Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, at a press conference in Cape
Town today (Thursday, December 3), said that he, together with number of
senior representatives from parties that constitute the country's Inclusive
Government, is visiting South Africa to hold a series of meetings with
leading figures from the Zimbabwean Diaspora to discuss ways to fast-track
sustainable economic growth in that country.
Tsvangirai, leading a government delegation, is meeting with prominent
figures in Zimbabwe's Diaspora coming from 14 countries. The meeting
entitled, "The challenges of Economic Reconstruction" began in Franschhoek
The meeting is aimed at facilitating dialogue between the Inclusive
Government and Zimbabweans in the Diaspora.
The meeting is hosted by the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation (IJR),
a South African non-governmental organization that promotes transitional
justice initiatives across the African continent.
Tsvangirai noted that he "recognizes and values Zimbabweans in the Diaspora
and the critical role they can and should play in bolstering sustainable
economic growth in Zimbabwe." The Prime Minister stated that he "wanted to
achieve a closer working relationship with all Zimbabweans in the Diaspora,
many of whom are nfluential Zimbabweans working in leading international
intergovernmental-, business-, and finance institutions."
Dr. Fanie du Toit, executive director of the IJR said that these sessions
were a means to facilitate dialogue amongst Zimbabweans and create
conditions for sustainable economic growth, which is a deliverable of the
Inclusive Government under the GPA.
"The IJR is regularly requested to facilitate these kinds of conversations
across political and social fault-lines. As South Africans, we experienced
the value of conversations such as these which paved the way for our
"We have facilitated this engagement at the request of Zimbabweans both
within the country and those outside. The GPA, despite its difficulties,
continues to provide us with a window of opportunity to get certain basic
building blocks of a democratic transition in place. Economic success, for
one, will be vital, not only for democracy, but also for social cohesion."
Du Toit added.
Press Release issued on behalf of the Institute for Justice and
Reconciliation by HWB Communications ( Pty) Ltd.
This entry was posted by Sokwanele on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 at 8:04
Thu Dec 3, 2009 6:02pm GMT
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* Forecast for 4.7 percent growth in 2009 may be optimistic
* Fragile unity govt unsettles investors
* Key Western donors stay away, want reforms
By Nelson Banya
HARARE, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's economy has started expanding again
after a decade of contraction, but uncertainty on the political front
remains a deterrent to crucial foreign donor aid and could dampen long-term
A unity government formed by bitter rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in February to end a protracted political crisis
remains fragile, with tensions simmering over how to share executive power.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Wednesday the coalition government had
nonetheless presided over Zimbabwe's first growth in a decade, with
expansion of 4.7 percent seen this year after the economy shrank by 50
percent between 2000-2008.
In his 2010 national budget speech, Biti projected 7 percent economic growth
for next year. [ID:nGEE5B11GP]
Analysts say the growth forecasts may be overly optimistic, with much
depending on the country's wobbly power-sharing government holding and
pushing through key reforms necessary to attract Western financial support.
"Growth depends on what happens on the political front. The whole budget is
predicated on an improvement on the political situation," said Prosper
Chitambara, an analyst at the Labour and Economic Research Institute of
Zimbabwe. "Nobody really knows what will happen there."
The unity government has managed to stabilise an economy once in free-fall,
replacing a worthless Zimbabwe dollar with multiple foreign currencies to
dramatically bring down inflation from 231 million percent in July last
Biti said annual inflation was seen at -5.5 percent by the end of 2009,
before accelerating to 5.1 percent in 2010.
But the fragile coalition could undermine the progress, with Mugabe and
Tsvangirai feuding over senior appointments, including that of central bank
governor and attorney-general and also bickering over who is to blame for
Western sanctions and the slow pace of media and political reforms.
ECONOMY SENSITIVE TO POLITICS
The economy's sensitivity to political upheaval was most recently
illustrated by the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange's main index, which fell 13
percent in October after Tsvangirai and his MDC party boycotted cabinet,
accusing Mugabe of failing to honour the power-sharing pact.
"For the current stability to be consolidated, all outstanding disputes
destabilising the government of national unity need to be resolved, that is
the main assumption on which an economic turnaround is premised," John
Makumbe, a political commentator and Mugabe critic said.
