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SADC to deploy Troika team to Zimbabwe in a fortnight

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tichaona Sibanda
3 November 2011

A three-member SADC Troika team that is meant to assist the inclusive
government with implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) is to
be deployed to Zimbabwe in two weeks time.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that he
was assured by President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team that the SADC
technical committee will be in the country before the end of November.

Members of the team are to be seconded by their Heads of State who sit on
the Troika, which is chaired by the South African President. Other members
of the Troika are Zambia and Tanzania.

Mwonzora met the facilitation team of Lindiwe Zulu and Charles Nqakula in
Harare on Wednesday. He said they discussed the deployment of the team,
which Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai described to journalists in Harare on
Wednesday as being ‘long overdue.’

At a summit in Livingstone back in March SADC resolved to appoint a team
that would help speed up implementation of the issues already agreed to by
the country’s political parties. This was after the regional leaders
criticized the unity government for their slow progress in implementing the
GPA.

SADC has since held summits in South Africa and Angola, which simply
‘reaffirmed’ the resolutions that were made in Livingstone with no movement
in sight on the deployment of the team.

According to Mwonzora the team is supposed to provide regular progress
reports on the implementation of the outstanding GPA issues and, where
possible, take appropriate action.

‘We are praying that the team will come as promised because we have seen in
the past that ZANU PF has been resisting the appointment of these officials
to sit in JOMIC,’ Mwonzora said.

ZANU PF has insisted that they will not accept the involvement of Troika
representatives in Zimbabwe’s affairs. But Mwonzora said it is not up to
them to decide, and no election in Zimbabwe will be deemed credible without
monitoring by SADC authorities.

Asked about ZANU PF’s statement that it has lost faith with the GPA forum of
negotiators and wanted other platforms to deal with outstanding issues, the
MDC-T legislator for Nyanga North told us he was not amused by that.

‘What do you expect from a party that reneges on anything that it agrees on?
There are several issues in the GPA that have been resolved but ZANU PF has
failed to implement them. So who is being a stumbling block? They were told
by SADC to stop violence, but violence has escalated in the past few months.

‘It is disingenuous for ZANU PF to try and blame the MDC. We all know they
are not comfortable with Zuma’s firmness and they want him and his team out.
That is what they mean when they say they want the establishment of other
platforms for negotiations,’ Mwonzora added.


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Zuma team silent on Harare violence

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Tererai Karimakwenda
03 November, 2011

Violent scenes from Harare’s besieged Mbare suburb made the headlines this
week as the facilitation team representing South Africa’s President Jacob
Zuma arrived in the capital for talks with the negotiators.

This was not the first time that ZANU PF sponsored violence coincided with a
visit by Zuma’s team, who continue to maintain a neutral position on the
issue, saying elements from all political parties are perpetrators.

In addition, riot police besieged the headquarters of the MDC-T at Harvest
House on Tuesday, claiming they were looking for vendors who had caused
chaos earlier and were hiding inside. Teargas was used on innocent staff
members and passersby on the streets around Harare. Again, there was silence
from team members Lindiwe Zulu and Charles Nqakula.

There is growing concern that the facilitation team and SADC leaders lack
the political will to deal with resistance from ZANU PF. There is also a
growing realization that SADC has no punitive powers and ZANU PF is taking
advantage of that fact, particularly when it comes to violence.

Piers Pigou, Project Director for the International Crisis Group Southern
Africa region, explained that the ZANU PF attacks send very clear messages
of what the party and their supporters can do. “And to some extent they are
also testing the waters,” Pigou added.

Pigou told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the attacks may also be part of
ZANU PF’s efforts “to claw back” some of the progress that the MDC made at
the Livingstone summit back in March, when SADC took a tougher stance on the
violence issue and ordered the parties to respect the spirit of the GPA.

“There are efforts within ZANU PF to neutralize the effectiveness of the
facilitation team, which is now viewed by some in the party as an agent of
the regime agenda,” Pigou said.

It has been seven months since the Livingstone summit, where regional
leaders resolved that the parties must respect the spirit of the GPA, but
not much has been accomplished.

Pigou explained this by saying SADC makes decisions through consensus and
progress is very slow.

At the Livingstone summit back in March, regional leaders resolved to send a
SADC team to help the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC)
to speed up progress on the remaining, contentious issues in the GPA. That
team has now finally been promised in two weeks time, raising hopes once
again.

But as always, time will tell whether it actually happens.


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New video shows MDC members in rural Zim face harassment, violence and displacement

http://www.swradioafrica.com/2011/11/03/new-video-shows-mdc-members-in-rural-zim-face-harassment-violence-and-displacement/
 

There is a silent war going on in rural Zimbabwe targetting MDC members, activists and office bearers. In a campaign of harassment and violence, Zanu PF is putting intolerable pressure on opposition members forcing them to abandon their homes and seek refuge in urban areas where MDC regional offices and safety can be found. This, at a cost to their livelihoods, has left many Zimbabwean citizens dispossesed of a normal life in their new status as internally displaced persons.


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Top cop denies PM feud

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

By Nkululeko Sibanda, Senior Writer
Thursday, 03 November 2011 18:16

HARARE - Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai, the officer
commanding Matabeleland North police — for long accused of banning MDC
meetings in his area of jurisdiction, says his office has no problems
working with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC.

He said he had no problems with the MDC that he can conduct “mouth to mouth
resuscitation of any MDC member in the case of accidents.”

Veterai said had it been that the police had so much hatred of the MDC
members, such life-saving activities would not be carried out.

But the MDC has maintained that Veterai has an axe to grind with the party
accusing him of political bias.

However, Veterai told the Daily News in an interview that he carries out his
duties in a professional manner.

“We do carry out our various duties in a diligent manner. One wonders what
the MDC refers to when they say we are selective in the application of the
law.

“We do mouth to mouth resuscitation of all people involved in accidents,
regardless of whether they are MDC or Zanu PF or belong to any other party.
When we assist children to cross roads, we assist all children, even those
whose parents are from the MDC. I wonder what type of selective application
of the law they are talking about,” said Veterai.

He said the MDC has largely been barking the wrong tree when putting forward
their grievances against the police.

Veterai said he found the MDC’s allegations misplaced as he was not in
direct control of proceedings in the province.

“I believe this is case tantamount to barking up the wrong tree in as far as
the MDC is concerned on issues pertaining to the daily functions of the
police,” he said.

