by Staff Reporter
VICE President John Landa Nkomo died on Saturday aged 78.
Several Zanu PF and government sources told New Zimbabwe.com that Nkomo, who
has been on sick leave for the last three months, died quietly surrounded by
his family in Bulawayo.
Nkomo revealed in 2009 that he had been diagnosed with cancer, and he has
looked haggard and emaciated in his recent public appearences.
The Vice President missed this weekend's Zanu PF's annual conference in
Gweru which was officially opened by President Robert Mugabe on Friday.
Nkomo had been subject of at least three false rumours about his death in
recent months. His family, while confirming he was unwell, said they were
distressed by the speculation.
by Zwanai Sithole
The Zimbabwe National Commission of Unesco has protested to the World
Heritage Centre in Paris about mineral exploration in Mana Pools and the
Rukomechi River in the Zambezi valley.
According to a recent report by the Zambezi Society, Unesco representatives
and government officials recently visited the area on a fact-finding mission
and consulted technical and legal advisors.
“As a result of its findings, Unesco Zimbabwe has advised the World Heritage
Centre that it strongly discourages mining or mining exploration in the
world heritage property and its immediate environs,” says the report, adding
that mining activities would jeopardise all conservation initiatives in the
Habbard Investments (Pvt) Ltd is exploring minerals along major tributaries
of the Zambezi River such as Rukomechi, Chewore and Sapi rivers in the
valley, which is rich in wildlife.
An environmental catastrophe is also unfolding in the Gwayi/Shangani
conservancy in Matabeleland North where conservancies have been allocated,
in unclear circumstances, to Chinese mining firms prospecting for minerals
and extracting coal.
The Hwange/Gwayi Conservation and Tourism Association was recently forced to
call a meeting of stakeholders to find a possible solution to the illegal
mining activities, which are polluting rivers and threatening to extinguish
wild animals in the area.
Friday, 07 December 2012 23:36
From Takunda Maodza in Gweru
A TOTAL of 210 white commercial farmers are under prosecution throughout the
country for refusing to vacate farms gazetted for redistribution to
According to a Central Committee report tabled before the Zanu-PF 13th
Annual National People’s Conference and adopted here, this is despite the
fact that the farmers were given time to wind their operations.
This is happening at a time when so-me Western countries are trying to
frustrate the historic land reform programme by launching million dollar
lawsuits in international courts.
“A total of 210 white former farmers are under prosecution for failure to
vacate gazetted land after the expiry date as required by the Gazetted Land
(Consequential Provisions) Act . . . The majority if not all of the former
farm owners who refuse to vacate gazetted properties were given time to wind
up business and harvest their crops previously,” the report said.
It revealed that some of the farmers were citing support from some Zanu-PF
members for refusing to vacate the farms. There are 198 white owned farms
that have not been gazetted. In Manicaland province the properties are
mainly holiday homes. The report noted that deliberations on holiday homes
by Cabinet were yet to be finalised. Government this year gazetted 3 050
hectares for rural resettlement and urban expansion.
The Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement has submitted a framework for
farm assessments for productivity and land utilisation to Cabinet and US$30
million is required to carry out the exercise.
“No indications have been received from treasury as to the availability of
funds for this exercise which we envisage to cover old resettlement
schemes, model A1, A2 farms,” the report notes.
The Central Committee report noted that some Western farmers successfully
sued Government after it gazetted their farms for resettlement but there was
no money to pay them compensation.
“The Dutch farmers who took the country to the International Court for
Settlement of Investment Disputes and won have not been paid. In addition, a
Germany family, the Von Pezolds, has also taken us to the ISCID for
their farms (Forester Estates and Border Timbers properties) which we
acquired and partly resettled. We are framing our defence with the Attorney
General’s Office. The Von Pezolds claim is in the region of US$600 million.
The report by the Central Committee observed that some farms covered by
Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements were acquired for
resettlement. The countries under the Bippas are Denmark, Germany, Italy,
Malaysia, Netherlands and Switzerland. Out of 153 farms, 116 were settled by
4 179 families under model A1 and A2 leaving 37 unsettled.
“The agreements require that Government pays fair compensation in currency
of former owner’s choice for both land and improvements for acquired Bippa
farms. In this regard, Government has an outstanding payment of 16 million
Euros awarded to Dutch farmers by the ICSID.”
BY Jacey Fortin | December 08 2012 10:07 AM
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been winning national elections for
32 years -- and he’s not about to stop now, no matter what it takes.
In the buildup to a March 2013 general vote, the autocratic 88-year-old is
stirring up racial tensions in an attempt to rally popular opinion around
him. Officials announced the seizure of Gwenoro, a piece of farmland once
owned by white minority leader Ian Smith, on Friday.
Smith died in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2007, at the age of 88. He had
served as prime minister of Rhodesia -- as Zimbabwe was then called --
during the 1960s and 1970s. At that time, the country was still ruled by a
white minority. Mugabe became prime minister in 1980, and his policy of land
redistribution for black citizens began to take shape.
Mugabe didn’t pursue those policies with gusto until 2000. At that time,
there were about 4,500 white farmers in Zimbabwe, according to the
Telegraph. Today, there are less than 400.
Despite any good intentions, land redistribution in Zimbabwe has been a
disastrous initiative. It has been detrimental to the income of the country’s
agricultural outputs and food security, and many remaining white residents
have been victims of violence, theft and expulsion.
