By Reagan Mashavave and Gugulethu Nyazema
Sunday, 06 March 2011 19:01
HARARE - The European Union (EU) said the inclusive government opened doors
for re-engagement with Zanu PF, but the party has failed to shack off the
reasons which led to the imposing of sanctions by the block in the first
The EU said they initiated the slapping of sanctions on President Robert
Mugabe and his allies in Zanu PF in the hope they would respect the rule of
law and cease violence.
But it said the situation, despite the consummation of the power sharing
arrangement, is yet to improve.
“After the escalation of political violence related to the elections in
2002, the EU decided to introduce measures against Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF
party as a means to put pressure on those considered responsible. These
measures have been renewed each year since 2002,” the EU said.
“The establishment of a Government of National Unity in 2009 triggered a
re-engagement process between the Government of Zimbabwe and the EU.”
Part of the measures instituted by the EU include suspending ties with the
Zimbabwe government, placing individuals and companies on the sanctions list
and the banning of trade in arms with Harare.
Mugabe and his Zanu PF party last Tuesday embarked on an “anti-sanctions
campaign” meant to coerce the EU and its Western allies to remove the
sanctions. Over two million signatures are planned to be collected before
the party presents a petition to the EU over the restrictive measures.
President Mugabe, who turned 87 years old last month, has vowed to grab
companies owned by the EU and Western nationals in a retaliatory move if the
restrictive measures are not removed.
Mugabe has argued that the sanctions were imposed after the country took
over farms from the minority white commercial farmers, ostensibley to
resettle landless blacks.
The EU said the travel bans and asset freeze on Mugabe and his Zanu PF
officials were imposed because the Zanu PF leader and his party members
undermined democracy and trampled on human rights.
Last month the EU removed 35 people - mainly wives of Mugabe’s close
allies - from the sanctions list.
However, 163 people including Mugabe remain under sanctions.
The economic bloc said the “measures can be reassessed at any moment” if the
country makes reforms in respecting the rule of law, human rights and
“A visa ban and asset freeze is currently enforced against individuals whose
activities are considered to undermine democracy, respect for human rights
and the rule of law in Zimbabwe,” the EU said.
“After the removal of 35 persons from the list in February 2011, the list
contains 163 persons who are prevented from travelling to and accessing
their assets in the EU.
“Also affected are the 31 companies associated with those persons targeted
by the visa ban and a few controlled by State companies.”
The EU said it remains committed in providing assistance to the people of
Zimbabwe, saying they have pumped $365 million in health, education,
humanitarian assistance and water sanitation improvement among other things.
A top United States official, Susan Page, who was in the country on Friday,
said Washington would not shift its policy on sanctions and complained about
the resurgence of political violence in the past weeks.
Four women from Robert Sinyoka Suburb in Bulawayo have been arrested and are currently being assaulted and tortured in custody
At noon Saturday 4 March, Glory Ncube arrived in Robert Sinyoka to visit her sick mother. She was arrested by plain clothed police driving a cream double cab. They drove her to her home in Old Pumula and thoroughly searched her home for WOZA material. They then drove past Nomsa Sibanda’s house and seeing her outside, grabbed her without occupants of her house even realising. It seems they then came across Monica Shema and Beatrice Ngwenya on the road waiting for transport to town and promptly grabbed them too. All four activists were taken to Bulawayo Central Police station. Human Rights lawyer Kossam Ncube managed to see them but was told to return on Sunday at which point an investigating officer could have been appointed.
Nomusa Sibanda is a nursing mother of a one year old.
WOZA members are reporting heavy presence of police and army and ‘youth’ who are drunk and violently beat up anyone indiscriminately. These police officers have been going around telling people to be in their homes by 8:30pm and if they disobey they will be severely beaten. Many members have witnessed beating of people as they try to go about their business. The same security forces are also telling people to never group in more than 3 people and if they do, they are beaten. The police have also been conducting serious ‘stop and search’ of people in all suburbs and also in town. Member’s recall last seeing this level of security during the 1982 crack down by the 5th Brigade. The country seems to be in the grip of an undeclared state of emergency.
Relatives feeding the four women confirm they have swollen faces and hands. Nomsa was unable to hold or feed her baby brought to her Sunday morning.
WOZA wish to call on SADC guarantors of the global political agreement to urgently send a delegation to Zimbabwe to visit the suburbs and observe this crack down by security forces before there is loss of life. Additionally, we ask for them to hold police accountable for their proper role in society instead of arresting people arbitrarily when they are going about their business peacefully.
6 March 2011
For more information, please call Jenni Williams on +263 772 898 110 or +263 712 213 885 or Magodonga Mahlangu on +263 772 362 668 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Harare, March 06,2011 - The security of Zimbabwean women remain on the
spotlight as the country prepares for the referendum and elections as they
fear they will be target for rape, beatings and intimidation, says local
human rights watchdog, Zimrights.
In a statement to commemorate the International Womens Day on Tuesday
Zimrights said political instability in the country as the country
approaches the referendum does not favour the development of women rights.
Zimbabwe elections have in the past been marred by violence and intimidation
as President Robert Mugabe faced challenge to his 31- year-old rule since
"As the country heads for the constitution referendum and presidential
elections, the security of women is of major concern as most fear reliving
the violations of the 2008 elections. Most women became victims of rape,
torture and intimidation either for participating in politics or being
married or related to men who are actively involved in politics. This has
negatively affected women's participation in not only politics but in most
governance processes,|" Zimrights said.
"To date, many women have had to live with constant reminders of the rape
they went through. Some were impregnated and have the babies, while some are
now HIV positive as a result of the rape, yet justice has not been
"Zimrights notes with great concern the predicament which Zimbabwean women
find themselves in as a result of the political instability that the country
is experiencing. Being one of the most vulnerable groups ,it it of utmost
importance that government takes into cognisance the need to protect women
from being exposed to unwarranted human rights violations at the hands of
their male counterparts,"ZimRights said.
The rights group called on the government of Zimbabwe to improve the
livelihoods of women as the country is still battling to find ways to
improve the economy with high unemployment figures.
The government was also urged to avail education facilities to the girl
child as this is when the basis of future is created.
“ Most Zimbabweans cannot afford the standard school fees, compromising the
education of the girl child. This must come to an end! A woman does not need
a learned man to add value to her life, a learned woman can stand on her
own. Give her that chance, ” ZimRights said.
This year's theme for commemorating Women's day is being run under the theme
" Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to
economic development. " The United Nations (UN) office in Zimbabwe said they
will continue to advocate for women's rights to avoid trafficking of women
and gender-based violence among other things.
HARARE, March 6, 2011- President Robert Mugabe and his cabinet ministers in
Zimbabwe coalition government are targeting British-owned multinational
financial services group Standard Chartered, which has operations in the
country, for seizure after it blocked Harare's uranium deal with China,
according to the Sunday Times.
Documents seen by the Sunday Times this week show Standard Chartered Bank in
Harare angered Mugabe and loyalists in thwarting Harare's first uranium
mining project with China last year, citing sanctions imposed by the
European Union and the US on a local state mining company.
Standard Chartered refused to process financial transactions involving
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and China Uranium
Corporation, saying the local company was on the sanctions list.
Government insiders said this riled Mugabe and his officials. In January,
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, in his monetary policy statement, slammed
unnamed banks for perpetuating sanctions.
It has emerged that one of those banks was Standard Chartered, one of the
biggest in Zimbabwe.
Bankers were summoned on Tuesday by Mugabe's loyalists, co-Vice-President
John Nkomo, Minister in the President's Office Didymus Mutasa, Information
Minister Webster Shamu and Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo, to discuss the
anti-sanctions campaign and indigenisation. This intensified pressure on
banks, including Standard Chartered, to comply with Mugabe's demands or risk
Standard Chartered has operations in more than 70 countries with a network
of more than 1700 branches and outlets, including subsidiaries, associates
and joint ventures. It employs about 80000 people worldwide.
