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rights chief to asses Zimbabwe human rights situation
Sapa-AP | 21 May, 2012
Officials said Pillay's weeklong trip is at the invitation of
coalition government formed in 2009 after disputed, violent
plagued by rights abuses blamed mainly on militants of President
Mugabe's party and loyalist police and troops.
"I am here to
assess the human rights situation," Pillay told reporters at
airport late Sunday.
She will meet with Mugabe, political leaders and
rights groups, said
Mugabe's justice minister Patrick Chinamasa.
2009, chief UN torture investigator Manfred Nowak was barred entry at the
Harare airport after claims he was not officially cleared for the
In 2005, another special envoy of the UN secretary-general angered
criticising a slum clearance program that left 700 000 people
urban strongholds of the former opposition led by Morgan
Tsvangirai, now the
prime minister in the power-sharing
Chinamasa, quoted in the state Sunday Mail newspaper
controlled by Mugabe
loyalists, said Pillay was first invited to Zimbabwe
last year but couldn't
make that trip.
"We showed our commitment by
extending another invitation in February and we
are happy she has accepted,"
He said he was not concerned by submissions Pillay is expected
from rights activists and non-governmental
"We are happy we will be able to host her because we have
nothing to hide in
terms of human rights issues. We are not worried about
what our detractors
will say," he said.
Pillay is scheduled to hold
talks with Mugabe, Tsvangirai, defense and
service chiefs, judges, lawmakers
and leaders of rights groups. She will
hear reports of alleged human rights
abuses at diamond fields in eastern
Zimbabwe where the military has been
accused of shootings and torture of
villagers driven from mining
In a decade of political and economic turmoil, Mugabe's party has
accused of trampling on human and democratic rights, vote rigging and
targeting opponents and independent journalists in assaults and
Independent rights groups say at least 200 people,
supporters, died in violence surrounding the last national
polls in 2008
that Tsvangirai's party said it won. Tsvangirai boycotted a
run-off vote against Mugabe, citing spiraling violence against
thousands of voters.
Pillay, who served as a judge in South
Africa, has been at the forefront of
the documentation of reported killings
in Syria during uprisings against the
government. She was also a former
judge at the International Criminal Court
and head of the International
Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda's 1994 genocide.
Pillay ends her Zimbabwe
visit on Friday.
Zimbabwe Denies State-Sponsored Violence
May 21, 2012,
3:00 p.m. ET
HARARE, Zimbabwe—Zimbabwe's justice
minister rejected allegations that the
country has state-sponsored violence
and he vowed not to recognize gay
rights after meeting with the U.N.
human-rights chief Monday.
But the nation's main independent civic groups
accused President Robert
Mugabe's party of trying to present a "fraudulent"
account on human-rights
issues to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
Navi Pillay, who is in
Zimbabwe to assess the situation.
In a joint
statement Monday, 36 groups said they will boycott a meeting with
arranged by Mr. Mugabe's justice ministry at the Harare Parliament
scheduled Tuesday. The groups said bogus organizations, some even
perpetrators of injustice, were invited to "ambush" the rights
talks with Ms. Pillay.
Earlier, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said
he told Ms. Pillay that
claims of state-sponsored torture were untrue, and
the allegations must be
"There is no state-sponsored
violence, these are all lies. We told her that
there are no torture chambers
in Zimbabwe," he said.
He said that Zimbabwe will arrest same sex
partners found committing illegal
"We made it clear
that in our law homosexual activities are criminalized and
that any person
who commits homosexual activities will be arrested," he told
meeting with Ms. Pillay in Harare.
Ms. Pillay arrived Sunday in Zimbabwe
for a weeklong visit, the first by the
world rights chief, to assess rights
violations. Mr. Chinamasa says Ms.
Pillay was invited by the coalition
government formed in 2009 after
disputed, violent elections that were
plagued by abuses blamed mainly on
militants of Mr. Mugabe's party and
loyalist police and troops.
Independent human-rights groups have compiled
dossiers from witness accounts
of systematic political violence, assaults,
beatings, rape and torture over
the past decade. At least 600 people have
died, about 200 of them in
violence during campaigning for the last national
elections in 2008.
The 36 groups said Monday that Mr. Chinamasa had
insisted there was nothing
to hide from the U.N. envoy, but that he and
justice ministry officials then
tried to suppress the activists'
Mr. Mugabe's party wanted to stage manage her mission using
present "a glorified and sugar coated account" of rights
"They don't take this seriously. They are
here to abuse Pillay's visit,"
said Lovemore Mudhuku, an official of
organizations that still hope to meet
Ms. Pillay independently.
response was immediately available from Ms. Pillay's visiting
Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party routinely denies violence against
Ms. Pillay, who served as a judge in her native South
Africa, has been at
the forefront of the documentation of reported killings
in Syria during
uprisings against the government. She was also a former
judge at the
International Criminal Court and head of the International
on Rwanda's 1994 genocide.
In 2009, chief U.N.
torture investigator Manfred Nowak was barred entry into
Zimbabwe at the
Harare airport after claims he wasn't officially cleared for
In 2005, another special envoy of the U.N. secretary-general
Mugabe by criticizing a slum clearance program that left 700,000
homeless in urban strongholds of the former opposition led by Morgan
Tsvangirai, now the prime minister in the power-sharing
Ms. Pillay is scheduled to hold talks with Mr. Mugabe, Mr.
defense and service chiefs, judges, lawmakers and rights groups.
hear reports of alleged rights abuses at diamond fields in eastern
where the military has been accused of shootings and torture of
and illegal diamond miners driven from mining areas.
micro-managing UN Human Rights Chief’s tour
By Staff Reporter 1 hour
Harare - The government of Zimbabwe through the Permanent
Secretary of the
Ministry of Justice David Mangota has reportedly suppressed
between the visiting UN High Commissioner on Human Rights
and the local
civil service organizations a move viewed as intended to stage
High Commissioner’s tour.
Addressing a joint press
conference on Monday hosted by the Zimbabwe lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR)
endorsed by 37 local CSOs Abel Chikomo who read the
statement on behalf of
the NGO Forum claimed Mangota had instead hired some
unknown human rights
activists including a top human rights abuser the AAG
and Zanu (PF) activist
Goodson Nguni to stand as the CSOs in place of ‘the
“The permanent secretary, David Mangota, ……….unilaterally changed
of the meeting, moving it to Parliament building and had invited
other ‘organisations’ that are not known to be doing any work on
rights in Zimbabwe,” said chikomo.
