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 certificates.
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
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
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.
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
The accused are denying the charges saying they are
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
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 legally.
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 leader.
A Gwanda man was on Friday sentenced to six months in prison for
insulting President Robert Mugabe by a local magistrate, Sheila
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
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
(PF) supporter before he insulted Mugabe. The unnamed Zanu (PF)
supporter went to report to the police. Zikhali was arrested on
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.
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
“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 processes. 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 elections. 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 covered.” 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.
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
This comes after the state media’s Herald newspaper claimed that
the EU would lift sanctions in a month’s time .
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
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
He hinted what the Herald published was actually 6 months old
The article published in the Herald, corresponds to the
council resolutions of July 23rd 2012, ambassador Del Arricia
“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,”
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
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 schools. 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
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 trafficking.
Upon arrival, the two requested
to see Shabbir and were advised he had travelled to Pakistan.
pair demanded to see Zohaib, his two children and brothers-in-law’s
passports but were told some of the documents were with a
Zohaib brought two passports, which were inside a box containing
$25 000, a pair of gold earrings, 12 gold bangles and a gold
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Jonathan Moyo, a former professor at the university and an MP from
Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, has also been tipped as a possible
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
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.
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
Tony Hawkins, professor of economics at the University of
Zimbabwe, said he did not envisage traditional Western investors coming in
as big players in Zimbabwe.
"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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
The Chinese-owned company, Sino Hydro, recently won a tender
valued at $1-billion to refurbish and expand the Hwange and Kariba power
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
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
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.
Zimbabwe offers only four weekly flights to Johannesburg at a "special rate"
of $317 and is yet to resume its schedule for domestic flights.
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
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
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
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 customs.
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
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 it.
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.
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
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
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 situation."
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
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 vehicles.
not even the government buys local cars, instead turning to the local
dealers of luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover.
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
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 Commissiondirectivethat 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
Further, Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis havespoken outabout 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
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 apersonal attackon the convenor of selectors, Givemore
Makoni, an attempt to scupper Stephen Mangongo's coaching plans, or worse, as
Zimbabwe Crickethas rejectedthe 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 helpedstart 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
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
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
ofsevere financial strifeand 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
"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
Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape
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
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
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
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
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
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. www.cathybuckle.com