The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Constitution outreach meeting participant hospitalised

http://www.kubatanablogs.net/kubatana/?p=3999

This weekend, the Constitutional Parliamentary Outreach Committee (COPAC)
held consultative meetings in Harare and Chitungwiza, after the first
attempt to hold these meetings was met with violence and intimidation. But
this second attempt again resulted in violence, with one participant
hospitalised. Read the Crisis in Zimbabwe statement about the weekend’s
outreach meetings below:

Participant attacked, seriously wounded as police detain MDC employee

A participant at a meeting held at St John’s retreat, Joshua Manyere
(32) was beaten up and seriously wounded by suspected ZANU PF supporters. He
is currently receiving treatment at a local hospital.

Details obtained from an observer stationed at the venue are that during
the meeting, suspected ZANU PF supporters threatened Manyere with
unspecified action after his contributions were regarded as inconsistent
with the views held by the ZANU PF supporters. After the meeting, it is
alleged that Manyere was attacked by a group of suspected ZANU PF supporters
and seriously injured during the commotion. The Coalition is still awaiting
more details on the incident.

Meanwhile, Ms. Diana Nyikadzino, an employee of the Movement for
Democratic Change is currently being detained at Waterfalls Police station
for reasons still to be established after her apprehension at Hopley Clinic,
Harare South.

Details from other meetings monitored are as below;

Tadzikamidzi School, Chitungwiza

The meeting, which was initially marred by intimidation, went ahead well
after COPAC intervened although there were isolated cases of intimidation.

Zororo Center, Highfields

* There was high security with approximately 20 police officers
* The meeting started around 1100hrs and was attended by
approximately 300 people
* The meeting was temporarily disrupted following contributions by
one participant who suggested that war veterans should not hold the nation
at ransom because of their contribution to the country’s liberation. The
contribution sparked outrage among some participants believed to be war
veterans who threatened to take unspecified action against the participant
after the meeting. The war veterans accused the participant of disrupting
the meeting leading to his apprehension by the police. He was however
released following complaints by other participants who told the police that
the ejected participant had done nothing to warrant such treatment. Despite
attempts to disturb proceedings, the meeting went ahead.

Kuwadzana, Crowborough Creche

* The meeting was attended by close to 300 people
* Police remained passive during disturbances by some participants
who accused one respondent of attempting to disrupt the meeting. COPAC
however managed to contain the situation and the meeting went ahead.

This entry was posted on October 31st, 2010 at 2:08 pm by Amanda Atwood


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Three more arrested at Copac meetings

From the MDC

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Three students James Katso (21), Peter Garanewako (24) and another whose identity we are yet to establish were arrested today at Hatcliff shops in Harare North constituency where the Copac consultation meeting was being held.

Reports are that the three were the most vocal who spoke their minds which, apparently, were at variance with the Zanu PF position so much that the Zanu PF youth felt intimidated and decided to punish them after the Copac team left.

The two are said to have been tracked by about twenty youth who assaulted Garanewako before handing them over to the police.

We are yet to establish which police station they were taken to but they were ferried in a ZRP Nissan single cab registration no. ZRP 3195 M.

Meanwhile, three MDC officials, Eric Murai, the provincial youth Assembly vice Secretary, Diana Nyikadzino, the MDC Harare provincial Administrator, the Harare provincial Driver, Phineas Nhatarikwa and two journalists, Andrisen Manyere and Nkosana Dhlamini, who were yesterday arrested at a consultative meeting in Harare South constituency at St John’s retreat have been released after being forced to pay US$20 fine.


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Two Journalists Arrested At COPAC Meeting

http://news.radiovop.com

31/10/2010 13:59:00

HARARE, October 31, 2010 – Police on Saturday arrested two journalists who
were covering outreach consultations on the new constitution as violence and
chaos continued to dog the resumption of the process in the city.

Andrison Manyere and Nkosana Dlamini were detained over night at Waterfalls
Police Station after being arrested while covering a COPAC meeting at St
John Retreat in Harare South. The two were arrested despite being accredited
by the government.
They had also been cleared by COPAC secretariat to cover the two-day
exercise.Nhlanhla Ngwenya, the national director of the Media Institute of
Southern Africa Zimbabwe Chapter told Radio VOP on Saturday night that his
organisation had contacted human rights lawyer Alex Muchadehama to try
and secure their release.
But by Sunday morning the journalists were still reportedly in police
custody in Waterfalls.
Another Journalist Joshua Manyere (32) was beaten up and seriously wounded
by suspected ZANU (PF) supporters at St John Retreat, where the journalists
were arrested. According to sources Joshua was battling for his life at a
local private hospital.
Details obtained from an observer stationed at the venue indicate that
during the meeting, suspected ZANU (PF) supporters threatened Manyere with
unspecified action after his contributions were regarded as inconsistent
with the views held by the ZANU PF supporters.
After the meeting, it is alleged that Manyere was attacked by a group of
suspected ZANU (PF) supporters and seriously injured during the commotion.
Meanwhile, Ms. Diana Nyikadzino, an employee of the Movement for Democratic
Change was on Saturday detained at Waterfalls Police station for reasons
still to be established after her apprehension at Hopley Clinic, Harare
South. The Harare outreach resumed on Saturday and ends on Sunday after it
was abandoned last month due to violence which left an MDC T supporter in
Mbare dead.


