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Voter Files Court Application to Force Mugabe to Proclaim Election Date

http://www.voazimbabwe.com/

Gibbs Dube
04.05.2013

WASHINGTON DC — A Zimbabwean voter registered in Masvingo Province’s Zaka
East constituency has filed an urgent supreme court application seeking to
compel President Robert Mugabe to proclaim the country’s general election
date by June 29 this year.

According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Jealousy Mawarire, who
claims to be a member of the Center for Election Democracy in Southern
Africa, cited all unity government principals and the Registrar-General as
respondents.

Mr. Mawarire claims in the court papers that President Mugabe is supposed to
proclaim the dates by June 29 when the term of parliament and elected local
government officials come to an end.

He says Zimbabwe will be run by an illegitimate regime when parliament is
non-existent.

Human rights lawyer Matshobane Ncube said it is not possible for the Supreme
Court to force President Mugabe to proclaim election date.

Meanwhile, some political parties say thousands of people are being left out
of Zimbabwe’s mobile voter registration exercise being conducted by the
Registrar General’s Office.

The two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), say the
mobile voter registration centers were only advertised in the
state-controlled media Saturday, five days after teams from the
Registrar-General’s Office were deployed in various provinces.

Ellen Shiriyedenga, elections director of the MDC formation of Industry
Minister Welshman Ncube, said the adverts will not have any impact on the
voter registration exercise as thousands of people have already been left
out in some of the advertised centers.

The parties claim that the process is going on smoothly in most Zanu PF
strongholds.

Obert Moyo, Midlands elections director of the MDC formation of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the voter registration exercise is chaotic in
the region.

A senior official in the Registrar General’s Office declined to comment
while Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials were not readily available for
comment.


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Madzore to spend the weekend in police custody

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Violet Gonda
04 May 2013

MDC-T Youth Assembly president Solomon Madzore will spend the weekend in
police custody in Bindura, following his arrest Thursday for allegedly
insulting President Robert Mugabe at a party rally in Mushumbe-Mbire,
Mashonaland Central.

His lawyer Charles Kwaramba said police accuse Madzore of calling Mugabe a
“limping old donkey” who is blocking Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai from
doing his work in the inclusive government.

Kwaramba said: “The police claim my client told party followers at a rally
that Mugabe idhongi rinokamhina ririkutadzisa Tsvangirai kutonga zvakanaka
muGNU.”

Madzore denies the charges.

On Thursday, Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo criticised the MDC-T youth
leader who he said “deserves to be arrested,” if he criticised the
President.

The youth leader is no stranger to arrest. He is currently on bail, after
spending over a year in jail on charges of killing police officer Petros
Mutedza, along with 28 other MDC activists. All deny the charge.

Madzore also spent 70 days in jail in 2007 on petrol bombing attack charges
in the run-up to the 2008 election. The state later dropped those charges,
but the activist and others said they had been tortured in custody.

Scores of people have over the years been arrested for ridiculing President
Robert Mugabe who turned 89 in February and has been in power since Zimbabwe’s
independence in 1980.

When asked if police should arrest people who also insult Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, the ZANU PF spokesman said: “There is a difference
between a Head of State and a Prime Minister.

“If a man like the Prime Minister goes around the region saying please stop
elections and so on, do you think people should not criticise him?”


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Zec changes open new can of worms

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 3, 2013 in News, Politics

THE controversial appointments of Justice Rita Makarau and Jacob Mudenda to
chair the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and the Human Rights
Commission (HRC) respectively have opened a can of worms on how the MDC
formations fell for Zanu PF’s trickery during the negotiation process,
sources have revealed.

Staff Writer.
Sources in the MDC-T said soon after the signing of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA), Zanu PF gave the MDC parties an opportunity to choose
candidates for the two bodies resulting in the appointments of Justice
Simpson Mutambanengwe and Regis Austin as Zec and HRC bosses respectively in
2010.

However, Zanu PF made it clear that if the positions were to fall vacant
within the lifespan of the GPA, it would be its turn to appoint the heads.

“We were negotiating in good faith and we thought Zanu PF was sincere by
allowing the MDC to choose suitable candidates in order to level the
political playing field since Zec has been blamed for poorly running the
2008 disputed elections,” said a national executive member of the MDC-T.

“The MDC-T decided to settle on Mutambanengwe and Austin hoping the two
would professionally run the bodies as the country prepares for general
elections.”

However, Mutambanengwe was never in charge of Zec, leaving his deputy Joyce
Kazembe to run the electoral body.

Sources claim Zanu PF pushed Mutambanengwe to resign so it could appoint its
own person.

Mutambanengwe eventually resigned citing ill health but sources say he was
put under pressure by Zanu PF.

Austin also resigned as HRC boss citing the commission’s lack of
independence as well as unwillingness by the inclusive government to
adequately fund its operations. The pair’s resignations gave Zanu PF an
opportunity to appoint its trusted lieutenants, Makarau and Mudenda to run
Zec, and HRC respectively.

MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai jumped to the defence of the controversial
appointments of the two, known to have strong Zanu PF links.

“We checked whether he (Mudenda) is still in the Zanu PF politburo or not;
he is not there,” Tsvangirai said. “In fact, it is not about his past
because everybody has a past; it is about qualifications. He is a lawyer and
professional, more so, he is a member of the commission already.”

Close sources in the MDC-T said Tsvangirai could not resist the appointments
of Makarau and Mudenda –– who is still a Zanu PF politburo member –– since
it was agreed that in the event of a vacancy, Zanu PF would appoint its
preferred candidates.

Mudenda’s appointment drew a barrage of criticism directed at the principals
in the inclusive government, especially Tsvangirai whose party has been
calling for reforms in institutions such as Zec and HRC.

