Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday
rejected fresh calls by President Robert Mugabe for polls this year, after
the ageing liberation leader called for a vote on a new constitution next
State media quoted 88-year-old Mugabe at the weekend as
threatening to set an election date unilaterally, unless a referendum on the
charter is held in May.
Tsvangirai called a press conference Monday
to again insist that Zimbabwe remain on the "roadmap" brokered by the
15-nation Southern African Development Community.
"We continue to
insist that any credible poll must be predicated by reforms," Tsvangirai
said at his office in Harare.
"We expect the president to respect the
constitution, to respect the law of the land and to respect the roadmap that
SADC has outlined," he said.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a coalition
government in February 2009 after the 2008 presidential race ended in
bloodshed, with the prime minister's supporters making up most of the
estimated 200 dead.
Delays in the constitution-making process and in
media and electoral reforms have delayed the holding of new
Mugabe said in the state-run Herald newspaper on Saturday that
"the dance we have had... is over".
"Let us have an election and end
this animal called inclusive government," he said.
Mugabe, who has
ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, refuses to accede to any
reforms until the European Union and the United States remove sanctions
against him and his inner circle, imposed over human rights abuses and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday moved to dampen
down speculation about an early general election, as demanded by President
Last week the ZANU PF leader told a meeting of his central
committee that elections will be held this year, with or without the new
He said the country will go for a referendum in May. If
there isn’t a referendum then the country will revert to the Lancaster House
Constitution and hold elections before the end of the year.
his monthly press briefing in Harare, Tsvangirai insisted that his full
attention was focused on ensuring that reforms are carried out first before
the GPA leaders can call for an election.
‘We continue to work towards
the next election, albeit with sharp differences over the nature and
complexion of that election.
‘There has been slow movement on reforms as
our colleagues view any reform as a form of conceding power. For us, reforms
are a fulfilment of what we agreed upon and signed up to, both in the GPA
and in the roadmap that was facilitated by SADC,’ the Prime Minister
As GPA principals, Tsvangirai said they were expecting a draft of
the constitution, which he said was one of the key reforms before a poll can
‘I wish to restate what I said in Parliament recently that
while individual political parties may claim to want an election without a
new constitution, there is no such position in government,’ he
Douglas Mwonzora, Tsvangirai’s party spokesman, told SW Radio
Africa that Mugabe’s deadline for a referendum by May was not realistic,
because of mandatory time limits set in the GPA.
‘It’s a tight
deadline. In fact it does not make sense, even if we were to finish the
constitution today (Monday). This is because we have mandatory time limits
in the GPA and mandatory processes before you go to a referendum,’ Mwonzora
The MDC-T MP for Nyanga North, and co-chairman of COPAC, explained
that the constitution has to be subjected to a second all stakeholders
conference, that must be convened within a month of releasing the final
draft. That draft is expected to be released before the end of next
‘For an example, after we release the draft this April, we will
need a month to give people an opportunity to read this document and
appreciate it. Then after that it goes to parliament where it is debated
again for another month, and once that is done, the draft is subjected to a
referendum,’ the MP said.
He continued: ‘If you add all these time
limits, you see that the May deadline that the President talks about is
very, very unrealistic. The earliest time we can have a referendum is
between August and September.’
Analysts believe that an election without
reforms would go against repeated SADC summits and would alienate Mugabe
from the regional bloc.
Political commentator Bekithemba Mhlanga told us
Mugabe risks losing the support of SADC if he decides to push for an
election without the bloc’s support.
‘Without SADC support I don’t
see Mugabe going for an election. The best he could do now is speed up the
process and have an election before the year, but under a new constitution,’
Weddings in Zimbabwe have been indefinitely suspended, reportedly in
an effort to curb fraud.
The ban on matrimony was announced in the
state run Herald newspaper last Wednesday, with Registrar General Tobaiwa
Mudede stating that his office is trying to stop ‘marriages of
Mudede has reportedly said that weddings will only be held
when a new ‘biometric marriage certificate’ has been introduced in the
“We are the first in the world to fight marriages of
convenience,” Mudede is quoted as saying, detailing that the government is
trying to clamp down on people using marriage to get Zim
He also threatened anyone who goes ahead and performs a
wedding ceremony, saying: “Marriage officers will have to comply with this
and if you don’t, jail is waiting for you.”
The ban has not yet been
given a time limit, leaving scores of weddings unable to go
Already this weekend there were reports of wedding party’s being
turned away from registry offices across the country, with some reports
stating about 20 planned marriages at one magistrate’s court had to be
Harare, April 02,
2012 – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has dismissed President Mugabe's
claims that his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party was pushing for
the inclusion of age and term limits in the new constitution to block the
88-year-old leader from contesting the next polls.
addressing journalists during his monthly Prime Minister’s press conference
at government’s Munhumutapa building on Monday afternoon.
“I don’t think
we make constitutions influenced by individual age or individual status,"
Tsvangirai said. "I don’t see why there was panic about these clauses being
made for a particular individual. Constitutions are not written for an
individual. They are written for posterity and national principle. In this
case age limit was not targeting President Mugabe... It was targeted at the
This follows accusations by Mugabe during his often long annual
interviews by the state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(ZBC) to coincide with his birthday that the MDC was instituting a silent
coup against him by pushing for a clause in the constitution to disallow
anyone over 70 years to stand for presidency and limiting the presidential
term to two years.
He said the parties to the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) had agreed the clauses would not apply retrospectively on
The MDC leader vowed he will fight to block Mugabe from
calling for fresh elections in the absence of key reforms agreed during the
signing of the coalition government.
“We will insist on these
conditions, we will fight for those conditions and we will urge SADC to
insist on its own conditions on Zimbabwe,” Tsvangirai said.
adamant he shall also have a say in the determination of a date for the next
“The next election is not about cheap rhetoric, misleading people
and firing cheap broadsides at the region and the facilitator simply because
one wants to placate hardliners in their political parties,” he
“The next election is about respecting the regional effort and
putting in place mechanisms to ensure that we have credible polls that will
usher in a legitimate government.”
Tsvangirai said the continued
threats to hold elections by Mugabe were disrupting the country’s efforts to
lure foreign investors.
HARARE - David Coltart, the smaller MDC faction’s legal
secretary says President Robert Mugabe’s insistence on elections this year
without reforms is a blunder he will live to regret.
speaking at a discussion on “Elections and costs in Zimbabwe this year” last
week where he said holding of elections would only be possible after the
necessary reforms and GPA.
“The political party that is going to force
through this election will most likely alienate itself from very powerful
leaders in the region and donors who have invested political capital to make
sure some normalcy returns to this country.
“We will be literally
slapping the African Union, Sadc and President Zuma who have invested and
taken a lot of strain in trying to convince these organisations. The UNDP
has sunk in millions of dollars to drive this process,” said
He said he did not see any of the MDC formations participating
in a sham election and that the only parties that would likely take part
would be Zanu PF and some “stooge parties and whoever forces this election
will incur frightening political costs.
“There is a cost to Zanu PF
because an election is most likely to cause divisions within the party
because they have no consensus within that party to the holding of elections
“It will be a huge political cost that could be Zanu PF’s
biggest undoing and may result in the creation of two separate political
entities. Mugabe cannot afford any more divisions over failure to consult
with a view of going ahead with elections,” Coltart said.
that another cost will be political stalemate while sanctions will get
tightened. The little legitimacy that Zanu PF had in 2008 will be
MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora agreed with Coltart saying
Mugabe wanted a quick exit from this presidency because it was an
“Mugabe was not elected in 2008 and he
knows it. He has met with young democratically elected leaders over the past
four years and its humiliating him."
“But we are saying if Zanu PF is
genuine about elections this year, why don’t we just agree on the modalities
of a free and fair poll then hold elections tomorrow — open up the airwaves,
repeal oppressive legislation and reconstitute the electoral commission,”
Zanu PF’s representative at the discussion Goodson Nguni
said Zuma or Sadc will not tell his party on what to do.
lips, you will not see more of Lindiwe Zulu (Zuma’s political advisor) here
much more and Zuma will not be telling us what to do with our country
“The president of Zanu PF and the country’s head of state has
categorically stated that he would pull our party out of the GNU because we
are tired of working with imperialist stooges and the people of Zimbabwe
will be the final arbiters on who they want to rule them. We must afford
them that chance this year,” Nguni said.
