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Zimbabwe faces power cuts over unpaid debts: paper

http://af.reuters.com

Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:55am GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe, whose economy has been hit by frequent power
cuts, risks being cut off by regional electricity suppliers over $57 million
in unpaid debts, state media reported on Sunday, dimming prospects of a
quick recovery.
A new unity government formed by President Robert Mugabe and rival Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai seeks to raise industrial output, now below 20
percent due to shortages of foreign currency and electricity, to boost the
economy after years of hyperinflation and contraction.

The country's factories and mines have been hit hard by power shortages.

Zimbabwe imports about 35 percent of its power requirements from Mozambique,
Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but has regularly failed
to pay for supplies.

The head of state power utility ZESA told the official Sunday Mail newspaper
that Zimbabwe could soon be cut off if it fails to pay for power imports.

"The threat is very real that the suppliers have run out of patience," ZESA
chief executive Ben Rafemoyo is quoted as saying.

"If we do not pay, the consequences would be so dire. The danger is that the
power that we are importing is being sought by other utilities and if we are
cut off, wrestling it back would be a big problem."

The Mail said ZESA owed Mozambique's Hydroelectrica Cahora Bassa $40.3
million, the DRC's SNEL $9.8 million, Zambia's ZESCO $1.7 million, while
power distribution company EDM of Mozambique was also owed $5.1 million.

The country imports 500 MW from the region, spending $5.5 million per month,
Rafemoyo said. Zimbabwe has a peak demand of 2.200 megawatts, but generates
a maximum of 1,000 MW due to ageing equipment and coal shortages for its
hydrothermal plants.

Production at the Hwange thermal plant has been reduced after ZESA failed to
pay for coal supplies, the paper said.

ZESA has previously relied on state funds to import power, but the
cash-strapped government, which needs about $10 billion to rescue the
economy, is unable to provide funding and, in a country where unemployment
exceeds 94 percent, the utility does not get much tariff revenue.

The new government has said it has secured more than $1 billion in credit
lines for private firms, but has not yet registered a breakthrough in
getting budgetary support.

Tsvangirai is currently on his first trip abroad since becoming Prime
Minister in February, in a bid to woo Western donors who remain sceptical of
the power-sharing government's ability to deliver broad political and
economic reforms.


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Mohadi implicated in theft of copper

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=18040

June 14, 2009

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - The co-Minister of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi is said to be
currently under police investigation after a truck allegedly belonging to
him was intercepted while loaded with 30 tonnes of stolen copper cables.

The haulage truck was impounded by the police in Masvingo two weeks ago
while carrying a load of copper. The police source in Masvingo confirmed the
truck belonged to Mohadi, who is now under investigation.

Eight people, including two Cameroonians, a Ghanaian, and a South African,
have already appeared in court for allegedly stealing and trying to smuggle
the 30 tonnes of copper wire worth millions of United States dollars.

Four vehicles, including the haulage truck and an Isuzu truck were impounded
by the police. However, the haulage truck has since been released in unclear
circumstances, following revelations that the minister was the owner of the
vehicle.

Sources within the police  confirmed on Sunday that they were investigating
Mohadi.

"The haulage truck we impounded was released on the instruction of senior
officers after it was discovered that it is owned by Minister Kembo Mohadi,"
said the source.

"The contraband is, however, still in police custody. We questioned the
minister in connection with the case, and he has admitted that the truck
belongs to him.

"He however said it had been hired on the day it was found loaded with the
copper."

Masvingo police spokesman Inspector Phibion Nyambo said on Sunday that the
police were investigating a cabinet minister in connection with the case. He
refused to name the minister.

"We are investigating that case, and a minister has been implicated in the
smuggling scam," said Nyambo. "But I am not at liberty to give you his
 name."

Charles Fot, a Cameroonian national, was arrested at a local lodge two weeks
ago. The haulage truck belonging to Mohadi was found parked outside the
lodge while loaded with the copper cables.

According to the police, the driver of the Isuzu truck, Sam Mangwenjanj, a
South African citizen, was stopped at a police roadblock near Masvingo along
the Masvingo-Beitbridge highway .

At least 328 kilograms of copper wire were recovered from the Isuzu truck
following a police search.  Police investigations led to the discovery of 30
tonnes of copper cables loaded on the haulage truck.

Mangwenjanj had implicated Fot who was booked at the lodge. The police
arrested him and impounded the haulage truck.

Theft of copper cables has cost the country over US$1 billion over the past
two years. The cables are smuggled into neighbouring countries.

Zimbabwe is currently grappling with a serious power shortage. Some areas
have gone for days without electricity.

The serious power deficit is a result of foreign currency shortage. Zimbabwe
has accrued debts of over US$100 million for power.

Last week, Mozambique threatened to switch off power supplies. Zimbabwe owes
the neighbouring country US$ 43 million for power supplied.

The theft of copper cables has aggravated the situation.


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Mine seizure shelved: Tsvangirai

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

12 June 2009

By STAFF REPORTER

HARARE - Zimbabwe's transitional government has shelved plans to nationalise
foreign-owned mines as it seeks to lure external investors, Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai said last week. (Pictured: Prime Minister Tsvangirai...
Plans of the previous government to nationalise the mines have been shelved)

In an announcement expected to come as sweet news to edgy foreign
investors, the Zimbabwean premier reassured the investors of moves by
the new Harare regime to restore viability in key economic sectors.

Large mining houses have kept away from Zimbabwe's mining sector after
an economic crisis worsened by President Robert Mugabe's policies,
including a nationalisation law targeting majority holding by locals
in foreign-owned mines.

Under the nationalisation plan, Mugabe had ordered foreign-owned
miners to surrender 51 percent of their shareholding to locals.

"The plans of the previous government to nationalise the mines have
been shelved," Tsvangirai said during an address to the US Senate on
Wednesday.

Mining has become a pillar of the country's battered economy,
following the collapse of commercial farming, with gold alone
generating a third of all export revenue.

Tsvangirai last month said the southern African country could attract
up to US$16 billion in exploration and mining investment if it
corrected policies that have scared away foreign investors.

There has been no exploration since 2002 in Zimbabwe, which has the
second largest platinum deposits after South Africa and boasts large
reserves of gold, copper, coal and nickel.

Some of the major miners operating in Zimbabwe include Impala Platinum
Holdings (Implats), which is the foreign firm with the biggest mining
investments, its rival Anglo Platinum and global player Rio Tinto.

Several mines have shut down in the past year, suffocated by
hyper-inflation, and shortages of skills, power and foreign currency.

Critics had previously warned that if having empowerment or locals
owning shares in foreign owned companies is not handled carefully, the
country could see a repeat of the chaotic land reforms where Mugabe's
allies and top government and security officials largely benefited
from seized white-owned farms.


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Call To Fire Prisons Commander

http://www.radiovop.com

Harare - Harare has of late been awash with flyers calling for the
dismissal of Zimbabwe Prisons Commissioner Paradzai Zimondi for poor
conditions in the country's prisons.

The fliers have been posted at prisons  and courts in Harare and other
parts in the city, prompting the Zimbabwe Prison services' security
department to embark on a witch-hunt of the culprits behind the fliers.
Some of the flyers had headings: "Zimondi Must Go", and "Zimondi gets
fat while  inmates starve". The flyers also accuse the Prison Chief, of
being corrupt and mismanaging the institution,  abusing prisoners' rights.
One of the fliers read: "The ZPS under the management of Zimondi - wholesale
murder is being done. Prisoners are  dying of starvation,over-work and
neglect.Inmates  labor on ZANU  PF top officials'  farms for nothing. They
go naked and dressed in rags." Prisoners  who  die  are  piled up  in
laundry rooms  and then buried in unmarked shallow graves outside the
prisons without  the knowledge of their relatives. Many prisoners are being
held for petty crimes with hard core criminals for a long time without being
taken to court . Another flyer also accused Zimondi  of employing war
veterans and  promoting them ahead of well  trained officers. The
organization's  security department  is  reportedly having  embarked a witch
hunting activity. Members of  the ZPS' Public Relations and others who are
sympathetic to officers who were victimized politically during and after the
controversial June 27, 2008 Presidential run-off elections are believed to
be the targets.

Zimondi is well nkown for his statements that he would never salute
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai if he had become President. The Red Cross
and other human rights organisations are assisting prisons with basic
necessities aimed at maintaining hygiene standards in prisons and feeding
inmates.

The Ministry of Justice says 1 000 prisoners have died in the country's
prisoners since the beginning of the year.
The Deputy Minister of Justice, Jessie Majome, told Radio VOP in an
interview of the chilling statistics recently.
"Ever since I became Deputy Minister of Justice, I know that there has
been about 1 000 prisoners who died from January this year because of mainly
lack of food due to malnutrition," said Majome.
She described the sad picture which is coming just months after the
formation of a coalition government as a result of the past mistakes by the
previous Zanu PF governmcent.

The Red Cross is also feeding 6 300 detainees. Kitchens, sanitation
facilities, and water supply systems will be upgraded as well in the near
future.
"We are working closely with the prison authorities to improve the
situation for the most vulnerable detainees," Thomas Merkelbach, head of the
ICRC's team in Harare said in statement recently.

A South African documentary film released earlier this year showed
scores of skeletal prisoners in Zimbabwe dressed in rags and reportedly
dying of malnutrition and HIV-AIDS in filthy institutions without food,
medication or basic cleaning materials.

Comment
1"Ms" by Zimondi Mugabe at Sunday, 14 June 2009 18:06
Zimondi is only implementing a plan devised by JOC,headed by
Mugabe.The motive..to eliminate the opposition.That's explains why you never
see murderous ZANU PF members languishing in those prisons.Its hell for the
innocent only.Thats genocide..but HAPANA CHISINGAPERI!!


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Sugarcane Farms Under-utilised

http://www.radiovop.com


CHIREDZI- June 14, 2009- Over 400 resettled farmers mostly war
veterans who grabbed sugarcane farms in the Lowveld are struggling to keep
up with production as most farms are under-utilized.

"We used to get employed this time of the year but it is unfortunate
that by now very few farmers are able to take us. Their cane is not up to
standard and they have not managed to use all of their pieces of land," said
a worker Ashton Ngavaite.
"From our own experience in working on sugar plantations, most of the
sugarcane from new farmers are of poor grade and they are likely to be
rejected," he said.
An official from Commercial Sugarcane Farmers Association of Zimbabwe
(CSFAZ) who refused to be named accused union leadership for looting the
inputs which were supposed to be used by all farmers.
"The problem is that our union representatives were very greedy and
looted all the inputs which we were supposed to use. We were given inputs by
Hippo Valley and Sugar Sales Private Limited but no member managed to get
anything.
"It is very true that the standards are deteriorating on yearly basis
and we are sure that the sugar production is going to be greatly affected,"
he said.
Over 200 farmers did not manage to sell their sugarcane because it was
of very poor quality. However, the number of farmers who are likely to fail
to sell sugarcane may double that of last year.
Early this year CSFAZ president Admore Hwarare together with two
accomplices Daniel Tsingo and Darlington Chihwa were arrested after the
members reported that they were looting inputs which were supposed to
benefit ordinary farmers.


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Chiefs Return Looted Property

http://www.radiovop.com


BIKITA- June 14, 2009- Two chiefs in Bikita have returned property and
livestock  looted by ZANU PF supporters and overzealous traditional leaders
from Movement Democratic Change supporters in the presidential run-off last
year.

Chief Budzi of Bikita South who was supposed to be taken to court by
ward two councilor Anatansia Kunaka, pleaded for out of court settlement and
he gave her four cattle and USd  200 as compensation for her cattle taken
away by people who were sent by Budzi in June last year.
A well known MDC-T activist Albert Ndirishi who was thoroughly
assaulted and lost his livestock in Bikita's ward 17 last year got three
cattle from Chief Budzi as well.
The chiefs in Bikita admitted that national healing begins with
accepting crime and then pay for the damage so that the complainant would be
able to forgive and forget.
The two Chiefs are the first to pay back the looted property in the
province. They are also encouraging peaceful negotiations between the
complainants and the accused.
However, some ZANU PF supporters are refusing to negotiate with the
people who are reclaiming their property.
However, MDC-T supporters in the district are insisting that they will
not rest until justice is delivered. They are threatening to take anyone to
court so that they get back their looted property.
John Nyika who escaped death by a whisker after a serious assault by
ZANU PF youths said he will claim his property first and then make sure that
those who beat him get arrested.
"We shall fight until the end. Our desire is to see justice. Those who
were beating us are criminals so they must be arrested. Before they are
jailed, they must return our property. I know all the people who took my
cattle so I will engage lawyers to make sure that my case is perfectly dealt
with," said Nyika.
Some MDC-T supporters from wards 19 and 29 have since filed papers
with the courts claiming their property from 18 ZANU PF supporters in their
area.


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Zim-SA agreement on the horizon

From The Cape Argus (SA), 13 June

Ben MacLennan

A crucial investment protection agreement between South Africa and Zimbabwe
should be signed by the end of the month, Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai
Biti said yesterday. The agreement was negotiated by ministers from the two
countries in March and was supposed to have been signed in Polokwane on
April 14. However, Biti said a session of the World Economic Forum on
Africa - which ended in Cape Town yesterday - that a problem had developed
over the wording of clause 11 of the draft. "To me, it's really a problem of
having too many lawyers involved." However, he had met South African Trade
and Industry Minister Rob Davies on Thursday and there was now "an
understanding" on the wording of the clause. "The principle, basically, that
was at play was what is the application of the agreement in respect of land
that was acquired in terms of the land reform programme? I think the South
Africans were generous to accept that the land reform has happened. But
actualising that into a legal phrase was the problem. I'm quite sure that
the agreement should be signed before the end of June," he said. The lack of
an agreement was blocking capital and leverage. He said the South African
private sector was ready to provide lines of credit worth R2.75 billion to
Zimbabwe, but this would not happen without the agreement. Similarly,
companies would only move in once it was signed, Biti said. Earlier,
Zimbabwe Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara told the same session that
Zimbabwe's power-sharing government was "on a very positive trajectory". He
said the administration was redefining the role of government to be an
enabler and facilitator, leaving the private sector to be the "doers". The
government acknowledged it could not provide infrastructure such as roads,
telecommunications and electricity on its own. We are prepared to partner
with the private sector in Zimbabwe, partner with the private sector in
South Africa, the region and globally," he said.


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Paying the price for Mugabe’s bloated ego

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=18015
 

June 14, 2009

By Clifford Mashiri

A RECENT press report that there had been pressure in the ministry of foreign affairs to reduce the number of embassies as a survival strategy made interesting reading the other day until I learnt that this was turned down by Mr Robert Mugabe because ‘it would be a public humiliation’.

At a time when the total government services amount to $100 million a month according to Finance Minister Tendai Biti, it is incomprehensible that Zimbabwe is struggling to maintain its diplomatic missions abroad just because of a bloated ego.

In Africa Zimbabwe has diplomatic missions in Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Outside the continent Zimbabwe is represented in Australia, Austria, Belgium,  Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy,  Japan,  Kuwait, Malaysia, Portugal, Russia, Sweden,  Switzerland, the UK, at the United Nations in New York, and in the USA in Washington D.C.,

It is obvious that some missions have outlived their usefulness and probably were opened at independence in 1980 as a gesture of solidarity and appreciation for assistance received during the war of liberation. But time and resources have changed and there is need for a very drastic move to a leaner foreign service in line with the trend in the 21st century, especially for such a financially challenged nation.

The situation at some missions is like George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, whereby  some diplomats are said not to have been paid for months despite having taken a pay cut of more than 10 percent in 2007. Suicide has been mentioned in one instance.

However, some animals are more equal than others with Ambassadors getting between US$11 000 and US$13 000 a month plus a lot of perks like free housing and a Mercedes and a driver and in some cases domestic staff – all paid by the government. Some Ambassadors, therefore earn more than the President whose annual salary for 2009 is US$20,800, i.e. US$1,733 per month including allowances.

Some people would be excused for getting concerned by the news that the deeds for Zimbabwe House London were reportedly given to the Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi as surety for oil supplied to Zimbabwe by the Libyan state oil company Tamoil.

Zimbabwe should downsize its foreign service and remain with, perhaps, only a third of its missions abroad?

Meanwhile, evidence of worker discontent in the Foreign Service includes incidence of moonlighting, un-updated websites for Zimbabwe’s missions to the UK, the USA and India.

Back home the websites for the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare, Home Affairs, Education, Justice, Health have not been updated some of  then since 2008 and don’t reflect the new order, including no reference to the new ministers at all.

It was because of Robert Mugabe’s over bloated ego that

  • Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth and is now a pariah state
  • Air Zimbabwe was ordered to take services routes for political reasons to Tehran, the DRC, China and Dubai
  • Air Zimbabwe’s foreign debt has soared to US$28 million excluding the US$50 million it owes suppliers of the Chinese made MA60 it acquired in 2005.
  • Air Zimbabwe management has had no option but to send staff on forced leave which could see up to 1400 employees made redundant.
  • Zimbabwe’s air force was reported in January to be  negotiating the purchase of one squadron of FC-1 fighters from China without clarity as to how the country would manage to foot that bill amid fears that China is interested in Zimbabwe’s zinc and aluminium mines
  • Created a fear society in Zimbabwe

The BBC recently quoted Sekai Holland, MDC Minister for Healing as saying: “No-one feels safe in Zimbabwe, no-one – and I mean no-one”,  as if to confirm the controversial characterisation of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe as an ‘outpost of tyranny’ or ‘a fear society’ by the former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

To arrive at that conclusion, Rice aptly used what Natan Sharansky called the “town square test” which argues that if a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society.

One way of keeping people afraid is to ensure total control of what they see or hear via the media. Accordingly, in June 2008, Mugabe’s regime announced the beginning of Operation Dzikisai Madhishi (pull down your satellite dishes).

The exercise forced Zimbabweans to pull down their satellite dishes which helped them to access eTV, SABC, Botswana Television and DSTV channels as an alternative to the State controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) which is suffering from poor coverage and a heavy dose of Zanu-PF propaganda in its content.

Zimbabwe is indeed a fear society given the daily harassment of civic leaders, journalists, lawyers, human rights activists, white farmers, and MDC supporters being arrested and released on bail, then re-arrested.

The atmosphere in the coalition government seems very tense especially following the threat of war by some of the military chiefs over the Gono issue and now we have just learnt that some people are drawing up assassination lists, all this was quickly denied.

All this is happening because of an over-bloated ego.

(Clifford Chitupa Mashiri is chief analyst at the Zimbabwe Centre for Policy Research and Analysis in London.)


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ZIDERA, GPA mutually exclusive

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=17999

June 14, 2009
Jupiter Punungwe

LAST week Zimbabwe's newly appointed Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai,
embarked on a long trip to several Western capitals. While he was at pains
to emphasize that he was not on a begging mission, there was little doubt
that he would try his best to open the taps of Western aid for Zimbabwe.

However a look at the facts clearly indicates that, anybody who expects the
Prime Minister to be swept back to Zimbabwe by a flood of aid funds would be
taking themselves up a creek. The Prime Minister will get tokens and other
pledges which are a little more than public relations exercises to show that
Western governments 'support the Zimbabwean people'.