The CSOs said the actions of
the government were a clear indication that
they are the gross human rights
abusers as evidenced by the fact that they
have denied the CSOs just a
thirty minute meeting with the High Commissioner
out of her five day
“Minister Chinamasa is already on record saying the government has
to hide – so why are they choosing to suppress interaction between
Pillay and credible and trusted CSOs who have been working on the
decades? We today are here to make it clear that genuine CSOs
will not be
commandeered by government to a stage-managed civil society
meeting with the
High Commissioner which is organised by the government;
neither will we
legitimise a fraudulent exercise meant to give the UN human
rights chief a
superficial picture of our country’s human rights situation,”
said the NGO
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Director Irene
Petras said it was not up
to government to say there were no human rights
abuses but rather to the
people who bear the brunt of the government’s
abuses and that the actions of
the government spoke volumes.
very clear for every logical Zimbabwean who can read and write that
government is (or) could be hiding something. So let the people make
own conclusion on whether there are human rights abuses or not,” said
Outspoken constitutional lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku
said the CSOs
that had been invited by government to the meeting where just
of the state which stands accused of the abuses on its own
“These are just an extension of the state now pretending to be
Human Rights issues who want to abuse the visit by the High
this is how naïve they are,” said Madhuku.
the NGO Forum indicated their intention to boycott the upcoming
saying it would not endorse and legitimize tomorrow’s meeting
and the Zanu (PF)’s purported CSOs by attending it adding
that they would
only show up at the originally agreed venue.
The NGO Forum said they had
already prepared a report they handed to the
High Commissioner directly.
Mugabe – I want to retire but I can’t
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s ageing
president, would like to retire but fears
his party would be torn apart if
he did, a former minister in his government
9:43AM BST 21 May 2012
Enos Nkala, who served
as Mr Mugabe’s home affairs and defence minister in
the late 1980s before
the pair fell out, said the 88-year-old former
liberation leader was “the
glue holding this country together”.
His comments come as senior Zanu PF
leaders jockey for position behind the
president amid growing speculation
about his health. A WikiLeaks cable
claimed that he is dying of prostate
cancer, and he has made numerous trips
to Asia for medical treatment in
“From what we discussed, Mugabe said he is tired and wants
to retire but he
cannot do so now because ZANU-PF would die,” Mr Nkala told
Standard Sunday newspaper after the pair met in the second city
“He cannot leave when the party is in such a
state. What is holding him now
is managing and containing ZANU-PF to prevent
it from disintegrating.”
Some in Harare dismissed Mr Nkala’s claims as
fabrication but Mr Mugabe
himself has recently warned about Zanu PF
divisions in the run-up to
district elections which had spilt into violence
in some areas.
“We don’t want people who say don’t vote for so and so ...
destroying the party, do your work, let the people judge you if they
like you or if they like you,” he said in a speech earlier this
“The leadership is transforming and is becoming too materialistic.
going to destroy the party.”
Shortly afterwards, Defence
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa – who is known to
have been vying with Vice
President Joyce Mujuru to take over when Mr Mugabe
dies, reportedly broke
with convention by confirming his ambition to succeed
him, saying “I am
ready to lead”.
Mr Nkala, 80, said Mr Mugabe’s succession remained a
delicate issue that if
not handled carefully might result in “chaos or civil
“It’s easy for people to say Mugabe must go, Mugabe must go, but
know that he is the glue that has been holding this country
elder backtracks on ‘Mugabe tired’
Enos Nkala, one of Zanu (PF)’s founding
fathers, has distanced himself from
media reports that Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe told him he was ‘tired
and wanted to retire’
Published: 2012/05/21 06:29:39 AM
ENOS Nkala, one of Zanu
(PF)’s founding fathers, has distanced himself from
media reports at the
weekend that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe told
him he was "tired and
wanted to retire".
Mr Nkala, fired from Zanu (PF) in the late 1980s, held
a 45-minute private
talk with Mr Mugabe at the Joshua Mqabuko International
Airport in Bulawayo
Quoted in the weekly Standard
newspaper yesterday, Mr Nkala said: "From what
we discussed, Mr Mugabe said
he was tired and wants to retire, but he cannot
do so now because Zanu (PF)
would die. He cannot leave when the party is in
such a state. What is
holding him now is managing and containing Zanu (PF)
to prevent it from
But Mr Nkala told Business Day yesterday his "comments"
were taken out of
context by journalists itching to get a
"Inevitably when such things come out in the newspapers, it leads
communication breakdown and loss of confidence in each other. Robert
are good friends," Mr Nkala said.
Asked to comment on Mr
Nkala’s statements, which political observers say
highlight the complexity
of Zanu (PF)’s succession dynamics, Simon Khaya
Moyo, the party’s chairman,
brushed aside the reports.
"It’s not true. The president is fit as a
fiddle; he himself only last month
after his trip to Singapore said so. He
is Zanu (PF)’s election candidate
and is raring to go in the elections this
Political observers, however, insist Mr Nkala’s statements are a
encapsulation of the power struggles that have gripped Zanu (PF) and
threaten to derail its election plans.
In recent weeks the factional
clashes at provincial levels have become more
vicious — riot police having
been called in to control warring party members
in the Manicaland and
A special politburo meeting convened at the Zanu (PF)
headquarters in Harare
last Wednesday, which lasted into the night, failed
to find a lasting
solution to the factional clashes that have gripped the
Vice-President Joice Mujuru (the leader of one of the Zanu
took to task opponents aligned with the faction led by
In the absence of any official
position on the details of the secret meeting
between Mr Mugabe and Mr
Nkala, speculation is high in political circles
that Mr Mugabe approached Mr
Nkala for help on how to slam the brakes on the
factional fights that have
Highly placed Zanu (PF) sources told this newspaper that Mr
sought to enlist help from the veteran nationalist on how to
claw his way
back into the three Matabeleland provinces — which have voted
Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) in the past 10 years and have become a
stronghold for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change
"Mr Mugabe wanted me to tell him how to win back Matabeleland,
(PF) has done badly in Matabeleland in the past
"They are in election mode and want to win against the MDC," said
Trevor Maisiri, a senior analyst at the International Crisis
Zanu (PF)’s two factions would welcome Mr Nkala’s statements, as
he was an
outsider, whereas the two factions ran high risks if they were to
openly about the crisis that has gripped the party.
succession issue in Zanu (PF) has been left for far too long," Mr
said. "Factionalism has gone into the grassroots. Both factions in
are likely to welcome Mr Nkala’s statements because more often
than not if
the succession issue is raised by someone inside the party, (he)
Zimbabwe: Political Temperatures
Last Friday, I
wrote about my trip to Cambodia.
However, that was not the only ‘frontier economy’ BMI visited
recently. One of our analysts went to Zimbabwe for the third time in 18
months. He noted that the political temperature is on the rise. Although there
were a multitude of rumours swirling around, the following points seem
- New elections
will be held within the next 10 months.
constitution-making process is nearing finality. Completion of this would be a
positive step, as it would provide the best context for reasonably free and fair
elections, which would follow shortly thereafter.
BMI sees growing risks that the ruling ZANU-PF party will
scuttle the process at the final hurdle.
- ZANU-PF is a
party in crisis, as a struggle to succeed ageing President Robert Mugabe
threatens to tear it apart.
