and we’ve not heard anything from the three principals that are signatories to the MOU. That is another way of putting pressure, by disseminating information.

GONDA:
Yes but those issues have been covered so many times by the media but it’s the inside information, people are not being told what’s happening. You know when you have these closed door meetings as principals or even as JOMIC or as cabinet ministers, it’s very difficult for journalists to actually find out what is happening because no one is talking - and when they do talk, people don’t want to talk on the record and you end up being fed the wrong information. JOMIC should send out a statement regularly to say this is what is supposed to be happening and this is what hasn’t happened.

KHUMALO: I think you are very aware of the current media set up in this country. They are aligned to Zanu-PF so they will not cover anything that speaks ill of Zanu-PF. So even if as JOMIC we write anything, our chances of getting that information covered by the media are zero. So we are suffering the same brunt as yourselves. So the only way that we can turn that is maybe opening a website for the JOMIC. From there we can send that information out for those that have got technology but how many of our Zimbabwean people have access to computers, to access the internet? The media in this country is partisan and there is no way information is going to be disseminated the way it’s supposed to be. And if at all you do send that information to them by the time we read it on the print or electronic media, it’s not what you wrote down. So chances of using that media is a waste of time because they will keep on trying with the hate speech and making the GPA look like a lost cause because that is what they want to happen.

GONDA: I was also going to ask you about the composition of JOMIC and based on what you have just said just now on how difficult it is to get proper coverage because the media is still biased, what about the actual composition – how do you work as JOMIC when the composition of the body is such that you have hardliners, such as Zanu-PF representatives like the Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa?

KHUMALO: Well we have no problems with the composition because we are discussing things as they are. It is a question of facts here, because we are not discussing something from shooting from the dark. The information that we need to follow and if that information comes and if it is a fact, it takes the day. The composition is not a problem. The problem is trying to disseminate this information to the intended beneficiaries. There are hardliners and we can see Elton Mangoma is part of us; he was also part of the negotiating team - so all the hardliners are there. But the key is how then do we get this information out where it is supposed to be used for the benefit of the GPA?

GONDA: So what do they say really, your counterparts when you are talking about the continued harassment and victimisation of your party activists, when you are talking as a group?

KHUMALO: Well everybody always disputes. You raise the issue of farm invasions, they will say there no farm invasions, if we tell them people are being victimised they will tell you people are not being victimised. We produce the evidence and they will tell you they want to go and give it to the respective persons that need to verify and confirm whether it is true or false. So it’s a question of hide and seek and what is very important is we need to gather factual information that even if they follow it up they will come to a dead end because it will be fact. And they are still living in those days where they thought, they believed, that they were the government and they forget that there are other people that are in government with them now.

GONDA:
The parliamentary monitoring group, Veritas, actually says that the number of vacancies in parliament has risen to ten in the past few months and that the President has not called for by-elections in clear violation of the Electoral Act and of the constitution. Is JOMIC aware of this and that by-elections are long overdue?

KHUMALO: Yes, we are very aware of that and there is need for those vacancies to be filled and those are the issues that we have highlighted to the principals, it’s up to them now, they need to decide and implement. If they are not implementing and they cannot agree then there is a need for them to take the issue up and I think the MDC has done that by writing to SADC and raising those violations to say, ‘obviously they have debated and debated and debated no more.’ And they felt they had to take it up to SADC for them to come up with a position in terms of how then do we implement this GPA in letter and spirit as per the GPA.

GONDA:
So is the Veritas position correct then about September 15 being the deadline for by-elections?

KHUMALO: It is very correct, yes. There have been so many deadlines, so many deadlines that haven’t been met. What is now important is there is need for people, pressure groups to exert pressure on these principals to make sure they implement and meet these deadlines that they have violated. Somebody must push them to that.

GONDA: According to Veritas, they say that Robert Mugabe is dragging his feet on calling for by-elections ,but surely there has to be an electoral commission set up first before that can happen or what should be the procedure here?

