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Ghost workers earn $2 million a month

December 18, 2009

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - More than 19 500 ghost workers were unearthed during the initial
stages of the civil service audit which ended on Friday, December 18, amid
fears that the figure might double as the inclusive government gears up to
get rid of ghost government workers.The civil service audit which was
launched last month by the Ministry of Public service has opened a can of
worms with initial findings showing that even within the armed forces  there
are ghost soldiers and ghost policemen.

Senior officials within the ministry who spoke on condition they were not
named say a total of 19 519 were discovered during the initial stages of the
exercise. Basing remuneration of the $100 agreed on by the coalition
government in February the ghost workers so far unearthed are earning nearly
$2 000 000 per month or $18 million between March and November.

Of this figure the bulk of ghost workers were from the ministry of youth
employment creation and empowerment where 13 000 employees were recruited
into the civil service without following proper government recruitment

"We have so far discovered 19 519 ghost workers but this is just the initial
stage of the exercise," said one of the officials.

"We are going to come up with an exact figure once all reports have been
reconciled. As you know, the programme only ended yesterday".

"We also discovered that there were ghost workers within the army and the
police and to us it was shocking".

According to information at hand it has emerged that soldiers who went away
without official leave of absence and other deserters were still on the
government payroll.

It is suspected that senior army officers might have been pocketing the
salaries of the ghosts or that former employees were still receiving
salaries years after they went AWOL

Eliphas Mukonoweshuro the Minister of the Public Service could not be drawn
into commenting on the issue but dismissed allegations that the civil
service audit was a witch-hunting exercise.

"We want to establish a cycle for government workers from their date of
engagement up to retirement", said Mukonoweshuro who is the Gutu South

"This is not a witch-hunting exercise".

Saviour Kasukuwere the Minister of Youth Employment Creation and Empowerment
has already admitted illegally recruiting over 13 000 workers without
following government stipulated recruitment procedures.

Sources say the ghost workers from Kasukuwere's ministry were youths who
were initially hired by Zanu-PF to campaign for the party ahead of last year's

After the party failed to pay the youths it allegedly just off-loaded them
onto government and they started to receive their salaries as civil

The inclusive government has been battling to give its workers decent
salaries since its consummation in February this year.

The existence of ghost workers has been cited as a reason why the government
had a huge wage and salary bill which made it difficult for the state to
properly remunerate its workers.

During the civil service census enumerators visited every government
institution where they demanded among other things letters of appointment,
birth certificates, proof of educational qualifications and identity cards
from government employees.

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Zim switches to official monthly deflation

    December 18 2009 at 12:29PM

Zimbabwe, for years plagued by hyper inflation, has switched narrowly into
an absolute price fall on a monthly basis, official data showed on Friday,
following adoption of foreign currencies.

The central statistics office said that prices in November were 0.1 percent
lower than in October when monthly prices had shown a rise of 0.8 percent.

The total disinflationary change from October to November is therefore 0.9
percentage points.

The office said that the main component of the fall was a decline in the
rate at which food prices had been rising.

"The month on month inflation rate in November was -0.1 percent shedding 0.9
percentage points on the October rate of 0.8 percent," the CSO said.

"The month on month non-food inflation stood at 0.15 percent shedding 1.118
percentage points on the October rate of 1.03 percent."

Finance minister Tendai Biti said that inflation for the whole year would
not be more than 4.0 percent.

Since January, inflation has slowed rapidly after the country shelved use of
the local currency and adopted various currencies such as the dollar, South
African rand, British pound and Botswana pula.

The economy has been battered over the last decade, following President
Robert Mugabe's violence-plagued land reforms which decimated farming, the
backbone of the economy. - Sapa-AFP

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Negotiators to resume talks on outstanding issues

By Tichaona Sibanda
18 December 2009

Negotiators from the three political parties in the Global Political
Agreement are set to resume talks Saturday in an attempt to break the
deadlock over contentious issues still holding back the inclusive

Talks broke off last week Monday following two weeks of negotiations between
ZANU PF and the MDC. It's been reported that during those talks the parties
agreed on most of the nominees proposed by Parliament's Standing Rules and
Orders Committee, for appointment to the electoral, media and human rights

But negotiations could not restart in earnest this week as Welshman Ncube
and Priscillah Misihairambwi-Mushonga from the MDC-M were said to be out of
the country, on government business. It has not been possible to find out
where they are or what they are doing. ZANU PF negotiators had also last
week called for time-out, to attend their party congress which ended in
Harare last Saturday.

SW Radio Africa tried to contact various negotiators from the two MDC
formations, but their mobile phones went unanswered.. Attempts to reach a
deal in the talks have repeatedly snagged over whether Robert Mugabe will
agree to rescind the unilateral appointments of Gideon Gono and Johannes
Tomana as Reserve Bank Governor and Attorney General.

Mugabe appointed the two without consultation with the other two principals
in the inclusive government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

When the leaders met this past Monday for their routine meeting, they
apparently ordered the negotiators to move with speed to deal with the
remaining issues and submit their report ahead of their next meeting set for

Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us there was now growing
anxiety and frustration in the country at the slow pace to finalize the

'You sense people are getting fed up at the slow pace of the talks because
at any gathering that you go to these days, its likely the discussion would
be centred on the never-ending talks,' Muchemwa said.
Reports from Pretoria in South African said on Friday that President Jacob
Zuma, the SADC mediator for Zimbabwe, has sent a preliminary report on the
negotiations to President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, chairman of the
SADC troika on politics, defense and security, which helped break the
October-November deadlock in the government.


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South African opposition says Mugabe will never implement the GPA

By Alex Bell
18 December 2009

A top South African parliamentarian has accused Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF of
deliberately stalling the progress of the unity government, saying the
ageing dictator has no intention of fully implementing the Global Political
Agreement (GPA).

Athol Trollip, the parliamentary leader for South Africa's main political
opposition the Democratic Alliance (DA), told SW Radio Africa on Friday it
is clear that Mugabe is not serious about fulfilling the terms of the GPA.
Trollip added that Mugabe and the party are deliberately working against the
unity structure to retain their brutal grip on power in the country.

"Mugabe realises that if the GPA is implemented fully, it will influence the
balance of power and weaken the strong grip he has on Zimbabwe," Trollip

Trollip's comments come as the unity government remains on shaky territory,
amid ongoing talks to reach some form of agreement over outstanding issues
in the GPA. Talks between the party's political negotiators were expected to
get underway once again on Friday; an exercise Trollip said was futile, "as
nothing will come of the talks."