- BMI sees a
growing risk of the military stepping in to take control of ZANU-PF to ‘solve’
the crisis before elections. This would be a worrying development for the
country as a whole.
- The economy
continues to struggle as foreign investors give Zimbabwe a wide berth. (A
dollarised economy and an essentially bankrupt central bank mean that the
country relies on real inflows for liquidity.)
- That said, there
are signs of economic life such, as the proliferation of used car lots, which
seem to be doing brisk business.
The full article
on BMI’s visit to Zimbabwe is available to subscribers at
and Mahoso to appear before Parlimentary committee on Thursday
21 May 2012
Webster Shamu, the Media, Information and
Publicity Minister will on
Thursday appear before parliament’s committee on
media, information and
the chairman of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe
(BAZ) is due to
appear before the same committee on the same day, according
Chikwinya the MDC-T MP for Mbizvo, who chairs the committee.
told SW Radio Africa said on Monday that he will be part of the
group of MPs
who will interrogate Shamu on why he had failed to implement
as agreed to and directed by the principals of the GPA.
There have been
efforts to push Chikwinya not to chair Thursday’s meetin,
due to his well
known stance against Shamu’s reluctance to reform the media
The MDC-T MP dismissed reports in the state controlled Sunday
Mail that he
would have to recuse himself from the committee to avoid
interest. The weekly paper claimed that Chikwinya heads the
board of a
community radio station run by the Media Institute of Southern
makes him ineligible to be part of MPs to question Shamu and
The MDC-T legislator accused the Sunday
Mail of ‘deceiving its readers’ and
‘spreading false information’ about him,
saying the article was meant to
discredit his name, character and position
as chairperson of the committee.
‘It’s a fact that I’m not a member of
any board of community radio, neither
do I hold a post in the MISA
structures. I only relate to MISA in as far as
they relate to any members of
parliament in their capacity building
workshops,’ Chikwinya said.
Mbizvo MP continued; ‘I saw the story, I have great respect for all
journalists in the media fraternity, the Sunday Mail included. I doubt very
much that story was written by any professional
Chikwinya told us he had a strong belief that it was written
by a half
boiled graduate from the Robert Mugabe School of intelligence who
masquerading as a reporter with the Sunday Mail.
issued a statement on Monday dismissing as baseless and cheap
allegations that Chikwinya heads the board of a community radio
by the Media Institute of Southern Africa.
and Mutambara absent from peace prayers in Bulawayo
21 May, 2012
A prayer meeting that all three leaders in
the coalition government
committed to in November last year, as part of a
campaign to promote peace
between parishioners from different faiths, went
ahead without two of the
leaders this weekend.
SW Radio Africa
correspondent Lionel Saungweme reported that only Prime
Tsvangirai attended the Inter-denominational Prayer Meeting
that was held in
Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on Sunday.
The event was organised by
church groups in Matabeleland promoting peace,
and attended by top MDC-T
officials and gospel musicians. Saungweme said the
theme for the Prime
Minister’s address was “A house divided cannot stand”, a
clear reference to
divisions between the parties which are blocking progress
towards a new
constitution and a fresh poll.
Tsvangirai was also indirectly making
reference to the idea of cessation and
devolution, which many in
Matabeleland province are beginning to support,
saying they have failed to
get development funds from government. They say
all resources are directed
at Harare only while Bulawayo, Mutare and other
outlaying cities are
“When we talk about devolution, we are not talking about
division of the country. The media must unite the people and
not divide the
people,” Tsvangirai is quoted as saying.
Saungweme, the police went out of their way to make sure the
peaceful, as they have been trying to win over support for ZANU PF
Matabeleland province, ahead of the next elections.
Police disrupted a
prayer meeting organised by the MDC-T in Harare in 2007,
firing into the
crowd and killing innocent party member, Gift Tandare. That
remained fresh in the minds of MDC supporters whenever they
“The PM normally packs stadiums when he speaks in public and I
attendance could have been better at Barbourfields. It was just half
Maybe it was that they put out the fliers too late,” Saungweme
As for Mugabe, he was spotted in Bulawayo on Friday. Saungweme
said he met
with Former Home Affairs and Defence Minister Enos Nkala for
minutes in the VIP lounge at Nkomo Airport. Those who got a glimpse
Mugabe said he looked frail and was in bad shape as he was transferred to
Our correspondent said people on the ground do not
believe Mugabe sincerely
wants peaceful elections and a democratic
transition that removes ZANU PF
from power. The Mugabe regime has used
violence from the very first election
up until now, and Mugabe himself once
said he took the country by the gun
and will defend it by the gun. His
presence at a prayer meeting would have
made no difference on the ground.
Zim divisions remain: Ray
OUTGOING US Ambassador, Charles Rays has said although
Harare and Washington
do not “see eye to eye” on various key issues, the two
countries could still
do business together.
“The Government of
Zimbabwe and my government don’t see eye to eye on some
issues,” Ray told the 37th Annual Africa Travel Association
Victoria Falls at the weekend.
“But I still believe that despite these
differences Zimbabwe can still
(spruce up) its image. Our ordinary people
can do business.’’
Washington maintains sanctions against Zimbabwe will
not be lifted until
progress is made in implementing political reforms
agreed as part of the
deal leading to the formation of the coalition
"The US continues to maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe and will
do so until we
believe that substantial and irreversible progress has been
made in the
implementation of [reforms agreed under the Global Political
Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson said
The US imposed the sanctions more than a decade ago in protest
controversial elections and alleged human rights abuses by President
Mugabe denies the allegations and claims
the sanctions are aimed at
punishing him for his Zanu PF party’s land
reforms and other economic
Ambassador Ray said although Zimbabwe was not yet out of the woods
situation was not as dire as claimed by the global media.
“What you see
on CNN is not true. Journalists package what they think sells.
I am sorry to
say this in front of the media, but I have been in the media
“People have a mistaken notion with reality. It is important
journalists try and report correctly and accurately.
encouraged people not to listen to the international media but (they
come and see for themselves.”
“I must testify that when I alighted from
the plane at Harare International
Airport the very first time I came here, I
was surprised to see the opposite
of what I had known. I met very good
people, very happy people and Zimbabwe
is very beautiful and
Ray urged US investors to give the country a chance
insisting the country
was firmly on the path to economic recovery and growth
tensions have also eased...
“The country is coming
from political challenges that made leaders fail to
projects but let us give them a chance because
reconciliation takes quite
some time," he said.
“To understand Zimbabwe, I urge you to listen, see
and learn. We must build
a better understanding between our people and
everyone including the
journalists (who) must come to Zimbabwe and see for
Ray – who has often been accused by Zanu PF of pushing a
agenda in the country - leaves Zimbabwe in July after a
three-year tour of
He will be replaced by David Bruce Wharton
who was the head of the US Public
Affairs Department at the Harare embassy
some ten years ago.
to review diamond deals
ZIMBABWE is not benefiting from diamond mining at Chiadzwa
and is looking to
reveal its agreements with companies operating in the
area, a government
minister has said.