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Zimbabweans wrap up public constitution meetings

http://news.yahoo.com

AP

– Sun Oct 31, 11:56 am ET

HARARE, Zimbabwe – Public meetings to draft a new Zimbabwean constitution
have now concluded after three months of gatherings.

Police say rival party supporters jostled and traded insults at some of the
final meetings held in and around Harare on Saturday and Sunday.

The former opposition party, now in a coalition with President Robert
Mugabe, says one of its supporters was severely wounded after being stabbed
in violence linked to the weekend meetings.

Mugabe says a constitutional referendum will be held in March. It is unclear
if the deadline will be met.

The governing coalition was formed after disputed, violence-marred 2008
elections. But it is deeply divided, undermining its job of ushering in a
new constitution and preparing for general elections.


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Border Chaos As Zimra Workers Embark On Go Slow

http://news.radiovop.com

31/10/2010 20:19:00

HARARE, October 31, 2010 - Workers at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA)
have embarked on a low intensity strike to force management to review their
salaries in a move that has slowed down business at the country’s busiest
port of entry- Beitbridge.

The workers are pushing for a 29 percent salary increase. The minimum wage
at Zimra is USD$200 a month while the Revenue Specialists earn USD$300 per
month, amounts well under the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) of USD$545 and barely
enough to buy basic food stuffs.
The workers who are not allowed by law to engage in an industrial action
because of their strategic importance to the country are threatening to
intensify the action. Zimra sources said at the weekend that workers have
gone
on the low intensity strike to force management to review salaries as
directed by the Labour Court.
“The Revenue Specialists or Officers based at the country’s ports of entry
are on go slow. This is because the management is refusing to review
salaries,” said a highly placed source.
“The Labour Court awarded the workers a 29 percent salary increament but the
authorities are arguing that there is no money. ”
During a visit to the country’s busiest border post at Beitbridge on October
30 this reporter observed that only two Revenue Specialists were at work. It
took them about four hours to clear five cross border buses and a couple of
private vehicles.
“We have been here for four hours, the officers are on strike,”said a driver
with Greyhound Company.
The workers have been mulling a strike action similar to the one that
brought the country to a halt in 2007 in informal meetings that they have
been holding despite a legal provision that stops them from doing so.
Zimra recently lost a three-year-long bid to block its workers from forming
a trade union which will represent the workers interests. The union seeks to
create a more transparent way of managing
relationships between the authority’s management and the close to 2500 Zimra
workers.Currently the relationship is managed through a works council which
the workers accuse of being ineffective and always succumbing to
bullying tactics by the management.
When contacted for a comment, a senior Zimra official said as far as he was
concerned there was no strike but confirmed that there is an arbitration
process currently underway between the workers and the authority.


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Zimbabweans feel pinch of strengthening rand

http://www.mg.co.za/

GODFREY MARAWANYIKA | HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Oct 31 2010 07:03

Luke Nyoni thought dollarising Zimbabwe's economy meant an end to inflation,
but the weaker greenback is causing headaches in a country that relies on
imports for most of its goods.

Much of Zimbabwe's food and consumer goods now come from neighbouring South
Africa, where the rand in October touched a 33-month high against the US
dollar, driving up prices in Zimbabwe.

"It's difficult this side without the rands. We have been forced to cut down
on some essentials such as flour. Last month we bought four packets of
flour, but this month we bought three packets," said Nyoni, a civil servant
originally from Mberengwa, 430km south-west of the capital said as he
strolled a Harare shop with his wife.

Zimbabwe dumped its local currency in January 2009, allowing trade in a
range of foreign currencies but adopting the US dollar for all government
business.

At the time, the rand was trading around 10 to the dollar. Now it's closer
to seven to the dollar, having reached as high 6,76 earlier this month.

The exchange problem is especially acute in southern Zimbabwe.

Close to the border and dominated by ethnic Ndebeles who migrated from South
Africa in the 1800s, stores in the south prefer to price goods in rands,
forcing workers to convert their salaries every month.

Anguish
Government workers earn up to $350 a month, but for those who need to shop
in rands, their salaries have shrunk by about 25%, said Wellington Chibebe,
secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

"The rand appreciation is causing anguish for our members," he said.

In northern Zimbabwe, the problem is with change. While shops price goods in
US dollars, they don't have any American coins to offer as change.

Instead they give a voucher for the change -- handwritten on a scrap of a
till slip -- or force consumers to buy small products like chewing gum until
they reach an even dollar amount.

