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Human Rights Watch fears over free 2013 poll

10 January 2013

Zimbabwe has failed to make the key reforms needed to ensure a free and fair
presidential election later this year, a Human Rights Watch report says.

This has provoked fears of a replay of the violence surrounding the 2008
poll, the US-based rights group says.

It said time was running out for the unity government to implement legal and
institutional reforms, including a new constitution.

President Robert Mugabe has sweeping powers under current laws.

Mr Mugabe signed a coalition pact following the 2008 elections with the
Movement for Democratic Change, whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai had pulled
out of the run-off vote, citing political violence.

Mr Tsvangirai is now prime minster but their four-year alliance has been
marked by frequent disagreements.

According to Human Rights Watch, the pact underpinning the power-sharing
government was not entirely incorporated into law meaning "it remains a
document of political aspirations with no legal status, dependent on
political will for enforcement of its provisions".

Its 28-page report, Race Against Time: The Need for Legal and Institutional
Reforms Ahead of Zimbabwe's Elections, explains that the timing of the
elections is governed by the current constitution.

"If elections are not held in March as Mugabe has indicated, the latest they
can be held constitutionally is 29 October 2013," the Human Rights Watch
report says.

As well as failing to reform key laws, like the public order, security and
information acts, Human Rights Watch says there have been no changes to the
justice system "which remains extremely partisan towards Zanu-PF".

The unity government has also failed to hold accountable those responsible
for past human rights abuses, including those committed during the last
election, the report says.

The security forces, election bodies and state broadcasters are also
politically partisan, remaining loyal to Mr Mugabe and Zanu-PF, it adds.

"To hold credible, free, and fair elections in 2013, Zimbabwe's government
needs to level the political playing field and create a rights-respecting
environment now," Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said
in a statement.

"This means amending repressive laws and replacing partisan police chiefs
and election officials with impartial professionals," he said.

Over the last four years, the power-sharing government has managed to halt
hyperinflation and brought relative economic stability to the country.

But BBC Africa correspondent Andrew Harding says the MDC appears to have
been outmanoeuvred on many fronts by Zanu-PF.

Much will now depend on how much pressure Zimbabwe's neighbours, especially
South Africa, are prepared to exert on President Mugabe, he says.

Human Rights Watch urged donors and the regional body Sadc, which has been
mediating the Zimbabwe crisis for the last few year, not to "shy away from
using sanctions on individuals and other measures to improve respect for
human rights in Zimbabwe".

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Zimbabwe Seeking Foreign Funding For 2013 General Polls

Blessing Zulu, Tatenda Gumbo

WASHINGTON — President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
have asked the ministers of finance and justice to seek funds for the
general elections and the referendum from donor agencies and other
countries, saying Zimbabwe is cash-strapped.

Zimbabwe needs about $190 million for the referendum and general elections
this year. The decision to allow Tendai Biti and Patrick Chinamasa to look
for funds outside government coffers is set to cause serious friction in
President Mugabe’s ZANU PF party that has been against foreign funding for
the country’s political process.

Sources said the United Nations Development Program had previously
approached Chinamasa, a ZANU PF minister, offering to fund and supervise the

Britain has also expressed readiness to fund the elections road-map, still
being drafted by the political parties in the unity government. But ZANU PF
hardliners said none of the proposals are acceptable.

They accuse the UN of using its supervisory role in 2011 in Ivory Coast’s
presidential election to side with Alassane Ouattara at the expense of Mr.
Mugabe’s ally Laurent Gbagbo.

ZANU -PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and spokesman Rugare Gumbo are all on
record saying their party is not comfortable with western intervention in
the country’s elections.

Biti told VOA that the principals have given them the green light to start
sourcing funds for the elections and the referendum, though, he adds, it
would have been ideal to use proceeds from the country’s mineral resources
to fund the two processes.

Director Pedzisai Ruhanya of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute said Harare
must not outsource its elections and other political processes.

Meanwhile, activists are asking the government to quickly implement the
pending voter registration program, saying the delay is having an impact on
youth voters.

The Youth Agenda Trust said young people are frequently turned away from
polling places as they are unable to furnish the necessary personal

Youth Agenda Trust program officer Lawrence Mashungu said it is time
government moved to end the voter discrimination against the country’s

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s voter registration campaign is set to
implement a decentralized process that will set up local registration
centers, making it easier for youth and others to obtain documentation they
need to vote.

Government officials are expected to meet on Thursday to approve the voter
registration campaign budget proposed by ZEC. Once approved, ZEC will
publicize their effort then carry out countrywide mobile voter registration
and education programmes.

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Treasury to release $9 million for voter awareness campaign

By Tichaona Sibanda
10 January 2013

The Ministry of Finance is expected to release $9 million to fund the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) voter registration awareness campaign.

The money is expected to be in ZEC coffers by the end of this week to allow
the electoral body to begin its publicity and awareness campaign and
simultaneously embark on its mobile registration exercise.

The exercise, which was due to begin last week, was postponed due to lack of
funds. It is not clear where the Ministry of Finance has suddenly found the
$9 million required. The acting Minister of Finance, Theresa Makone, told
journalists after the meeting that the money is available and would meet
officials from the ministry to authorise its release.

The immediate release of this fund will see officers from the
registrar-general’s office deployed to all the country’s 1,958 electoral
wards to carry out the exercise.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday convened a meeting with
commissioners and the secretariat staff from ZEC, where he was briefed by
Makone that funds for the exercise will be released in the next few days.

The meeting was also attended by Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick
Chinamasa and his deputy, Obert Gutu and registrar-general, Tobaiwa Mudede.
From the $9 million to be disbursed to ZEC, $1 million will be used to buy
indelible ink for the referendum, while the rest will be for the awareness
campaign and the registration itself.

Mudede, long accused by the MDC-T of orchestrating Robert Mugabe’s
fraudulent electoral victories over Tsvangirai, told the Premier that as
soon as the cash is released, his office will mobilise enough resources for
the mobile voter registration exercise.

Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us ZEC’s deputy chairperson, Joyce
Kazembe, said the exercise, which had initially been expected to last three
months, has now been reduced to two.