Deputy mines minister Gift
Chimanikire said Zimbabwe should own at least 70
percent of the joint
venture companies operating in the area.
Most of the companies presently
have 50-50 joint venture deals with the
state-owned Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation (ZMDC).
“As a ministry we are advocating to some
of our colleagues that we need to
re-visit some of the contracts we signed
with foreign companies mining
diamonds,” Chimanikire told a meeting of the
Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce in Mutare.
“Diamonds are our
own natural resource and Government should review those
contracts and ensure
Zimbabwe benefits. We deserve better than the 50/50
“Government should have at least 70 percent or even 80
percent. Let us
re-look at that policy. We signed those deals when we were
poor. We are no
Marange Resources, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin
Investments and Pure Diamonds are
currently operating at
Chimanikire’s remarks come after Finance Minister, Tendai Biti
would miss its economic targets this year mainly due to
"Diamond revenues have been under
performing since January to 2012, with
only $30.4m remittances received for
the period January to 21 March 2012,"
Biti said last week. The target was
He particularly blamed Anjin and claimed the company was probably
deliberately diverting funds away from treasury.
"We have not
received a single cent from Anjin, yet Anjin is seven times
bigger than some
of the other [diamond] companies," Biti said.
"Clearly, we fear as the
ministry of finance that there might be a parallel
government somewhere in
respect of where these revenues are going, and are
not coming to
"There is opaqueness and unaccountability surrounding our diamonds."
queries Green Fuel’s land deals
FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti has claimed Green Fuel, the company
US$600 million ethanol project at Chisumbanje, did not pay a
penny for the
vast tracks of land it now controls which represent up to four
The project is facing collapse as government
resist pressure to introduce
mandatory blending of ethanol with petrol with
Ministers demanding answers
on several issues, principally the pricing of
the company’s E10 product
which is only marginally lower than unleaded
Now Biti has also questioned the nature of the deal between Green
the state-run agricultural parastatal, ARDA.
maintains they have a transparent Build Own Operate and Transfer
with ARDA under which the two private investors involved will
project, run it to recoup their investment before handing it
over to the
But Biti said described the deal as “murky” claiming Green Fuel
control to vast tracks of land for its sugarcane estates without
a paying a
“That estate is now about 4 percent of Zimbabwe.
That land was not bought,
it was taken for free," Biti told a
"So the government of Zimbabwe is saying - what
is the ownership structure
now because you have taken all this land which
you have not paid for. You
have put US$200 million or US$300 million, but
that is not equal to 4
percent of Zimbabwe. That must be
Biti also accused the company of being “greedy” as he backed
Elton Mangoma’s reservations over the pricing of Green
Fuel’s E10 product
which is only US$0,10 less than the hydrocarbons
currently in use in the
country even before the government adds value added
tax and other levies.
“The ethanol is being sold at US$0,10 less than the
ongoing price of
hydrocarbons,” he said.
“That is where we are
saying, you are being greedy and we will not accept
has since stopped production at Chisumbanje sending up to 600
The company says it has exhausted storage capacity after
million litres of product.
But Mangoma said the government would not
introduce mandatory blending until
all the outstanding issues are
“The viable option is that Green Fuel should be given the
export. As long I'm minister, I will protect the interests of
“I don't want to go into the pricing, the
facts are so murky, and these
things must be done properly. Green Fuel has
been given an opportunity to
work with government."
Promoters of the
project says mandatory blending would save the country
millions of dollars
in fuel imports adding the money saved could used to
improve the working
conditions of civil servants as well as reduce the
Green Fuel has already created some 5000 jobs but these remain at
unless the company can convince the government to introduce mandatory
looms for gold panners
MINES Minister Obert Mpofu wants gold panning legalised
claiming that the
unregulated miners, who are commonly referred to as
contributed at least 30 percent of the gold delivered to
January this year.
Speaking in Gwanda, Mpofu said gold
panners were “heroes” adding it was
ridiculous that many were being arrested
because legislation inherited from
the colonial era made their activities
"Since January, three tonnes of gold has been delivered to the
Mpofu said, adding that he would push for an amendment of the
Mining Act to
legalise panning and free those in jail.
contributed one tonne of that gold, yet we arrest and chase
them. It is my
wish that even those who have been arrested for panning could
Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere added: “We must
omakorokoza. I would like to thank Minister Mpofu for making the
“It is a fact that many of our young people have been imprisoned
But President Robert Mugabe counselled caution,
saying while panning should
be legalised the government should take care to
ensure that the country’s
environment is protected.
panning, which has increased over the last decade because
of the country’s
economic problems, is been blamed for causing extensive
across the country.
“Mpofu gave you the right to korokoza but let us do
it properly,” Mugabe
said. “This is our country so we should not leave
gullies everywhere or kill
“Those interested in mining
should come and ask for permission and we shall
grant you a licence or help
you by giving you simple instruments to use so
that your mining is done
Mugabe also backed a review of the country’s mining legislation to
better regulate small-scale mining.
“We inherited a law from the
past that says we should not be found with
gold, based purely on that gold
is a national treasure that should be owned
by the State,” he
“But for the State to have gold, some people should bring it to the
People who bring it to the State should not be harassed, but
excuse for corruption
Monday, 21 May 2012
The MDC believes in
creating a nation where the rule of law is respected and
upheld by all
citizens, including law enforcement agents without any excuse.
regrettable that Home Affairs ministry officials can try to excuse
officers intimating that it is because they are hungry that they
The excuse is totally unacceptable as the very people
they will be fleecing
money from are also reeling under the same economic
A police officer should not throw away his social standing and
instead he or she should be a woman or man of unquestionable
can be relied upon by the public. As it is the police officers
their social standing and are best known for being “toll
The fact that police officers like everyone else need decent
salaries is a
given and needs urgent attention. Zanu PF should stop looting
made in diamond mining which money should be used to pay civil
including the police.
Zanu PF virtually destroyed the
economy and the coming into government of
the MDC has seen marked
Every Zimbabwean has adopted a ‘survival of the fittest’
approach to life
and police officers should not assume that they are the
only ones reeling
under poverty brought about by ridiculous Zanu PF
While the MDC has been working tirelessly and diligently to
improvement of peoples’ livelihoods and the expansion of the national
Zanu PF policies like indigenisation have had adverse effects on
which in turn has affected the said livelihoods.
people of Zimbabwe defend their integrity, the police included, by
The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s
Debt Soars to U.S.$1,5 Billion
By Martin Kadzere, 21 May
THE inter-parastatal debt rose by 69 percent to US$1,5
billion in six months
to March this year, according to latest official
figures, as service
delivery by the State-run companies continued to
inter-parastatal debt rose from US$488 million in September
last year, with
Government now working on a strategy to liquidate the
Notable entities owing, and also being owed, include Zesa, TelOne,
Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe Zinwa and the National Railways of
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last week.
of financial statements and management accounts of some public
showed that they are owed not only by individuals, but by other
entities and Government departments.