Banks have brought in millions of rand coins from South Africa, which they
want retailers to give as change for US dollar transactions.

"The major problem we have is the issue of coins as retailers are not
collecting them from banks," said John Mushayavanhu, chairperson of the
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe.

"Right now we have thousands of thousands of rand coins equivalent to
R89-million, but retailers are not collecting them."

Single currency?
Many shops and consumers battle with idea of calculating change in rands for
every walk through the till, which has ignited a new debate about whether
Zimbabwe should simply adopt the rand as its official currency.

Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland already peg their currencies to the rand.
Southern African nations have agreed in principle to move toward a single
currency, but progress has been slow.

Nhlanhla Ncube, an economist in the southern city of Bulawayo, said
Zimbabwe's multiple currency system had created "a tale of two cities in one
country."

"Right now we have the rand dominating this side of the country [around
Bulawayo] and yet in Harare the US dollar is widely used," he said.

"Within two to three years, we should maybe adopt the rand instead of
relying on the multi-currency."

That's a decision government isn't ready to take, said economic planning
minister Tapiwa Mashaka.

"Definitely some employees have had their earnings eroded due to the
strengthening of the rand," he said, but added: "The debate is still on an
academic level to decide whether we formally adopt the rand or any other
currency." - AFP


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Civic Society Statement on the Impending Referendum and Elections

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Sunday, 31 October 2010 12:20

ZIMBABWE ELECTION SUPPORT NETWORK

Vumba - 29 October 2010 – The Zimbabwe Election Support Network the leading
independent network on elections in Zimbabwe convened a conference in
Vumba – Leopard Rock Hotel which brought together various organisations and
partners working on elections to deliberate on electoral issues in light of
the possible referendum on the new constitution and elections in 2011.

The conference was held under the theme: Enhancing Mutual Cooperation and
Interaction on election Related activities amongst CSOs.
Ninety participants attended the conference and deliberated on Zimbabwe’s
preparedness for a referendum and elections in which they noted that the
environment was not conducive for holding democratic elections particularly
considering the following;
? The political environment remains highly volatile, uncertain, and
tense. The polarized environment-does not favor holding of elections as
violence would most likely erupt.
? The GNU has not repealed repressive legislation such as the Public
Order Security Act (POSA), the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Broadcasting Services Act.
? These Acts have restricted people’s civil liberties and freedoms of
expression and association and they are inimical to the holding of free and
fair elections.
? Institutions and infrastructure that support violence such as the Youth
militia, war veterans and a partisan security force remain unreformed and
therefore a threat to democratic elections
? The safety of human rights defenders and activists remains an issue of
concern as this curtails the oversight function of civic society.
Civic society organisations represented therefore demanded the following;
? A total end and denunciation of politically related violence and
prosecution of the perpetrators of all forms of political violence
? That SADC ensures a non violent, free and fair election that respects
the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
? That, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) be capacitated and
resourced to improve its ability to manage elections efficiently and
effectively.
? That there is need for complete overhaul and restructuring of ZEC
secretariat with a view to reform the institution into a professional body
that is non-partisan.
? That ZEC be in charge of all electoral processes including voter
registration and control, compile and update of voters’ rolls.
? That the ZEC be a truly independent electoral body that is accountable.
? That there is need to do an overhaul review of the voters’ roll before
the next elections
? That media freedoms be restored and guaranteed particularly the
liberalization of the state media and licensing of independent radio and
television stations;
? That police presence should be limited to outside the polling station
where incidences of violence are most likely to occur.
? That the Presidential powers and temporary measures Act be made of no
effect during election time as it gives unfair advantage to one particular
political party.
? That, the right of assembly be restored and guaranteed;
? That, the legislative framework for the elections be clarified as
quickly as possible, while ensuring the greatest possible degree of
consensus between election stakeholders and participation of relevant local
and international organizations;
? The elections be administered at every level in an impartial and
professional manner;
? Parties in the inclusive government look at the interests and fears of
the security chiefs and open negotiations with them with a view of making
sure that they do not interfere with the electoral process.
? That the inclusive government ensures that a national election
communication centre is set up and accessible to all political players and
stakeholders and that results be announced as they come from the various
centres before there is any possibility for manipulation by those with
access to the process.
? Civic society also demanded reforms that provide for early
accreditation and the safety of local and international observers.
? The role of inviting and accrediting of all observers should fall under
the election management body. Adequate numbers of observers need to be
accredited early (as soon as proclamation is done) and deployed to all areas
of the country.
? The election should be monitored and supervised by regional and
international bodies such as SADC, the African Union and United Nations who
are present well in advance of the polls, and post-polling day.
? Emphasis was on the need for transparency in all processes of the
elections which include; results management and announcement, transparency
in the production of ballot materials and processing of special and postal
votes
? Participation of diaspora in the electoral process
? Guarantee of peace and mechanisms that ensure flawless installation of
winners into government.
With a view of improving future elections, CSOs proposed that reforms are a
matter of urgency and imperative before elections are held. The present
environment does not provide a conducive environment for the holding of
democratic elections. Nevertheless, if need be, ZESN and CSOs are ready and
remain committed to monitor the process and advocate for minimum conditions
before the Referendum and next elections through effective coordinated
interventions.