‘She emphasized the whole exercise will last 60 days, which is two months,’
Muchemwa said. During the first meeting between Tsvangirai and ZEC at the
end of last year, it emerged that the government revised the budget
submitted by ZEC for both the referendum and the elections.

ZEC had budgeted US$220 million for the two events, but the amount has been
reviewed down to US$192 million. The reduction in the budget was a result of
the scrapping of the delimitation exercise that was going to consume some of
the financial resources.

The electoral body will now get US$85 million for the referendum and US$107
million for elections. According to a highly placed source, the referendum
might be held at the end of February, if negotiations to complete the
drafting of a new constitution are finished before the end of January. But
Zimbabweans have already waited 3 years so there are no guarantees of

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has raised concern over the role Kazembe
is playing at ZEC, in the absence its chairman Justice Simpson

In its latest report released on Thursday, HRW said the ZEC chairperson is
continuously based in Namibia, where he is a Supreme Court judge, so the
electoral body was effectively being run by Kazembe, a strong Mugabe ally.

Kazembe has been part of the discredited electoral commissions that presided
over previous elections, which were marred by violence and voter

‘While ZEC has new commissioners, the secretariat staff is largely the same
pro ZANU PF team that worked for previous commissions. Several senior ZEC
staff are either serving or retired members of the security forces drawn
from the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), the army, and the police.

‘ZANU-PF continues to resist calls by civil society and the MDC factions for
an independent audit of ZEC staff followed by a fresh recruitment of
professional, independent, and non-partisan personnel,’ the HRW report said.

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Zimbabwe hits voter roll snag that could slow polls

Reuters – 2 hours 2 minutes ago

HARARE (Reuters) - Voter registration for elections in Zimbabwe, due to have
started last week, has been delayed due to a lack of funds, a cabinet
minister said on Thursday.
The presidential and parliamentary elections are part of a 2010 agreement
between President Robert Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai which led to
the formation of an interim power-sharing government as a way to end years
of political and economic strife.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was due to start a 60-day voter
registration and education campaign on Jan 2. but the Finance Ministry had
not yet released the funding required, Home Affairs co-minister Theresa
Makone told reporters.
Mugabe, who turns 89 next month, has pushed for the poll to be held as early
as March.
The power-sharing government, put in place after disputed and violent
elections in 2008, has brought stability to a country whose economy was
crushed by hyperinflation. Renewed election violence could erase the gains
made over the past few years.
Makone also said after meeting Tsvangirai, who is prime minister in the
power-sharing government, that she would talk to ministry officials to find
out how that money could be released.
The power-sharing deal calls for electoral reforms and a new constitution be
in place before a new round of elections.
Mugabe's current five-year presidential term and that of parliament end in
June, and according to the constitution, a new election must be held within
four months.
The reforms and debate on the new supreme law have both hit snags, with
analysts not expecting polls until later in 2013.
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, and members of his
ruling ZANU-PF have been hit with international sanctions for human rights
abuses and suspected vote rigging. He denies any wrongdoing.
(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Angus

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Conflicting statements over poll registration funds

by Tarisai Jangara

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Ministry of Finance have issued
conflicting statements over the release of money to kick-start official
voter registration.

While ZEC maintains there is no money, Theresa Makone, the Acting Finance
Minister, said the money was available.

The registration exercise was supposed to commence on 3 January but failed
due to lack of finance to support the process.

Addressing journalists on Thursday after a briefing with Prime Minister,
Morgan Tsvangirai, in Harare, Acting ZEC Chairperson, Joyce Kazembe, said
her team was ready to roll but funding of the process remained a stumbling

“We are frustrated because the process has been delayed. We were just told
by the treasury that the money would come soon but soon is a relative term.
We don’t really know when we will start the process.

“We will just wait for the money but we are aware that our economy is not
stable. If the money is to come after two months, that is when we will just
start the process,” said Kazembe.

The sentiments by Kazembe put into doubt claims by Zanu (PF) that elections
will be held in March this year.

She said the process which would be ward-based needed a total of $8million
for voter education, inspection, processing of birth certificates and
identity cards.

However, Makone claims money to run the voter registration programme is

“The money for voter registration is available and we will avail it soon. We
understand that voter’s registration is more intense around the election,
thus I will ensure that ZEC gets their money as promised,” said Makone.

The Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, called a meeting today expressing his
concern over the delay of the official voter’s registration.

The meeting was attended by Makone who is the co-Minister of Home Affairs,
Minister of Justice and Legal Affair, Patrick Chinamasa, Registrar General,
Tobaiwa Mudede, and Kazembe.

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PM in new voter registration push, funding squeeze persists

10/01/2013 00:00:00
by Moses Chibaya

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday met elections deputy chief
Joyce Kazembe and Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede in a bid to kick-start
the long-delayed voter registration exercise.

The US$21 million exercise, which was originally set to begin on January 3,
is also expected to see a clean-up of the voters’ roll which has been
criticised for carrying names of thousands of dead voters.

The voter registration has been stalled by lack of funding from central
government, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission head Kazembe told Tsvangirai
during a two-hour meeting at his Charter House office in Harare.

The acting Finance Minister Theresa Makone and Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa were also in attendance.
Emerging from the closed-door meeting, Makone said: “The meeting today was
called by the Prime Minister because he was concerned that the exercise of
voter registration has been delayed.

“What we wanted to do was to make sure that all the people concerned are at
one place to discuss the way forward.”
Makone said she was discussing with officials from the Finance Ministry “to
see what is available and to have that money authorised so that it is
released to ZEC and the Registrar General’s office so that they can start
the registration and inspection exercise.”

The government was too broke to release the entire $21 million budget,
Makone said, and they would be releasing “initial funding” – thought to be
US$1 million – before the weekend.

Kazembe said they had been ready for weeks to begin voter registration, but
the Finance Ministry had broken promises to release funds.

“The budget was approved a long time ago we are just waiting for it to be
release,” she told reporters. “It is up to Minister (of Finance) Biti to
give us the money. We are waiting, we want to go for the outreach.

“Even the $1 million that we were promised would be released like very soon
and very soon is a relative term – it could be today, it could be tomorrow
or next week.