Mugabe knows that redistributionist rhetoric still has popular appeal, since
it aims to empower Zimbabwe’s majority black population after decades of
colonialist white dominance. But critics have accused the deeply corrupt
administration of using the “indigenization” initiative to enrich itself.
Mugabe has also called for increased black ownership of Zimbabwean
businesses in recent days. There are already laws stating that black
citizens must have at least 51 percent ownership of any firm in the country,
but the president said that 100 percent black ownership would be more
“Let us be our own master, our own true developer of our resources,” he said
on Friday, according to Voice of America.
Mugabe is widely reviled in the international community for his failure to
address some of Zimbabwe’s most endemic problems, which include widespread
poverty, a compromised electoral system, a lack of infrastructure and a
failure to turn abundant natural resources -- including diamonds -- into
revenues that could spur development.
“The government’s message is centered around indigenization,” Zimbabwean
political analyst Takavafira Zhou told the Saturday Monitor, a newspaper in
nearby Uganda. “But it's meaningless to the majority of the population
struggling to earn a living.”
By Ndakaziva Majaka, Staff Writer
Saturday, 08 December 2012 13:39
HARARE - An official of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC has claimed
that Zanu PF’s indigenisation policy is toxic.
Speaking in London this week, Roy Bennett, MDC ’s ambassador to the United
Kingdom took a swipe at the indigenisation policy and said the policy only
served to place national wealth in the hands of a selected few.
“Zimbabwe is a rich country, but the wealth is not being used for
development. Where there is rule of law, companies are taxed and the
proceeds are used to maintain public services.
“Sadly, the nation’s wealth is currently being carved up and fed to the Zanu
PF patronage machine. I am not against some monies going to local community
trusts. But even here the lion’s share must go to the Treasury so that it
benefits Zimbabwe as a nation,” Bennet said.
Bennet was quick to defend his stance as not extreme. He said the policy
only made it possible for Zanu PF leadership to loot foreign-owned resources
under the guise of public interest but not disclosing settlement details to
the same public they claim to represent.
“We cannot have a situation where Zanu PF functionaries get in a smoky room
with target companies and cut deals whose details are hidden. This is theft.
As we speak, billions of dollars are being taken out through back door,” he
This comes after the MDC party’s launch of its equivalent economic policy,
known as Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and Environment (Juice).
MDC officials are on record labelling Zanu PF’s indigenisation drive an
angel of death, despite the public scepticism toward their Juice project
which they claim would offer a million jobs to the people in the next five
The party’s Juice project is expected to serve as a working alternative to
Zanu PF’s indigenisation policy spearheaded by Indigenisation minister
Savior Kasukuwere at a time when the latter described it as a “stale plan”.
MDC’s spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora has in turn labelled Kasukuwere a
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
GWERU, Zimbabwe | Sat Dec 8, 2012 11:58am EST
Dec 8 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's long-serving President Robert Mugabe vowed to
fight like a wounded beast to retain power in elections due next year after
his party formally endorsed him on Saturday as candidate despite his
advanced age and reports of ill health.
Mugabe, who turns 89 years next February, has ruled the former British
colony since independence in 1980 but denies he has been receiving treatment
for prostate cancer in Singapore over the last two years.
Closing a two-day ZANU-PF annual conference that as expected named him as
its top candidate for a presidential and parliamentary poll that must be
held by next September, Mugabe urged his party to overcome the rival
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The veteran leader -- who now shares power with Tsvangirai in an uneasy
coalition following a disputed election in 2008 which was marred by violence
blamed on ZANU-PF militants -- said ZANU-PF had nearly lost power by
under-estimating its rivals.
"We are now like a wounded beast, and lets fight back and win all our power
back," he said to a cheering 5,000-strong crowd. "We must mobilise ourselves
for a resounding outcome, and the year 2013 will be the year of electoral
success," he added.
But Mugabe said ZANU-PF should win next year's vote on its nationalist
policies, urging party supporters to avoid violence.
"We do not have to take up spears. Let our policies be our weapons," he
On Friday, Mugabe threatened to call an election before the completion of
constitutional reforms if his rivals in the unity government dragged their
feet over the charter-drafting process.
ZANU-PF, he said, would also press ahead with a drive to force foreign-owned
firms including mines and banks to sell majority shares to local black
Tsvangirai, Mugabe's old rival, says ZANU-PF will not win any free and fair
vote and wants a new constitution and electoral and media reforms after the
violent and disputed poll in 2008 that was condemned by much of the world.
But Finance Minister Tendai Biti, secretary general of the MDC, told Reuters
that Zimbabwe would not be ready for a presidential election until at least
June because it needed the reforms to ensure a fair and undisputed poll.
ZANU-PF and the MDC are haggling over presidential powers in the new
constitution. Mugabe accused his opponents of delaying tactics to avoid
Mugabe showed no visible signs of ill-health at the two-day conference,
spending more than an hour at a time addressing both the opening and closing
Analysts say Mugabe's now increasing warnings that he will call elections
soon is meant to keep his supporters ready for battle although some senior
ZANU-PF officials have cast doubt on this timeline, given that a referendum
on a new constitution should also precede any election, under the
Although Mugabe has been calling for a peaceful election, his opponents fear
ZANU-PF hardliners led by war veterans and youth brigades who normally run
his campaigns will be tempted to resort to violence as the tried and tested
By Associated Press, Updated: Sunday, December 9, 4:15 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s long-time President Robert Mugabe said
Saturday that his party is geared up for a “resounding” victory in elections
scheduled next year.