Coltart said Zimbabwe did
not have the money to fund elections this year and Zanu PF would probably
have to fork out money to fund the plebiscite.
“We cannot print anymore
money, that era is over. Now we have to spend hard cash and I can speak with
a degree of certainty that our capital account is in the red.
country may have to forgo social delivery services like education which is
already compromised to fund elections,” Coltart said.
POWER supply problems could worsen across the country over
Easter unless the US$76 million debt owed to suppliers in Mozambique is
significantly reduced, a cabinet minister has warned.
Minister, Elton Mangoma said Zimbabwe needs to reduce its debt to under
US$40 million by Friday to ensure the current power supply problems do not
“They (Mozambique) agreed to increase power supply once we
have made our payment. They expecting us to bring our debt to below US$40
million and they said that is when the power supply would be increased for
us,” Mangoma told the state-owned Herald newspaper.
“For us to have
reduced load-shedding during the holidays, it all depends on whether we are
able to mobilise the required resources by Friday.
“If that is not the
case, it means the situation would remain the same and we will continue with
the power outages until we set off what we owe.”
Mangoma said ZESA –
which is owed more that US$550 million by customers -- would step-up
disconnections of defaulters over the next few days to help raise the money
needed to reduce the debt with Mozambique. “What this means is more power
disconnections for everyone,” he said.
“Although I cannot disclose the
amount we have at the moment, we are also going to apply multiple methods to
raise the money and Government also has to look for other alternatives like
loans or where to borrow.”
Zimbabwe generates 1,300MW of electricity
which was way short of the daily national requirement of about 2,200
megawatts. The country has plugged the gap with imports from regional
suppliers but many have cut back supplies due to payment
The shortages have forced ZESA to ration supplies to both
commercial and domestic users with some areas going for more than 10 hours
per day without power.
By Chris Goko and Xolisani Ncube Monday, 02 April 2012
HARARE - Zimbabweans are at risk of consuming condemned maize
as it emerges that some unscrupulous businessmen are buying the grain meant
for stock feed and processing it as mealie-meal for the poor.
Daily News has discovered that the dealers have been buying the condemned
maize from some millers amid fears that the maize could be finding itself on
The “rain-damaged” grain, damned by President Robert
Mugabe’s government and recommended for animals, has raised fears that
consumers could be exposed to health hazards following reports that there is
also a 24 000-tonne consignment of genetically modified organism (GMO) grain
in the country.
Mugabe and cabinet both rejected the maize which has
found its way to the open market.
Harare City Council health director
Prosper Chonzi confirmed they are carrying out investigations into the
quality of the grain and where it is processed.
Reports say the
mealie-meal being processed from the condemned maize by the businessmen is
cheaper compared to that produced by big companies.
While the millers are
selling the grain to farmers and businessmen, there is no authority to check
whether the condemned maize is not being processed for human
Tafadzwa Musarara, the chairperson of the Grain Millers
Association of Zimbabwe, on Friday confirmed there has been some maize which
has been condemned for human consumption.
Musarara owns Alpha Grain
(Alpha), which has also been selling the maize.
He confirmed his
company’s handling of up to 18 000 tonnes of the humidity-stricken “private
“This maize is not GMO, but was affected by humidity and,
therefore, not regarded fit for human consumption. As we speak, the
consignment is being sold as stock feed,” he said, stressing, though, that
the consignment at issue had not been condemned on the grounds that it was
lab-grown or artificial.
While the former Affirmative Action Group
secretary-general said that the grain was “spoilt” at the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB)’s depots, company chief executive Albert Mandizha could not
elaborate on the issue — except a terse response that only the national
bio-safety office could address the issue.
John Mafa, head of that
division could not be reached for comment yesterday.
spokeperson Muriel Zemura could also not be drawn to comment on the issue of
the two “contaminated stocks” of maize and referred the Daily News to GMB’s
parent ministry, but Agriculture minister Joseph Made shot back at the
“They know better and must respond to your questions
because we cannot respond to such an operational issue,” he
Made emphasised, though, that as a leading white maize producer,
Zimbabwe would not allow any products or policies, which risk blemishing its
production record and output.
Musarara, meanwhile, confirmed selling
part of his maize stock to big companies which produce stock
Speaking on behalf of Alpha Grain, Musarara said the purported
furore over the tainted grain was being fanned by business rivals, who were
feeling the heat over his $150 per tonne-price in stock feed maize, as
opposed to their $700-plus quotations.
An avowed Zanu PF supporter
and functionary, Musarara particularly fingered some large and Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange-listed players as the backers of “this negative
As things stand, the Harare businessman and farmer is still
continuing with his grain sales and he insists he sells to animal feed
He admits he has no control over what happens when the
grain leaves his or any other millers’ depots.
A distinguished flour
producer – and maize processor — Musarara also enjoys a toll milling
arrangement with Victoria Foods.
A CHINESE mining group will invest $21.2 million to restart
a Zimbabwean nickel mine that closed during the country's hyper-inflationary
turmoil in the last decade, Mwana Africa announced Monday.
International Mining Group Corporation would buy $21.2 million of new shares
at 5.5 pence per share, with the remaining shares being sold to
institutional investors via a placing at the same price.
owns a 52.9 percent stake in Bindura Nickel Corporation in Zimbabwe, the
only fully integrated nickel operation in Africa, whose assets include the
China International Mining Group Corporation's investment
will help to restart mining at the Bindura Nickel Corporation's Trojan mine
after it closed in 2008, Mwana Africa said.
"I am delighted to
welcome CIMGC's substantial investment into Mwana Africa, which, allied with
the additional money we are looking to raise today, should enable us to
restart our nickel mine in Zimbabwe," Mwana Africa chief executive Kalaa
Bindura’s operations were placed on care and maintenance in
November 2008 following a collapse of nickel prices and hyperinflation
concerns in Zimbabwe.
But Mwana Africa believes that economic and
operating conditions in Zimbabwe and general nickel market condition are
conducive to the restart of operations at the Trojan Mine which can treat
1.1 million tonnes of nickel a year.
Zimbabwe economy is slowly
recovering after a 10-year collapse, aided by a unity government between
long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and his rival, Prime Minister Morgan
The unity government abandoned the local currency, left
worthless by world-record hyperinflation, and lifted controls that had
strangled trade and investment.
The MDC-T has promised to restore sanity to the
country’s dilapidated tertiary institutions, which it describes as “maximum
security prisons” killing the future. 01.04.1203:05pm by Nhamo
Speaking during a public debate on the “Costs and Benefits of
Election” organized by the Mass Public Opinion Institute here this week,
party spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, blamed the former ruling party for the
sorry state of the tertiary facilities.
“The reckless behavior of
Zanu (PF) is evident especially in tertiary colleges and universities where
conditions are deplorable. They churn out intellectual rebels, not visionary
graduates,” Mwonzora said.
A few years ago the University of Zimbabwe
closed its halls of residence and kitchen owing to uninhabitable conditions.
Observers say this is reflective of the decay spreading across the whole
The MDC believes only free and fair elections will
enable the restoration of order and hope to students.
Electoral Commission official has thrown cold water on Zanu (PF) plans to
increase the number of rural constituencies and reduce those allocated urban
centres in a desperate bid to win the next elections. 01.04.1202:48pm by
Traditional leaders met recently at Dhirihori Business
Centre to sub-divide Chief Svosve’s area into three separate zones presided
over by three different chiefs. The three areas would then be delimitated
into political constituencies.
The meeting was expected to be
attended by Provincial Governor, Aenius Chigwedere, Provincial
Administrator, Cuthbert Ndarukwa and District Administrator, James Chiwaru.
The trio did not turn up as expected “for intelligent reasons”, said a
headman who attended the meeting.
The ZEC official said other parties to
the GPA would see through such a fraudulent attempt.
planned Svosve delimitation programme would not be possible as it would
leave too few people under the chieftainship to complement a political
constituency,” he said.
Parliament has 210 elected seats, while 10
non-elected seats are reserved for chiefs and 10 for governors.