Mudenda is a former Zanu PF governor for Matabeleland North and served in
that capacity during the Gukurahundi era in which 20 000 of people were
killed during the disturbances.

However, MDC-T chief negotiator and Energy minister Elton Mangoma dismissed
reports that the MDC parties fell for Zanu PF’s tricks.
“Who told you that? We do not publicise our negotiations so I am not going
to comment anything on that issue. The best person to comment is your
source,” Mangoma said.


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Politburo meets over primaries

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 3, 2013 in News, Politics

The Zanu PF politburo will today hold a crunch meeting to finalise primary
elections guidelines and other related issues which have divided the party
for months, leaving the party’s de facto decision-making organ unable to
deal with the issue.

Report by Elias Mambo/Brian Chitemba

The central committee will also meet tomorrow for its first gathering in
2013 after its meeting slated for March was postponed amid mounting tensions
triggered by factional fights raging in the provinces.

Sources said the politburo is also expected to debate findings of an
investigating team on problems rocking Bulawayo and Manicaland.

A Zanu PF probe team led by party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, commissar
Webster Shamu, and deputy secretary for security Kembo Mohadi was recently
dispatched to the troubled provinces.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed the party’s crucial meetings
today and tomorrow as pressure mounts on its top leaders to finalise primary
elections guidelines postponed since February and also quell renewed
infighting ahead of crucial general elections.

Politburo insiders say the proposed rules and guidelines for primaries were
delayed because of the constitution-making process and also that they were
not favourable to the factional designs of sitting bigwig MPs facing ouster
by ambitious “Young Turks” pushing to replace them.

In 2008 Gumbo, former Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere, ex-deputy
Finance minister David Chapfika and former soldier Claudius Makova, among
other bigwigs, lost in the primaries.

Some were saved after the politburo intervened on their behalf. A number of
senior party officials currently fear defeat in primaries, while there is
debate on waiving rules for some officials who do not meet the selection
criteria.

“The proposed rules will not by design ring-fence the current MPs, so this
has created problems within the party where factions are fighting to
position themselves in the primaries,” a senior party official said.
“President (Robert) Mugabe has emphasised the need to avoid the blunder made
by the party during the 2008 elections in which primaries divided the party
and led to the fielding of more than one candidate in some constituencies.”

The official said the politburo wants to ensure the party is protected
against infiltration by “mischief-makers” who believe in bhora musango
(sabotage), hence the need to have clear guidelines, a code of conduct and
strict vetting.

Aspiring candidates have accused the party’s old guard of deliberately
delaying the vetting process to deny them time to campaign. Zanu PF has
banned aspiring MPs and senators from campaigning until dates for primary
elections are set.

However, Gumbo denied accusations his party was trying to frustrate aspiring
candidates. “It is misrepresentation of facts,” Gumbo said.

“The politburo is still working on modalities and rules for the primary
elections. As soon as all those things are done, the field will be
álevelled,” he said.

The issue of primary elections rules and regulations have been on the agenda
since October last year when the politburo rejected political commissar
Webster Shamu’s proposal for them to be held in November after the Copac
Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference on the new constitution.

Shamu’s proposals were strongly resisted by people believed to be in the
faction led by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa who argued the issue had
been tabled out of the blue.

Shamu is believed to belong to the faction led by Vice-President Joice
Mujuru and there were suspicions he wanted primary elections at short notice
to aid his camp by catching the Mnangagwa faction unprepared.

The Zanu PF politburo’s failure to conclude the primaries guidelines in
April was said to have been fuelling internal political tensions over the
issue as ambitious young aspirants are itching to secure tickets to stand in
the general elections to be held between June 29 and October 29.

The ongoing factional fights burning in provinces forced the politburo to
delay conclusion of primary polls rules several times in a frantic bid to
quell resurgent factionalism ahead of crucial general polls.

Zanu PF insiders say problems bedevilling Manicaland and Bulawayo provinces
will also take centre stage as the party frantically tries to combat
factionalism. In Manicaland, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus
Mutasa is pushing to oust provincial chairperson Mike Madiro who is
reportedly in the camp led by Mnangagwa. Mutasa is said to be in Mujuru’s
camp in the race to succeed Mugabe.

In Bulawayo, tempers continue to flare over the removal of provincial
chairman Killian Sibanda at the instigation of Zanu PF national chairperson
Simon Khaya Moyo who orchestrated the appointment of his homeboy Callistus
Ndlovu.
The changes are seen as part of a wider succession race in which Khaya Moyo
is setting his base to become vice-president, replacing the late John Nkomo,
ahead of his fierce rival Mines minister Obert Mpofu.


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Tsvangirai out to foil Mugabe Sadc coup

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 3, 2013 in Politics

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was out in Sadc this week to lobby regional
leaders to pressure President Robert Mugabe to implement political reforms
required before free and fair elections could be held later this year, while
trying to counter Zanu PF’s diplomatic manoeuvres to influence the incoming
chairpersons of the regional body and its troika ahead of the crucial polls.

Report by Owen Gagare.

Although Tsvangirai was concerned about key reforms ahead of elections, Sadc
diplomats say the critical part of his mission was to counter what appeared
to be a diplomatic coup by Mugabe and his party in consolidating their
relations with incoming Sadc chairperson, Malawian President Joyce Banda,
and incoming troika chair Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

Banda takes over as Sadc chair in August and Pohamba comes in as troika
chair during the same period on the cusp of do or die general elections.

The two would play a critical role on overseeing elections in Zimbabwe and
influencing Sadc’s verdict on whether the outcome would be credible, free
and fair, and be seen as such.