Mugabe, addressing 5,000 loyalists at the end of his party’s annual
convention in the provincial city of Gweru on Saturday, said that his
ZANU-PF party will fight like a “wounded animal to reclaim the government we
lost” in 2008 elections.
Mugabe, 88, has been nominated as his party’s presidential candidate. He has
ruled Zimbabwe since its independence from Britain in 1980.
He is in a fractious four-year-old coalition with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai that was brokered by regional leaders a year after violent and
The two-day convention was held in a $6.5 million conference hall that was
constructed in less than three months by a Chinese firm for the party
Mugabe said he was going to declare 2013, the “year of electoral victory
that will redeem us from the coalition.”
Mugabe warned his top officials to desist from infighting because it is
“dangerous” and threatened unity. He said disunity and complacency had cost
his party the previous vote.
“We were very divided and suicidally indifferent in 2008,” Mugabe said. “We
are now like a wounded animal, and you know how it fights.”
Deep divisions in ZANU-PF have emerged over Mugabe’s likely successor. Top
party leaders, Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Joice
Mujuru have been touted as possible candidates to lead the party in the
event Mugabe retires or dies.
But Mugabe on Saturday told supporters it is awkward that top party
officials were canvassing for top leadership positions in the party.
“In our time it was embarrassing for you to campaign for a post. Ambition
causes divisions in the party,” Mugabe said.
He said Mnangagwa and Mujuru must stop getting people to support them as
individuals and instead must work at getting people to support the party.
“Ensure people are united but not around you, you are there to lead them,
the party doesn’t belong to you,” he said. That is dangerous, absolutely
Mugabe also told his supporters that there was no need to engage in violence
in the upcoming elections because “we have the strength of our policies”
unlike his partners in the coalition, Tsvangirai ‘s Movement for Democratic
Change party, as “clueless spooks sent to cause us grief.”
Mugabe’s often violent program to seize thousands of white-owned farms since
2000 disrupted the agriculture-based economy. He has also announced plans to
force businesses and mines to hand over a 51 percent ownership to black
“We don’t want violence. That is dirty and we are a clean party because we
are intellectuals,” Mugabe said.
ZIMBABWE will not be ready for a presidential election until at least June
because it needs a new constitution and democratic reforms to ensure a fair
and undisputed poll, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said in an interview.
President Robert Mugabe has called for a new election in March.
But coalition partners including Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe's
old rival, want a new constitution and electoral and media reforms after a
violent and disputed poll in 2008 that was condemned by much of the world.
"Zimbabwe clearly is not ready for an election," Biti told Reuters late on
Thursday during a visit to the University of Manchester in England.
"It's impossible to have an election in March," he said, arguing that the
newly drafted constitution, as well as electoral and media reforms, would
need to be introduced first to ensure the result of the poll was "credible,
legitimate and sustainable".
Mugabe, 88, has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980 and
his Zanu PF party is due to endorse him again as presidential candidate at
its annual congress on Friday.
Biti, secretary general of the MDC-T, said he hoped a referendum on the
constitution could be held in the first quarter of 2013, paving the way for
an election between June and August.
"We will limp our way to some form of acceptable agreement," he said. "Our
people are tired. They want a solution. They want peace. So I think we will
reach an agreement because everyone is exhausted."
Biti called on Zimbabwe's neighbours and international partners - starting
with South African President Jacob Zuma - to play an active role in ensuring
the process goes smoothly and help support the cost of the referendum and
election, estimated at between $150 million and $250 million.
Zimbabwe's economy is recovering after a decade of agricultural decline and
hyperinflation, which led the coalition government to drop the worthless
local currency in 2009 in favor of the U.S. dollar and South African rand.
This has brought annual inflation below 5 percent from an eye-popping 500
million percent four years ago.
But many fear a disputed election could trigger a new crisis for a country
that has been struggling to pay back a $10 billion debt and whose $3.8
billion annual budget is cannibalized by government wages, leaving little
room for investments in infrastructure and growth policies.
Biti has already slashed his 2012 economic growth forecasts twice in recent
months, down to 4.4 percent, from 9.3 percent in 2011, reflecting the impact
of a poor agricultural season and depressed commodity prices.
For next year, he forecasts 5 percent GDP growth, a figure he said was "very
conservative" and took into the risk of a disputed election.
Should Zimbabwe have "a decent election", Biti said, growth could reach 7.2
percent, helped by rising prices of platinum, chrome and gold, all of which
Mining, which currently represents 23 percent of GDP, will be the key driver
of growth and the Treasury will "zero in" on diamond revenues to make sure
they are collected, Biti said.
Diamond revenues have been a source of conflict within the coalition
A gem watchdog last month said at least $2 billion of diamonds from
Zimbabwe's Marange fields - one of the world's largest deposits - had been
smuggled by people linked to Mugabe's party.
When asked about the issue, Biti said: "I don't have evidence of that. The
evidence I have is that diamonds are being mined and we are not getting the
Diamond output has more than doubled since 2011 and diamond exports reached
$600 million in October, but the government only received $41 million of
diamond revenues this year, Biti said.
"If these were to be accounted openly, we'd at least be entitled to 50
percent of those $600 million. $300 million would make a lot of difference
in my life as finance minister."
By Chengetayi Zvauya, Parliamentary Editor
Saturday, 08 December 2012 13:35
HARARE - Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) says its request for $32
million from Treasury to start voter registration has not been granted.
Zec acting chairperson Joyce Kazembe urged legislators during a working
workshop last week to help her organisation lobby the executive and Finance
ministry so they can urgently release funds for voter registration.