Desperate villagers in Buhera have blamed Zanu (PF) officials
and war veterans for exposing them to permanent hunger after they chased
away two NGOs providing them with food. 01.04.1202:28pm by Tony
They told The Zimbabwean the long dry spell had hit them
“If we do not get food soon some people might die. We had some
irrigation schemes that sustained our lives with the help of NGOs, but since
they were chased away most of us have gone hungry,” said
TonderaiMushavaviri, a village elder in Chief Nyashanu area.
donors worked tirelessly to save us from hunger. I do not have anyone to
look after me, some donors were looking after me but now they were chased
away. Who will look after me?” said an elderly villager, Stanslaas
Relations between Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and former
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo have soured dramatically in recent
months, after Moyo, a notorious political turncoat, deserted his former ally
to begin promoting the presidential ambitions of army General Constantine
In 2004 Moyo was named as the chief architect of a meeting held
in Tsholotsho to defy Mugabe’s directive that ZANU PF must nominate a woman
as his deputy. The so-called ‘Tsholotsho Declaration’ supported Mnangagwa
who was then Speaker of Parliament, instead of Joice Mujuru, who was
eventually chosen that same year.
SW Radio Africa however understands
relations between Mnangagwa and Moyo have since deteriorated so badly the
two are not even speaking to each other. Moyo is seen regularly visiting
Chiwenga at Defence House, the army headquarters which also houses the
Ministry of Defence where Mnangagwa is minister.
reportedly furious that his former ally has jumped ship and is now de-facto
spokesman and strategist for Chiwenga’s camp and its presidential
“Moyo visits Chiwenga almost daily and it’s believed he has become
the brains behind a clique of ‘not so bright’ army chiefs pushing to have
Chiwenga succeed Mugabe,” a source close to developments told SW Radio
While there has always been talk of infighting within ZANU PF
between the Mnangagwa and Solomon Mujuru factions, it is clear to many that
a third faction, led by Chiwenga and backed by some in the army, has joined
Meanwhile it’s reported Mugabe blocked the election of
controversial businessman Philip Chiyangwa as vice-chairman of ZANU PF’s
Mashonaland West province. Chiyangwa was expelled from ZANU PF several years
ago after being arrested and eventually acquitted of selling state
Mugabe used a recent politburo meeting to put the breaks on
Chiyangwa’s political comeback. The reason used to bar Chiyangwa is that he
was only recently re-admitted as an ‘ordinary member’ and does not qualify
to stand for election. The decision is set to fuel more factional fighting
as his supporters are not happy.
There is rising concern for the safety of a UK based Zimbabwean
activist, who faces possible deportation back home.
Frazer Muzondo, a
Zim asylum seeker and an MDC-T activist, was detained last week during his
routine report to Border Agency officials in London. He is now being held at
the Colnbrook Removal Centre, ahead of possible deportation.
is best known in the UK as a vocal ZANU PF critic and regular participant in
a number of Zimbabwean activism activities, like the London based Zimbabwe
Vigil. He is also a regular attendant at MDC meetings in
He has also written regular articles for the UK’s MDC
structures and for the Nottingham Zimbabwean Community Network (NZCZ) since
2008, after the chaotic election period that resulted in the current
Though his articles have been well received in
activism circles, it is the same material that fellow activists say will
land Muzondo in serious trouble if he is deported.
Muzondo wrote a piece published by the NZCZ titled: “ZANU PF in
self-enrichment mode”, which singled out Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri, Army Commander Constantine Chiwenga and Robert Mugabe as the chief
architects of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis. He has also previously used his
articles to slam ZANU PF for stealing the 2008 election and forcing the MDC
into a unity structure that kept Mugabe in power.
The Chairman of the
Nottingham Zimbabwe Community Network, Regis Manyanya, told SW Radio Africa
on Monday that Muzondo is a “fearless critic,” who faces possible
retribution if he was sent back. He explained that Muzondo has been in the
process of appealing the UK government’s decision to remove him after being
notified in February, but the appeal process has not been
He added: “There is a political game being played and when
big elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. In this case, people like
Frazer are the grass.”
“We are headed towards an election in Zimbabwe
and the situation is volatile, especially for those who are critical of the
regime. Frazer wants regime change, he has always wanted regime change, so
to send him back now just makes no sense,” Manyanya said.
was also critical of the UK Border Agency for what he called ‘harassment’
and ‘victimisation’ of Zimbabwean citizens in the UK, saying he believes
that the situation is getting worse.
“I believe that this is a deliberate
strategy to weaken Zimbabweans as much as possible and force them to take
the voluntary return packages or face deportation,” Manyanya said.
ZACRAS is outraged by actions of the Member of Parliament for
Chakari, Zachariah Ziyambi, who banned members of his constituency from
listening to Studio 7 and reading newspapers perceived to be hostile to
ZANU-PF. In a Newsday article of 2 April 2012, the ZANU-PF Member of
Parliament for Chakari, Zachariah Ziyambi, stated that he advised his
constituency not to listen to Voice of America’s Studio 7 or read newspapers
hostile to ZANU-PF , so that they do not get distracted. Honourable Ziyambi
said this during a parliamentary workshop organised by the Media Institute
of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe) in Kariba.
It is deplorable that
the same individuals whom Zimbabweans entrusted and voted into office, are
the same individuals who seek to gag citizen’s right to access information.
The right to information is a basic human right, and should not be viewed as
a privilege which can be bestowed or taken away from citizens at the whims
In the same Newsday article, MP Ziyambi went on to add
that his constituency does not have access to newspapers and has limited
access to ZBC radio stations. It is ZACRAS’ view that, by restricting access
to Studio 7 and any other information sources which do not glorify ZANU-PF,
the MP is striving to create information blackout.
Honourable Ziyambi’s actions, ZACRAS is of the belief that Parliamentarians
should be at the forefront of championing the attainment of democratic
principles, of which access to information is one of them .It is therefore
regrettable that MPs like Ziyambi, are putting restrictions and dictating
the kind of information that citizens should access.
that, placing restrictions on access to information promotes a culture of
passivity and docility on the part of citizens. Restricting access to
information will culminate in the constituency of Chakari being deprived of
information .As a result, constituency members will not be able to actively
engage in governance issues and demand accountability and
Currently, there has been an upsurge in cases of
Parliamentarians who are abusing Community Development Funds (CDF).It is
such instances which necessitate the empowerment of citizens through
information provision, so that they demand accountability and transparency
from the governing. ZACRAS maintains its call for broadcasting diversity
which will result in the licensing of community radios. It is ZACRAS’
conviction that community radios will close the information gap which has
been created by ZBC’s failure to broadcast in all regions of
Promotion of access to information, freedom of expression and
information dissemination is one of the cornerstones of any vibrant and
healthy democratic society. Through community radios, the free flow of
information will contribute to transparency, accountability and the rule of
law. In this manner, citizen participation in public and political discourse
will be greatly enhanced.
The free flow of information within
countries and across international borders is a powerful force for
development, understanding and positive change. Through access to
information and participation of communities, an empowered Zimbabwe will
actively participate in governance issues and demand accountability and
transparency from the governing.
By Bulawayo Correspondent Monday, 02 April 2012
BULAWAYO - State Enterprises minister Gorden Moyo says the
restructuring of parastatals and state enterprises was agonisingly going on,
with the National Railway of Zimbabwe (NRZ) providing
Speaking in Bulawayo, Moyo said government was still to
approve a privatisation strategy for the troubled railway
“Our headache is the NRZ and if there is something that is
making us lose sleep it is that company. The thinking in government is that
we use the strategies that we used with National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
(Noczim) and others, that is, to split it into an infrastructure, passenger
and freight company and that way, it would be easier to manage,” Moyo
“It would be easier for somebody who is dealing with the passenger
company or the infrastructure company to manage it but we still have a
nightmare because we have not made any meaningful decision and progress,” he
The minister said the state of the rail operator’s equipment and
capital constraints were the major challenges dogging it.
also a big debt overhang which is affecting NRZ. Again the company has been
operating without a properly constituted board affecting its decision-making
process. There is a problem of micro management of the entity and that kind
of management has never worked anywhere in the world,” Moyo said.
state enterprises minister however said the process of restructuring
Agribank and national carrier, Air Zimbabwe were ongoing with the former
already in full swing.