“While Tsvangirai’s mission is to lobby Sadc leaders to pile renewed
pressure on Mugabe to implement the renewed pressure on Mugabe to implement
the elections roadmap, the other key issue is that Tsvangirai wants to
undercut Mugabe’s manoeuvres to ally himself to the incoming Sadc
chairperson and head of the troika,” a senior Sadc diplomat said this week.
“The issue is Banda, as incoming Sadc chairperson, and Pohamba, as head of
troika, would have influence on political and electoral process in Zimbabwe,
since they are coming during the election period. So it’s necessary for
Mugabe and Tsvangirai to put their ducks in a row in diplomatic terms.”

Diplomatic sources say while Pohamba has always maintained a “mutually
respectful” relationship with Mugabe, Banda – recently named the most
powerful woman in Africa by Forbes magazine – initially appeared a tricky
customer for Harare as she came into office in April last year against a
backdrop of power struggles following the sudden death of Bingu wa
Mutharika.

Sources say Mugabe and his loyalist initially assumed a cool attitude
towards as she was entangled in the death of their close ally, Wa Mutharika,
and she was also supported by Western countries and donors, before warming
up to her. Banda had initially stirred a hornet’s nest among African
leaders, including Mugabe, for barring Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir,
accused of war crimes, from attending an African Union summit in Blantyre in
July last year before it was shifted to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, saying she
feared the “economic implications” if he the meeting in Malawi.

Mugabe has always had good relations with Malawian leaders. After the storm
around her rise and diplomacy subsided, Banda was last week invited to open
the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo. She was treated like
royalty and judging by remarks she was totally charmed by Mugabe who gave
her five-star handling from the moment she touched down at the Harare
International Airport until she left.

Mugabe personally welcomed her together with Vice President Joice Mujuru, a
host of ministers and service chiefs among other people, while her visit
received generous coverage in the state-controlled media.

She was honoured with a 21-gun salute and inspected a guard of honour
mounted by the Presidential Guard soon after arrival. During her stay, she
was taken to the first family’s dairy farm, Gushungo Dairy. She also visited
First Lady Grace Mugabe’s school and orphanage in Mazowe.

Banda was so impressed that she declared she would send a delegation to
understudy the First Family’s highly mechanised dairy project, Gushungo
Holdings, in Mazowe after touring the farm. She also endorsed the
controversial land reform programme, hailing it as a success. By the time
she left, it was clear she was now a converted Mugabe admirer, a move which
fitted into Zanu PF’s diplomatic designs.

Soon after her visit, Tsvangirai was jolted into to venture into the region
to update Sadc leaders on the situation in Zimbabwe in the run up to
elections and lobby for support, sources say. Tsvangirai visited South
Africa and met Sadc facilitator in Zimbabwe, South Africa President Jacob
Zuma who also sits on the troika. He also met Sadc troika chair, Tanzanian
President Jakaya Kikwete and was expected to Sadc chairperson, Mozambican
President Armando Guebuza and Namibian leaders although this appointment was
doubtful. Namibia deputises Tanzania on the troika and is going to take over
as chair.
Following resurgent political violence and a crackdown on civil society
groups,
Tsvangirai in February sent MDC-T secretary for international relations
Jameson Timba, who also a minister of state in his office, to Botswana,
South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi to brief the regional leaders
on the situation in Zimbabwe.
While Tsvangirai on his current trip raised the need to implement
outstanding reforms, mainly public media professionalisation, security
sector realignment and the compilation of a clean voters’ roll, as well as
the need for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to be professional and
efficient, sources say he was anxious to maintain the support of Sadc he has
built over the years.
Tsvangirai had managed to get direct or tacit backing of key Sadc leaders
from South Africa, Mozambique, although it mainly neutral, Botswana, Zambia
before the coming in of President Michael Sata, Tanzania, Angola, Mauritius,
Seychelles, and DRC, among others, he was beginning to lose their support
because of his cosy relationship with Mugabe.
Although Mugabe had become isolated in Sadc, he continued to enjoy some
support mainly from Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, and Lesotho, from time to
time. Zambia has supported or been against Mugabe depending on who is in
power. Mozambique has been mainly neutral, while other countries across the
divide shifted positions depending on the issues at stake.


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Mangoma statement on power generation

http://nehandaradio.com/

on May 4, 2013 at 6:38 am

Press statement by Elton Mangoma, the Minister of Energy and Power
Development on initiatives to boost the power situation

In view of the current challenges besetting the efficient supply of power
nationwide and the need to enhance the financial position of the electricity
utilities, the Ministry of Energy and Power Development has come up with a
number strategies to mitigate the power situation in the country.

The measures being taken are divided into Generation capacity and supply
side activities, Demand Side Management and Institutional changes. The
supply side is further split into short, medium and long term measures.

The strategies include;

STATUS OF GENERATION

The generation capacity of the Hwange Power Station has improved
significantly with an average of five units (580MW). This has allowed the
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to carry out upgrade works and preventive
maintenance at the Kariba Power Station without causing major power
shortfall to the system. The Kariba Power Station has continued to maintain
a steady power generation.

PREPAYMENT METERS

The smart/prepayment metering is a valuable short term strategy which seeks
to improve revenue collection by the utility and influence behaviour change
on how consumers use electricity. The system also assists ZETDC to recover
accrued debts by deducting 20 percent on every electricity purchase going
towards servicing the debt, among other benefits.

As of yesterday, a total of 150 000 prepayment meters had been installed for
both domestic and commercial users. Government issued a Statutory Instrument
44A on Electricity (unpaid bills, prepaid meters and smart meters)
regulations, 2013 which aims, among other things, to speed up the
implementation of the prepaid/ smart metering programme.

The Statutory Instrument compels all electricity consumers to purchase and
install smart meters with the exception of high density customers, rural
customers and light load agricultural customers. The Statutory Instrument
also deals with outstanding bills on the date on which the prepaid meter is
installed as these will be transferred to the property at which the prepaid
meter is installed.