“We are frustrated because we want to go into the field.”
Kazembe said the exercise is expected to last at least two months stretching
to March when President Robert Mugabe says Zimbabwe will hold general
elections. The voter registration timetable raises considerable doubts about
a March election.

Tsvangirai’s acting spokesman William Bango said the premier called the
meeting in order to speed up the exercise so that it starts as soon as

“All the major items have now been cleared and the registration exercise
should start anytime. ZEC is now fully in charge of the process because it’s
now an operation which they are constitutionally expected to execute,” Bango

Kazembe said the ZEC “needs about US$8 million for voter education including
the inspection.

She added that voter registration in the present 1,958 wards countrywide
would require a further $13 million.

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MDC supporters denied an opportunity to register as voters

The MDC Today

Thursday, 10 January 2013
Issue - 497

Scores of MDC youths and supporters are being denied an opportunity to
register as voters at the local Registrar General’s Office (RGO) in Masvingo
town while Zanu PF supporters are being bussed in from rural areas to
register. Disgruntled MDC supporters this week said suspected party
supporters were being frustrated by way of deliberate delays and flimsy
excuses and were being turned away.

The officials however at the local RG’s Office literally fall all over each
other when Zanu PF supporters come for registration.

According to the MDC Ward 7 chairperson, Tafara Masimba, scores of party
youths and supporters from his ward were being denied access to register as
voters ahead of the next elections to be held this year.

He said officials at the local RG’s Office were playing endless mind games.
“People are frustrated because workers at the local Registrar General’s
Office are operating at a snail’s pace when our supporters approach them for
voter registration,” he said.

“We believe they want to make sure that only a handful of our supporters
register to vote compared to Zanu PF’s number of potential voters.
However we are banking on the mobile voter registration exercise to start
soon so that our youths can be able to register without any hassles,” said

Masvingo Urban legislator, Hon. Tongai Matutu assured party supporters the
mobile voter registration exercise would commence soon. “We are optimistic
the mobile voter registration exercise will start very soon,” he said.

“We have spoken to the staff at the local Registrar General’s Office and we
hope the whole process will be carried out smoothly. We heard that some
overzealous officials are turning away our members but we hope sanity will
prevail,” said Hon. Matutu.

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of William Sibanda, an MDC Youth Assembly member
in Nyamandlovu, Matabeleland North remain unknown after he was abducted
early this morning by a known Central Intelligence Organisation operative.
Sibanda was abducted at gun-point by one Chibango a CIO member early this
morning at Nyamandlovu business centre. Chibango operates from Lupane Police

The reasons for the abduction are unknown and efforts to locate him at
Lupane Police Station have been fruitless. A report has since been made at
the police station but no help has been forthcoming from the police

The continued abductions and harassment of MDC members are a well calculated
move by Zanu PF to intimidate people ahead of this year’s elections. However
the people of Zimbabwe are determined to vote for change come elections this

The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!

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Zimbabwe Election Preparations Remain in Limbo

Sebastian Mhofu
January 10, 2013

HARARE — The Zimbabwe prime minister’s office said Thursday it expects the
country’s electoral commission to start preparing for polls. But the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it does not have the funding and
does not know when it will get it. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Zimbabwe is
well behind schedule with reforms needed to ensure the country has credible
national elections.

Preparations for Zimbabwe's next elections, expected sometime this year,
have not yet begun.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai summoned the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission and the ministers of justice, finance and home affairs
to ensure that election preparations kick off.

After the meeting, which lasted about two hours, the prime minister’s
spokesperson William Bango said, “All the major items have been cleared. And
the registration exercise should start anytime. ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission) is now fully in charge of the process because it is now an
operation which they are constitutionally expected to execute.”

But Joyce Kazembe, the ZEC acting chairperson, told journalists that the
commission was still waiting for money to start preparing for polls The
commission said it needs nearly $200 million to hold a constitutional
referendum and the elections.

“The budget was approved a long time ago. We are just waiting for it to be
released to us. We want to go on the outreach," said Kazembe. "It was
supposed to start on the 3rd [of January]. Once we get the money we are off.
We were promised that it will be released like very soon. And very soon is a
relative term, it could be released today, it could be tomorrow.”

President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is pushing hard for elections to end
a four-year-old unity government with Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC party.

The election preparations are being held up, in part, by the impasse over
Zimbabwe's new constitution. The Southern African Development Community has
insisted a new constitution be in place before the elections.

But ZANU-PF and the MDC are deadlocked over a proposed reduction of
presidential powers, among other issues.

If and when the parties bridge their differences, the new constitution must
be approved in a nationwide referendum before the elections can be held.

A report released Thursday by Human Rights Watch said, besides a needed new
constitution, Zimbabwe has yet to repeal or amend repressive laws to ensure
the country has a credible election.

The last elections in 2008 were deeply marred by violence, most of it by
ZANU-PF supporters against backers of the MDC.

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Mugabe rushes back

Thursday, 10 January 2013 11:05

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe is rushing back to Harare today in a
last-ditch effort to clear the last hurdles in the constitution-making

Cutting short his annual vacation in the Far East, Mugabe is expected to
arrive in Zimbabwe today where he will face a nation seeking answers on the
Copac crisis, two weeks after a Christmas deadline to agree to a deal on a
draft constitution.

Copac is a cross party parliamentary body charged with crafting a new
constitution viewed as key to future stability.

Vice President Joice Mujuru inadvertently revealed that Mugabe was heading
back today after meeting a special envoy from Sudanese President Omar
al-Bashir at her Munhumutapa offices in Harare Tuesday.

The Sudanese envoy requested that Mugabe should mediate in a border dispute
between Sudan and South Sudan.

“He had a message for President Mugabe sent by President al-Bashir,
unfortunately he is on leave and will be back in the country on Thursday,”
Mujuru told reporters after meeting al-Bashir’s envoy first Vice-President
Ali Osman Taha.

Sources say he is likely to be busy with the draft constitution when he
comes back.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo had on Monday said politburo’s first
meeting would be held most likely in early February where it was envisaged
Mugabe would have returned home.

But, Mujuru says he is now returning today.

Mugabe returns to a sharply divided coalition, where talks have soured over
a presidential running mates clause.