Since the GPA was signed in 2008 Mugabe has been refusing to discuss or
implement many of the issues agreed to, leaving the country at a political
impasse and in a state of limbo. Trollip said Mugabe's recent, vitriolic
comments at the ZANU PF congress, provide no evidence of him changing his
tactics any time soon. Trollip added that "instead it spells more doom," as
Mugabe was endorsed as leader for the next five years.
In his closing address at the congress that ended last weekend, Mugabe
quoted part of the ZANU PF resolution, stating that: "Congress has noted
that the inclusive government brings the party into partnership with
ideologically incompatible MDC formations from which it must extricate
itself in order to defend its mantle as the only dominant and ascendant
political party that is truly representative and determined to safeguard the
aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe."
The party has also vowed not to allow further discussions of pertinent
issues hampering the successful conclusion of the current round of
negotiations: "Congress resolved that our inclusive government negotiators
cease to entertain any discussion on or negotiation of the issue relating to
the appointment of the governor of the Reserve Bank, the Attorney General
and the provincial governors, as these fall outside the purview of the
Global Political Agreement and have their statutory origins that protect
Trollip explained how these particular issues have been identified by the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Troika as legitimate
grievances of the MDC, that need to be resolved.
"These latest developments show that Mugabe and ZANU PF have no plans to
implement the GPA. In fact it suggests an increase in their attempts to work
against the agreement," Trollip said.
He continued by saying that it was time for South Africa's President Jacob
Zuma to make use of the DA's proposed 'Road Map to Peace and Democracy',
"which now seems to be the only viable alternative to bringing about
constitutional democracy in Zimbabwe." The core of this roadmap is providing
Mugabe with an 'exit strategy' that will leave the country able to vote
freely and democratically, and without fear of political reprisal. Trollip
reiterated that the country cannot move forward until Mugabe is out of the

"It is time to realise that as long as Mugabe is leader of ZANU PF, the
crisis in Zimbabwe will never end. It will continue to run in circles with
ZANU PF hoping the opposition will grow tired and give up," Trollip said.


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Nkala denies contributing to Gukurahundi, wants Mugabe prosecuted

By Violet Gonda
18 December 2009

Enos Nkala, one of the founders of the Zimbabwe African National Union, has
said he was not involved in the Gukurahundi and denies having anything to do
with instructions to carry out the massacres. Gukurahundi was the name given
to the armed conflict in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the mid 1980's
that led to the deaths of 20,000 Ndebele people, after ZANU PF unleashed the
notorious, North Korean trained, Fifth Brigade in the area.

In spite of numerous reports of his involvement the veteran nationalist lays
the blame squarely on ZANU PF's Robert Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Speaking on the programme Hot Seat on Friday Nkala said: "In 1985 we had
elections. After those elections I was appointed Minister of Home Affairs.
It was during this time that through my influence in cabinet we made
attempts to stop what was happening. it was me who went around removing the

He said: "I am not the author and finisher of Gukurahundi. That question
must be put to Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa who was in charge of the CIO."
Nkala denied threatening ZAPU at a rally in Stanley Square in Bulawayo,
where he is alleged to have said 'ZAPU must be eclipsed', and giving ZANLA
forces instructions to carry out an attack. It was statements like these
that allegedly led to the Entumbane fights - the first disturbances that led
to the Gukurahundi.
But Nkala also denied this, although he admitted that he advocated for ZAPU's
'political destruction' but not military destruction. He said he would not
be living in Matabeleland if he had ordered the killings of his own people.

Nkala said ZANU was formed in his house in Highfields in 1963, and that he
was one of three people, including Edgar Tekere, who put Mugabe in the
position of leader of the party.

But he said ZANU PF today is not the party he helped form and he believes
Mugabe must be prosecuted for crimes against humanity for what he did in
Matabeleland and the Midlands. He added that he supports the targeted
sanctions and says they must not be lifted. He said Mugabe's 'worst evil',
apart from the Gukurahundi, is the destruction of the economy which caused
the mass departure of young people from the country. "ZANU PF should be
talking about the victories of today and not of the past. You cannot be
talking of the victory of 1980 when people have no food and are suffering,"
said the former minister.

On the issue of the government's land 'reform' programme, Nkala said this
was a 'madman's exercise' and no mature person would condone the chaotic
land redistribution programme that has killed agriculture in Zimbabwe. He
said not every former fighter agrees with the way the commercial farms have
just been taken. He said there should be a fresh land redistribution
programme, when 'Mugabe dies and ZANU PF is out of power'.

He believes ZANU PF is no longer able to sustain itself as a political party
and is now controlled by 'self seekers'. Nkala said: "ZANU PF is on its
death bed, in intensive care. Mugabe is old and he is sick just as I am old
and sick. John Nkomo who has just been promoted to Vice President is old, he
is sick and anything can happen to him. How then do you expect sick people
to attend to the massive economic problems?"

But he said ZANU PF today is not the party he helped form and he believes
Mugabe must be prosecuted for crimes against humanity for what he did in
Matabeleland and the Midlands. He added that he supports the targeted
sanctions and says they must not be lifted. He said Mugabe's 'worst evil',
apart from the Gukurahundi, is the destruction of the economy which caused
the mass departure of young people from the country. "ZANU PF should be
talking about the victories of today and not of the past. You cannot be
talking of the victory of 1980 when people have no food and are suffering,"
said the former minister.

On the issue of the government's land 'reform' programme, Nkala said this
was a 'madman's exercise' and no mature person would condone the chaotic
land redistribution programme that has killed agriculture in Zimbabwe. He
said not every former fighter agrees with the way the commercial farms have
just been taken. He said there should be a fresh land redistribution
programme, when 'Mugabe dies and ZANU PF is out of power'.

He believes ZANU PF is no longer able to sustain itself as a political party
and is now controlled by 'self seekers'. Nkala said: "ZANU PF is on its
death bed, in intensive care. Mugabe is old and he is sick just as I am old
and sick. John Nkomo who has just been promoted to Vice President is old, he
is sick and anything can happen to him. How then do you expect sick people
to attend to the massive economic problems?"


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PTUZ teachers sentenced to jail for alleged political violence

Violet Gonda
18 December 2009
Two members of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), who were
found guilty of inciting violence in Chipinge on 8 December, have been
sentenced to 18 months in jail.
The two women teachers, Isee Makhuyana and Moreblessing Hliziyo, were found
guilty of inciting violence against ZANU PF war veterans during the run up
to last year's Presidential run-off. A statement by the Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition said the two are accused of inciting Mount Selinda High School
students to attack a ZANU PF base in Chipinge. This was after the abduction
of Pastor Mhlanga, clergyman in charge of the mission.
According to the Coalition, a group of ZANU PF youths and war veterans had
entered the school premises and kidnapped the clergyman. Pastor Mhlanga was
taken to a ZANU PF base in the Chipinge area where he was assaulted and
accused of preaching MDC propaganda. It is reported students and teachers at
the school descended upon the ZANU PF base trying to mount a rescue mission
for the pastor, but the militia and the war vets got hold of the police and
eight students and four teachers were arrested.
The students and two of the four teachers were found not guilty earlier in
the year,  but Makhuyana and Hliziyo were slapped with an 18 month jail
sentence on Wednesday.
Hundreds of MDC supporters have been killed, thousands raped, kidnapped and
assaulted, and tens of thousands tortured, but none of the ZANU PF
perpetrators have been brought to justice.