“I am the officer commanding police in Matabeleland North province. The
police structure is made in such a way that all districts have their own
commanders and these are the ones that are supposed to deal with
applications for things such as rallies.”

In addition, he said the party’s claim of selective application of the law
was misplaced as he believes he has been carrying out his job diligently.

“I wonder where this allegation is coming from. All I know is that I have
done things to the best of my professional ability. I have not failed in
that regard. Anyone who says I have been partisan in my approach as the
officer commanding Matabeleland North province obviously has his or her
personal problems that have nothing to do with my work as the senior police
officer in the province,” he added.

The MDC has accused Veterai of banning the party’s rallies in Matabeleland
North province and causing untold suffering to senior MDC officials in the
province through arbitrary arrests.

Despite his strenuous denials, Veterai has a celebrated brush with the MDC
dating back to the 2008 presidential run-off poll.

The senior cop impounded a number of vehicles belonging to the MDC that had
been deployed by the party to carry out ground work ahead of the watershed
2008 election.

Veterai, the MDC also believes, is behind the move by the police to impound
a bullet proof BMW X5 vehicle that was donated to MDC leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai by South African businessman, Adrian Espag for campaign purposes.

Just last weekend, police in the province banned two of the three rallies
Tsvangirai was supposed to address in Lupane and Binga areas.

They claimed they did not have adequate manpower and that there were state
functions that were being held in the areas where the MDC had planned to
hold its rallies, hence they feared there could be clashes involving MDC
supporters.


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MDC’s ex-Zanu PF cadres face axe for inciting violence

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

By Pindai Dube
Thursday, 03 November 2011 14:46

BULAWAYO - Deputy Prime Minister and MDC Vice President, Thokozani Khupe
said some top MDC officials who are former Zanu PF members are now working
to destroy her party from inside.

Speaking to journalists in Bulawayo at the weekend at Lotshe Primary School
in Makokoba, Khupe said some former Zanu PF cadres who are now senior
members of her party, whom she refused to name should resign now before they
are expelled as they are causing divisions.

“We have people who are former Zanu PF members and are now causing divisions
in my party, so I call on them to resign, before they are expelled. These
people brought their Zanu PF tendencies when they joined,” said Khupe.

Khupe added: “These people are also violent and they should leave us working
in harmony in the MDC. The MDC is a party of peace and we also don’t want to
be divided by these people.”

Towards the MDC national congress held in Bulawayo in April violence erupted
during the party’s provincial and districts elections.

The MDC provincial elections in Bulawayo and Midlands were abandoned several
times as rivals factions clashed.

In Bulawayo province, two rival camps one led by State Enterprises Minister
Gorden Moyo and another by Mzilikazi Senator Matson Hlalo clashed which saw
12 party members getting arrested.

During the party congress, Prime Minister and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
said he will set up an independent commission of inquiry to investigate
senior officials behind an orgy of violence witnessed during the run up to
the party’s congress.

Tsvangirai said that MDC had pictures of the culprits adding that they would
not get away with the mischief.

He said the party’s national executive had resolved to expel all the
culprits.


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Zimbabwean government, donors launch $85 million education fund for secondary schools

http://www.washingtonpost.com

By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, November 4, 1:29 AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe — The Zimbabwean government, the United Nations and other
Western donors have launched an $85 million education fund aimed at
improving education in the country’s secondary schools.

Zimbabwe’s educational system was once a model in the region, but schools
have been brought to a near standstill by years of political and economic
turmoil. The chaos has deprived millions of children of schooling.

UNICEF representative Peter Salama said Thursday that the $85 million fund
aims to provide a textbook for every child in the country’s 2,300 secondary
schools.

The program also will target 200,000 absentee children from the most
impoverished and vulnerable communities. Last year, UNICEF donated $50
million for primary school textbooks.


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Rugare Gumbo interview jammed by Mugabe regime

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Lance Guma
03 November 2011

SW Radio Africa’s shortwave broadcast on Wednesday evening was jammed by the
Mugabe regime. Ironically jamming began after our news bulletin and just as
an interview on Question Time was about to begin with ZANU PF spokesman
Rugare Gumbo.

In 2005 Mugabe’s regime began jamming SW Radio Africa frequencies, just
before the controversial Operation Murambatsvina. It was reported that the
jamming equipment and expertise was provided by China and at the time we
spoke to a soldier who says he was sent to China to be trained in jamming
techniques.

The jamming has been intermittent since then and often targets our flagship
Newsreel bulletin, using a loud and irritating noise to drown out the
broadcast. In March 2007 then Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga
admitted they were jamming our broadcasts. He told parliament they were
generating electronic interference to prevent reception.

SW Radio Africa is run by exiled Zimbabweans who, because of repressive
media legislation, are not allowed to broadcast from home. In 2000 the
station, then called Capital Radio, challenged the government’s broadcasting
monopoly and won its case in the Supreme Court.
But after just 6 days of broadcasting the station was shut down by Mugabe
using his presidential powers, and with a bit of help from armed
paramilitary.


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US says compromise on Zimbabwe diamond sales was necessary

http://af.reuters.com/

Thu Nov 3, 2011 9:40am GMT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States agreed to a compromise allowing
Zimbabwe to export diamonds that human rights groups say are tainted by
abuses, to prevent the paralysis of the global system for stopping trade in
"blood diamonds," the State Department said on Wednesday.

The United States, Canada and the European Union dropped their objections
and agreed to allow Zimbabwe to sell diamonds from its Marange field after
verification by a Kimberley Process monitoring team, the World Diamond
Council announced on Tuesday.

The Kimberly Process is an international government certification scheme set
up in 2003 to prevent the trade in diamonds that fund conflicts.

The decision by the United States, Canada and the EU was strongly condemned
by human rights groups who maintain that the Marange diamonds are tainted by
abuses tied to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States
abstained from Tuesday's vote, but chose not to block the measure, which she
said still included provisions for oversight and reporting by civil society
groups.

"We think this compromise might have been stronger and that's why we
abstained," Nuland told a news briefing. "So we judge that rather than
having the entire Kimberley process deadlocked over Zimbabwe we would
abstain, we would let this go forward."

Under the agreement the Kimberley Process, which certifies that revenues
from diamond sales will not fund conflicts, will send two monitors to
Zimbabwe in the next two weeks to assess and certify the diamonds.