KHUMALO: Yes, even if we set up the electoral commission to run this thing, a number of issues have not yet been resolved. So what would be achieved by setting that up because these things have got timetables and these timetables are not being followed? Even if we set up that commission, it would be set up, they will not meet it and something else will come up. And again remember, we have no funding as a country. So some of these things, the obstacles are financial funding to make these things move. Because people cannot sacrifice the money from their own pockets to try and move these issues. But what is important is – there must be political will for this GPA to move and that political will is not there from some of the principals that signed the GPA. So as long as there’s no political will it is going to be an uphill struggle for us to fight for the implementation of the GPA but it does not mean that it cannot be done, it can be done. What is important is there is need, and Zimbabweans must stand up and exert pressure because if you leave it to these people to do it on their own they are going to take it easy because no-one is being bothered by it.

GONDA: OK, thank you very much Tabitha Khumalo for talking to us on the programme Hot Seat.

KHUMALO: OK thanks.

Feedback can be sent to violet@swradioafrica.com violet@swradioafrica.com


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Film exposes violence against Zimbabwe's women

From The Citizen (SA), 26 July

Cape Town - Little more than a year ago, Memory Shiriinorira was a healthy
young mother of two. Life was hard, but she had hope, despite the depressing
environment of the Epworth slum, just 12km beyond the Harare city centre.
Hope came through the promise of change in Zimbabwe, change promised by the
aptly named Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). She made plain her
preference for the MDC in the elections of June last year, a choice that was
to prove a probable death sentence. Militants of the ruling Zanu PF rampaged
through areas like Epworth, seeking out the "disobedient" individuals who
supported, or who were suspected to support, the MDC. Memory was an obvious
target. She was not alone. The Zimbabwe Rape Survivors Association estimates
that more than 2000 women and girls were the victims of
"politically-motivated rape" between May and June of last year. Some never
survived. Many, like Memory, are now HIV-positive and, again, like Memory,
have to continue to live in fear in the same communities, facing, on an
almost daily basis, their often smirking attackers.

At the Epworth clinic where Memory receives what ARV treatment is available,
she regularly comes face to face with one of her attackers, the man who
probably infected her with HIV. There is nothing she can do. Shortly after
her rape she reported to the police only to be abused and then told by a
senior officer that the police were not dealing with "political cases". She
lives in constant pain and, because of an insufficient diet, realises she is
dying. So she feels she has nothing to lose, but worries about her children,
daughters aged eight and 12. This is the reason she chose to speak out on a
brief film made by the Harare-based Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) that
was brought to South Africa last week with the help of the International
Center for Transitional Justice. She also feels that by making her story as
widely public as possible, she may gain some protection. RAU also hopes that
sufficient attention and pressure will be focused on Zimbabwe to perhaps
lessen such violence that tends to peak at election time.

The 16-minute film "Hear Us" features four women survivors, two of whom
remain anonymous for fear of retribution. They were severely assaulted in
June last year by Zanu PF youth who called themselves the Taliban. However,
as RAU programme manager Kudakwashe Chitsike readily admits, most of the
women and young girls who suffered this politically-motivated violence are
too afraid to speak out, only too aware that there is little or no
protection should their attackers decide to exact vengeance. Unlike Memory,
a large number of them were not politically active. But, in some cases,
their husbands, brothers or other relatives supported the opposition, or
were suspected of "being MDC". Among them are women who were not raped, but
who were stripped, sexually abused, humiliated, beaten, kicked, trampled on
and tortured. Increasing numbers of them are now coming together in small
"healing" groups to talk through their trauma and gain support by realising
they are not alone. The groups, still mainly in the Harare area, were
established by a non-governmental organisation, The Tree of Life.

