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ZimRights Faces Charges of Fraud, Forgery

Thomas Chiripasi, Tatenda Gumbo

WASHINGTON/HARARE — The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), was
Friday formerly charged at the Magistrates Court for allegedly conspiring to
commit fraud or alternatively publishing or communicating falsehoods
prejudicial to the state in relation to forged voter registration

ZimRights board treasurer Nunurai Jena appeared before magistrate Tendai
Mahwe on charges of illegally registering people as voters.

In papers filed by the prosecution, ZimRights is alleged to have worked in
cahoots with its national director, Okay Machisa, the organization’s
chairperson of the Highfields local chapter, Dorcas Shereni, its programs
officer Leo Chamahwinya, one Farai Bhani and Tatenda Chinaka, to illegally
register people as voters.

They are also facing an alternative charge of publishing or communicating
false statements prejudicial to the state as defined under the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act.

The state alleges that ZimRights, Machisa and others connived to produce
counterfeit voter registration certificates and misrepresented that the
purported registered voters had made applications to be registered as
voters, thereby deceiving the Registrar-General’s Office.

It claims that there was also a risk that the alleged misrepresentation
would cause havoc and maybe lead to a bloodbath in Zimbabwe if the
counterfeit certificates were detected during and after general elections
expected to be held sometime this year.

Meanwhile, High Court judge Hlekani Mwayera on Friday granted bail to
Shereni saying the lower court misdirected itself when it initially denied
her bail on the grounds that she was a flight risk.

Justice Mwayera ordered Shereni to deposit a $500 bail, to report once every
week to the police and not to interfere with witnesses.

Chamahwinya, Chinaka and Bhani remain in remand prison. Chamahwinya’s bail
appeal is expected to be heard Tuesday.

The accused are denying the charges saying they are trumped up.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, which represents close to 100 civic
organizations, said non-governmental organizations are under siege as
election talk gathers momentum.

Elsewhere, police Friday raided the residence of an MDC-T lawmaker in
Bindura South confiscating what they said was smuggled property.

Bednock Nyaude, an officer from the Law and Order Section who was armed
with a search warrant, raided the home of Bindura south legislator, and
seized some 800 radios from the home.

Nyaude told VOA the 840 radios were donated by well-wishers and donors for
distribution in the constituency.

But police claimed that the property had been smuggled into the country, a
charge denied by Nyaude who said the radios were brought into the country

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Zanu-PF suspends chairman, 5 others

Saturday, 09 February 2013 00:00

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter

ZANU-PF has suspended its Manicaland provincial chairperson Cde Mike Madiro
and four other senior officials. The five were suspended on allegations of
fraud and corruption involving over US$700 000 reportedly collected from
diamond mining firms in Chiadzwa. They reportedly

collected the money on the pretext that it was meant for party activities.
However, Cde Madiro denies the charges, saying his hands were clean.
The other affected officials are youth provincial chairperson Cde Tawanda
Mukodza, youth provincial secretary for administration Cde Mubuso Chinguno,
youth provincial secretary for security Cde Admire Mahachi and former Mutare
Urban district co-ordinating committee chairperson Cde Clever Mparutsa.
Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa confirmed the
suspensions yesterday.
He said the party’s Presidium met at State House on Thursday and resolved to
suspend the five officials pending police investigations.
Cde Mutasa said the suspended members would no longer be allowed to conduct
any party activities until the matter is finalised.
He also dispatched suspension letters to the five yesterday.
In one of the letters, the Zanu-PF secretary for adminstration said the
Presidium resolved to suspend the officials “with immediate effect from
carrying any duties or activities in the name of the party . . .”
“This is in light of the current investigations being conducted by the ZRP
into allegations of fraud, corruption, theft, embezzlement, or dishonesty
that have been levelled against you.
“By copy of this letter, therefore, you are hereby so suspended with
immediate effect without prejudice to any due processes that may ensue in
line with the constitution of the party.”
He said the police had released a preliminary report that had since been
presented to President Mugabe.
“It is on the basis of this letter that these suspensions are made. The
investigations by the police are still going on and this is why we are
suspending them,” said Cde Mutasa.
He said the suspensions would not affect the party ahead of general
elections set for this year.
Cde Mutasa said leaders should be cadres of good repute and no party member
would want to be led by a corrupt leader.
He said the party’s provincial vice chairperson Cde Dorothy Mabika would be
the acting chairperson until the matter was resolved.
Cde Madiro was in 2004 suspended from the party for allegedly participating
in an illegal meeting at Dinyane Primary School in Tsholotsho to discuss
party leadership.
Cde Madiro last night said everything that he had was out of his hard work.
“I challenge anyone to prove that surely I have embezzled the funds.
“In any case, I have worked hard for the party in Manicaland and this is the
reward that I am getting,” he said.
Cde Madiro said there were political games behind the allegations.
He said there was a plot to assassinate his character.
“I have been quiet for long and while I was being vilified, I reserve the
right to take legal action to protect my character.
“I heard the police is investigating (the issue), let them do their
investigations, but I know the truth shall set me free.
“I call those doing the investigations to speed up the process without fear
or favour.”
Cde Madiro said if he committed any crime, the police should do their job
without any due influence from certain quarters.
He said there were some politicians in Manicaland who wanted to destroy his
political career.
“I know very well that my life is in danger and some of these people want me
out of the political radar.”
Cde Madiro said he was a disciplined member of Zanu-PF and there was no way
he could abuse party funds.
“I grew up in the party and I have gone through the party mill.
“I have been the party’s director of finance for years and I know the rules
and regulations that govern party funds,” he said.
Cde Madiro warned those policians who were working to destroy his political
career saying: “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
He said he had been the Manicaland provincial chairman five times, but at no
given time did he request for any leadership position.
Cde Madiro said the people of Manicaland always asked him to be their