Rights groups say there have been abuses in Zimbabwe against illegal miners,
smuggling is rife and some mines in Marange remain in the hands of
Zimbabwe's military. Mugabe's government denies all these charges.

Last year, Zimbabwe was allowed by the Kimberley Process to sell a small
amount of diamonds, but the United States, Canada and EU said then that
human rights issues still remained.

Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper reported earlier that the United
States was likely to drop its objections to the sale of Marange diamonds in
return for support from African members for its bid to chair the Kimberley
Process in 2012.

Nuland noted that the U.S. maintains its own sanctions on Zimbabwe officials
and government agencies including the parastatal organization that oversees
Marange diamond exports, meaning no U.S. citizen could be involved in the
trade.

She also said the onus was now on Mugabe's government to live up to its
commitments under the Kimberley Process compromise.

"Previously we had no ability to affect Zimbabwe's behavior. With this
compromise ... we do have some eyes on this process, we have reporting
requirements, we have civil society there which was a better situation than
we've had in the past," she said.

"So we need to test it now and we need to see if the Mugabe government does
indeed meet the commitments that it signed up to."


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U.S. Sanctions Prohibit Trade With Zimbabwe's Diamond Entities

http://www.diamonds.net/

ZMDC, MMCZ, Top Leaders Remain on List
Nov 2, 2011 3:50 PM   By Jeff Miller

RAPAPORT... U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland addressed the
government's position on rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe during a daily
press briefing and confirmed that those in the U.S. must follow the
''American-targeted sanctions against individuals and entities in Zimbabwe''
who are undermining democracy there. These sanctions prohibit U.S. citizens
and firms from engaging in any transactions with those people on the list,
and some  currently include the parastatal entity that oversees the diamond
exports from Marange, she said.  The Kimberley Process granted permission
yesterday for Zimbabwe to sell and export rough diamonds immediately.

The list was updated November 1 and is also known as "specially designated
nationals and blocked persons" (SDN List), which includes Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe, and his  numerous family members, along with the
country's Mines Minister, Obert Mpofu, and diamond entities such as the
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Minerals Marketing
Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), among others.

Nuland explained that the U.S. abstained from voting on the "nonbinding
decision,'' to allow Zimbabwe to sell and export rough diamonds, during the
Kimberley Process plenary session yesterday. ''However, we also did not
block the Kimberley Process moving forward,'' she added. Nuland explained
that the E.U., since June, has led an intensive round of diplomacy with
Kimberley Process stakeholders, including Zimbabwe, to reach a compromise.

''And whereas we think this compromise might have been stronger -- and
that's why we abstained -- the compromise that was agreed yesterday does
include provisions for continued oversight and continued reporting by civil
society. So we judge that, rather than having the entire Kimberley Process
deadlocked over Zimbabwe, we would abstain, we would let this go forward,''
she said.

When asked if the U.S. believes Mugabe's government would live up to the
transparency requirements set by the Kimberley Process,  Nuland said this
was the expectation and the standards agreed to. ''With this compromise, as
I said, we do have some eyes on this process. We have reporting
requirements. We have civil society there, which was a better situation than
we've had in the past. So we need to test it now, and we need to see if the
Mugabe government does, indeed, meet the commitments that he signed up to,''
she concluded.


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Diamond Expert Maguwu Lashes At KP

http://www.radiovop.com/

Harare, November 03, 2011 – Embattled Centre for Research and Development
director, Farai Maguwu has lashed out at global diamonds watchdog, Kimberly
Process' decision to allow Zimbabwe to trade freely in her alluvial diamonds
without paying heed to issues of massive looting and rights abuses in
Marange.

“The deal does not protect the Marange community from abuses. The deal is
silent on human rights. Neither does it call on the Zimbabwean authorities
to protect the Marange community,” Maguwu said.

The rights campaigner  speaking in a telephone interview with Radio VOP
from the United States of America where he went to receive the prestigious
Human Rights Watch Alison Des Forges Award for
extraordinary Activism.

“The deal is a step in the right direction but it falls short of our
concerns as Zimbabweans,” he said.

“It sweeps under the carpet the failure by Zimbabwe to implement earlier
agreements reached in Namibia and St Petersburg recently.

“This is the third deal on Zimbabwe in as many years and there is no
justifiable reason to think this ‘deal’ will mark a turning point in
Zimbabwe’s commitment to the KPCS and to transparency and accountability. It
is largely a blank check to the privileged few who are making a killing out
of Marange diamonds.”

Maguwu, once labelled a threat to national security by President Robert
Mugabe’s regime, has braved persistent state persecution defending the
rights of civilians and communities in the diamond rich
Marange communal lands in Manicaland.

Also commenting on the Kimberly Process decision to grant Zimbabwe
permission to trade in her diamonds, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said
it was time President Robert Mugabe and his loyalists demonstrate
transparency in the trade of the precious gems and justify what they had all
along been clamouring for.

“What we are of course concerned about is that once those diamonds have been
disposed of, all the money must go through the fiscus,” Tsvangirai said to
journalists at a media briefing Wednesday.

“There must be transparency in the manner in which we mine and dispose of
our diamonds. That is the most important thing. What has been mined is a
national resource. How we exploit that national resource is in
the national interest not in a partisan interest. I am hoping that this
green light by KP allows us as government to control the resources from
Marange in a transparent and open manner.”

Meanwhile, the National Association of Non Governmental Organisations
(NANGO) has congratulated Maguwu for landing the human rights award and
commended him for his bravery in the face of persistent state
persecution.

"Mr. Maguwu is a leading figure in the struggle by Zimbabweans for orderly
and transparent extraction and utilisation of natural resources for the
benefit of the nation," NANGO Director of Programmes
Machinda Marongwe said in a statement.

"He has been repeatedly prosecuted and detained by law enforcement agents
and been changed under the notorious Section 31 of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act. Despite all the prosecution and
harassment he has remained focused and continued with this important work
that CRD remains seized with."

The Alison Des Forges Award for extraordinary Activism is an annual honour
given by global rights watchdog, Human Rights Watch to individuals
throughout the world who have put their lives and safety
at risk in the name of defending human rights.

It is named after Dr. Alison Des Forges, a senior adviser to Human Rights
Watch's Africa division for almost two decades, killed in a plane crash in
February 2009.

Des Forges dedicated her life to working on Rwanda and was the world's
leading expert on the 1994 Rwanda genocide and its aftermath.