One of the organisers is Abigail Kadaira. A young woman, she was pregnant in
June last year, when she and others were kicked and trampled on by uniformed
police after attending a meeting of the opposition National Constitutional
Assembly. She suffered a miscarriage and is now unable to bear children.
Diminutive and softly spoken, she came to South Africa to help launch the
film, available on DVD, at a meeting in Cape Town's Centre for the Book. She
and Kudakwashe Chitsike returned to Zimbabwe on Saturday. "By making the
world aware of what has happened, and is still happening, seems one way to
perhaps halt this violence," Chitsike noted after the Cape Town screening.
The film is also being distributed and screened in Zimbabwe to heighten
awareness of what has happened, and to provide support to survivors.
Chitsike remains optimistic, but admitted, when pressed, that it seemed an
uphill battle in South Africa where xenophobia, often specifically targeting
Zimbabweans, seemed on the increase. "But we have to keep trying," she said.


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Bill Watch 26 of 26th July 2009 [Budget Bills passed]

BILL WATCH 26/2009

[26th July 2009]

Both Houses will sit again on Tuesday 28th July

Update on Constitutional Commissions Nominations

Progress was made on the short-listing of candidates last week.  The matter is expected to be considered by Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee at its meeting on Monday 27th July.  The short-lists – and dates for public interviews of candidates – may be announced after that meeting.

Update on Inclusive Government

Organ on National Healing – on Friday 24th July the three principals to the GPA – the President, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara – participated in a ceremony launching the three days of National Dedication organised by the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration  This event marks the beginning of six months of comprehensive consultations by the end of which the Organ aims to have a nationally agreed programme.  This means that it will be well over a year after the signing of the GPA before the Organ’s work will get off the ground.

Cabinet Reform – this week the State press agitated about a leaked document of a working paper prepared for Cabinet containing suggested changes to Cabinet procedures.  The implication made was that the Prime Minister was trying to usurp Presidential powers.  In fact as the GPA introduces into the executive the new institutions of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, of course this affects Cabinet procedure and it is self-evident that consequential modifications to the Cabinet Handbook must be considered and discussed.  It would be surprising if these matters were not being looked into.

Outstanding Issues Referred to SADC – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai  is due to meet SADC Chairman, South African President Jacob Zuma during the coming week to stress the need to deal with the outstanding issues [in particular the unilateral appointments of the Attorney-General and the Governor of the Reserve Bank] listed in the letter that he and MDC-M President Mutambara sent to President Zuma in late May.  The next ordinary SADC Summit is scheduled for the first week of September 2009 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

National Security Council – there is a meeting scheduled for Thursday 30th July [under the NSC Act the Council should have met every month from March onwards, but this will be its first meeting].

National Economic Council  – has still not met.

Parliament Last Week

The Finance (No. 2) Bill and Appropriation (Supplementary) Bill were passed by both Houses

[Electronic versions of both Bills available on request.]

House of Assembly

The House sat on Wednesday and Thursday only. 

Wednesday private members’ question time was deferred, and the afternoon was then devoted to debate on the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review Statement and approval of the Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure.  The Appropriation (Supplementary) Bill and the Finance (No. 2) Bill were introduced and referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]. 

Thursday non-adverse reports were received from the PLC, and both Bills were passed without amendment and transferred to the Senate. 

Senate

Tuesday and Wednesday the Senate debated motions. 

Thursday it passed, without amendment, the Appropriation (Supplementary) Bill and the Finance (No. 2) Bill.  They must now be sent to the President for his assent before being gazetted as Acts.  As some of the tax law amendments in the Finance (No. 2) Bill are stated to be with effect from the 1st August, gazetting of the Act on or before that date is expected.   Senate Question Time, which had been set down for Thursday, was deferred until Thursday 30th July.

Parliament This Week

This week’s sittings are likely to be the last of the current Parliamentary Session, and will be used to wind up unfinished business, including the debates on the President’s Speech opening the session on 26th August last year.

Bills – no Bills are ready for presentation.  The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill is with the Government Printer for printing prior to gazetting.  As Standing Orders require this Bill to be gazetted 14 days before its introduction in Parliament, it cannot go ahead this week.   

Motions – new motions put down in the House of Assembly include one honouring the late Senator Patrick Kombayi and another, to be moved by MDC-T MP Tongai Matutu, deploring the selective application of the law against MDC members of Parliament who have been arrested, prosecuted and convicted and calling for the appointment of an independent Parliamentary Select Committee to investigate the conduct of the Attorney-General in “all politically motivated prosecutions”.

House of Assembly Portfolio Committees – the following meetings are open to the public [but anyone wishing to attend should please check beforehand with the appropriate committee clerk at Parliament on Tel 700181]:

· Industry and Commerce committee, for oral evidence from the Confederation of Zimbabwean Industries on the state of the economy [Tuesday 28th July, 10 am, Committee Room 311]

· Media, Information and Communication Technology committee, for oral evidence from the Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum [Thursday 30th July, 10 am, Committee Room 413]

Senate Thematic Committees – this week’s meetings are not open to the public. 

Another MDC-T MP Given Prison Sentence

Ernest Mudavanhu, member of the House of Assembly for Zaka North, is the fourth MDC-T MP to face suspension and possible loss of his seat following imposition of a prison sentence of 6 months or more [in his case 12 months following conviction on a corruption charge based on allegations of abuse of the agricultural inputs scheme].  As he has appealed, the decision on whether or not he will forfeit his seat is on hold pending the result of the appeal.  Meanwhile, however, like his three colleagues, he is suspended from exercising his functions as an MP under section 42(1) of the Constitution. 

[Note: Zimbabwe Lawyers are challenging these suspensions on the ground that this section of the Constitution is inconsistent  with the Declaration of Rights.  This would be by an application to the Supreme Court, which could take months.  In the meantime Parliament is likely to stick to taking action under section 42(1,) i.e. that an MP sentenced to 6 months or more imprisonment “shall cease forthwith to exercise his functions” – but will be reinstated if an appeal succeeds]. 

Five other MDC-T MPs are facing charges similar to that for which Mr Mudavanhu was sentenced.  If they are convicted and given similar sentences, this would bring the number of suspended MDC-T MPs up to 9.

Update on Legislation

Bills

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill is being printed prior to the gazetting that must precede its introduction into Parliament. 

Information Communiaction Technology Bill It is clear that this much talked-about new Bill is still a departmental draft Bill, the principles of which have not yet been sanctioned by Cabinet; it is therefore a long way from finalisation and presentation to Parliament.

AIPPA and POSA – there is still no sign of Bills to amend these repressive Acts or of Bills for any other  reform legislation mentioned in the GPA and STERP. 

Statutory Instruments

No significant statutory instruments were gazetted on the 24th July.

 

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

 


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Zimbabwe.Com For Sale


July 25 , 2009.


Zimbabwe.Com domain name was registered in May , 1998. Obviously then , very few people anticipated the exponential growth of the use of the internet and the world wide web. 20 years later Zimbabweans have an opportunity to acquire this commercial domain name  that does NOT fall under Zimbabwean cyber jurisdiction.


Dot coms  are by far the most popular top level domain (tld) and as a result .coms were sold on a first come first served basis which meant that some individuals and or organizations would end up owning country specific dot coms.

To avoid these kind of problems the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) set aside .info domain name for governments to use. Which means that for instance only governments or their departments can register a dot info domain name.

It must be noted that owning a good domain name is one thing and having good content on that website is another. What is for sale is the domain name Zimbabwe.com and not the content. The acquirer of the domain name will build the website to suit her/his specific needs.

Why sell it then ? Zimbabwe is going through some rebuilding exercise , it became relevant that those who have a genuine interest in Zimbabwean affairs be given first chance to acquire it.

Considering that South Africa would be hosting the first soccer world cup in Africa , it takes no rocket science to figure out the internet spill over traffic that this 30 day , once in 4 years event will bring to that region.

Those interested in acquiring this domain name please get in touch :

South Africa   (011) 461 3266

United Kingdom (020) 3355 9992

United States  (240) 720 2142

New Zealand  (09) 925 0348

ndlovu @ zimbabwe . com

Robert Ndlovu

USA.


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