"The inter-parastatal debt and debts
owed by other creditors have crippled
public entities, resulting in them
failing to fulfil their mandate in an
efficient manner, leading to a public
outcry," he said.
Inter-parastatal debt remains a major challenge,
performance adversely affecting their ability to
effectively contribute to
The Government will
next month host an inter-parastatal debt all-stakeholder
consult on the development of a comprehensive debt strategy.
conference will seek to fully appreciate the causes of inter-parastatal
and its effect on State enterprises and the economy.
Minister of State
Enterprises and Parastatals Gorden Moyo said the
Government would come up
with strategies to reduce the accumulation of
inter-parastatal debt and come
up with strategies to deal with
inter-parastatal debts already
He said the Government is also seeking strategies to deal with
and Government departments debts to State
"Inter-parastatal debt remains one of the most serious
the cash-flows of most of the State enterprises to the
detriment of economic
recovery efforts initiated by Government," he
The conference is expected to address one of the major challenges
the State enterprises, which has not allowed them to fully
contribute to the
development of the country through efficient provision of
Zimbabwe has 78 State enterprises with the
capacity to contribute 40 percent
to the Gross Domestic Product, but most of
them are underperforming.
Some of them have for long been operating
without boards of directors while
others have failed to publish financial
accounts and reports.
Their poor performance has resulted in poor service
in the supply of water, road, air transport and
MPs to be circumcised as part of HIV/Aids campaign
More than 170 Zimbabwean
MPs and parliamentary workers will be circumcised
in the coming weeks to set
a public example and defend themselves against
Peta Thornycroft and Aislinn Laing in Johannesburg
11:01PM BST 20 May
The politicians will also be tested for the disease and offered
if the results come back positive.
follows the launch of the Zimbabwe Parliamentarians against
HIV and Aids
campaign last week aimed at bringing down the country’s 15 per
All 150 male members of the 175-strong group have all
committed to being
circumcised, while its female members are encouraging
their husbands and
boyfriends to undergo the procedure.
Chebundo, the group’s chairman, said ZIPAH members will also
and Aids information in their constituencies.
He said that many MPs had
been against the move because if they did not come
forward, it would be
speculated that they were infected.
“We are beyond worrying about
speculation in Zimbabwe,” he said. “We have
all been living with this for so
long now and it is time we MPs showed the
The idea of a mass
circumcision of MPs was first floated by the MDC Deputy
Thokozani Khupe, who cited evidence that circumcised men are
60 per cent
less likely to get infected with HIV.
It followed a government campaign
in 2010 to circumcise up to 80 per cent of
the country’s young men —
approximately three million people.
At the time, many MPs were
unconvinced, describing the idea as “madness” and
Mzila Ndlovu, the Minister of National Healing, told the BBC: “I don’t
many takers but I’m not stopping anyone.” In neighbouring South Africa,
Zulu President Jacob Zuma went public about being circumcised in 2010 in
bid to encourage his countrymen to follow suit.
announcement followed a call by Zulu king, Goodwill
Zwelithini, for the
restoration of the tradition of circumcision – though
rather than by traditional practitioners.
Zimbabwe's cattle breeders face tough choices
as pasture vanishes
this 2002 file photo, cattle graze in a failed maize field in the Gwanda south
area 220 kilometers southeast of Bulawayo. REUTERS/Howard
(AlertNet) – Lorraine Mabuza stands outside her cattle pen. She wears a pensive
look, and the source of her troubles is not hard to guess.
“I do not know
where these beasts are going to get grass today,” says the widowed 53-year-old.
“There are no pastures around here anymore. I have to move these cattle to
another place where we can get some fodder.”
pen holds 17 cows. She had 20 in her herd, but has sold three since the
beginning of this year.
livestock would normally represent enviable wealth in the rural economy of
Filabusi, a village about 300 km (188 miles) southeast of
Bulawayo, the animals have become something of a headache to
Cattle and other
livestock formerly grazed freely on the plains here, feeding on the plentiful
grass, but poor rainfall, linked by experts to climate change, has caused the
vegetation to disappear.
of southern Zimbabwe have long been considered suitable for cattle ranching. Yet
experts and the Ministry of Agriculture are alarmed by the loss of fodder as
rainfall in the region reduces, and are also worried about the impact on the
region’s livestock farmers.
another Filabusi farmer, says he has had to sell beasts to slaughterhouses in
Bulawayo for a pittance, as he no longer has a strong bargaining
(buyers) know we are in trouble as we cannot afford to feed our cattle and this
has lowered prices to ridiculous levels,” Sibanda said.
“A full-grown cow
that I could sell for up to $500 now fetches less than half (that amount). But
for us it is still better than to let these cows starve to death,” he
has become a familiar one among poor rural villagers for whom cattle and
livestock are the sole source of wealth. Many are becoming impoverished because
of the disappearing pastures.
In major cities
such as Bulawayo, some women make a living by selling dairy products such as the
curdled milk known as amasi. Mabuza says that as women continue selling
off their cattle, they are becoming unable to supply their
“This is depriving
us of extra income as the fewer cows we have, the (less) milk we get to sell,”
With open water
sources drying up, cattle breeders also have been forced to share limited
supplies of water with their livestock, creating ideal conditions for the spread
There also are
reports that farmers in border towns such as Beitbridge, the gateway to South
Africa, and Plumtree, on the border of Botswana, are breaching border controls
as they move their cattle across international borders in search of
It is a surprise
to many rural communities to learn that such hardships are likely the restul of
climate change, says agriculture extension officer Gladys
“There is still no
understanding how issues such as global warming can be dealt with, let alone how
this is having effects on things such as cattle ranching,” Moyo said. “But it
does show how climate change is being felt in the most unlikely of
milk-producing cattle require abundant pasture, yet the absence of rains has
meant there is little food available. This is affecting rural livelihoods at a
time when the government is touting the growth of rural economies as one of the
ways to create wealth for indigenous communities.
conditions and lack of rain “has only led to mass losses of livestock to both
starvation and selling at very low prices, said Zorodzayi Mashonganyika, an
agricultural economist and consultant working with the ministry of
In an effort to
assist cattle breeders, the agriculture ministry is moving to set up livestock
fodder banks in hopes that owners will have access to sufficient feed for their
livestock until the next rainy season, according to
estimates that there are more than half a million head of cattle in
Matebeleland, in southern Zimbabwe, and there are growing concerns that this
number could fall dramatically if not measures to deal with the problem are put
“We are aware some
cattle breeders have moved their cattle to other areas many kilometres from
their homesteads in search of pastures,” said Sam Zulu of the Zimbabwe
Commercial Farmers Union.
desperate times but what can we do?” he asked.