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Diamond CSOs slam Zim deal for ignoring human rights

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Alex Bell
03 November 2011

The civil society wing of the international diamond trade watchdog, the
Kimberley Process (KP), has slammed a new deal which green-lights the sale
of Zimbabwe’s controversial Chiadzwa diamonds, saying it ignores human
rights.

The deal was reached this week at the KP’s plenary session in theDRC, which
was boycotted by the KP Civil Society Coalition over the body’s failure to
end diamond fuelled human rights abuses. Such abuses have been ongoing
inZimbabwe’s Chiadzwa alluvial fields, where documented evidence of torture,
violence and rampant smuggling is still being recorded.

But despite this evidence the KP this week ended a two year long deadlock on
the country’s trade future and agreed that sales from Chiadzwa can go ahead.

The Civil Society Coalition, which includes Partnership Africa Canada (PAC),
Global Witness and others, said the deal “letsZimbabweoff the hook, again.”
The PAC’s Alan Martin told SW Radio Africa on Thursday thatZimbabwehas
failed to fulfill commitments it made to reform its diamond trade, which the
KP is now completely overlooking.

“It seems that the KP was looking for an exit strategy on theZimbabwecase,
because it has really dominated the KP for the last two years. But this deal
is a hard knock against an already battered initiative, that does nothing to
protect the integrity of the diamond industry,” Martin said.

The civil society groups have also raised concern that the diamond sales
might be funding ZANU PF’s campaign of violence ahead of fresh elections.
Martin agreed that this is a serious, justifiable concern, because key ZANU
PF members are implicated in the corruption at Chiadzwa.

Zimbabwe’s new diamond deal is a surprise turnaround from many Western KP
members, who have previously raised concerns about ongoing abuses at
Chiadzwa. TheUS,Canadaand the European Union (EU) all dropped their
objections againstZimbabwethis week, despite theUSand EU both maintaining
targeted sanctions against the same regime in control of the Chiadzwa
diamonds.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said theUShad abstained from
Tuesday’s KP vote, but chose not to block the measure.

“We think this compromise might have been stronger and that’s why we
abstained,” Nuland told a news briefing. “So we judge that rather than
having the entire Kimberley Process deadlocked overZimbabwewe would abstain,
we would let this go forward.”

Nuland did not clarify how theUSwill be involved, given that its sanctions
are still in place against the key Chiadzwa players, including the Mugabe
family, General Constantine Chiwenga, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Augustine Chihuri,
and Mines Minister Obert Mpofu. The state owned Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation (ZMDC), which is part of two joint venture groups currently
mining in Chiadzwa, is also on theUSsanctions list.

Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has led ZANU PF’s welcome of the KP’s decision
this week. Mpofu, who is on the sanctions lists, has been implicated in
extensive fraud including a US$2 billion diamond fraud case. In March 2010
Mpofu attracted the interest of a parliamentary committee investigating the
plunder of the diamond fields, when he went on a massive property buying
spree.

He told a press briefing this week that the deal will
helpZimbabweeconomically, with the Chiadzwa fields believed to be worth at
least two billion dollars a year. He insisted that millions of dollars have
already been realised from diamond sales. This is despite Finance Minister
Tendai Biti stating earlier this year that at least US$100 million in
diamond profits has not been seen by the Treasury.

Analyst Clifford Mashiri told SW Radio Africa that until proper legislation
is in place to ensure transparent diamond transactions, there is little
chance that the decision by the KP this week will benefit Zimbabweans. He
said the KP decision is “very disappointing.”


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Mujuru death remains divisive issue within ZANU PF

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Lance Guma
03 November 2011

The suspicious death of retired army general Solomon Mujuru continues to be
a thorny issue within ZANU PF, after several reports suggested politburo and
central committee meetings are avoiding discussion on the matter.

Vice President Joice Mujuru’s husband died when the farmhouse he was
sleeping in caught fire, but since then the results of a police
investigation have been kept under wraps. The police instead said they had
forwarded their findings to the courts, who have since ordered an inquest.

The late general led the so-called Mujuru faction in ZANU PF that is
involved in a contest for influence with the faction led by Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mujuru faction members are angry at the manner in which
his death has been handled and the lack of appetite within the party to
discuss the matter.

Mujuru’s allies are said to be pushing for his remains to be exhumed to
hopefully establish the real cause of death. Forensic experts say it’s
possible to test his remains for traces of poison or any other factors that
could have caused his death. Several family members are pushing for
independent investigators from outside the country to examine the case as
they fear local political manipulation.

On Wednesday ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo was a guest on SW Radio Africa’s
Question Time programme. He denied that the police report on Mujuru’s death
was being kept under wraps saying: “If police say it’s with the courts, then
it’s up to the court to decide. So it’s now subjudice and we can’t comment
on something that is in the court.”

Gumbo tried to downplay the agitation amongst fellow ZANU PF members over
the Mujuru issue adding: “I don’t see it dividing us because we tend to
follow the law of the country. The police are there to make sure that
investigations are done properly, if they produce a report and refer it to
the courts for an inquest, we support that.

Asked to comment on ZANU PF MP’s using parliament to demand answers on the
Mujuru case, Gumbo told SW Radio Africa: “ Members of Parliament from the
party have their views, that’s what we call democracy isn’t?”

The matter continues to generate intrigue after recently leaked US
diplomatic cables suggested that relations between Mujuru and Mugabe were so
strained that at one time that the two did not speak to each other. This was
after Mujuru challenged the ZANU PF leader to step down.

Speculation heightened last week when a businessman with close links to the
Mujuru faction was arrested on allegations of espionage and illegally
setting up satellite communication equipment to leak official secrets to
foreign countries.

Prominent banker Farai Rwodzi, a non-executive director at telecoms company
Africom Holdings, was arrested alongside acting chief executive Simba
Mangwende and Oliver Chiku from Global Satellite Systems.

Allegations are that the trio “connived to install communication equipment”
and connect it to the “Africom main network system without the authority or
knowledge of Africom management and the Post and Telecommunications
Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe.”


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Ncube Shoots Down Tomana’s EU Claims

http://www.radiovop.com/

Bulawayo, November 03, 2011- Cabinet has not discussed pursuing the European
Union (EU) over sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Welshman Ncube confirmed.

Ncube said Ministers have only learnt about moves by Attorney General,
Johannes Tomana to sue the EU on newspapers and state radio.