ORGANISATIONS IN ATTENDANCE
1. Achieve Your Goal Trust
2. Bulawayo Agenda
3. Bulawayo People Residents Association
4. Civic Education Trust Network
5. Christian Alliance
6. Combined Harare Residents Association
7. Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe
8. Centre for Research and Development
9. Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe
10. Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa
11. Counseling Services Unit
12. Elections Resource Centre
13. Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe
14. Habakkuk Trust
15. Heal Zimbabwe
16. Human Rights Development Trust in Southern Africa
17. Law Society of Zimbabwe
18. Kubatana
19. Matabeleland Constitution Reform Agenda
20. National Association of Non – Governmental Organisations
21. Media Centre
22. Media Institute for Southern Africa
23. Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe
24. National Association for the Care of the Handicapped
25. National Constitutional Assembly
26. Public Affairs Parliamentary Support Trust
27. Progressive Teachers Association Zimbabwe
28. Research and Advocacy Unit
29. Restoration of Human Rights
30. Radio Dialogue
31. Rooftop Promotions
32. SAYWHAT
33. Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
34. Transparency International – Zimbabwe
35. VERITAS
36. Women’s Coalition – Zimbabwe
37. Women of Zimbabwe Arise
38. Women’s Trust
39. Youth Agenda
40. Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe
41. Youth Empowerment and Transformation
42. Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
43. Zimbabwe Association of Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the
Offender
44. Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
45. Zimbabwe Council of Churches
46. Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development
47. Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust
48. Zimbabwe Election Support Network
49. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Right Association
50. Zimbabwe Peace Project
51. Zimbabwe Students Christian Movement
52. Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association
53. Zimbabwe Youth Network
54. Members of the Academia (University of Zimbabwe)
55. Resource persons from Kenya

Promoting Democratic Elections in Zimbabwe
For Comments and further details contact:
Zimbabwe Election Support Network
zesn@africaonline.co.zw or info@zesn.org.zw
+263 250736/791443/798193
+263 712 415902 or 263 773 220370


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Elections could bring another unity gvt - Makumbe

http://www.dailynews.co.zw/

By Guthrie Munyuki
Sunday, 31 October 2010 18:51

HARARE - Professor John Makumbe says the elections, which Zimbabwe’s
political leaders insist should be held next year - are likely to be
disputed and could result in a second power-sharing deal.

Makumbe said while the situation on the ground demanded reforms, Zimbabwe
had no choice but to go for elections to choose a substantive government.

“Mugabe wants an election with or without a new constitution because he
knows the security sector has not been reformed and will do his bidding,”
said Makumbe. “He has got the security chiefs in his palms and pockets. They
will make sure he wins the elections even though that will simply result in
further illegitimacy.”

“Mugabe will simply restart the clock of September 15, 2008, and SADC will
come in again and do the negotiating business leading to a GNU 2 and GPA 2,”
he said.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki brokered the power sharing deal
which led to the signing of the Global Political Agreement on September 15,
2008.

SADC were the guarantors of the pact that led to the formation of the
inclusive government which saw the entry of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and his deputy, Arthur Mutambara in government.

Makumbe said Mugabe was between a hard place and rock and therefore had to
go into an election regardless of the pressures and outcome.

“Zanu PF uses violence to win elections. But elections can still be won even
if there is violence and the elections can still be won even if there is
massive rigging. So Tsvangirai is choosing a firm route (by going into
elections) and is sending a strong message that the MDC is not afraid of any
elections.

“Tsvangirai is seeking to send a strong message that he would like to have
democratic elections and defeat Zanu PF again. Him and Mugabe have realised
that this country can only be government by one party so they have to go for
an election,” Makumbe told the Daily News in an exclusive interview.

The outspoken professor said the inclusive government had frustrated
Tsvangirai and was hoping to overcome this by defeating Zanu PF in the
polls.

Dismissing Mugabe’s victory, Makumbe, suggested that the election would
still favour Tsvangirai in the event that the octogenarian leader unleashed
violence in the run up to the polls.

“Tsvangirai has a good caveat. If the elections are violent, he will pull
his party from the elections. He is on a good stead,” said Makumbe.

There have been mixed reactions to the calls for elections next year.

Civic society groups maintain that the political environment is poisoned
with violence and intimidation and does not bode well for strengthening
democratic institutions through the impending plebiscite.

The business community which was ravaged by the economic meltdown of 2008
and previous years fear an immediate election could drive away prospective
investors and negate the gains made so far by the inclusive government.