A letter from ZMDC acting CEO and GM Sam Siziba, dated October 12 2010, to
Gono seeking assistance on the issue shows Standard Chartered blocked ZMDC's
uranium project with China Uranium Corporation.
The project was going to be done through Afri-Sino Resources Ltd, a company
jointly established by China Uranium Corporation, New On Investment and
ZMDC. The capital investment to be injected would have come from the Chinese
"In order to guarantee a normal company operation it needs a safe channel of
capital transfer. The current channel of capital transfer is through bank
account opened in Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe," Siziba wrote to Gono.
"But please be advised that they are facing serious challenges in receiving
capital investment from China."
Siziba wrote that Standard Chartered blocked the project.
They then visited the website of OFAC - a US Treasury agency operating under
the auspices of the under-secretary of the treasury for terrorism and
financial intelligence - which showed MMCZ and ZMDC are on their sanctions
OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US
foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign assets,
organisations and individuals.
Siziba wrote that more money entering Zimbabwe from the Chinese for the
project through Standard Chartered was also blocked.
"This obviously shows that our joint-venture company has been targeted by
OFAC, for it is related with ZMDC and MMCZ. Therefore the current channel of
capital transfer is blocked," Siziba said.
"Chinese shareholders are not a basis of comprehensive investigation, the
opening of offshore bank account in a third place (for them Beijing is an
appropriate option) is currently the best solution.
As the joint venture partner, we are fully aware of their difficulties and
support their efforts of applying for the opening of offshore bank account."
Mugabe warned on Wednesday at the launch of his anti-sanctions campaign
that, with his indigenisation and black-empowerment laws, he would grab
companies that belong to countries imposing sanctions. He said the seizures
would start with UK companies.
"It is not enough to speak against sanctions," Mugabe said. "We can't keep
hosting more than 400 British firms here, including mines. It is now time to
take measures against them.
"I have said the indigenisation and empowerment process should start with
those firms," Mugabe said. "We must take them over. We can also boycott
Mugabe's Zanu-PF resolved in December at its annual conference in Mutare to
grab foreign-owned companies.
The British Foreign Office said this week Mugabe's remarks were
"irresponsible", a comment echoed by British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Zimbabwean bankers are resisting indigenisation, saying the sector is
dominated by locals, owning 68% of the banks, even though they have a
smaller segment of the market.
This campaign sets the scene for a bruising battle between banking
executives and Mugabe as Harare tries to force banks to comply with
indigenisation and empowerment demands.
Zanu-PF officials accused some banks of supporting "illegal international
sanctions" by taking instructions from their international parent companies.
They said the misguided banks had to change or face seizure.
Bankers were told that, because of their misguided practices, some
internationally owned banks were deliberately declining to lend to
Zimbabwean companies and individuals appearing on the illegal European Union
and American sanctions lists.
Foreign banks were also accused of paralysing the money and capital markets
by sterilising huge domestic deposits, ensuring that the funds did not reach
the productive sectors of the economy through lending.
By Guthrie Munyuki, Deputy News Editor
Sunday, 06 March 2011 18:57
HARARE - The main faction of the MDC has dismissed as meaningless a new
survey which shows its support fading amongst Zimbabweans “because the
report is done in an environment of fear”.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa, said the survey by the United States’ Freedom
House could not be deemed conclusive arguing “there were many people who did
not express their views freely in the exercise”.
“It’s erroneous to say the support of the MDC is dwindling,” Chamisa told
the Daily News. “How do you do a research or survey in an environment of
fear and violence? Our support is not fading.”
Freedom House released its findings in Johannesburg Friday, and later held a
panel discussion which unpacked the current political issues in the
inclusive government and the resurgence of violence, which is almost cowing
It said the support for the MDC, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
had dropped sharply from 55 percent to 38 percent – showing a 17 percent
On the other hand, Zanu PF support grew from 12 percent to 17 percent.
“What has indeed gone down is the confidence and security of the people.
Their certainty levels surely have sharply gone down because there is a
resurgence of violence and intimidation,” said Chamisa.
“Of course, Zanu PF would come out in the open and declare that their
support is increasing because they are the perpetrators of violence. If we
look at that huge figure of people who did not want to express themselves
freely, we can actually conclude that they do not want Zanu PF.”
Chamisa said conducting surveys in the current environment was like trying
to gauge free expression in Afghanistan. “In the current circumstances of
violence, the surveys are meaningless.”
Freedom House compiled the figures from a “nationally” representative sample
of 1 200 adult Zimbabweans in all the 10 provinces.
In the survey, 89 percent of respondents did "not feel free to express
political views”, 74 percent believe "that fear affects how people vote", 57
percent and 58 percent, respectively, had experienced violence in their
constituencies and communities.
At the same time, 42 percent of respondents chose not to declare their vote
preference - an 11 percent rise from the previous year.
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure, told journalists on Friday the MDC had
lost ground because its senior members who were now part of the government
paid more attention to matters of State than to building up their own party.
The MDC is in an uneasy power-sharing government with President Robert
Mugabe and has struggled to exert its influence in the shaky deal.
While their ministers have shown much promise and delivery in key areas,
Mugabe and his allies have frustrated the movement’s plans to turn around
Analysts have warned Tsvangirai that it would be difficult to try and
extricate himself and the MDC from the failures of the inclusive government,
because he is now a key player in it.
Mugabe and his hardliners have been belligerent towards the MDC leader who
is currently under pressure to negotiate his way out of the sanctions trap
which neutrals say presents him with a stern test.
Zanu PF and the entire SADC leadership have said the EU and the US must
remove the sanctions to allow economic recovery.
Last week, Mugabe launched the anti sanctions drive and has put in motion
plans to seize companies with links to the EU countries and the US.
Tsvangirai has said “we must speak with one voice” and revealed cabinet
would soon deliberate on the issue.
05 March, 2011 11:32:00 TimesLive
As anxiety grows about President Robert Mugabe's health, divisions in
Zanu-PF have worsened, with the two main camps angling to succeed the
veteran leader intensifying their internal battle for control of the party.
Mugabe's health concerns escalated last week when he was rushed to Singapore
for what spokesman George Charamba said was "the last review on his minor
It is the second time Mugabe has had to travel to Singapore for treatment,
raising speculation that the 87-year-old octogenarian might have serious
While his people maintain he travels to Singapore for cataract problems,
diplomatic sources and the international media say Mugabe is fighting
Health experts said a cataract operation was so minor that there was no need
to regularly travel to the Far East for reviews.
Zimbabwe's most celebrated eye surgeon, Solomon Guramatunhu, who also
happens to treat Mugabe on a regular basis, told Voice of America last week
that cataract surgeries did not need regular follow-ups.
He was speaking after being asked an open question without necessarily
referring to Mugabe.
"In fact a cataract patient should be able to drive their car the next day
after surgery," he said.
Such explanations have swelled rumours that Mugabe could be facing a more
complicated disease and this has escalated the fight between the faction led
by Emmerson Mnangagwa and the one led by retired General Solomon Mujuru.
The Mujuru camp is reportedly pushing for Mugabe to remain in power and,
when he becomes incapacitated, Joyce Mujuru would take over as acting
president. Mujuru has the support of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
But the Mnangagwa camp, which now includes the army generals, and which
seems to have the upper hand in Zanu-PF succession politics, wants Mugabe to
remain their leader for now and to push for elections where he will force
his way in. After, that they believe Mugabe would appoint Mnangagwa as his
Former minister of information, Jonathan Moyo, who was recently recalled to
push the Zanu-PF propaganda machine, said Mugabe was still fit enough to
rule for some years.
"Without doubt and prejudice, the president is one of the healthiest in the
world among people of his age. It's cynical to suggest that the president is
not well. He is the most thoughtful person of his age.
"What is significant is that he left for Singapore a day after a stunning
performance at the anti-sanctions launch. Medical reviews are routine and
the only difference now is that the doctor is in Singapore. That he is going
for a second time is not an issue."