“It has not been discussed at Cabinet level. We have only learnt about that
(suing the EU) on newspapers and state radio. We have not been briefed,”
Ncube said in his response to Radio VOP inquiries on the
cabinet position on suing the EU.

Ncube however said his party supports the removal of sanctions, adding that
they are an obstacle to economic development and are hurting Zimbabwe.

“Indeed anyone who supports democracy in Zimbabwe must support the removal
of sanctions. They (sanctions) are being used by Zanu-PF to deny Zimbabweans
their democratic rights.

“Furthermore, sanctions are hurting Zimbabwe. It is because of these
sanctions that Zimbabwe has a poor credit rating internationally, they are
an obstacle to free trade and business,” he added.

The country’s AG was quoted by state Herald newspaper last week saying he
has assembled a team of lawyers to file a lawsuit against the EU, adding
that what is left is to get the necessary travel documents to enable us to
travel to Europe.”

Tomana would not give the exact details contained in the lawsuit, saying
that it is not yet a public document, The Herald said.

Mugabe and his close associates were slapped with travel bans to European
Union member countries after 2002 disputed presidential poll, which western
observers said were rigged to hand Mugabe victory.

Last week Switzerland denied Mugabe's wife, Grace and five government
officials’ visas to travel with the veteran leader to the European country
to attend a United Nations telecommunications conference.


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‘Zanu PF a sinking ship’

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Nkululeko Sibanda, Senior Writer
Thursday, 03 November 2011 18:20

HARARE - MDC national chairman Lovemore Moyo has described Zanu PF as a
sinking ship which can only be joined by those fond of committing political
suicide.

Moyo said Zimbabweans should vote carefully during the forthcoming
presidential and general elections expected to be held next year.

Moyo said voting for Zanu PF during the forthcoming elections would be a
mistake, Zimbabweans would live to regret for the rest of their lives.

Zanu PF has been in power since the country attained independence in 1980,
with Mugabe having been the only leader since then.

“I surely cannot see a situation where a sensible person can leave the MDC
to join a dying party like Zanu PF.
There is no one in his rightful mind who can join a sinking ship and hope to
survive,” said Moyo.

He added that his party was moving to restructure ahead of the anticipated
elections in order to beef up its support base.

“We have managed to restructure our structures and ensuring that we are all
ready for an election. We have filled gaps where there were some which had
been left vacant as a result of deaths. We have also put in place structures
where there were none so that we have solid structures throughout the
country and it is our hope that all this will ensure a solid MDC foundation
which can be the basis to defeat Zanu PF in the forthcoming election,” Moyo
said.

He, however, emphasised his party would only take part in elections
supervised by the regional Sadc body.

“We are definite that we will participate in elections as long as the
pre-requisites are met in terms of reforms that Zimbabwean parties, working
with Sadc have laid down. We are also going to be demanding that the roadmap
towards a free and fair election be adhered to as this is the only guarantee
we have that if fully implemented, we are going to hold free and fair
elections in the country,” Moyo added.


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Zimbabwe's manufacturing stirs, yearns for cash

http://www.timeslive.co.za

REUTERS | 02 November, 2011 15:35

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries(CZI) said capacity utilisation rose
to 57.2 percent by the end of the first half of 2011 from 43.7 percent in
the same period last year.

"Notwithstanding the increase in capacity utilisation, the sector is still
constrained by several factors which include low product demand, lack of
working capital and machine breakdown," the CZI said.

It said the cost of production also remained high, making locally
manufactured goods less competitive than imports from countries such as
South Africa, whose products have flooded the Zimbabwean market.

The sector's contribution to gross domestic product has shrunk to 13 percent
from 22 percent in 2000, before the advent of an economic crisis triggered
by President Robert Mugabe's seizure of white-owned commercial farms to
resettle landless blacks.

A coalition government set up by Mugabe and his rival, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai in 2009 put Zimbabwe on a recovery path and saw the sector
growing by 2.8 percent in 2010.

Zimbabwe adopted multiple currencies including the U.S. dollar and the rand
to replace the local dollar, rendered practically value-less by hyper
inflation.

Inflation reached 500 billion percent in 2008, forcing many firms to close,
with capacity utilisation plummeting to 10 percent at the peak of the crisis
that year.

Inflation has since come down sharply to single digits while the economy
grew for the first time in a decade in 2009 and is expected to expand by 9.3
percent this year.


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Lawyers dump Mudede again

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede has changed lawyers for the third time in
five months in a matter in which he faces jail for allegedly defying a High
Court order.
02.11.1108:40am
by ZLHR Legal Monitor

Dumped by the Attorney General’s Office, Mudede had sought the services of
private law firm Mushonga, Mutsvairo and Associates.

But they too, have announced they no longer act on his behalf, Mudede has
now engaged Mudenda Attorneys as his latest lawyers. He is battling to ward
off the possibility of jail as well as defend why he has failed to renew
Canadian-based

Zimbabwean citizen, Sebastian Piroro’s passport as ordered by High Court
Judge Justice Susan Mavangira in March.

Another High Court Judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, last week reserved
judgment on Piroro’s application. Piroro wants Mudede to be jailed for 90
days for defying Justice Mavangira’s order.

His lawyer, Bryant Elliot of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, argued that
his client’s application for contempt of court should be urgently set down
for hearing because he needed to travel for work and his failure to fulfil
his job obligations could soon result in loss of employment.

Piroro was born and educated in Zimbabwe and had sought to renew his
passport at the Zimbabwean embassy in Ottawa. The travelling document was
issued in 2000 and expired last year. But in response Mudede refused,
alleging that Piroro was a dual citizen on account of his father having been
born in Mozambique.

Mudede said Piroro should first renounce Mozambican citizenship - which he
does not hold - before he could obtain a new Zimbabwe passport. Piroro’s
father, Saidon, was born in Mozambique.

He migrated to Zimbabwe around 1955 and never returned to Mozambique. He
became a citizen of Zimbabwe by registration and had a Zimbabwean identity
number.

Piroro’s mother, born in Marondera, was a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth.
Justice Mavangira ruled that Piroro was a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth in
terms of Section 5 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. – ZLHR Legal Monitor


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Mzembi raps poor tourism standards

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Sharon Muguwu, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 15:03

HARARE - Tourism minister Walter Mzembi says local hospitality standards
fall far short of international benchmarks.

Speaking during a press briefing at which he was awarded with the Most
Prestigious Hospitality Award by the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe,
Mzembi said research had shown Zimbabwe being way below the mark.