“While we approached the ministry of Finance last August requesting $32
million to undertake voter registration and help compile the voters’ roll,
to date we have not received any cent. The money we are using to run our
programmes is coming from funds we got from some international
organisations. We are appealing to you to help us on this issue,” said
“Voter registration is the first step in preparing for an election and it is
your duty as Members of Parliament to encourage people in your constituency
to register themselves,” said Kazembe.
The Kazembe-led Zec team consists of commissioners Theophilus Gambe, Bessie
Nhandara, Geoff Feltoe, Sibongile Ndlovu, Mkhululi Nyathi and Pat Makoni.
Zec held a two-day workshop with MPs discussing the Electoral Act and
educating them on how to conduct themselves during the pre-election period,
voting period and post electoral time.
She said since coming into office in 2009, the Zec board has been struggling
to get funds from Treasury.
“Since we were sworn in in 2009, we did not receive enough money to support
our work. We only got $5,5 million and this has resulted in us failing to
start voter registration,” said Kazembe.
He said Zec was concerned with the state of the voters’ roll. “It is your
duty to inform people in your constituencies on the need to be registered.
Dead people can be removed from the voter’s roll if their relatives bring
their death certificates.”
Kazembe said the removal of dead people; absent or disqualified voters from
the voters’ roll, can be done on the basis of a death certificate or a
burial order by the relatives of the deceased.
“There is now an additional procedure for the removal of dead voters from
A relative such as parent or son or daughter or councillor or chief or
headman can make a sworn statement that the voter is dead. The constituency
registrar can then produce the statement before a magistrate and have that
person removed from the roll,” said Kazembe.
A similar procedure can be used to have voters removed from the roll on the
basis that they have been absent from their constituencies for more than 12
months or have left with the intention of living permanently outside the
The Electoral Amendment Act section 36 allows the President, on the advice
from Zec, to order new registration of voters. This exercise will last for
between 60 days and six months but Zec can extend the period.
Voters on the old voters’ roll will be transferred to the new roll by simply
presenting themselves to the constituency registrar and producing proof of
identity. New voters will have to go through the normal registration
Zec is an independent election management board responsible for all
elections and referendums in the country. Some of its functions are to
prepare, conduct and supervise elections for the office of the President,
Senate, House of Assembly and local authorities.
Zec is also responsible for the delimitation of wards, constituency
boundaries, directing controlling, supervising the registration of voters,
designing, printing and distributing ballot papers.
The country has 5,8 million registered voters.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) member of staff Emma Chiseya
and taskforce member Lucy Chivasa were arrested by the police yesterday in
Gweru. The two, Chiseya the ZESN Public Outreach Manager and Chivasa of the
Legal Resources Foundation were picked up at the Midlands Hotel at 1000hrs
on allegations of conducting a meeting without notifying the relevant
The two ZESN representatives are part of the initial group of 29 ZESN
community educators who were participants in the workshop and were also
arrested. The other members of the group were later released around 2000hrs
while Chiseya and Chivasa were remanded in custody at Gweru Central Police
Station. Statements were recorded by the police from the two and a docket
was opened on charges of organising an unlawful gathering and failing to
notify the police of the gathering which the police said to be in
contravention of Section 24 of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
The two are being represented by Brian Dube of Gundu and Dube Legal
Practitioners a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
The workshop was a routine annual progress review for the year end by the
organization with its members. During the course of the year ZESN managed to
conduct a number of activities in a number of communities under its “Vote in
Peace campaign” hence the workshop sought to share successes and challenges
of the project during the year under review.
ZESN is disturbed by this arrest which comes as the world is commemorating
the Human Rights Day whose theme is, “Inclusion and the right to participate
in public”. The arrest is a direct violation of the fundamental right to
freedom of association.
ZESN is concerned with this continued targeting of human rights activists
who remain vulnerable to harassment and intimidation as they conduct their
by Brenna Matendere
Police today rounded up 27 participants attending a ZESN workshop at a local
hotel for allegedly violating provisions of the draconian Public Order and
When The Zimbabwean news crew arrived at Gweru Central police, 25 of the
participants from different civic organisations were detained at the CID law
and Order section offices while two of the participants were in police
Zimbabwe Human Rights lawyer Brian Dube who is representing the civic
society activists said: “We are not sure what will happen to the
participants. The police have not even told me what charges the people are
He added that from his own investigations, the police officers manning the
station were waiting for their senior officers attending the ZANU (PF)’s
Conference to give them directions on how to move forward with the case.
Names of the detained officials could not be immediately released but it is
understood that apart from ZESN officials, police had also swooped on other
rights activists from the Legal Resources Centre.
The officials were holding a meeting which coincided with the ZANU (PF)
conference taking place about 10km outside the city.
Witnesses who spoke to The Zimbabwean said heavily armed riot police
surrounded the Midlands hotel and rounded up all the participants.
Recently civic society groups complained about arrests of their members.
They see it as an attempt to disrupt heir activities ahead of next yesr's
Friday, 07 December 2012 11:46
GOVERNMENT is this month expected to unbundle ZESA Holdings into three
separate entities, The Financial Gazette's Companies & Markets can report.
The move is meant to clean up a huge debt on the power utility's balance
sheet and create a level playing field for independent power producers to
help meet electricity demand.
Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma (pictured) confirmed the
unbundling on Monday, saying the new structure would see the creation of
National Grid Services Company (NGSC) responsible for the transmission of
power, marketing and systems operations.
