BULAWAYO - War veterans have threatened to roll out a new wave of
protests against senior Zanu PF officials ahead of the ruling party's
potentially explosive special congress set for December.
The threats, which bring a new dimension to the long running
succession war, are directed at ruling party officials who are opposed to
the former freedom fighters' campaign to mobilise support for President
Mugabe, in power since the country's independence in 1980, is battling
internal opposition as he seeks to represent the ruling party in next year's
He has reportedly enlisted the support of the ex-combatants to lay the
ground work for his endorsement at the congress in December.
The war veterans - led by Jabulani Sibanda who has been secretly
brought back into the fold by Mugabe after he was expelled from Zanu PF in
2004 for disrespecting the PF Zapu old guard -have been holding so-called
solidarity marches in support of the ageing leader's candidature.
Vice-President Joseph Msika, Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo, politburo
member Dumiso Dabengwa and other former senior PF Zapu leaders have openly
criticised Sibanda's involvement in Mugabe's campaign. Sources in the war
veterans body revealed these senior politicians would be the target of the
Sibanda said the ex-combatants were soon going to launch a campaign to
remove officials "surrounding the President who are corrupt and tribalists".
He was speaking on Thursday after he led his supporters in a
solidarity march in Bulawayo. The march was in defiance of Zanu PF
heavyweights who banned the war veterans from using the party headquarters
in the city.
"We want to remove Zanu PF officials who are known for peddling tribal
wars. Let me assure you that the war veterans are going to demonstrate
against tribalists," Sibanda said. He said Mugabe was "a man of wisdom
surrounded by corrupt ministers," who were destroying the economy.
"Action will be taken against the ministers," he said. Mugabe is
battling a faction led by former army general, Solomon Mujuru, which is
pushing for Vice-President Joice Mujuru to represent the ruling party in the
Rural Housing and Social Amenities minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is also
said to be habouring ambitions to succeed Mugabe but his faction backed by
war veterans has reportedly struck a deal to back the President's
re-election campaign for now in return for future support.
Zanu PF heavyweights in Matabeleland are said to be sympathetic to
Mujuru and they snubbed the solidarity marches in Bulawayo and Gwanda held
over the past two weeks. Last weekend, the war veterans were forced to
switch their march from Bulawayo to Gwanda after they were barred by the
Zanu PF heavyweights.
"We are demonstrating in support of President Mugabe and because we
don't want war with these guys we will not be going to Davis Hall," Sibanda
said, explaining why the war veterans avoided the party headquarters in
Bulawayo after their march.
Bulawayo province says it will not support the solidarity marches
because it has not endorsed Mugabe's candidacy as required by the Zanu PF
Addressing the war veterans after the march in Gwanda, Sibanda said he
had no respect for the Zanu PF leadership in Matabeleland except for Home
Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, Environment and Tourism deputy minister
Andrew Langa, and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare deputy minister
Abedinico Bhebhe because they were "elected" .
Langa and Ncube were the only Zanu PF senior officials who attended
the march in Gwanda.
BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA & GODFREY MUTIMBA
FEARS of Miss Rural pageant preying on unsophisticated young girls
came frighteningly close to reality last week, The Standard can report.
A reveller who walked into a popular Masvingo night club on Saturday
night could be forgiven for mistaking it for a striptease joint.
For the first time in the entertainment history of the country's
oldest city, for a fee revellers of the sleepy town had a chance to "greet
and feel" young beauty queens.
But these girls were not commercial sex workers or strippers who
descended on the small establishment from bigger cities: they were
contestants of the controversial Miss Rural pageant.
The young girls, who left their rural homes hoping to scale dizzy
heights in the world of modelling, ended up at Liquids night club, where
organisers had other ideas for them.
The girls had a tough time with drunken patrons after organisers of
the Miss Rural pageant announced that it was time for "fund-raising".
Anyone-drunkards included, who wished to be photographed with any of
the models would pay a fee of $1 million, they said. Those who wished to
greet the contestants would part with $500 000.
The result of the announcement was a stampede as revellers jostled for
the models for the "photo session".
One visibly drunken patron began to have several photographs lewdly
hugging the models.
One witness said what the patron was doing to the models amounted to
indecent assault on the young girls.
Some of the drunken men could be seen groping caressing the young
models as they waited for the "photo sessions".
The innocent girls, who seemed unaware that they were actually being
abused, would take several positions with men while being photographed.
Fears were raised that some of the pictures could find themselves in
Some elderly people, with their families, who had come to see the
contestants were shocked and started complaining. They denounced the
organizers for abusing the girls in the name of modeling.
"If this is what you call modelling I will never allow my kid to do
this," remarked an elderly man who was seated next to a reporter from The
Standard. "This is actually wrong. How can they allow those innocent kids to
be abused by men?"
Some revellers attacked the organizers saying their intention was not
to groom modeling talent among rural girls but to make money out of them.
"This is ridiculous, those people are abusing those kids," said
Million Mbinyira who looked shocked. "I don't think their parents would
allow them to continue modelling if they discover this."
Miss Rural Zimbabwe founder, Sipho Mazibuko-Ncube initially declined
to comment when asked by The Standard comment on the allegations of abuse.
Then in a series of bizarre developments she tried to block The Standard
from writing the story by promising the reporter one of the beautiful
"Muri mukwasha wangu imi kozvaita sei?" said Mazibuko. "Hamuna kuona
here vasikana vandakauya navo togona kukutsvagirai mumwe. Don't write the
Mazibuko who owns Strides Modelling Agency has been criticized in the
past for abusing girls since she started the pageant, with reports the girls
are prey for the rich guys, most of them politicians who usually grace the
finals whenever they are held.
On Tuesday when Mazibuko learnt that The Standard intended to expose
the "fund-raising exercise", she came to The Standard office accompanied by
Miss Rural contestants, who appeared to be out of sorts.
But her mission was doomed when she was confronted by an angry
businessman, who alleged he was owed $56 million by the pageant organiser.
Anderson Tagara the owner of Tagara Transport Tours told Mazibuko she
was not going to leave The Standard offices until she paid him.
Tagara told The Standard that Mazibuko hired two of his commuter buses
last week to ferry Miss Rural contestants to Masvingo, Chiredzi and come
back to Harare with them then failed to pay.
"This woman is crazy. I do not even know why you deal with her," he
screamed, shaking with rage. "She hired my two kombis last week and she has
not yet paid me. I want my money today and she is not living this place
until she pays up. I do not care if this is a private property or not."
Mazibuko told Tagara that she would deposit the money into his bank
account, as she had no money on her at that moment.
But Tagara would have none of that. Mazibuko meanwhile remained holed
up at The Standard offices for almost three hours.
The Standard news Editor Walter Marwizi organised for Mazibuko and her
team to leave when Tagara went downstairs. But there was no joy as the
businessman and his colleagues were waiting outside in three cars.
Tagara and his team eventually left the offices around 6PM after
realising that Mazibuko had no money to pay him.
It was an embarrassing moment for Mazibuko.
Three weeks earlier, Mazibuko had told The Standard she had hired
eight bodyguards, who provided her round-the-clock protection, even when she
went abroad. She even claimed her life was in danger and intended to insure
her body for US$1 million. But these bodyguards were nowhere present when
Tagara came looking for her.
Mazibuko told The Standard that she had dismissed her bodyguards and
was now being protected by the "security from the President's Office".
Mazibuko's management of the rural pageant had come under the
spotlight as the second edition of Miss Rural fails has been repeatedly
Many reasons have been given for the postponement of the pageant.
One was that the show failed after that the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority
(ZTA), one of their supposed sponsors, had requested further postponement
because they were busy with the Travel expo 2007.
However, the Chief Executive Officer of ZTA, Karikoga Kaseke, denied
sponsoring Miss Rural pageant.
"I want to make this clear," said Kaseke. "ZTA is not sponsoring Miss
Rural... If ZTA was a private board called Karikoga Kaseke Investments maybe
I would not have a problem supporting them."
Joel Matiza, the Deputy Minister of Rural Housing and Social
Amenities, who was the first patron of the Miss Rural pageant, confirmed
that he had quit.