“My officials have travelled a great deal in the last two years. We are
therefore in a position to compare the standards and quality of service that
we have in our hotels and restaurants with those that we see in our overseas
destinations whose populations actually constitute the world’s biggest
international tourism markets,” he said.

“We have noted that our standards fall way below the world’s average
standards.

“In this regard,  I must say you have a lot to do if we are going to be able
by 2013 to offer the right level of quality service that is expected of the
hosts of an event of the magnitude and prominence of the United Nations
World Tourism Organisation General Assembly,” said Mzembi.

He stated that his ministry would now engage experts to help spruce up
service delivery in the tourism and hospitality industry.

Mzembi emphasised the need for township and village tourism so that visitors
could get a grasp of Zimbabwean life.

“I am fully convinced that if we empower and capacitate township tourism in
our urban areas and village tourism in our rural areas, we will have
achieved a great deal that is consistent with sustainable tourism, MDGs and
our own national objective of equitable development or growth with equity,”
he said.


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Zanu PF scared of change

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Thelma Chikwanha, Community Affairs Editor
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 15:57

HARARE - ZANU PF is afraid of the winds of change that are blowing across
the continent hence its over-reliance on the use of state security apparatus
to crush dissent.

Analysts told the Daily News after yesterday’s mayhem in central Harare that
the former ruling party, which has maintained its grip on security
institutions since entering into a coalition government in 2009, was now in
election mode and violence was part of its campaign strategy.

They said Zanu PF was now jittery because of its waning support.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said the police action revealed that
Zanu PF was in panic mode.

“Statements by the likes of defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa that North
African uprisings will not happen here because the military is ready when
nobody has spoken about any uprising just go to show that they are now
panicking,” said Mangongera.

Mangongera said Zanu PF was fully aware of the people’s impatience and were
now desperate to maintain control.

“Zanu PF is aware that the conditions prevailing are conducive for a
revolution that is why they are panicking. How can they disrupt Tsvangirai’s
activities when he is a senior member of the coalition government. In fact
he is the number two person in government,” Mangongera said.

Mangongera, a leadership academy associate with the Institute for a
Democratic Alternatives for Zimbabwe (IDAZIM), said popular revolutions in
North Africa had a bearing on Zimbabwe and the Zanu PF leadership.

“They fear that one day there is going to be a revolution,” he said.

Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe (CCiZ) director McDonald Lewanika shared
similar sentiments.

“Police have been held hostage by Zanu PF. This behaviour is not unexpected
from the police. That is why we as civil society have been calling for
reforms in the security sector,” Lewanika said.

The CCiZ boss warned the police not to continue taking Zimbabweans for
granted.

“It is a real possibility that the North African revolts can take place
here. It is true that people have been accused of being docile but when
pushed to the edge they can react,” Lewanika said.


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50 years on, jubilant USAID reflects on its work in Zimbabwe

Harare, November 3rd 2011: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has succeeded in its work in Zimbabwe despite changing perceptions about U.S. - Zimbabwe relations, a senior official from the agency said on Tuesday. 

 

“A key is that our development assistance is apolitical.  I don’t care where you live, what party you belong to, whether you are black, blue or green; if you need humanitarian assistance and we have a program which is relevant to you and will help you and your household, your community and your district, that’s where we are at,” said Tina Dooley-Jones (in picture), Economic Growth Office Director at USAID’s Harare office.

 

Dooley- Jones was addressing a public discussion as part of the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section’s Food for Thought Tuesday public lecture series. The discussion looked at the work of USAID globally and in Zimbabwe, and comes at a time when the organization is celebrating its 50th anniversary globally.

 

USAID established an office in Zimbabwe soon after the country’s independence in 1980 and has continued to provide health, humanitarian and other development assistance uninterrupted to today.  USAID programs support U.S. foreign policy goals in support of the U.S.-Zimbabwe bilateral relationship.  Since 2000, the United States has taken a leading role in condemning increasing violations of human rights and the rule of law, and has joined much of the world community in calling on Zimbabwe to embrace peaceful democratic processes.

 

In the last decade, the United States imposed targeted measures on the Government of Zimbabwe, including financial and visa sanctions against selected individuals, a ban on transfers of defense items and services, and a suspension of non-humanitarian government-to-government assistance.

 

“We never left during the tough times, we were always trying to support whatever crises Zimbabweans encountered, feeding almost the entire country, and our budget figures were similar to those that we had in the 90s,” said Dooley-Jones. The U.S. provided more than $900 million in humanitarian assistance from 2002-2008, most of which was in the form of food aid.

 

Dooley-Jones spent four years with USAID/Southern Africa overseeing the South African bilateral economic growth portfolio, and the regional agriculture, trade and investment portfolio, in addition to several activities in non-presence countries.

 

During the discussion, Dooley-Jones chronicled the history of U.S. assistance, highlighting an assistance reform process that started in the early 2000s as a result of a new approach to development aid.  She said the organization is realigning its activities to meet new challenges as well as enhance coordination of its activities with other agencies within the U.S. government.

 

“50 years ago there were only a handful of donors in the entire world, and USAID was by far the largest.  Today, aid flows through 263 multilateral agencies, 197 bilateral agencies and 42 donor countries.  Assistance from emerging donors such as China, India, Brazil and the Gulf states has grown rapidly.  This makes intra-U.S. government and other donor coordination absolutely essential if we are all going to reach our objectives, which are development, poverty reduction, and improved quality of life for citizens,” said the USAID official citing her organization’s 2011-15 Policy Framework document.

 

Responding to questions, she said Zimbabwe needs reliable statistics to craft evidence-based policy decisions to create a good poverty reduction strategy.

 

“There is need for confidence, particularly by donor agencies. that a poverty reduction strategy will be developed in this country, because only then will you lift people out of poverty and overcome crises and shortages, including food insecurity,” said Dooley- Jones. She noted that Zimbabwe “has gone a decade with no statistics, no good qualitative data for development partners and the ministries to use, except for perhaps in the health sector.”

 

The U.S., she said, spends less than one percent of its national budget on foreign aid, which is appropriated by Congress.  She paid tribute to the role of American private individuals, foundations and companies who, despite declining funding levels for the U.S. government, continued the ethic of giving to charity and the needy.