In order to ensure efficiency, ZETDC this week commissioned a new Vending
Platform supplied by Itron of South Africa. The new Platform can accommodate
both smart and prepaid meters.

Medium Term Power Generation

• KARIBA SOUTH EXPANSION – The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and Sinohydro
have concluded negotiations for the 300MW Kariba South Expansion Project. As
a result, Sinohydro has commenced work at the site.

• HWANGE POWER STATION – adjudication process for the 600MW Hwange Expansion
Project has been completed and the project was awarded to CMEC. Work is
expected to commence before the end of the year.

• 84MW DIESEL GENERATOR – A diesel plant (84MW) that has operated for
100hours has been identified at a capital cost of €37 million. This about
50% of the cost of new plant. The ZPC has made a technical analysis and that
diesel generators are suitable for our system and have the capacity of
reducing load shedding by 80MW.

• 30 MW GAIREZI SMALL HYDRO POWER PLANT – The project is now at design stage
following completion of feasibility studies and official launch is expected
this month.

• 500MW CBM POWER STATION- ZPC has also floated a tender for resource
mapping of coal bed methane. The tender was awarded to WAPCOS of India and
it is ready to carry out the work. However, ZPC is awaiting CBM special
grants documentation from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.

Instead there are two grants awarded to one company Shangani Energy and
another to China Africa Sunlight by the mines ministry. The grants are
overlapping with the desired ZPC concession area. These concessions were
granted after Cabinet granted ZPC concession but the Mines and Mining
Development ministry is refusing to effect Cabinet decision.

• 1000MW WESTERN AREA POWER STATION – China Railway International (CRI) and
China International Fund (CFI) have signed a Memoranda of Understanding
(MoUs) with the government to develop a 1000MW thermal plants.

China Railway International came for site investigation in December 2012 and
has submitted a draft contract for the project development. The finalisation
of reinstating the Western Area coal concession to the ZPC by the Ministry
of Mines is important. Again the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is
not cooperating, causing a delay in the commencement of this project.

• 100MW ON-GRID SOLAR POWER – Some suitable sites for the 100MW solar power
plant are being identified. The ZPC has engaged the Plumtree Town Council
for land to construct the power station. A tender for the 100MW power plant
is expected to be floated soon. The tender will cover BOT, IPP, PPP and pure
debt basis.

LONG TERM PROJECTS

• THE BATOKA HYDRO ELECTRIC POWER PROJECT –Zambia and Zimbabwe have agreed
to undertake this project on a BOT basis. This was after Zimbabwe agreed to
honour the EXCAPCO assets debt of $70.8 million. So far a total of US$40
million has been paid towards the US$70, 8 million. The Zambezi River
Authority called for Expressions of Interest to develop the Batoka on a
Build Operate and Transfer basis. The response was extremely good -25
companies showed interest and the majority from credible international
organisations.

• THE GREAT INGA HYDRO PROJECT – is proposed on the Congo River in the DRC.
This can produce around 100 000MW. This project is too big for the DRC and
requires a regional approach. If this is constructed it will change the
economic fortunes of the region. Hydro power is cheap and it is worth the
time spent on promoting it.

INSTITUTIONAL CHANGES

• RESTRUCTURING OF THE POWER SECTOR – The restructuring of ZESA Holdings has
been approved by Cabinet. This is to make ZESA more efficient and responsive
to the consumers, whilst at the same time, setting up a mechanism to make it
easy for Independent Power Producers to have a level playing field.

These developments will result in the following.

• ZESA Holdings be collapsed into a National Grid Services Company (NGSC)
and move all the legacy debts to this company. It will be 100% Government
owned and it will not be privatised. NGSC will be responsible for
Transmission, Market and Systems Operation. It will have the “reserve
ásupply” responsibility.

• ZETDC will transfer the transmission functions to NGSC and transform to
Zimbabwe Distribution Company (ZEDC) and be responsible for Distribution of
Electricity.

• SUMMARY – Measures to consolidate the power availability and reliability
will continue. Such measures will include taking out plant for preventive
routine maintenance and equipment upgrade. Negotiations for firm power
imports from the region will be pursued by both Government and the power
utility.

The implementation of all power projects continue to be a critical success
factor for securing self-sufficiency and reliability in power supply to the
nation. To this end the Ministry is continuously evaluating project risks
and working on mitigatory measures to ensure the projects are realised.


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‘Reforming’ land reform greatly needed

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 3, 2013 in Comment, Opinion

Four months ago, a new book was released in the United Kingdom, entitled
Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land. It had three collaborating authors, Joseph
Hanlon, Jeanette Manjengwa and Teresa Smart.

Report by Eric Bloch

Overall, they enthuse about the success of Zimbabwe’s land reform, although
they acknowledge that it “has not been neat”, and that “huge problems
áremain”. However, they imply that the benefits reaped from Zimbabwean land
reform are considerable, and far outweigh the problems and the attendant
negatives. They suggest that notwithstanding the remaining problems, the
favourable counterbalance is that “245 000 new farmers have received land,
and most of them are farming it. These peope have raised their own standard
of living; have already reached the production levels of their former white
farmers; and, with a bit of support, are ready to substantially increase
that production”.

The authors support their positive stance by stating: “Agrarian reform is a
slow process and it takes a generation for new farmers to be fully
productive”, and suggest that over the years since the land reform programme
was vigorously pursued, “Zimbabwe’s agricultural production has largely
returned to the 1990s level”.

They reinforce that contention by alleging that “small-scale black farmers
together now produce almost as much tobacco as the big white farmers once
did.” They re-emphasise that contention by stating that “driving into the
old white farm compound of a particularly named farm – “Craigengower Farm”-
one arrives at a hub of activity.