He said: "I left Miss Rural because of time. I am always busy with the
ministry and constituency business. I told them to look for another patron
and I don't have an axe to grind with Mazibuko as some people are saying."
The new patron is a Masvingo businesswoman Susan Jason.
Betty Makoni, the founder of Girl Child Network is among strong
critics of the Miss Rural pageant. She accuses Mazibuko-Ncube of being used
by men to abuse girls.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
THE High Court has ordered State security agents to stop interfering
with the memorial service for the late opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) chairman, Isaac Matongo.
In August the police barred MDC activists, relatives and friends from
holding the memorial service at the Matongo rural home in Gutu.
This prompted Matongo's wife, Evelyn Masaiti, to lodge an application
with the High Court.
The order cited nine respondents including the Minister of Home
Affairs Kembo Mohadi, Commissioner of Police Augustine Chihuri and Officer
Commanding Gutu district.
High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu ordered the respondents or anyone
acting through them to stop interfering with the memorial service
"The respondents, their agents or anyone acting through them, be and
are hereby interdicted, restrained and prohibited from harassing,
assaulting, threatening, intimidating or dispersing any person or persons
invited or attending the memorial service proceedings of the late Isaac
Matongo. . .," said Justice Bhunu.
The order also bars the police from stopping anyone from attending the
memorial and further interdicts police from barricading roads.
The memorial service was originally scheduled for August but a day
before the event, people claiming to be members of the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) visited Matongo's homestead.
According to court papers lodged by Masaiti, they declared that the
memorial service would not be held in the village.
Masaiti says two days later one Superintendent Matapura, who was in
the company of other police officers, visited the homestead and said the
police had not sanctioned the function as was required under the Public
Order and Security Act (Posa).
She added, "I explained the memorial service was a private function,
to which only relatives, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, associates and
well-wishers to the late Isaac Matongo had been invited."
The police did not listen.
Masaiti submitted that holding a memorial service was both in line
with the African custom and Christian practice.
"Attempts to frustrate, interrupt or disrupt such proceedings is
tantamount to disrespect for the dead," she said.
Matongo died of hypertension and diabetes in May and his family is
planning to hold another memorial service next week.
BY WALTER MARWIZI
JABULANI Sibanda, a former Zanu PF provincial chairman and war
veterans' leader, has told ruling party heavyweights in Matabeleland to
openly campaign for a candidate of their choice in next year's Presidential
elections or shut up.
Sibanda has raised the ire of the politicians by holding marches
across the country aimed at mobilising support for President Robert Mugabe,
who is battling to secure another term of office, against a groundswell of
opposition to his rule.
The marches are being held less than two months before Zanu PF holds
an extraordinary congress, which will decide the party's presidential
candidate for 2008 harmonised polls.
Mugabe, who has presided over a collapsing economy characterised by
high inflation, shortages of foreign currency and basic commodities, has
made it clear that he wants another term. He has even gone as far as
publicly declaring that there is no vacancy for his position.
Many senior Zanu PF politicians have avoided campaigning for Mugabe,
who is expected to seek endorsement as the Zanu PF candidate for the 2008
elections at the extraordinary congress.
But war veterans led by Sibanda continue to march across the country
in support of Mugabe. The move has angered politicians in Matabeleland.
Effort Nkomo, the Zanu PF spokesperson, said Bulawayo was a
"disciplined province" and would not join any of Sibanda's marches.
Zanu PF national Chairman John Nkomo warned Sibanda to stop the
marches. This was echoed by Vice-President Joseph Msika, who said Sibanda
had "no mandate to campaign" for the party. He said the war veteran had been
expelled from the party "a long time ago".
A defiant Sibanda told The Standard last week he had appealed against
his suspension to both the Central Committee and the Congress and, on the
basis of that appeal, he remained an ordinary party member of Zanu PF.
He said he had made a decision to galvanise support for Mugabe and
no-one would stop him.
"I did not need any permission from any of the heavyweights to carry
on with the marches. If they have any other candidate, they should come in
the open and campaign for their candidate. I have come in the open and I am
actively campaigning for President Mugabe," said Sibanda.
"I am doing the marches as a war veteran in support of my patron
President Mugabe. In Zanu PF, I am an ordinary member and as an ordinary
member, I have a right to campaign for the President of my party," said
Sibanda. "The constitution allows me to do that, and that is precisely what
I am doing.
"I am inviting these people to join in the marches. I have received
support from senior politicians in other areas. I can't be given the right
to organise and mobilise for a leader of the party I am a member of."
There is speculation that Sibanda has regained his position as
chairman of the war veterans as part of Mugabe's campaign to shore up his
support before the extraordinary congress.
Sibanda was also suspended from the chairmanship of the war veterans'
body amid allegations that he had attended the ill-fated Tsholotsho meeting.
Sibanda denied that Mugabe was involved in his comeback, insisting
that war veterans ran their own affairs.
"I haven't talked to President Mugabe. He is up there with the people
who want to see him re-elected," he said.
BY OUR STAFF
RESIDENTS in urban areas across the country must brace for shocking
municipal bills this month-end after government set aside its controversial
price controls and gave councils permission to increase tariffs, backdating
them to September, The Standard has learnt.
The government's approval comes amid a fresh round of steep price
increases of almost all goods and services with the State taking a back
seat. Schools have also started asking parents to pay "top up" fees barely
two months into the third term because of spiralling inflation.
Last month, President Robert Mugabe, through the Presidential Powers
(Temporary Measures) Act, outlawed all rates and fee increases linked to the
Consumer Price Index for the next six months in a desperate bid to fight
But in an apparent policy reversal, Partson Mbiriri, the Secretary for
the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development,
recently wrote to all provincial administrators informing them that all
councils had been allowed to effect tariff increases proposed in their
budgets for this year.
"The government has consulted," Mbiriri said, "and decided that those
local authorities which had incorporated in the 2007 budgets staggered
tariff increases, may now proceed to implement their proposals with effect
from 1 September."
He said councils whose supplementary budgets had been approved by
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development minister,
Ignatious Chombo would also be allowed to backdate their tariff increases to
The circular follows the arrest of Bulawayo mayor, Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube and the town clerk, Stanley Donga, on accusations that they
violated Mugabe's directive by effecting the new tariffs.
This was after council increased its tariffs by 2 600% after
implementing its $3.6 trillion supplementary budget that was passed in June.
Donga confirmed that Chombo had approved council's budget.
In August, councils initially refused to freeze their tariff increases
after government forced them to roll them back to June saying they were on
the brink of bankruptcy. But they were eventually forced to temporarily put
their budgets on hold after their officials were threatened with arrest.
Mugabe says the price freeze was necessary to stop his enemies from
effecting a regime change.
By Vusumuzi Sifile
MORE than two years after the government displaced them under
Operation Murambatsvina, residents of Hatcliffe Extension in Harare have
learnt to cope with their miseries.
Despite repeated promises and assurances from the government, their
condition continues to worsen.
Last week, The Standard attended a meeting at the camp where an
estimated 7 000 residents gathered to share how to cope with the challenges
they are facing.
The residents said they were still fetching water from unprotected
wells. There are no facilities whatsoever in the township.
"When they moved us from Churu Farm, they told us the reason was to
organise better accommodation for us," said one resident, Admire Muza. "We
were surprised in 2005 when we woke up one day to see bulldozers crashing
down our houses.
"We are tired of these (government) people's empty promises. They
always promise to do something for us, but as you can see, we are still
living like animals. We have no water, no electricity, no clinic, virtually
The meeting, which was facilitated by a local non-governmental
organisation - Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe - started in the
morning and lasted close to six hours. So massive was the turnout that the
organisers of the meeting had to suspend the distribution of grocery items
and stationery, as a stampede was inevitable.
In 2005, the government promised that Hatcliffe Extension would be
among the priority areas in the reconstruction programme Operation
Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle. But as The Standard established, most residents in
the camp are still living in plastic shacks.
"I live in one room with my wife and two sisters. There is nothing I
can do. I had built a good house for the family," said another resident,
Clayton Chiromo, "but a few months after its completion in June 2005, they
came and razed it.