“The old Air Zimbabwe Holdings is being
liquidated and the new company called Air Zimbabwe Private Limited will
start from scratch and with a clean page and image,” he said.
going to allow other players to come in and there will be no more monopoly
as we have de-monopolised our space and airline,” Moyo said adding his
ministry hoped the strategy would turn around the grounded national
Moyo said a proposal had been tabled to government that
would result in the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) unbundling into two
entities, a strategic grain reserve unit responsible for ensuring food
security and a special purpose vehicle company.
He said the national
grain procurement company would also enter into partnership with investors
for the recapitalisation of the companies.
Moyo said to date the
restructuring of Noczim had been the most successful.
“Fuel in Zimbabwe
is no longer a problem because we have restructured Noczim by unbundling it
into two companies, namely Petro Trade and the National Oil Infrastructure
Company of Zimbabwe,” the minister said.
“We now have one company dealing
with the infrastructure of Noczim and the one that deals with the trading of
fuel and this has improved efficiency and profitability as they are being
run commercially,” he added.
He said state entities such as TelOne and
NetOne would also be restructured.
“Players in communication sector
should come and make ventures with TelOne and NetOne, as they were lagging
behind in acquiring latest technology,” Moyo said.
Zimbabwe has about
78 state enterprises and parastatals.
Ten have been marked for
restructuring and possible privatisation namely Zisco Steel, Noczim,
Agribank, Zimbabwe Power Company, Grain Marketing Board, Cold Storage
Company, Air Zimbabwe, NRZ, TelOne and NetOne.
Already a 53,4 percent
shareholding in Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company has been sold to Mauritian
firm Essar Africa Holdings. Over the last decade, parastatals and state
enterprises have been a burden to the fiscus as they relied on perennial
hand outs due to viability constraints.
Experts say lack of good
corporate practices, coupled with inept management has contributed to their
Economists say state enterprises, when operating efficiently
had the potential to contribute about 40 percent to government
The State Enterprises Restructuring Agency (Sera) recently
announced plans to list Allied Timbers (Altim) and the People’s Own Savings
The agency told a parliament’s portfolio committee that the
planned listing would unlock value for the two entities and its shareholder
who is government.
Sera also revealed plans to create a separate
bourse were public enterprises will be listed after failing to meet the
listing requirements of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
Altim is a
wholly government-owned timber producer while POSB was created through an
Act of Parliament in 2001 and is also wholly owned by the
The Bank is supervised by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
and the ministry of Finance.
Posted on Monday 2 April 2012 -
13:14 Misheck Rusere, AfricaNews reporter in Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's much touted literacy rate of more than 90% has been disputed as
having been outdated since the figures are based on data collected by UNESCO
and the government more than a decade ago.
We roughly estimate that
the literacy rate for those over 15 is dropping a half percent each year and
that will accelerate to 1% each year as those who left school after 2005
reach age 15,” writes Zimbabwe Reads on its website.
organization goes on to state that the Zimbabwean education situation is
likely to worsen if the current conditions continue to prevail adding that
Zimbabwe might not even be the continent’s highest literary
“If current conditions continue, Zimbabwe will have a
literacy rate of 70% in 2020. At this stage, it seems unlikely that Zimbabwe
still has the highest literacy rate in Africa, with the more reliable
estimates from Botswana (85%) and Tunisia (87%) probably surpassing it,” it
Zimbabwe Reads observes what it refers to as “a very
disturbing tendency” of high rate of children dropping out of school since
2005 where it states that about 15% of the country’s children never enter
the school system while a further 30% never make it to secondary
According to the organization, the number of patrons in
almost all the libraries in the country continue to decrease since the late
80s with the current figures standing at as less as half the 1989
“In 1989, there were more than 150,000 registered public
library users using 76 public libraries. The user numbers for 2011 are
certainly less than half of that. The Bulawayo Public Library reported
10,289 patrons for the year preceding July 2011; the National Free Library
had 8016 patrons (but only 250 paid the registration fee to
The organization has also noted that most libraries in the
country carry materials that are published only in English at the neglect of
local languages estimating fewer than 50 titles in indigenous languages.
Most books with titles in local languages are reported to have been
published long ago and have been kept in stock by local bookshops like Mambo
The Zimbabwean government and UNESCO reports that the country
has a literacy rate of more than 90% with the current Minister of Education
David Coltart intensifying efforts to restore the education sector which had
sharply declined as a result of the economic meltdown which characterized
the country for a period spanning to more than a decade.
Meanwhile the United Kingdom through its Department of International
Development (DFID), recently injected 24 million pounds (around 38 million
USD) into the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Zimbabwe, to
support the country’s second phase of the Education Transition Fund (ETF II)
which is a multi-donor pooled fund set up at the inception of the inclusive
government in 2009 by Education, Sports, Arts and Culture Minister David
Coltart in partnership with UNICEF in a bid to bridge the sector’s funding
gap from emergence to recovery.
President Robert Mugabe insists that
Zimbabwe will hold elections this year and any legislators from his Zanu PF
party who are opposed to polls should join other political
The 88 year-old Robert Mugabe has challenged MPs who do not want
elections this year to join MDC/Photo/Reuters
The 88 year-old Robert
Mugabe has challenged MPs who do not want elections this year to join
MDC/Photo/Reuters Mugabe is itching to end a three year old coalition
government, with calls for an election this year, which his partners in
government are opposed to.
Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai remains
opposed to elections this year, arguing that the country should first
implement reforms that will guarantee an uncontested election.
reported that several parliamentarians from Mugabe's party are opposed to
elections and fear that they could lose their seats. ′′But Mugabe is
spoiling for a fight and insists that the coalition government should not
live a day longer.
Addressing his party's Central Committee meeting
last Friday, the long time ruler sounded a warning to rebellious legislators
and other parties. ′′"I am told that there are some among us who do not want
elections this year. I say to them go and join MDC," thundered Mugabe. He
said the party will announce its final position on elections in
If Mugabe remains President, then we all should remain
′′However, political analysts downplayed Mugabe's genuineness
saying the octogenarian was back to his old tactics of instilling fear to
party members opposed to his views. ′′
"He can't afford to lose them.
Mugabe is a master of mind games. His prime motive was to say 'look I am in
charge here and my decision is supreme'," an analyst, Alfred Ncube, said.
"He wants to sniff out rebellious members." ′′
Mugabe has long
suspected that party members sabotaged his 2008 poll campaign that saw him
lose a first round election to Tsvangirai, who, however, was short of an
The veteran ruler managed to retain power through a
run-off election he contested on his own after unleashing a violent
campaign, forcing Tsvangirai the main contender out. ′′Mugabe had faced an
unlikely revolt from his party, with members launching a campaign known as
"kick the ball off the field".
Stay where you are
was that they would tell their supporters to vote for councillors,
legislators and senators from Zanu PF, but could vote for anyone else as
president. This was a culmination of frustrations by a younger crop of
politicians that felt Mugabe was a liability ahead of the
Now there are fears that this crop is regrouping to resist
Mugabe's election call.
On the other hand some legislators are
calling for the scrapping of internal Zanu PF primary elections, arguing
that if polls are held this year their terms would have been cut short and
they would have been prejudiced.
The legislators are said to have come up
with a campaign called "Stay where you are".
"If Mugabe remains
President, then we all should remain MPs and no primaries should be
conducted in constituencies. If Mugabe is unchallenged, the same should
happen to legislators," a legislator, speaking on condition of anonymity,
On Wednesday, Mugabe is expected to convene an extraordinary
politburo meeting to deal with the increasingly contentious
constitution-making process, amid growing calls from hardliners for the
party to quit the exercise and call for elections.
A new constitution
is widely regarded as the first step in a roadmap for elections.′′The
meeting will be critical in determining whether Mugabe will pull his party
from the constitution-making process.
THE US$600 million Green Fuel ethanol plant in Chisumbanje
has ceased production after running out of storage space as the company
struggles to push its product on the local market.
reported Sunday that Green Fuel has also been forced to sack 230 employees
after production ceased at the plant.