A committee of the nation’s top lawmakers that has been drafting the
constitution has narrowed the differences from six to one.

The special Cabinet committee has said it will be happy to look at the Copac
team proposal, but they are coming up against a hard deadline.

The Copac team has offered a viable solution and members on both sides of
the aisle in the Cabinet committee will review it, and then refer it to the
three principals Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube
to decide how best to proceed.

The Copac deadlock has left Zimbabweans wondering whether they will be able
to put the draft to a test in a referendum, and worried the donors, who
pumped over $45 million into the constitution-making process.

Complicating efforts to avert a collapse of the process, Zanu PF has
escalated a push for fresh polls under the 19-times amended Lancaster House
Constitution if the deadlock persists.

Experts say failure to strike a compromise could plunge the country into
improbability, and wrangling over further amendments to the draft will only
exacerbate uncertainty about the forthcoming vote.

Tsvangirai also took advantage of the post-holiday lull to take his annual
vacation, but returned this week.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai were forced to cut their holidays short, in order
to return to Harare to respond to the festering constitutional impasse.

The constitution deadlock has added further controversy to an already spicy
election campaign.

While Tsvangirai is anchoring his campaign on a jobs plan, a controversial
empowerment programme goes to the heart of Mugabe’s push for re-election in
the forthcoming watershed vote and his campaign is built around his

While the promise of empowerment is a vote-winner among Zimbabwe’s poor
majority, opponents scoff at it as crass electioneering and say the policy
dents investor confidence and hurts job prospects.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai are in a statistical dead-heat in most opinion polls.

While Tsvangirai is flaunting an uptick in the economy after a decade of
economic meltdown blamed on Mugabe’s policies, his rival is using his strong
personality and enduring emotional connection with the
poor, sympathy over his battle with age and health, and the popularity of
empowerment programmes mainly the land reform and the indigenisation

Tsvangirai, 60, is successfully projecting an image of youth and energy in
contrast to the president — who is battling advanced age — and is drawing
large crowds on a nationwide campaign tour.

In the growing campaign war, Zanu PF’s opposition cannot match the resources
of Mugabe, who frequently obliges the sole State TV station to carry his
speeches and appearances live in chain broadcasts.

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Zim On SADC Meeting Agenda

Tanzania, January 10, 2013 - Zimbabwe's unresolved political crisis will
again be on the agenda at the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
meeting in Tanzania on Thursday.
Zimbabwe, which has failed to fulfill the Global Political Agreement (GPA)
that brought in the new unity government in 2009, is expected to hold fresh
polls this year despite squabbles about the new constitution between the
former ruling party Zanu (PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Zanu (PF)'s President Robert Mugabe wants elections in March with or without
the new constition while the MDC wants SADC to help Zimbabwe implement
measures that will enable a free and fair election first before fresh polls
are held. MDC does not want a repeat of the 2008 election violence.

Also top on the agenda at the Thursday SADC meeting is the conflict in
eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar's political crisis.

The meeting to be hosted by Tanzaniana president Jakaya Kikwete will be
attended by Zimbabwe's mediator, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma and his
counterpart Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia as well as President Armando
Emilio Guebuza of Mozambique.

Aly Kombo, spokesman for the Tanzanian foreign affairs ministry told AFP:
"They'll examine the situation in the east of the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Madagascar and Zimbabwe."

A preparatory meeting at ministerial level had taken place Wednesday.

The DR Congo army last year faced an offensive launched in the east of the
country by the M23 rebel movement that in November took the key town of

The rebels finally pulled out of Goma on December 1 with the promise of
negotiations with the DR Congo government.

Regional countries from the International Conference on the Great Lakes
Region (ICGLR) have been trying since July to set up a neutral international
force to neutralise the numerous militia groups that prey on civilians in
eastern DR Congo.

The 15-nation SADC, at its last summit here in December, said it would
activate its regional standby force in order to deploy it in the framework
of the neutral force.

Tanzania said it would send a battalion and command the force.

DR Congo and the UN both accuse Rwanda and Uganda of providing military
assistance to the M23. Kigali and Kampala, both ICGLR members, deny the
accusations. Radio VOP/AFP

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Zuma to up pressure on Mugabe

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 19:37
Tinashe Madava, Senior Reporter

SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma is expected to up the pressure on his
Zimbabwean counterpart, President Robert Mugabe to solve the crisis north of
the Limpopo as ZANU-PF dilly dallies on reforms before elections.
With harmonised elections expected within six months, there is no movement
on the election roadmap spearheaded by the Southern African Development
Community (SADC).
The four-year old inclusive government that came into being courtesy of
pressure from the regional grouping, has also seen its fair share of
problems and is largely dysfunctional.
Besides the draft constitution, there is disagreement over use of diamond
revenue, alleged partisan policing, media, electoral and security sector
reforms. There are fears of a repeat of the 2008 political violence should
elections be held this year.
But it is the constitution, which is yet to be finalised, that many see as
the bedrock of all other reforms. Squabbling over the draft constitution has
been taken to the highest offices in the land, that of the President and the
Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai who late last year appointed a special
task force to tackle contested issues.
But the task force itself had its problems, having held no single meeting a
month after its appointment. When the task force did hold its first meeting,
nothing concrete was achieved and to date, there is no solution in sight.
ZANU-PF has over 30 issues it wants addressed.
Critics have, however, said ZANU-PF is content on running down the calendar
in attempts to see off the lifespan of the Global Political Agreement (GPA)
induced inclusive government without concluding requisite reforms so that
elections can be held under the current Lancaster House Constitution that
favours President Mugabe’s party, which wields considerable power through
critical line ministries.
President Mugabe’s party had tabled 266 amendments to the draft constitution
and has resolved to force them through. The constitutional impasse saw some
senior ZANU-PF stalwarts upping the tempo on calls for elections without a
new constitution. Largely, this is what the party wants.
Yet this flies in the face of SADC’s efforts and indications are that the
SADC mediator, Zuma, will put pressure on President Mugabe to at least put
in place conditions for a free and fair poll.
On his part, President Mugabe is desperate for regional and international
legitimacy, which he could not get after the bloody 2008 polls.
Asked to comment on developments in Zimbabwe and areas of priority for the
SADC appointed mediator, Lindiwe Zulu who is the spokesperson for the
mediation process, said Zuma would this year insist on full implementation
of the election roadmap as a way of ensuring successful completion of the
“The GPA comes to an end this year and so its full implementation must be
accomplished. The priority is to continue the responsibility given to him by
the SADC; that means pushing for the GPA’s full implementation This means
engagement with the three parties (ZANU-PF and the two MDCs) particularly to
complete the constitution-making process and to finalise the election
roadmap,” said Zulu who is also Zuma’s international relations advisor.
The elections roadmap defines milestones and signposts that must be
implemented before the next election. These milestones and signposts include
the lifting of sanctions, the constitutional process, media reform,
electoral reform, rule of law, freedom of association and assembly,
legislative agenda and the actual election.
Zulu said her boss would focus on these outstanding issues in Zimbabwe with
a view to pushing the three parties to speed up conclusion of the
“Remember after the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference the process had
slowed down so the most important thing is that everything depends on the
three political parties. He (Zuma) will focus on outstanding issues since
the GPA comes to an end this year,” said Zulu.
Zuma has been instrumental in pushing ZANU-PF back to the negotiating table
several times in the past two years as President Mugabe’s party tried to
wiggle out of the inclusive government through immediate elections “with or
without a new constitution”.
Zulu said SADC would continue to push for an end to political violence and
would also push for the strengthening of the Joint Monitoring and
Implementa-tion Committee. She called on the “relevant authorities” to
ensure an end to political violence.
Zuma was re-elected African National Congress president last December
meaning that he will continue as his country’s president until 2014. This
means he will remain as SADC mediator to Zimbabwe.