"They said the destruction of our houses was in order to organise
better accommodation for us. My life is more miserable than it used to be."
Addressing the gathering, Stendrick Zvorwadza, the vice-president of
ROHR Zimbabwe, said the current situation at Hatcliffe was a violation of
the residents' right to shelter, food and education.
"You deserve to live in good houses and drink good water like all of
us. Your children should go to school like every other child and the schools
should be fully furnished and have enough exercise books, textbooks and
teachers," said Zvorwadza.
He promised his organisation would sink 10 boreholes in the area, as
well as construct a clinic and establish a grinding mill.
The local chairperson of ROHR, Simon Zulu, said the residents were
growing impatient because of the continued empty promises from the
"As you can see, people have been here from 7AM, and our desire is to
be in a better situation than this," said Zulu. "At the moment, we have
divided people into four sections for registration, and we are going to
submit the list to ROHR, who will then use it to source assistance for us."
BY OUR STAFF
BULAWAYO - Government has been forced into a major climb-down after
police withdrew charges against the mayor and the town clerk who were
arrested for implementing council's $3.6 trillion supplementary budget.
Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube was questioned by police early last month
while town clerk, Stanley Donga, was arrested a fortnight ago on charges
that they allegedly violated the price controls by sanctioning rates and
tariff increases effective 1 August.
The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development,
Ignatious Chombo, approved the supplementary budget, which saw council
charges going up by 2 600%.
However, police ordered council to temporarily freeze the rates
increases pending approval by the Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring and
But according to council's lawyers, Coghlan & Welsh, police have since
indicated that they were no longer interested in pursuing the case in the
"We confirm that police have decided not to prosecute you in respect
of the rates increases," the lawyers said in a letter to council seen by The
"They accept that you have not committed an offence and that the
recent Presidential regulations are not applicable to the tariffs that you
approved on 13 June 2007."
However, police could not confirm the withdrawal.
Mugabe's Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) introduced in August
banned the indexing of pay, prices, rents and fees to the Consumer Price
Index (CPI) and an exchange rate or VAT.
Council says it was not affected by the regulations because the budget
was approved before 18 June, the date to which businesses were forced to
roll back their prices.
Meanwhile, council is now owed a staggering $13.2 billion by
government departments defaulting on payments for water and sewerage
services among others.
According to a recent financial report by the council's Finance and
Development Committee, the different ministries owed a combined $9.6 billion
for water and sewerage services as of 31 July.
Government is trying to wrestle control of Bulawayo's water and
sewerage systems from council which refuses hand over the services to the
Zimbabwe National Water Authority.
By Bertha Shoko
TIONEI Muchadema (18) from rural Nyanga was forced into an early
marriage two years ago after her mother died. She was 16 years old.
After her mother's death, Muchadema failed to locate her father and
ended in the care of her maternal aunt and her husband in a small farming
compound, who were farm workers and unable to take care for their four
children and Muchadema.
At the age of 16 she was forced to work in the plantations to
supplement the family income. She would wake up at 2AM everyday and prepare
for work. At exactly 3AM a farm truck would collect all the farm workers.
The same truck would drop them off at the farm compound around 10PM, at the
end of the day's work.
When Muchadema turned 17 she met Tongai (34), who had just returned
from the Harare where he had been working for five years. Looking for an
easy way out she did not think twice about marrying Tongai in order to
escape the poverty in the plantations. So she thought.
After the customary ceremony, she left with her husband for her new
life in Harare - far from the poverty in the farms. When she was about to
give birth, her mother-in-law insisted she come back "home" and deliver.
When she went into labour there were complications. She had obstructed
labour and ended up with a medical condition called obstetric fistula.
Muchadema is back to poverty - with her aunt - as her husband won't
have anything to do with her because of her condition. Her story is just a
tip of the iceberg. Many Zimbabwean women continue to die or live with
disabilities that can be prevented, if government was committed to investing
more in maternal health.
Obstetric fistula is one of the many complications and disabling
conditions that women all over the world suffer from as a result of
childbirth. There are many other pregnancy-related complications that can
cause maternal death in women for example haemorrhage. A healthy woman can
bleed to death and die in two hours if she fails to access safe and adequate
Another complication is high blood pressure. This is often
undiagnosed, especially among poor women.
Sepsis is also another complication that kills women especially those
who give birth at home in unsanitary conditions or at clinics that lack
Leading the global initiative to improve maternal health worldwide is
the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which is focusing on three main
issues: securing access to reproductive health, promoting gender equality
and women's empowerment and using population data and analysis for
development and poverty reduction.
UNFPA says one woman dies every minute in pregnancy or childbirth,
most of them in the developing world.
Maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42
days after termination of pregnancy from any cause related to or aggravated
by the pregnancy or its management. This includes death as a complication of
abortion at any stage of pregnancy.
The statistics for Zimbabwe are "frightening", according to the UNFPA
deputy representative in Zimbabwe, Gift Malunga.
A former midwife herself, Malunga says her experiences left her
yearning to do more to prevent maternal death.
"Often we attended to women and girls who showed up late at the
clinic," Malunga told a recent workshop organised by UNFPA in Gweru,
"because they had no knowledge of how beneficial it is to seek medical care
when one is pregnant so that complications are quickly dealt with."
UNFPA says the lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy-related
complications in Zimbabwe is 1 in 16. There are also 565 maternal deaths for
every 100 000 live births in Zimbabwe.
Based on these statistics National Programme Officer for Gender and
Advocacy for UNFPA, Anna Mumba believes if these maternal deaths do not
equate a national disaster then there is something seriously wrong with our
Mumba believes an unacceptable number of women continue to die or
suffer disability in child birth because women's health has not been a high
priority because of deeply-rooted gender inequities and that there are not
enough women "up there" to articulate such important issues.
"Often women's issues are trivialised and there are not enough women
in decision-making positions to speak from a personal experience about the
issues that affect us as women," said Mumba. "This is really a tragedy. Do
you know that it costs just US$1 for corrective surgery for those women
living with fistula? This treatment is not readily available in the public
sector and women continue to suffer.
"Most maternal deaths are preventable if government commits itself and
invests more money in maternal health. If there is government commitment as
the success stories in Thailand and Sri Lanka have shown maternal deaths
will drop dramatically."
By Bertha Shoko
A GROUP of American surgeons from Operation of Hope are back in the
country, conducting corrective surgery on children and adults with disabling
mouth conditions known as cleft lip and cleft palate.
The voluntary group of surgeons is conducting the operations at the
Harare Central Hospital where more than 50 people from various parts of the
country have been registered for the corrective surgery.
Operation of Good Hope is a non-profit making organisation, which
travels in many developing countries that are resource constrained to offer
free corrective surgery for cleft lip and palate conditions.
Last year the group was in the country and operated on more than 40
children who have these conditions. However because of the overwhelming need
for this surgery in Zimbabwe, the organisation failed to operate on everyone
back then and promised to return to the country to reach more children and
Daughter of the founder of the organisation Joseph Clawson, Jennifer
Trubenbach, is leading the group. She told Standardhealth that so far the
group has operated on at least 30 children and adults.
Trubenbach said that after the operations are completed and the
surgeons have made sure that their patients are well on course to recovery,
the group is set to return to the United States of America.
She said they would be back again when their services are needed.
Previously Standardhealth reported that Operation of Hope had
identified a boy who had serious deformities on his face and had plans to
take him back to America for a year of intensive corrective surgery.
Beloved Mupfuure was injured by a landmine while playing with friends
in rural Bindura where he had gone to visit his grandmother.
Doctors who attended to Mupfuure told Operation of Hope that the boy's
recovery was a miracle, nothing to be attributed to their medical expertise.
He now lives with mother in Epworth.
Mupfuure failed to return with the American doctors last month when
the team had come to prepare for this current visit because his travel
documents could not be processed in time. Trubenbach has however confirmed
to Standardhealth that they will be returning with him for specialised
surgery after "finally sorting out his papers".
"We will be returning with Beloved for treatment," Trubenbach said.