NGSC will inherit all of ZESA ‘legacy' debts and will be 100 per cent
He said the other two companies would be the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC),
already a subsidiary of ZESA responsible for electricity generation, and the
Zimbabwe Distribution Company taking charge of the distribution of
"The new structure will see the creation of a new company NGSC, ZPC and
Zimbabwe Distribution Company. These companies will be on a flat level.
There will be no more ZESA Holdings.
"ZESA has what we call a huge ‘legacy' debt. Each of the separate units has
got some debt. In total, ZESA has a debt of over US$400 million. These debts
were incurred long before ZESA was first unbundled in 2002.
"If we are going into projects with these debts, potential investors will
look at the balance sheet and say this company is not good. So we want to
have a safe way of dealing with that debt.
"By end of this December, we will be able to show a ZPC balance sheet which
is clean. If it is clean we can now do business, which is our intention,"
The Minister also said it was important to set up a mechanism which would
create a level playing field for independent power producers.
"We are now going to have independent power producers in the market so it's
important that we create a level playing field.
Mangoma added that the country's electricity law would be amended next year
to enable the transfer of ‘legacy' debt.
"The transfer of the legacy debt requires the current law to be amended so
that if we are going to have any challenge from any creditor, it will be
covered in the law. But the change of the shareholding does not require the
law," said Mangoma.
Mangoma said workers at the power utility should not panic as their future
"There is a lot of uncertainty and anxiety at the moment," said Mangoma.
"They (workers) are unsure whether they have a job or their posts will
disappear in the new structure. There is always this fear of losing jobs
when a restructuring exercise of this magnitude is taking place. This
exercise does not however necessarily mean that the changes we are bringing
are going to see people losing their jobs.
"The formation of NGSC requires a lot of personnel so a lot are going there.
More importantly ZPC is going to do a lot of projects. Already there is the
expansion of Kariba and Hwange Power stations, Gairezi, solar plant and we
are pursuing the Lupane gas project. All this increased activities require
"But, truly there is going to be some changes for those who were sitting at
ZESA Holdings and thinking they were above everyone else. They have to come
to the party and be equal to others.
Minister Mangoma however, could not be drawn into discussing the fate of
group chief executive officer, Josh Chifamba.
"We have already spoken to him and he fully knows and understands what is
going to happen to him. I cannot reveal that now," said Mangoma.
Friday, 07 December 2012 23:07
Sadc facilitator president Jacob Zuma of South Africa is expected to brief
the Troika meeting that began in Tanzania yesterday on progress made in
He will update the Troika, at its two-day meeting on political developments
in Zimbabwe after which the Sadc chair President Armando Guebuza will brief
the full summit.
In a statement posted on his website, President Zuma said: “The issues to
be considered by the Troika, the Double Troika and the full Summit include
the crisis in the eastern part of the DRC.
The Extra-Ordinary Summit is also expected to discuss the situations in
Madagascar and Zimbabwe.
“South Africa will be expected to report on the facilitation process in the
Republic of Zimbabwe, while the chair of Sadc will report to the Summit on
the mediation process in Madagascar.”
South Africa’s International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite
Nkoana-Mashabane accompanied President Zuma to the summit.
President Zuma has been facilitating dialogue between Zimbabwe’s coalition
parties over a roadmap that should lead to harmonised elections scheduled
for March next year.
Zanu-PF and the MDC formations are trying to reach a deal over the country’s
new constitution, which is one of the benchmarks agreed by parties in the
inclusive Government before the next elections.
The parties recently agreed to form a leaner committee that should deal with
contested issues in the Copac second all-stakeholders conference report.
The committee comprises Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick
Chinamasa (Zanu-PF), Finance Minister Tendai Biti (MDC-T) and Regional
Integration and International Co-operation Minister Priscilla
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga, who also
sits in the committee as chairperson, said they needed a week to unlock
The committee is expected to submit its recommendations to GPA principals
who will have the final say on the constitution-making process.
Friday, 07 December 2012 11:44
BULAWAYO - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), has unearthed irregularities
in the operations of microfinance institutions (MFIs), including subversion
of legal processes in debt collection and acting as deposit-taking banks and
Addressing micro financiers at a workshop in Bulawayo last week, RBZ's
registrar of banking institutions, Norman Mataruka, said an onsite
examination of MFIs carried out in September had revealed rot in the sector
which called for immediate action. Mataruka said out of the 170 registered
MFIs, only 133 were operating. Of the 37 not operating, 17 had not yet
commenced, 13 had ceased operations but had not notified the RBZ, five had
their licences expired while two were still setting up.
He said some of the reasons given for failure to operate were lack of
"Some MFIs were taking deposits in violation of section five of the Banking
Act; they have been mobilising deposits under the guise of issuing
debentures and preference shares," said Mataruka.
"Some MFIs were charging insurance fees; they are not even insuring what
they are actually charging. That's a way of siphoning people's money," he
Mataruka said it was also disappointing that much of the MFI loans were
skewed towards consumptive lending, a situation he said was not good for the
growth of the economy.
Central bank chief legal counsellor, Susan Kabungaidze, said they had
received a number of complaints involving MFI's agents confiscating property
from defaulters during times of bereavement when the clients would be
She said in some instances, MFIs confiscated clients' ATM cards in order to
withdraw money from their accounts to clear debts, in violation of the legal
"Please find other ways of getting the money than taking people's ATM
cards," she warned.
The central bank's investigations established that most MFIs were
family-owned and did not have proper records. Senior management at some
instances were not qualified.