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Man sentenced to 6 months for Mugabe insult


by Gladys Ncube

A Gwanda man was on Friday sentenced to six months in prison for insulting
President Robert Mugabe by a local magistrate, Sheila Nazombe.

Clemence Zikhali who works an artisan at Colleen Bawn Cement factory was
charged with using obscene language against Mugabe, after he made derogatory
remarks about the president's posterior private parts.

According to the state outline, Zikhali who was drinking beer at a bar in
Spitskop high density in Gwanda on Monday had a quarrel with a Zanu

(PF) supporter before he insulted Mugabe. The unnamed Zanu (PF) supporter
went to report to the police. Zikhali was arrested on Tuesday.

Zikhali’s cousin Buletsi Nyathi who is also the MDC-T Matabeleland South
Youth Secretary for Information said: “As a family we are just shocked with
the sentence, it’s so disturbing.”

It is an offence under Zimbabwe’s tough security laws to undermine or insult
the president.

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No changes to ZEC secretariat: Chinamasa

Saturday, 09 February 2013 00:00

Felex Share Herald Reporter

THE composition of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission secretariat will not be
changed before harmonised elections expected this year and the matter is now
a closed chapter, Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa has
said. He said in an interview yesterday that the three political parties in
the inclusive Government agreed on the composition of the ZEC secretariat.

“There is no issue there and the noises which are coming out are coming from
people who do not know what we have resolved in our meetings with the PM and
other stakeholders,” Minister Chinamasa said.
“We jointly agreed to the composition of the commission, its operations and
also the secretariat through a transparent process and any noises will not
lead to any changes. This is now a closed chapter.”
However, this was disputed by MDC-T chairperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora.
Minister Chinamasa said there would be no further changes to the electoral
body’s secretariat unless the Commission decided otherwise.
This comes at a time when the search for money to fund the referendum and
general elections has begun.
Minister Chinamasa and Finance Minister Tendai Biti wrote to the United
Nations Development Programme appealing for US$250 million for the two
It has since emerged that the money is much less than what is required as it
excludes funds required by the police to carry out their mandate.
Minister Chinamasa said the electoral body was independent and should work
without the influence of political parties.
“The commission has an ongoing exercise to decide on their issues, meaning
it is up to them to decide who is competent or not.
“They can also fire and recruit staff depending on what they need. Just as
what has been agreed, we are not going to entertain any further reforms be
it in Zec or the security sector.”
Mr Mwonzora accused Zanu-PF of appointing the secretariat “singularly”.
“We agreed on the commission, not the secretariat.
“We want a replacement of the same secretariat that took more than six weeks
to announce the Presidential results in 2008.
“If they do not change, then we can’t reveal our tactics but these are some
of the legal issues that have always exercised the mind of the facilitator
(South African President Jacob Zuma).”
Minister Chinamasa said they had begun sourcing funds for the referendum and
ZEC requires US$85 million for the referendum, while elections are expected
to gobble US$107 million.
“I can confirm that as part of mobilising resources, we recently wrote a
joint letter with the Finance Minister (Biti) to the UNDP with an initial
budget of nearly US$250 million,” he said.
“That’s an initial budget. At the moment ZEC, my ministry and the finance
ministry are interrogating that budget as other logistics have to be
The police, Minister Chinamasa said, had submitted their budget, which they
were still assessing.
“Police need logistical support to get to all the polling stations among
other issues and they have put a cost to that,” he said.
“I cannot disclose their amount, but all I can say is that we are also
interrogating that budget and it means it becomes an additional expenditure
to the money needed for the processes. We will write to them giving them the
exact figure.”
President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last month tasked
Minister Chinamasa and Minister Biti to source funds for the referendum and
elections from donors.
Government said the funds should come through Treasury for onward
transmission to institutions that run electoral processes.
Parliament has adopted the draft Constitution, paving way for the referendum
in which the political parties have agreed to campaign for a “Yes” vote.
The referendum will pave way for elections that would end the troubled
inclusive Government that came into effect in 2009 after disputes
surrounding the presidential elections held in 2008.

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EU to determine sanctions on Feb 18

By Staff Reporter

Published: February 9, 2013

The European Union is set for a special meeting to determine the future of
the bloc’s sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and members of his
inner circle on February 18, ZimEye can reveal.

This comes after the state media’s Herald newspaper claimed that the EU
would lift sanctions in a month’s time .