For the first time in a decade, the World Bank and the IMF have said
Zimbabwe will register economic growth of 6% following the stead recovery
under the current government.


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Manhunt for 'wanted' student

http://www.universityworldnews.com/

Kudzai Mashininga
31 October 2010
Issue: 0065

Zimbabwean police have launched a manhunt for a University of Zimbabwe
student who faces the death penalty for allegedly plotting a coup against
long-time autocratic ruler President Robert Mugabe in 2007. The student was
previously released from prison when not tried within the required six
months, but a judge has now said he is still a wanted man.

Rangarirai Mazivofa (23), a second-year agriculture student, was arrested in
May 2007 with six others for allegedly plotting to assassinate the ageing
despot with the help of the country's security forces, a charge that carries
the death penalty in the African country.

The student was released in July this year from Harare's Chikurubi maximum
security prison through a court order, on the grounds that the state had
violated his rights by failing to try him within six months as stipulated by
law.

But his freedom was short lived. A High Court judge, Chinembiri Bhunu,
issued another judgment on 4 October saying Mazivofa was still a wanted man.

A medical report prepared on the orders of a magistrates court during
Mazivofa's incarceration confirmed he had been severely tortured.

His other six co-accused in the coup operation, codenamed by police
Operation 1940, are still in prison awaiting trial.

They are Albert Matapo, Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Shingirai
Mutemachani, Patson Mupfure and Emmanuel Marara. Matapo, a former army
captain who is related to the university student, is accused of being the
group's ringleader.

In a ruling in which Justice Bhunu said the six other men could not be
released after Mazivofa gained his freedom, the judge also said the
University of Zimbabwe student is in fact on the police wanted list for the
same charge. But he added that efforts by law enforcement agents to locate
him have so far drawn a blank.

"It is common cause that the six accused persons were not tried within the
prescribed six-month period, prompting Musakwa J's [decision] on the 9th of
July 2010 to dismiss their case and order their release from custody in
terms of section 160(2) of the Act under case number HH142/10.

"Their co-accused, one Rangarirai Mazivofa, who was not facing any other
charges was unconditionally released. The accused person has since not been
found and he remains at large," said Bhunu.

According to a charge sheet, the University of Zimbabwe student's crime was
that he went to One Commando army barracks on 25 May last year and carried
out reconnaissance of strategic points for purposes of executing the coup.

The coup suspects are alleged to have planned to install Matapo as prime
minister before inviting the country's powerful defence minister, Emmerson
Mnangagwa, to take up the position. He is also Mugabe's chief election agent
and the secretary for legal affairs in the ageing leader's ZANU-PF party.

But the coup suspects are denying the treason charges and contend they were
arrested while planning the launch of a new political party in Zimbabwe.

A member of the Zimbabwe National Students' Union, speaking on condition of
anonymity on Tuesday, said Mazivofa had not gone back to the university
since his release.

On Tuesday the student's lawyer, Charles Warara, said the High Court
judgment was wrong to rule Mazivofa was still a wanted man. The defence
attorney added he could not immediately say whether his client had gone back
to university to finish his studies.

"That judgment is wrong because he was legally released. If the police want
him to come to court they can serve him with summons. It is not his duty to
look for the police," said Warara.

Political analysts in Zimbabwe have dismissed the coup trial as part of the
ruling Zanu-PF party's factional fighting over who will succeed 86-year-old
Mugabe.

Mnangagwa, who has been linked to the case but was not arrested, controls
one of the party's two factions in the succession battle, with the other
being led by Solomon Mujuru, a former army commander and husband of the
country's vice-president, Joice Mujuru.


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Lobels on the brink of collapse

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Fungi Kwaramba
Saturday, 30 October 2010 13:19

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s leading bakery, Lobel’s Bread (Pvt) Ltd, is on the brink
of collapse, as it struggles to pay workers, make bread or meet service
bills.
Only last week the company had power supplies cut off by ZESA over a $200
000 outstanding debt. The bakery that in its heyday was arguably the biggest
and most popular in the country was founded in 1950 by the Lobels family and
later sold to a consortium of local businessmen who include Frederick
Mutandah, an rtd brigadier Chiweza, Livingstone Gwata and Hebert Nkala.
But the consortium, some of whose members are some of the best business
brains in the country, has struggled to keep the bakery afloat, amid
allegations of mismanagement and corruption at its Southerton plant. The
bakery’s long serving chief executive Burombo Mudumo, financial director
Nesbert Gufu and treasurer Tonderai Chipere were last month axed over
allegations of misappropriation of more than US$10 million.
Short of cash the bakery has told workers it can only pay them salaries and
wages dating back to three months ago by mid-November. “Business is at a
halt since last month with the company failing to procure flour. We everyday
go there to just sit because there is no production,” said one senior
employer at the bakery who spoke on condition he was not named. Company
officials could not be reached for comment on the matter. At its peak Lobels
Bakery was a leader in the bread making industry, producing over 300 000
loaves of bread a day which has tumbled down to a paltry 15 000 loaves today


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13 million books … but where are they?