The company is selling E10, a blend
of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent petrol but motorists have remained
reticent, apparently concerned about possible damage to their vehicles and
the product’s pricing. A litre of E10 is retailing at an average price of
US$1,41, marginally lower than the US$1,44 for unleaded petrol.
is of no use to have our own product costing almost the same as the imported
one. Motorists think it is rather absurd to switch from what they were used
to and try another product for no reason,” Harare economist Machel Mawerera
told the Sunday Mail. “The price should have been less than a dollar per
Company officials said the government should introduce mandatory
blending to rescue the project which was expected to help reduce the
country’s fuel import bill.
Said assistant general manager, Raphael
Zuze: “I do not agree that motorists are resisting our product because of
the price. It is just a belief which has been created that needs to be
eradicated. “We are asking the authorities to make it mandatory for every
fuel importer to use our ethanol to blend what they import.
that becomes mandatory, we will see how much the country saves in terms of
foreign currency which can then be used towards other pressing
issues.” He said increasing the blending ratio from the current 10
percent of ethanol would help reduce product price.
introducing ourselves slowly and we are going to increase the ratio, but we
can only do that with a guaranteed mandatory blending licence,” he
“This will help us to determine what our market needs. It is
true that if we go up to between E15 and E25, the price of fuel will
definitely go down.” However, motorists with older vehicles would need to be
fitted with converters in order to use either E15 or E25.
converter changes the fuel-air ratio. Depending on the car, most of the
local vehicles require converters to use anything between E15 and E25,”
factory manager Peter Glaum said.
“That is why we started at E10
because we were not sure of the state of the local cars.”
The Minister of the Public Service, Lucia Matibenga
told Parliament recently that nearly 6,000 youths recruited by Zanu (PF) in
May 2008 had now been removed from the government
payroll. 28.03.1211:57am by Editor
The Zanu (PF) administration
hired 7,000 Green Bombers soon after Robert Mugabe lost to Morgan Tsvangirai
in the presidential election of May 2008. A month later Mugabe “won” a
run-off poll from which Tsvangirai withdrew in protest against unprecedented
against his supporters.
It is common knowledge that these youths did not
meet the minimum educational requirements for the civil service jobs they
were purportedly hired to do. Based on the salary scales for junior civil
servants it is estimated that the Green Bombers have gobbled $50 million
from the taxpayers.
Saviour Kasukuwere, the Minister of Youth and
Indigenization, told a Parliamentary committee last year that the youths had
been employed as “ward officers to coordinate government programmes in
Once employed they set up bases where MDC activists were
tortured or murdered. An audit by Ernst & Young found the youths had
not been hired in accordance with civil service regulations. No wonder Zanu
(PF) tried to resist the audit.
The cash-strapped government cannot
afford to carry these scroungers a moment longer. By rights they should be
made to pay back their ill-gotten gains. They have stolen from the salaries
pot of hard-working civil servants who deserve a decent salary. This is
clearly a case for the Fraud Squad – if it still exists. The Anti-Corruption
Commission should also look into this sorry saga. It is high time it earned
If you listened to School on the Air for grade ones and
twos in the late 60s and 70s, it was the voice of Dr Joyce Childs you heard
teaching through the airwaves. Though she is British she has lived and worked in
Zimbabwe for more than 40 years.
by Byron Adonis
Harare West MP
Jessie Majome described Childs as a role model for other women, saying she had
contributed immensely to the teaching of infants, and revolutionised how young
learners should be taught.
“She has made the
constituency proud with her achievements,” Majome said.
Childs was born in
1926. She witnessed World War II in her early teen years and at the tender age
of 19 she was posted to Hope Fountain Mission near Bulawayo in the then
Rhodesia.She took a keen interest in the infants. In those days there were not
many women teachers, meaning youngsters did not have the nurturing touch of a
In 1966 she got a
job in the Ministry of Education and began her infant education broadcasts. She
went on to obtain further qualifications and lecture on education at the
University of Zimbabwe.
She retired in
1986 to study Theology and Biblical Studies. Four years later she was ordained
as a minister at the United Congregation Church in Eastlea. After 10 years as
minister of the gospel she retired in 2000.
Even after her
retirement she was still interested in children, and formed a play group in
“Due to old age Dr
Childs has relocated to Sengezi Mission, where she is living with Catholic nuns.
She never married and has no children, but her contribution to the education of
infants has inspired many teachers and learners alike, and will continue to
positively impact on generations to come,” Majome
Good afternoon members of the press and I
welcome you to this edition of the Prime Minister’s Press
Firstly, I wish to commiserate with your fraternity at the sad loss
of three of your colleagues in one day. The death of Orirando Manwere,
Salatiel Mutasa and King Dube in the month of March, coming so soon after
the death of Bornwell Chakaodza, Freedom Moyo and Makuwerere Bwititi in
January, is a serious blow to the world of journalism in Zimbabwe and we
stand by you in your moment grief.
We meet at a time of an impending
food crisis, rising and renewed political tension in the country, increasing
cases of violence and unnecessary political threats at a time when we want
to anchor our country on values of peace and tolerance as we prepare for a
watershed poll in our country.
The inclusive government
inclusive government trudges on and we continue to strive, despite our
political differences, to serve our country in these difficult
circumstances. As I have often said, the nature of our coalition is such
that it is always difficult to achieve maximum delivery especially after a
misguided pronouncement of an election without the necessary reforms as the
parties slide more into competition rather than
However, the onus is on us as leaders to continue to nurse
this delicate transition so that it does not implode to pulverise the
achievements of this coalition and the prospect of a peaceful election
anchored on key reforms.
The indigenisation policy continues to affect
many sectors of the economy and the mixed messages have not helped matters.
To this end, I am convening a special Council of Ministers meeting tomorrow
to deal with this issue in the presence of all Ministers that have been
affected. The fact is that you cannot have a Ministry of Investment
Promotion while at the same time appearing to have adopted a policy that
does not in any way promote investment in the country. However, despite
our differences, government has made the following key decision following
the disturbing crop situation in the country.
About a third of the
country’s crop is now a write-off and as government, we have decided that
instead of a grain loan scheme, we must move to drought mitigation. We
should generally operate on the premise that there is a drought in the
country and the government is putting in place mechanisms to ensure that
people are assisted to get food. The responsible Ministries have ben tasked
to ensure that this happens and also to ensure that the distribution of
grain is done in a non-partisan manner.
Two weeks ago, I travelled to London to address the Times CEO
Despite our bad politics, it is always encouraging
to note that there is a lot of interest in investing in Africa in general
and Zimbabwe in particular. We are sitting on huge potential and our small
responsibility is to sort out our politics and we will definitely rediscover
the full potential of this great country.
In Mali, Africa was once
again shamed by those in the military who deposed an elected government and
threw the country into uncertainty. We applaud the decision by ECOWAS and
the international community to call for the return of Constitutional order
and constitutional rule in the country.
Many African countries have their
own cabals itching to subvert civilian processes and threatening to
disrespect the will of the people. The good news is that time is not on
their side and as we saw in the Ivory Coast, the world will not allow the
bullet to triumph over the ballot.
In Senegal, an attempt by my friend
Abdoulaye Wade to run for a third term backfired when the people chose to
break with the past by electing a new leader.
And once again, as we
saw in Zambia recently, there was peaceful transfer of power and we saw
President Wade conceding defeat and allowing the country to move forward. I
have since sent my congratulatory message to the new President and to the
people of Senegal for projecting the correct image of a continent that is
working hard towards entrenching a culture of democracy and respect for the
will of the people.
Well done, Senegal.
Elections We continue
to work towards the next election, albeit with sharp differences over the
nature and complexion of that election.
There has been slow movement on
reforms as our colleagues view any reform as a form of conceding power. For
us, reforms are a fulfilment of what we agreed upon and signed up to, both
in the GPA and in the roadmap that was facilitated by SADC.
continue to insist that any credible poll must be predicated by reforms and
that is why last month, my party launched a document, CoSEZ (Conditions for
a Sustainable Election in Zimbabwe).