Shortly following publishing by the Herald, the EU was attacked by the
London based Zim Vigil who blasted the bloc for the suspected actions viewed
to be in favour of Robert Mugabe despite the said deteriorating political
situation in the country.

But the EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Del Ariccia has since issued caution
against making presumptions attributed to the bloc as he told ZimEye in an
exclusive interview that Zimbabwe sanctions are to be debated, decided, and
a decision communicated following a crucial February 18 meeting. Until then,
he said, it will be out of taste to write and publish mere assumptions
crafted by anti-Mugabe organisations such as The Zim Vigil.

He hinted what the Herald published was actually 6 months old stale news.

The article published in the Herald, corresponds to the council resolutions
of July 23rd 2012, ambassador Del Arricia said.

“What I told the journalist were the council resolutions and nothing more
than that,” he said.

He also added declaring the exact date the decision will be made:

“The 18th February is the date when the decision will be taken, and after
that I will hold a press conference,” he hinted.

The EU imposed what they term “targeted” sanctions against Zimbabwean
persons linked to president Robert Mugabe more than ten years ago citing
gross human rights abuses and allegations of electoral fraud. Although some
people have been dropped from the list in recent years, several others
including companies remain classified under the targeted measures.

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Panic as results withheld over suspected cheating

Saturday, 09 February 2013 00:00

THE Zimbabwe School Examinations Council has withheld some results for 2012
Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations for several schools amid suspicion
that candidates cheated, especially during practicals. For A-Level, the
examination body raised queries on the Chemistry results for several
The practicals, which are Paper 2 and 3, are done at the schools and it is
suspected teachers could have assisted pupils.
The move has dealt a blow to hundreds of students who intended to apply for
the March intake at various universities.
This comes as several other examination centres have not received results in
one or two subjects in the Ordinary Level results released this week.
Sources said the results were withheld for alleged malpractice.
A-Level Chemistry candidates who sat for the examination at centres like
Kriste Mambo in Rusape and Zimuto High School in Masvingo are yet to get
their results, two weeks after their release. Examiners are called at
various examination centres to assess the practicals candidates before they
submit the marks to Zimsec.
Zimsec director Mr Esau Nhandara yesterday confirmed that results for some
schools had been withheld.
He cited cases of Kriste Mambo and Zimuto, although sources within the
examinations body said several schools had been affected.
“It is true that Zimsec withheld results for Kriste Mambo and Zimuto High
schools,” he said.
“The technicality is premised on the practical component of the paper.”
He said Zimsec was investigating the cases. “If Zimsec is investigating
cases on examinations, revealing the progress to the public of who is
involved may compromise the whole process,” Mr Nhandara said.
“Individual centres are aware of our position, hence the candidates should
ask their respective centre heads and not the media.
“All we are doing is trying to protect the integrity of the certificate.
Regrettably in the process, some candidates are inconvenienced.”
Mr Nhandara confirmed that some schools had failed to get results in one or
two subjects.
“The same reason applied to Ordinary Level centres that have not received
results in some subjects and candidates are therefore assured that their
results will be released as soon as we are done with the above stated
issue,” he said. Sources said results withheld for O-Level were mainly for
science-related subjects.
Parents whose children failed to collect the results said they were being
inconvenienced without a satisfactory explanation from school authorities.
“Some local universities are at the moment accepting applications for the
March intake and how are our children going to proceed without the results,”
said Mr Roy Runesu.

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Immigration officials jailed

Friday, 08 February 2013 16:05
HARARE - Two immigration officials who stole cash and property worth $40 000
from a suspected human trafficker after threatening him with deportation
have each been slapped with a five-year jail term.

Godfrey Kondo, 42, and Fenia Aisam, 53, will however, spend two years behind
bars each after magistrate Olivia Mariga suspended a year on condition of
good behaviour and two years if they pay back the money.

Kondo and Aisam went to the director of Boggle Enterprises, Muhammad Shabbir’s
house in October last year after suspecting he was involved in human

Upon arrival, the two requested to see Shabbir and were advised he had
travelled to Pakistan.

The pair demanded to see Zohaib, his two children and brothers-in-law’s
passports but were told some of the documents were with a lawyer.

Zohaib brought two passports, which were inside a box containing $25 000, a
pair of gold earrings, 12 gold bangles and a gold necklace.

The duo took Zohaib, his wife, children and two brothers-in-law to their
offices and upon arrival, Zohaib phoned his lawyer who brought his passport
and they were freed.

Zohaib asked for the box and Kondo threatened him with deportation.

Zohaib later phoned his father who came back into the country and filed a
police report leading to the duo’s arrest. - Staff Writer

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Hundreds of students evicted from residences

Kudzai Mashininga09 February 2013 Issue No:258

More than 500 students have been evicted from halls of residence at the
University of Zimbabwe for protests staged in December last year, throwing
learners from poor backgrounds onto the streets.

Some students protested at Zimbabwe’s top higher education institution in
December over a number of issues, one of which was arbitrary evictions from
residences by the university warden.

Makomborero Haruzivishe, the Student Representative Council (SRC) secretary
for academic and legal affairs, said large numbers of students had been left
stranded after the latest “arbitrary” action.