Mwando is a journalist based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Small grains are tough sell
HARARE, 21 May 2012 (IRIN) - Bright Makakai, 41, is
constantly advised by a farming programme he listens to on his solar-powered
radio to “plant small grains” in the drought-prone area of Shurugwi, about 200km
southeast of Gweru, the capital of Midlands Province in Zimbabwe. But he chooses
to cultivate mainly maize, even though the crop generally fails because of poor
farmers to grow drought-resistant small grains in favour of maize is a difficult
He allocates less than an acre to rapoko, a small reddish grain
also known as finger millet, which can be milled into flour and used for brewing
beer, mostly for traditional rituals, or cooked into a thick porridge for meals.
The rest of his five-acre plot is dedicated to maize, Zimbabwe’s staple food.
“Most members of my family don't like eating meals prepared using
rapoko, preferring the sadza [thick porridge] from maize meal. Every farming
season I plant maize because, just like other people in this area, I keep hoping
that the rains will be better,'' Makakai, a father of five, told IRIN by phone.
Only two of the about 100 households in his village plant sorghum and
millet, he said, although over the years several households have been setting
aside small plots for rapoko.
''Many people don't want to plant millet
and rapoko because the crops can easily be wiped out by the [quelea] birds. You need to constantly
monitor the fields, but who can afford the manpower to do that when there are so
many other chores to do?'' said Makakai.
Erratic weather patterns in
recent years and the disruptions caused by the 2000 fast-track land reform
programme, which redistributed more than 4,000 white commercial farms to
landless blacks, have combined to transform previously food secure Zimbabwe into
a food insecure country in the past decade.
Poor rainfall during the
2011/12 season is expected to bring lower yields from the previous year, but the
exact extent of any food insecurity is difficult to gauge. UN agencies,
including the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO), which used to assess and report on crops to assist food
security, have again been barred - as they were in 2011 - on the grounds of
The agricultural ministry said the 2010/11 season
recorded a 1,6 million ton harvest, leaving a national cereal deficit of about
Small grains are being promoted as a crop better equipped
to handle adverse weather conditions and more suitable for long-term storage,
but they remain unpopular with most communal farmers in arid areas.
Leornard Unganai, an agro-climatologist coordinating a climate
adaptation project in Chiredzi in Masvingo Province, said small grain seeds were
generally not available in Zimbabwe.
“There is no comprehensive national policy regarding
small grains,” Unganai told IRIN, “despite the fact that some communal farmers
have expressed eagerness to venture into them.”
|There is no
comprehensive national policy regarding small grains, despite the fact that some
communal farmers have expressed eagerness to venture into them
Joseph Made said during a field trip with delegates from several African
countries in March 2012 that it was “time the country adopts crop
diversification and accommodates small grains on a very serious note”, because
the government is forced to make up crop shortfalls with cereal imports.
''A lot needs to be done to convince communal farmers to grow small
grains. Even in the most arid regions like Matabeleland [in southern Zimbabwe],
farmers are still stuck with maize as a staple crop,” Denford Chimbwanda, the
former president of the Grain and Cereal Producers Association (GCPA), told
''Despite the poor uptake of small grains by smallholder farmers,
there have been efforts to promote these drought-resistant crops since the
1950s,” Sam Moyo, an agriculture expert and director of the African Institute of
Agrarian Studies (AIAS), told IRIN. ''Calls to convert to small grains are not a
new phenomenon - there are complex issues to address, though.”
lifestyles, tastes and traditions partly explained the reluctance to adopt small
grains, but pointed out that there were also no clearly defined policies and
strategies to market small grains to growers or consumers.
Lack of marketing
clearly a lack of infrastructure to market the buying and processing of small
grains, especially in dry areas. When you visit the areas, you easily recognize
that there are no shops selling small grain seed; neither are there efforts to…
[promote] the buying of small grains.”
Moyo said there was also a need to boost the
availability of specialised equipment for processing the harvest in outlying
communities as a way of encouraging farmers to plant small grains on a larger
scale. The lack of incentives, subsidies, storage facilities and effective
transport arrangements also discouraged farmers from adopting these
drought-resistant cereal varieties.
''Even if farmers wanted to plant
sorghum, for example, for commercial purposes, they lack knowledge of how they
can do this, and many are convinced that there is no market for it. There is
need to promote awareness around the value that small grains bring, and the
private sector should play an increased role,'' Moyo said.
commercial beer brewers buy red sorghum as an ingredient, but only from farmers
they have contracted as suppliers, leaving smallholder and communal farmers in
the cold, an employee at Harare-based Chibuku Breweries, who refused to be
named, told IRIN.
[This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United
My perspective on the on-going
preparations for a National Land Audit
[Part of the
Zimbabwe Land Series]
In this article I
discuss how the land issue has been handled by the GNU as from its formation in
2009. Although progress towards a National Land Audit (NLA) has been very slow,
a significant amount of technical and preparatory work has been completed and
continues to happen. I will start by taking a historical approach relating what
I know has happened so far. That will include an update on ‘preparatory’
activities for the land audit and my views on the technicalities of such an
audit if this has to all add up to the rehabilitation of the land sectors. The
need to undertake a National Land Audit (NLA) in Zimbabwe is provided for in the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) of 2008 calling for a comprehensive,
transparent and non-partisan land audit, for accountability and eliminating
multiple farm ownership. Other objectives include fairness in land allocation;
ensuring security of tenure; and crafting ways of financing land compensation,
as well as other interventions towards greater productivity of land.
Auditing land in Zimbabwe: While the Fast Track Land Reform Programme was underway,
the government commissioned three audits – the Utete Commission and the Buka
Audit in 2003 and the SIRDC and Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement (MLRR)
audit in 2006. The SIRDC/MLRR audit covered all eight of the country’s provinces
and also benefited from the findings of the earlier audits. The audits unearthed
a wide range of issues such as the level of farm take up, vacant plots, double
allocation of farms, multiple farm ownership, details of beneficiaries, land
utilization, farm structures and equipment, improvements made by the new
beneficiaries, land disputes, and illegal consolidation of subdivisions. But
many issues remained contentious and unclear. The GPA’s National Land Audit is
meant to clarify the situation ‘once and for all’ by verifying and
authenticating land records in the country. The NLA will therefore review
existing records to verify land categories and ownership. It would provide a
comprehensive and accurate assessment of the situation on the ground, allowing
for proper land administration moving forward.
Summary of progress to date
There is no doubt
that the mood and the dialogue on the NLA has changed significantly since 2009.
In 2009 the land issue was burning a lot hotter than is the case in 2012. The
land issue is still very much politically sensitive, especially given that it is
a key component of the GPA. But the nation continues to move on. There is
greater presssure to rehabilitate the land for productivity, investment and
economic recovery than just fulfil a political process. A significant proportion
of dispossessed white farmers are placing greater emphasis on receiving their
compensation than on restitution.