"Failure to do that makes all prospects bleak and we can forget about
attracting investment and foreign aid, which is badly needed."
Tsvangirai said on Thursday talks between the two sides on implementing the
conditions of the unity government had made progress. [ID:nGEE5B22HZ]
Western donors, expected to provide the bulk of what Zimbabwe needs to
reconstruct its economy, are reluctant to release aid initially suspended
over policy differences with Mugabe, and insist Harare first implements
broad political reforms.
"The minister (Biti) said this was to be a reconstruction budget, but he has
very limited fiscal space. As a result, there is inadequate spending on
infrastructural projects that are key to recovery," Chitambara said.
"I foresee job action (strikes), given the limited resources for public
service wages, which will not be adjusted in line with next year's projected
year-end inflation of 5.1 percent."
Government, which is the largest employer in an economy where unemployment
is above 80 percent, currently pays its workers an average $150 per month
and has had to fend off strikes by teachers and doctors this year.
In 2005 an estimated 83 percent of the population lived on below $2 a day,
and the situation worsened in the next three years, data shows.
Biti classified 85 percent of Zimbabwe's population as the "submerged and
By Lance Guma
03 December 2009
Foreign trips by Robert Mugabe and other government officials gobbled up
US$28 million from state coffers, Finance Minister Tendai Biti revealed in
Parliament during his budget presentation. Biti said this 'disproportionate
share of foreign travel' was a detriment to overall service delivery.
Biti has now ordered a review in the way foreign trips are funded, adding
that "with effect from January 2010, business travel for individual
ministries will have to be managed within the voted amount and the monthly
allocations availed for this purpose." At present the country's Treasury
manages the resources for foreign trips.
The chief culprit of these trips is obviously Mugabe, although Biti did not
single him out. In November for example the ZANU PF leader traveled to Italy
for a United Nations World Summit on Food Security and was accompanied by a
delegation of at least 60 officials. Experts say the total spent on such
trips is enough to pay the entire civil service wage bill for one month.
Economic analyst Lance Mambondiani told Newsreel the foreign trip bill
reflected the fact that Zimbabwe had a bloated government which was created
by the power-sharing arrangement. Some of the officials on these foreign
trips would probably argue that they were traveling to look for money to
help finance the country's economic recovery.
Meanwhile Biti on Wednesday cut the rate of corporate tax to 25 percent from
30 percent. He justified the reduction by saying corporate tax had brought
in only 4 percent of the total revenue and that the cut would encourage
companies to comply and therefore raise collection levels to 10 percent of
revenue. Mambondiani however doubted this would work, arguing the problem
was because most industries were operating at no more than 10 percent
capacity and could not afford to pay this tax.
There was some relief for struggling Zimbabweans when Biti lowered the rate
of personal tax to 35 percent from 37,5 percent and non taxable income was
raised to US$160 per month, from the previous US$150. The Minister also
extended the suspension of duty on imported food items by another 6 months.
Duty on small imported cars was reduced from 40 percent to 25 percent.
Biti criticized the mining sector for contributing only 4 percent of the
Gross Domestic Product. Of that 4 percent, gold accounted for half. His
statement would indicate that only senior army figures and politicians in
ZANU PF are benefiting from the diamonds, mined in such controversial
situations as at Marange, and also from the various gold mines, as the
revenue should be much more than this.
Biti went on to say the country's economy would grow by 7 percent in the
year ahead, on the back of improved performance in the mining,
manufacturing, tourism and agriculture sectors. Commercial Farmers Union
Vice President Charles Taffs however told Newsreel the 'marginal'
improvement in the agriculture sector was down to multinational tobacco
companies funding the industry, rather than any government initiatives. He
said only a return to the rule of law would bring stability in the sector
and help the country meet its harvest targets.
Meanwhile Harare residents are up in arms with the city council over its
proposed 2010 budget. The Combined Harare Residents Association said the
budget had been drawn up without consulting residents and that the city
council was taking them for granted. Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Chiroto however
said the budget was just a proposal and 'consultations are still in
progress.' Under current proposals the city's budget will be upped by over
300 percent, meaning rate charges will certainly increase.