These conditions are not a pie in
the sky, but the minimum conditions that even SADC itself has adopted as the
basic condition for the holding of a free and fair poll in any country in
the region. We will insist on those conditions. We will fight for those
conditions. And indeed, we will urge SADC to insist on its own conditions in
We say so because of the emerging violence in the country. A
human rights group has recorded the increase of violations from 365 in
January to 413 in February. The group expects these violations to further
escalate in the coming months because of election talk that is not
accompanied by any talk about the necessary reforms.
continues to wreak havoc and I wish to deplore the comments attributed to Mr
Tendai Savanhu of Zanu PF who publicly threatened the elected MP of
Marondera, Hon. Ian Kay.
It is deplorable that in this day and age, one
can publicly threaten an MP simply because of his race. It is because of
these statements, and the violence that continues to rock places such as
Mbare that we insist on the right conditions for a credible poll.
urge SADC to keep an eye on developments in Zimbabwe. As a nation, we still
await the deployment of the three officials to join JOMIC to monitor
violence in the country and to ensure the implementation of agreed
There have been misguided pronouncements about dates for
elections and the holding of the referendum. I wish to state that those
dates will be determined by a process and not by a resolution of any organ
of a political party.
As Principals we expect a draft of the
Constitution, which is one of the key reforms before we hold any election.
And I wish to restate what I said in Parliament recently that while
individual political parties may claim to want an election without a new
Constitution, there is no such position in government.
We all want
the elections held yesterday with the proviso that they be done after the
completion of the Constitution-making process and the institution of those
reforms that we have agreed upon.
Surely, as government, we cannot fund a
process that we are not keen to embrace. So indeed we await the completion
of this process and the institution of other reforms before we hold an
election, whose date the President and I will agree upon in accordance with
Conclusion I urge all of us to help nurture this delicate
transition. The next election is not about cheap rhetoric, misleading people
and firing cheap broadsides at the region and the facilitator simply because
one wants to placate the hardliners in their political party.
next election is about respecting the regional effort and putting in place
mechanisms to ensure that we have a credible poll that will usher in a
legitimate government. Lastly, as we celebrate this Easter holiday, let
us all think about the importance of sacrifice.
The death of Jesus
Christ on the Cross signifies the importance of sacrifice. Leadership is
about sacrifice. Leaders should sacrifice on behalf of the people and not
As we remember the death of our Lord, we must take his death
as symbolic of the death of violence so that we could all live in peace
On Saturday, I attended a prayer meeting at Sakubva stadium in
Mutare and was humbled by the national demand for peace in the
At that forum, I shared with the congregation the scriptures
from Exodus 1, verse 8-22. We learn from that scripture that God has a plan
for everything, that we have choices to make as individuals, that if we
choose to harm our neighbours we will face the wrath of God and that it is
possible to refuse to carry out an instruction that causes harm to
Indeed, I wish a happy Easter holiday to the people of
Zimbabwe. As we unite with friends, family and relatives, let us all pray for
this nation and its leaders.
Let us bow our heads before God because
I know that He has great plans for this country and its people.
Masvingo police again bar a Youth Forum road-show
In the latest clear signal that
the democratic reform agenda of the inclusive government is well off-track,
police in Masvingo province have again barred the Youth Forum from carrying out
a road-show that had been penciled for Mupandawana growth-point in Gutu. The
road-show is part of the organization’s ‘1 Million New Voters Campaign’ aimed at
encouraging young people across the country to register as voters so that they
are eligible to exercise their right to vote during Zimbabwe’s next elections.
The cancellation of the event came as a surprise since the organization had
fulfilled all other obligations to carry out the event as prescribed by the
draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA) as well as other unwritten
provisions from various quarters including the District Administrator’s
The person at the centre of these
latest attempts to stifle civic activity in the province is one Chief
Superintended R. Mubaiwa, the District Police head for Masvingo East region
which covers Gutu, Zaka and Bikita districts in Masvingo province. Mubaiwa is
fond of calling himself the Regulating Authority for Masvingo East. According to
Mubaiwa, civic organizations such as the Youth Forum do not have a mandate to
carry out civic education efforts such as the current campaign. He also claimed
that he wanted to meet with the Youth Forum leadership to discuss this issue. In
this vein, Mubaiwa commandeered the Youth Forum on Wednesday 28 March to drive
down for a meeting at his police offices at Bikita Training Centre. The
organization was represented by its political and programmes leadership that
included Madock Chivasa, the chairperson, Wellington Zindove, the national
coordinator as well as Terence Chimhavi the senior programs officer. Instead of
concentrating on the matter at hand, Mubaiwa took his time to talk of his
in-depth understanding of POSA, while openly boasting that he was learned and
had at one time attended school with Professor Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA
chairperson at primary school level. He went on to falsely claim that civic
education cannot be done through a road-show and resultantly that he was not
comfortable with the Youth Forum meeting the community to impart this kind of
information. However, this is not true as the organization has full registration
with the Zimbabwe Youth Council and is mandated according to the Zimbabwe Youth
Council Act to impart civic education of this nature. This is also against the
background that the Youth Forum has been doing this kind of civic education,
which it views as an integral part of making young people part of the
development agenda in Zimbabwe.
The banning of the Gutu road-show
comes hot on the heels of another banning of a similar event by police in
Masvingo city. The Youth Forum is dismayed by this brazen show of partisan
policing by Chief Superintendent Mubaiwa. As the country totters on under the
authority of the inclusive government, there are clear signs that democratic
reforms will not see the light of day. While many parliamentarians in our august
house see the inherent need to amend POSA, there are some in the corridors of
power who are hell-bent on seeing this fail. And it is through such political
activists like Chief Superintendent Mubaiwa who openly manipulate the law for
political gains that we continue to see an authoritarian hand in the work of the
inclusive government, particularly where the police is concerned.
What is of concern to the Youth
Forum is the manner in which our police force continues to be used by certain
political quarters for partisan political ends. What is more disappointing is
that it is not very many officers in our police force that are abdicating from
their proper duty but a few overzealous political activists such as Mubaiwa who
occupy high officers in the police force. The inclusive government ought to
exert greater efforts towards depoliticizing state security apparatus so that
they discharge their duties more efficiently for the progression of national
Constitution Watch of 30th March 2012 [COPAC calls back Lead Drafters]
CONSTITUTION WATCH 2012
[30th March 2012]
COPAC calls back Lead Drafters
Drafters Re-engaged for Ten Days
On Tuesday 27th March the three lead/expert drafters started work on
the next draft of the new constitution.The team remains unchanged, despite repeated calls from certain quarters
within ZANU-PF for all three to be replaced.Its members are:
·Justice Moses Chinhengo [former High Court judge in Zimbabwe,
currently a judge in Botswana]
·Mrs Priscilla Madzonga [senior legal practitioner in private
practice, formerly a drafter in the Attorney-General’s Office]
·Mr Brian Crozier [former Director of Legal Drafting in the
three were members of the drafting committee that prepared the draft
constitution produced by the Chidyausiku Commission in 1999.
The drafters have been contracted for ten days.Allowing for breaks for weekends and the
Easter public holidays, this indicates that COPAC envisages the drafters’
current task being completed by Wednesday 11th April.
Drafting venue undisclosed
As with their first period of drafting in December and January, the
drafters are working at an undisclosed venue so that they will not be subjected
to undue interference, influence or harassment.Other COPAC activities have suffered from this.
Interaction between drafters and COPAC Co-Chairs’
During their first period of drafting the three drafters saw little
of the COPAC co-chairpersons or other COPAC members.This time round, working arrangements are
different.Instead of leaving the three
drafters to get on with their work, COPAC has arranged for regular interaction
between the drafters and a COPAC team – the “Co-Chairs’ Forum”.The Co-Chairs’ Forum is meeting, separately
from the drafters but at the same venue, to examine the drafters’ work in
instalments as each Chapter is completed.This enables exchanges of views and facilitates adjustments to the
documents as work on the draft proceeds.