Mugabe seems to be overextending himself to prove to people that he is still
strong enough to lead the nation.
Soon after returning from Singapore two weeks ago, Mugabe engaged in lengthy
meetings with his fellow principals in the GPA, met his security chiefs and
had discussions with his Zanu-PF people.
Mugabe admitted at his birthday celebrations that his body felt spent but he
still had a young mind.
Written by Justice Zhou
Sunday, 06 March 2011 12:17
HARARE - Zimbabwe could find itself engulfed in total military rule once
President Robert Mugabe dies or loses the forthcoming elections, unless the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) pushes for greater security
sector reforms, a South Africa based think-tank has warned.
According to a latest report by the Institute of Democracy in South Africa
(IDASA), South Africa and other SADC states must engage the international
community to ensure a roadmap aimed at successful mediation and peace in
Zimbabwe. As appointed SADC negotiator, South Africa needs to clarify the
military’s role and other members of state security, targeting specific
elements who pose a threat as spoilers, IDASA said.
“ SADC and members of the international community must come together and
agree on a synchronised public message that will engender concerted pressure
on Zanu (PF) and the security sector to embrace and enact reforms,” said
IDASA. “Failure to do so leaves the possibility for a coup d’état in the
event of Mugabe’s death or a Zanu (PF) defeat at the polls.”
Zimbabwe’s dreadful army top brass: Constatine Chiwenga, Perence Shiri and
Philip Valerio Sibanda, a ruthless trio that has presided over endless
civilian atrocities, have publicly sworn never to recognise Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai as the country’s leader if he won elections.
They have continued to run as the Joint Operations Command (JOC), a parallel
structure led by a defiant Mugabe, which was supposed to be disbanded and
replaced by the inclusive government’s National Security Council (NSC). The
report came as the junta and other state security apparatus have pumped up a
show of repressive force against pro-democracy activists, stifling a
groundswell of anti-Mugabe sentiment which was inspired by the ousting of
dictators through ongoing mass uprisings in Arab countries.
Several civic society leaders have been harassed and jailed, while Zanu (PF)
top officials continue churning out pejorative war rhetoric targeted at the
MDC and foreign nationals doing business in Zimbabwe. Amnesty International
has joined calls for security reforms after 44 activists, including former
MDC legislator Munyaradzi Gwisai, were recently arrested on treason charges
during a lecture focused on mass revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, and
reportedly tortured by state agents while in custody.
“These persistent abuses demonstrate the need for urgent reform of Zimbabwe’s
security sector to bring to an end a culture of impunity for human rights
violations and partisan enforcement of the law,” said Michelle Kagari,
Amnesty International’s deputy director for Africa.
Serious step backwards
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, also lashed out at the
arrests as a “serious step backwards, especially with elections possibly
taking place later this year.” On Wednesday, thousands of Zanu (PF) thugs,
including members of Johane Masowe Apostolic Church worshippers who were
rounded up in Harare’s peripheries and force-marched, attended a gathering
in which Mugabe agitated for the grabbing of foreign-owned companies.
The planned violent campaign, Mugabe openly said, would be led by his
minister of indigenisation and former state security agent, Saviour
Kasukuwere. “Mugabe’s dismissal of constitutional reform as a prerequisite
for elections has raised serious concern... the political and electoral
environments will continue to favour Zanu (PF) and any election result will
therefore be questionable,” IDASA cautioned.
The Pretoria group noted Mugabe’s efforts to consolidate army patronage,
with a number of high-ranking military officers imposed in managerial
positions at state-owned parastatals and diamond mines.
IDASA added: “The military’s re-deployment to the rural areas in support of
Zanu (PF) is complemented by its greater role in the country’s economic
management and exploitation of natural resources... role in the Chiadzwa
diamond fields, best noted in Operation Hakudzokwi, indicates how far the
state is willing to go to take control of new sources of revenue.”
06.03.11, 12:00 / World
Obert Moses Mpofu, Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Zimbabwe at the
Kimberley Process plenary meeting in November 2010
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has agreed to an audit of the country's
recent diamond sales, the Times Live reports.
The country's finance minister, Tendai Biti, recently called attention to
the fact that some $300 million in revenue from Kimberly Process-approved
sales of rough diamonds had never made its way to the Treasury. This put
Mugabe in a tenuous position, as he had been counting on the diamond money
to cover the increased wages he has promised civil servants.
A number of insiders from Mugabe's party, Zanu-PF, have expressed
displeasure with Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu, who they
say "embarrassed" Mugabe by reporting that the money for salary increases
The Times also quoted an unnamed diamond trader saying that Mpofu and the
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) – seeking to cover the
missing sum of money – were selling diamonds on the black market at cut
05 March, 2011 11:23:00 | By HENDRICKS CHIZHANJE
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) treasurer Roy Bennett has accused High
Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu of abusing the court process by filing
a defamation suit against the popular former legislator.
Bhunu's lawyers issued a summons against the MDC treasurer in September
claiming $1-million in damages for defamation.
The lawyers alleged that the damages resulted from wrongful and defamatory
words which were uttered by Bennett during an interview with The Guardian
newspaper of the United Kingdom, on or around May 9 2010, before Justice
Bhunu acquitted him of plotting to overthrow the government.
Justice Bhunu's lawyers say the remarks were published on May 24 2010 by an
internet-based publication, the Zimbabwe Guardian newspaper, which they
claim enjoys wide distribution on account of it being available on the
internet free of charge.
Bennett is alleged to have stated that: "To know that the people who are
doing it will stop at absolutely nothing to achieve their ends and that
there is a selective application of the rule of law, that the judiciary is
totally compromised, that the very judge that's trying me is the owner of a
farm that he's been given through political patronage, that all the
appointments have been done through the Ministry of Justice on a political
basis ... basically I should expect no mercy and fear for the worst".
But in his defendant's plea filed in the High Court recently Bennett denied
ever having an interview with the Guardian newspaper.
"The defendant (Bennett) denies having an interview with a Guardian
newspaper as alleged, denies making the remarks attributed to him, does not
know the alleged reporter, denies meeting or being interviewed by him in
Harare or anywhere else and defendant puts plaintiff (Bhunu) to the strict
proof of his claims," reads part of Bennett's plea.
Bennett said Bhunu's claim should be dismissed as it was unjustified.
"The defendant pleads that the plaintiff's claim is grossly excessive,
constitutes gross abuse of court process and the claim ought to be dismissed
with costs," said Bennett.
Bhunu's lawyers, of Chikumbirike and Associates Legal Practitioners, argue
that Bennett's remarks were "wrongful and defamatory" as they were intended
to convey "that the plaintiff (Justice Bhunu) was not a fit and proper
person to be a judge".
The lawyers claim that Bennett's statements imputed that Bhunu was "a
conscious and willing tool" who was "deliberately selected to preside over
the defendant's (Bennett's) trial by persons that will stop at absolutely
nothing to achieve their ends by a selective application of the rule of
The defamation is further alleged to have occurred in that Bennett's remarks
intended to convey and were understood by the readers of the Guardian
newspaper to mean that "the plaintiff's integrity as a judge and to preside
over the defendant's trial (was) totally compromised by virtue of the fact
that his appointment was not based on merit but political patronage and
connections. This lack of judicial integrity having been achieved by the
allocation of a farm through the Land Reform Programme".
Bhunu acquitted Bennett in May 2010 after ruling that the state's
prosecution team, led by Attorney General Johannes Tomana, had failed to
establish a prima facie case against the former Chimanimani member of
parliament, who had been on trial on terror-related charges.
Tomana later appealed against Justice Bhunu's decision to acquit Bennett.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has reserved judgment after hearing
submissions from both the state and Bennett's lawyers in relation to the
appeal. - TimesLive
by Matthews Estell
2011 March 06 10:39:29
Speakndebele.com launches its first two part video tutorials. The two videos
are an introduction to the Ndebele language, the main language in Bulawayo.