December 3, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - SADC secretary-general Tomaz Salomão sneaked into Harare Wednesday
amid reports of mounting pressure on Zanu-PF and the MDC parties to conclude
their negotiations before the lapse of a deadline set by the regional body
Government sources have revealed that Salomao flew into Zimbabwe on
Wednesday night aboard a South African Airways flight.
"He came around 9pm yesterday (Wednesday) night on a South African Airways
flight," said the source, "He was not being accompanied by any official."
But parties in the inclusive government denied any knowledge of his visit.
"I am not aware of any visit by Salomao," said Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, who is leading the negotiations from President Robert Mugabe's
"Ask Salomau himself what he has come here for," Chinamasa said.
He also refused to shed more light on the progress of current negotiations
between his Zanu PF and the two MDC parties.
"We are meeting the whole day today (Thursday), the whole day tomorrow and
Saturday and I can comment beyond that."
Similarly, Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube, secretary general
and party negotiator in the Arthur Mutambara led MDC, said he was not aware
of any visit by Salomao.
"I am not even aware that he is here," Ncube said.
He however said there was progress in the ongoing talks.
"We are still talking. As you know that we have a very long agenda. If there
was no progress we will not be talking."
Zimbabwe's parties to the GPA are under pressure to finish the negotiations
in line with the directives of a SADC Troika in Mozambique early last month.
Parties deny they are under any pressure. They claim the timelines set by
the Troika were only meant to guide the South African President and new
Zimbabwean facilitator, Jacob Zuma on when to report to the chairperson of
the SADC troika on the progress or lack of, of Zimbabwe's talks.
The low profile visit by Salomao ,who flew in via Johannesburg where Zuma is
based, coincided with a report to the South African president by his
Zuma dispatched his three member facilitation team he appointed last week to
visit Zimbabwe between last Saturday and Tuesday to gather facts on how the
feuding parties have progressed in their sluggish talks.
The team, which comprised Zuma's political adviser Charles Nqakula,
anti-apartheid struggle veteran Mac Maharaj and Lindiwe Zulu, International
Affairs Adviser to the South African leader, met the three leaders in the
coalition government but refused to comment on any issues regarding their
Media reports says the team has since presented its report to Zuma who is
himself expected to come to Zimbabwe on December 5, the day when the last
SADC deadline expires.
Zimbabwe's parties to the current inclusive government are still deadlocked
on some outstanding issues to the GPA.
Key among the issues is the unilateral appointment by President Mugabe, of
party loyalists to executive government posts. The GPA stipulates that
parties must first agree before making any such appointments.
Tsvangirai's MDC wants Mugabe to reverse his unilateral appointment of top
allies to head Zimbabwe's central bank and the attorney general's office.
The MDC also wants Mugabe to swear in its nominees to five of the country's
provincial governorship posts to suit the voting patterns by Zimbabweans
Mugabe has also refused to swear in Tsvangirai ally Roy Bennett as deputy
The MDC is also unhappy by what it says is selective application of the law
to target its activists and officials.
On the other hand Zanu-PF, which insists that it has met all its obligations
under the GPA, accuses the MDC-T of not living up to a promise to lead a
campaign for lifting of Western sanctions against Mugabe and members of his
By Tichaona Sibanda
3 December 2009
South African President Jacob Zuma will not visit Zimbabwe any time ‘soon’
to engage the leadership over outstanding issues in the Global Political
Agreement, his spokesman said on Thursday.
But the South African leader will deliver a report compiled by his
facilitation team, to Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, in a few days
time. Guebuza is the current chairman of the SADC Troika, the regional trade
bloc’s organ on politics, defence and security.
Vincent Magwenya told SW Radio Africa from Pretoria that reports the
President was scheduled to visit Zimbabwe were incorrect and misleading.
‘How can he visit Harare when he has just sent a team there? Asked Magwenya
who added that ‘the media was working on assumptions rather than on correct
information or there was a misunderstanding somewhere.’
An analyst told us the delay by Zuma to visit Harare could imply that he
sees the need for another Troika or a full SADC summit to deal with the
contentious issues. Negotiators resumed their talks in Harare on Thursday
and are expected to finish on Saturday. They will present their report to
the principals who will meet Monday next week to deliberate on the findings.