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Gift Phiri
Saturday, 30 October 2010 13:31

HARARE – The 13 million textbooks donated by the UN Children’s Fund to
revive the struggling public school system are not getting to schools in
rural areas, a legislator told Parliament last week (Pictured: School
children - MP says books donated by UNICEF yet to reach rural schools)
Mutare South constituency representative Fred Kanzama told the House during
question and answer time that two months after the launch of the book
distribution programme, schools in rural areas were yet to receive the
books. "From the day the launch was done …. there are no books that have
been delivered and we want to know what is the position relating to that
issue?" Kanzama said in questions directed to Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara, who was standing in for Education Minister David Coltart.
Mutambara said the most appropriate person to discuss in detail the question
raised by Kanzama was Coltart, but added that the book were in the country
and the only challenge was how to get them to schools. The books were
supposed to have been distributed to the 5 500 public primary schools across
the country by the end of last month.
Mutambara said: "The challenge now is logistics, how to move the books from
the warehouses to the schools which is work in progress. We have managed to
solve a major problem for our primary schools." Kanzama asked if he could
make arrangements for the delivery of the books to his constituency, to
which Mutambara advised him to liaise with the ministry of education.
Teachers say distribution of the textbooks to schools could go a long way in
helping restore Zimbabwe’s public education sector as one of the most
competent in Africa. The books cover the four major subjects in primary
schools, English, Mathematics, Environmental Science and either Shona or
Ndebele.


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ZESA rules out debt write-off

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

31/10/2010 00:00:00
by Lunga Sibanda

SOME 35 000 households in the country’s southern regions have had power
supplies switched-off as the national utility, ZESA, refused pleas to
write-off huge bills accrued since the introduction of multiple currencies.

ZESA vowed to continue switching off defaulting customers even as Bulawayo
residents took to the streets last week demonstrating against alleged
corruption, poor service delivery and exorbitant tariffs.

Many have bills averaging between US$500 and US$1000, built up since the
introduction of multiple currencies.

With average monthly wages of around US$200 many said they cannot pay the
bills and urged ZESA to write them off arguing the utility had also used
estimates to convert the money owed into US dollars.

But the utility insisted the bills must be paid and dismissed claims of
inaccurate billing.

“We regret that disconnections … will continue. Debts cannot be written off
because electricity that was imported and consumed by customers needs to be
paid for.

“We are not overcharging customers. Our billing system is functioning well
and the bills we charge are accurate,” Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira
said.

He said ZESA was owed US$400 million by customers and added the utility
risked being cut off by regional supplies if it failed to for supplies.

“We owe regional utilities over $100million for electricity already consumed
by customers, but not paid for.

“This exposes the utility to being disconnected for nonpayment and this
would inevitably increase the extent and duration of load shedding,” he
said.

Gwasira however conceded that Zesa was facing operational constraints but
said these were worsened by customers failing to pay for supplies.

“We are actually not raising enough money from the tariffs to import
adequate power and this negatively impacts on our ability to provide a good
quality service.

“We need revenue to procure spare parts for network maintenance, pay for
electricity imports, coal, cover other operational costs among other inputs
for electricity generation but our tariffs are well below the regional
tariff,” he said.

Gwasira added that his company had complied with the Competition and Tariff
Commission (CTC) directive to reduce bills by 43 percent for customers with
load limiters.


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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 30th October 2010

The Vigil missed a trick today. With Halloween ghouls taking over the streets of London we could have put the fear of God into them with our Mugabe mask. And, come to that, we should have terrified the lady ghouls with a mask of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, Mugabe’s personal bonker.

Here in the UK, where clocks suddenly change, thrusting us into winter, it’s a very reflective time as we prepare for the dark nights and the cold. There was a sobering feeling at the Vigil that the UK and the West in general are allowing the situation in Zimbabwe to drift to disaster. Those of us who managed to get to the meeting at Lancaster House on Wednesday reported back and there was general puzzlement at why the Home Office is planning to resume the deportations of Zimbabweans at such a threatening time, with Zanu PF openly preparing a new wave of violence before elections which Mugabe says will be held by June next year.

It was felt that the British government was failing to appreciate the true gravity of the situation in Zimbabwe – despite evidence such as a Channel 4 television report on Friday further exposing the scandal of the Marange diamonds (see: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/unreported-world/4od). Many people who stopped by the Vigil expressed their horror at the human rights abuses shown in the film.

Vigil supporters asked why Mugabe was always being allowed by Tsvangirai to make the running – indeed, why has he been able to humiliate the MDC for two years and emerge even stronger despite losing the 2008 elections?