"After almost a year of surgery, we would have given Beloved a new look and
hopefully when all is said and done he can smile once more when he looks at
himself in the mirror."
The date of departure of the team is yet to be confirmed.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
DEFENCE lawyers in the trial of former Manicaland area prosecutor,
Levison Chikafu, who is facing fraud and corruption charges, have requested
the Attorney-General's Office to investigate the prosecution after crucial
evidence favourable to the accused disappeared from the docket.
In a letter to Attorney General (AG) Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, Beatrice
Mtetwa of Mtetwa & Nyambirai legal practitioners said the concealment of the
evidence constitutes a criminal offence that warrants an investigation.
She said the prosecution did not only "deliberately" conceal crucial
evidence by the failure to disclose it, but also by removing it from the
"We appeal to you, Sir, to intervene in this matter and to ensure that
we are forthwith provided with these documents," said Mtetwa in the letter
dated 5 October. "We also believe that this is a matter in which your office
should institute an investigation as this type of conduct puts the
administration of justice and your office into disrepute."
Mtetwa said it emerged during the trial that documents including a
letter faxed by the AG's acting director of prosecution Florence Ziyambi, a
statement recorded from Prison Officer Nyamukusa and some copies of the
police diary log were no longer in the docket.
The disappearance of a statement by Nyamukusa that is favourable to
Chikafu was of serious concern, she said.
The State is represented by Mike Mugabe.
Meanwhile the trial was adjourned to 29 October after State witness,
Superintendent Ncube, arrived at the court late.
Chikafu is accused of concealing a court record and corruptly
facilitating the release of a suspected stock thief, Maxwell Makumbi, on
He is also being charged with soliciting and receiving a $10 million
(old currency) bribe from another suspect, Terrence Katsidzira, in order to
consent to his bail application.
It is also the State's case that Chikafu concealed and destroyed
several dockets of suspected illegal diamond dealers resulting in their
cases being dropped.
Chikafu denies all the charges and believes they are trumped up
because he prosecuted the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, on allegations of trying to obstruct the course
of justice. Chinamasa was cleared by the courts.
BY OUR STAFF
THE Anglican Province of Central Africa on Friday lodged an urgent
High Court application seeking the expulsion of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga from
the church as well as ordering him to stop using church properties and
Harare Diocese Trust vice-chairperson Philip Mutasa confirmed that an
application had been lodged to compel Kunonga to return all church property
he had been using. The application also seeks to bar Kunonga from visiting
the church's premises.
Mutasa said he had been instructed by the dean of the province, who is
also the acting Archbishop, Rev Bishop Chama, to initiate the action against
Kunonga by the Province of Central Africa.
"I can confirm that the papers were lodged in the courts on Friday.
But because the issues are sub judice I can't comment further," said Mutasa.
Kunonga, believed to be a staunch supporter of the ruling Zanu PF
government, wrote a letter to the province's Archbishop and Primate Bernard
Malango on 21 September pulling the Harare diocese out of the Province of
Central Africa. Malango has since retired.
The province has concluded that Kunonga's action "is of the effect
that the Harare diocese is no longer part of the church". The legal process
in motion is meant to regain control of the diocese.
Kunonga could not be reached for comment.
BY NDAMU SANDU
A Russian investor is waiting for Zimbabwe to come forward and sign an
agreement in the Euro 28 million hydro project in Mwenezi, a parliamentary
portfolio committee heard last week.
Munyaradzi Munodawafa, acting permanent secretary in the ministry of
Energy and Power Development, said the design for the project had been
"What needs to be done is the funding," Munodawafa said. "People need
to sign and agree - RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) Governor (Gideon Gono) to
finalise with the Russians."
Munodawafa, who was giving oral evidence to the portfolio committee on
Mines, Environment and Tourism on the half-year budget performance of the
ministry, said the project had received only $300 million from Treasury.
"As we speak, with the help of RBZ we have an investor who is looking
at getting the project on the ground," Munodawafa said.
The entry of a Russian investor, Turbo Engineering, is a culmination
of Gono's forays into Russia last year in search of investors.
Manyuchi hydro project will result in 5.5 MW of electricity enough to
light up a small community, which the committee felt was not a
Munodawafa told the committee it was a cost-effective project as other
bigger ventures such as the Gokwe North and Batoka hydro project required
huge investments which were not available at the moment.
"For Gokwe North, we need US$1.4 billion and where do we get that kind
of money?" he asked.
Analysts say the delay by Zimbabwe in finalising the deal would result
in Turbo pulling out of the venture at a crucial time the nation is facing
Zimbabwe requires 1850 MW a month. ZESA generates 815MW monthly and
adding up imports of 150MW, the country is getting 965MW leaving a deficit
of 885 MW. This means that at any given time, half of the country will have
Regional power utilities reduced their supplies to ZESA over a US$42
Since independence, Zimbabwe has attracted a number of investors but
failed to finalise the deals. Malaysian firm YTL Corporation wanted to buy a
51% stake in Hwange Power Station but the move did not go down well with the
ZESA management and board which felt the then $10.2 billion deal would not
benefit ordinary Zimbabweans. The board then brought in UK firm National
Power for the Gokwe North project but the government gave the venture a
thumbs down and National pulled out.
BY Jennifer Dube
AN African delegation is touring Europe to influence national
parliamentarians and ministers to urge the European Commission to change
direction in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) negotiations.
The Pan-African Press Association's website says leading the
delegation which comprises representatives of farmers, trade unions, private
sector organisations and members of Parliament is Zimbabwe's Elizabeth
Mpofu, chair of Eastern and Southern African Small Farmers Federation. Other
delegates are from Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and The Gambia.
The delegation is to visit Paris, Brussels, London, Madrid/Barcelona
and Rome during the 10-day tour which started last Thursday.
Zimbabwe and fifteen other African, Caribbean and Pacific states are
negotiating a new but contentious trade deal, EPAs, with the European Union.
Talks for the adoption of the deal have been dogged by controversy,
with critics accusing the EU of negotiating in bad faith.
The delegation says with less than three months to the scheduled
deadline, EPAs are still far from delivering a positive conclusion that will
support sustainable development in some of the world's poorest countries.
It also argues that the European Commission (EC) is pushing ahead with
its own agenda in spite of signals that African countries are not in a
position to sign the EPAs. It also accuses the EC of bypassing key
democratic governance steps.
The recent decision by West African trade negotiators to postpone
concluding a new trade partnership with the EU by up to two years is the
inevitable consequence of the Commission's unresponsive attitude to ACP
demands, the delegation says and demands that the EU member states must act
now to show responsible leadership and change the unilateral position chosen
by the EC.
BY OUR STAFF
ZIMBABWE'S financial institutions have missed the boat again in Africa's
Top 100 Banks, a survey by a leading business magazine reveals.
A survey by African Business shows that not a single Zimbabwean bank
made the grade into the top 100 banks.
Two years ago, Zimbabwe had four banks in the top 100. Barclays Bank
of Zimbabwe and NMBZ Holdings were ranked 24th and 52nd respectively while
Standard Chartered, making a new entry was placed 50th with CBZ Holdings
ranked 83rd. A year before that NMBZ and Barclays had fared better at ninth
and 10th respectively.
African Business said the decline in Zimbabwe's banks had affected the
strength of the southern region.
African Business ranks banks according to shareholders' equity (Tier
1) as defined by the Basle-based Bank for International Settlement (BIS).
Tier 1 capital is composed of common shareholders' equity and retained
profits or net earnings; qualifying non-cumulative preferred stock up to a
maximum of 25% of Tier 1 capital); and minority interests in equity accounts
of consolidated subsidiaries.
The BIS definition refers to the bank's soundness or underlying
strength - the shareholders' core capital available for absorbing actual or
potential losses occurring from non-performing loans, that is, bad debts and
investments in risky securities or speculative investment activities. The
profitability of the bank was calculated before corporate taxes and minority
interests payments for end reporting period. The financial health of a
single bank is measured by annual Returns on Total Assets employed and
Returns on Equity.