In the Speak Ndebele 101 video series, the tutor 'Ntando' chooses to start
with the alphabet from [a] up to [z]. In the two videos you get to watch the
tutor pronounce all the letters of the alphabet in Ndebele, aided with
images of the subject, spellings and phrases in both Ndebele and English.
Speakndebele.com is a website dedicated to all those who want to LEARN to
- A person just looking to learn a new and beautiful African Language
- A Zimbabwean Ndebele person who can no longer or has never really
spoken isiNdebele very well and would like to brush up on his/her skills?
- A Zimbabwean person who speaks other Zimbabwean languages & would
like to add IsiNdebele to their language hat.
- A man or a woman who has married into a Ndebele speaking family & you
do not speak the language & you would like to communicate well or better
with your inlaws in their language.
- A Ndebele parent who moved out of Zimbabwe and is living
internationally, but has a strong desire to ensure that your children do not
lose this important part of their heritage.
- Someone travelling to the Southern parts of Africa, South Africa,
Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland or Lesotho where isiNdebele and Zulu and other
similar Nguni languages are spoken and would like to get around with a local
language under your belt.
For any one who wants to learn or teach someone the Ndebele language
Speakndebele.com is the perfect place to start with. The website is user
friendly, fully integrated with YouTube and also uses an online payment
gateway system for purchasing Advanced tutorial material and other Ndebele
Vigil supporters were appalled at
further reports from
With friends like Gaddafi and
Gbagbo, Mugabe could well find himself arraigned before the International
Criminal Court in
Setting up the Vigil we were
immediately approached by a Zimbabwean lady visiting her daughter in the
We in the diaspora are sometimes
accused of being out of touch with what is going on at home – though we are all
in constant contact with family and friends all over the country experiencing
the daily reality of a dysfunctional state. So we were interested that our
visitors shared our views: that the MDC has been hoodwinked by the illusion of
sharing in government and that Zanu-PF has no intention of giving up power. Our
visitors also had no confidence that
In other words no change. Admittedly
no Zanu-PF chef has yet had the gall to buy a US $380 million yacht like the son
of Teodoro Obiang, Chair of the African Union and President of Equatorial
Guinea, one of the poorest countries in the world (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/equatorial
Mugabe himself has been no slouch at
abusing the state’s resources. He has, for instance, dished out millions of
dollars to praise singers and his repeated visits to
glad to have with us solicitor Mark Taylor who has worked so hard on Zimbabwean
asylum issues. He updated us on the legal situation of Zimbabweans in the
· Vigil supporter Batson Chapata introduced us to Michael Liddell, a minister from his church, who led prayers for our country.
· We were surprised to be criticized for our publicity stunt on Tuesday during which we hanged Mugabe outside the Embassy. ‘Totally unbecoming in a society that strongly opposes the death penalty anywhere in the world’ said a correspondent. In fact we would prefer Mugabe to end his life in a Zimbabwean jail which would be a much worse fate that being hanged. Batson said the cell he was in was so overcrowded that inmates had to synchronise changing position at night!
will be a repeat showing of the Prisoners of Conscience photo exhibition
‘Mugabe’s Victims: Zimbabwe Today’ from 22nd March to 3rd
April at the Woolfson and
· Thanks to Atipa Pedzeni, Kelvin Kamupira and Josephine Zhuga for their help today at the Vigil front table and to Atipa for arranging and putting up posters.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/.
FOR THE RECORD: signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
The Restoration of Human Rights in
Zimbabwe (ROHR) is
the Vigil’s partner organisation based in
· Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
· Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.
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outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429
Written by MUNYARADZI DUBE
Sunday, 06 March 2011 12:30
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe is a conundrum, despised by many for his
unpopular policies, with some even wishing him death, but loved and
worshipped by some. On Wednesday at the launch of the so-called
anti-sanctions launch it was a day for the bootlickers to outdo one another
in lavishing praises on Baba Chatunga. One interesting statement came from
none other than the Minister of Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu,
who said Mugabe is like Cremora, a milk product manufactured by Nestle -
which is among the 400 companies Mugabe intends to grab.
It remains to be seen whether after the grab Mugabe will still be Cremora,
as Zanu (PF) has an incapacitating ability to destroy even what is
impossible to destroy. Shamu, who is said to bow when he speaks to Mugabe,
said “Gushungo, people say you have Cremora, the whole body. The war the
world over, President is about you. They fear you and that is why they are
doing all this (imposing sanctions).” It is doubtful that Shamu had thought
about his chosen word of comparison, otherwise he would have compared Mugabe
to one of the many Chinese products available in Harare, that no one intends
Shamu rambled on and on, sickeningly sycophantic: “There is no president the
world over who has degrees like President Mugabe. He is brainy and that’s
why he is feared. You fought the liberation struggle for a long time and you
should also rule for as long as you want.” Indeed Mugabe has several
degrees - but that is not the reason he is feared. Many people in Zimbabwe
fear him because of his ruthless streak and his heavy-handed methods in
dealing with people who do not agree with him.
He has a law degree - but claims that there is democracy in the country.
What happens then to freedom of choice? Maybe Shamu should answer that.
Others were keen to put a feather on Mugabe’s praise coat of many colours –
notably religious sect leaders - who declared their love for the tyrant who
is pushing 90 at a time when most Zimbabweans barely reach the age of 40.
The health sector has been destroyed by Mugabe and only the intervention of
the MDC in 2009 has restored some sanity in the sector.
Paul Mwazha, who leads one of the largest apostolic sects in Zimbabwe, was
bubbling. Like a child, he chronicled what he does in order to prop up his
father. “I am a member of Zanu (PF) party and pray for President Mugabe,
from the beginning I have always supported Zanu (PF). When I preach I preach
about Zanu (PF),” he said. His members seemed to enjoy the ‘sermon’ and
began to sing. Maybe afraid of being outshone, Shamu stopped Mwazha midway
through his speech.
One person who had the audience’s attention was self-titled Revered Obaddiah
Musindo. “VaMugabe vakaganzwa naMwari and no one can remove him, Mugabe’s
name is written with the angels,” said Musindo. There was another man of the
robes who waxed lyrical about uncle Bob - Trevor Manhanga, bishop of
Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe. Like others he chanted slogans
denouncing non-existent sanctions, saying it was time for people to act and
not pretend it was business as usual. The sorry fact of the matter is that
Mugabe is surrounded by people who lie to him daily in order to secure their
place at the Zanu (PF) feeding trough.
by Kudakwashe Marazanye
I AM surprised that it has taken the world this long to discover that
Tsvangirayi is a man of limited intellect. Or could it be that the world is
only coming to terms with a fact they had all along wished wasn’t true?
Either way, the phenomenon of leaders hamstrung by intellectual handicaps is
not peculiar to the MDC.
Most movements or revolutions produce leaders with the attributes necessary
for the particular historical circumstance but not necessarily imbued with
all the skills needed to see the revolution through. The liberation movement
in Africa and in Zimbabwe in particular, also suffered the same problem at
The Zimbabwean liberation movement needed leaders whose main attribute was
courage, but you needed more than just courage to lead a liberation
movement. Men of courage who came up to lead the liberation movement in the
initial stages were not necessarily imbued with the sharp intellect needed
to mobilize a people and project a liberation philosophy to the world.
Zimbabwe thus had people like Benjamin Burombo, Masotsha Ndlovu, Joseph
Musika, Simon Muzenda, James Chikerema, George Nyandoro et al, being at the
forefront of the genesis of African nationalism. These men were not men who
had much academic education, but they had the courage to take on the brutal
colonial regime. Courage was needed because the colonial regime was very
repressive and having been defeated in 1896, Africans had all but given up
on ever competing with the all conquering white man, who had the Maxim gun,
which the Africans had not.