There was frustration that the MDC leadership had allowed itself to be taken in by the constitutional outrage programme. Vigil supporters viewed it as a waste of time and resources at the expense of real reforms necessary for free and fair elections, such as a new voters’ roll and an opening of the airwaves to independent broadcasters. We can’t understand why the West funded this predictable fiasco.

There is no time to lose. Tsvangirai says he wants observers in Zimbabwe six months before the elections so they will have to be packing their bags in the next few weeks. What is the West doing about this? Mugabe has made it clear he won’t allow any observers from countries he regards as hostile and the record of African observers is one of cover-up and lies. Again, the Vigil wants to know what the British government and the West are going to do about this.

Perhaps, as the Economist magazine suggested recently, the Mugabe mafia could be offered a suspension of targeted sanctions if they accept an international mission to deter election violence and malpractice.

The Vigil calls for real pressure on SADC to comply with the obligations it accepted by promoting the abortive Government of National Unity. We believe that the cost to the region of allowing a gangster state to fester in its midst will be heavy if Mugabe is allowed to bludgeon his way to another election victory. The Vigil wants to know what the UK plans to do to prevent this – not how soon it can get rid of Zimbabweans. And we want Mr Tsvangirai to assert himself as Prime Minister. He must go to the UN and demand observers and peackeepers and to the EU to demand they don’t recognise Mugabe’s ambassador. Tsvangirai is the elected leader of Zimbabwe and should not act like Mugabe’s houseboy.

Other points

Lawyer Mark Taylor has made good points in an article about the Lancaster House meeting (check: http://www.zimeye.org/?p=23536).

The Vigil grieved with Liz, wife of Bill McClelland a Zimbabwean farmer who has died at the age of 76. Bill and Liz came to the Vigil several times and we were glad to welcome her back with her son Giles.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.

FOR THE RECORD: 139 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.

ROHR North London branch anniversary and fundraising. Saturday 6th November from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Tottenham Chances 399 High Road, Tottenham N17 6QN. Station: Seven Sisters. From Seven Sisters catch buses towards Tottenham – third stop. Buses: 123, 149, 259, 349, 341, 476. Contact: G Mapanda 07556586377, V Chengaose 07956586377, B Hukwa 07835323174, Ruby Chitiyo 07886998102, V Moyo 07960863128, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070. Refreshments available. Raffle. ROHR UK executive attending.

ROHR Bournemouth Anniversary and Christmas Party. Saturday 20th November from 2 – 10 pm. Venue: Strouden Community Hall, Bradpole Road, Strouden Park BH8 9NY near Castle Point shopping Centre. Music, sadza, maguru, braai, drinks, beer etc. Contact Sekai Mujeyi 07772211220, Sledge Bova 07788850146, Tari Mashawi 07843614091, Abi Nzimba 07780831455 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070

ROHR Woking Christmas Party. Saturday 4th December from 2 – 10 pm. Venue: The Church House, Oriental Road, Woking GU22 7BD. Contact Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Thandiwe Mabodoko 07552402416, Thoko Khlokanka 07886203113 or P Mapfumo on 07915926323/07932216070

Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.

Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.

‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe. To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to ngwenyasr@yahoo.co.uk and send a cheque for 10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe

Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa (takudzwa.mukiwa@tht.org.uk) if you are interested in taking part.

Vigil Co-ordinators

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


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Bill Watch 44/2010 - 31st October [Proposed Amendment to Copyright Law Unconstitutional]

BILL WATCH 44/2010

[31st October 2010]

General Laws Amendment Bill : Proposed Amendment to Copyright Law

In the recently gazetted General Laws Amendment Bill there is a clause to amend the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act which has serious implications for the rights of citizens to freely access and distribute legislation, notices and other material in the Government Gazette, court judgments and certain public registers. The amendment proposes to subject such information to copyright protection. It is important that such information should remain in the public domain [i.e. openly available to everyone and not subject to copyright protection].

At present, under section 10 of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, certain public documents are not subject to copyright. These documents are:

official texts of statutes;

official texts of judicial proceedings and decisions (i.e. judgments);

notices and material published in the Government Gazette;

the contents of official registers.

Clause 16 of the General Laws Amendment Bill proposes to subject all these documents to copyright.

What this means is that copyright in all these documents will vest in the Government. The Government, as copyright holder, will have a complete discretion in deciding whether or not the documents should be published and disseminated, after their initial publication in the Gazette; and the Government will be able to dictate the terms and conditions under which the documents are published and disseminated. So for example:

if a private organisation wants to publicise electoral laws prior to an election it will have to get permission from the Government, in addition to any permission it may require from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission;

if a human rights organisation wants to disseminate a court judgment it will have to get permission from the Minister of Justice — who may himself have been a party to the case;

if an organisation wants to print and issue a statutory form enabling women to apply for maintenance, the organisation will have to get permission from the Government before doing so — and it may have to pay the Government a royalty for each form printed and distributed.