“More than 500 students have been affected, but some of them were not there
when protests were held. Initially students were protesting against the
alarming rate at which students were being evicted,” said Haruzivishe.

Many of the expelled students are not from Harare and their parents are poor
in a country where most government employees earn less than US$300 a month.
A recent report said that accommodation problems had resulted in some female
students engaging in prostitution.

The mass eviction of students came at a time when University of Zimbabwe
Vice-chancellor Levi Nyagura – a close ally of President Robert Mugabe and
whom students accuse of flouting academic freedom – is clinging to the top
job after reaching the retirement age of 65 years.

Nyagura, whose tenure expired in December 2012, has had two terms as
vice-chancellor and two terms as pro vice-chancellor, giving him 16 years at
the helm of the university. He was the only vice-chancellor in Zimbabwe
included by Western countries on sanctions lists along with Mugabe and his
inner circle.

Local media have suggested that the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara, a robotics professor and former president of the SRC at the
University of Zimbabwe who is currently championing a fundraising initiative
to raise US$70 million to rejuvenate the institution, could take over should
Nyagura succumb to pressure and leave.

Jonathan Moyo, a former professor at the university and an MP from Mugabe’s
ZANU-PF party, has also been tipped as a possible replacement.

During his tenure, Nyagura has expelled dozens of students, mainly for
protesting against Mugabe’s autocratic rule and deteriorating conditions at
the university.

While Nyagura remains in post, newspapers have been flooded with letters
criticising him and highlighting his flagrant disregard for the rights of
students, lecturers and university staff alike.

In one recent letter published in The Financial Gazette, a leading weekly
newspaper, a student said Nyagura should get a taste of his own medicine and
be ejected – he is on record for refusing certain key academics extensions
to teach beyond retirement.

“He fires lecturers and workers at will and yet he has not won a single
labour dispute in court during his term. Check his record. Only recently the
University of Zimbabwe buses were attached because he had wrongly sacked
people from their jobs. The poor workers were left with no transport. All he
does is tarnish the good name of Zimbabwe,” read another letter.

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India, China slug it out for Zim spoils

08 FEB 2013 08:28 - RAY NDLOVU

The rivalry between China and India for control of Zimbabwe's mineral
resources has intensified, writes Ray Ndlovu.

The two countries are scrambling for natural resources to feed their
economies, which have recorded rapid economic growth in the past decade.

Both have signed multibillion-dollar deals with the government and gained a
foothold in key sectors of the Zimbabwean economy, including energy,
construction, agriculture and mining.

In the energy sector, India's Essar Group signed a $4-billion deal to take
over the ailing state-owned steelmaker, the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company
(Ziscosteel), which was renamed New Zimbabwe Steel. It was hailed by
industry and commerce minister Welshman Ncube as "the single largest foreign
direct investment deal" of the decade.

But economic analysts said the Ziscosteel race reflects the open and intense
rivalry between China and India. Several Indian-linked firms, including
ArcelorMittal and Jindal Steel, also bid for the deal and had to stave off a
challenge from the Chinese-owned Sino-Zim.

Tony Hawkins, professor of economics at the University of Zimbabwe, said he
did not envisage traditional Western investors coming in as big players in

"The new big players will be from China, India and other African countries
as they are seeking to power up their economies with Zimbabwe's resources,"
he said.

President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has used the influx of Chinese and
Indian investors to underscore the success of the "look east" policy, on
which Mugabe embarked in 2003 after his fall-out with Western countries over
often-violent seizures of white-owned commercial farms in 2000.

Trade between India and Zimbabwe increased from $60-million in 2010 to
$125-million last year.

Diamond industry
India and China are also competing in the diamond industry. In 2010 India
bought more than 80% of Marange's alluvial diamonds at the inaugural diamond
auction and sources in the mining sector said India was planning to build a
diamond-cutting centre in Harare that would train locals.

China's Anjin is the government's biggest partner in mining the country's
diamonds. Last year Zimbabwe produced eight million carats from its Marange
diamond fields alone.

A diamond analyst, Aniruddha Lidbide, said: "Rough diamond production is
declining in the world's leading mines so Zimbabwe is the only hope for
Indian diamantaires."

Sources in the telecommunications industry said India was preparing to
inject capital into the struggling state-owned cellphone company, Net One.

However, China's position in Zimbabwe remains unparalleled, with trade
between the two countries reaching $1-billion in 2012, having doubled from
$550-million in 2010.

In March 2011, China signed nearly $700-million in loan deals with Zimbabwe.
Chinese vice premier, Wang Qishang, who was in Harare for that signing,
said that the loan included $100-million in direct aid to the Zimbabwean

At the time the opposition Movement for Democratic Change protested, saying
Mugabe had mortgaged the country's mineral resources, including platinum in
the Great Dyke and diamonds in the Marange fields, as part payment for the
financial package.

'Shared political history'
Chinese companies operating in the country include Anjin, a joint
diamond-mining venture between the Chinese and the Zimbabwe government in
the Marange minefields.

The Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company is also spearheading two
major construction projects — a mall and a hotel in Harare. Anhui built the
multimillion-dollar Zimbabwe Defence College, which opened last year.

The Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Lin Lin, said his country's "profound
traditional friendship business" with Zimbabwe stemmed from a shared
political history.

"More and more Chinese companies are involved in Zimbabwe's economic
development. The two countries are also co-operating in other sectors such
as education and culture."

The Chinese-owned company, Sino Hydro, recently won a tender valued at
$1-billion to refurbish and expand the Hwange and Kariba power stations.

As the tobacco sales season gets underway this month, the Tobacco Industry
and Marketing Board said it expected Chinese merchants, who have become key
buyers of the country's tobacco, to play a pivotal role by offering high
prices for the golden leaf.

According to the board, Chinese buyers account for 40% of Zimbabwean
tobacco, European markets for 35% and the rest is distributed elsewhere.

Anjin eyes blue-sky opportunity

China is to extend its influence on Zimbabwe’s economy beyond its dominance
of diamond production at the Marange diamond fields as Chinese-owned Anjin
Investments is poised to enter the country’s airline industry.

A recent government gazette shows that Anjin has applied to the Civil
Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe for a commercial licence. If Anjin enters the
airline industry, it will compete with Air Zimbabwe, the official national
airline. Air Zimbabwe is fighting liquidation and is saddled with a
$100-million debt and a wage dispute with its 1 000 employees.

Air Zimbabwe offers only four weekly flights to Johannesburg at a "special
rate" of $317 and is yet to resume its schedule for domestic flights.

Transport Minister Nicholas Goche was unavailable to comment on the progress
of Anjin’s licence application and his personal assistant said that Goche
was in South Africa attending to his sick child.

It is understood that alongside Anjin’s interest to take to the skies is

Chinese-linked company, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company. Anhui
is already heavily involved in the local construction industry.

And Wilderness Safaris, a conservation company with interests in numerous
Southern African countries, has applied for a commercial airline licence
through its Zimbabwean arm to service domestic, regional and international
routes. – Ray Ndlovu

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Zim battles to cope with flood of used cars streaming in

08 FEB 2013 09:14 - JASON MOYO

Owning a second-hand Japanese vehicle in Zimbabwe has never been so easy.
All one needs is a runner and a bribe.

It starts with an internet search and ends with you waiting in the heat at
the Beitbridge border post, a roll of rands in hand, watching your runner
bribe his way through customs – that's how you import that second-hand
Japanese car.

A website search finds me at one of the many Japanese car sale websites. I
need a van, "one that can carry all my grandchildren", says my mother. So I
click on the Honda Odyssey, a form pops up to confirm an order and I enter
my details. Soon, I am transferring money from my bank to a complete
stranger on the other side of the world.

"Today we received your payment. We will email as soon as we have a date of
departure for your vehicle. We will ship AS FAST AS WE CAN," the Japanese
dealer emails.

More than a month of waiting passes and finally the dealer emails to say the
car is in Durban, South Africa, being taken by carrier into Beitbridge. On
the South African side, business is roaring. Warehousing companies are
recording an increase in business as thousands of vehicles arrive from
Durban and await clearance into Zimbabwe.

A week later, I am at the border post, calling the company's dealer and
arranging a local runner to help me to find my way through the maze that is

You need a few R100 notes, each to be paid to an official at various stages
of the process to make this faster, and, if you are lucky, to have your duty
reduced. It is six in the morning and bribes are already being paid by those
who want to skip queues.

Thousands of imported vehicles are also in a warehouse, really a vast
dust-bowl next to the border.

Competitive industry
Nearly 50 000 second-hand cars are imported into Zimbabwe each year,
according to industry officials, and the country spends about $1-billion a
year on them, treasury data shows. Each month, more than 4 000 used vehicles
enter Zimbabwe, up from just 250 in 2008.

At one point in 2011, before a proposed ban on the importing of older used
models, Beitbridge was handling 450 cars a day as dealers rushed to bring in
cars before the ban. The government later gave in to pressure and scrapped

Many of these vehicles are headed for Harare to be sold in illegal car
dealerships, some of them run by politically-connected dealers who don't
hesitate to protect their turf. Last year, a policeman who tried to shut a
dealership down was beaten up and and shot.

It is a fiercely competitive industry, marked by corruption, politics and
violence, and officials of urban councils countrywide are failing to cope
with unlicensed dealerships.

After the shootings last August, police questioned Zanu-PF's Harare youth
league chairperson, Jimu Kunaka, said to be the leader of the Chipangano
militia, but no arrests were made.

The city council had announced it was shutting down more than 200 car
dealerships, after finding that only one of them was licenced. But many of
the dealerships are still operating and new ones continue to open.

The council recently sacked the head of its land evaluation division after
claims that 27 staff members in the division had taken bribes of up to $3
000 from illegal car dealers as protection money.

Many of the illegal dealers do not pay council levies – they only pay
protection fees to corrupt council officials and Zanu-PF enforcers, dealers
told the M&G.

Custom duties
The central bank governor, Gideon Gono, believes Zimbabwe is spending too
much on imports. He complained last week that "merchandise trade remained
heavily inclined towards imports of finished consumer goods and vehicles".