Composition of Co-Chairs’ Forum
This consists of the three COPAC co-chairpersons and three expert
advisers,with the co-chairpersons’ personal
assistants in attendance.The expert
advisers, one nominated by each of the three GPA political parties, have all
been involved in the constitution-making process since October last year - they
are members of the technical committee that COPAC assembled to assist them,
first in framing the constitutional principles and framework to guide the work
of the lead drafters, and then to assist in reviewing the drafts produced by the
·Alex Magaisa [nominated by MDC-T]Mr
Magaisa is a Zimbabwean lawyer who currently lectures at the University of Kent
in the United Kingdom and is a regular contributor to the Zimbabwean press on
legal and constitutional issues.
·Jacob Mudenda [nominated by ZANU-PF]Mr
Mudenda, a Bulawayo lawyer and businessman, is
former Zanu PF governor for Matabeleland North and a member of the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission.He was a co-author of the
caustic critique of the drafters given prominence by the Herald just before Christmas last year,
coinciding with the newspaper's publication of the leaked draft of their first
·Josphat Tshuma [nominated by MDC].Mr
Tshuma, a legal practitioner in private practice in Bulawayo, is a former
president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe.It was during his presidency that the Law Society produced its Model Constitution for Zimbabwe in
October 2010 [see Constitution Watch
23/2010 of 6th November 2010].
Hopefully there will be no leaks to the media this time
After the first draft of Chapters 1 to 4 were leaked to the Herald in December last year and then
the other chapters that the drafters delivered to COPAC on 23rd January,
resulting in the first draft of the constitution being published in the Herald
even though it was incomplete, the lead drafters were subjected to a
barrage of criticism in the media, much of it misdirected and
misinformed.It is hoped that the
whole team involved in this draft will take responsibility that there
are no leaks.It is also hoped that the
co-chairs do not issue contradictory statements – this could be averted if all
three signed any statement given to the media, with no individual variations revealed in the course of exchanges
with reporters.The rest of the team should have as part of their contracts that they
do not divulge information to the press and any auxiliary help such as
assistants, secretarial staff etc. should also sign something to this
effect.Otherwise the constitution will
be prejudged by the press before the people have a chance to fairly assess
it.The lead drafters have been
entirelyprofessional – not “leaking” to
the press and refraining from replying to press criticism.
What the Drafters are Doing
The drafters are tasked with producing the next draft, expected by
COPAC to be the final draft.They have
before them their first draft, as reviewed and changed by COPAC since early
January, when it started working through the first four chapters.The 23rd January draft was not complete, because there were
significant blank spaces in it, awaiting filling-in later.Blank spaces were left for provisions
covering the so-called “parked issues” – issues on which, because COPAC had not
yet reached consensus on them, it had not been possible for instructions to be
given to the drafters on the content of the desired provisions.
They nowhave COPAC’s
instructions on what changes should be made to provisions already framed and
what should be added to fill most of the spaces left in the first draft,
covering those parked or outstanding issues on which COPAC and/or the Management
Committee and/or the GPA negotiators have been able to reach agreement since
Agreement on Previously “Parked” Issues
Co-chair Douglas Mwonzora has said that the parked issues on which
agreement has been reached include:
·Death penaltyA compromise has been reached between total abolition of capital
punishment and simple retention of the present position.According to Minister of Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga, the Management Committee has agreed that
the death penalty will be limited strictly to “aggravated murder”.[Comment: This agreement will certainly reduce the list of offences attracting capital
punishment – treason will come off the list, along with murder that is not
“aggravated”; and Parliament will not be able to create new capital offences by legislation.]
·Land tenure There will not be a blanket provision making all land in the country
State land, which is what ZANU-PF wanted.But land that has already been gazetted and designated under the land
reform programme will remain State land, for which 99-year leases, but not title
deeds, can be issued.
·Appointment of Service ChiefsThis will be subject to Parliamentary approval.
·Presidential term limitsPresidents will not be able to serve for more than two terms, but
terms already served under the Lancaster House constitution by President
Outstanding Issues Still to be Agreed
Certain issues have still not been finally agreed between the
parties.The list varies depending on
the source of the information, but the following issues have been mentioned in
·Compensation for expropriated landShould there be a
constitutional guarantee of proper compensation for those who bought land after
Independence, having first obtained a Government “certificate of no present
interest” in its acquisition?
·DevolutionWhat the constitution should
say about the structure of devolved government entities at provincial
·The role of the chiefs in the Senate [although there seems to be agreement that the number of chiefs be
reduced from 18 to 10]
·Whether there should be an Independent Prosecuting
Authority, distinct from the Attorney-General, thereby restricting the Attorney-General’s role to
that of chief Government legal adviser
·Structure of the ExecutiveWhether there should be a non-Executive President and a Prime
Minister, or an Executive President; and whether there should be one or two
Next Steps in the Drafting Process
Such issues obviously present something of a problem for COPAC, which
is under increased pressure to produce results quickly.If there are still outstanding issues that are not resolved before
Wednesday 11th April, i.e., while the lead drafters are still at work and before
theirecurrent engagement comes to an end, there will be a second incomplete draft to come out of the
process.If this is the case, this
second draft is likely to go to the principalsfor finalisation.This would mean
the lead drafters would have to be called in again to incorporate the
principals’ decisions in a third draft. Indeed, COPAC’s MDC-T co-chair Douglas Mwonzora has referred to the drafters being
involved in “fine-tuning” up to the end of April.
[A possible solution mooted by COPAC would be to request the drafters
to come up with alternative provisions catering for the various positions that
have been put forward for consideration on outstanding issues.That arrangement would in theory allow for later
adoption of whichever of the alternative provisions fits the
positions eventually agreed,
without involving the drafters again.In practice, however, it is far more likely that drafters would have to be called in again.]
Another point is that even after the Second All Stakeholders’
Conference or after the post-Conference but pre-Referendum debate on the draft
in Parliament, further tinkering may be needed – which would mean calling back
the lead drafters before the draft is ready for gazetting prior to the
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot
take legal responsibility for information supplied
Constitution Watch of 31st March 2012 [Will the Constitution be Ready Before Elections?]
CONSTITUTION WATCH 2012
[31st March 2012]
Will the Constitution be Ready Before
COPAC: Latest Predictions for the Path Ahead
Speaking earlier this week about the recall of the lead drafters [see Constitution Watch of 30th March
2012], COPAC co-chair Douglas Mwonzora, ever optimistic, ventured that COPAC
should now be able to achieve:
·completion of the draft, including fine-tuning after the current
10-day exercise, by the end of April
·Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference in May
·the Referendum in September, possibly earlier if everything goes
That obviously assumed a trouble-free few weeksahead, with speedy agreement between the
parties on the outstanding issues and no hitches over getting the final draft
approved by the principals, then translated into all vernacular languages and
Braille, as previously promised, and, very importantly, printed in large numbers
for distribution to participants in the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference in
time to permit them to study it and consult their constituencies before the
Conference itself – a tall order indeed.
The co-chairs have also mentioned the possibility of a mini-outreach
before the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference, to explain the draft and help
people familiarise themselves with it.Something of the sort would be desirable – if the reaction to the leaked
drafts is anything to go by, people have been far too ready to misconstrue
provisions or not read them in context.
President Mugabe’s Different Time Frame: Referendum in
On Wednesday 28th March COPAC’s ZANU-PF co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana reported to the party’s
Politburo on COPAC’s progress on the draft.Afterwards party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the party’s negotiators
Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche had been given
until Friday to clear the parked issues.Failing that, the principals would take over.The Politburo would meet again in
extraordinary session on Wednesday 4th April to “decide once and for all on the
constitution”.On Friday, at a
meeting of ZANU-PF Central Committee, President Mugabe, in remarks broadcast later on
television and radio, reiterated his insistence that the elections must be held
this year, with or without a new constitution, and said that the Referendum must
be in May.If COPAC could not finish the
job in time, he insisted, the principals would do it for them and if the
Referendum returned a No vote, there would be elections under the Lancaster
House Constitution, meaning the present Constitution without the amendments made
to it by Constitution Amendment No. 19 that underpin the existence of the
Problems Raised by the President’s
The President’s timetable sets targets impossible to reconcile with
Article 6 of the GPA – and surely impossible to achieve at all.It has not taken into account the following
For a Referendum in May
·even if the principals decide to intervene and try to finish the job
themselves, it is difficult to see them doing so in time for a May
·the timetable does not allow for the holding of the Second
All-Stakeholders’ Conference required by Article 6
·nor does it envisage the ensuing debate in Parliament, which in any
event is in recess until mid-May
·it overlooks the need to gazette the final draft before a
·there will not be enough time for the country to examine the draft
after its translation into vernacular languages, and Braille, meaning that
voters will not have long enough to be properly informed of the merits and
demerits of the draft placed before them for adoption or
·no heed is paid to the need to amend or replace the current,
out-of-date Referendums Act – or the difficulties of doing that when the
necessary Bill has not yet been approved by Cabinet
·the voters roll is still not acceptable to civil society, MDC-T and
MDC – despite the Registrar-General’s recent claims that it is perfect.