Only when the principals declare a stalemate will Zuma come in to mediate, a
source told us.
Zuma’s spokesman also clarified what has long been assumed was a deadline
set by SADC, for the negotiators to resolve their differences before a
‘The SADC Troika communiqué makes it clear those political parties signatory
to the GPA should engage in dialogue with immediate effect within fifteen
days and not beyond 30 days. This was never a deadline but a timeline for
the negotiators to resume talks, which they are currently doing now,’
Magwenya added; ‘The correct position, as far as President Zuma is
concerned, is that his facilitation team which is back home engaged with all
the parties in Zimbabwe. They have since delivered their report to the
President who will in turn forward that report to President Guebuza.’
‘The report will only be made public once President Guebuza has received and
dealt with it, otherwise it will be unfair to pre-empt its contents before
the SADC Troika studies it,’ Magwenya said.
On the 5th November last month, Guebuza hosted a SADC Troika summit in
Maputo to consider the political situation in Zimbabwe. Following a day long
meeting, the Summit urged ZANU PF and the MDC to fully comply with the
spirit and letter of the GPA and SADC Summit decision of 27 January 2009.
The Troika also urged Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara
not to allow the situation to deteriorate any further and to engage in a
dialogue in order to find a lasting solution to the outstanding issues
towards the full implementation of the GPA.
With South Africa preparing to host the FIFA World Cup finals in 2010, Zuma
will be under the spotlight from the region, continent and the international
community over whether he will be able to broker a lasting solution in
Analysts have said that he seems to have moved away from Mbeki’s ‘quiet
diplomacy’ to a more robust and open mediation effort. Although to the
average suffering Zimbabwean, there seems little to suggest anything has
changed, as they are denied access to information about the talks.
Thu Dec 3, 2009 6:10pm GMT
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's two political parties made progress on
implementing the conditions of a unity government, Zimbabwean Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday.
A unity government formed by Tsvangirai's MDC and President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU-PF in February came close to falling apart last month, but the two
sides agreed on further talks to settle their differences.
"I want to assure you there is progress," Tsvangirai told a media briefing
in Cape Town.
He said negotiations covered the positions of central bank Governor Gideon
Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, both Mugabe loyalists whom the
MDC and Western donors would like to see removed from their posts.
The MDC, which began boycotting cabinet meetings with ZANU-PF in a dispute
over implementation of the power-sharing deal, ended the boycott last month
and gave Mugabe a month to implement the agreement fully.
"Now that these issues are being attended to, we want to open a new chapter
and say that the inclusive government is consolidating and that we need to
build momentum to ensure we can reconstruct the country," Tsvangirai said.
The fragile unity government is battling to rebuild an economy officially
estimated to have contracted by 50 percent between 2000 and 2008.
The economy is on track to expand for the first time in a decade this year
and to grow by 7 percent in 2010 as agriculture and mining start to recover.
"An increase in the capacity of mine manufacturing from 10 percent to 30
percent will have a direct impact on the growth the minister (Finance
Minister Tendai Biti) is anticipating and I think it can be achieved,"
(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)
By Alex Bell
03 December 2009
The worrying trend of selective justice has continued to prevail, with
Tuesday’s jailing of three MDC activists, including Prime Minister Morgan
The trio was jailed for 18 months for public violence, committed during the
run-up to the 2005 parliamentary elections. Tsvangirai’s bodyguard, Peter
Chigaba, former Masvingo councillor Francisca Sheya, and Ackim Chigarire,
were each sentenced to a 26 month jail term, with 8 months conditionally
suspended for five years. Former Masvingo central legislator Silas Mangono
and four others were acquitted on similar charges.
The entire group was accused of leading violent clashes in November 2005,
during an MDC rally at the Masvingo Civic Centre. The accused were allegedly
denied entry to the venue and violent clashes subsequently erupted. At least
one person was injured and several windows in the civic centre building were
shattered as rival factions of the then MDC candidates clashed during the
run up to the 2005 parliamentary polls. The magistrate on Tuesday ruled that
Mangono and the four others did not participate in the clashes, but ruled
that Chigaba, Sheya, and Chigarire committed the offence.