Back in 2009 there
was hardly an aspect of the land issue that the GNU partners agreed on. Today
there is evidence of convergence (not necessarily agreement) on issues such as
the need for secure land rights, compensation (at least for improvements), and
the need for more intensive land use planning. There is also an openning up of
public dialogue on the land issue with, for instance, the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Land and Agriculture engaging both the public and the
civil service. This was not feasible in 2009 when the only major dialogue was an
in-house Ministry of Lands policy and strategy session held in Kariba. The
donors interested in supporting the GNU on land organised themselves under the
auspices of the Multi-Donor Trust Fund administered by the World Bank. The Donor
Land Audit Working Group was quite active in 2009 meeting regularly and
commissioning a number of studies. But there was no direct engagement with the
happening a little faster in 2010 when the European Union (EU) Delegation to
Zimbabwe offered the MLRR support through the UNDP for a ‘pilot land audit’
covering the sugar growing sector in the south eastern lowveld. The MLRR
reviewed the idea and made a counter proposal that instead of a ‘pilot’
focussing on one sector, UNDP draft a methodology for a NLA. This eventually led
to the NLA ‘start-up activities’ programme discussed below. But meanwhile the
MLRR in 2010 submitted its own proposal to the GNU Cabinet on a NLA framework.
That document is unlikely to go public until Cabinet resolves on a way forward.
In 2011, however, Cabinet also requested the MLRR to submit proposals for a Land
Audit Commission and the Cabinet has now seen both the NLA framework and a
proposal for a Commission. A final decision and the way forward, however, is
still to come.
Programme for the National Land Audit
implemented the Start-up activities under the financing agreement between the
Ministry of Finance, UNDP and the EU. A total of €423,000 EU-STABEX funds were
expended for the activities. The agreement provided for a division of labour
between the UNDP and the World Bank (WB) in the implementation of the
activities. Activities commenced in June 2010 up to the end of March 2011. An
additional USD500,000 of donor support towards technical and expert reviews of
land reform issues was also provided for in the agreed work plan of the
Analytical Multi-Donor Trust Fund (A-MDTF). The start-up had five outputs and
progress to date is as follows:
a) Land category
verification: The land registry has been updated after reconciling
the land transactions that have occurred since the land reform on all types of
land. This was the single most important output of the start-up given that the
entire A1 land resettlement data was not centrally captured. Data and
information was available only at district and provincial levels were the
committees responsible for land distribution had transacted. Teams from the MLRR
with technical support form UNDP have taken about 18 months to collect and
update the land register. A land audit would have been meaningless without this
b) Development of NLA methodology: A set of data
collection instruments were developed and these will need stakeholder input and
validation, as well as ground testing before their use (either by the Commssion
or the MLRR) when the audit is finally given a go-ahead by Cabinet.
Stakeholder consultations: This aspect is budgeted for in the
programme to allow discussion and input by stakeholdes on the methodology and
audit strategy. This is now expected to happen under further preparatory
d) Regional and international best
practices on land reform and land audits: Visits to
Brazil and Kenya were undertaken by the MLRR with technical guidance from UNDP
and it is expected that this has improved understanding of issues around
security of tenure and bankability, as well as addressing land reform issues and
e) Review of land policies was planned for
but has not yet happened. The idea is to prepare status and option
papers for review by policy makers and stakeholders specifically to cover:
security of tenure, compensation to farmers, and land
What is the relationship between a land audit and comprehensive
significant issue on land that Zimbabwe faces is how to proceed with a
comprehensive agrarian restructuring. I am generally an optimist myself and
believe that this is feasible in the medium to long term. I, however, differ
with most on how to characterise the challenge. It is human nature to wish for
past pleasures and scenarios such as rebuilding the agrarian sector to
more-or-less what it was before 2000, but this, in my opinion is highly
unlikely. At the other extreme are those who see the challenge as simply
supplying the new farmers with inputs and finance and then the past glory of
being a bread-basket re-emerges. My position is not exactly a middle position,
but informed by the very radical transformation of the agrarian sector that took
place – from one dominated by large farmers to one where the small to
medium-scale farms are predominant. It is not good enough to revive the
research, extension, agri-finance, and marketing institutions. These have to
undergo a corresponding transformation in line with the new agrarian structure.
Providing credit to 200,000 or so new small farmers, as an example, is radically
different to providing the same service to 4,000 farmers who had a whole era
behind them for integrated support by government and the business sector.
Research, extension, marketing and other services need to learn how to service
new and more numerous farmers with a limited business and banking track
I know that in the
long run systems will adapt, but it is more strategic to recognise these
transformational challenges and design them into recovery
So how will the
land audit assist in all this? My opinion is that more progress will be made
with the land audit by anticipating the key strategic issues that either need
prior thought and positioning before the audit, or that need answers from the
audit. It is common knowledge that part of the resistance to the land audit is
because some land beneficiaries fear losing their land if, for instance, they
are found to be under-utilising it. If there was sufficient dialogue ahead of
the audit providing some policy guidance on the issue, this may reduce the
perceived risk. Such policy positions are best arrived at by consulting with the
affected groups, providing such clarity as a definition of ‘under-utilisation’
and its various manifestations and therefore the implications for each. The
issue of multiple farm ownership, the various forms it takes and implications
for each is another example. There are several other more strategic issues which
need similar engagement ahead of the audit and these include land tenure, land
compensation, and land administration structures and systems.
historically had a well defined system of land administration, including
cadastral survey records, land registries and surveyors. Due to a lack of
investment, these systems have decayed and land records are being lost. The
nation urgently needs a state of the art land information system as part of
Government’s drive for e-Government and e-Citizenry.
It is unlikely
that a NLA will happen ahead of the Constitution and elections. It is still
important for the MLRR, professional and technical actors to continue preparing
for the audit, especially given the need for rehabilitation and upgrading
production and productivity levels. In the next article I turn to the issue of
compensation as part of the rehabilitation process and discuss how these two are
closely related in the current legislation. I will explain developments to date
and offer options moving forward. The land sectors—agriculture, forestry,
wildlife, and the tree and plantation sectors—will all have greater prospects
for growth and development if the compensation issue is fast tracked and
practical solutions put on the table, debated and agreed upon.
Rukuni M, Nyoni J,
and Sithole E (2009) Policy Options For Optimization of the Use of Land for
Agricultural Productivity and Production in Zimbabwe. A Report prepared for
the ASTRG, MDTF. World Bank.
National A2 Land Audit Report, Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement,
MLRR, 2009. Land
Policy Review and Land Audit: Options and Strategy, A Synthesis of the Ministry
of Lands and Rural Resettlement Planning Retreat held Carribbea Bay Hotel,
Kariba, 11th – 13th June.
Utete C, 2003.
“Report of the Presidential Land Review Committee on the implementation of the
fast-track land reform programme 2000- 2002″, Harare. Government
Buka Report, 2003.