However, just like Tsvangirai now, these early nationalists’ leaders had the
courage and conviction but not the intellect sharpened by education to
understand the intricacies involved in executing a decolonization project of
a people conditioned to accept that they were inferior and were to be
perpetual hewers of wood and drawers of water.
These early nationalists were acutely aware of this handicap and they set
about persuading the learned Africans of the time to lead them in the
complex decolonization project, which was “above their simple heads”. And so
it was that emissaries were sent to Enoch Dumbutshena, Stanlake Samkange,
Joshua Nkomo and others to persuade these learned Africans to take up
leadership positions in the nascent nationalist movement. The emissaries met
with varying degrees of failure in their efforts to persuade these African
luminaries to join hands with them in dislodging settler colonialism.
Uncle Tom politics
At the time, the learned Africans like the Fort Hare boys, Tennyson
Hlabangana, Herbert Chitepo, Joshua Nkomo and others were involved in Uncle
Tom politics in the ostensibly multiracial Capricorn Society which
essentially sought to make Uncle Toms of emerging African middle class
aspirants by cultivating white tastes in them, distinct from their
uncivilised fellow Africans.
However, as the liberation movement gained momentum, these learned Africans
sensed potential for self-aggrandizement and started scrambling to take up
leadership positions in the movement. These Fort Hare boys had absolutely no
history of being involved in politics at Fort Hare. So it is clear that
these latter-day nationalists were relative mafikizolos to the liberation
movement; lured not so much by a desire to liberate Africans but by the
prospect of grabbing power.
Still, after negotiations with the settler regimes yielded nothing, Africans
had to resort to armed struggle as the only way to liberate themselves and
courage to put oneself in harm’s way was needed in the armed struggle. Thus
leaders emerged who were courageous militarily but not intellectually gifted
coming forward to prosecute the war.
People like Mayor Urimbo, Josiah Tongogara, Rex Nhongo (Solomon Mujuru,)
Nikita Mangena, Sheba Gava (Vitalis Zvinavashe) were the main players in
prosecuting the war but they were not necessarily very learned. In his
Chimurenga memoirs, Tekere reveals that some of the people who today posture
as liberation war fighters were in fact what the Shona call vana
Muchekadzafa (cowardly opportunistic hunters who rush to make a show of
killing an animal already dead).
Many may be shocked to discover from Tekere’s book that those who have
privatised Zimbabwe claiming they fought for the country may never have
fired a single shot to liberate the country. Some of them cannot tell a Sub
(Chimurenga parlance for an AK 47) from a bazooka. So the foot soldiers in
the liberation struggle were not the ones who ended up claiming its
leadership and pride of place in the political scheme of things in Zimbabwe.
Just as the liberation project needed men of valour, in Zimbabwe, the
democratisation project also needed men of valour once it became clear that
the liberators had replaced the colonial regime with a dictatorship. This is
because the post-colonial dictatorship was just as repressive as the
As in the liberation project, the democratisation project also produced
leaders who had the guts, but not necessarily the brains to see the
democratization project through. Thus we had Morgan Tsvangirayi emerging as
a leader of the democratization project, but lacking in the intellectual
depth needed to see the project through.
Again, like in the liberation project, intellectuals were supposed to come
in to provide the intellectual leadership to steer the democratization
project to a successful completion. Tsvangirayi emerged mainly due to the
platform accorded him by the mass-based trade union movement that he led.
So instead of leaving Tsvangirai at the mercy of foreign handlers who had
their own agenda, it was the duty of democratically-inclined intellectuals
to do the massive hand-holding on Tsvangirai that Dell had to do after the
criminal dereliction of national duty by intellectuals in Zimbabwe.
Particularly culpable are Welshman Ncube and Co. who put their egos ahead of
the national interests by deserting Tsvangirai and leaving him at the mercy
of imperialists like Dell. Zambians suffered Chiluba’s disastrous leadership
in the interests of establishing and entrenching democracy in that country.
The democratisation project in Zimbabwe is now in danger of failing because
of poor decision making by intellectuals in and of the democratic movement.
An otherwise noble democratisation project has offended key constituencies
in Africa and in the Diaspora as it is seen as lending itself to
manipulation by the hated West.
The Pseudo-Pan Africanists in charge of Zanu PF have taken advantage of this
to unleash propaganda to dismiss legitimate aspirations for democratic space
by Zimbabweans as a project by the imperialists to destabilise a country led
by a party out to empower its people. If the intellectuals in the MDC had
handled the democratic movement astutely, it would not be open to attacks
that it is foreign founded, funded and directed.
Zimbabwe’s liberators failed the people of Zimbabwe and they are now playing
the propaganda game claiming that they are fighting Western imperialism.
That a lot of well meaning Pan-Africanists are celebrating Zanu PF’s
pseudo-nationalists as champions of African interests, is testimony to the
dearth of true leaders that Africans can look up.
Just about all Africans -- at home and in the Diaspora -- have an axe to
grind with the white devils and they therefore can easily be taken in by the
propaganda of wily false prophets of African liberation and empowerment.
What many do not realise is that the Zanu (PF) government has been right
wing right from the start in 1980. Witness how they jettisoned the African
agenda in the 80s and early 90s as they cavorted with white devils while
ignoring the interests of Africans at home.
People should not confuse the vengeance of Uncle Toms slighted by Tony Blair
and out to avenge their wounded monstrous egos with sincere Pan Africanism
meant to advance the cause of the God forsaken Africans.
Of all the liberation movements in the SADC region which became ruling
parties, Zanu PF is the most disappointing. As a liberation movement turned
ruling party, Zanu PF has been a great betrayal to black Zimbabweans.
Having been given a political blank cheque, well almost, at independence,
they turned against their own people using the Rhodesian repressive
machinery they inherited at independence comprising repressive laws and
instruments of coercion like the police, CIO and army, in their quest to
keep a grip on power.
Instead of using people-centred policies to maintain their grip on power,
they used repression. The party also turned into a bunch of corrupt looters,
using state resources to line their pockets in contemptuous disregard of the
wishes of their people. Isn’t it a scandalous shame that the number of
black people killed by the settler regime in its defence of white interests
may be equal or is even less than those killed by the ZANU PF government in
its quest to remain in power?
So the yearning for genuine freedom by the black people of Zimbabwe thirty
years after independence is a legitimate aspiration, which should not be
confused with the antics of the imperialists to advance their own cause
using the suffering of black Zimbabweans. The progressive world should not
throw away the proverbial baby with the bath water in their indecent haste
to dismiss the MDC as a front for white interests.
The mediocrity of the MDC leadership, including Tsvangirai has always been
an open secret. The preponderance of mediocre leadership in the MDC can be
attributed to the fact that ZANU PF has managed to scare away people of
substance from opposition politics.
It takes a lot of personal sacrifice for anybody to offer themselves as a
candidate for opposition politics. One risks their life and livelihood by
dabbling in opposition politics in Zimbabwe. ZANU PF has not hesitated to
kill, or maim opponents or destroy their businesses and/or their careers.
Again because of an entrenched patronage system in the country business
people can lose government business and business from Parastatals or even
licences to do business if they come out in the open as opposition party
In addition, appointment to positions of authority in government,
Parastatals, universities etc is also dependent on membership to Zanu PF or
non involvement in opposition politics at the very least, so one would be
jeopardising their career by getting involved in opposition politics.
The dirty nature of politics as practised by Zanu PF is succinctly captured
in Chimurenga music guru Thomas Mapfumo‘s song Jojo “… Jojo zvenyika… Jojo
siyananazvo/ Jojo unozofa….Vazhinji vakapondwa pamusana penyika…” (Jojo do
not be involved in politics, because you will be murdered. Many people have
been murdered for dabbling in politics.)
For a party formed and led by a mere trade unionist with limited education,
together with students still wet behind the ears, I think the MDC has done
reasonably well in very difficult circumstances.