But there is concern that Zimbabwe is not getting as much as it should from
car imports.

A recent report by a parliamentary committee that monitors the budget
pointed to possible tax evasion by importers, including car dealers. The
amount of duty being collected did not tally with imports, it noted. The
government's projection of $392-million in customs duty did not reflect the
present volume of imports to Zimbabwe.

"The minister [Tendai Biti] himself alluded to this in his statement when he
said that imports were expected to exceed $8-billion in 2012 and custom
duties reflected only 4.8% of import trade when the average customs duty was
in fact 35%," the committee report stated.

"He gave no explanation of this huge disparity and this is of great concern
to the committee. If the minister's figure is right, then customs duties
should exceed $2.5-billion and this alone would transform our fiscal

Local car industry suffers
​The impact on Zimbabwe is visible. Local car assemblies have been buried by
the flood of grey imports and the streets are clogged with taxis, mostly
small Toyotas.

The longest queues at the Harare city council's Rowan Martin building are
for those registering them. Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said this
week Harare could no longer cope with the volume of traffic, much of it made
up of imported taxis.

Anyone can own a fleet; after a year, when a vehicle is worn out and the
owner imports new vehicles, the taxi driver gets to own the vehicle.

Last year, only 400 locally assembled cars were sold, compared with 3 000 in
2003. An industry that once employed 20 000 in the late 1990s now employs
fewer than 2 000, according to the Motor Industry Association of Zimbabwe.

The local car industry was hit so badly that, in 2002, President Robert
Mugabe issued an order compelling government bodies to buy locally assembled

But not even the government buys local cars, instead turning to the local
dealers of luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover.

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Zimbabwe cricket in familiar strife again

A decade since the "death of democracy" protest, the country's cricket struggles with issues of race, politics, and player alienation

Liam Brickhill

February 9, 2013

David Coltart of the Movement for Democratic Change talks at a press conference in Berlin, March 19, 2004
David Coltart, Zimbabwe's minister for education and sports, may have meant well with the SRC directive but he has misread the realities of racial politics and power in Zimbabwean cricket © AFP

Ten years ago, Henry Olonga and Andy Flower took the field in Zimbabwe's World Cup match against Namibia wearing makeshift black armbands, launching their famous protest against the "death of democracy". This weekend, in fact, will mark the tenth anniversary of their gesture. In that time, Zimbabwean cricket has been torn apart by the rebel saga and sunk to a pitiful nadir, before rising phoenix-like in 2011. Yet recent events prompt the question: how much has really changed? Some of the deep-seated issues at play in Zimbabwe and its cricket - race, politics, power - remain as potent as ever.

And in Zimbabwe, it never rains but it pours. In the last month, the drought gripping the south of the country was broken by torrential rain. Water that was meant to quench has instead killed more than 50 downstream in Mozambique. As for the country, so for the cricket. A Sports and Recreation Commissiondirective that national selectors will need to have played international cricket for Zimbabwe, ostensibly penned with the intention of helping the sport, has instead unleashed a torrent and battle lines have been drawn.

Further, Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis have spoken out about the absence of Heath Streak, fitness trainer Lorraine Chivandire, and - in particular - Grant Flower from the coaching party for the West Indies tour. Their actions may not be directly linked to the SRC directive row, on which the players have kept their views to themselves, but they spring from the same general malaise. Their words contradicted Zimbabwe Cricket's statement that the players had been consulted about the travelling coaching staff, and censure is sure to follow. There is trouble brewing. Like the hovering storm clouds over the countryside, however, the problem isn't black or white; it's grey.

The situation was similarly murky in Andy Flower and Olonga's day. Both are long gone, neither having set foot in the country since that World Cup, but their black armband duo was, in fact, a trio - a fact that often escapes attention - and a key figure in their protest remains in Zimbabwe.

David Coltart, Zimbabwe's minister of education, sport, recreation and culture, was a human-rights lawyer ten years ago and helped Flower and Olonga pen their statement. It was his idea that they wear black armbands as a powerful symbol to back their words.

Coltart still lives in Bulawayo. He appears well-meaning. In between posting pictures of himself having dinner with the likes of Bob Geldof and quoting from scripture, he shares a broad range of media about sports he clearly loves. He's a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and is by far the most accessible minister in the unity government, engaging with a spectrum of Zimbabweans online. That the SRC directive, of which he was a leading proponent, was issued with the best interests of sport in Zimbabwe in mind is probably true. What is also probably true, unfortunately, is that Coltart fatally misread the complex realities of racial politics and power in Zimbabwean cricket.

The directive was ill-judged and ill-timed. It was too easy to paint the whole thing as a personal attack on the convenor of selectors, Givemore Makoni, an attempt to scupper Stephen Mangongo's coaching plans, or worse, as plain racist.

Zimbabwe Cricket has rejected the SRC directive outright, and a mudslinging campaign remarkable for its unfettered puerility has ensued, with the beleaguered minister in the eye of the storm. "Can you ever imagine Zimbabwe Cricket adopting this attitude if it was a Zanu-PF minister involved?" Coltart has been led to ask. And therein lies the rub.