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Massive corruption hits education sector

Thursday, 10 January 2013 00:00

Felex Share Herald Reporter

MASSIVE corruption has hit the education sector with district education
officials reportedly demanding various amounts to interview temporary
teachers to fill in vacant posts. The education officials are charging the
desperate untrained teachers amounts ranging between US$5 and US$10 as
interview fees in addition to the US$5 they charge for application forms.
The application forms should be given for free. The situation is rampant in
Masvingo, Midlands, and Mashonaland Central.

Interviewed untrained teachers yesterday said the officials were also
demanding amounts as much as US$300 as kickbacks to secure job placements
for the relief teachers or educators seeking transfers to areas with better
working conditions. Most of them said they had failed to meet the demands.

Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart yesterday said any
official caught charging those amounts would be discharged from duty.

“There is no entitlement for any education official to charge any fees when
conducting those interviews,” he said.

“This is corruption at its highest level and while many people are afraid to
report the cases, we urge them to come forward with the names of those
officials. Government will not hesitate to dismiss them from duty,” he said.

He said temporary teachers were important to the education sector as they
were “filling a gap.”
“We have got a shortfall of teachers and it does not make sense to drive
them away using such corrupt tendencies,” he said.

Zimbabwe has a shortfall of close to 14 000 as it employs about 97 000
teachers against a demand of 111 000.

An untrained teacher from Masvingo who recently went for the interviews said
he was turned away after failing to pay the U$10 interview fees.

“I am looking for a job to get money but it does not make sense if I am
forced to pay money upfront to Government officials,” he said.

“These officials are not employment agencies who charge certain amounts for
us to get employment. More than 100 teachers might apply when the district
has less than 20 vacant places.”

Another untrained teacher from Murehwa said they were made to buy
application forms, which should be given for free.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Mr Takavafira Zhou
confirmed receiving such complaints from their members fingering district
education officials.

Zimbabwe has turned to temporary teachers to fill the huge gap created by
the migration of qualified teachers at the height of the country’s economic

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Newly-Trained Teachers Fail to Get Jobs in Midlands Province

Jonga Kandemiiri

About 50 newly-trained teachers from Hillside Teachers College in Bulawayo
are in Gokwe South District in the Midlands Province claiming that their
jobs have been taken by temporary teachers at the schools they have been
assigned to.

Newly qualified teacher, Takunda Marozva, said they are now sleeping in the
open while they wait to hear from the district education office in Gokwe,
which has been notified of the situation.

A source in the Ministry of Education told Studio 7 that the deployment
process is very clear. Student teachers state their preferences in terms of
provinces they want to be assigned to. As schools declare vacancies to their
district offices, the ministry and districts coordinate to place students
according to their preferences.

Marozva said when he and other new teachers arrived at the schools assigned
to them by the district office, headmasters told them that their jobs were
no longer available, as temporary teachers had filled the posts.

Marozva said he suspected corruption between the district staffing officers
and the temporary teachers.

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Schools defy govt directive

Thursday, 10 January 2013 11:05

HARARE - Some schools have been barring students who have not yet paid fees
from attending classes, in direct defiance of a government order.

Yesterday, the Daily News was inundated with reports that school pupils had
been barred from entering premises because of non-payment of fees

At Chirodzo Primary school in Mbare and Kundayi Primary School in Glen
Norah, pupils were being asked to provide receipts of payment without which
they were denied entry into school premises.

Education minister David Coltart is on record as saying school authorities
should bear with parents who are reeling under the economic and liquidity

The dire economic situation has seen some pupils dropping out of school

There is a standing government policy that no pupil shall be denied
education because of fees non-payment.

Deputy Education minister Lazarus Dokora was this week quoted as saying the
ministry of Education has increased supervision in schools.

“We have increased the number of supervisors that are doing routine rounds
in schools for us to satisfy ourselves that the system is conforming to
stipulated and regulated behaviour.”

However, indications are the supervision has failed. Coltart was yesterday
not reachable for comment on the defiance by schools. - Staff Writer

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Zim’s disregard of bilateral agreements reduce chances of co-hosting UNWTO

By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Thursday, 10 January 2013 10:59

HARARE - A repeated disregard of bilateral agreements may jeopardise
Zimbabwe’s chances of co-hosting the United Nations World Tourism
Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly this year, German ambassador to
Zimbabwe Hans Gnodtke has said.

Gnodtke said public press reports last year seemed to insinuate the Germans
were involved in some sinister plot to secretly translocate animals from the
renowned Save wildlife sanctuary to Mozambique.