There are several buildings – grain and machinery stores, houses for some
farmers, and a house for the agricultural extension officer who serves this
and two other farms.

Although the authors undoubtedly formed their opinions and expressed them in
good faith and they are well-intentioned, those opinions and conclusions are
regrettably at pronounced variance with the realities. Tragically, the
actualities of the land reform are very markedly different due to the
outcomes to date of the actions of expropriation and reallocation of
farmlands. One of the foremost harsh facts is the magnitude of decline in
agricultural production.

It must be acknowledged that slowly, but progressively, tobacco production
has significantly recovered, having been as great as 237 million kg in 2001,
and over subsequent years declining to as low as 45 million kg. It has
subsequently improved to an estimated 150 million kg in the latest season,
but nevertheless, this production is still considerably below previous
attainment. The major factor that enabled a rise in the dismal volumes grown
after land reform commenced has been that over recent years, several of the
larger tobacco companies have provided essential funding to contract
farmers.

However, similar transformation from production decline has tragically not
materialised in respect of other crops and agricultural output. Prior to
land reform, Zimbabwe was known as the region’s breadbasket, producing not
only sufficient maize, wheat, and other grains for the populace, but a
surplus exported to neighbouring countries. However, since land reform there
has been a critical dependence on imports. Approximately 1 800 000 tonnes of
maize are required annually to meet the country’s needs against the current
national yield of a little more than 300 000 tonnes per annum. Government
seeks to justify the appallingly low yields to adverse climatic conditions,
but even in years of ideal conditions, the crop outputs have been low.

In like manner, volumes of cotton, sugar, diverse vegetables, and many other
crops are lower than attained in pre-land reform days, and the national
livestock herd is now estimated to be only 36% of that of 2000. The awful
decline of almost all fields of agricultural production has been occasioned
by diverse factors. The foremost contributor to agriculture’s massive
decline is that the majority of the new farmers did not have the capital
necessary to fund operations and could not access such funding. By
peremptorily, in disregard of international law and property rights,
expropriating all farmlands, claiming absolute title thereto, and only
making the farms available to new farmers by way of leases, the state denied
those farmers collateral security necessary to access the working capital
required for viable farming operations.

Moreover, many of those granted farm leases had very limited experience in
substantive agricultural production and grievously lacked the necessary
equipment to achieve that production. To make matters worse, there have been
minimal opportunities for farmers to sell their produce at viable and
realistic prices, not those prices being determined by government
parastatals such as the Grain marketing Board (GMB). Repeatedly, government
also failed to assure timeous availability of essential agricultural inputs,
and to effectively initiate national irrigation resources. Such resources as
exist are all too frequently unavailable because of recurrent disruptions in
energy supplies.

Now, very belatedly, and unduly slowly, the state is beginning to address
some of the innumerable constraints on substantive agricultural production.
The new constitution, overwhelmingly voted for in the recent national
referendum, has provided for state-controlled farmland leases to be accorded
negotiability and transferability (which in part restores features which are
attributable to title deeds). However, the constitution is yet to be
approved by parliament, let alone receive presidential assent. New farmers
can anticipate possessing some collateral security to source funding.
However, that will only be effective once the leases have actually been
issued, for to date, the majority of new farmers have only received offer
letters, but not comprehensive leases.

Furthermore, access to funding will remain very limited until such time as
significant money market liquidity is restored, which can only occur once
Zimbabwe has considerable, consistent, and recurrent economic stability and
growth, as well as ready access to international loan funding and foreign
direct investment.

One reason the book’s authors justify their contentions of success of the
Zimbabwean land reform is that, as a result of that reform, 245 000 new
farmers exist, giving them enhanced prospects of improved livelihood.
However, that alleged counter to poverty disregards that in excess of 350
000 farm workers lost employment, and therefore their source of income,
primarily because most of the new farmers could not employ them. On a basis
that each of the former farm workers supported themselves and an average of
at least five other family and dependants, almost two million Zimbabweans
were reduced to extreme poverty.

The economy has also been cataclysmically ruined by the expropriation of the
lands without compensation, and in very many instances, in disregard for
Zimbabwe’s obligations under numerous Bilateral Investment Promotion and
Protection Agreements (Bippas), as a result of which many potential foreign
direct investors have been deterred and discouraged from investing in
Zimbabwe. This has been severely prejudicial to the economy as a whole, and
therefore to a great majority of Zimbabweans.

The bottom line is that, in contrast to the conclusions of the book’s
authors, which are very considerably aligned with those of the initiators of
land reform, and that of the programme’s continuing advocates, its benefits
are grossly exceeded by its negative consequences.


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Democratic regime change agenda: Every citizen’s right

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 3, 2013 in Opinion

Since 1980, we have seen a plethora of opposition political parties, civil
society groups and human rights organisations as well as dissenting voices
being criminalised, delegitimised and brutalised.

Report by Thabani Nyoni

This culture of violence, intolerance and impunity has thrived on
manufactured public anger and aloofness. Stage managed investigations,
fabricated criminal charges and incessant hate language; terms like
“dissidents”, “sell-outs”, “puppets of the West”, “racists” and of late
“Western-sponsored agents of regime change”, “threats to national security
and sovereignty” have given moral legitimacy to justify political
persecution. In fact, the hate speech has worked wonders for the
dictatorship creating a siege mentality to justify and perpetuate a
political war against citizens and groups who hold different views and
opinions.

This way the dictatorship has avoided public scrutiny (or consent) and
destroyed the nascent signs of a vibrant pluralist society with a healthy
political competition and co-operation. The first target was PF Zapu and its
supporters in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces where a state-sponsored
crackdown claimed over 20 000 lives, not counting the lost limbs, raped
women, destroyed infrastructure and a whole development decade lost.