However, MDC’s weaknesses do not make Zanu PF angels. Zanu PF may unleash
all the propaganda they like about conspiracies by imperialists, but that
can never belie the fact that as a liberation movement that gained power the
party has been a great betrayal to the aspirations of Africans who waged a
war to get them into power.
Zanu PF is not the panacea to Zimbabwe’s problems; it is part of the
problem. There is still a struggle to be fought to improve the lot of
Zimbabweans in terms of their freedoms and their economic well being.
The lot of the generality of Africans in Zimbabwe is not any better than
what it was in colonial Rhodesia. In Rhodesia they lived in fear of the
Special Branch and they had to be subservient to the colonial Nkosi / Baas.
In Zimbabwe they live in mortal fear of the dreaded CIO and they have to
grovel before the black Shefu. In Rhodesia, Smith killed and maimed black
Zimbabweans to maintain white rule. In Zimbabwe, Zanu PF kills and maims
black Zimbabweans to maintain remain in power.
06 March 2011
Eddie Cross says the choice facing the country is quite simple
I spoke to a friend who works for one of the aid agencies in Harare and
asked if we had succeeded in confusing her at last. She laughed and said
that we had. Now if she is confused by Zimbabwe, with all her resources and
information and the analytical capacity available to a person in her job,
then the rest of us should be stumbling in the dark.
But the reality is actually quite simple in its basic elements. The GPA
government is not working, economic recovery has slowed and we simply cannot
go on much longer like this. That is a fact, we either resolve our
differences, work together to find a solution, or we start to slide
backwards into the anarchy we left behind in 2009.
The second reality is that we are all out of time. Suddenly Mr. Mugabe is
mortal; the implications are far reaching for all of us and especially for
Zanu PF, which is hopelessly fragmented.
Thirdly, we are all tied into the GPA process by our leader's signatures and
the political commitment of the region and the AU as a whole. This means
that whether we like it or not we either walk across the GPA Bridge or
abandon the process and jump off into the gorge below.
The one thing is sure for all of us - we are on the GPA Bridge and our
collective future depends on our willingness to continue the walk to the
other side that we started on in February 2009. We cannot go back, none of
us; this is the only way forward if the jump into the gorge is out.
The only group here that wants to risk the jump are those who know that once
we get across the bridge there is no future for them there, only total
uncertainty and insecurity. This group includes all the real hardliners in
Zanu PF as well as key military and security figures. They want an Egypt
solution - chaos on the streets, an ungovernable State, a leap off the
bridge and if they survive the fall into the river below, regroup and form a
new government that will be a flimsy disguise for a military Junta.
They do not give a damn about the welfare of the people, they fear and
despise democracy and trust only themselves. They think that in an unholy
alliance with international crooks and thugs and the rich natural resources
here, they can get by very well. Those who do not like it can and will
leave, eventually resulting in a tiny population governed by an oligarchy
like Burma or Guinea, protected by powerful friends who profit by exploiting
our isolation and resources.
As I write, the South African facilitators are in town again. They are
talking about how to get this collection of arguing, infuriating people to
stop quibbling and get on with the walk across the bridge. Their efforts
have been complicated immeasurably by Mr. Mugabe's sudden frailty and there
is a new sense of urgency. A changing of the guard is now more certain than
ever and it is only a question of how and when, and perhaps, who?
Despite all our efforts we are still only about one third of the way across.
The GPA road map envisaged that by now we would be over the bridge and
conducting elections for new leadership for a new era. Instead we are stuck
and not even in the middle.
Let's just have a quick look at what we have to do before we can say we have
crossed over this Jordan. First is the issue of a new constitution to
determine the shape and operations of the new State. We have consulted the
people, a flawed process but nevertheless, it did clearly state certain
fundamental national requirements - a devolved State, perhaps with five
Provincial Governments, reduced powers for the President who will govern
without a Prime Minister, a stronger, more independent Parliament and
greater independence for key Commissions.
I think the two main Parties can agree on most of this and a new
constitution should not be difficult to negotiate - and it will be
negotiated, the idea of a people driven process is simply not going to work,
that is for next time. What we will almost certainly end up with is a
compromise document that will form the basis of a new transitional
government to be formed after an election.
By itself, the constitution will not deliver a free and fair election that
is not open to dispute. This is the stated goal of the South African team
and is attainable. What is needed is for the new Electoral Commission to be
given full control of the process, sufficient funding for what is required
and for a new staff at the Commission to replace the CIO/Military
establishment that has run elections here for the past decade.
If it is decided to go for a harmonised election, then we will need a new
voters roll. The present roll is totally and irrevocably compromised. The
Registrar Generals Office has been playing games with the roll for so long I
do not think even they know who is on the roll anymore. It has six million
voters recorded - at least two million are dead (my father is still on the
roll and he has been dead for 20 years) and goodness knows how many are
absent from the country - we have at least 4 to 5 million Zimbabwean adults
abroad or in other African States. Urban and young voters are understated
and thousands of people who qualify as Citizens under the amendments to the
present constitution have been deregistered.
Once we have a new roll, then we need a new delimitation exercise conducted
by an independent and apolitical authority under the guidance of ZEC. I am
quite sure that this will reverse the relationship in numbers between urban
and rural constituencies - in my view the present ratio of rural to urban
voters is one third/two thirds. Such a shift would have a profound impact on
the electoral outcome as every Zanu PF leader understands.
We need peace and total control of political violence. Believe me, Zanu can
turn on and off the violence in five minutes. They have done it in the past
and only they have the mechanism to do so. The recent upsurge in violence is
totally at the behest of Zanu PF leadership and they must be persuaded that
this is not only unacceptable, but it's unproductive and not in their
We need international observers in here - months before and after the
elections. Then we need a decent election, observers in every polling
station, a transparent ballot, counting and reporting system as laid down in
new electoral regulations that are under discussion right now.
The trouble with such a road map is that it has nothing for Zanu PF after
the bridge has been crossed. They would be defeated in such an election and
by such a wide margin that they might cease to exist as a viable political
entity. The only way to avoid that is to go for a Presidential election
only. This would leave Zanu intact in the House and force a new President to
work with them in the formation of a post GPA Government.
The adoption of a road map that leads to such an outcome would have many
advantages - Zanu would be more prepared to work with the MDC on a new
constitution that was compliant with the people's wishes. It would take less
time - we would not need a new voters roll or delimitation and the interests
of Zanu PF, including security, would be met by negotiation on the
composition and shape of the new administration.
Eddie Cross is an MDC MP for Bulawayo South. This article first appeared on
his website www.eddiecross.africanherd.com in late February.
By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London 05/03/11
Reports that Zimbabwe’s cabinet ministers in the shaky coalition government
clashed in furious scenes on Tuesday over a series of political issues is
very concerning. (Zimbabwe Independent, 03/03/11). Indications are that the
contentious issues such as targeted sanctions, the media, external radio
stations, hate speech, the rule of law, land audit and so on are unlikely to
be resolved at the next Cabinet meeting as planned.
As the country faces a bleak and terrifying political future amidst
militarization and GPA stalemate, many questions come to mind, like: ‘Do
Zimbabweans deserve Jacob Zuma’s style of mediation? Is Jacob Zuma the
surrogate President of Zimbabwe? Why is there no progress in Zuma’s
mediation? Why can’t the UN replace Zuma as the facilitator on the Zimbabwe
The reasons for losing hope in Jacob Zuma’s mediation efforts abound but for
now, we shall focus on five key pressing ones. These include Zuma’s rather
secretive facilitation style, a lackadaisical approach, probably an apparent
conflict of interest, taking sides e.g. on targeted sanctions and
withholding 2002 election violence report.