South African banks - Standard Bank Group, Nedbank Group, Investec and
FirstRand Banking Group were in the top five respectively. Botswana based
ABC Holdings with operations in Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique,
was placed 90th.
Analysts say the failure by Zimbabwe's banks to join Africa's elite is
"a mockery of our financial services sector" which has been declaring
billion dollars in profitability. Since weathering the banking storm in
2003-2004, Zimbabwe's banks are on a growth mode raking super profits.
Foreign-owned banks, Standard Chartered and Stanbic are on the edge
following plans by the government to nationalise their operations under the
controversial Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment. The Bill has sailed
through Parliament and Senate and awaits President Robert Mugabe's assent to
The Bill states that 51 percent shareholding in all foreign owned
companies operating in Zimbabwe should be reserved for locals.
BY Jennifer Dube
STUNG by criticism of its work, the Central Statistical Office has
said it would assess the robustness of its inflation data to determine
whether or not it is compromised, its acting director has said.
In an interview with Standardbusiness recently, Moffat Nyoni said his
organisation was aware that the robustness of data collected in a
shortages-hit environment such as Zimbabwe can be compromised, hence the
need for assessment.
He was discussing the controversy surrounding CSO data, which critics
have dismissed as "manufactured information" which does not reflect actual
developments in the economy.
Nyoni shot down suggestions by critics that the CSO should use black
market prices to capture "real" inflation levels.
"Failure to cater for black market prices in compiling inflation data
is an international problem and Zimbabwe cannot premier a black market
basket," he said.
The CSO has in the past collected informal sector prices alongside
formal sector ones but it has been technically difficult to even include
these in processing inflation data, he said.
"The method requires some continuity regarding such things as location
and product type," Nyoni said, "but how do you ensure such a trend if you
were to include data from the black market where most of the traders in that
sector are mobile and you cannot be assured of meeting the same trader, with
the same product and at the same location when you next collect your data?"
He dismissed charges by critics that his organisation was doctoring
"We spend a lot of time and money collecting data for the basket. We
even wait patiently for Swift Transport to bring some of it from far-flung
rural areas before we expend more energy compiling the statistics," he said.
"I really wonder why we would waste all this effort and resources if all we
wanted was official inflation figures?"
Nyoni said to be questioned were critics who always came up with
competing data to challenge that published by his organisation as he was not
sure of the transparency and authenticity of their methods.
"Are these people also using an internationally recognised scientific
method like we do?" he said. "My biggest question is where do they get their
basket? One of the major steps one needs to take before compiling inflation
data is to carry out a survey in order to come up with a basket for their
population and here in Zimbabwe, I am not aware of any other organisation
besides CSO which has carried out such a survey.
"The process also requires a scientific description of prices
including location for one to be able to form a ratio. Now, where do these
people collect their prices from, so people can be seen moving around
collecting data but with these so-called critics, the possible thing is they
sit down in their offices and work on assumptions?"said Nyoni.
THERE is an
urgent need to sit down, identify and agree on critical areas requiring the
utmost attention so that the country avoids repeating the disastrous
fire-fighting of the recent years.
Recent experience has shown that failure to adopt a 360-degree
approach to solutions to Zimbabwe's problems has undone even the best of
Last week saw launch of the second phase of the farm mechanisation
programme. However, in order for the programme to achieve its intended
objectives, there must be parallel approaches addressing the country's
energy and fuel requirements.
Two weeks ago Zesa told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines
and Energy that so critical was the power sector that at any given day half
the country has no supplies.
On the other hand after wreaking havoc on the fuel procurement sector,
the best that the government could offer the country was one and a half
months' supply of fuel - and this at a time of peak agricultural activity
that on its own will require 90 million litres.
Clearly there is an urgent need to ensure that not only does the
country have the inputs it requires under the farm mechanisation programme
but that without equally devoting similar efforts and energy to increased
electricity and fuel supplies, we would be setting up the country for
The problems in the power sector perplex. Three thermal power stations
remain and have been inoperative for months - because of insufficient coal
supplies, when Hwange Colliery has endless coal resources!
We are certain Zesa's mission statement is to be a world class
supplier of energy/electricity at available, accessible and affordable cost
to consumers. We are also convinced it cannot be more expensive to ensure
the three redundant power stations at Bulawayo, Harare and Munyati have the
coal they need than to ignore them. If the three were still generating
electricity there would not have been such a marked deterioration in supply
of electricity as witnessed in recent weeks.
Consumers - domestic, commercial and industrial - are not interested
in excuses that Zesa has become so adept at proffering. One of Harare's
recent additions to the city's central business district skyline - Angwa
City - until Thursday last week had been without electricity for several
weeks and yet we dare pretend that everything is normal. Where are our
The farmers require electricity and fuel in order to deliver. But so
do industries, hospitals and households. When there is no power and fuel, it
means only half their requirements are met and they in turn achieve less
than half of what is expected.
Zesa told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that they owed
regional power companies US$42 million and that Zesa last paid them in
March. Yet against this background there are reports of acquisition of new
equipment by the national airline. It is doubtful whether having no
sufficient electricity and fuel will promote further tourist inflows into
the country. On the contrary, we are likely to end up with a fleet of
aircraft hamstrung by a nation-wide power and fuel crisis.
Zimbabwe needs to service the regional power debt and at the same time
ensure significantly improved supplies of fuel. Folk travelling to the rural
areas or inter-city routes spend days at Mbare Musika because they cannot
get buses to their various destinations as a result of fuel shortages.
It is incomprehensible that a people's government could abuse its
citizens in the manner we are witnessing. Even at the height of sanctions
against Rhodesia, people were not subjected to such hardships. It is hard to
understand a government can author such crises and expect the electorate to
vote for it!
RECENTLY, I watched with a jaundiced eye, the
lavish, if a little obscene ceremony, during which combine harvesters,
harrows, ploughs and other agricultural implements were unveiled.
The country's political glitterati were all there, with their
hangers-on and camp followers.
To say I almost puked at the opulence of the ceremony might be an
exaggeration. But there was a bitter taste in my mouth.
While all this glitz was being relayed live on TV, a number of
supermarkets were shutting down in the wake of the price blitz.
The live TV show, featured the president and his devout disciple, the
governor of the central bank, I wondered how Ernesto Che Guevara would react
to the solemnization of Zimbabwe's creation in 1980 as a "revolution".
Certainly, he and Fidel Castro, with whom he fought for Cuba's freedom
from Fulgencio Batista in 1959, might have trouble identifying the result of
the 15-year armed struggle against the white settlers as a revolutionary
triumph - for whom? for what?
Che's capture and execution 40 years ago was being marked in Latin
America and other continents this month. He died a rather inglorious death,
captured in Bolivia - albeit with the aid of Cuba's arch-imperialist enemy,
The country which he and Fidel Castro helped free is no longer the
pearl that they envisaged. It's not poor and has one of the highest life
expectancies in the world.
But it is still classified as a developing country.
Yet while Castro ails, the entire future of Cuba has been plunged into
doubt. How can the future of a country be so anchored on the good health of
one man? We should learn a lesson from this.
Moreover, Guevara would probably be disappointed that so many of the
people for whom so many others laid down their lives are leaving the
country, not to go to countries inspired by revolution, but to capitalist
allies of the United States.
Cuba, at least, charted its path to communism meticulously, declaring
after 1959 that anyone who did not subscribe to communism might as well
leave - and they left. Unfortunately, they are still leaving, 48 years
What Cuba has in common with Zimbabwe was in the ambition of some of
the leaders to turn this country into a Marxist-Leninist paradise.
The design was fatally flawed and has, to a large extent, brought us
to this present crisis.
President Robert Mugabe was forthright at the beginning: his plan was
to turn the country leftwards. He did not reckon with the people,
Zimbabweans may be communalist, but they are not communists. Mugabe's
frustration at this failure may have resulted in some of the irrational
policies he began to embrace.
It could be said that, in trying to ram communism down people's
throats, he inadvertently forced some of them to swallow some of the dogma
raw, which may or may not have led to a number of deaths, ideological, if
Another similarity must be the flight of citizens, from the
non-revolutionary chaos resulting from a fuzzy, undefined ideological
What mattered to most was that it did not enhance their livelihoods.