Zimbabwe Association of Microfinance Institutions (ZAMFI) executive
director, Godfrey Chitambo, said they were doing their best to correct their
"We think we must now show the public that we are serious," he said.
Chitambo said owing to liquidity challenges bedeviling the economy, with the
majority of civil servants who constitute the bulk of their clients earning
an average of between US$300 and US$500 per month, their biggest loans range
between US$700 and US$1 000.
On loans repayments, Chitambo said: "Payments are not as good as we would
have loved them to be but this is how the situation is. We can't just lie
down and say we are going to die tomorrow. We have to operate in that
When local authorities fail to supply water to the community, its MDC-T
councilors and when there is an outbreak of Typhoid or Cholera it only has
to be MDC-T elected council. This mantra has been going on for long and it
has become organizational culture that people tend to turn a blind eye in
terms of the holistic approach to the current real issues and challenges
that Zimbabwe’s local government framework is embedded upon.
It’s unfortunate that some people willingly choose to tell a different story
of how things are operating at our beloved Town House and end up singing
from a different hymn-book all together which then culminates into a choral
discord at the expense of transparency and accountability.
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) would like to make it
categorically clear that the current crop of councilors might not be the
best that is duly fit for public office as a councilor given the conditions
on the environment with which they got elected into council but it is by and
large unfair that we symmetrically blame them for the rot and
ineffectiveness of the local authorities Zimbabwe. The former has been
inspired by a number of events which have unfolded over time but still
return a ripple effect with some of the consequences still being felt to
date. To that end it is important to unearth some of the things that this
association feels need to be discussed then at the end we then have to make
a holistic conclusion on who is blame for the rot in our Council.
2003-2008: This era witnessed the expulsion of the Mudzuri led council which
then was replaced by the Makwavarara led commission. The performance of the
commission was fell far below the expected standards which had been set by
the Mudzuri led Council. There was totally no accountability and
transparency save for massive looting of council resources vis-à-vis erratic
service delivery. Coupled by the hand over takeover of water delivery by
ZINWA, these two institutions presided over the deterioration of water
infrastructure without making an effort either to replace or maintain. This
then culminated into serious acute shortage of water in the City which was
far worse than we currently face subsequently mutating into a cholera
outbreak which then saw the deaths of more than 4000 people.
Operation Murambatsvina: A state sanctioned rowdy clean up exercise saw the
displacement of thousands of people living them homeless. This exercise was
followed by operation Hlalani Kuhle which was bent on relocating victims of
the operation which unfortunately got hijacked by proponents of corruption
who then decided to up their number of houses and stands on their assert
registers. This inspired an increase in the number of homeless people who
continue to haunt the housing backlog of council as of today. This means
that we become subjective to this notion whenever we try to measure the
housing delivery service performance of council against this background.
Dismissal of elected councilors: The 2008 Cholera outbreak was rampant in
all cities (e.g. Harare, Mutare, Chegutu and Chitungwiza) that were being
run under the auspices of appointed commissions with no people mandate. What
this meant was a mere confirmation that the concept of participation is
always panacea to the erratic provision of rudimentary services. To date
Glen-View, Budiriro, Highfields and Dzivarasekwa have been hit by an acute
Typhoid outbreak which has seen the deaths of 5 people. However in these
areas the people who represent these communities in council have either been
incarcerated or dismissed by the Minister of Local government. In Glen-View
and Budiriro, Councilors Tungamirai Madzokere and Sydney Chirombe are
serving as political prisoners and in highfields and Dzivarasekwa which has
been the epicenter of the Typhoid outbreak, we have witnessed Councilors
Silas Machetu, Johnson Zaranyika and Maxwell Katsande being suspended by the
same Minister as well. This leaves a vacuum which contains a serious
governance disconnect between residents and the local authority.
The case of the Municipality versus the Local authority: In recent times, we
have seen council engaging in some demeaning activities which act in direct
contravention to the principles of humanity and yet we have always wanted to
blame the same councilors. Two examples will suffice to validate this point:
1) Property attachments
2) Water disconnections
There are two standing full council resolutions which speak to the former
the first one being that there should never be any act of attaching peoples
properties on whatever basis and secondly the one which goes against water
disconnections. However, in light of the former we come to a conclusion that
there is a serious discord between Councilors who are the policy makers
(local authority) and the technocrats who are responsible for policy
implementation (Municipality). One might ask what stops Harare city council
from reigning in on all errant city officials.
The challenges that militate against policy makers from stamping in their
authority is premised on a number of multi-faceted issues ranging from the
legislative framework and the political environment with which they operate
under. For instance, currently Zimbabwe’s local authorities are comprised of
ceremonial policy makers who are generaly powerless to make such long
Failed Local Government Legislation: the legislation just needs to be
repealed and ensure the harmonization of the broader acts which include the
Urban Councils Act, Rural District Councils Act, the regional Town and
Country Planning Act and The traditional Leaders Act. These acts have seen
the emergence of too much central government in local governments. Decisions
are virtually based on Ministerial discretion rather than the traditional
bottom up approach (where councilors are located).
The Local Government we Want
Powers and functions of local governments
There should be certainty as regards the powers and functions of Local
governments (LGs) flowing from the principal enabling statute. Such powers
and functions should be clearly classified into mandatory functions and
permissive functions. Further, the principal legislation should seek to
develop partnerships in governance among the various institutions that are
involved, namely, central government, provincial government, and LGs. These
partners need to recognize each other’s existence and complement each other
in the performance of governance functions, without undue interference in
each other’s domain. While central government can still retain its powers to
supervise LGs, the central government function should emphasize powers to
build capacity and set policy direction within a co-operative framework
where citizens take a distinct part. This goes to demonstrate that the
development of legislation foresees non-performance by councils, and
immediately provides a remedy in the form of powers to act directly, and not
to compel the council to perform.