While some have argued the sentence is a fair application of the law given
the trio’s actions, observers argue it is another example of the selective
nature of the course of justice in Zimbabwe. Their jailing comes just days
after co-Home Affairs Minister Giles Mustekwa ordered the arrest of Joseph
Mwale, who is accused of murdering two MDC activists at Murambinda Growth
Point in 2000. Mwale has evaded arrest for the brutal murder of Tichaona
Chiminya and Talent Mabika, despite a High Court order to have him charged.
Robert Mugabe’s regime, openly flouting the courts, instead promoted him
within the Central Intelligence Organisation ranks.
At the same time, the perpetrators of last year’s extreme post election
violence meted out against MDC supporters in the aftermath of Tsvangirai’s
election win are yet to face court action. More recently, Chiadzwa’s victims
of the police and army led massacre at the diamonds fields last year, are
also awaiting justice that will likely never come. Both cases are supported
by piles of evidence, including eyewitness reports, but the perpetrators
have to date escaped any legal action.
Any form of legal recourse meanwhile, against opposition activists, has in
contrast been swiftly dragged to the courts, with the cases often being long
and drawn out. Critics say this is an effective ZANU PF strategy as it ties
up the opposition in time and money. The case against MDC Treasurer General
Roy Bennett is just one example, with the state seemingly intent to drag the
case out as long as possible. At the same time, more than eight MDC
legislators have faced court action this year on often trumped-up charges,
while any MDC affiliate is a likely target for arrest. The party’s Transport
Manager Pascal Gwezere has remained behind bars after he was abducted and
tortured by state security agents. He’s facing theft charges, but despite
being granted bail, has remained behind bars at Chikurubi maximum security
The MDC has previously expressed concern about the selective persecution of
its members, but despite being in the so-called ‘unity’ government, there
has been no change to this state of affairs.
Meanwhile, violence in the Chimanimani area is said to be increasing, with
ZANU PF members apparently upping their efforts to intimidate opposition
supporters. Most recently the nine year old son of an MDC activist in the
area was abducted in an effort to force his parents to switch their
allegiance to ZANU PF. The child was later abandoned in the bush, unhurt.
The boy’s father, Sibonile Marwirana is quoted by news service Voice of the
People describing the attack by ZANU PF supporters, allegedly led by the
ZANU PF youth league Secretary For External Affairs, Joshua Sako, and a
security guard, Colert Mutimwa. The group apparently broke into the family’s
hut while they were sleeping, demanding that Marwirana change his party
“Mutimwa grabbed my son by the hand and said they were going to return him
on condition that I renounce my MDC membership,” said Marwirana in the VOP
Marwirana said he and his wife followed the abductees and they discovered
their son abandoned in the middle of the bush after alerting other
Marwirana said he reported the incident to Chimanimani police station but no
arrests were made.
Photo: Lee Middleton/IRIN
Zimabweans find refuge at on a sports field in De
"The situation seems like we must go back to Zimbabwe," farm worker Taphiwa Mheva told IRIN. "You don't know with these people - maybe one of these days they think about killing us. We would go now, but we have no money."
Mheva is one of the lucky ones. She is one of 282 Zimbabweans given accommodation on the farm where she works, and plans to return to Zimbabwe after the grape harvesting season ends in April.
Another 1,200 Zimbabweans are living in 190 tents provided by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), pitched on the De Doorns sports field. On weekends that number swells to around 1,600, when spouses and partners working in other areas come to visit. Almost all the displaced are seasonal labourers on the area's wine farms, an industry worth over US$400 million annually.
Every evening hundreds of workers disembark from trucks returning from the farms and wait while security guards check their papers and possessions before entering the safety site. Red Cross volunteers check registration lists, and distribute food around the camp.
"We are trying to avoid a situation where this becomes an overcrowded area, and where people are coming from other areas," said UNHCR Regional Protection Officer Monique Ekoko.
People are coming to take
advantage of what is happening here - that itself will create a problem
She also noted the importance of dealing swiftly and effectively with the situation. "The longer we keep this site here, the chances increase that it might spur other people to take similar actions [xenophobic attacks]. Integration efforts are key, and not only to send a message that people have to live side by side."