A Preliminary Audit Report of Land Reform Programme
Ministry of Lands,
Land Reform and Resettlement (MLLRR) and Scientific Industrial Research Centre
(SIRDC), 2008. Consolidated National A2 Audit Report, Harare.
Marongwe, N., Mavedzenge. B., Mahenehene,J., Murimbarimba. andSukume, C. (2010)
Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities, Weaver Press,
Constitution Watch of 19th May 2012 [Second Draft Halted by Party Differences]
CONSTITUTION WATCH 2012
[19th May 2012]
Preparation of Second Draft Halted by Party
The Co-chairs Forum failed in their preparations for getting the
second draft to the lead drafters. The
“Forum”, consisting of the three COPAC co-chairs and six expert advisers, two
nominated by each of the three GPA political parties, met on Wednesday 16th and
Thursday 17th May to examine the comments on the revised first draft received
from the political parties. The plan was
that they would then, in the light of the comments, formulate their instructions
for the lead drafters to prepare a second draft. They first had to decide how to set about
incorporating the political party comments – but they were unable to agree about
how to do so. By the end of the meeting
they had still not resolved this disagreement on “methodology” and the problem
has been referred to the Management Committee, which is due to meet on Monday
21st May. On the same day it will also
be considered by the full Select Committee.
· MDC-T has essentially approved the revised first draft but made
suggestions for minor editing and cleaning-up.
It sees no need to re-open issues of substance previously agreed on and
embodied in the revised first draft.
· ZANU-PF has rejected the draft, raising major objections on many
substantive issues [including such issues as Parliamentary and presidential
powers, the proposed National Prosecuting Authority and appointment of judges
and security force personnel] and asserting that the draft does not reflect the
views of the people submitted during the outreach process and captured in the
COPAC National Report. It wants
substantial changes made.
· MDC has recorded its reservations about aspects of the draft and said
it is so incomplete that it is impossible to make useful
This is a major new impasse.
It seems to be far more than a difference of opinion over “methodology”,
which is how MDC-T co-chair Douglas Mwonzora described it after the deadlock was
declared on Thursday. There is obviously
an important question of principle involved in the suggested revisiting or
re-opening, at this late stage, of issues of substance which had previously been
agreed by ZANU-PF’S representatives on the Select Committee.
The lead-up to this situation is outlined
Request for Feedback from Political Parties
At its 30th April meeting the Management Committee decided
· copies of the revised first draft be given to the GPA political
parties for their comments and these comments be submitted to COPAC
· on receipt of these comments COPAC would prepare instructions for the
lead drafters, taking aboard the political parties’ comments and the previously
parked issues, such as dual citizenship and the number of Vice-Presidents, which
the Management Committee said they had resolved
· the Management Committee would in the meantime would remain seized
with the major unresolved issue – devolution.
On 10th May COPAC announced in a press statement signed by all three
co-chairs that the consultations mandated by the Management Committee 30th April
had been completed and that the “feedback” from the political parties was now
available. Accordingly the full Select
Committee would meet on Monday 14th May to consider this feedback. Thereafter, a second draft would be completed
and submitted to the Management Committee for its review.
Full Select Committee Meeting: Monday 14th
The full Select Committee met as planned on 14th May. No official COPAC statement was issued, but
the co-chairs spoke to the press after the meeting. It emerged from what they said that:
· members of the Select Committee had been supplied with the comments
from the political parties, and it had been agreed that the Co-chairs Forum be
reconvened to consider the comments from the political parties and decide on the
changes that needed to be made to the revised first draft as a result of those
· thereafter the lead drafters would be called back and given the
necessary instructions for them to
produce the second draft.
· after completion the second draft would be handed to the Management
Committee by COPAC.
Comment: There were subsequent State press articles from ZANU-PF
apologists levelling fierce criticism against the decision to delegate to the
Co-chairs Forum the responsibility of deciding on the alterations needed to the
revised first draft as a result of the input from the political parties –
clearly believing that the full Select Committee would do a better job of
accommodating ZANU-PF objections to the revised first draft and implying a lack
of confidence in ZANU-PF co-chair Mangwana and the other ZANU-PF nominees on the
Lead Drafters Not Called Back
The three lead drafters did not participate in the meetings of the
Co-chairs Forum on 16th and 17th May.
They will only called back when – or, should that now be “if”? –
COPAC’s review of the revised first draft is completed, something that is
unlikely to occur in a matter of days.
One of the drafters will in any event not be available until the 25th
May. With all the new problems – listed
above – that were raised during the consultations with the political parties,
the lead drafters may not be needed until well after that.
What will be the impact of these new delays
It is becoming increasingly clear that the second draft cannot be
completed before the end of May. ZANU-PF
at one point gave the end of May as a major deadline for having the final draft
constitution ready for a Referendum. For
months President Mugabe repeatedly insisted that if the Referendum was not held
in May he would call elections without waiting for the new constitution. Recently, however, there have been
indications that this stance has been modified. ZANU-PF party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said that the party’s Politburo meeting
of 16th May had decided the constitution must be completed “as soon as
possible”. He avoided saying that this
meant by the end of May and, when referring to elections, merely said that they
must be held “this year”. As most of the
new problems seem to have been raised by ZANU-PF, it is unclear whether:
· they are going be accept further delays while the problems get ironed
· they are deliberately resurrecting contentious issues thought to have
been resolved by COPAC, to ensure the process is so bogged down that they will
use the ensuing delay as a justification to go for elections under the present
Latest COPAC Statement Omitted Crucial
COPAC in their latest press statement of 10th May said that after
completion of the Second Draft there will be the Second All Stakeholders’
Conference followed by the Referendum.
There was no mention of the fact that Article 6 of the GPA says: within
one month of the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference ‘the draft Constitution and the accompanying
Report shall be tabled in Parliament ...and debated in Parliament and the debate
concluded within one month”. This
stage must be taken into account when discussing how much longer the
constitution-making process is going to last.
[Note: This pre-Referendum
Parliamentary debate is simply to take note of its own Select Committee’s draft
constitution and report. This must be
clearly distinguished from Parliament’s other function which will come at the
very end of the constitution-making process if there is a YES vote in the
Referendum. Only in that event will
Parliament will have the responsibility of passing the new constitution into
Footnote: What Will the New Constitution
For COPAC to finish its task According to COPAC
co-ordinator Gift Marunda, COPAC needs another $5 million to complete its part
in the constitution-making process, made up as follows: $3 million to meet debts
already incurred but still unpaid; and $2 million to cover its remaining
expenses before the Referendum.
Its total expenditure, including that $5 million, will be $45
Conduct of the Referendum Estimates for the conduct of
the Referendum come to $30 million, but that amount is required by the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission, not by COPAC.
[Note: A current Press report suggests, incorrectly, this
$30 million will be spent by COPAC.]
Whoever pays for the various stages, the projected total is $75
million to the end of the Referendum stage [this works out at about $1000 per
word], although as COPAC budgets have always been exceeded, the total may well
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