However significant aid will not be coming.

From the rhetoric one would think that the stumbling block to the release of
Western aid is the distribution of power between President Robert Mugabe and
Tsvangirai.

While I agree that power is still firmly in the hands of Mugabe and his
Zanu-PF cohorts, I would venture further to say the real stumbling block is
the land question. The issue of land reform is still very much hanging and
as far as written laws and agreements go. It remains the major dividing line
between Zimbabwe and the West.

The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) makes it clear
that to normalize relations with America Zimbabwe has to restore property,
meaning land, to pre-September 2000 ownership patterns. That means handing
back land to white farmers. Yet the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that
the MDC signed with Zanu-PF starts by affirming that there is no going back
on land reform in general and Mugabe's land invasions in particular.

ZIDERA states that, alternatively, the Zimbabwe government has to pay full
compensation for the farms. I don't see a government that cannot even meet
its wage bill being able to do that. It is also difficult for me to imagine
typical Zimbabwean blacks, especially ones who grew up as peasants in native
reserves like Tsvangirai, Mutambara and most of the MDC's leadership, making
a concerted effort to restore land to pre-2000 ownership patterns. That
would mean that they have forgotten generations old grumbling about land
that was taken by colonial settlers.

True they may pretend that to want to restore land rights, but the reason
for that would be trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Western donors,
to try and get them to release money. Any black Zimbabwean at the bottom of
their heart will never forget that they are a child of the soil (mwana
wevhu).

On the other hand, the USA is the prime mover of Western policy and,
needless to say, ZIDERA is the anchor around which US policy is floating. It
is therefore simple logic to conclude that ZIDERA and the GPA are mutually
exclusive pieces of legal writing. One of them has to go before there is a
significant shift in Western policy towards Zimbabwe. Either the West
realizes and agrees Zimbabwe's land reform is irreversible and starts by
having America ditch ZIDERA, or the GNU decides it is much more important to
access Western money than right colonial injustices and removes the clauses
that say land reform is irreversible, from the GPA.

I don't see either of the two happening any time soon.

Additionally, I don't think significant internally driven economic change is
going to come about until after two or three good agricultural seasons.
Zimbabwe's economic model is simple. It starts with peasants getting good
harvests. Manufacturers of consumer goods and other downstream industries
start getting good business when peasants start spending their money. My
mother who has a small business manufacturing children's garments, started
to witness an upturn in her business when this year's harvests started
coming in.

One has to keep their fingers crossed that in those years we are trying to
recover the government do not make some poor decisions. Let us not forget
that the current economic trouble was largely precipitated by poor,
populist, and sometimes downright dishonest, decision making by the
government.

The bottom line is that the Zimbabwe government has to live within their
means. They are not going to wake up one day and find the ground buried
under economic manna from heaven, or money falling out of a muchakata tree.
God and the ancestors are no so charitable these days.

That means they have to throw out excess baggage especially from the top
echelons of government. The political sensitivities of cronies are not more
important than the livelihood of the Zimbabwean people.

Donor money will never be a substitute for prudent and efficient economic
management.


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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 13th June 2009

After a week of unrelentingly bad news about Zimbabwe on the BBC, we arrived to scenes of Murambatsvina outside the Zimbabwe Embassy – a couple of down and outs basking in the sun surrounded by all their worldly possessions. Our problems were further compounded by the tardiness of the water board in removing their scruffy paraphernalia from our space between the four maple trees and two lamp-posts. But the sunshine cheered us up.

 

Vigil supporters discussed the forthcoming visit to the UK by Morgan Tsvangirai. He is to speak at 1 pm at Southwark Cathedral in South London next Saturday, 20th June and we agreed to be there before the Vigil to greet him with our banners ‘No to Mugabe. No to Starvation’ and ‘End Murder Rape and Torture in Zimbabwe’. These have been our messages since the start of the Vigil seven years ago and it is distressing that they are as valid now as ever.

 

We will of course have the Vigil as normal and perhaps the Prime Minister may drop by – he is very welcome.

 

There was talk that Tsvangirai would be accompanied to the UK by two Zanu-PF ministers, Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengengwi and the Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu. Both of them are on the targeted sanctions list and the Vigil approached the Foreign Office to protest at granting visas to these two Mugabe cronies.

 

We wrote: ‘Dear Mr Miliband – We urge the UK government not to grant visas to Zimbabweans on the EU travel sanctions list. There are suggestions that two Zanu-PF leaders are to be part of a delegation led by the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai this month.  These officials, ZANU PF Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengengwi and Obert Mpofu, ZANU PF's Minister of Mines, are deeply compromised.  We see no reason why they should be allowed to visit Europe. The coalition government has clearly devolved responsibilities: Mugabe’s Zanu-PF retains control of the military, the police, the judiciary, home affairs, the central bank, agriculture and information while the MDC is responsible for service delivery. Mr Tsvangirai does not need to be accompanied by Zanu-PF people on his begging mission to the West.’