 

“In fact,” said Dooley- Jones, “private Americans alone donated $3.7 million to the 2004 Tsunami relief efforts,” said Dooley- Jones. – ZimPASİ November 3 2011.

 

# # #

 

ZimPAS is a product of the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section. Comments and queries should be submitted to Sharon Hudson Dean, Counselor for Public Affairs, hararepas@state.gov, Url: http://harare.usembassy.gov

 

 


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Will the KP green light increase remittances to Treasury?

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 03/11/11

The clearance of Marange diamonds for export by the Kimberley Process has
understandably met with mixed reaction, with celebrations in Zanu-pf
quarters and murmurs in civil society circles.

The KP appears to have succumbed to Zanu-pf’s highly effective strategy of
political blackmail whereby opposing the former liberation movement, no
matter how well meant means that you have an imperialist agenda or are just
a puppet that needs to be crushed.

Sadly, the KP’s appears to have acquiesced and pushed aside all concerns
about the lack of transparency in diamond sales, ongoing human rights abuses
and smuggling syndicates and given a nod to the arguably “legitimised
looting” of Marange diamonds.

In February Zimbabwe’s Parliament opened a full scale probe into alleged
illegal diamond sales amid claims that at least US$400 million due to
Treasury had still not been remitted. While so many gems have been sold,
they have not benefited the country.

There are strong fears that Chiadzwa diamonds may be funding a parallel
regime and a possible war chest ahead of a referendum on a new constitution
followed by elections which are expected to be violent unless supervised by
the international community beyond SADC.

Commonsense would have dictated that verifiable safeguards against looting
be put in place before letting Mugabe off the hook. Furthermore, rights
abuses revealed by civil society and documented by the BBC’s Panorama
programme as well as SATV programme Carte Blanche on Sunday should have been
probed thoroughly first.

The KP should have pressured Zimbabwe to enact the New Diamond Act which
would hopefully promote transparency, sustainable use of the environment and
fair compensation for displaced locals who are being impoverished by big
interests.

As it is, the KP may live to regret its decision to give Zimbabwe a blank
cheque as there is a big possibility of the return of blood diamonds.

Given Zimbabwe’s record of not wanting to implement international
agreements, the KP would have no one to blame if Zimbabwe defaulted on its
commitments as we have seen with the Global Political Agreement.

There is merit in MDC-T MP Eddie Cross’ motion in parliament calling for the
nationalisation of the Marange/Chiadzwa diamond fields as that could
generate US$2.8 billion annually for the fiscus if properly implemented.

However, the downside of nationalisation is that notorious presidential
proclamations might still enable the regime to divert diamond proceeds for
electioneering purposes in the same way the chaotic land grab is being
handled.

Nevertheless, doubts remain that the KP’s green light on Marange diamonds
will increase remittances to Zimbabwe’s Treasury other than line the pockets
of the few who are well connected with the authoritarian regime.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,
zimanalysis2009@gmail.com


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Constitution Watch Content Series 11/2011 - 2nd November 2011 [The Judiciary Part II]

CONSTITUTION WATCH

CONTENT SERIES 11/2011

[2nd November 2011]

The Judiciary Part II

Qualifications of Judges

In Australia and South Africa, the qualifications for appointment as a judge are not specified with any precision.  The South African Constitution requires the JSC to take into account “the need for the judiciary to reflect broadly the racial and gender composition of South Africa”.  In Zimbabwe the qualifications are that the appointee must either:

·      have been a judge of a superior court in a foreign country where the common law is Roman-Dutch or English, and English is an official language, or

·      have been qualified to practise as a legal practitioner in Zimbabwe for at least seven years.

These qualifications seem reasonable.  Should the new constitution specify any others – such as, age, race or gender, political opinions or background?

·      Age:  It seems unnecessary to specify a minimum age for appointment to the Bench.  If a candidate has already served as a judge in a foreign country, or has been qualified to practise in the legal profession for seven years, then he or she should be mature enough to serve as a judge.  The question of a maximum age for judges will be dealt with later, under security of tenure.

·      Race or gender:  Should there be any racial or gender considerations, as required in South Africa?  There are arguments for and against this sort of affirmative action.  Race should be irrelevant 31 years after independence.  While women constitute a little over 50 per cent of the population, the same does not apply to the legal profession so there is smaller pool of qualified person to choose from.  Gender balance is desirable on the Bench.  What must be avoided, however, is over-emphasis of a person’s gender at the expense of his or her ability and suitability for the office.  The appointment of judges who are not highly skilled is more likely to undermine public confidence in the administration of justice than the appointment of an unrepresentative judiciary.

·      Political opinions:  Selection on the basis of a candidate’s known conservative or liberal tendencies (as in the US) should be avoided.  Lawyers, like anyone else, have their views on political and social issues, but a conscientious judge will avoid letting these views affect his or her decisions.  A litigant or accused person should not feel that the case will be determined because of the judge’s political views.

·      Disqualification of former politicians:  Zimbabwe has a long tradition of appointing former Ministers of Justice to the Bench.  Some have been good judges, some have not. There is no reason in principle why former politicians should not be considered for appointment as judges, but a sideways step from ministerial office to the Bench gives the impression (a) that the appointment is a reward for political services; and (b) that the appointee’s former political allegiance will be reflected in his or her decisions.

Protection from Undue Influences

Three core characteristics of judicial independence are said to be:

1.   Security of tenure;

2.   Financial security; and

3.   Administrative independence.

Security of tenure

A constitution can give judges security of tenure by fixing clearly their terms of office and ensuring that they cannot be removed from office without good cause.

Term of office

How long should a judge stay in office?  There are three possibilities:

·      Life tenure

·      Tenure for a specified term

·      Tenure until retirement at a prescribed age.

The debate over which of these to adopt centres on the need to remove senile and debilitated judges from office, as against the need to retain experienced and learned judges who are healthy enough to continue serving.

Giving judges life tenure creates the risk of judges who are clearly incompetent remaining in office well beyond their useful time.  In the United States, judges of the Supreme Court and Federal Court have life tenure.  The retirement age for judges in state courts in the United States is variable;  a number of states have no mandated retirement ages, while others range from 70 to75 years of age.

Most other countries have an upper age limit, after which a judge must retire.  Zimbabwe has the relatively young retirement age of 65, with a possible extension to 70 if the judge so elects and produces a medical report showing that he or she is mentally and physically fit to continue in office (section 86(1) of the Constitution).  Any specified retirement age is inevitably an arbitrary figure.  There is usually no scientific or sociological reason to pick on a particular age as the time when an individual should retire. 