Makoni has done invaluable work for cricket in Zimbabwe over the years. He helped start Takashinga Cricket Club, for one thing, prompting an entirely necessary revolution of an elitist sport. Perhaps he and others in the cricket set-up aren't invested in political power. Perhaps the visibility of sport - and particularly Zimbabwean cricket - in the media means political machinations within the game are inevitable, no matter who is in charge. Nevertheless, a political machinery has been called into line behind them, and somewhere along the line this saga left the details of the implementation of a directive behind and entered the murky, dangerous waters of power and politics.

It is clear that political differences and mistrust remain within Zimbabwean cricket, and while the elephants battle, ants are crushed underfoot

Alan Butcher, who will leave his post as Zimbabwe's coach after the tour of the West Indies, has been one of the few diplomatic voices in the escalating row. "Obviously it is the most topical issue in local cricket right now but I sincerely hope that it won't affect our preparations. We will definitely talk to the players, but I'm not sure it will affect them because their job is just to play the game," Butcher said when the SRC spat first arose.

Later, and just a matter of weeks before Zimbabwe were set to depart for the West Indies, the situation had obviously deteriorated, and Butcher lamented the unfolding crisis on his Facebook page. "To all my cricket friends out there... teammates colleagues former opponents all over the world I'm sick at heart with whats going on in Zimbabwe cricket right now and hope you all know that i would never be party to selection according the colour of someones skin..... how could i look my kids in the eye if they thought i was capable of that!"

The current quarrel has served to heap several complex issues onto the plate of an administration that is already reeling after a year of severe financial strife and virtually no international competition on which to focus meagre resources. In August, Zimbabwe Cricket was evicted from its offices at Harare Sports Club for non-payment of rent. In January this year it had various properties attached by the deputy sheriff after losing a civil case to a former marketing manager.

And all this in an election year. Allegations, speculation and rumour are rife. It is clear that political differences and mistrust remain within Zimbabwean cricket, and while the elephants battle, ants are crushed underfoot. The players are expected, somehow, to buckle down and make the most of their first international tour in over a year despite the turmoil.

"Are we ever gonna play this game in this country without any drama, some things never change...smh [shaking my head]," said Chamu Chibhabha, a young allrounder re-called to the one-day side for the Caribbean trip, on his Twitter feed. As much as things change, they stay the same.

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

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Forecasting Zimbabwe’s political landscape
08 February 2013

On Wednesday, 6 February, Zimbabwe’s parliament unanimously adopted the proposed constitution tabled by the Constitution Select Committee of Parliament (COPAC), comprising the three coalition government parties in Zimbabwe. This outcome was expected as the leaders of the three parties – Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations – last month ended more than three years of acrimonious debate by striking a deal on a compromise constitution. This raised the question of whether the constitution-making process had been hijacked by political leaders.

While COPAC insists the proposed charter is based upon Zimbabweans’ views gathered during the outreach phase of the constitution-making process, there remains concern that the need to bargain and compromise in order to accommodate divergent party interests may have resulted in a give-and-take constitution that does not mirror the national soul. Officials say the draft constitution will be voted on by referendum by the end of March, to allow Zimbabweans to decide whether the draft reflects their views. But the referendum is likely to be a mere formality given that the three governing parties have endorsed the draft constitution. This referendum will in turn set the stage for elections, probably during the course of this year, in line with the SADC-mediated Global Political Agreement (GPA) of September 2008. Following the disputed 2008 elections, ZANU-PF and the two MDC formations had to enter the power-sharing agreement to avoid plunging the country deeper into conflict over the electoral results.

Given Zimbabwe’s well-documented history of election-related violence, the adoption of a new democratic constitution is central to the GPA’s goal of creating an environment conducive to peaceful, free and fair elections.

The conciliatory stance of the GPA principals and parties over the draft constitution remarkably means that Zimbabwe’s political weather at present is sunny. However, Zimbabwe’s new constitution will inevitably spur new battles, not to mention watershed elections, to terminate the shaky coalition government that both President Robert Mugabe of ZANU-PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC-T have conceded to be dysfunctional. Set against this backdrop, there is a danger that Zimbabwe’s political landscape could become hazardous as the election battle lines are drawn.

The outlook for the conduct of the referendum and the next polls is already gloomy. Finance Minister and MDC-T negotiator Tendai Biti claims that the US$219 million cost of conducting the referendum and elections is too high for the cash-strapped national treasury and foreign donations may be needed. Yet, there is still hope of clearer skies. Having already supported the constitution-making process, the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Alain Noudehou expressed the willingness of the UN to financially and technically assist in the forthcoming referendum if requested to do so by the Zimbabwean government. The neutrality of the global body may assuage sensitivities around external funding for national polls. In any case, Zimbabwe has been broke for over a decade, but elections have still been held.