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Mugabe’s workers storm Nestle headquarters in Harare

By Lance Guma
18 December 2009

Six workers employed by Grace Mugabe’s Gushungo Dairy Estates, stormed the
headquarters of dairy giant Nestle in Harare, demanding that the company
resume accepting milk from the farm. In October this year pressure from
human rights groups forced Nestle to stop accepting milk from Grace’s farm.
Formerly known as Foyle Farm, its previous white owner was forced to sell
for a knock down price, after a sustained campaign of violence. Human rights
campaigners accused Nestle of funding repression by doing business with the
First Lady and dubbed her produce ‘blood milk’.
But loyalists from Mugabe’s camp have continued their attempts to intimidate
Nestle into accepting the milk. In October a group of ZANU PF youths tried
to force the company to buy about 20 000 litres of milk from the farm. Led
by Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and his ZANU PF politburo member
brother, Tongai, the group tried to force staff to offload a milk tanker
from Gushungo Farm. But after a four hour stand-off, including intense
debate and negotiations with Nestlé Zimbabwe management, the tanker and the
ZANU PF youth group were turned away. Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono also
entered the fray and responded by freezing the bank accounts of Nestle
Zimbabwe, a week after the dairy firm stopped buying milk from Grace Mugabe.

On Thursday this week 6 employees from Grace’s farm, driving a white ERF
truck, parked outside Nestlé’s headquarters along Park Lane and demanded to
see ‘whoever is in charge so that they can deliver milk,’ it was reported.

Nestle managing director Heath Tilley, and Finance Director Farai Munesti,
are said to have met the intruders but no details have been released of the

Meanwhile two South African managers working for a company that sold dairy
equipment to Grace Mugabe, have been forced to leave the company. Swedish
based dairy giant DeLaval, sold a 32-cow-capacity milking parlour, two giant
cooling tanks and consumables worth £300,000 to Gushungo Dairy Estate.
Benoit Passard, DeLaval's spokesman in Sweden, said that Leon Lilje, the
managing director of DeLaval South Africa, and Rykie Visser a sales manager,
had both ‘decided to leave the company to pursue new challenges".
"This follows the internal investigation regarding the transactions between
DeLaval South Africa and Gushungo Dairy Estate farm in Zimbabwe which was
ethically unacceptable and in breach of our code of business conduct -
namely dealing with people on international sanction lists,” Passard said.


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Mtambanengwe tipped to head ZEC

December 18, 2009

HARARE (Zimonline/Own Correspondent) - Former Harare High Court Judge
Simpson Mtambanengwe is tipped to head a new-look Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) that will oversee elections in a country where political
violence and charges of rigging have marred polls conducted over the past

Mtambanengwe, who sits on the Namibian bench after his retirement from the
bench in Zimbabwe in 2004, was yesterday still being consulted by the Office
of the President and Cabinet on whether he would be available to chair the
new electoral body that Zimbabweans hope will help restore credibility to an
electoral system that few outside President Robert Mugabe's inner circle
still have faith in.

The appointment to the ZEC and two other independent commissions, the
Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
(ZHRC), are expected to be made next week after Mugabe returns from Denmark,
where he is attending the United Nations Summit on Climate Change.

Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba was not immediately available for comment
on the matter. But Gorden Moyo, Minister of State in Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's office, told Zimonline that the government was concluding
consultations with various people named to serve on the commissions.

"Otherwise there is agreement on the selection of the people. The necessary
gazetting of the appointments will be done soon. It is safe to say the
official announcement of the appointments to all the three commissions will
be done this side of Christmas," said Moyo.

According to our sources, Mugabe suggested Mtambanengwe's name and while
Tsvangirai had reservations, he eventually agreed to the President's choice
reportedly in order to allow the process to move forward.

If Mutambanengwe accepts appointment to the ZEC, this will be the second
time he would have answered to the call of duty from his home country after
he briefly returned from Namibia in 2006 to preside over the corruption
trial of then Harare High Court Judge Benjamin Paradza.

Mutambanengwe convicted Paradza and sentenced him to three years in jail.
However Paradza did not serve the sentence after he skipped the border
before sentence.

Paradza's lawyers had argued during trial that the charges against their
client were meant to punish him for embarrassing the government. In 2003
Paradza freed an opposition mayor who had been arrested for holding an
illegal political meeting.

The government denied that the corruption case against Paradza was
politically motivated.

Other people lined up to serve on the new electoral commission are two
members of the old ZEC Theo Gambe and Joyce Kazembe, who served as deputy
head of the discredited commission.

The old George Chiweshe-led ZEC is accused by the former opposition MDC of
rigging the March 2008 election to block outright victory by Tsvangirai over
Mugabe in a presidential ballot that the MDC-T leader won, but with
insufficient votes to form the next government.

Others members named to serve on the ZEC are Daniel Chigaru, the current
general manager of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, University of
Zimbabwe law professor Geoff Feltoe, P. Makoni, S. Ndlovu, Pastor Godwill
Shana, a former chairman of Transparency International Zimbabwe.

Information made available to Zimonline suggests that major changes made to
the original list of names of people nominated to serve on the Zimbabwe
Media Commission (ZMC) that was submitted to Mugabe by Parliament's Standing
Rules and Orders Committee.

Chris Mhike, a lawyer turned journalist who scored the highest marks during
the interviews for the ZMC, has reportedly been dropped from the list, while
Henry Muradzikwa, the former editor of the Sunday Mail and the former chief
executive officer of the government's Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings who was
tipped to head the media commission, will now come in as an ordinary

Former broadcaster Godfrey Majonga, now crippled after a mysterious fall
from a first-floor apartment window many years ago, is now said to be tipped
to take over the position of chairman.

Other ZMC commissioners are journalism lecturer and former Financial Gazette
editor Nqobile Nyathi who is said to be a moderate, university lecturer
Lawton Hikwa (linked to Zanu-PF), Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe executive
Millicent Mombeshora, who is a close ally of Governor Gideon Gono and the
spouse of deputy Minister of Health, Douglas Mombeshora (Zanu-PF), Reverend
Useni Sibanda (said to be apolitical), former Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
president Matthew Takaona and  Miriam Madziwa-Sibanda, a former journalist
turned media consultant, who is regarded as neutral.

The name of former ambassador to China and Zanu-PF spokesman, Chris
Mutsvangwa, is said to have been added to the list.

The media, human rights and electoral commissions are part of reforms that
Zimbabwe's power-sharing government must implement to re-shape and
democratise the country's political landscape.

Once the commissions and a new constitution are in place the government will
call fresh elections with the whole process that began last February
expected to last between 18 to 24 months.

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Journalists take ZUJ to court over elections

December 18, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Four Harare freelance journalists have launched a court application
seeking to have this month's election of new Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
(ZUJ) president, Dumisani Sibanda, the news editor of the Bulawayo paper,
The Sunday News, and his entire executive declared unlawful.