Germans are heavily invested in Save and some have lost their businesses to
cronies of President Robert Mugabe despite bilateral agreement protecting
the properties.

“Let there be no doubt, we have not made a decision on whether to
participate and at what level in the forthcoming UNWTO summit.

“If elements wishing to destroy wildlife and tourism infrastructure in
Zimbabwe protected by bilateral agreements succeed, this would seriously
affect Zimbabwe’s ability to host an international tourist conference and we
have told the authorities about our position. However, we hope that
responsibility will prevail,” said Gnodtke.

He said his country had been approached by an organisation on whose board
President Robert Mugabe sits to fund animal translocation.

“Germany was approached by an organisation called Peace Park Foundation
based in South Africa and co-founded by former South African President
Nelson Mandela. It has a honourary board of which President Mugabe and other
leaders in the region are members.

“They have suggested that since there is an overpopulation of some species
due to intelligent conservation in the Save Conservancy, translocation of
some of the animals to Gonarezhou is logical where there are decreases of
the same population species that can no-longer be sustained in the
conservancies,” Gnodtke said.

Zimbabwe is set to co-host the UNWTO with Zambia in August.

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Bail appeal denied in case against ZimRights official

By Alex Bell
10 January 2013

An appeal launched against a court decision to deny bail to a detained human
rights activist and three others in Harare has been denied, leaving the
group locked up and facing trial.

ZimRights programs manager Leo Chamahwinya was arrested during a police raid
on the group’s offices in early December and taken into custody on
allegations that he was involved in ‘illegal voter registration’. He was
then charged with ‘conspiracy to commit fraud’.

Three other individuals, who do not work for ZimRights, were also arrested
in December and charged in the same case. They are Dorcas Shereni, Tanaka
Chinaka and Farai Bhani, and they are all being accused of forgery, fraud
and publishing ‘false statements’. The state has alleged that the group
forged voter registration certificates “to tarnish the name of the Registrar

Bail against the four was denied by a local magistrate before the Christmas
season, meaning the group was forced to remain behind bars throughout the
festive period.

Their lawyer, Tarisai Mutangi, told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that an
appeal against this decision was then launched at the High Court, but this
appeal has been denied. He said they are now waiting for further instruction
from the courts, after being told to give the police time to carry out

“From day one the state never had prima face evidence against these people,
especially against Leo. The link between them is so far removed and so far
fetched,” Mutangi said.

He added that the lawyers remain convinced that the case has “many holes in
it,” but until the court makes a decision, they can do nothing but wait.

Meanwhile more people involved in voter registration have faced increasing
levels of intimidation by suspected CIO agents. According to Tsepiso Mpofu,
from the Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe (YIDEZ), several youths
in Matabeleland have reported late night visits by plain clothes police men
and suspected CIO members. Some of the youths and their families are
understood to have fled their homes in fear.

The authorities do not seem to understand that voter registration is not
illegal. Anyone can register to vote at any time.

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Police Arrest Chisumbanje Villagers in Rautenbach Land Row

Violet Gonda

Some villagers from Chisumbanje, Manicaland Province, are in police custody
after they attempted to re-claim land that they say was forcibly taken by
the multi-million dollar Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant.

The arrests occurred despite a cabinet taskforce ruling that the villagers
should be allowed to work on the disputed land pending a final resolution of
the ongoing dispute.

Controversial businessman Billy Rautenbach owns Macdon Investments, the
company that runs the plant.

Scores of displaced villagers, mostly cotton and maize farmers, have been
involved in a bitter land dispute with the controversial multimillionaire,
who is said to have close ties to Zanu PF. The tensions increased since the
beginning of the rainy season last month, when farmers are traditionally in
their fields.

Rautenbach is accused of invading their land illegally after an initial
agreement allowed him to use 5,100 hectares of nearby land.

The villagers are being detained at Chisumbanje Police Station, facing
charges of invading private property.

Meke Makuyana, the MDC-T legislator for Chipinge South, told VOA’s Studio 7
that eight villagers are currently in police custody and more arrests are

Studio 7 phoned Macdom spokesperson Lillian Muungane, who did not answer her
mobile phone.

MDC-T Manicaland Province spokesman Pishai Muchauraya said the villagers
were arrested despite a special cabinet taskforce, chaired by Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara, revolved last month that villagers should be
allowed to till the land pending a final resolution of the dispute.

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Supreme Court to hear Kunonga appeal

Thursday, 10 January 2013 11:05

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Supreme Court will next week set down a final appeal by
a renegade Anglican bishop who is challenging the dismissal by the High
Court of an urgent application to stop evictions from church properties he
had unlawfully seized.

Ex-communicated Bishop Nolbert Kunonga’s appeal against High Court Judge
George Chiweshe’s dismissal of the church’s urgent application will be heard
in the Supreme Court when the new term for the highest court in the land
opens on January 14.

Kunonga’s lawyer Jonathan Samkange filed a notice of appeal on December 13
in the Supreme Court against Chiweshe’s dismissal of the Kunonga church’s
urgent application.

The Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) has filed its
response to the Supreme Court notice of appeal.

Kunonga’s High Court appeal was thrown out by the Judge President on
December 10 on the grounds that the breakaway church was bound by the
Supreme Court’s decision.

Chiweshe ruled the High Court is not the appropriate forum for that kind of

He concurred with the CPCA’s argument that the matter was “res judicata” or
that when the highest court in the land has ruled on a matter, it is final
and cannot be appealed.

In the Supreme Court’s judgment, Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba ordered
Kunonga to hand back all church assets because he withdrew membership from
the CPCA, thereby relinquishing the right to control CPCA property in the

“They left it, putting themselves beyond its ecclesiastical jurisdiction,”
the judgment by Malaba reads.

That ruling quashed a High Court decision that gave Kunonga control of all
church hospitals, orphanages and schools and allowed more than two million
evicted Anglicans to return to their parishes to celebrate mass after they
were banished to worshiping in parks, private schools and halls.