Meanwhile, robust and consistent communiqués have emerged from Southern African Development Community (SADC) summits since the March 2011 Troika Summit of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in Livingstone, Zambia, urging the GPA parties to develop and implement a roadmap with timelines to free and fair elections. Given the tortuous road to the new constitution, the development and implementation of a clear roadmap may be protracted, making the June 2013 election timeframe mooted by officials too optimistic. It is possible that the parties could still haggle over critical fundamentals such as the harmonisation of old laws with the new constitution, the creation and operationalisation of effective and professional institutions to run the polls, and the implementation of mechanisms to prevent or handle political violence and intimidation.

Although a new constitution is a significant precondition for free and fair elections, it is important to recognise that constitution-drafting is part of a broader democratic reform process and that no matter how plausible the new national charter may be, it is not self-implementing. Notably, the GPA parties’ fixation on constitutional reform and polls has also resulted in the relegation of essential parallel processes such as voter education to the back burner.

Notwithstanding this, the serious contestations for parliamentary seats at party level will transform Zimbabwe’s political landscape significantly as a new crop of leaders emerge from these processes. The influential military also seems to be toning down its rhetoric about vetoing an MDC victory which its considers to be an unfavourable election outcome. The fact that many security personnel want to contest as MPs indicates that the security sector may be considering elected office as a way to protect its privileges and assets rather than military force, which would be opposed regionally and internationally. It is critical that the elections produce quality leaders who can provide vision and direction and legislators who can improve the quality of representation in order to ensure sunny skies ahead for Zimbabwe.

Significantly, the lack of regular and credible opinion polls makes establishing a political bellwether and predicting Zimbabwe’s election outcome risky business. According to the Freedom House survey of 2012 – ‘Change and “new” politics in Zimbabwe’ - of the 53% respondents who declared their political party preference, 20% said they would support MDC-T (down from 38% in 2010) and 31% ZANU-PF (up from 17% in 2010). Both parties would certainly have unpacked and derived lessons from the study, making the post-referendum campaign period critical.

There are, however, three possible scenarios resulting from Zimbabwe’s next election, which is likely to be closely contested. Firstly, ZANU-PF could win, most likely by a small margin. The political old guard would continue to rule and the interests of the securocrats would be protected. The elected ZANU-PF government would implement some reforms to shed its pariah status on the international stage. The nature of the reforms would depend on the intra-party succession battles pitching hardliners against moderates. The international community would be expected to respect the outcome (notwithstanding its antagonistic relationship with President Mugabe and his party), remove all remaining sanctions against Zimbabwe and assist the country on its path to socioeconomic recovery. In the second scenario, should MDC-T win, SADC and the African Union (AU) may have to guarantee a peaceful transfer of political power amidst possible reluctance by ZANU-PF hardliners to accept the election results. Lastly, if neither party secures the votes necessary for a clear victory, the country may see a repeat of the 2008 process. In this case there may be new power-sharing agreements and a new SADC mediation process – a scenario that sees Zimbabwe not making any political progress at all given the current policy coordination paralysis of the unwieldy coalition government. This third scenario is thus a highly undesirable outcome.

Gwinyayi Dzinesa, Senior Researcher, Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis Division, ISS Pretoria

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We'll take the money

Dear Family and Friends,
Almost exactly thirteen years after Zimbabwe was last faced with a
proposed new constitution we are back in the same place again.
Parliament has just approved a draft constitution that gobbled up a
massive forty five million US dollars. Amazingly, despite four years
of acrimonious arguments, intimidation, disputes and threats, there
were apparently no dissenting voices from any MP’s in the House of
Assembly when the draft was presented. Right up to only three weeks
ago there had been complete deadlock, meetings were ending in failure
and the two main political parties were blaming each other for the
stalemate. Then suddenly, in just one day, all that disappeared and
now both the MDC and Zanu PF say they are going to recommend a YES
vote for the constitution when it goes to a national referendum.

Just as they did for the February 2000 constitutional referendum, the
NCA (National Constitutional Assembly) have come out guns blazing and
immediately issued a press statement giving 24 reasons why they were
going to campaign for a NO vote in the referendum expected in a few
weeks time.

Most ordinary Zimbabweans have not yet seen the draft constitution so
they don’t know if the things they said at the outreach meetings
have made it into the final draft or if they’ve been bargained away
by the country’s political leaders. Others in a number of towns,
mine included, had interrupted, shortened or cancelled constitutional
outreach meetings back in 2010 when rowdy youths arrived in numbers
and disrupted the gatherings making sure peoples voices were silenced
or left them scared to air their views. That is now apparently not
important. With just weeks before a referendum it is still not known
if the estimated three million Zimbabweans in the diaspora will be
allowed to vote from outside the country or if the multiple thousands
of born and permanently resident, tax-paying Zimbabweans who have been
struck off the voters roll in recent years will be allowed to vote on
the proposed constitution.

One day after it was announced that Parliament had unanimously
approved the draft constitution, the media carried reports that the
Zimbabwe government had asked the UNDP for two hundred and fifty
million US dollars in order to hold the referendum and elections that
will follow. The appeal to the UNDP comes before it is even known if
any western countries will be allowed to observe Zimbabwe’s two
trips to the polls in 2013. Will this be another case of: ‘we’ll
take the money but you can’t watch how we spend it?’ Until next
time, thanks for reading, love cathy 9th February 2013. Copyright �
Cathy Buckle.

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