The journalists, Godwin Mangudya, Frank Chikowore, Conrad Mwanawashe and
Guthrie Munyuki, all members of ZUJ, are adamant the process that led to the
new executive's election was flawed.

"This application seeks an order declaring as void, a constitutional process
of the first respondent, being the holding of an election on the 4th
December 2009," reads the application.

"It seeks as a consequence an order for the holding of a new election in
terms of the constitution of the1st respondent (ZUJ) and at any rate in
compliance with all civilised norms and notions of democracy."

Mangudya, the first applicant, says in his affidavit that he had invested a
lot of time and resources in preparing for election as president of ZUJ but
was denied the opportunity to stand for the post.

He says details of the venue and the delegates were kept a secret by the
former executive led by former president, Matthew Takaona, who has created
the controversial post of ZUJ consultant for himself.

Mangudya says further that his aspiration to become the union's president
was not helped by an advertisement which was placed in The Herald newspaper
of October 29, 2009 which deliberately failed to state the venue of the

The ZUJ congress, it later turned out, was conducted at How Mine, in a
remote area south of Bulawayo

"As a protagonist in the battle for office," says Mangudya, "I was neither
notified of the venue nor invited thereto.

"There could be no election under such circumstances of disenfranchisement.
Any process that is built on such disenfranchisement can only be doubly

"Having suffered at the hands of some of these responsible by virtue of
their disdain and wanton disregard for statutes when it suits them I would
further pray for an order that incapacitates them from abusing the appeal

He says there was a deliberate plot to stifle the dissemination of
information to people who were challenging candidates who had allegedly been
imposed by the outgoing Takaona executive.

Mangudya and the other three applicants want the result of the process
declared "void and of no force or effect".

Reads the application, "1st respondent's retiring officers shall within 30
days of the order notify 1st respondent's members of the date and venue at
which the election of 1st respondent's congress officials shall be held and
shall so hold the election inside the said 30 days.

"The order shall remain in operation notwithstanding the noting of any
appeal against it."

In his response, Takaona has told the media that the conducting of the
elections was above board and that all delegates who were eligible to vote
in terms of the  ZUJ constitution were furnished with the necessary details.

He says further that most of the journalists who are complaining about the
election process are freelance journalists who were not attached to any ZUJ
branch in the country, something that, he says, renders them ineligible to

Listed as respondents are ZUJ as first respondent and the newly-elected
executive which includes Sibanda (second respondent), secretary general
Foster Dongozi (third), co-vice presidents Mercy Pote (fourth) and Michael
Padera Chideme (fifth)?

Evince Magata who was elected treasurer is the sixth respondent, along with
gender mainstreaming chairperson Jenifer Dube (seventh) and committee
members Valentine Maponga (eighth), Godfrey Mutimba (ninth) and Grail
Kupakuwana (tenth).

Meanwhile, journalists in Harare will Friday night hold an all media
stakeholders discussion on the affairs of their beleaguered union centering
on the controversial ZUJ election.

Plans are also underway for the holding of an all stakeholders' conference
that is intended to push for the passing a vote of 'no confidence' in the
new executive.

Journalists feel the affairs of their trade union have been hijacked by
people with selfish interests in the union.

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Rights Lawyer Challenges Placement On Remand

Harare, December 18, 2009 - Prominent human rights and media lawyer Mordecai
Mahlangu on Thursday challenged his placement on remand at the Harare
Magistrate court.

Mahlangu's lawyers Happias Zhou and Kay Ncube, who are members of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) lodged an application for refusal of remand
before Harare Magistrate Archie Wochiunga.

In his application Zhou said there are no sufficient grounds to place
Mahlangu on remand and that the facts as they are do not disclose any
reasonable grounds that the human rights lawyer committed an offence with
which he is charged.

Zhou said Mahlangu's letter to Attorney General Johannes Tomana clearly
explains the position of Peter Michael Hitschmann regarding his
compellability as a State witness in the trial of Deputy Agriculture
Minister Designate and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Treasurer-General Roy Bennett's.

But the State represented by Edmore Nyazamba opposed Mahlangu's application.
Nyazamba said there is a thin line between preparing an affidavit and
swearing to the contends of an affidavit.

Mahlangu was arrested in November and charged with obstructing the course of
justice after he allegedly wrote a letter to Tomana protesting against the
subpoena directing Hitschmann, to testify in Bennett's trial despite the
fact that Hitschmann's statements were extracted through torture.

Magistrate Wochiunga will deliver his ruling on Mahlangu's application on
January 12, 2010.

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Letter to Select Major Diamond Retailers Regarding Zimbabwe Blood Diamonds

December 17, 2009

Dear Sir:

I am writing to urge your company to publicly commit to not purchase or sell
diamonds from Zimbabwe.

Throughout 2009, Human Rights Watch conducted field-based research in the
diamond fields of Marange, in eastern Zimbabwe.  We found that mining under
the supervision of the police and then the military resulted in the use of
forced labor of adults and children, killings, and severe beatings.  By any
reasonable assessment, diamonds from Marange are "blood diamonds," and we
are publicly calling upon retailers and interested consumers to boycott
Zimbabwe diamonds unless and until the abuses that we uncovered come to an

We are also asking the diamond industry to pressure the Kimberley Process
Certification Scheme (KPCS), the global group monitoring the diamond trade,
to suspend Zimbabwe until diamond mining at Marange meets its minimum
standards for membership. The KPCS sent its own review mission to Zimbabwe
and confirmed our findings. We believe that it can no longer certify that
diamonds from Zimbabwe are mined in compliance with the rules of the KPCS.

Human rights abuses in Marange

In June 2009, Human Rights Watch published a report documenting horrific
human rights abuses in the Marange diamond fields by the Zimbabwean
military, including forced labor, child labor, the killing of more than 200
people, beatings, smuggling, and corruption.

As recently as late October, 2009, these abuses were ongoing. Human Rights
Watch's latest information suggests that the situation in Marange remains
largely unchanged.  Despite claims that the army was withdrawing, for the
most part, the diamond fields remain under firm military control, with
smuggling, human rights abuses, and corruption unchecked.

The role of the Kimberley Process

In July 2009, a Kimberley Process investigative mission also found serious
human rights abuses and rampant smuggling at the Marange diamond fields.
However, the states that make up the Kimberley Process decided not to
suspend Zimbabwe from participation, nor ban the export of its diamonds,
despite those findings. The weak excuse given was that its mandate only
addresses "conflict diamonds," those mined by rebel groups, but not by
abusive governments.  In this case, the abuses at Marange were committed by
Zimbabwe's police and army, rather than rebel groups.

But these abuses are as serious as those that the Kimberley Process was
designed to address; relying on a technicality is no comfort for the victims
of the abuses. Instead of ignoring human rights abuses, KPCS members, as
well as retailers, should classify Marange diamonds as "conflict diamonds."