Setting up a Local Government Commission
The view of the Association is that powers should be vested in a Local
Government Commission, and not in the Minister. Such a Local Government
Commission will have broad oversight powers over local authorities to ensure
that the latter discharge their constitutional and statutory mandate
properly. Among other things, such a Local Government Commission should play
a role in capacitating the councils and compel them to perform, as opposed
to the current situation where the Minister can execute work on behalf of
the councils and hand them a bill to pay.
Ensuring adequate revenue resources for local governments
The sources of revenue for the performance of functions and responsibilities
bestowed on LGs are very limited. A number of the functions, roles and
obligations imposed on local governments are only partially funded or there
are no clear funding sources at all.
For instance, in terms of sections 45 and 46 of the Public Health Act, local
authorities can be refunded for expenses incurred in the operation of
epidemic emergencies and the quarantine of those affected, up to two-thirds
of the net costs. It is not clear where the balance should come from. The
assumption is that the balance comes from reserve funds of the LG.
In conclusion, the argument premised on the need to have competent and
learned councilors returns its full merit. However, the argument of non
performance of local authorities remains one that is subjective to the
issues raised above and as an Association we do not seek to serve and
protect councilors, but unravel the issues that surround them/us in our day
to day work as we strive to bring about the realization of a local
government model characterized by accountability, transparency and
Sapa-AFP | 08 December, 2012 15:27
Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence 32 years ago and
eying another term in office, wants full control of foreign firms, showing
no sign of seeking to redeem his image as an international pariah.
Once a darling of the West, the 88-year-old who is Africa's oldest ruler,
once said in jest that he would rule until he turns 100.
At home his championing of a controversial equity law, which forces
foreign-owned firms to cede their majority shares to local people, has
cemented his hero status among his ZANU-PF party faithful.
On Friday he told the party's last conference before 2013 polls that he
plans to increase the foreign firm's takeover from 51% to 100% - in an
apparent move to garner support ahead of the vote.
"I think now we have done enough of 51%. Let it be 100%," he told the
Known for his long-winded political speeches, punctuated with stinging
criticism of his opponents, particularly Western countries, Mugabe's road to
the top office has been marred with bloodshed.
In June 2008 he was re-elected to a sixth term after entering a presidential
His arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the race citing
state-sponsored violence against his supporters, including torture and
killings. The two later formed an uneasy power-sharing government.
Born on February 21, 1924, at Kutama Mission northwest of the capital
Harare, Mugabe was described as a studious child and a loner and qualified
as a teacher at the age of 17.
An intellectual who initially embraced Marxism, he took his first steps in
politics when he enrolled at Fort Hare University in South Africa, where he
met many of southern Africa's future black nationalist leaders.
He then resumed teaching, moving to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and later
Ghana -- where he was profoundly influenced by the country's founder
president Kwame Nkrumah.
As a member of various nationalist parties which were banned by the
white-minority government, Mugabe was detained with other nationalist
leaders in 1964 and spent the next 10 years in prison camps or jail.
But he used his incarceration to gather three degrees, including a law
degree from London, by correspondence courses.
He also used that period to consolidate his position in the Zimbabwe African
National Union and emerged from prison in November 1974 as ZANU-PF leader.
He then left for Mozambique, from where his banned party conducted a
Economic sanctions and war forced Rhodesian leader Ian Smith to negotiate.
After that ZANU, which drew most of its support from the ethnic Shona
majority, swept to power in the 1980 election.
Mugabe also crushed dissent among the minority Ndebele people with his North
Korean-trained Fifth Brigade in a campaign that killed an estimated 20 000
In 2000 he launched controversial land reforms, driving out white farmers
and seizing their land. Some white farmers were accused of joining forces
with his Western foes in a campaign to topple him using the opposition as a
"Our present state of mind is that you (white farmers) are now our enemy
because you really behave as enemies of Zimbabwe," he said at independence
celebrations in 2000, months after hordes of militant supporters began
invading white-owned farms.
The implementation of land reform laws saw productive commercial farms
re-distributed to his cronies, army veterans and family members.
The chaotic process plunged the former regional breadbasket into a
decade-long crisis, with most rural dwellers relying on food handouts.
Under pressure to end the crushing economic decline, which reduced the
exchange rate to nothing and caused inflation to gallop to over 230 million
percent, Mugabe entered into an agreement with Tsvangirai to form a unity
But since its formation last year the unity government has been hampered by
disagreements over key economic policies and the slow progress of human
December 8, 2012, 12:00 pm
Dear Family and Friends,
Christmas in Zimbabwe is the time of soft sweet litchis, plums, mangoes and
peaches. It’s the time to eat small, sweet purple grapes straight from the
vines and to take turns with the birds for pawpaws and figs. It’s the time
when its hazardous to sit, stand or put anything under avocado trees as the
high up, unreachable fruits ripen and crash to the ground at the most
Christmas in Zimbabwe means towering purple rain clouds, sausage flies and
flying ants. It means rhino beetles and chongololos, large spiders and even
larger snakes. Christmas is that alluring time when flashes of red, crimson
and scarlet tempt you into the ever thickening bush to discover wild and
beautiful flame lilies. It’s the time of year for mahobohobo fruits: sweet,
juicy and oh so more-ish and for mushrooms of all shapes and sizes – so
tempting to pick but so lethal to eat.