The amendment embodied in clause 16 is unconstitutional and inimical to the ideals of good governance and respect for the rule of law.

Furthermore, it is contrary to best practice in the southern African region.

Constitutionality of Clause 16

Section 20 of the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, that is to say freedom to “receive and impart ideas and information without interference”. The proposed amendment will certainly hinder this freedom because no one will be able to publish laws and court proceedings without permission from the Government. The amendment will be unconstitutional, therefore, unless it falls within one of the permissible restrictions on freedom of expression that are allowed by section 20 of the Constitution.

Section 20 permits restrictions to be imposed:

In the interests of defence, public safety, public order, the economic interests of the State, public morality or public health. The amendment cannot be regarded as protecting any of these interests except — marginally — the State’s economic interests in so far as the State may get some royalty payments from people who reproduce statutes and judgments. But does the Government seriously anticipate making a profit from the publication of legislation and judgments?

To protect the reputations, rights and freedoms of other persons or the private lives of persons concerned in legal proceedings. But those interests are already protected — and more appropriately protected — by legislation such as the Courts and Adjudicating Authorities (Publicity Restriction) Act.

To maintain the authority and independence of the courts or tribunals or the Senate or the House of Assembly. If one assumes that laws enacted by Parliament are generally good, and that the judgments of our courts are generally sound, the publication of laws and judgments can only enhance the reputation of our legislative and judicial institutions. And if bad laws are passed, or bad judgments delivered, then they must be published if they are ever to be corrected.

The amendment cannot therefore be regarded as falling within any of the permissible restrictions on freedom of expression.

The amendment may be intended to prevent the inaccurate publication of statutes and judgments. Even if that is the reason, it is still unconstitutional:

Firstly, the prevention of inaccuracy is not one of the permissible grounds for restricting freedom of expression under section 20 of the Constitution.

Secondly, the amendment covers both accurate and inaccurate publications without distinction. All require permission from the Government, and permission may be granted or withheld entirely at the Government’s discretion, regardless of accuracy. In short, the amendment goes far too far.

Our Supreme Court has laid down a three-fold test to decide whether or not a statute which limits a fundamental right such as freedom of expression is constitutional. The court must ask itself:

Is the legislative objective sufficiently important to justify limiting the fundamental right? In this case, if the objective of the proposed amendment is indeed to prevent the publication of inaccurate versions of laws and judgments, then the answer to the question is: Well, maybe. If the object is to collect revenue for the Government the answer is: Certainly not.

Are the measures designed to meet the objective rationally connected to it? Here the answer is, Certainly not. To give the Government the rights of a copyright-holder in all public documents has little or no connection with the prevention of inaccuracy. Copyright is a property right akin to ownership. It is an economic right. It has no rational connection to the publication of inaccurate information.

Do the means used to achieve the objective impair the fundamental right more than is necessary to accomplish the objective? Here the answer is: Clearly yes. The amendment will impose a broad and serious restriction on freedom of expression. Preventing inaccuracy can be achieved by other means, for example by penalising the publication of inaccurate versions of statutes and other public documents. Indeed, existing laws may well be adequate to achieve that purpose.

Clause 16 of the General Laws Amendment Bill, therefore, will violate section 20 of the Constitution.

Clause 16 and the Rule of Law

In the Inter-party Political Agreement of September 2008, the parties emphasised their commitment to “reorient our attitudes towards respect for the Constitution and … the rule of law”, and in clause 11.1 of the Agreement they agreed that it was the duty of all political parties and individuals to adhere to the principles of the rule of law.

One of the essential elements of the rule of law is that the law must be readily available to the public. Clearly so: if people don’t know what the law is, they will not be able to obey it. So statutes and judgments which embody the law must be disseminated as widely as possible to everyone who may need or want to read them.

If the Government is granted copyright in statutes and judgments, then the Government will control how they are disseminated. No Government can be relied on to always respect the ideals of openness and transparency which are essential to good governance. And even if an ideal government were in place, any freedom of expression following the proposed amendment would be subject to the continuing goodwill and capacity of the Government — which in itself would be a negation of the rule of law.

Clause 16 and Regional Practice

The proposed amendment will also be contrary to best practice in the southern African region.

In South Africa, section 12(8) of the Copyright Act No. 98 of 1978 states that no copyright subsists in official texts of a legislative, administrative or legal nature. So statutes and judgments are not subject to copyright.

In Zambia, section 8(2) of the Copyright and Performance Rights Act 1994 states that there is no copyright in Bills or Acts of Parliament.

In Botswana, section 6(2)(b) of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act No. 8 of 2000 states that no copyright protection under the Act extends to any official text of a legislative, administrative or legal nature. So, as in South Africa, statutes and judgments are not subject to copyright.

Conclusion

The amendment proposed by clause 16 of the Bill will violate section 20 of the Constitution, will be inimical to transparent government, human rights and the rule of law, and will be contrary to best practice in the southern African region.

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

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