The 1987 Unity Accord between Zanu PF and PF Zapu was an elite pact that
gave an impression that there had been a war and a peace settlement had been
reached and “dissidents” (and their communities in Matabeleland and
Midlands) had been given amnesty! They must now move on; the chapter is
closed, end of story. With benefit of hindsight and having seen what
happened to the Zimbabwe Unity Movement and Patrick Kombayi, to the MDC, and
now to the civic groups and human rights defenders (including lawyers and
judges), we now know that we are governed by a dictatorship that understands
one party, one leader, one ideology, one narrative prominence and dominance
in politics.

After 33 years of Independence plus a third wave of democracy in Africa,
Zanu PF has learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. In fact, a 10-year-old
anti-democratic narrative has been sustained with carefully crafted rhetoric
of what is termed “illegal regime change agenda”. And yet we know that the
criminalisation of a democratic outcome called regime change is meant for
Zanu PF regime retention, even against the will and consent of its citizens.

In fact, it does seem, judging by Zanu PF’s language to the citizens, that
electoral legitimacy is not important, what is important are the liberation
war credentials. After all, the “war” is still being prosecuted and we are
now somewhere around its third phase — The Third Chimurenga.

There is obviously an element of denial as well. Deny that opposition
political parties exist, deny that there are human rights violations, deny
that citizens need to freely make their choices in elections, deny that
regime change is legitimate and even deny the fact that Zimbabwe is bigger
than Zanu PF and that the struggles millions are fighting today are
different and require new non-violent methods.

Five years ago, with guarded optimism, Zimbabweans voted for regime change
and the result was a new historic reality — the inclusive government of the
triumvirate.

As we approach the twilight of the coalition government, we realise that
Zanu PF has not changed, what has been changing is the language and
behaviour of its former victims and partners — the two MDCs. Four years of
constitution haggling shows that the legitimacy and independence of civic
groups is not part of their agenda.

In fact, we have seen desperation for politics of consensus giving the
triumvirate political parties the centre-stage to join together in
destroying vibrant political positions by categorising and paddocking civic
groups into three political party affiliate groups.

It started with the manner in which civic groups were invited to the
outreach, the first and second all-stakeholders’ conferences. The civic
groups that chose not to take part but to take charge were treated as
retrogressive elements and with very limited levels of tolerance and
respect. If this is not convincing, consider how Copac cajoled and coerced
civic groups onto the “Yes” campaign as a condition to access and distribute
the draft constitution. There was no room for a “No” vote. Was this not a
classic case of a manufactured consent?

Ironically, the two MDC parties had earlier on joined civic groups in
complaining about how Zanu PF had “manufactured, coached and bussed” people
in order to control constitutional debates and its content.

As we approach watershed elections, there is a disturbing anti-democratic
crystallisation of collective passions between and within political parties.
You read stories about how the various political party hierarchies are
plotting to “block” new candidates, how factional candidates are being
imposed and how rules of political competition change while the game has
already begun and the balance of scales has tilted one way.

Consider how certain political party leaders now fervently defend certain
institutions that have been symbols and bastions of electoral manipulation,
intimidation and violence to whip citizens into consenting. These are indeed
alarming levels of complicity and complacency (and a na´ve and
self-destructive arrogance) that have emboldened the dictatorship to a point
of even wanting early elections with measured and restrained violence and
intimidation.

My disappointment with the inclusive government and with the two MDC parties
is a function of expectations. I travel a lot around the country and hear a
lot of people like me talk. They look at how the two MDC groups have been
complicit in systematically suppressing political pluralism. They see how
the fixation with “take part” positions (as opposed to other alternatives)
has weakened the “vibrant clash of political positions not as a means to an
end, but as continuity towards democratic solutions”.

They observe the public silence you get when the inclusive government
launches a crackdown against Zimbabwe Peace Project, Zimbabwe Human Rights
Association, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, human rights lawyers,
judges, South African President Jacob Zuma-led mediation team and the
international community. They begin to wonder if the violent resistance to
an open, vibrant and democratic public and political space is still a
monopoly of one party.

As a parting shot, I think we need to understand the meaning of concerted
attacks and crackdown on civic groups, human rights lawyers, impartial
judges and opposition politics. These institutions are part of a broad range
of institutions that demand the government and politicians must be
restrained and be accountable in terms of how far and how much they exercise
state power. To achieve this, they have worked to expand, democratise and
maintain a vibrant and legitimate public sphere. This is a legitimate
democratic regime agenda in service of the long-suffering ordinary citizens.

We share their pain to a point that no amount of or form of persecution, be
it bloody, brutal, political or legal will make us apologise or give up this
struggle. Those violently opposed to this are bent on undermining democratic
processes.

Nyoni is the executive director of Bulawayo Agenda and spokesperson of the
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. He writes in his personal capacity.


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MDC-T policies offer recovery hope

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 3, 2013 in Opinion

THE policies that will soon be launched by the Movement for Democratic
Change party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) will go a long
way in addressing a myriad of governance issues that have stalled growth and
progress in the past decade.

The MDC-T policies offer a glimmer of hope to a nation that is distressed
and a people who have suffered for too long at the hands of a corrupt and
self-serving Zanu PF leadership. The MDC-T will enunciate its commitment to
cleaning up the mess of the previous decades and restore Zimbabwe again on a
sustainable path to recovery.

MDC-T policies on political and economic governance will fix, once and for
all, the problem of corruption which has become a national cancer in our
country. The MDC-T’s realisation that poverty cannot be addressed without
resolving the weak and corrupt systems of governance is commendable.