According to Martin van Rooyen, a member of the De Doorns Displacement Crisis Committee, 11 December has been set as the starting date for reintegrating displaced people into their original communities.
"We have various processes unfolding to create an enabling environment," Van Rooyen said, citing an interfaith prayer service on 29 November, and ongoing meetings with local government, religious ministers, and the police.
The people living in the camp have given no indication of being willing to leave. "For me there is no option to go back in the community. I've got three kids and a wife - I managed to escape with only a few blankets," Doubt Chinomera, a Zimbabwean labour contractor, told IRIN.
"It's only an option if our security is guaranteed ... because last time when they attacked us the police were there." Chinomera's sentiment was echoed by many, and the perception that the police did nothing to protect them remains vivid.
"The police were just accompanying the South African people. When they were busy destroying the shacks the police were there behind them, looking at them, not arresting them," said farm worker Siyabonga Nkomo.
Superintendent Desmond van der Westhuizen, commander of the De Doorns police station, said the police had been aware that some people in the townships of Stofland and Ekuphumleni had intended some kind of action against the Zimbabweans.
"It was established that the community wanted to stop [Zimbabweans] to go to work the next day, and then they indicated that they would try to dismantle some of the shacks," he told IRIN.
Van der Westhuizen said he had requested support from Worcester, the nearest large town, and Cape Town, as his force was too small to handle the situation, but the distance of those stations from De Doorns meant the additional police officers did not arrive until it was too late.
"At that stage [when the Zimbabweans were blocked from going to work and the looting began] we were trying to do it on our own. It was not obvious whose property was whose. There were 12 officers; police had to use discretion. The crowd was so big - there was chaos, actually - they didn't make arrests earlier because of the manpower shortage."
South African rules
"There is still resentment on the part of South Africans," committee member Van Rooyen said, referring to allegations that the Zimbabweans worked for less than the minimum wage of R60 ($8) per day, thus "robbing" South Africans of jobs.
"Now, the latest resentment is that you're getting services on this site, when we are told to be patient [and to wait for water, sanitation and electricity] by our same government," Van Rooyen said.
People were also angry about the 24 arrests after the attacks - 12 of those arrested were released for lack of evidence, and a bail hearing has been set for the remaining 12 on 5 December.
The Zimbabweans insist that they are not working for less, a claim strongly supported by Agri Western Cape and the Hex River Valley Table Grape Association, umbrella associations to which all the producers in the region belong.
Photo: Lee Middleton/IRIN
African residents of Stofland: no open arms for Zimbabwean
According to Agri Wes-Cape statistics, during the harvest season nearly 9,000 seasonal workers swell the ranks of 5,337 permanent workers; of the total workforce of some 14,000, just over 1,500 are Zimbabwean.
Agri Wes-Cape also noted an independent study in 2008 by the Labour and Enterprise Policy Research Group at the University of Cape Town, whose findings indicated that most workers in the De Doorns area, including the Zimbabweans, were earning R10 ($1.40) a day above the minimum wage.
Nonetheless, local South Africans persist in their belief that Zimbabweans are taking their jobs. "The farmer comes with a truck, says, 'I need 100 people.' Those Zimbabweans, they go like sheep; so our citizens stay behind and don't have bread in their house," Manghozi, a resident of Stofland, told IRIN.
Manghozi and his friends also complained that the Zimbabweans worked on Sundays and holidays. "They must respect our labour rules," he said. Then we can live together."
145 Robert Mugabe Way, Exploration House, Third Floor; Website: www.chra.co.zw
03 December 2009
The 2010 Harare city budget, which was announced by the City of Harare on the 30th of November, has been met with shock and disappointment among residents of Harare who have said that the Harare City Council is taking them for granted. CHRA spoke to residents in the different wards who expressed disappointment at the fact that the City of Harare did not consult them during the budget formulation process and that they were actually shocked that the budget is already out.