After the Supreme Court judgment, Kunonga went to the High Court in an
attempt to avoid the consequences of the Supreme Court decision, seeking a
court order stopping the evictions and another court order stating the
Anglican Church property is owned by Kunonga’s new Church of the Province of
Zimbabwe and the church was not part of the Supreme Court challenge which
was lodged by the Diocesan Trustees for the Diocese of Harare.

This means Kunonga and his fellow former trustees, not his church.

After hearing arguments in the High Court chambers, the judge president on
December 10 dismissed the application to stop the evictions with costs.

“The Supreme Court has spoken. I have no jurisdiction to entertain this
application,” Justice Chiweshe ruled, dismissing the application to stop the

That conclusion left the CPCA in possession and control of church property
in terms of the Supreme Court’s decision.

But Kunonga’s lawyer Samkange returned to the Supreme Court, seeking the
overturning of the High Court decision to throw out the appeal.

Legal experts say Kunonga’s church has no sound legal basis, and the case is
likely to fall flat.

In the aftermath of the High Court dismissal, thousands of worshippers last
month held their first Eucharist service since they were exiled from
churches and missions seized nationwide.

They cleansed the “defiled” church and threw out Kunonga’s chair from the
church in the process. - Gift Phiri, Political Writer

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Biti criticised for ‘doing ZANU PF work’

By Alex Bell
10 January 2013

Finance Minister Tendai Biti is facing criticism for ‘doing ZANU PF work’ by
pushing for international investment in and support for Zimbabwe, despite
that party’s ongoing control of the country.

Biti was this week in Canada where he pushed for the removal of targeted
restrictive sanctions against the Robert Mugabe regime, resulting in anger
from many observers who said such a move only benefits ZANU PF and not

The MDC-T minister then travelled to London where he is expected to address
potential investors this week, alongside Industry Minister Welshman Ncube.
Dubbed the ZimInvest London 2013 Forum, the two-day event is being held
under the theme: “Why Zimbabwe Matters.”

According to event organisers Country Factor, the forum is a platform for
“promoting opportunities to investors interested in partnering in Zimbabwe’s
development across key sectors in the economy including energy, mining,
agriculture, infrastructure, privatisation, services, banking and

Alongside Biti and Ncube will be speakers like Chamber of Mines president
Winston Chitando and NetOne managing director Reward Kangai, a known ZANU PF

Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that it
is, “premature for the MDC to be in the driving seat to call for the lifting
of sanctions,” and exploring business opportunities that benefit ZANU PF. He
said that the “political cabal of ZANU PF hardliners” have imposed their own
internal sanctions on Zimbabwe, which should be removed first.

“I believe that charity begins at home. There are these internal sanctions
that ZANU PF has put on the people in Zimbabwe in terms of exercising
fundamental liberties and human rights….so I don’t know what has happened in
the relationship between ZANU PF and the MDC that the MDC is now driving the
call for sanctions removal,” Ruhanya said.

He also said that while Biti’s proactive push for investment at this week’s
London meeting was part of the MDC-T’s JUICE investment policy, it leaves
the party “in a Catch 22.”

“The problem lies in that, what happens should the MDC lose power in the
next election? So does Biti know something we don’t? Is there something he
understands in terms of the political future?” Ruhanya asked.

Meanwhile, following Biti’s Canadian visit, that country’s Foreign Affairs
Minister John Baird said its targeted sanctions would remain in place.
According to Baird’s spokesman, Rick Roth, Canada is “continuously reviewing
(its) sanctions regime,” but the measures against Mugabe would not yet ease.

According to the Canadian press, Baird used the meeting with Biti to express
Canada’s views on the need for continued political reform in Zimbabwe,
including a referendum on a new constitution, free and fair elections, and
the respect for human rights.

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Canada shoots down travel restrictions bid

Staff Reporter 20 hours 42 minutes ago

OTTAWA - Canada isn't quite ready to ease sanctions against Zimbabwe,
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told the country's visiting finance
minister on Wednesday.
Baird made that clear during his private meeting with Tendai Biti, said his
spokesman, Rick Roth.
"We are continuously reviewing our sanctions regime," Roth said in an email.
"The minister will certainly consider what he heard and make decisions in
due course."
The visitor offered Baird an update on financial and economic reforms in
"The two spoke about recent reforms in Zimbabwe, progress made and
challenges that remain," said Roth.
The meeting gave Baird a chance to express Canadian views on the need for
continued political reform in Zimbabwe, including a referendum on a new
constitution, free and fair elections, and the respect for human rights.
Roth said Biti has a strong record on human rights and of pushing for
governance reform.
Zimbabwe currently has a coalition government made up of President Robert
Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, of which Biti is
secretary general.
Mugabe, 88, has been endorsed as his party's presidential candidate and is
expected to face Tsvangirai in an upcoming election.
Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia, gained
independence from Britain in 1980.
Baird made that clear during his private meeting with Tendai Biti, said his
spokesman, Rick Roth.
"We are continuously reviewing our sanctions regime," Roth said in an email.
"The minister will certainly consider what he heard and make decisions in
due course."
The visitor offered Baird an update on financial and economic reforms in
"The two spoke about recent reforms in Zimbabwe, progress made and
challenges that remain," said Roth.
The meeting gave Baird a chance to express Canadian views on the need for
continued political reform in Zimbabwe, including a referendum on a new
constitution, free and fair elections, and the respect for human rights.
Roth said Biti has a strong record on human rights and of pushing for
governance reform.
Zimbabwe currently has a coalition government made up of President Robert
Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, of which Biti is
secretary general.
The uneasy coalition was formed a year after the country went through
violent and inconclusive elections in 2008.
Mugabe, 88, has been endorsed as his party's presidential candidate and is
expected to face Tsvangirai in an upcoming election.
Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia, gained
independence from Britain in 1980.
In 2008, Canada imposed a number of sanctions on Zimbabwe, including a ban
on the export of arms or arms-related technical assistance. It also froze
the assets of a number of senior government officials, including Mugabe.