The third option – tenure for a specified period – appears to be unusual.  Only the Constitutional Court of South Africa seems to have adopted that system.  Judges of that court hold office for a non-renewable term of twelve years or until they reach the age of 70 years, whichever occurs first.  The idea was to ensure a regular rotation of judges in the Constitutional Court, so that constitutional interpretation reflected changing attitudes of society.

Removal from office and grounds for removal

Obviously judges sometimes have to be removed from office, and the grounds for doing so and the procedure to be followed should be laid down in the constitution.

In Zimbabwe, a judge may only be removed from office for inability to discharge the functions of his office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause, or for misbehaviour (section 87 of the Constitution).  These grounds are similar to those specified in many other countries such as Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Australia, Canada and India;  South Africa and Uganda add gross incompetence as a further ground.

“Misbehaviour” is not defined in our Constitution or in any of the constitutions mentioned in the previous paragraph, but it can be taken to mean misbehaviour in matters concerning the office of judge and would include a conviction for an offence that would render the person unfit to carry out judicial functions.  Official misconduct and neglect of official duties would probably constitute misbehaviour.  Whether incompetence (in the sense of persistently reaching illogical or perverse decisions) would constitute misbehaviour is less than clear, but it could arguably be regarded as inability to discharge the functions of the office.  A poor legal knowledge may also fall into this category.

The new constitution should state the grounds for removal of judges as broadly as they are stated in the present Constitution, but should perhaps add gross incompetence as a further separate ground.  And, if a judicial code of ethics is formulated (see below), serious breaches of that code should constitute misbehaviour meriting removal from office.

Procedure for removal from office

In most constitutions the procedure for removing judges from office is lengthy and cumbersome, which ensures that judges cannot be lightly threatened with removal. 

In Zimbabwe, if the President considers that the question of the removal from office of the Chief Justice ought to be investigated, he must appoint a tribunal under section 87 of the Constitution to inquire into the matter.  All the members of the Tribunal are chosen by the President;  most are judges or former judges, but the President can appoint one or more legal practitioners nominated by the Law Society. However, he does not have to do this.  If the tribunal recommends that the President should refer the question of removing the judge to the JSC, the President must do this;  and if the JSC recommends the judge’s removal the President must remove him or her from office.  The Constitution does not provide any formal system whereby allegations of misconduct may be made by professional bodies or by members of the public.  It is possible, presumably, for a complaint to be made to the JSC and for it to investigate in terms of section 15 of the Judicial Service Act.  It could then refer the complaint to the President or the Chief Justice.  As mentioned above, the JSC is not genuinely independent, so the whole process of removing judges from office is very much in the hands of the Executive. 

Under the South African Constitution, a judge may be removed from office only if the JSC has found that the judge suffers from incapacity, is grossly incompetent or is guilty of gross misconduct, and if the National Assembly passes a resolution by a two-thirds majority calling for the judge to be removed.

Under the new constitution there should be a more open system of bringing allegations of misconduct against judges.  The South African example seems a good one to follow.  Whatever procedure is adopted in the new constitution, it should apply to magistrates and other judicial officers, not just to judges.

Financial security

Financial security, the second core element of judicial independence, should mean:

a.   that the judge’s income is not reduced while he or she holds office;  and

b.   that judges’ recompense is adequate (bearing in mind that accepting judicial office almost invariably means a drop in income) and appropriate for the work and responsibility.  The salary should be such that there is not even the temptation, let alone the need, for a judge to have a sideline business or to receive rewards that may raise doubta about his or her impartiality.

Ensuring financial security can present problems, particularly when inflation erodes judges’ salaries.  In Zimbabwe there is no legislative or constitutional provision compelling the executive or legislature to adjust judicial salaries for inflation.  Some provision of this sort needs to be inserted in the new constitution, so that we do not again see such things as occurred in recent years, where the Reserve Bank bought luxury goods for the judges.

Administrative independence

In most countries that follow the Westminster system of government, the courts are administered by the Executive, that is to say, the registrars and clerks who do the administrative work to keep the courts functioning are members of the public service employed or at least paid by the Executive.  In Zimbabwe since the Judicial Service Act came into operation in June last year, they have fallen under the control of the Judicial Service Commission.  It is debatable whether this is necessary for judicial independence.  In other countries the courts have remained independent despite executive administration of the courts;  and even if the courts are given administrative autonomy they inevitably lack financial autonomy because they are funded from money allocated by the Executive and Parliament.  The independence of the judiciary is best maintained by the character of the judges themselves rather than through administrative autonomy.

Ensuring an Effective Judiciary

There is little that a constitution can do directly to ensure the judiciary does its work efficiently.  Handing administrative control over the courts to the judiciary in the form of the JSC is unlikely to enhance judicial independence, as pointed out above, and it is unlikely to improve efficiency either.  Good judges are not necessarily good administrators.  Lack of finance has been cited as one of the reasons for the sclerosis affecting Zimbabwe’s court system.  The new constitution must contain a provision obliging the government to provide the judiciary with sufficient funds.

Perhaps the best the new constitution can do is to permit the JSC to lay down standards of efficiency to be observed by judicial officers, for example, requiring them to be reasonably diligent, to attend court when required, to work normal business hours, and perhaps to complete their case-loads within a reasonable time.  A judicial officer who fails to observe these standards should be liable to disciplinary action and ultimately dismissal.

Code of Ethical Conduct

The Zimbabwean judiciary no longer enjoys the high reputation for integrity it had in the years immediately after Independence.  There are good reasons for this.  The economy deteriorated from the mid-1990s, eventually making it impossible for judicial officers to make ends meet on their official salaries.  This compelled them to engage in other activities such as commercial farming and trading, and made them more open to undue influence.  The absence of an official code setting out clear rules of ethical conduct made it more difficult for judicial officers to resolve the serious ethical dilemmas with which they were faced.  The new constitution should oblige the JSC to draw up such a code and should make it enforceable.  Breaches of the code, in other words, should be declared to be misbehaviour justifying disciplinary action.

Final considerations

No matter what fine-sounding provisions are inserted in the new constitution to secure judicial independence, such independence is meaningless if the Executive does not respect the rule of law.  Where the Executive can direct the police not to investigate clear offences and not to obey court orders that the Executive does not like, the rule of law does not exist. 

 

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

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