CHRA contacted the Deputy Mayor, Honorable Chiroto, to raise the concerns of the residents with him. Honorable Chiroto tried to play down the gravity of the issue by saying that the budget was just a proposal since ‘consultations are still in progress’ and that there is still room to make some changes. However, the statements of the Deputy Mayor were conflicting with those of some of the Councilors who pointed out that wide consultations have been conducted. Upon enquiring why residents in their respective wards were complaining of non-consultation, the Councilors said the residents are just trying to ‘raise alarm because they failed to attend the meetings’. The CHRA Coordinator for Ward 46, Sarudzai Kembo, said that the Councilor in their Ward scheduled the consultation meeting on a Sunday; a day that he knew most people would be at their places of worship. The Councilor, however, proceeded to conduct the meeting with less than ten residents present. Same reports have been received by CHRA representatives from other wards. Councilor Kapare from Ward 7 said that the meetings were advertised on ZTV, which has very few subscribers and with the prolonged power cuts electronic media has become one of the least effective channels of advertising. It defies logic to note that the Council opted to use the television instead of conducting community mobilization through the Councilors to ensure maximum attendance and participation of residents in the meetings.
The Combined Harare Residents Association had earlier conducted a meeting (in October) with the City of Harare Finance Committee and Deputy Mayor to discuss how the budget consultations could be conducted in order to ensure maximum participation of residents. The two parties had agreed that CHRA would provide the contact details of its ward leaders to the City’s Chamber Secretary and the contacts would then be circulated to the Councilors who would in turn work with the CHRA ward leadership to mobilize residents at grassroots level. However, the City of Harare opted to use the route of television adverts and newspapers which unfortunately are not effective ways to mobilize the grassroots communities.
The 2010 City budget that has been upped by almost 300% (USD505 million) from the USD185 million for 2009 has been met with a lot of criticism by most residents who have described the City of Harare as being over-ambitious. It is ironic that the City of Harare actually expects more from residents who have been complaining about the already exorbitant service charges and have failed to meet the demands of the much lower 2009 city budget; not to mention the fact that the Council is at loggerheads with residents for demanding money for non-existent services. Piles of uncollected refuse continue to litter most shopping centers, save for those areas in which goodwill organizations like CHRA, GOAL and Environment Africa have conducted clean-up campaigns on a regular basis. The potholed roads have become a death trap to motorists especially with the onset of the rainy season.
CHRA foresees another rates boycott if the City of Harare does not resolve these outstanding issues with residents. Relations between the Council and residents have continued to deteriorate and the situation could worsen if the issue of the budget is not handled properly.
The Department for International Development (DFID) spent £50 million in Zimbabwe in 2008-09 and has allocated £60 million for 2009-10, making it one of the country’s three largest donors. DFID does not provide direct funding to the Government of Zimbabwe but 65% of its budget is allocated to support delivery of basic services.
DFID’s assistance to Zimbabwe is focused on: livelihoods and growth; health, including HIV/AIDS; supporting orphans and other vulnerable children; emergency water and sanitation; and governance and economic reform.
Zimbabwe is showing signs of economic recovery, and there has been some improvement from the very poor humanitarian situation which the country has experienced, which included food shortages and a cholera epidemic earlier this year. However, it is predicted that nearly 3 million Zimbabweans will need food aid this year.
The Committee plans to conduct an inquiry into DFID’s assistance to Zimbabwe. The issues which the inquiry will address include:
Submission of written evidence
The Committee invites individuals and organisations with relevant expertise and experience to submit written evidence on any of these issues.
The deadline for submitting written evidence is Friday 8 January 2010.
The Committee particularly welcomes submissions from individuals and organisations in developing countries.
Evidence submitted should:
Submissions can also be sent by post to International Development Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.
A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm
Please also note that:
Committee Membership is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), Richard Burden MP (Lab), Mr Nigel Evans MP (Con), Mr Mark Hendrick MP (Lab/Co-op), Daniel Kawczynski MP (Con), Mr Mark Lancaster MP (Con), Mr Virendra Sharma (Lab), Mr Marsha Singh MP (Lab), Andrew Stunell MP (Lib Dem).
Committee Contact: Carol Oxborough, 020 7219 1226 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, 020 7219 1589, or email@example.com
Committee website: www.parliament.uk/indcom
Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv
Publications/Reports/Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge Street, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474)