The policies come on the backdrop of rampant corruption particularly in the
extractive industry where the proceeds from diamond mining are not being
channelled to Treasury. Finance minister Tendai Biti is on record saying
that the money from diamonds is being used to sponsor a “parallel”
government run by some securocrats and Zanu PF officials.

The time has now come for all Zimbabweans to reclaim their resources and
entrust the management of these public resources in a national leadership
that is responsive to people’s needs. This situation calls for a committed
leadership that is ready to tackle the challenges head-on without fear or
favour.

MDC-T’s attempts to inject a new culture of accountability in the government
of national unity (GNU) has been frustrated at every turn by Zanu-PF.
Although there has been a modicum of reforms in the GNU, the tough battle
lies ahead to ensure that the new constitution and national institutions
such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and Zimbabwe
Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) are allowed to execute their mandates
without any hindrances. This is why Zimbabweans should be careful when they
make their choices in the forthcoming general elections.

Some public officials in the GNU became rich overnight and cannot explain
how they amassed their riches. On the other hand, Zacc, which is supposed to
carry out investigations and bring corrupt officials to book has been
suffocated and denied quasi-judicial powers to enable it to prosecute the
offenders. In other countries such an institution is given space to do its
work without political interference.

The MDC-T policy blueprint will address the problems of corruption,
patronage and cronyism which have led to collapse of service delivery and
failure by government to fulfill its obligations of providing basic goods
and services to its citizens. The conflation of the state and Zanu PF has
led to a deliberate weakening of state institutions.

The MDC-T policy thrust will address this governance deficit by making sure
that all appointments to public office are done above aboard in a
professional manner. Due diligence will be taken by an MDC-T government when
making appointments to key positions like permanent secretaries, ambassadors
and cabinet ministers.

The MDC-T policy blueprint states: “Over the past three decades the
standards adhered to by government in the sphere of governance has steadily
declined. Today, corruption is widespread at all levels of the state; there
is a general attitude of impunity and the justice system has deteriorated to
the point where people no longer expect their grievances or the violation of
their rights and the basic laws of the country to be respected. The state
has become highly centralised and autocratic and our democracy, the result
of a hard-won Independence struggle, is totally compromised.”

Many Zimbabweans are excluded from participating in national issues because
of violence and an intolerant political culture. Over the past three
decades, Zanu-PF implemented exclusionary policies which discriminated
against and excluded MDC-T supporters. Today women and young people still
cannot participate meaningfully in the affairs of their country because of a
gerontocratic and patriarchal leadership that has no respect for women and
the equal participation of minority groups in public affairs.

The culture of violence that has characterised our politics since the
colonial era will be eradicated through reforming the abusive state
institutions, particularly the state security apparatus. In a new Zimbabwe,
which the MDC-T envisages, the public service will employ professionals who
are ready to serve the country and not political parties. Those who are
responsible for instigating rights abuses of a nature and on a scale that we
have witnessed in the previous elections will be brought to book.

If given the mandate to govern in the forthcoming general elections expected
later this year, the MDC-T government will do away with a top-heavy
government such as the one currently running the affairs of the country. A
top-heavy government is an unnecessary drain in the fiscus and a luxury that
Zimbabweans cannot afford at the moment. The MDC-T government will trim the
number of ministries and only retain a few core ministries which will help
to promote economic growth, human security and development.

The policy blueprint further states that: “(The) MDC-T has learned while it
has been in government, that institutional transformation is not easy.
However, it starts with leadership at the highest levels of the state who
must be required to be open, accountable and responsive to the people’s
needs. MDC-T is committed to these principles and will hold all leaders, in
all spheres, to such standards.

In addition, the principle of service delivery, client needs and integrity
in all areas of public and private life will be demanded of all public
servants.”

Public officials are accountable to the citizens; they are in office to
serve the people and not private interests. The MDC-T recognises the need to
re-orient public leaders so that they are open, accountable and responsive
to the needs of the people. The leadership question is a critical one if
corruption, patronage and cronyism are to be addressed.

In the past, we have had instances where public officials are appointed not
on merit, but because they share the same totem or come from the same
district or province with the president. The MDC-T policy will allow
individual citizens to scrutinise the names of individuals recommended for
public office. This commitment to involve citizens in choosing their
national leaders helps to deepen democracy.

The MDC-T policy document spells out the party’s commitment to bringing
government closer to the people. This provision recognises the importance of
involving people in decision-making at the provincial, district and
ward-levels. The MDC-T sponsored the debate on devolution during the
constitution-making process and fully embrace the provisions in the draft
constitution which recognises the need to devolve power and decision-making
functions to local and provincial governments.

The policy blueprint further states: “… the MDC-T is committed to supporting
all established local authorities that will be granted considerable
autonomy, additional functions and resources. In this way, government
administration and decision-making will be devolved downwards to where
people live and make their livelihoods.”

Devolution of power to the local tiers of government goes far in fulfilling
procedural and substantive democracy. Devolution helps local authorities and
the provincial assemblies to participate in decision-making, have autonomy
and have control over their resources. The involvement of local people in
local economies will improve employment, provide food and ultimately empower
the local people to have control over their resources.

The removal of party politics from community development structures is
important for the country to achieve the status of a developmental state.
While mineral resources that are found should be channelled towards national
development goals, every effort must be made to exploit these resources in
ways that do not prejudice local communities. Local communities should be
given priority when it comes to employment and some of the proceeds should
be channelled towards developing the same communities through building
schools, hospitals, roads, water and electricity.

The indigenisation and economic empowerment policy being pursued by Zanu PF
is meant to reward only a few party members while the majority of people
continue to wallow in poverty. The MDC-T policy thrust seeks total
empowerment of all Zimbabweans rather than a particular section of the
population. So far it is largely Zanu PF cronies who have benefitted from
the so-called indigenisation policies while the majority of Zimbabweans
suspected to be MDC-T sympathisers are denied operating licences in mining,
agriculture, tourism and construction industries, to mention a few.