The atmosphere of repression, linked as always to Marxism, was alien to most
citizens, who had endured it under colonialism, but would not stomach it
under an independent African government.
To salvage the country may require the talents of another
revolutionary in the mould of Che Guevara
The ceremony of the farm implements was almost hugely preposterous;
from what President Robert Mugabe and governor Gideon Gono said, a foreigner
might have been forgiven for believing this was a country with single digit
inflation, full employment, food self-sufficiency and a human rights record
second only to any of those democratic Nordic states.
This upbeat posture must surely belie the turmoil within Zanu PF,
caused mostly by the challenge posed by the MDC, in its readiness to engage
Zanu PF in dialogue: how do you suddenly turn this alleged Western
imperialist agent into a partner in nation-building?
The confusion can be discerned in how Zanu PF has gone into a "scared
mode", turning the state media into laughing stocks. Both editor of The
Herald and the head of the broadcasting must feel as if they are no more
than megaphones of the Zanu PF mandarins -not telling the truth about the
teachers' strike, for instance.
The lies may be compounded by the faith we are expected to place in
the beneficiaries of Zanu PF's generosity. Only the naive would believe
that, with its record of skullduggery, Zanu PF would give the people such
first-class equipment out of the goodness of its heart: they must pay back
with votes next year.
To change Zanu PF from that "tamba wakachenjera" mould would need
another revolutionary - another Che.
sundayview by Judith Todd
EDWARD was in good form and he held everyone spellbound with his lack
of bitterness and his continued insistence, despite all he had been through,
on the desirability of unity between Zanu PF and PF Zapu. No one left that
night remotely believing he was a coup plotter, if anyone ever had.
That's probably why the police were so reluctant to let him go. They
were still trying to serve further detention orders on him at Chikurubi
after Nkala had announced his release pending trial.
When it was time for the guests to leave, we walked them to their cars
in the garden, at the same time trying to spot Halley's Comet, which Edward
had been longing to see but couldn't from prison. By then everyone was so
relaxed that they were laughing and saying that, as a coup plotter, Edward
would be sure to know where to find a telescope when he reached Bulawayo the
next day . . .
In later years, when Zimbabwe had been plunged into utter darkness and
sorely needed a candle to shine for her in the Commonwealth window, it was
snuffed out by South Africa and her collaborators.
From London I proceeded to Holland for a Novib conference, where, by
chance, I met representatives from the Protestant agency Inter-Church Aid
and persuaded them to make a generous and, of course, top secret donation
towards the legal costs of the latest 10 men facing charges of treason
against the state of Zimbabwe. It was becoming clear to at least some
agencies that things in Zimbabwe were going horribly wrong.
After the conference I had a few days to myself in Amsterdam. I
visited the house of the Nazi victim Anne Frank, where I copied down the
definition of fascism that is on display, and of which she remains an
enduring victim. It helped me to understand what was happening in Zimbabwe.
After 1933 Germany became a dictatorship based on fascist ideas. The
most important ones are stated here.
Central to the fascist's view is the principle of inequality. In their
eyes there are better (superior) and lesser (inferior) human beings. Their
own race, their own people are always the best. Other races and people are
Every form of democracy is rejected. The entire society is dominated
by the party, with one leader at its head.
Fascism places the oneness of the people above all else. Each
individual is completely subordinated to it. No unrest among the people is
allowed. Groups who stand up for their own interests and rights are
Certain groups are blamed for all the problems in the society. They
are declared to be the enemy of the people.
Fascists glorify violence. In their eyes it is the way to solve
conflicts. The law of the jungle applies.
I returned from Holland to find that Kembo Mohadi had successfully
sued Minister of Home Affairs Enos Nkala and three named members of the CIO
for torture and had been awarded damages. But Prime Minister Mugabe then
announced that the State wouldn't pay such damages, as it would be a waste
of taxpayers' money.
Mohadi warned me that Minister Nkala was very angry. He had actually
said to Mohadi that he knew who was behind the whole thing: "Todd's
daughter." He said I had been seen in court with Mohadi and had then driven
him to the airport, and that he, Nkala, was going to "fix" me. So I thought
it prudent to inform Nkala that at the time I was in Holland, and wrote to
him that July, thinking how extraordinary it was that the Rhodesia Front
mentality about how there had to be a white behind any objectionable process
had lingered in the minds of our new rulers. Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front and
Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF were similar in so very many ways.
Today I was visiting Beitbridge and so had the opportunity of seeing
Cde Kembo Mohadi MP to whom I am grateful for telling me part of the
conversation he had with you yesterday from which it is apparent that some
inaccurate information is being passed on to you.
He said you were displeased with me as you had been informed that I
had driven Cde Mohadi to the airport after his recent testimony in court on
the appalling torture he endured, and that you indicated that you were going
to fix me.
Firstly, I can't believe that my driving anyone to the airport could
be considered an offence. Secondly, at that time I was in Holland. I
returned to Zimbabwe on 5 July and heard of that court case after my return.
But thirdly, there is something on the positive side. Although this is
a very small matter - whether I drove someone to the airport or not - it
could provide you with a golden opportunity to track down the source of this
false information, starting with the person who gave it to you, who gave it
to him etc until you reach the culprit.
When my father was prime minister, information was provided to him on
the basis of which he was expected to authorise action against Guy
Clutton-Brock. Instead of taking action he tracked down the source of this
"information" which turned out to be a Special Branch plant who couldn't
speak English, who had attended a meeting addressed by Guy, who couldn't
speak Shona. The informer had simply concocted statements which had been
dressed up along the line by his Special Branch superiors until the dossier
arrived on the prime minister's desk.
It seems, alas, that false information continues to be fed to
ministers even in our new Zimbabwe, and unless some kind of action is taken
to ensure that ministers are told only the truth I suppose innocent people
will continue to suffer.
May I take this opportunity to offer you my most sincere
congratulations on your very strong stand against the use of torture which
was prominently reported in the Chronicle today? I hope your statement was
also reported in the Herald, and that everyone in Zimbabwe learns of it.
There was no reply, but on Friday 8 August, I joined nearly a hundred
representatives of non-governmental organisations attending a heavy, heavy
meeting called by four heavy, heavy ministers: Messers Nkala, Home Affairs,
Kadungure, Armed Forces, Chikowore, Local Government, and Mnangagwa, State
Security. Minister Nkala asked each person to stand up and identify
themselves and their organisation, saying, "If you have no activities in the
rural areas, we may not need you."
Less than a quarter of the representatives of an astonishing variety
of organisations had identified themselves before the process was stopped,
as it was taking too long. Nkala waited until just after my turn. I said,
"Judith Acton, Zimbabwe Project," and he said Mmhmm! loudly, as if he had
turned over a stone and found a scorpion. Then he said we should proceed
without further introductions.
Minister Nkala said that this presentation was from the highest level
of government. . .Amnesty International and the Lawyers' Committee for Human
Rights, based in the United States, had been sent reports from Zimbabwe
about military matters in Matabeleland, the Midlands and, to a certain
extent, Masvingo province, he said. These reports made negative claims about
the CIO, members of the defence force and the police. They contained serious
allegations that had been sent to almost all members of parliament,
ministers, the prime minister, leaders of industry. . .
*Excerpt from Judith Todd's latest book, Through the Darkness; A Life
in Zimbabwe, available from www.zebrapress.co.za.
THE Constitution Amendment
Bill Number 18 is seeking, for the first time in the history of the country,
to mandate an electoral management body (EMB), the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC), to mark constituency boundaries.
Also for the first-time, parliament will have a direct input in the
way the constituencies are marked, as it will have to analyse and make
submissions to the preliminary report on the delimitation that ZEC would
have presented to the President. Through Section 61A subsection 8 (d) which
is a proposed new section in the constitution, the "President shall cause
the report to be laid before parliament within the next seven days after he
has received it".