 

The Vigil has been assured that Mr Mpofu will not be part of the delegation.  Our assumption is that Mumbengengwi will be allowed in under a dispensation allowing for ‘dialogue’.  The Vigil does not accept the case for relaxing targeted sanctions against Mumbengengwi. But we think he makes a better companion for the Prime Minister than Tsvangirai’s niece Dr Arikana Chihombori who accompanied him to the inauguration of President Zuma.  As you may know she is an American citizen and has a large medical practice in the US where she has lived for 30 years. Nevertheless, she has seen fit to try to dispossess a Zimbabwean farmer for her holiday home.

 

Various points arise, among them the fact that Zimbabwe does not allow dual citizenship so how does she qualify for an ‘offer letter’? The Vigil sent the following message to the US State Department ‘Could the US Administration question Morgan Tsvangirai about his niece Dr Arikana Chihombori, who is a US resident and has a medical practice in Antioch Tennessee? She was chosen by Tsvangirai to accompany him recently to the inauguration of President Zuma of South Africa yet she is reportedly trying to seize a productive farm in Zimbabwe like one of the Mugabe cronies (http://www.zwnews.com/issuefull.cfm?ArticleID=20968).’

 

We trust that the matter was taken up when the American administration talked to Tsvangirai. There are suggestions that Tsvangirai has been seriously embarrassed and his niece has apparently put a hold on her land grab.

 

Returning to the BBC’s coverage of Zimbabwe, Vigil supporters watched the video of Sekai Holland being interviewed by BBC reporter Mike Thomson in which she spoke of plans to assassinate MDC ministers.  On the basis of this video and our knowledge of the BBC, we find her backtracking rather embarrassing.

 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/

 

FOR THE RECORD:  215 signed the register.

 

FOR YOUR DIARY:

·   Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 15th June at 7.30 pm. Has the MDC abandoned democratic change for fulltime statesmanship? Jaison Matewu MDC-UK Organising Secretary debates with Innocent Chofamba Sithole former editor of the Daily Mirror. Venue: downstairs at the Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.

·   Tsvangirai at Southwark Cathedral. Saturday, 20th June from 1- 3 pm. Venue: Southwark Cathedral, London SE1 9DA. Nearest station: London Bridge. For directions check: http://cathedral.southwark.anglican.org/visit/how-to-find-us.

·   Service of solidarity with the torture survivors of Zimbabwe.  Friday 26th June from 7 – 8 pm. Venue: Southwark Cathedral. This is the 8th year the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has marked UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. For more information, visit: http://www.hrforumzim.com.

·   Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 27th June at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

·   ROHR Leeds general meeting. Saturday 27th June from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Leeds LS9 7AB. Contact: Wonder M Mubaiwa 07958758568, Donna Mugoni 07533259373 or B Sikosana 07940181761.

·   Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 25th July at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

·   Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

 

Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.

 


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Reflecting on the plight of the African Child in Zimbabwe

Movement for Democratic Change-National Youth Assembly

statement on the commemoration of the Day of the African Child-16 June 2009

Reflecting on the plight of the African Child in Zimbabwe

 

By Brighton Chiwola

 

Fellow citizens, fellow Zimbabwean youth and children, June 16 is upon us once again. It is that time of the year when we commemorate the day of the African Child. That time of the year when our brothers and sisters in South Africa mark their national Youth Day. This day was not born out of joy. It is a day which which was born out of anguish, pain, suffering.

 

On 16 June 1976, in the old township of Soweto it was no joy, but more sadness and suffering. Deodorants were not sprayed, but bullets were sprayed, there were no pools of water, but pools of blood were everywhere. Rivers did not flow, but tears did. The African Child of that day could not chew anymore of the unjust and criminal rule of the now defunct apartheid regime in South Arica. And in droves they took to the streets to say "Enough is enough!"

 

Today, as Zimbabwe joins the world in commemorating the day of the African Child, let us reflect on the plight of the African Child in Zimbabwe. Let us take some time to listen to our youth. We the youth of Zimbabwe are in agony today. Our cries are loud and clear. We have been robbed! We have been robbed of our chance to be the beacon of hope for our great nation. Our dreams are shattered, our hopes are faint. Our lives have been amased with the oils of poverty, HIV/AIDS, crime, immorality, unemployment, and oppression. We have been forced to migrate across the world, and face societies which despise us, hate us and harm us, away from our beloved home, our true heritage. The icon which leads to basic education, tertiary education and medical care replies, "Access Denied" on every attempt to click on it.

 

That is our cry today. We may also take to the streets like what those hundreds of youths did 33 years ago. It was a show of spectecular courage inspired by the desire to acquire freedom, but we are also cautious of our approaches, as we know our institutions very well. They resemble no difference to that inhumane force which unleashed terror on an innocent young citizenry, in a bid to silence cries of democracy, the same cries behind our pleas in Zimbabwe today.