What the diamond industry can do

Because of the prevalence of smuggling, the lack of transparency within
Zimbabwe's diamond industry, insufficient controls at the country's borders
with neighboring countries, and weak certification mechanisms, there is no
way to guarantee that Marange stones are not being mixed with those produced
at Zimbabwe's other two mines. Moreover, once the Marange diamonds leave
Zimbabwe, they are intermingled with diamonds from other countries, creating
a serious risk that Zimbabwean diamonds extracted in an abusive human rights
environment may be sold in the US and elsewhere.

The US diamond industry, including retailers, therefore has an important
responsibility to ensure that they do not sell these gems to unwitting
customers.  As I am sure you're aware, consumers are increasingly concerned
about this problem and might be reticent to buy any diamonds unless
suppliers guarantee they are not sourcing from Zimbabwe and can demonstrate
that they are in full compliance with the requirements of the Kimberley

Some diamond suppliers like Rapaport and Leber Jewelers have told consumers
that they will not acquire or sell Marange diamonds. Other retailers should
be able to take similar steps, and we urge you to do so as well.  In
particular we ask you to:

    * 1) Publicly state that you will not buy or sell Zimbabwe diamonds as
long as human rights violations continue at the Marange diamonds fields;

    * 2) Urge your national representatives and the World Diamond Council,
which take part in the Kimberley Process, to broaden the definition of
conflict diamonds to include diamonds procured by governments as well as
rebel groups that commit human rights abuses

    * 3) Ensure that your supply chain does not include any Zimbabwe
diamonds and ask your suppliers to certify that diamonds are not from
Zimbabwe by specifying the controls in place.

    * 4) Respond with evidence-based information to consumers who ask about
the origin of the diamonds they wish to purchase.

For your reference, I have enclosed a Human Rights Watch report, "Diamonds
in the Rough: Human Rights Abuses in the Marange Diamond Fields of
Zimbabwe," which provides information about human rights abuses committed at
the Marange diamond fields. I have also enclosed the recent comment by Nicky
Oppenheimer, chairperson of De Beers, about the situation in Marange. Other
materials about Zimbabwe are available on our website at  Finally, for more information, we are
pleased to refer you to the website of the Kimberley Process,

Thank you for your consideration. I would be most eager to meet with you to
discuss these concerns. I look forward to speaking with you.


Arvind Ganesan
Director, Business and Human Rights Division
Human Rights Watch


Francesco Trapani, Chief Executive Officer, Bulgari S.p.A.

Emmanuel Perrin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cartier North

Arthur E. Reiner, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Finlay
Enterprises, Inc.

Efraim Grinberg, President and Chief Executive Officer; Chairman of the
Board of Directors, Movado Group Inc.

Michael J. Kowalski, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Tiffany & Co.

Daniel H. Marks, Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Ultra
Stores, Inc.

Neal Goldberg, President and Chief Executive Officer, Zale Corporation

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Kunonga launches Christmas offensive against worshippers

Friday, 18th December 2009. 12:18pm

By: George Conger .

Dr Nolbert Kunonga has begun a Christmas offensive against the Diocese of
Harare, using the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to disrupt services and
drive off parishioners loyal to Bishop Chad Gandiya and the Church of the
Province of Central Africa.

Since the start of Advent the ZRP and Kunonga loyalists have disrupted
services and locked out congregations across the diocese loyal to Dr Gandiya
and the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA).

Dr Kunonga's fresh campaign for control of the church in Harare is a "real
test to the fragile government of National Unity," the Rev Paul Gwese
reported, "as it was at the intervention of the co-ministers of Home
 Affairs" that Anglicans were able to "use their churches without been
disrupted by rogue police officers aligned to Kunonga."

In an email sent to supporters dated Nov 29, Dr Gandiya recounted how the
ZRP and Kunonga clergy broke up a service he was leading at St Clare's
Mission in Murewa.

Upon arriving at the mission the bishop found the church locked, and
occupied by pre-school children. The "Kunonga priest" in control of the
property refused to allow Dr Gandiya to worship, and left to telephone
Harare for instructions.

Dr Gandiya reported that he decided to hold a service outside the church,
but proceeded first to the local police station to inform them of his
intentions. The police offered no objections, he said.

Upon returning to the church, the bishop found the children had left, and
the congregation proceeded to move inside and to hold a service of Holy
Communion. "As I was doing the thanksgiving prayer the dean noticed the
police walking outside and he went out to see them and was not allowed back
in the church," the bishop wrote.

"He and the churchwarden who had accompanied us to the police were detained
in one of the police vehicles. There were about 10 policemen and six of
Kunonga's priests," the bishop said.

"Just before we distributed the communion elements the police walked in and
started driving people out of the building. They also asked us to vacate the
building and so we quickly and unceremoniously cleared the altar and went
outside. I tried to ask why they were driving the people out of the church
but they just kept doing it," he said.

The bishop said it was "very humiliating" but he "remembered the Passion of
Christ and in particular his humiliation. I said to myself this is nothing
compared to what Jesus went through. They started accusing us of refusing to
listen and breaking the law. Even the officer in charge who had told us to
go ahead with our service joined in accusing us of not listening to advice."

The police officer in command "continued to accuse us of breaking the law
and did not want us to explain anything. He also said he would have
tear-gassed us if he had wanted to and that we would not be able to appeal
to anyone" because the ZRP police commissioner was "aware of what he was

Dr Gandiya asked supporters to pray for his clergy and the people of the
diocese and pray "the authorities in Zimbabwe to stop the police from
harassing our peaceful people who simply want worship their God without
interference from the police."

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‘Citizenship Tax’ a flawed idea

Friday, December 18, 2009 12:00 AM
Alex T. Magaisa

AN ISSUE has arisen regarding the relationship between the government and
Zimbabwe’s large migrant population, popularly referred to as the Diaspora.

It relates to a suggested proposal in an otherwise well-researched and
beautifully-presented report produced by a dedicated team of Zimbabwean
researchers based at Manchester University

The suggested proposal, which is given as part of “confidence boosting
measures” in rebuilding the relationship between the government and the
migrants is that “migrants should be prepared to pay an annual tax for
retaining the Zimbabwean nationality” (p. 126).

Unsurprisingly, the authors of the report acknowledge that, “clearly the
idea of taxing migrants will be controversial but could be one of the ways
in which the migrants can also contribute directly to the fiscus” (page

It is not surprising that this matter has been picked up by the online
media, most of whose readership constitutes the Diaspora. The report was
launched in Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s presence, which lent a political
flavour to the event and consequently the call for the ‘Citizenship Tax’ as
I will call it, was attributed to his office.

It is unfortunate that this small bit of the report threatens to overshadow
an otherwise great effort by a committed group of Zimbabweans who are trying
their best to contribute to the marketplace of ideas. There is more to the
report that requires the serious attention and I really hope it informs the
debate and policy on national development.

Nevertheless, given the importance of the issue of citizenship and the
attention that it has captured, it is only proper that the matter be debated
seriously. To my mind, the idea of linking citizenship rights to taxation
(the citizenship tax) is one that is built on faulty foundations.