It should be noted that the process of marking constituencies should
be a people-oriented exercise hence the need for parliament to participate
in its execution. According to the current constitution, the marking of
constituency boundaries is done by a commission appointed by the President
called the Delimitation Commission which is provided for by Section 59 of
the Constitution, which stands to be repealed if the new Bill is signed into
law. The Delimitation Commission is appointed by the President and after it
submits its report of the marked constituencies the President would analyse
them and refer it back to the Commission if there are any amendments or
alterations that he would recommend unlike in the new Bill where the
President has to refer the report to parliament.
Because delimitation or redistricting of constituencies for the
purposes of elections is such an important aspect of the electoral process,
there are various issues that need to be considered to ensure there are no
cases of gerrymandering for the benefit of one political party to the
disadvantage of others.
Delimitation practices vary greatly around the world but there are
several generally accepted principles although there are operational issues
that countries disagree on, such as how impartial and independent the
process can be. Generally, most countries agree on the need for the process
to achieve: representativeness; equality of voting strength; independent,
impartial boundary authority; transparency; and non-discrimination.
Electoral district boundaries should be drawn such that constituents
have an opportunity to elect candidates they feel truly represent them. This
usually means that district boundaries should coincide with communities of
interest as much as possible. Communities of interest can be defined in a
variety of ways. For example, they can be geographically defined communities
delineated by administrative boundaries or physical features such as
mountains or islands, or they can be "communities" that share a common race,
ethnic or tribal background, or the same religion or language. If districts
are not composed of communities of interest, however defined, it may be
difficult for representatives to serve the constituency well. In the
proposed deal, the constituency boundaries have to ensure that no ward would
belong to more than one constituency.
Equality of Voting Strength
Electoral district boundaries should be drawn so that districts are
relatively equal in population. Equally populous districts allow voters to
have an equally weighted vote in the election of representatives. If, for
example, a representative is elected from a district that has twice as many
voters as another district, voters in the larger district will have half the
influence of voters in the smaller district. Electoral districts that vary
greatly in population - a condition referred to as "malapportionment" -
violate a central tenet of democracy, namely, that all voters should be able
to cast a vote of equal weight. In the new Bill as is the case with the
current constitution, there is a provision for variance in terms of the
total number of people in one constituency but this variance should not be
more than twenty percent of the average number of registered voters in the
Independent, impartial boundary authority
Ideally, the legal framework for boundary delimitation should provide
that the persons or institution responsible for drawing electoral boundaries
be independent and impartial. ZESN has always advocated that an Electoral
Management Body (EMB) should be appointed with the participation of
opposition parties in order that the process be transparent. The
organization has also lobbied that the selection process for commissioners
should engender confidence in all stakeholders and should ensure that gender
and youth participation is achieved. If political concerns are permitted to
play a role in the process, then all political parties must be given access
to the process. These rules must be clearly understood and must be
acceptable to all major political parties and participants in the
districting process. Furthermore, the EMB should have its own staff, not
civil servants or retired army personnel, as this would not build confidence
in the EMB.
Because electoral systems that feature constituencies often produce
disproportional election outcomes, it is essential that the delimitation
process be considered fair if the result is to be deemed legitimate by
stakeholders and voters. This means that the delimitation process should be
as transparent as possible, with the methodology and guidelines clearly
established and publicised in advance. Incorporating public hearings into
the process to allow stakeholders to offer comments for the boundary
authority to consider is also important.
Electoral boundaries should not be drawn in a manner that
discriminates against any particular minority group. For example, dividing a
geographically concentrated minority group among several electoral districts
so that the group constitutes a minority of the voters in every single
electoral district should be prohibited.
What Amendment Number 18 means to delimitation
The proposed harmonization of elections proposed by Amendment Number
18 would result in four elections being held on one day. ZEC has, therefore,
to ensure that no ward falls into more than one constituency thus there is
need for thorough planning and workmanship to ensure that this has to be
achieved without compromising on the principles of non-discrimination and
There is need for extensive voter education and publicity campaigns so
that people get to know that they will be participating in four elections on
one day thus, there should be enough awareness campaigns to ensure they
inspect the ward voters' roll and that they know where to vote from on
Election Day. There is also need for as many polling stations to ensure all
people get to vote on the Election Day.
The proposed Bill also gives, for the first time, a timeframe in which
the President can keep the delimitation report after he gets it from the
electoral management body and after he gets it from parliament. This means
that there is need for swift action on the proposals and recommendations
that the parliament would have made on the preliminary report and also it
clears suspicion that the president would doctor the report before it gets
In conclusion one would argue that the changes proposed in the
amendment Bill would go a long way in making the delimitation of
constituencies transparent especially that it allows for parliament to
participate in the process. However, as recommended earlier, there is need
for public hearings conducted by ZEC to ensure it gets inputs,
recommendations and expectations that the general public has on the
delimitation. This would make sure the process is people-driven.
There is also need for the Electoral Act to provide for legal
instruments that would ensure that ZEC, as the body that will be delimiting
constituency boundaries and conducting every electoral process, is
independently constituted. There is therefore an urgent need for electoral
reforms to compliment the proposals in the new Bill before elections are
conducted next year.
Amendment 18: a case of half a loaf is better than nothing
I have received a flurry of calls and letters in the past couple of
weeks about MDC supporting the 18th Amendment, expressing all shades of
opinion but mainly requesting an explanation of what exactly is going on!
This is understandable, since our position appeared to come like a
bolt from the blue, and I can well understand that some of you are either
angry or confused, or both, because of lack of information. You are
perfectly correct - it is my duty as your MP to inform you of what is going
on, and to hear your opinions on these matters, so that I can represent you
What a pity that Zimbabwe is such an impossible environment, as far as
communication is concerned. In a normal situation I could hold a public
meeting just before or after such an event, but with POSA in operation this
is not possible. Moreover, the cost of publicizing such a meeting is simply
prohibitive, likewise the cost of transport to and from such a meeting,
except for those living very close by, so for the time being I am falling
back on a constituency newsletter, to update you as fully as I am able.
Our support for Amendment 18 is predicated on our clear understanding
that this will be the last "piecemeal amendment" to the national
Constitution, and that it is merely the first step in a process of resolving
our national crisis and putting an end to the suffering of all Zimbabweans.
This is the first result of the SADC-led talks between MDC and Zanu PF
to be made public, since absolute secrecy about the substance of the
negotiations has been a key requirement by the mediators. The reason for
this is to keep public pressure off the two sides so that real progress can
be made. You may agree or disagree with this, but it is a requirement both
parties have sworn to respect.
As both Patrick Chinamasa and Welshman Ncube indicated in Parliament
during the debate (and I commend that Hansard to your attention) discussion
is still going on concerning a new constitution, electoral changes and
various other serious concerns which need to be addressed to bring our
nation out of the dire situation in which we find ourselves.
The mediators have given their guarantee that they will not allow
either side to renege on agreements reached. So while we remain suspicious
and distrustful, we do have a guarantee to rely upon, should things start to
go wrong. Nor are our negotiators, Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube, as naïve
or duplicitous as many would have you believe.
However, just suppose for a moment that Zanu PF goes back on its word
and reneges on the agreements, are we better off or worse off with Amendment
18 than we were before it? Admittedly, we don't really need 80 more MPs or a
bigger Senate, but it is still an improvement to have all members of the
House of Assembly elected rather than giving Mugabe the power to appoint 1/5
of the members as at present.
Likewise the fact that the Electoral Commission will be more
independent (with Parliament now having a say in appointment) and that
delimitation will now be done by that commission rather than the present
Delimitation Commission means we are better off, not worse off.
A further advantage is that wards cannot now be split into two or more
constituencies. Residents of Mabelreign will remember their outrage in 2005
when they discovered half of them had been "demoted" to Dzivarasekwa
Meanwhile the SADC negotiations are still under way, so I ask you to
try and be positive and have faith, and to watch for the outcome of these
negotiations. Certainly you can send any input you want considered to me for
onward transmission to our negotiators, and I will ensure that it reaches
As for the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill, it is
unfortunate that Zanu PF still pursues its mad policies despite the
negotiations. But, of course, we cannot expect them to sit back and fold
their arms quietly while MDC moves forward! It is natural for them to
continue trying to grab whatever they can, all the more so when they see the
writing on the wall.
Thus the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill was bulldozed
through the House of Assembly recently, despite the best efforts of
economists, the business community and others to make them see the insanity
of taking such a step when our economy is already on its knees.
What I find most objectionable, and highlighted in the debate, is that
the Bill is essentially racist, and will create two classes of Zimbabwean
citizen, a black class who can control large companies, banks etc, while the
lesser white Zimbabwean citizens will be excluded from equal opportunity
because of the colonial past! MDC MPs debated hotly against certain aspects
of this Bill, but were outnumbered in the end, of course.
Meanwhile the so-called Price War continues unabated, not so much the
price war itself now - prices are still increasing on a daily basis! - as
the disastrous and predictable consequences of empty supermarket shelves,
huge queues for basic food items and a thriving black market.
I appeal to all those who own or know owners of supermarkets and food
shops to give priority to the elderly and sick, whenever a basic item comes
into stock. Please let them go to the front of the queue, always, so that
they do not have to endure unnecessary pain and exhaustion.
It is a convention in Zimbabwe that people over 60 are allowed to move
to the front of the queue.
Our formation (MDC-Mutambara) is still trying to persuade the other
formation of the critical need for a united front to fight Zanu PF in the
Indeed, Arthur Mutambara is still prepared to back Morgan Tsvangirai
as Presidential candidate in such a united front. Sadly, certain members of
the Tsvangirai formation are against this idea, and continue to call for
their side to go it alone "to prove to the Mutambara group that they have no
following, and to bury them during that election".
This is extremely short-sighted and selfish, when our entire nation is
bleeding to death. We cannot afford a divided opposition and a split vote
Trudy Stevenson MP (MDC)
Harare North Constituency
Necessary steps towards true Uhuru
AS any macro-economic textbook will foretell, printing money at a
faster rate than the economy can grow to accommodate the increase in demand
for goods is the surest method of inducing inflation.
Simply put there's a lot of money chasing the limited supply of goods.
We're in a situation where the economy is shrinking, production levels are
falling, and unemployment is rising. There are some who at a glance will
point the finger entirely at the government. The truth is that Zimbabwe's
indigenous population has never been closer to attaining true independence.
It is the duty of the government to facilitate the evolution of
Zimbabwe's economy, in this instance funding its "infant" in terms of
indigenisation of the agricultural sector.
The building of a nation has many components. Independence according
to history was achieved in 1980, but the distinction must be made between
political and economic independence. What Zimbabwe as a nation can achieve
is limited by not being in full control of its economy. The recent steps
government has taken are becuase of this realisation.
One percent of a minority owning 70% of the arable land in a country
where agricultural produce is the mainstay can only result in the
disempowerment of the majority. Critics will be quick to mention the rapid
decline in the economy since the land redistribution programme began. This
is simply because Zimbabwe has embarked on a new era of self-determination.
Freedom comes at a price comrades and the price we are paying comes in
the form of sanctions, condemnation and the difficult but necessary
adaptations our country must make to reinvent itself.
The economy of the world is increasingly interdependent. Africa being
the resource rich continent that the world increasingly needs is an
indicator of two facts. Increasingly non-African governments will encourage
our division, internal unrest in the hope of continuing to benefit by
offering aid in whatever form to whomever will reciprocate.
De Beers contributing over 30% of Botswana's GDP makes effective steps
toward indigenisation an unlikely move, why rock the boat? Diamonds are good
business! One reason is that De Beers owns 70% of the Diamond mines on the
African continent. In 2002 according to Rio Tinto statistics the world
produced US$57 billion worth of diamonds, African governments received just
a fraction -US$9 billion of what their unprocessed diamonds were worth.
We therefore need to continually ask ourselves how independent we
World class education at Petra High School
MYRIAM Ruff, who left Petra High School last year, has been accepted
at two colleges in Austria and at the University of Innsbruck.
She has decided to go to the Innsbruck Management Centre. There were
hundreds of applicants and they accept only 50 a year, including Myriam! The
colleges were particularly impressed by the good manners Myriam had learnt
at Petra, and by her self confidence and ability to express herself.
Why do I write to tell you all this ?
a) Of course, we as parents are very proud that she passed the test.
b) More importantly, it shows that the education here in Zimbabwe is
still of top international standards. Otherwise Myriam would not have been
accepted, either in the colleges or at the University of Innsbruck.
It is a very, very, very good answer to those who see everything as
just bad in Zimbabwe.
It is a very good answer to those who want to leave Zimbabwe because
of the school system and the education.
We as parents are proud not only of Myriam, but also of Petra Primary
and Petra High schools. If it wasn't for the school Myriam would not have
passed her entrance examination.
Fredi & Rita Ruff
No to Zinwa extortion
HOW can Zinwa impose a 1 000% increase on charges without giving the
consumer due notice? My latest Zinwa account has gone from $865 000 to just
under $10 million in one month which is totally unsustainable - especially
when a lot of employers were under the impression that there was a
wage/salary/services freeze for six months.
I am not going to pay this account, feeding my family is more
important. If enough people refuse to pay these extortionate amounts, Zinwa
will either have to back down and charge a reasonable increase, or they are
going to be extremely busy cutting consumers off - and thereby, losing
revenue in the process!
Please feel free to come and cut me off.
Milton Park, Harare
Pushed too far by Zesa
I would like, through your paper to ask, Fullard
Gwasira, the Zesa spokesperson, what his department does because we are
tired of all these power outages without being properly informed about them.
In Chitungwiza but especially in Seke area, electricity is cut off at
04:30 hrs in the morning only to be reconnected at 24:00hrs when we are all
asleep. This has been going on for about a month now.
So I would like to know whether this is load-shedding or something
Sunday Vision, Uganda
Laman Masaba's article about Zimbabwe in The New Vision issue of October 11
on page 13, is wrong in the assertion it makes that people should "Blame
Britain for Zimbabwe's woes". Masaba is mistaken in his claims regarding the
UK's commitment to addressing the important issue of land reform in
Although the Lancaster House agreement, that brought an end to the conflict
in Zimbabwe, contained no specific financial commitment on land reform, the
UK government made clear at the time that it would support land reform and
encourage others to do the same. The UK itself contributed £47m between 1980
and 1985 specifically for land reform. All but £3m of this had been spent by
1988. The £3m surplus remained unused when the UK land resettlement grant
was closed in 1996.
At the Harare Land Conference in 1998, Zimbabwe, the UK and others endorsed
principles for further land reform: transparency, respect for the rule of
law, poverty reduction, affordability and consistency with Zimbabwe's wider
economic interests. The subsequent flouting of these principles by the
Zimbabwean Government made it impossible for the UK and others to assist
land reform further. Similar principles were again agreed at a meeting of
Commonwealth Foreign Ministers, including the UK and Zimbabwe, in Abuja in
The UK re-affirmed its commitment to provide significant financial
assistance for land reform respecting those principles, and undertook to
encourage other international donors to do the same. But the government of
Zimbabwe has continued to breach those principles. As a result, agricultural
productivity in Zimbabwe has fallen by 80% since 1998. In total, the UK has
provided more than £500m in bilateral support for development in Zimbabwe
since independence. And the UK continues to provide annual support for
humanitarian relief and to alleviate HIV/AIDS suffering - £150m over the
last five years.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has received about $2b in international
assistance, including assistance for land reform from the UK and others.
The UK and other international partners believe land reform is central to
Zimbabwe's development, have provided funds for land reform, have agreed to
provide significantly more if the Zimbabwean Government will conduct land
reform in a way which reduces poverty, spreads wealth and respects justice,
and in any case, continue to provide significant amounts of assistance for
other purposes, particularly helping ordinary Zimbabweans oppressed by their
If we are to help the people of Zimbabwe, we must diagnose their country's
problems accurately and honestly, and then address the real causes. The new
SADC initiative, agreed under President Kikwete's chairmanship, is based on
this approach. That is why the UK and the EU as a whole, have welcomed it.
Charles Hamilton: Acting British High Commissioner
Published on: Saturday, 13th October, 2007