There is now a new bourgeoisie that has emerged post-2000 of politicians and
businesspersons who are aligned to Zanu PF who now own multiple farms and
have also grabbed lucrative deals in the mining industry. This is the class
that is assisting and sustaining Zanu-PF to re-assert its hegemony.

Pasirayi is a DPhil student at St Antony’s College, Oxford University, UK.


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Case study: Zimbabwe

http://blogs.fco.gov.uk/worldpressfreedomday/2013/05/02/case-study-zimbabwe/

On April 1, 2007, I was captured by the police and dragged to the Harare Central Police Station’s notorious Law and Order section.

I was pushed into a stuffy room and ordered to sit on a dirty, green carpet. Behind the desk was a lick-spittle man – tall, dark, thin and stern-faced. On the neat Mahogany desk was a plaque inscribed with the police superintendent’s name.

Wearing a dull coloured Nelson Mandela shirt buttoned up to the top-most fastener and putting on thick-rimmed spectacles, the superintendentá took a contemptuous glance at me and remarked, “Ah, he is a kid.”

“Sell-out,” he roared at me. “Why are you selling out your motherland to imperialists?” he barked, asking further why I was writing “lies in your newspaper.”

In the previous edition of The Zimbabwean – a newspaper printed in South Africa and carted into the country across the border every Thursday – we had started a “Name and Shame” column, where we exposed the names of top police officers who had savagely beaten up then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai – now the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe – in police custody. And this particular superintendentá was one of the officers we had named. And he savoured the moment, reminding me that he headed the “brutal” Law and Order unit.

The superintendent personally tied me up in cuffs and leg irons; and with almost a dozen other people, badly beat me up, interspersing the beatings with a meticulous recording of answers to the questions that they would have barked at me.

The questions were about my employer, The Zimbabwean – a newspaper which they alleged was attempting to oust President Mugabe and install a puppet regime led by Tsvangirai. It was of course all nonsense. They wanted to know my sources, and this was one thing that precipitated the beatings. I refused to give any names and they scaled up the beatings in a bid to extract a confession.

Prior to this, there had been concerted efforts to silence the newspaper, then the only independent daily in the country. Government had tried everything, from imposing a punitive import duty on the paper, in an apparent bid to limit its circulation and now this.

Earlier, a truck carrying a consignment of 60,000 copies of The Zimbabwean had been seized by gunman – believed to be members of the feared Military Intelligence – and destroyed. The South African driver of the delivery truck was gruesomely beaten up and the whole consignment of newspapers doused with petrol and shot at using AK-47 rifles. The whole truck went up in flames, and all the papers.

And as the Zimbabwe-based chief reporter of the The Zimbabwean, I became the regime’s new target.

The beatings were sadistic. Bloodied and pleading that the beatings stop, the superintendent assigned a delegation of plain clothes detectives to go and search my house. In leg-irons, they took me home and turned the place upside down, charging I had bought my property using “filthy lucre.” They seized my computer and other memory storage devices, and dragged me back to the police station.

For the next five days, I endured interrogations by different cops, including members of the feared secret police, the Central Intelligence Organisation. They used all tactics, from “bad cop, good cop” strategies to outright violence whenever I refused to cooperate.

After the long day, I would be taken back to a dinghy and filthy police cell reeking of urine and other human waste. For five days I endured this mental and physical torture. On the second day, the High Court issued an order to the cops to present me before a court of law. That order was contemptuously defied.

On the third day, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights – representing me on a pro bono basis – applied for another release order and again it was duly granted. But then, it was defied again by the police. In fact, the court order was torn to pieces as soon as it was handed to the superintendent.

Then on day four, a final order was granted by the High Court, this time instructing the cops that they will be charged with contempt of court if they failed to produce me in court of law by 10 am the following day. They had no choice.

Badly beaten, I limped into court on April 5, where the superintendent told the prosecutor that he must oppose bail on the grounds that I was a “flight risk.” He speculated that as soon as I was granted bail, I would immediately skip the border to neighbouring South Africa and run to my “handlers.”

In court, I was represented by gritty Harare lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa – a leading Zimbabwean media rights lawyer who was won international acclaim for her work. Back in the court room, magistrate Gloria Takundwa – a young-fresh-out-of-university magistrate – immediately demanded answers from the prosecution team why I was in such a battered state.

Mtetwa told the magistrate that the case cannot proceed to trial until police explain why they had to savagely beat me up in custody. The prosecution team promised to present a report at the next court sitting.

Magistrate Takundwa excoriated the police for “high-handedness” and granted me bail and advised that I be taken into hospital right away. I was granted $100 bail. I heaved a sigh of relief, but I was in excruciating pain. I was taken to the Counselling Services Unit (CSU), a Harare-based legal clinic and NGO that keeps medical records of victims of State torture.

They meticulously recorded everything that happened. (Three months ago, police raided the legal clinic and confiscated all the medical records at the clinic and detained staff who were later freed on bail.)

Back to April 5, 2007, I was checked into Dandaro Clinic, a private hospital in Harare, by the CSU, where I spent over a month nursing soft-tissue injuries, and a broken finger. When the trial opened, I was charged with publishing false news. My defence lawyer Mtetwa shredded the State case in court, and I was acquitted.

Six years on, the status of press freedom is more or less the same. When will we be safe to speak?

To mark the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, 2013, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office aims to “shine a light” to highlight repression of the media and freedom of expression using personal testimonies and other accounts from around the world.

For more information on our activities on freedom of expression, and human rights more broadly,áread our 2012 annual human rights report.

  • The views in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), or its policies.


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