The main point of concern is that such a scheme essentially has the effect
of commodifying citizenship rights for only a section of the country’s
population. This creates what might be conveniently referred to as the
“commercialisation of citizenship” whereby citizenship becomes a product
that can be bought and sold on the marketplace. It predicates the
recognition of citizenship on the basis of one’s economic means.

When citizenship rights become marketplace commodities, especially one in
which the provider has a captive market, the risk is that they become the
preserve of those who can afford them. This marginalises those who do not
have adequate means.

Not only does it undermine the principle of equality for all citizens, it
also compartmentalises the right to citizenship, making it potentially
inaccessible to those who cannot afford the means to purchase it.

Second, whilst Zimbabweans based in the country might see this as a
“Diaspora issue”, the idea of commodifying rights opens floodgates to all
sorts of potential abuses. It would set a dangerous precedent whereby rights
are packaged and made available only to those who have sufficient economic

Once you allow the state to give and take away citizenship on the basis of a
tax, you open the possibility that even home-based Zimbabweans could be
required to pay tax or a fee by another name in order to retain citizenship.
If paying taxes is the issue, the line between the Diaspora and home based
Zimbabweans is in reality blurred. That is because by and large Zimbabwe is
dominated by the informal sector and most players in that market do not pay

Indeed, one of the major challenges in the country relates to the collection
of taxes from the informal sector. Many others do not even have the means to
pay taxes. Now, if payment of taxes is a precondition for retaining
citizenship, then millions of Zimbabweans both at home and abroad will be at
risk of losing their citizenship.

More seriously, the commodification of rights in this way opens up the risk
that even the right to vote can also be subject to the payment of a tax – a
vote tax, it might be called. This would mean that those who cannot show
that they have paid taxes will be unable to vote. This opens up all sorts of
avenues for abuse, potentially disenfranchising millions of people, both at
home and abroad.

Part of the problem is that when the issue of citizenship is discussed in
the current context, it is often conflated and confused with the right to
vote. While naturally citizens will demand the right to vote, it is
important for strategic reasons, to separate the two. It is the conflation
of these two important rights that that has caused problems as far as
recognition of dual citizenship is concerned.

Whilst the right to vote is something that citizens can legitimately demand,
it is important to appreciate that there is more to citizenship rights than
voting rights alone.

In order to understand the wider scope of citizenship rights, it is useful
to observe section 4(3) of the Constitution which provides that “Every
Zimbabwean citizen is entitled to the protection of the State wherever he or
she may be”. This is a universal principle adopted by most civilised states,
that the state protects its citizens. It is this broader protection, which
is widely defined, that all citizens seeks and are entitled to.

The fact that the current government may not have performed this protection
role is not the issue here – the Zimbabwean state is more than the
individuals in power. It is this broader scope of citizenship rights that I
wish to emphasise, so that voting rights, with which citizenship rights are
often conflated, do not obscure the wider significance of citizenship.

However, for as long as citizenship rights are discussed within the narrower
context of voting rights, the challenge of getting recognition will be
harder precisely because of suspicions by politicians about voting attitudes
and patterns often perceived along party lines.

The Diaspora would be advised to separate the two and ensure first that the
broader citizenship rights are safeguarded and then from that platform,
advocate the right to vote.

I have written before about lessons Zimbabwe could draw from Namibia, one of
our neighbours on the issue of dual citizenship. The effect of the
constitutional provisions governing citizenship in Namibia is that whilst
dual citizenship may be prohibited by a law passed by Parliament, as is the
case in Zimbabwe, there is an important difference.

The difference is that the equivalent provision in the Namibian constitution
is subject to an important proviso, which states that "no person who is a
citizen of Namibia by birth or descent may be deprived of Namibian
citizenship” by any law that is passed by parliament.

This is crucial because it safeguards from erosion the rights of those who
are Namibian citizens by birth or descent. In other words, for these
persons, their rights to dual citizenship cannot be prohibited by such a
law. It means, therefore, that only those citizens who acquire Namibian
citizenship by other means, e.g. registration, marriage, etc may be
prohibited from holding dual citizenship.

It is clear that the Namibian constitutional provision provides a greater
level of protection to “natural” citizens, for lack of a better adjective –
i.e. those who get citizenship by birth or descent. It is recognition of the
fact that for such citizens, citizenship is a birthright which cannot be
bought or sold on the marketplace.

The core point here is that for those born in the country, citizenship is a
birthright. It cannot be taken away.

The suggestion, therefore, is for a proviso to the current Section 9 of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe, stating, that “no person who is a citizen of
Zimbabwe by birth or descent may be deprived of Zimbabwean citizenship by
such legislation”.

As I have said, the proposal for an annual tax in exchange for citizenship
rights is probably based on innocent intentions, but ultimately there are
fundamental flaws some of which I have tried to highlight here.

I am especially concerned by the idea of commodification of rights and
mostly by the dangerous precedent such a scheme would pose to the wider
array of rights, otherwise freely available to citizens both at home and

As the authors of the beautiful report state, there are various “ways in
which the migrants can also contribute directly to the fiscus”. To my mind,
a “citizenship tax” is not one of them.

Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, University of Kent. He can be
contacted on e-mail:

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A letter from the diaspora

18th December 2009

Dear Friends.
As the first decade of the twenty first century draws to a close there are
few signs that the delegates at the UN Climate Change Conference in
Copenhagen will reach any legally binding agreement on carbon emissions or
acceptable climate levels. The confusion and chaos among delegates inside
the Conference Hall and outside on the streets gives little hope that
anything positive will come out of this exercise. As always, the 'usual
suspects' are there in Copenhagen, including Mugabe's friend Hugo Chavez,
all shouting about the evils of the capitalist west while taking no
responsibility for land degradation or destruction of forests in their own
countries. In the last few days of the Conference when world leaders arrive,
the jet-setting Robert Mugabe joined the exalted company. Accompanied by a
huge delegation of 59 top Zanu PF cronies Mugabe had commandeered a regular
Air Zimbabwe plane to carry them all to Copenhagen. Speaking before his
official address to the assembled delegates on Friday, Mugabe, predictably
used the opportunity to attack the west, accusing them of double standards,
"Why are the polluters not pursued by western governments with the same zeal
they show in castigating abusers of human rights?" he demanded. "We (in the
developing world) who bear the brunt of healing the gasping earth must draw
the most from the global purse for remedial action." Zimbabwe's 'gasping
earth' is indeed bearing the brunt, not of the west's double standards but
of Mugabe's own ruinous policies. For those of us questioning why Robert
Mugabe felt the need to attend the UN Conference when his own country stands
at the crossroads of a crucial Agreement of its own, his statement made it
very clear: he was there for his share of the 'global purse', The sight of
the ageing dictator sitting smugly in his place at the Copenhagen Summit
provoked one angry US Republican Senator to comment, "This guy's just
showing up to collect his cheque." True as that is, Mugabe has more than one
reason -apart from the First Lady's shopping, of coursefor being there in
Copenhagen. It is just another one of the delaying tactics he has been using
ever since the start of the Talks, last week it was the Zanu PF Congress
that caused the Talks to be delayed, Mugabe's claim that Zanu PF had lost
the last election because of factionalism inside the party revealed yet
again his inability to accept that he has lost the support of the
electorate. Now we see that Mugabe is supported in his total self-deception
by none other than the South African ANC. It seems that former Liberation
fighters are blind when it comes to the crimes of their former comrades in
arms; apparently the 'glories' of the past excuse all the crimes of the
present. With breath-taking disregard of reality, Tokyo Sexwale, the ANC
observer at Zanu PF's Congress proclaimed, "Zanu should continue to entrench
the democracy you fought for so tirelessly over the years." What democracy,
you may ask! Can anyone now doubt that South Africa has turned a blind eye
to Mugabe's destruction of democracy in his country? Sexwale's remarks have
clearly revealed South Africa's lack of neutrality. They will never tell him
the truth, they will never criticise him or his policies because of his
so-called 'liberation credentials.' Sexwale added the comment "Your enemies
will never criticise you.instead they will destroy you. Only your friends
will criticise you in a constructive manner. Zimbabweans should always heed
the call whenever South Africa criticises you." Obviously, Sexwale is
blissfully unaware that criticism, be it constructive or otherwise, is never
welcomed by Robert Mugabe. The story coming from an astonished MDC Cabinet
Minister that grown men actually go down on their knees in Mugabe's presence
is further evidence of the cult of the personality that has risen to
deification levels in Zimbabwe. Was it not a senior member of his party who
once described Mugabe as "the second son of God"? The decision to re-elect
Mugabe to rule the party for another five years comes as no surprise but
what is utterly mystifying is the blind, unquestioning support of the
thousands of delegates at the Zanu PF Congress for a man whose policies have
brought the country to its knees. Mugabe may dismiss human rights abuses as
trivial compared to climate change but the Zanu PF members who carried out
his orders to terrorise the population - from Gukuruhundi to the present
day - have destroyed the moral fabric of Zimbabwean society in a way that is
just as damaging to the spiritual and moral climate of the nation.

For thirty years and more, Robert Mugabe has got away with the murder, rape
and torture of his own people. He has repeatedly rigged elections and even
now claims to be the peoples' choice despite the evidence of the March 2008
election. Zimbabweans may blame the rest of the world for doing nothing to
end Mugabe's regime but the truth is that Zimbabweans themselves, through
fear or just plain cowardice have allowed him to get away with it. For those
few brave souls who continue to protest against the tyranny of Mugabe's
misrule, we can only hope that 2010 will see thousands of other Zimbabweans
join their ranks to stand up for democracy, human rights and the restoration
of the rule of law. Whether it is Copenhagen or Harare, political agreements
mean nothing without the people's willing participation.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.


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Zimbabwe: weekly bulletin #11 - week ending 15 December 2009

Click here to read the eleventh Zimbabwe Weekly Bulletin for the week ending 15 December 2009.
It is six pages in length and gives a brief synopsis of the following areas:
The bulletin is accessed from the Zimbabwe Democracy Now website.

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So, who's the racist now?

"Racism is the belief that race is a primary determinant of human traits and
capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a
particular race. In the case of institutional racism, certain racial groups
may be denied rights or benefits, or get preferential treatment.

Racial discrimination typically points out taxonomic differences between
different groups of people, although anyone may be discriminated against on
an ethnic or cultural basis, independently of their somatic differences.
According to the United Nations conventions, there is no distinction between
the term racial discrimination and ethnic discrimination." (Source:

I see that Mugabe himself has been called a 'racist' by two members of the
MDC. and, should Mugabe wish to respond, he will come out with all manner of
allegations that the MDC is a front for the British in general and whites in

Having been accused of racism myself more than a few times in recent years -
primarily as a result of my writings on the internet - I decided that it was
time to look at racism.

It would appear that, in the mind of people like Mugabe, that racism is a
one way street. Blacks can be the subject of racism, but cannot be racialist
themselves. And I find that particularly sad.

Racism is an ugly trait and is present in all walks of life and in all
continents. For one race to believe that it has the upper hand over other
races just by virtue of their existence is not only wrong, but has traces of
cowardice within it.

I lived in Zimbabwe (and Rhodesia - same country, different name) for a
total of 34 years. I have many black friends and got along with them
famously. I was one of the few Zimbabweans given a native nickname - a sure
sign that you have been accepted as an 'honorary' member of the tribe.

To be accepted like this is a huge honour indeed, and something that is not
done lightly.

Mugabe's dislike - nay - hatred for the white people dates back to the 1960s
at least. He hates the white people almost as much as he loves power and

Almost daily I receive emails from readers around the world who believe that
the reason why I write is because of a racist agenda and a need to prove
that white people are superior because of their colour alone. They are
entitled to their opinions.

Mugabe also has an avid hatred for homosexuals.

"Two MDC senior officials have accused Robert Mugabe of being racist by
swearing in John Nkomo as co-vice President despite ongoing police
investigation on allegations of sodomy while refusing Roy Bennett because of
his pending court cases.
Mugabe has refused to swear in MDC's deputy minister designate Roy Bennett
because of his pending court cases.

MDC deputy organizing secretary Morgan Komichi said the swearing in of Nkomo
shows that Mugabe is a "racist"."

Mugabe is a man who lives by double standards - and seemingly gets away with
it, because should anyone challenge his rule then he can claim "racism" if
the person is white - and again, if the person is black, allegedly the front
for a white person or body.

"We are however not surprised that the Nkomo sodomy allegations have been
swept under the carpet, and we demand that investigations be completed and
justice prevail in that case.

This is not only a selective application of justice but clear racism by
President Mugabe and his party, given that both Bennett and Nkomo have
pending criminal cases. We know that one is not guilty until proven
otherwise by the court of law, and why treating these two cases differently?

MDC Youth Secretary General Solomon Madzore said justice should be applied
equally to all citizens, adding that Mugabe had double standards."

Mugabe will elect not to respond, only because he has no wish to draw any
more attentions to the differing standards - I mean, who would appoint a
Vice President that has homosexual tendencies?

Remember that Mugabe had the former President of Zimbabwe, Canaan Banana,
charged criminally with homosexual activity.

I quote an email received from a reader elsewhere in the world: "Others say
you get what you deserve because of your harsh treatment of the black
people. I don't know, the whole situation in that part of the world is so
touchy. When the SA/Zim. situation comes up against real left-wing people, I
feel like a racist trying to defend Zim. If you're white and try to defend
the thought of white people living in Africa you're looked at crossed eyed,
and immediately thought to be racist."

Sadly, ignorance breeds arrogance.

Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man

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Constitution Watch 14 of 17th December 2009 [Public Consultation to Start mid-January]


[17th December 2009]

Select Committee Announces Thematic Sub-Committee Members

At a press conference on 16th December the Select Committee co-chairpersons announced the composition of the constitutional thematic sub-committees.  There are 17 thematic sub-committees and each one will have 25 members, making a total of 425 individuals involved in the thematic sub-committees.  The chairpersons are MPs or Senators, as required by Article 6 of the GPA; the deputy chairpersons are from civic society.  Membership of the thematic sub-committees is shared between parliamentarians and civic society in the proportions 30% to 70% [8 parliamentarians and 17 non-parliamentarians per team].  The Select Committee uses the term “civic society” to include political parties as well as other organisations, so political parties are represented among the 17 other members of each sub-committee.  Names were put forward by civic society organisations but the final selection of deputy chairpersons and members of the thematic sub-committees was done by the Select Committee in a way they believed would ensure a balance of people considered sympathetic to the main political parties.  The 11 small political parties not represented in Parliament have been accommodated, each being allowed 5 nominees spread over the 17 thematic sub-committees.  The Select Committee believes it has come up with a group of people truly representative of Zimbabwean society and characterised by gender balance and inclusivity.  [Lists of Thematic Committees and names of chairperson, deputy chairpersons and members in Next Constitution Watch].  Comment: as the sub-committees will be expected to make themselves available at any time for several months obviously they will not include people whose jobs and responsibilities preclude this.  Also, because of the delays and the uncertainty that have dogged the constitution-making process [the Select Committee originally said that thematic committees would be set up by 28th July] some people who let their names go forward many months ago have said that they are likely to withdraw because of other work commitments.  Others didn’t even know that their names had been put forward and will be unable to make themselves available.  There will have to be some revision of the lists.

Additional Outreach Personnel

The Select Committee have also chosen an additional 135, individuals bringing to 560 the total complement of persons involved in the outreach programme to consult the people on what they want in the new constitution.  107 of the 135 extra outreach personnel are Parliamentarians, the idea being that they will use their influence to assist in smoothing out any problems arising in the field.  The other 28 will come from civic society lists. The services of the extra 135 will be required for the duration of the outreach exercise only – they will not be members of the thematic sub-committees who continue their work after the outreach.

Outreach Programme

The programme for the outreach exercise will start with training outreach personnel on 4th January 2010.  Consultation of the people will start on 12th January and take 65 days [or more if necessary].  All thematic sub-committee members and the additional outreach personnel will be involved in the outreach exercise. 

Outreach Teams:  The 560 will be divided into 70 teams of 8 members each.  Each team will be responsible for consulting the people in 3 of the 210 House of Assembly constituencies. 

Training Programme for Parliamentarians  [4th to 5th January]:  MPs and Senators will be trained on their own on Tuesday 5th January [arrival and registration on Monday 4th]

Training Programme for non-Parliamentarians [6th to 10thJanuary]:  The remainder of the outreach personnel will be trained in a four-day workshop running from 7th to 10th January [arrival and registration on Wednesday 6th].

Deployment of Outreach Teams [11th January]Outreach teams will then be deployed to the provinces where they will meet officials and representatives of civic society at provincial level on Monday 11th January to explain their programme before starting work the next day. 

Start of Outreach:  Consultation with the people will start on Tuesday 12th January.

End of Outreach:  18th March 2010 [the consultations are expected to last 65 days but this time will be extended if necessary].

Thematic Sub-Committees’ Responsibilities to Continue after Outreach Finishes:  Members of the thematic sub-committees will be expected to continue their work after the outreach exercise to synthesise and collate the results of the consultations with the people.  Each thematic sub-committee will prepare a report on what the people want the new constitution to say on the sub-committee’s theme.  These reports will form the basis on which the drafters will proceed to produce a draft of the new constitution.  [The extra 135 persons not on the thematic committees will not be involved in this exercise.]

Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Continues Advocacy Programme

Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga has been continuing his countrywide series of “advocacy meetings” in Masvingo on Wednesday and Mutare on Thursday.  As with his previous meetings in Bulawayo, Lupane, Gwanda and Gweru, the Minister’s aim was to reassure the country that the inclusive government remains committed to the making of a new constitution notwithstanding the delays that have occurred, and to prepare the ground for the Parliamentary Select Committee’s outreach programme in January.  Senior provincial officials, chiefs and other traditional and community leaders, and area NGOs are being specially invited to these meetings, but the meetings are also open to all interested persons.  An hour is set aside at each meeting for the Minister to answer questions from the floor.

These meetings will continue in the New Year, to cover Harare and the three Mashonaland Provinces at dates and venues to be announced.

Political Rivalry – A Challenge to the Constitution-Making Process

At the Bulawayo advocacy meeting, the Minister’s said: “the biggest challenge we face in the constitution-making process is achieving a conducive environment for everyone to participate in the process openly and freely without fear … How do we achieve this? … without a true and proper healing of the nation it will be difficult for the nation to produce a new constitution”.  This was not intended as a signal that the constitution-making process is to be further delayed.  It was merely an acknowledgement of the difficulty of the task

The Select Committee has given assurances through its co-chairpersons that it is alive to the challenges that may arise for outreach teams in the field if political rivalries bring about confrontations at public meetings.  The training of the teams will include guidance on how to handle difficult situations that may arise and how members of the teams should conduct themselves in a professional and non-partisan manner. 

Leaders of all political parties are urged to curb their party cadres and ensure the process is not disrupted by party sloganeering and disruptive behavior, as was the case in some of the consultative meetings leading to the First All Stakeholders’ Conference and at the Conference itself.

ZANU-PF Congress Resolutions on Constitution-Making

Several resolutions passed by the ZANU-PF Congress on Saturday 12th December referred to the constitution-making process.  These resolutions, although strongly worded, anti-MDC and foreign intervention, do not explicitly repeat the earlier ZANU-PF position that the constitution-making process should wait until “illegal” Western sanctions have been lifted.  Nor do any of the resolutions mention the Kariba Draft.  What is of concern is the phrase “prevent it from being hijacked by those who wish to effect regime change”.  This could be an encouragement to party youths, war vets, etc, to block any change in presidential powers or transitional electoral reform.  The clauses of the resolutions mentioning the Constitution are:

C. On Land Reform, Resettlement and Agriculture

2. [The Congress] Instructs the Party to ensure that the new constitution and the current Post-Maputo Inter-Party Negotiations do not reverse the Land Reform Programme and instead ensure security of tenure which entrenches ownership and control of the indigenous population over the nation’s land and natural resources.

D. On the GPA and the Inclusive Government

5. [The Congress] Signals its determination to reject any outcome of the Constitution-making process that is not home grown. An acceptable outcome would be a Constitution made by Zimbabweans for Zimbabwe, which entrenches the ethos and gains of the Liberation Struggle and is not the product of any external interference. No foreigners, individual, corporate or national in whatever capacity they may from time to time find themselves involved in aspects of Zimbabwe’s bilateral dispute with Britain, have the right to dictate or impose a Constitutional order on Zimbabwe.

7. Directs all Party members and organs to fully participate in the constitution making process in order to prevent it from being hijacked by those who wish to effect regime change or to undermine the gains of the Liberation Struggle.”


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