For a General Election
·an election before proper implementation of the GPA would go against
repeated SADC Summit resolutions and before the Zimbabwe political playing field
has been levelled by making the reforms necessary to avoid a repetition of the
2008 election violence.
·both MDCs have said they would not take
part without a fairer environment, and an election without them would be a sham
in the eyes of the region and the world.
·there is a “Catch 22” situation: if the President breaks the GPA,
ends the Inclusive Government and calls elections, he may forfeit recognition as
President by SADC.If he does not break
the GPA and it continues in existence, Schedule 8 to the Constitution will
remain in force, meaning that the President cannot legally call for elections
without the consent of the Prime Minister.
·lack of funds for an election. The Treasury has not budgeted for an
election this year, only for the Referendum.If the funds come from elsewhere than the fiscus [e.g. from diamond
revenues] this would add fuel to the criticism that elections are always skewed
in favour of the incumbent by the use of State resources for re-election, which
would affect the credibility of the election.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC]
·ZEC would have to run the Referendum, but the Electoral Act has still
not been amended to flesh out its terms of reference to enable it do so
·If the GPA is abandoned and ZEC is called on to run a general
election under the Lancaster House Constitution [amended 19 times] and an
unamended Electoral Act, it may find it difficult to organise a credible
Note:ZEC’s existence as an independent constitutional commission
does not depend on the continued existence of the GPA.Although the present constitutional
provisions for ZEC were added by Constitution Amendment No. 19, just ahead of
the formation of the Inclusive Government, those provisions will remain in force
if the GPA comes to a premature end before the adoption of a new constitution.Only Schedule
8 to the Constitution, which provides for the structure of the Inclusive
Government, will fall away if the GPA comes to an end.
The President has been declaring that he wants immediate elections
from well before the end of last year.This most recent declaration, although forcefully made, may still be
impossible to implement, but it is likely to serve the useful purpose of getting
COPAC to avoid any more unnecessary delays – although it is to be hoped that,
after the debacle of the First Stakeholders’ Conference, the upcoming Second All
Stakeholders’ Conference, a vital part of the constitution-making process, will
have adequate preparation and not be unduly rushed.Also, people must have a chance to study the
final gazetted version thoroughly before the Referendum.It would be sad if, after all the seemingly
preventable delays that have dragged the process on for three years, rather than
the one year it should have taken, the important last stages were to be
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot
take legal responsibility for information
Bill Watch 15/2012 of 2nd April [Parliament in Recess until May]
BILL WATCH 15/2012
[2nd April 2012]
Both Houses of Parliament have adjourned until Tuesday 15th
Committee meetings have been suspended until Monday 7th
Break for Parliamentarians
Senate and the House of Assembly have started a six-week break and will only
resume sittings on the 15th May.This is
in accordance with Parliament’s policy that no sittings be scheduled during
school holidays or weeks coinciding with public holidays and national
events.April sees not only the Easter
and Independence Day public holidays but also the school holidays.1st May is the Workers’ Day public
Committee and Portfolio Committees to resume 7th
committees will have a slightly shorter break – all Thematic Committee and
Portfolio Committee meetings are suspended from Monday 2nd April to Monday 7th
such as the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] will meet as necessary.
break will hold up progress on all Bills on the Order Papers.Bills affected include:
Human Rights Commission Bill
Second Reading debate was concluded on 27th March, but the Committee Stage has
not started.The Minister of Justice and
Legal Affairs has tabled amendments he intends to propose for adoption during
the Committee Stage [for details see Bill
Watch 14/2012 of 28th March].
27th March the Speaker told the House that the Parliamentary Legal Committee
[PLC] has given an adverse report on this Bill.This means that the House cannot proceed to the next stage [Second
Reading] of the Bill until the PLC chairperson, Hon Shepherd Mushonga, has
proposed the adoption of the adverse report in the House and the House has
decided whether or not to adopt the report – in other words, whether or not the
clauses in question are inconsistent with the Constitution.Any clause the House finds to be inconsistent
with the Constitution will then have to be dropped from the Bill or amended so
as to remove the inconsistency.[Please note: The text of the adverse report
has not been released, so it is not yet available.It is unlikely to be released until the PLC
chairperson has proposed its adoption in the House.]It
is possible that during the break the Minister responsible – Hon Chinamasa,
Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs – will negotiate with the PLC on
amendments which will remove the need for an adverse report.Even if this is done the Bill cannot proceed
until the House sits again.
Private Member’s Bill to repeal section 121(3) of Criminal Procedure and
Gonese has delivered his speech proposing the adoption of his motion requesting
the leave of the House to introduce this Bill and there have been contributions
from several MPs, both for and against the motion.The object of the Bill is to take away the
power of a prosecutor to stall the release of an accused person on bail for 7
days while the Attorney-Generalconsiders
whether or not to appeal against the granting of bail.Debate was adjourned to give the responsible
Minister – the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs – an opportunity to reply
to points raised.
Private Member’s Bill to amend Urban Councils Act
Matimba’s has already spoken in support of his motion for leave to introduce
this Bill and several MPs have contributed to the discussion.A contribution from the Minister of Local
Government, Rural and Urban Development is expected before there is a vote on
whether to allow the Bill to be introduced.
is a Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Bill waiting for the Minister’s
Second Reading speech.
Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill
Bill is waiting for the Second Reading speech from the Minister of Industry and
Senate has still not completed discussion of Mr Gonese’s motion asking for his
Private Member’s Bill to be restored to the Senate Order Paper after it lapsed
at the end of the previous Parliamentary Session in September 2011.This item willtherefore be carried forward for continuation
of the debate when the Senate resumes in May.The Senate is waiting for a contribution to the debate from the Minister
of Justice and Legal Affairs.
on Private Members Bills
procedure for Private Members’ Bills
– These are Bills that are taken to Parliament by Ministers to give effect to
Government policy.They are originated
in the responsible Ministry, but must also be approved by Cabinetand drafted in proper legal form by the
Attorney-General’s Office before being sent
to Parliament.Parliament then sends
them to the Government Printer for printing and gazetting.The gazetted Bill is then introduced by the
responsible Minister in Parliament – either in the House of Assembly or in the
Private Member’s Bill
– a Bill introduced by a backbencher – has to follow a different preliminary
procedure.The backbencher wishing to
introduce it must first get it privately drafted.He or she must then propose a motion in the
House or the Senate seeking leave to introduce the Bill.If he or she is able to persuade a majority
of fellow members that the Bill is worth considering further, leave will be
grantedby the passing of a resolution,
and the Bill will be sent by Parliament to the Government Printer for printing
and gazetting.Thereafter it will be
introduced in the House of Assembly or the Senate by the private member
responsible for it, and from then will follow the same course as a Government
Bill –First Reading, referral to the Parliamentary Legal Committee, etc.
of GPA’s effect on Private Members’ Bills
Watch 16/2012 of 19th March 2012 discussed a recent ZANU-PF contention that
20 of the GPA, as enshrined in Schedule 8 to the Constitution by Constitution
Amendment No. 19, takes away the right of private members to introduce
Members’ Bills.The contention was described as
“questionable”.That unduly polite
description did not accurately convey the Veritas’ view of the contention, which
is in our view INCORRECT.The quoted
provisions of Article 20 do NOT justify the conclusion that the GPA takes away
the constitutional right of a private member to introduced a Private Member’s
Bill.They do no more than emphasise
that any Inclusive Government Bill must be approved by Cabinet.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot
take legal responsibility for information