The facilitation team was last in Harare two weeks ago but left tight-lipped
at a time of increasing tension due to political violence and intimidation
in the country. President Zuma was expected to visit Zimbabwe in the new
year to discuss a road map and transfer of power, but that did not take
place. Iin October 2010 the team also left Harare empty-handed after it
failed to convene a meeting of the three principals (Zimbabwe Metro,
While Zimbabweans may think they have been waiting for too long since 2008,
they will have to wait until August when Pretoria assumes the SADC Troika
chairmanship, which according to President Zuma’s State of the Nation
address, ‘will give it more leverage to carry out its mediatory role in
Zimbabwe, including pushing for a clear roadmap to new elections’
A roadmap to free and fair elections
The SADC facilitator has since been reportedly presented with the minimum
conditions for free and fair elections by the MDC led by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and what remains to be seen is President’s Zuma’s own
action plan. The conditions include:
• a new constitution;
• guaranteeing the security of people;
• an end to violence;
• the introduction of a biometric voters’ roll;
• a transparent and impartial delimitation process;
• full audit of electoral processes;
• Sadc monitors six months before and six months after the elections and
• security sector reforms and realignment to prevent political abuse by
the military, intelligence agencies and youth militia (Zimbabwe Independent,
Amazingly some analysts were quoted as despising the MDC-T’s conditions
which actually constitute a credible roadmap to free and fair elections. Two
additional conditions are worth mentioning here. There should be
enfranchisement of all Zimbabweans including those in the Diaspora not only
in South Africa as suggested recently by Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa.
In addition to a SADC force, there should be a UN peacekeeping contingent to
ensure neutrality given the biased stance of SADC states in previous
elections and as demonstrated by their calls for the lifting of targeted
sanctions before the reasons for their imposition were addressed.
President Zuma was in Harare from 16th to 18th March 2010 as SADC
facilitator and set a deadline of March 31, 2010 for the implementation of a
package of measures (Kubatana.net, 22/03/10). However, the deadline was
never met and nothing happened. In August 2010, parties to the coalition
government insisted there was ‘little to no chance’ of meeting President
Zuma’s 30-day deadline for the resolution of outstanding issues in the
implementation of the GPA (New Zimbabwe, 22/08/10). That deadline was not
met as well.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC ) Organ for Politics,
Defence and Security otherwise known as the Troika aborted its meeting in
Gaberone, Botswana in November 2010 due to lack of quorum. The Troika
comprises Zambian President Rupiah Banda (chairman) Mozambican President
Armando Guebuza (member) and Democratic Republic of the Congo President
Joseph Kabila (member). With Banda and Guebuza absent, the meeting was
aborted leading to analysts saying ‘SADC is in no hurry to solve Zimbabwe
crisis’ (Financial Gazette, 26/11/10).
The SADC Troika meeting that was supposed to take place in Zambia in
December 2010 failed to materialise. So was the one pencilled in for January
then shifted to February. It is now over six months since the SADC tribunal
was suspended pending a review leaving displaced Zimbabwean white commercial
farmers disadvantaged due to Robert Mugabe’s reluctance to honour its
rulings which were in favour of compensating the farmers.
Defying court orders
Despite the fact that two courts have ordered the South African Presidency
to release a hitherto secret report into Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections, Zuma’s
administration continues to withhold the information surrounding the
controversial 2002 presidential poll widely believed to have been rigged in
favour of Robert Mugabe of Zanu-pf (Mail and Guardian, 21/12/10). The
Presidency has appealed and lost.
In all fairness before calling for the lifting of targeted sanctions on
Robert Mugabe and his inner circle, Jacob Zuma is supposed to demand to see
evidence of democracy and good political governance for example the
prosecution of perpetrators of election violence in 2008 during which an
estimated 200 MDC supporters were murdered by suspected Zanu-pf elements.
It is not clear how the SADC facilitator hopes his roadmap to work while the
co-chairman of the constitution outreach programme Douglas Mwonzora and 22
villagers languish in a remote prison despite court bail orders (The
Zimbabwe Mail, 21.02/11).
There are concerns that there could be a conflict of interest in the
mediation process. Fears were expressed in 2009 that South Africa was
planning to sell arms to Mugabe’s regime. Visiting Members of Parliament of
the Democratic Alliance said: ‘We regret to report that our country South
Africa is planning to export 7.62 and 9mm ammunition to Zimbabwe. Our
colleague David Maynier MP recently revealed – on 2 August 2009 – that
Parliament’s National Conventional Arms Committee is considering authorising
more than a million rounds of both types of bullets for export’ (Zimbabwe
The South African MPs were concerned that the Harare regime was funding ‘a
war chest’ following talks with Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea ahead of the
next election. Citing a report by a Belgian Research group, International
Peace Information Service, they said: “On August 21 2008, the first of many
arms shipments containing 32 tonnes of (ammunition) was flown from the
Democratic Republic of Congo to Harare. On August 30 a second shipment of 20
tonnes of AK-47 (ammunition) arrived. This was flown in via Angola (and
also) included mortar bombs and rockets” (Zimbabwe Independent, 13/08/09).
Armscor of South Africa allegedly broke the arms boycott when it reportedly
sold spare parts for Alloutte helicopters to the value of more than R1m to
the Zimbabwean government according to Fin24.com, accessed 05/03/11.
The SADC facilitator did not deplore the recent intimidating show of
military and police force at Harare Gardens, in the city and suburbs by the
Mugabe regime ahead of a supposedly peaceful demonstration dubbed ‘million
citizens march’ prompting it to be called-off.
It is against this background that Zuma’s credibility as a mediator is in
doubt. Although, Zimbabwe is not a member of NEPAD’s African Peer Review
Mechanism, it is ironic that South Africa which is a member state seems to
disregard democracy and good governance as important benchmarks for free and
fair elections in Zimbabwe.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,
BILL WATCH SPECIAL
[5th March 2011]
Information about other committee meetings open to the public from Monday 7th March to Thursday 10th March will be circulated as soon as Veritas obtains it from Parliament
Parliamentary Committee Meeting Open to Public: Monday 7th March
This meeting will be open to members of the public, as observers only, not as participants.
Portfolio Committee: Mines and Energy
Oral evidence from:
· Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono on allegations of externalisation of foreign currency by Mr Mawere and SMM companies prior to Government action under Prevention of Corruption Act and Reconstruction of State-Indebted Companies legislation
· Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Melusi Matshiya on the circumstances leading to the specification of Mr Mawere and SMM companies under Prevention of Corruption Act
Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament building
Chairperson: Hon. Chindori-Chininga Clerk: Mr Manhivi
With this meeting the portfolio committee continues its long-running probe into aspects of the Government’s takeover of Mr Mawere’s SMM asbestos mining empire. It has already heard from Mr Mawere himself and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Chinamasa. Two weeks ago it held public hearings on the spot in Zvishavane and Mashava and heard evidence from mineworkers and local businesspeople of the devastating effects of the closure of the Shabanie and Mashava mines under the management of the Government-appointed administrator.
Note: It is recommended that members of the public wishing to attend the meeting avoid possible disappointment by checking beforehand with the committee clerk that the meeting is still on and still open to the public. Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 or 252936-55.
If attending, please use the Kwame Nkrumah Ave entrance to Parliament. IDs must be produced.
Note: Zimbabweans in the Diaspora can send in written submissions by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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BILL WATCH 7/2011
[5th March 2011]
Both the House of Assembly and the Senate will resume on Tuesday 8th March
Commentary on General Laws Amendment Bill
The General Laws Amendment Bill [HB 8, 2010], which was gazetted in October last year, was introduced into the House of Assembly on 16th February and is currently being considered by the Parliamentary Legal Committee. [Electronic version of Bill available on request]
General Laws Amendment Bills are Bills which amend several different Acts. They save time because Parliament does not have to go through the laborious process of considering and passing a large number of small Bills. But they should make only minor, non-contentious amendments to the Acts concerned. Over the years, however, the Government has tended to insert far-reaching and potentially controversial provisions into its General Laws Amendment Bills, presumably hoping that MPs would not notice them. This Bill continues that regrettable trend. Although its memorandum states that it “seeks to make minor amendments”, some of the proposed amendments are by no means minor.