 

To this new infant government in our country today, there is our plea for help. An academically empowered youth with intellectual prowess is a crucial ingedient to the recipe for baking the true Zimbabwean brand. That is what we have always been known for. That is what we will always yearn to be known for. Help us help ourselves. We have so much potential hidden behind all these socio-economic ills which have become part of our daily lives. Accademically, we can still produce more rocket scientists like Arthur Mutambara, on the soccer field we have the potential to usher dozens of Peter Ndlovus, and more Benjans.  Oh yes we have the capacity to usher in more national flag bearers like Kirsty Coventry, Andy Flower and Byron Black. We strive to be like Strive Masiyiwa and Nigel Chanakira. Hear the plight of the African Child in Zimbabwe. A cry for a better Zimbabwe. Yes we can!!

 

Brighton Chiwola is the National Youth Secretary for Information and Publicity in the MDC Party.                                       


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Bill Watch 20 of 13th June 2009 [Illegal not to Hold By-Elections]

BILL WATCH 20/2009

[13th June 2009]

Both Houses will resume sittings on Tuesday 16th June

Reminder

Deadline for Applications for Appointment to Constitutional Commissions

Friday 19th June is the last day for submission of applications to Parliament by persons wishing to be considered for appointment to one or other of the four Constitutional Commissions.  [See Bill Watch Special of 2nd June for details.]

Existing Parliamentary Vacancies – By Elections Long Overdue

There are already 7 vacancies in constituency seats in Parliament [4 in the House of Assembly; 3 in the Senate], all dating back to 2008 [for details see Bill Watch Special of 17th May on By-Elections].  The President should have gazetted proclamations specifying the dates on which nomination courts will sit and the dates when voting will take place if necessary, i.e., if two or more candidates are nominated.  These are long overdue – under section 39 of the Electoral Act a by-election proclamation must be gazetted within 14 days of the President receiving notification of a vacancy.   Parliament has stated that all vacancies were promptly notified to the President’s Office.  A recent newspaper report stated that it was up to ZEC to set the by-election procedure in motion, but that is not so.  ZEC has to wait for the proclamations to be gazetted by the President .  [Note: This is not a matter in which the President is free to act as he thinks fit; he must act in accordance with Cabinet advice.  So the inclusive government as a whole is responsible for these inordinate delays.]  

Why These Delays in Holding By-Elections?

The Government has put forward no satisfactory explanation for its failure to call the by-elections – in spite of the fact that this has left the constituencies concerned without representation in Parliament for many months, in breach of the Electoral Act and of the constitutional rights of the voters in those constituencies.   The law is absolutely clear that these vacancies should have been filled.  If the Electoral Act’s requirements for calling by-elections are not complied with, the High Court can order compliance, provided an interested party takes the trouble to go to court; that happened in Bulawayo last year when a by-election was unduly delayed. 

There is a worry that waiting for the vacancies resulting from existing MPs being appointed as new provincial governors [end of August, see below] will be another reason put forward for further delays.  If by-elections are delayed till mid-September, this would raise the spectre of election violence.   The IPA tried to put a moratorium of 12 months on election violence.  In Article 21 the three parties declared their awareness of the “divisive and often times confrontational nature of elections and by-elections”, noted the need to allow the IPA to take root amongst the parties and the people, and recognized the need to give people breathing space and a healing period.  They accordingly agreed that for a period of 12 months from the signing of the IPA [which period expires on 15th September] should any electoral vacancy arise, “only the party holding that seat prior to the vacancy occurring shall be entitled to nominate and field a candidate to fill the seat”.   [Note: this  does not rule out by-elections, it is merely an agreement that the three parties will not field candidates against each other – only the party previously holding the seat will field a candidate.] 

Another reason why by-elections should be held promptly is that the MDC majority in the House of Assembly is very tenuous and it has already been reduced.  The nearer the MDCs come to losing their majority and ZANU-PF to gaining a majority, the more violent by-elections are likely to be if postponed.  The by-elections should be held now while there is a moratorium on the three parties of the IPA competing against each other.

Should By-Elections Wait for a New Election Commission?

No – this is going to take a long time to put into place and, to reiterate, it is illegal to wait.   And, as pointed out above, waiting could result in a more violent election environment.  Any new Commission would be operating with existing electoral statutes and administrative structures and existing personnel until the whole system is overhauled.

It is certainly hoped that the new Electoral Commission will be functioning, and will have facilitated the reform of the Electoral Act and the reform of the whole electoral apparatus [including its de-militarisation and de-politicisation], before the holding of the Referendum on the new Constitution and the General Elections expected to coincide with the introduction of the new Constitution.   

Provincial Governors

Despite discrepancies reported from different parties, it is likely that the final division of governorships agreed on will be MDC 5, ZANU-PF 4, MDC-M 1.  But the new governors will not be sworn in until towards the end of August when the departing governors will have served one year of their two-year contracts.  [Roy Bennett’s swearing-in as Deputy Minister will be postponed until the new governors are sworn in.]  The allocations per party and province will be:

·    ZANU-PF:  Mashonaland Central [Martin Dinha], Mashonaland East [Aeneas Chigwedere], Mashonaland West [Faber Chidarikire] and Midlands [Jaison Machaya]  [These are all already Governors.]

·    MDC-T:  Bulawayo [Seiso Moyo], Harare [James Makore], Manicaland [Julius Magaramombe], Masvingo [Lucia Matibenga], and Matabeleland North [Tose Sansole]. [MDC-T has nominated its new Governors.]

·    MDC-M:  Matabeleland South. [To be nominated.]

Departing Governors: Ginyilitshe Mathema [Bulawayo], David Karimanzira [Harare], Christopher Mushowe [Manicaland], Titus Maluleke [Masvingo], Thokozile Mathuthu [Matabeleland North] and Angeline Masuku [Matabeleland South]

Effect in Parliament of Changes in Provincial Governorships

As provincial governors are ex officio members of the Senate, the changes will affect party strengths in the Senate.  Assuming that the governorship question really has  been finalised,  ZANU-PF will lose 6 seats while MDC-T will gain 5 seats and MDC-M 1.  In addition, as four of the five MDC governors-designate are already Parliamentarians [3 in the House of Assembly and 1 an elected Senator] they will relinquish their constituency seats in order to take up their ex officio seats, causing another four vacancies [3 in the House of Assembly and 1 in the Senate] to be filled by by-elections. [MDC-M has not yet named a governor-designate, so it is not known if their nominee will be from outside Parliament or from the Senate or the House of Assembly]. 

The greatest impact will be on party numbers in the Senate.  Numbers of elected Senators are fairly even at present: ZANU-PF 30, MDC-T 24 and MDC-M 6, giving the combined MDCs 30.  Of nominated and ex officio Senators ZANU-PF has 16 [which will change to 10], MDC-T 4 [which will change to 9] and MDC-M 2 [which will change to 3]; the combined MDCs have 6 [which will go up to 12].  Assuming that the MDCs will vote together, this means that in the Senate  ZANU-PF would only have a majority if the chiefs [there are 18] vote with them, which has been traditional while ZANU-PF was the governing party.

On the Parliamentary Agenda

There are still no Bills to be considered.  The order papers [agendas] for both Houses list only the uncompleted debates on the President's Speech at the opening of Parliament last year and other motions carried forward from the May sittings.  It is hoped there is time to conclude debate on important motions, e.g., in the House of Assembly – for appointment of a select committee to investigate last year’s election violence, and on the need for a transparent system for distribution of agricultural inputs for the 2009-10 season; in the Senate – on the need for a policy to harness the expertise and resources of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora.  These motions have been carried forward for months.

On Wednesday it is Members’ Question Time in the House of Assembly and there are twenty-nine questions down for reply by Ministers.  There include important questions that have been on the Order Paper since March; it is to be hoped that this backlog can be cleared soon.

House of Assembly Portfolio Committees will resume meeting on Monday 15th June. No public hearings have been announced.

Senate Thematic Committees have been decided on by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.  The members of the five committees will be announced in the Senate on Tuesday.

The Parliamentary Legal Committee has met once to elect the chairperson.  There is a year’s backlog of statutory instruments which the committee has a constitutional obligation to examine for consistency with the Constitution.  It is hoped it will be able to commence this onerous and urgent task soon.  [If the committee considers a statutory instrument to be inconsistent with the Constitution, it must report this to the Senate; if the Senate agrees and is not overruled by the House of Assembly, the President must then repeal the offending statutory instrument.  Standing Orders also require the committee to report on statutory instruments that it considers to be ultra vires [outside the scope of] their enabling Acts. So the longer this task is left undone, the greater the possibility of unconstitutional or ultra vires statutory instruments remaining on the books, to the detriment of the members of the public affected by them, and this could lead to litigation.] 

Update on Legislation

Bills:  No new Bills have been gazetted.  Nor are there any Bills being printed.  The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill approved by Cabinet recently has not yet been sent to Parliament for printing and gazetting. 

Acts: The Appropriation (2008) (Additional) Bill [passed by Parliament on 24th March] has still not yet been gazetted as an Act. 

The Engineering Council Act (No. 3 of 2008) comes into operation on Monday 15th June [date fixed by SI 84/2009]. 

Statutory Instruments: SI 88/2009 [Companies (Alteration of Table of Fees) Notice] fixes US dollar fees for registration of companies and other matters under the Companies Act [effective from 12th June].

Comment on the Last Years Election Report

ZESN on 2008 Elections – the Zimbabwe Election Support Network has issued A Comment on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Report on the 2008 General Elections. [available from www.zesn.org or info@zesn.org.zw]

 

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


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Zim Idol is here - more information

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