Christmas in Zimbabwe is that first green maize cob scalding hot from the
pot: soft, tender and sweet leaving butter running down your fingers and
dripping onto your chin. For some it is chicken and rice, for others turkey
and ham and everywhere meat sizzles on braai fires.
Christmas in Zimbabwe means reunion. It’s the time of year when everyone’s
on the move. Transport is a nightmare, lifts are like gold and everyone is
weighed down with bus bags and bulging luggage. The roads are chaotic, buses
and kombis overloaded and impromptu police road blocks appear every ten to
fifteen kilometres. The queues outside the passport offices and the borders
grow longer while the bribes get bigger to match people’s desperation.
Instead of more people staffing home affairs and immigration offices there
are less and the looks on people’s faces change from anger and despair to
disgust and resignation. Zimbabwe’s new tradition, thanks to a decade of
political and economic mayhem, is the great, international, annual
migration to reunite with families scattered all over the globe. To the
disapora and from the diaspora hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans try to
get together and be normal families, just for a few weeks.
Christmas in Zimbabwe means school leavers. A couple of hundred thousand O
and A level students pour out onto the roads, waiting for results, drinking
too much, playing head banging music and all the while knowing that there is
almost no chance they will find a job in a country where unemployment hovers
around 90%. Those that can will have no choice but to join the estimated
three and a half million other Zimbabweans living and working outside the
country. Those that can’t will set up roadside stalls under trees, wheel and
deal, sell airtime, become cross border traders and spend their days
looking for ways to use the education their parents struggled so hard to get
Christmas for MP’s in Zimbabwe this year is the car loans of US$30,000 that
were given to each legislator which have been written off by the Treasury at
a cost of US$9 million. And on the other hand, for the vast majority of us,
Christmas 2012 is a time when the shops are full but the pockets empty as we
juggle the bills, chase every dollar and wonder if, by this time next year,
our country will have finally become the new Zimbabwe we so desperately need
To all Zimbabweans and our friends, wherever you are in the world, happy
holidays, joyous reunions and thanks for reading and supporting my writing
and books for another year. Until I write again in January, keep watching
Zimbabwe, love cathy
December 8, 2012, 7:03 am
The Kimberley Process has lifted all restrictions on Zimbabwe’s diamonds so
that they can now be sold openly on the world market. The monitoring
mechanism has also been removed so, on the face of it, it’s ‘business as
usual’ for Zimbabwe’s diamond industry. There was no discussion on the vexed
question of whether or not Zimbabwe’s diamonds could be classified as ‘blood
diamonds because the KP could not agree on the precise definition of
‘conflict diamonds’. It was “Nothing more than a storm in a teacup” said
Abbey Chikane. Interestingly, in the same week that the KP reached its
decision, a Chinese national, Li Bo, appeared before a Harare magistrate
charged with smuggling diamonds worth more than $9000 out of the country, Li
Bo had no official licence to carry diamonds but there they were, stashed
away in his suitcase. And that’s the problem; diamonds are so portable!
Meanwhile, Zanu PF was preparing for its annual conference in Gweru.
Once again, we heard reports of supporters being bussed in to swell the
numbers. Nothing new there! Zanu PF have been bussing in their supporters
for years but there is a fresh urgency this year as the country heads for
elections in March 2013. Zanu PF predicts victory, of course; Robert Mugabe
will be their only candidate. There will be no debate about succession and
any move to bring in younger candidates has been firmly squashed; instead
debate at the Zanu PF conference will centre on indigenisation –whatever
that means. The cost of holding the annual conference has shot up and there
are mixed reports about the state of the party’s finances. The money has to
come from somewhere so, where else than from the white farmers on whose land
the conference centre was built! It is the ultimate irony that white farmers
who lost everything in Mugabe’s ‘land reform’ are being asked to fund the
party’s conference. Meanwhile, Morgan Tsvangirai tells crowds of his
supporters in Gwanda that “We have to win at all costs” and at another rally
in Glen View he says that his priority will be job creation: he will create
one million new jobs in five years he promises. Whether Tsvangirai can keep
that promise is questionable but with the whole of the western world in the
economic doldrums it seems unlikely. Job creation needs foreign investment
and there is little sign of that except from China which, among its other
investments, is buying more of Zimbabwe’s tobacco crop than any other
country. Tobacco is no longer the money-spinner it once was but diamonds as
the song says are ‘forever’, unlike water which is a diminishing commodity
in Zimbabwe. Reports of cattle dying and hundreds of elephants unable to
find water in Matabeleland are matched by deep concern over the quality of
the precious liquid in many areas of the country. Harare residents, says one
report, are drinking untreated urine. Unsurprisingly, there is cholera in
four of Harare’s suburbs.
Whether diamond revenue could solve all these problems remains to be
seen. The Kimberley Process has been under a lot of criticism this week from
human rights organisations for the way in which it has endorsed Zimbabwe’s
diamonds. The UK’s description of Zimbabwe as ‘highly volatile’ was borne
out this week by various reports of human rights abuses in the country. Most
shocking for me was the report that police ordered the demonstrating Woza
women not to speak sindebele. It is surely a basic human right to speak your
own mother tongue – isn’t that part of what indigenisation means? But for
Zanu PF, it seems indigenisation is all about getting their hands on other
people’s property, that’s their definition of indigenisation!
Yours in the (continuing) struggle. Pauline Henson