Most of the Bill is uncontroversial. There are clauses which will require appointees to the Administrative and Labour Courts to take an oath of office before the President. Then there are clauses which will amend the Ombudsman Act to reflect the office’s new title of Public Protector, and the Police Act to reflect Mr Chihuri’s title of Commissioner-General [note: a change of title should not affect Mr Chihuri’s retirement terms – see comment at end]. There is a clause allocating State assets between the Ministry of Justice, the Attorney-General’s Office and the new Judicial Service and although the clause suggests that ownership in the assets is being transferred, that cannot be the case since none of the bodies concerned is legally capable of owning property – it is all State property – so what is being transferred is use of and responsibility for the assets.
Debateable Amendments that may Adversely Affect Sectoral Interests
Some of the amendments made by the Bill are important.
Clause 8 – Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act
This clause will amend the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act to allow the responsible Minister to carry out assessment ratings of “businesses” rather than just “companies”. The amendment itself is a small one, but its implications may be far-reaching, in that it will extend the Act’s scope to all kinds of business entities such as syndicates and professional partnerships.
Clause 11 – Environmental Management Act
This clause will make several amendments to the Environmental Management Act, one of which will require an environmental impact assessment study to be done before bill-boards can be erected or fibre-optic cables laid [this was not mentioned in the Bill’s memorandum and Harare City Council is reported to be against it].
Clauses 12, 18 and 19 – Local Authority Procurement to be via National Procurement Board
These clauses will make urban councils and rural district councils go through the tender proceedings laid down in the Procurement Act when they obtain goods and services. The clauses may be intended to curb corruption, but local authorities oppose them on the ground that putting all procurement in the hands of the national Procurement Board will result in over-centralisation, bureaucratic delays, and an increase in corruption.
Unsatisfactory Amendments Needing Reconsideration
Clause 4 – enforcement of compensation orders in favour of victims of crime
This clause will amend the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act so that if a criminal court orders a convicted person to pay compensation to a victim of a crime, the victim will be able to have the order registered as a civil judgment against the convicted person and will be able to enforce the civil judgment even if the convicted person appeals against his conviction. If the convicted person disputes the compensation order he will have to appeal against it separately. This amendment needs to be reconsidered because:
· There is no provision for the convicted person to be told if the compensation order has been registered as a civil judgment. So it can be enforced against him without his being aware that it has been made a judgment.
· If the convicted person is not told when the compensation order has been registered as a civil judgment, he will not be able to appeal against it within the 21-day time-limit for lodging civil appeals.
· Most importantly, if the convicted person is successful in his appeal against conviction, and if the appeal court finds him innocent, he will still be liable to pay compensation to the victim of a crime he didn’t commit, unless he lodges a fresh appeal against the compensation order.
The clause will also amend the Third Schedule to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act by adding to the offences for which magistrates cannot grant bail without the consent of the Attorney-General and for which no court can grant bail unless there are exceptional circumstances. One of the offences so added is “contravening section 128 of the Parks and Wild Life Act.” It is not possible to contravene that section since it does not create an offence.
Clause 13 – limitations on legal action against Reserve Bank
This clause, as stated in the Bill’s memorandum, will apply the State Liabilities Act retrospectively to actions against the Reserve Bank. The memorandum does not say what the effect of this will be:
· It probably won’t affect legal proceedings that have been instituted in South Africa against the Reserve Bank. Those proceedings will continue to be governed by South African law.
· It will stop litigants in Zimbabwe from executing against the Reserve Bank; that is, from obtaining court orders requiring the Bank’s assets to be seized and sold in order to pay off the Bank’s debts. This may be a mixed blessing for the Bank. On the one hand, the Bank won’t have to worry about creditors seizing and selling its property. On the other hand, the Bank may not find people willing to do business with it.
· The amendment, as noted above, will be retrospective to the 18th June 2010, which is when regulations were promulgated under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act to stop execution against Reserve Bank property. Those regulations, however, expired in mid-December last year, so at present there is nothing to stop Zimbabwean creditors from having the Reserve Bank’s property seized to pay off its debts.
Incidentally, it is not clear if the provisions of the State Liabilities Act requiring notice to be given before legal proceedings are taken against the State will apply to legal proceedings which have already been instituted against the Reserve Bank. The point should be clarified.
Some of the amendments set out in the Bill are both important and thoroughly undesirable.
Clause 7 – heavy penalties for offences under Aviation Regulations
This clause will amend the Civil Aviation Act to allow the responsible Minister to make regulations prescribing criminal and civil penalties for contraventions of aviation law. At present the maximum penalty that can be prescribed is a fine of level 5 [currently US $200] or six months’ imprisonment; this clause will increase it to a fine of level 14 [US $5 000] or five years’ imprisonment. Such severe prison sentences should be prescribed only by Parliament itself, not by a Minister. Incidentally, the increased criminal penalty is not mentioned in the Bill’s memorandum.
Clause 10 – mandatory minimum sentences for rhino poaching
Section 128 of the Parks and Wild Life Act currently imposes severe penalties [a fine of up to level 14 — currently US $5 000 — or imprisonment for up to 20 years, or both] for poaching rhinoceros and other specified protected animals. This clause will increase the penalty to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of nine years for a first offence and 11 years for a second offence.
Mandatory minimum sentences are generally undesirable:
· They are contrary to the rule of law, of which an essential element is an independent judiciary which is free to exercise its judicial functions without interference from the Executive or the Legislature. The imposition of sentence in criminal cases is essentially a judicial function, and should be left to the courts’ discretion. Justice cannot be done if courts are not allowed to take account of differences between cases.
· A mandatory sentence may be unconstitutional in that it amounts to inhuman or degrading punishment. This applies not only to barbaric sentences such as castration, but also to mandatory sentences of imprisonment if the sentences are so high that they pass beyond all rational bounds of punishment in the eyes of right-thinking people. The sentences specified in this clause come close to this.
Clause 16 – copyright protection for Acts, statutory instruments etc
This clause will give the Government copyright in various types of official documents, namely Acts and statutory instruments, court judgments, Gazette notices and official registers. Objection to the clause were outlined in detail in Bill Watch No. 44/2010 of 31st October 2010, but in summary the objections to it are as follows:
· It will give the Government a complete discretion to decide whether or not the documents should be published, so private individuals and organisations will not be allowed to publicise and disseminate laws such as the Electoral Act, or important court judgments, unless the Government agrees.
· The amendment is unconstitutional in that it violates section 20 of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression, namely the freedom to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.
· The amendment will violate the rule of law, which the principals undertook to uphold in article 11.1 of the GPA. One of the essential elements of the rule of law is that the law must be readily available to the public, because if people don’t know what the law is they will not be able to obey it. So statutes and judgments which embody the law must be disseminated as widely as possible to everyone who needs or wants to read them. The Government should not be allowed to control their dissemination.
· The proposed amendment will also be contrary to best practice in the southern African region. In South Africa, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia, there is no copyright in Bills, Acts of Parliament and other texts of a legal or administrative nature.
As usual, the Bill is a spotty mixture of important and trivial provisions, good ones and bad — and too many bad ones to make it a welcome piece of legislation.
Re Police Commissioner-General: A final point may be noted about clause 6 of the Bill, which will amend the Police Act to reflect the Commissioner’s new title of “Commissioner-General”, given to him by Constitution Amendment No. 18 in October 2007. Under the Act the “Commissioner” of Police must retire after four years, though the President can re-appoint him thereafter for further 12-month periods. The last time Mr Chihuri’s re-appointment was gazetted was in February 2008, and it may be that the Government felt further re-appointment was unnecessary because the 12-month term-limits laid down for the “Commissioner” in the Police Act no longer applied now that he was Commissioner-General. If that was the reason for not re-appointing Mr Chihuri it was manifestly incorrect as a change of title does not mean he is no longer subject to the same term limits. Members of Parliament might well question the co-Ministers of Home Affairs about this when the clause is debated in the House of Assembly.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied