Friday 02 April 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe's squabbling ruling parties have submitted a "verbal
report" to South African facilitators after nearly a week of negotiations
that achieved consensus on several fronts but failed to resolve the key
issues at the root of a power-sharing dispute threatening the Harare
South African President Jacob Zuma is the Southern African Development
Community's mediator in Zimbabwe and had given President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU PF party and the two former opposition MDC formations of Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara up to last Monday to
resolve their differences and submit a report to him.
Zuma, who visited Harare two weeks ago to press Mugabe and his former foes
to end their power-sharing dispute, had at the end of his three-day visit
sounded optimistic telling reporters the Zimbabweans parties had agreed to a
package of measures which if implemented would take the country's troubled
transition process forward.
The South African leader also said that Mugabe, Tsvangiriai and Mutambara
had instructed their negotiators to finalise talks by last Monday and submit
a report to the three principals and to Zuma.
But Zuma's advisor on international affairs, Lindiwe Zulu, told ZimOnline on
Thursday that there were still outstanding issues negotiators from the three
Zimbabwean parties needed thrash out during talks that shall continue after
the Easter break.
"We have received report, basically it's a verbal report from the
negotiators," Zulu said. "They (negotiators) should present a the written
report to the principals next week and we also get our own report. Basically
there are few issue which need to be sorted and we be back there again next
week to get the final report."
The Zimbabwean talks have dragged on since the country's three main
political parties agreed to form a power-sharing government in February
According to sources, the latest round of talks achieved some progress on
some issues considered less critical such as the need for electoral law
reform and the establishment of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.
Mugabe this week swore in the two commissions that will drive reforms to
open up political space and democratise Zimbabwe's politics into office this
But sources said talks hit deadlock over Mugabe's refusal to reverse his
unilateral appointment of two of his top allies as attorney general and
central bank governor, refusal to appoint MDC members as provincial
governors and his refusal to appoint MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett as deputy
There was also disagreement on the issue of security sector reforms and on
the issue of Western sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his top allies and that
his ZANU PF insists must first be removed before it can meet its part of the
ZANU PF, which accuses Tsvangirai of campaigning for the sanctions, wants
the Prime Minister to call on Western countries to lift the visa and
financial sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle.
The negotiators are expected to list all the points of disagreement and
areas where consensus has been reached in the report that they shall present
to the three Zimbabwean principals and to Zuma next week.
Zuma will forward the report and possibly his recommendations on the way
forward to Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, who heads the SADC's
special organ on security, defence and politics.
The three-member organ, also known as the Troika, will decide what action to
take including possibly calling a full SADC summit to discuss the Zimbabwe
situation. - ZimOnline
Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora of Parliament's Select Committee on
Constitutional Revision said the demand by donors for Harare to contribute
30 percent of costs was due to a breakdown of communications
Patience Rusere | Washington 01 April 2010
The Zimbabwean government will put up US$5 million to partially its
constitutional revision process following a meeting Wednesday with
international donors who initially asked Harare to meet 30 percent of costs
to show its commitment to the exercise.
Total costs are expected to add up to 21 million u-s dollars, government
Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora of Parliament's Select Committee on
Constitutional Revision said the donor demand for cost-sharing was due to a
breakdown of communications between Harare and donors led by the United
Nations Development Program.
The government of Zimbabwe will cover security costs projected at US$2
million, plus the training of outreach rapporteurs and air time on state
Mwonzora told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that with this agreement
in place he hopes the process can be fully funded without further delays.
Elsewhere, the advocacy group Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe and the Human
Rights NGO Forum have issued statements taking issue with recent comments by
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as to whether the new constitution should
protect gay rights, demanding that he clearly state his position on the
At a women's rights function in the Harare satellite town of Chitungwiza
last week, President Robert Mugabe reiterated his opposition to protecting
sexual preference rights, and the state-run Herald newspaper, a mouthpiece
for Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, quoted Mr. Tsvangirai as saying he agreed
with Mr. Mugabe, adding a remark intended to be humorous as to why
Zimbabwean men needed to court other men when women account for 52 percent
of the population.
But Mr. Tsvangirai in his regular newsletter this week declared "there can
be no place in the new Zimbabwe for hate speech or the persecution of any
sector of our population based on race, culture, sexual orientation or
political affiliation." Gay activists however urged him to publicly and
unequivocally state his position through a medium with greater reach than
Studio 7 correspondent Fazila Mahomed reported from Harare on the concerns
of rights activists.
Written by The Zimbabwean
Thursday, 01 April 2010 10:28
16 families from Hoya ward 17 in Charunda village of Chief Kasekete in
Muzarabani yesterday fled their homes at night to seek refuge at St Albert
business centre to avert organized terror from a group of more than 200 ZANU
Pf youths hired from Chiwenga ward.
Earlier this weekend, in an insidious criminal act of impunity that has left
the village paralyzed, Paradzai Chabayanzara and a group of unidentified
ZANU Pf youths are reported to have burnt down the Charunda village AFM
church and Kafuramutowa's house member of the MDC. Speaking to ROHR
Zimbabwe, the district chairman for Muzarabani, Freddie Matonhodze said the
church was burnt because the ZANU Pf supporters are alleging that it's a
church for the MDC people.
Reliable information made available to ROHR Zimbabwe this morning by
Matonhodze, is that 55 members from Charunda village; man, women and
children including the herd-man aged 70 had to walk for more than 84
kilometers during the night and are now destitute following an arrangement
that was made by the ZANU Pf district chairman to hire youths from a
neighboring village to come and assault all members of the MDC.
The unraveling terror incident is linked to the sprouting rekindled reports
of violence and intimidation campaigns targeted at MDC supporters ahead of
the constitutional outreach program. "They don't want people from the MDC
speaking about the constitution; they are claiming that only the chief and
the herdsmen are authorized to speak on behalf of the people" said
Commenting on the plight of the stranded 16 families who are in dire need of
food, water and shelter, Matonhodze said he was not impressed by the
behavior shown by ZANU Pf supporters in the inclusive government." ZANU Pf
is not in the inclusive government because of the will of the people but as
a result of negotiations. They want to impose their shameful constitutional
position on the people by force forgetting that the majority spoke
resoundingly on March 29."
He also criticized the partisan behavior exhibited by Chief Changara
Kasekete for promoting a discriminatory society bent on disempowering
community members on grounds of political affiliation.
For Peace, Justice and Freedom
By Violet Gonda
1 April 2010
Another disturbing report from Mashonaland Central was issued on Thursday,
saying more MDC supporters have been forced to flee their homes by ZANU PF
The Restoration of Human Rights organisation (ROHR) says seven families have
fled after being threatened by known ZANU PF supporters at a prayer meeting
held at Zhanda village in the Chishapa area, Shamva.
Quoting their partner organisation, the Victims Action Committee, ROHR said
among the displaced group are seven men, seven women, ten children under the
age of twelve and two teenagers. The families faced a similar fate during
the election violence in March 2008 and are now living in the bush with no
access to food, water and shelter.
This report came just a day after ROHR and the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
both issued statements on the arson attacks that took place in Muzarabani's
Charunda Village Ward 17, resulting in 55 people fleeing the area.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said ZANU PF burnt down an Apostolic Faith
Mission (AFM) church and a house belonging to Wirimayi Gono, an MDC
councillor, vowing to block attempts by MDC supporters to participate in the
constitution making process.
The pressure group went on to say that a meeting was convened in the same
ward the next day, where Freddy Matonhedze, the ZANU PF District chairperson
for Muzarabani South, allegedly launched 'Operation Hapana Anotaura'
(Operation no-one will speak) - a move to stifle MDC participation in the
constitutional outreach programme starting on April 10th.
ROHR Zimbabwe condemns in the strongest terms the rekindled acts of violence
and intimidation campaigns that are resurfacing in some parts of the country
targeted at innocent vulnerable community members. It is regrettable that
violence brings untold suffering mostly to women and children, against their
wishes and aspirations.
We call upon the principals to the Global Political Agreement to be
responsible and accountable for the actions of the different political
parties they are representing in the negotiations. Cognizant of the fact
that at the top level the principals are negotiating in peace and comfort,
we do not condone a situation whereby their constituencies at the community
level are up in arms against each other.
The widespread indescribable internal displacements of March- June 2008
election violence represent a sad chapter of our legacy, the largest man
made catastrophe and fierce proportions of crimes against humanity. It is
our collective responsibility as a nation that, the sad chapter should never
be revisited even in the worst of times when we have differences as a
We reiterate that the ministry of home affairs has a pertinent role to play
in guiding the nation from a legacy of violence and cancerous impunity into
a post conflict non discriminatory society that is build upon values of
liberty, fairness, and respect for humanity, justice, freedom, transparency,
accountability and trust.
The biggest threat to the writing of a people's constitution and achieving
sustainable national healing is the thriving self serving culture of
impunity that blinds our country from visionary leadership. It is disgusting
that whilst people are still smarting from the wounds from the past orgy of
election violence, they are now being subjected to fresh wounds by the same
system, infrastructure and mechanism that were responsible for promoting
widespread organized and sponsored violence.
We submit as a matter of principle in the best interest of the people at
large that the infrastructure of violence, intimidation and torture should
be disbanded forthwith by all responsible parties as a gesture of goodwill
towards rebuilding our beloved country. Violence begets more violence and a
country cannot be built on a doctrine or culture of fear.
We challenge the guarantor of the talks, SADC and the chair President Zuma
to guarantee first and foremost the peace and security of the people who
should be the ultimate beneficiaries of the outcome of the prolonged talks
in the midst of the progress that is being avidly reported against reports
of fresh rounds of politically motivated violence.
ROHR Zimbabwe remains indebted to the meritorious cause of fighting for the
rights and redress of the welfare of the neglected and trampled victims of
For Peace, Justice and Freedom
by Own correspondent Friday 02 April 2010
HARARE - US-based media development organisation Internews Network plans to
launch a project to use local media and civic networks to promote
understanding of Zimbabwe's national healing and reconciliation agenda.
Internews said this week that hopes to develop a relationship with civil
society organisations (CSOs) to help them utilise the media more
"This project will support nascent local media and peace-building CSOs to
play their appropriate role using radio and video programmes to educate
communities on justice and peace issues, and to give people in target
violence-affected areas the opportunity to exchange experiences and discuss
future aspirations for justice and reconciliation," it said.
Internews also announced it was recruiting a country director to oversee
implementation of the project.
The director would be expected to organise mobile audio and video community
events as well community media peace forums, among other activities.
Zimbabwe's national healing process has been dogged by problems and is
viewed by most people as an exercise in futility.
The failure by the unity government to come up with transitional justice
mechanisms adds to the growing disappointment of victims who have lost faith
in the organ of national healing set up under the terms of the global
political agreement signed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai 19 months ago. - ZimOnline
Masvingo, April 01, 2010 - The leader of the smaller faction of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) Professor Arthur Mutambara is under fire from
his supporters for recently heaping praises on President Robert Mugabe
during a belated commemoration of the International Women's Day held in
Chitungwiza last week.
Mutambara is the Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in the shaky inclusive
Mutambara praised Mugabe on 25 March at Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex,
describing him as "a consistent leader with organisational capacity and
strategic vision", among others.
Mutambara also said President Mugabe has "generational" ideas that produced
"generational" results like Independence. "What is the generational result
for Mutambara, Kasukuwere and Chamisa? As our generation, we are envious of
you President Mugabe," he said.
MDC supporters who gathered at the New Market Centre in Masvingo on Thursday
quizzed the provincial leadership and pleaded with it to file an urgent
petition to Mutambara demanding him to either ask for apology or leave the
MDC-M national chairman Jourbert Mudzumwe confirmed that Mutambara's
'reckless' statements sparked an out row in the party but he was however,
quick to say that everything was under control.
"Its not that outrageous, as a democratic party we can't stop them from
holding different opinion concerning that. A lot of people in our party
especially in Masvingo and Gweru were riled by his (Mutambara) statements.
"They have not yet informed us on the course of action which they want us to
take, but the situation is under control," said Mudzumwe.
Benaya Muchovo who lost to MDC-T's Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro in Gutu
South constituency during 2008 elections, confirmed that Masvingo is fast
losing patience on Mutambara.
"Masvingo is losing patience on this man; he is using reckless statements
which compromise our position as a party. Our meeting today was just to
deliberate on the exact course to follow," said Muchovo.
Mashava, April 01, 2010 - An international food relief agency, The World
Food Programme, has made a timely intervention to rescue embattled Shabanie
and Mashava Mine (SMM) workers from starvation.
The workers have gone for one and half years without salaries, while
operations have been grounded due to viability problems. The mines were
grabbed by President Robert Mugabe's government a few years back from exiled
businessman, Mutumwa Mawere. Prime Minister and Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has ordered that Mawere be given his
business empire back so that a rescue plan can be worked out.
Radio VOP witnessed the visibly troubled workers, most of whom are now
surviving on menial jobs in the nearby Masvingo Town, getting food handouts
which included mealie-meal, cooking oil, beans and corn.
WFP Zimbabwe's programme director, Kevin Farrell, told Radio VOP in an
interview Thursday that his organisation, despite focusing mainly in the
rural areas, was touched by the plight of the more than 5 000 workers who
"Although we focus our relief efforts mainly in rural areas, we also saw it
fit to intervene as the workers are vulnerable, lack any income but have
families to support. Others were getting help from relatives. This is the
same desperate situation that applies in rural areas, and so we had to
help," Farrell said.
He said 3 000 people-including workers and their dependents-were given food
Wednesday in the first phase, while the remaining will also get the
hand-outs in three phases which are to be rolled out by end of April.
Johannesburg, April 01, 2010 - The defence force is being redeployed to
assist law enforcement agencies in patrolling the borders of Botswana,
Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the ministry of defence and military veterans said
"The SA National Defence Force is deploying from different bases across the
country and troops have been mobilised and are currently being briefed and
prepared for the journey back to the border from 12 April 2010," a statement
from the ministry said.
"The SANDF is deploying on the borders of South Africa and Botswana,
Zimbabwe and Mozambique."
Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu was satisfied with the
process of redeploying the troops following a briefing by SANDF chief
General Godfrey Ngwenya, the ministry said.
"Following a briefing by the chief of the SANDF, the minister of defence and
military veterans is satisfied with the process being implemented to
redeploy the SANDF to support other law enforcement agencies currently
patrolling and managing South African borders."
Sisulu was informed that the advance technical teams consisting of
engineers, communication experts and logistics were currently on the
borders, finalising the establishment of headquarters and "all other
necessary infrastructure" for the full return of soldiers.
Sisulu said initially the SANDF will support and complement other law
enforcement agencies on the borders.
She said that "over time" more soldiers would patrol the borders, allowing
members of the South African Police Service to be deployed to other areas.
"We are going back to the border under the South African Border Management
Agency that was approved by Cabinet," Sisulu said.
"We will complement and work closely with other law enforcement agencies.
"When Cabinet approved the SANDF redeployment to the border they said that
working with other law enforcement agencies, we must bring a stop to all
illegal activities at our borders, from cross border crimes, criminal
syndicates, abuse of poor people and stock thefts.
Written by Ndumiso Mlilo
Thursday, 01 April 2010 09:48
JOHANNESBURG: The human rights organization, the Solidarity Peace Trust
(SPT) has released the results of a research they did on Zimbabwe exploring
the options the country can pursue.
The report chronicles the plight of Zimbabweans at home and in South Africa
socially, politically and economically. The report presented by professor
Brian Raftopoulos the director of SPT presented some possible options for
Zimbabwe. The Movement for the Democratic Change withdrawal from the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) is one option which is possible. The report
observes that the things which forced MDC to go into GPA still remain
unresolved like using the state machinery to repress dissenting voices and
some economic decline. The report also mentions that the African Union and
SADC is against the withdrawal as it was observed when MDC made a brief
withdrawal and was pressured to return to the GPA. The report says the
belief that the 'African solution' is the answer gives Mugabe an advantage
more so because he knows that AU and SADC have a limited pressure on him.
MDC withdrawal is likely to "weaken the opposition both national and
regional levels and leave it without a viable alternative strategy
internally and no substantive regional backing". An early election is
another possible alternative. Prof Roftofoulus says, "MDC is capable of
wining elections as it has done before in 2008 but the problem is how to
transform the electoral victory into state power due to Zanu P.F 's hold
over the military and security apparatus in the country". The report argues
that the elections would be possible only when there has been a change in
constitution, electoral laws, and media reform. The report argues that Zanu
P.F is likely to engage in the violent tactics used in the disputed 2008
elections. An extended power sharing period preceding new elections is
another option the SPT considers. Using Kenya as an example the report says
there is danger with this option. The state may use the new spaces opening
up to entrench repressive culture and some conflicts within different
parties is possible. The report goes on to say that this can put a stop on
the constitutional making process, division in civil society over the GPA
and lack of alternative strategy for the opposition. The report argues that
this is the best option for Zimbabwe because any attempt to follow others
will be at Zanu P.F's advantage.
Harare, April 01, 2010 - Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has organized a
night gala for the visiting controversial South African ruling ANC party
youth leader, Julius Malema who is expected in Zimbabwe on Friday.
A series of rallies have been organised for him by the Zanu-PF party.
In an interview AAG secretary General Tafadzwa Musarara said a dinner gala
will be hosted by the business presssure group on Saturday.
"We are going to host the South African Youth leader at a local hotel and we
are inviting journalists and serious stake holders to come and have
discussions with him. That day we will be talking serious business," said
A political analyst David Tavatya said Zanu PF wanted to use Malema to
supports its controversial Empowerment Act, which has scared some investors
and has seen the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange tumbling.
"This is desperate move by the revolutionary party. They want to use this
young man for their political benefit. They want him to say the empowerment
Act has been supported by other countries using this South African youth.
"There are more credible speakers to invite and discuss this critical policy
than inviting a hooligan like Malema,"he said.
Malema like his Zanu-PF counterparts, is in the processing of pushing
through a debate in South Africa in favour of the introduction of
He recently ruffled feathers when he made a call for the nationalisation of
the country's mining sector, sending jitters among international investors
in South Africa.
South African President Jacob Zuma was later forced to play down the move
saying Malema was only expressing an opinion during a recent visit to
Malema like his Zanu-PF hosts also has a penchant for provoking anti-white
sentiments. He recently described all white as racists.
He also recently stirred a hornet's nest when he sang an anti-apartheid song
which targets white people with its "shoot the Boer" lyrics.
Johannesburg, April 01, 2010 - ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has
upset the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), by only meeting Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF on a visit to Harare.
"Is Mr Malema saying that the ANC does not respect democracy and is willing
to ignore the millions of Zimbabweans who sent Zanu-PF packing in the
corridors of power?" asked Austin Moyo, chairperson of the MDC in South
Africa, at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday.
"Does Malema understand that there are millions of liberation heroes in the
Malema made it clear that he would be visiting Zanu-PF because it was "a
revolutionary party" - "as if MDC is not a revolutionary party".
"Is Mr Malema suggesting that fighting and defeating the black oppression of
Zanu-PF (by the MDC) is not synonymous with a revolution?" Moyo asked.
He said the ANCYL's president's visit came at a crucial time, as Zimbabwe's
unity government attempted to put to rest issues agreed upon during a visit
by President Jacob Zuma last month.
"When the mud water is about to settle, it is not wise for the youthful
president to stir it up again with his feet.
"His talking to only one party will send the wrong signals because South
Africa is the referee."
MDC spokesperson Sibangeni Dube said it did not matter that Malema was not a
South African government representative. "These guys have the power to sway
"...We are not interested in Malema as an individual... but he is wearing
the jacket of the ANC."
The controversial youth league president was reportedly meeting senior
Zanu-PF members in the country's indigenisation and administration
departments to learn more about Zimbabwe's "revolutionary empowerment
He was in Zimbabwe by invitation from its Youth Minister, Saviour
Kasukuwere, but the MDC said it was not interested in the intention behind
It wanted him to request a meeting with the leadership of the "majority
party", the MDC.
The MDC had tried to address the matter with Malema directly "to bring
sanity to this saga" but failed to secure a meeting.
Moyo said the MDC's offices had been flooded with calls saying Zimbabweans
were "watching his (Malema's) visit closely".
"They are interested in what he is going to say and who he will meet when he
gets to Zimbabwe."
The MDC hoped that during meetings with Zanu-PF, Malema would be "brave
enough to say things nobody would be brave enough to say".
"Malema is a well-known figure... he is also fearless. (We) want him to say
it is wrong to patronise and oppress people."
Moyo wanted to ask the youth league president if he was proud to be
associated with a political party (of people) who "rapes and murders" -and
also if he was aware of Goromonzi, Zanu-PF's "torture base" a few kilometres
from Harare. SAPA
Stephen Grootes | 2 Hours Ago
The North Gauteng High Court has ruled that ANC Youth League leader Julius
Malema may not use the phrase “shoot the boer” in public.
Judge Eberhard Berltesmann said the real pest of hate speech was the effect
it would have on the person it was aimed at.
He said the rights of the affected people had to come before the rights of
the people who wanted to sing these songs.
However he also said this was a preliminary decision, adding the Equality
Court must hear the case.
He said it was obvious the comments caused people to be worried and concern.
Malema and the ANC are likely to be furious at this decision but it is only
effective until he first day of the Equality Court hearing.
April 1, 2010
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - A leading Zimbabwean Internet service provider (ISP) has
discontinued the provision of internet services to 200 of its users who
declined to reveal their personal details in line with the country's
draconian eavesdropping law, the Interception of Communications Act.
Telecontract (Telco) closed accounts for the individuals and organizations
who are all clients for its agent Zimbabwe On Line (Zol) after they declined
to supply the service provider with their full names, residential and
business addresses as well as their national identity number.
In a statement on Thursday, Zol lashed out at Telco saying it wanted the
details to forward to government.
"Zol feels the pain of our customers. This disruption has affected
embassies, government ministries and departments, multinationals and a whole
range of Zimbabwean companies - small and big," the company said.
However, in a separate statement, Telco said it would be illegal to provide
internet service without the details of affected organizations and persons.
The ISP added that once the details were supplied, internet connection would
" According to the Interception of Communications Act chapter 11:20 part 111
number 10 an IAP such as Telco should have the following information on each
client..This information is required by every Telecoms operator before it
can provide service, similar to the way in which a banking institution would
require such information for the opening of a bank account. Without this
information it would be illegal by law to provide service.
"The failure to disclose such end user information is a breach of our
license as well as the law. Telco took steps to expediently gather that
information but the lack of co-operation by Zol is the cause of the
unfortunate situation we now have."
Last month President Robert Mugabe moved the administration of the
Interception of Communications Act from the Transport Ministry as provided
under that law and placed it under the Central Intelligence Organization
There was no amendment of the law to effect the changes.
Munya Munochiveyi says:
April 1, 2010 at 7:00 PM
The Interception of Communications Ac is a clear constitutional
violation of all privacy laws, even by Lancaster House Constitution
standards. This law could never stand a chance against a constitutional
challenge in any court of law. I urge the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
or other rights lawyers to make an urgent constitutional challenge and
advocate that this law be repealed on the grounds that its unconstitutional
& in violation of basic privacy rights. Who knows what the CIO will do with
our e-mails - steal passwords, access our online bank accounts, read our
Committee members were prevented by local police and Manicaland Governor
Chris Mushowe from traveling into Chiadzwa, Marange district, for a look at
mining operations and to hold meetings with local residents
Sandra Nyaira | Washington 01 April 2010
Members of the Zimbabwean Parliament Committee on Mines returned to Harare
on Thursday from Manicaland province where they were prevented from
inspecting the Mutare diamond-sorting operations of firms partnering with
the government or entering the Marange diamond field itself on a a
Committee members were prevented by local police and Manicaland Governor
Chris Mushowe from traveling into Chiadzwa, Marange district, for a look at
mining operations and to hold meetings with local residents. Public meetings
in Marange and Mutare had to be canceled due to the lack of cooperation from
local officials, members of the committee said.
A meeting with the provincial coordination committee assigned to relocate
Chiadzwa residents was called off Thursday. Lawmakers have accused Mines
Minister Obert Mpofu of blocking the investigations.
Committee members had appealed to Mpofu earlier on Wednesday to send a
letter authorizing them to enter the alluvial diamond field to inspect
operations at first hand but the minister said he was tied up in a meeting
at the headquarters of his ZANU-PF party and could not extract himself to
send such a fax.
Parliamentary backbenchers were up in arms over the episode and comments
attributed to Mpofu carried in the Bulawayo-based state-run Chronicle
newspaper calling the lawmakers "ignorant pedestrians."
Sources said the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation had prepared all
the required letters to request clearance for the committee to visit
Chiadzwa in response to a request by the clerk of Parliament, whose office
also spoke with Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri requesting
that he grant the legislators permission to enter Chiadzwa.
"Chihuri said he had no problem instructing his officers to issue clearance
for the visit to the reserve and restricted diamond fields but needed
authority from the co-ministers of Home Affairs and in particular the
Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu, who remained elusive the whole week and
refused to give authority for the police to give clearance," one source
The co-ministers of Home Affairs gave their nod but the police could not go
ahead without the Mpofu's approval "since the the reservation of the area
was declared in terms of Mines and Minerals Act," the source said.
Manicaland Governor Mushowe also failed to meet the committee members for a
On Wednesday evening the committee received word from senior Parliament
officials that they should return to Harare as they had not been able to
obtain clearance to enter the security-shrouded Chiadzwa area.
Committee members were "shocked by the conduct" of Mines Minister Mpofu,
said another source.
"It is unfortunate that the executive has not sat down with [Mpofu] and
advised him that Parliament operates under the Constitution of Zimbabwe ...
and plays an oversight role," said one committee member.
A member of the committee said the lawmakers, from all three unity
government parties, were "not taking this lightly coming from a member of
the executive who is also a member of Parliament. There is need to respect
the principle of separation of powers between the executive, the judiciary
Legislators say Mpofu's charges that their probe is a witchhunt are
unsupported and represent tactics meant to delay and derail the
parliamentary probe into the government's development of the Marange field.
For a closer look at the Marange situation and related issues of governance,
VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira turned to environmental lawyer Shamiso
Mutisi and the member of Parliament for Mutare West, which includes Marange,
Mutisi said Mines Minister Mpofu and his senior staff have deliberately
misinterpreted the law to prevent the parliamentary committee from
scrutinizing operations in Marange and its handling of national resources.
Friday, April 02, 2010
By Sydney Kawadza
THE Easter holidays begin today with a chilling statistic: 43 people dead in
five horrific road crashes this week alone.
Transport, Communication and Infrastructure Development Minister Nicholas
Goche yesterday said this was already the "bloodiest Easter holiday in the
history of road traffic safety in our country".
On Wednesday night, The Herald visited the scene of one of these horrific
accidents, where the broken bodies of the six dead in a commuter omnibus
crash along the Harare-Nyamapanda Road were strewn across the road and
Police sources have said their initial investigations suggest that this was
another case of speeding, and drinking and driving.
About 5km before Juru Growth Point, the Toyota Hiace kombi rammed into a
stationary haulage truck that had no rear reflectors.
The kombi overturned about 200 metres from the point of impact, indicating
excess speed on the driver's part.
It was typical blood and gore stuff, with one man's head getting crushed and
several other passengers getting dismembered.
This reporter had the misfortune of slipping on pieces of human flesh and
bones on arriving at the accident scene.
It was more of a battleground than anything else; "bloodbath" is perhaps the
most fitting description.
The 27-year-old driver, Simba Magomo, looked calm and answered questions as
if nothing had happened.
Magomo said: "I was coming from Harare going to Mutoko and I suddenly saw a
lorry in front of me.
"The hazards on the trailer were not on and I only realised that there was a
lorry when it was too late. My efforts to avoid the truck failed as there
was an on-coming vehicle.
"I do not know what really happened because the next thing the bus was lying
on its roof and people screaming."
Magomo denied he was speeding.
However, Simbarashe Chikomba, who was sitting next to the driver, says
Sitting up on his bed at Murehwa District Hospital a few hours after the
crash, Chikomba blamed the driver for the accident.
"I suspect the driver and the conductor were drinking at Mbare Musika. The
two were not even at the terminus when the bus was being loaded.
"They only came back when people started disembarking from the bus and we
went through Fourth Street Terminus in town where some more people
disembarked," he said.
Chikomba said they picked more passengers at an undesignated pick-up point
along Samora Machel Avenue.
"They were just delaying and some people threatened to disembark again and
that is when we started the horrible journey."
Chikomba said the man sitting next to him on the front seat had his head
"It was just horrible. The driver was speeding and when we tried to caution
him he ignored us.
"When an alarm started beeping to show he was speeding, the driver said he
had driven vehicles that stopped beeping when you go faster.
"That was about the same time that he hit the trailer. I was not sure what
had happened and only realised that we were upside down and skidding."
Chikomba said Magomo's conductor urged him to drive faster so that they
could reach Nyamapanda and come back to Harare.
Reflecting on the terrible start to the holiday, Minister Goche said: "All
drivers travelling at night have to be extremely cautious and travel at safe
speeds, which allow them to stop in a case of an emergency.
"Drivers should only overtake when they have satisfied themselves that there
is no danger of meeting with oncoming vehicles."
He said drivers should avoid drinking and driving and sober up before
turning the key in the ignition.
"A country that continues to kill a lot of people and destroy so many
vehicles in road traffic accidents cannot record any significant economic
development since a lot of resources will continue to be sought to replace
damaged vehicles, import medication and gadgets needed for physiotherapy,
among other requirements," he said.
National Traffic Police spokesperson Inspector Tigere Chigome said people
got carried away during holidays.
"Most of these accidents are being caused by speeding, sub-standard tyres,
over-excitement, drinking and driving.
"The police will be out in full force during holidays. There are people with
defective vehicles who try to bribe our officers and people should report
these activities," he said.
Mr Wilbert Zhakata of the Urban Transporters Association of Zimbabwe blamed
transport owners for pushing their drivers too hard.
"We are also imploring the police and the Vehicle Inspection Department to
impound defective vehicles and arrest drivers who have not undergone
defensive driving courses," he said.
A caller who phoned The Herald yesterday said more should be done.
"The authorities should start dealing with such problems. Why should young
people be responsible for the loss of so many lives? Most of these drivers
are below the age of 30.
"Government should introduce age limits for drivers, impound vehicles and
send killers to jail for a long time," she said.
Another caller, Mike Adams, said: "There are simple rules to follow.
According to the Student Workbook and Defensive Driving Manual, Student
Outline: Session Two; Defensive means you driving to prevent accidents and
arrive alive in spite of the incorrect actions of others.
"This is a simple statement to be followed by drivers."
He called for mandatory defensive driving lessons for public transporters.
Does Zimbabwe need wider roads? Should it be mandatory to retrain drivers
using public transport?
And what is the maximum sentence that can be imposed on negligent drivers
who cause the deaths of innocent people?
And what of the drivers; when will we start exercising due caution on the
These are the hard questions that should sober us all up this Easter
PEACE WATCH 4/2010
[31st March 2010]
New Human Rights Commission Faced with Daunting Task
This long overdue Commission was sworn in today. It was provided for under the GPA and inserted into the Constitution by Constitution Amendment No. 19, which came into force in February 2009. Under the chairmanship of the distinguished Professor Reginald Austin, the Commission has a mammoth task ahead of it. Despite constitutional guarantees of protection from such abuse, Zimbabwe has a long history of human rights being violated with impunity.
While we continue tolerating a culture of impunity human rights abuses can continue to flourish. Already there are a growing number of reports that intimidation and harassment have resurfaced in some parts of the country following pronouncements by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that elections should be held next year. We have still not dealt with the violent crimes committed in the 2008 election period, though Article XVIII(j) of the GPA speaks of the role of the State to prosecute these offences – whether committed by political party thugs or state agents. [In the few court cases that have been brought, the State has admitted the complicity of state agents.]
Of all the human rights abuses that have taken place in Zimbabwe, that of torture is the most heinous. It involves premeditation and planning, often total isolation, and not only incredible infliction of pain but the uncertainty of if and when it will end. It is a violation of all that makes us human.
It is hoped that the Commission will persuade the Government to sign the United Nations Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol. Zimbabwe is one of the few SADC countries that have not signed this convention. [It is several years since Parliament passed a resolution recommending it be signed and a year since Zimbabwe’s failure to sign the convention was raised in Parliament and co-Minister of Home Affairs Giles Mutsekwa said he would look into the matter.]
It is also hoped that each and every commissioner will read the recently launched report from Crisis Coalition which seeks to expose the use of torture. It tells the stories of political and human rights activists who have been tortured at various locations in Zimbabwe, some for months on end.
Torture Victims Cry Out for Justice
Disbelief, anger, outrage, shame, indignation, pain, sorrow and compassion: these must be among the emotions experienced by those who attended the launching of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition’s report on torture in Zimbabwe: Cries from Goromonzi: Inside Zimbabwe’s Torture Chambers, during which, through anguished sobs, a victim recounted her ordeals.
Rutendo Munengami described how one day in the dead of night in 2003 she was surrounded by a gang of 10 armed men. Her house was ransacked, she was raped, mocked, brutalized, unlawfully arrested and threatened with being thrown into a pool of acid to melt without a trace. She was subjected to all this barbarity and cruelty simply because she and her husband were known supporters of a political party. Munengami spoke for all torture victims and survivors when she declared tearfully: “We want truth and justice, there can be no healing without it and we cannot go into elections with unhealed wounds.”
The packed auditorium at the Book Café in Harare, the venue for the occasion, became so charged with emotion that Munengami’s cry for justice and restoration of her dignity as a human being became a collective cry, with many in the audience weeping openly and others struggling to remain composed. Munengami’s ordeal is one of 23 accounts of torture and brutality, narrated by the victims themselves, which make up Cries from Goromonzi. The book makes painful reading, covering as it does an unimaginable spectrum of depravity, perversity and sadism.
Sexual violation is a lethal weapon in the arsenal of the merchants of violence and torture, with female victims describing how they were gang-raped [and as a result tested HIV positive after their ordeals], had blunt objects and chilli powder inserted into their private parts or were force marched naked after having their clothes ripped off. Male victims were not spared either and many recount in the book how their genitals were burnt with electric wires, crushed, pierced with sharp objects or tied up with string. The results of sexual torture are pernicious. It undermines the whole identity of the person and affects self image, personal relationships and family life ever afterwards.
Other torture methods used
Torture survivors told how they were subjected to electric shocks, attempted suffocation, and repeatedly having their heads “dipped” in buckets of water. Some were also suspended upside down from what they described as the “torture bridge”. Almost all victims were threatened, verbally abused, brutalized and then denied medical treatment. Some of these methods of torture caused a global outcry when they were exposed at the Ahbu Ghraib Prison and Guantanamo Bay after the invasion of Iraq by America and her allies. What a shock it is to discover that the use of these inhuman methods of intimidation, for which the Americans were heavily criticized, including by Zimbabwe, were practised in our country.
Pattern of systematic, organized violence exposed
The testimonies of victims contained in the report prove beyond doubt that the perpetration of violence and torture in Zimbabwe was so systematic that it cannot be described as anything other than organized. There was nothing random and isolated about it. Survivors whose ordeals are recounted in the book include Minister Nelson Chamisa, who was beaten up at Machipisa police station on March 11th 2007 and a few weeks later at Harare International Airport, where he lost consciousness and almost lost an eye and once again had to be admitted to the intensive care ward in hospital. Secretary to the Prime Minister, Ian Makone, was severely beaten at the ZCTU demonstration in 2006 and again when a gang of eight men armed with guns, machetes and iron bars surrounded and assaulted him while he was on his way to the Save Zimbabwe Campaign prayer meeting in March 2007. Later that same month, armed police and soldiers, arriving in 16 vehicles, broke into his house in Domboshava at 2 am and ransacked it. He was abducted and tortured and only released on bail in July. Victims included journalists Gift Phiri, Andrison Manyere and Luke Tamborinyoka, members of Parliament, election agents, trade unionists, opposition and human rights activists and women singled out for being married to men known to support a political party.
Those who paid the ultimate price
The poignant stories are told of the needless deaths of Tonderai Nhira and Better Chokururama, who both died after brutal encounters with the State security apparatus. Plaxedes Mutariswa, wife of the late MDC-T activist Tonderai Ndira, says she continues to live a nightmare since her husband was gruesomely murdered in the countdown to the run-off election. No one has been charged with the murder. “I do not know what these people did to my husband,” she says. “I do not know the pain and suffering he went through and I do not know what his last thoughts and words were. But I want whoever murdered my husband to face justice. Perpetrators should be arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. You cannot take life and live your life as if nothing happened. As long as it is protecting these people, the inclusive government cannot bring healing to me.”
Truth and Justice needed for Reconciliation, Forgiveness and Healing
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai gave the keynote address at the launch, which was held on the anniversary of the day, 11th March 2007, when political and civil society leaders – including himself – were en route to the Save Zimbabwe Campaign prayer meeting and were arrested by security forces and brutally assaulted at Machipisa police station. Mr Tsvangirai was later hospitalised with head wounds. In his speech he said it was difficult to ignore the cries of the victims of violence and torture and acknowledged there would be no healing as long as the perpetrators of the atrocities refused to unclench their fists. He said forgiveness could not exist in a vacuum and the publication of Cries from Goromonzi removed the veneer of normalcy and enabled the nation to face the truth.
Cries from Goromonzi, which is illustrated with colour pictures graphically showing the horrific injuries inflicted on victims, makes for gruelling reading. It is excruciating to be brought face these unspeakable atrocities perpetrated against defenceless citizens. It makes one ashamed to be a Zimbabwean, but as Zimbabweans we need to read it and know what happened and ensure that it never happens again, for no one can be truly free in a country where the intrinsic value of every human being and the sanctity of life are not upheld.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.
BILL WATCH 14/2010
[1st April 2010]
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC]
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was sworn in on Wednesday 31st March at State House.
Chairperson: Justice Simpson Mtambanengwe; Vice-Chairperson: Joyce Kazembe; 7 Other Members: Daniel Chigaru, Geoff Feltoe, Theophilus Gambe, Petty Makoni, Sibongile Ndhlovu, Bessie Nhandara, Mukuni Nyathi.
ZEC’s Constitutional Responsibilities
ZEC’s main responsibility under section 100C of the Constitution is to “prepare for, conduct and supervise” Presidential, Parliamentary and local authority elections and referendums, and to ensure that they “are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law”. In addition ZEC is responsible for:
· supervising the registration of voters by the authority [i.e. the Registrar General] charged with that responsibility under the Electoral Law
· compiling voters’ rolls and registers and ensuring their proper custody and maintenance [ZEC must compile the rolls from data collected and recorded by the Registrar-General — a curious and unhappy division of labour]
· designing, printing and distributing ballot papers, approving the form of and procuring ballot boxes, and establishing and operating polling centres
· delimiting constituencies and wards
· conducting voter education
· accrediting election observers
· giving instructions to State and local authority employees for the purpose of ensuring efficient, proper, free and fair conduct of elections and referendums
· exercising any other function assigned to it under the Electoral Act or any other law
Limitations of these Functions and Powers
Registration of voters: The Registrar-General and his officers remain responsible for registering voters and although in terms of section 18 of the Electoral Act the Registrar-General should be subject to the ZEC directions in this matter, there are no provisions to ensure his compliance. [He is a public servant in the Ministry of Home Affairs, not a ZEC employee, and has always exercised a considerable measure of independence.]
Compiling voters’ rolls: Under section 24 of the Electoral Act, constituency registrars enter voters’ names on the appropriate roll as soon as the voters have been registered. The registration of voters and the compilation of the rolls is therefore a single process, and is conducted by constituency registrars who are under the control of the Registrar-General. ZEC itself is not directly involved in compiling the rolls and the only way it can influence the process is by giving directives to the Registrar-General and it may be difficult to ensure his timely compliance [see above].
Delimiting constituencies and wards: This process is largely under ZEC’s control, but its control is not absolute. Delimitation must precede a general election, so the timing depends on the President‘s decision to call elections, and previous delimitations have always been rushed, with ZEC’s predecessors relying on the Registrar-General’s often inaccurate information about the numbers of voters living in each area and with insufficient time for public input.
Conducting voter education: This is spelt out in Part IV of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act, which gives ZEC a virtual monopoly of voter education – ZEC itself has an obligation to provide voter education, and anyone other than a political party who wants to provide voter education must get ZEC’s approval. But, who ZEC can approve is limited by the Act – they can only approve local organisations registered under the PVO Act and these may not use foreigners to give instruction. Any foreign funding for voter education whether by ZEC itself or by local ZEC-approved organisations has to go through ZEC, but such funding is subject to Ministerial approval.
Accrediting election observers: Although the Constitution gives ZEC the function of accrediting election observers, it must do this in accordance with section 6 of the Electoral Act, which vests accreditation in an Observers’ Accreditation Committee consisting of equal numbers of commissioners and nominees of Ministers and the Office of President and Cabinet, with the Minister of Justice, who is currently responsible for the Electoral Act, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs having a veto over their accreditation.
Use of State and local authority employees: The power to give instructions is not backed up by effective machinery to ensure compliance.
Other functions: Under the ZEC Act, the Commission has the power to make regulations – but the regulations have to be approved by the Minister of Justice. For example, any regulations it makes for political party access to public broadcasting media during election campaigns have to be approved by the Minister – currently Minister Chinamasa. ZEC must also monitor media conduct generally during campaigning; but in the past has not had sufficient resources to conduct meaningful monitoring and the resources come from the Ministry unless ZEC gets donations – but these also require Ministerial approval.
Allocation of Electoral Act to Minister of Justice
In the recent gazetting of Ministerial functions the President surprisingly allocated the administration of the Electoral Act and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act to the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, rather than the new Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs. ZEC requires the Minister’s approval for making regulations, borrowing money and accepting donations.
Setting up ZEC: A Long Drawn-out Process
The new ZEC was established by Constitution Amendment No. 19 in February 2009. In August 2009 Parliament interviewed candidates and submitted its list of nominees, from which the President had to appoint 8 members. The selected members were only announced on 21st December – the interval having been used to reach a party-political compromise on membership. The chairperson was appointed by the President after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission and Parliament. The President also appointed the vice-chairperson in term of the ZEC Act from the 8 members. Under the GPA he was obliged to get the agreement of the Prime-Minister for these two appointments.
ZEC’s Status under Electoral Laws
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] has been through several metamorphoses. It was originally established by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act of 2004. It was then re-established as a constitutional body in 2005, by Constitutional Amendment No. 17 which inserted a new section 61 in the Constitution establishing ZEC and setting out its functions. The problem is that there was no provision stating that the new ZEC was a reincarnation of its predecessor, or that commissioners and staff should continue to hold their offices. Despite this, in fact it was tacitly accepted that ZEC continued as it was in 2005 and staff continued in office and new commissioners were not appointed till 2006.
In February 2009 Constitution Amendment No. 19 replaced section 61 with a new section 100B establishing a new ZEC and once again setting out its functions. There was nothing in the provisions to indicate this was a continuation of the 2005 ZEC – in fact there were significant differences between the old ZEC and the new one in regard to composition and method of appointment of members. Until the new ZEC was appointed yesterday, there was no legal ZEC in existence to employ and pay staff. This issue may cause difficulties for the new ZEC:-
· If staff have continued in office, the new ZEC may be caught in a dilemma – they may want to start as “new brooms” and appoint their own staff, but at the same time have to solve the staffing and remuneration questions that have been let slide.
· Again, as the old ZEC was abolished in February 2009 when Constitution Amendment No. 19 was enacted, the commissioners ceased to hold office then and should not have been entitled to any remuneration or benefits since then.
· Anything done after February 2009 by the old ZEC could be considered to have no legal validity. This may cast doubt on the Commission’s report on the 2008 elections, which was not presented to Parliament till May 2009.
Will the new ZEC be able to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe?
Regrettably, no. Although ZEC is responsible for conducting elections, there are impediments, both legal and institutional, which seriously limit the Commission’s power to ensure that elections are free and fair. Some of these have been dealt with above, but there are more:
· ZEC cannot control the timing of elections. General elections are called by the President with the agreement of the Prime Minister [GPA, Article 20.1.3(q)], while parliamentary by-elections have to be called within 14 days after the President is notified of a vacancy in Parliament [Electoral Act, section 39]. This means that ZEC usually has only a short time within which to plan and organise elections.
· There is no easy and quick way to restore credibility to the voters’ rolls. ZEC cannot order a new registration of voters – there is no provision for it in the present Electoral Act. Without accurate voters’ rolls it is impossible to delimit electoral boundaries, and any election conducted on the basis of defective rolls is open to suspicions of rigging.
· ZEC does not have sufficient staff to conduct elections itself and must rely on civil servants assigned to it by the Public Service Commission, the Health Service Board and local authorities under section 17 of the Electoral Act. This is inevitable, because obviously ZEC shouldn’t have to engage large numbers of employees to be kept on standby pending the calling of an election, but there is a danger that some sections of the Public Service are thoroughly party-politicised.
· ZEC cannot control the electoral environment, i.e. the general atmosphere in which an election is conducted. If there is widespread intimidation or violence in the run-up to an election, there is little that ZEC can do to stop it – for that it has to rely on the Police and Defence Forces, whose conduct in previous elections has been widely criticised as party-politically partisan.
· While ZEC has far-reaching powers to make regulations for the conduct of elections, its power to do so is subject to approval by the Minister responsible for the Electoral Act – currently the Minister of Justice. In this important respect, therefore, ZEC is not independent.
· While ZEC must ensure that elections and referendums are conducted transparently, there is no legal requirement that the Commission itself must act in a transparent manner. This is not a fatal defect in itself, but if ZEC’s decision-making processes are not completely open there may be suspicions that ZEC is being subjected to political manipulation.
Funding of ZEC
The 2010 Budget allocates an amount of US$ 4 175 000 for ZEC operations for the whole of 2010, under Vote 21: Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs. The breakdown of the allocation – how the funds will be spent – is not set out. Donations or grants from local or foreign sources may be accepted – but only with the consent of the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.