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Police defy President Mugabe

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 19:38
Clemence Manyukwe, Political Editor

CORRUPT police officers continue their vice despite calls by President
Robert Mugabe to deal with the scourge and efforts by Police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri to contain the rot in the police force.
Delivering a speech to ZANU-PF delegates at the party’s annual national
conference last month, President Mugabe singled out members of the police
force’s traffic section who have become unpopular for demanding bribes from
Graft within the force has not been confined to the traffic section alone
but cuts across all sections, with some senior officers said to be demanding
part of the loot from their subordinates operating on the ground.
The development comes against the background of surveys undertaken by graft
watchdogs that have branded the police the most corrupt of all officials
dealing with the public.
Following last month’s criticism by the ZANU-PF leader, observers have noted
that there have been no let up by law enforcement agents on the matter.
This week, Simbarashe Ngarande, president of the Urban Commuter Operators of
Zimbabwe, said his association’s members continued losing money to corrupt
police officers.
“They are continuing to put drivers in a corner because they know that
kombis have ready cash.
“There is a lot of corruption and spot fines must be scrapped if this is to
be stopped,” said Ngarande.
He said when police impound a commuter vehicle they threaten to take it to
Harare Central Stores where one is required to pay US$132, with an option
for one to be spared upon the payment of a US$50 bribe.
Alarmed at the rate of corruption, police bosses this week announced that a
lifestyle audit for all police officers would be undertaken as part of
measures to curb the scourge.
Last year, police also unveiled anti-corruption committees, but the move
failed to extinguish the problem.
On Monday, Farai Matunduru, a researcher at the local chapter of graft
watchdog, Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ), said police must engage
independent and neutral experts to do the lifestyle audit for purposes of
eliminating the element of bias.
An assessment carried out by TIZ last year on corruption in the mining
sector revealed that police where engaged in graft at sites that they were
entrusted to guard.
TIZ gave the example of the Sherwood block in Kwekwe, an area rich in gold
deposits, where police there were allowing illegal panners onto the fields
to prospect and share proceeds afterwards.
The anti-corruption crusader said this was mainly being done by junior
officers, but there was a chain in terms of benefits with senior officers
receiving a share of the illicit gains.
“Even after arresting prostitutes, police demand bribes,” said Matunduru.
Despite the consummation of a new look Zimbabwe Anti–Corruption Commission,
the body has largely remained a toothless bulldog like its predecessors,
with mostly small fish being sacrificed.
President Mugabe recently revealed that former South African president Thabo
Mbeki had told him that some ministers had demanded bribes from the
neighbouring country’s investors although no one has been nabbed.

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Chief law officer in bribe storm

09/01/2013 00:00:00
by Phyllis Mbanje

CHRIS Mutangadura, the chief law officer in the Attorney General’s office,
took a US$150,000 bribe from lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa in order to frame Trauma
Centre boss Dr Vivek Solanki for a crime he did not commit, a Harare court
heard on Wednesday.

Solanki, who is a state witness, first claimed on Tuesday that Mtetwa had
paid prosecutors money on behalf of four individuals he accuses of trying to
steal his hospital by falsifying documents.

Jeremy Sanford, who is on the run, Paul Stevenson, Mavis Mushonga and Peter
Ansley all face fraud charges for allegedly forging documents suggesting
Solanki sold them his US$15 million hospital for US$15,000.

Solanki terminated a partnership deal with the UK-registered Africa Medical
Investments (AMI), for which Ansley is a director, over what he claims are
links with the Mozambican rebel movement RENAMO.

He claims in a bid to fix him for ending their business partnership, the AMI
officials paid prosecutors to concoct charges against him while he was out
of the country in a bid to frighten him out of returning.

It was during this period that he claims AMI officials illegally took over
the running of the Trauma Centre and Hospital, prejudicing him of over US$10
million in lost income and assets.

Solanki told the Harare Magistrates’ Court that a witness who is said to be
a relative of Mutangadura called him with information that he had witnessed
the payment of the money and that he wanted to confess everything.

In the presence of his lawyer Jonathan Samkange and an official from the
Anti Corruption Commission, Solanki says he recorded the witness in audio
and video before also making out a transcript of the recording.

Mtetwa, defending the AMI officials, challenged Solanki to name the witness
since the allegations were so serious and the case had been widely reported.

“Can you name your witness because the allegations you have just made bring
into disrepute the AG’s office, the magistrate who signed the warrant of
arrest and me,” she protested.

Solanki refused to reveal the source, saying his life was already in danger.
“I cannot reveal the source because he was once beaten up when word got out
that he had made the tape recording. Last month he received more threats
from AMI employers and he has since gone into hiding. I also need to seek
legal counsel before doing that,” Solanki replied.

State prosecutor Michael Reza concurred with Solanki, saying he had a right
to seek legal advice first.
But magistrate Clever Tsikwa said the allegations were very grave and likely
to bring disrepute to the justice delivery system so it was imperative that
Solanki name the witness.

The witness (Solanki) has made very grave allegations and he has gone beyond
the boundaries by accusing senior officials of such a heinous crime and so
to give credence to his allegations he is compelled to reveal the name of
the witness,” Tsikwa said.

But before Solanki named the witness, Tsikwa ordered that the public gallery
be cleared.

Meanwhile Advocate Thabani Mpofu says he has been instructed by Mutangadura
to sue Solanki for defamation.

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Police launch another blitz on touts

Thursday, 10 January 2013 11:05

HARARE - Police have nabbed over 50 touts in Harare city centre who will
appear in court today.

This comes after rank marshals and touts who had been removed from bus ranks
last year begin to resurface.

Provincial spokesperson Tadious Chibanda said due to the “noise and
inconvenience” caused by touts, law enforcement agents will no longer allow
the touts to pay admission of guilt fines.

“We think that they are getting used to our fines. It is time we try other
means to bring normalcy in the city centre. People have complained enough
about these people hence we are not going to relax until sanity prevails.
This time we are taking them straight to court,” Chibanda said.

Last year, over 500 touts were rounded up by police and over 300 of them
received jail sentences.

A joint operation between Harare City Council and the police called Nguva
Yakwana saw touts and rank marshals being swept out of the city centre,
before they resurfaced this year.

“They are back because we had relaxed in our Operation. We thought council
was going to take action but they failed. The commuting public should not be
harassed by these people. It is the duty of the police to protect them,”
Chibanda said.

Meanwhile, the holiday death toll has now reached 230, six days before the
official end of the festive season.

National police spokesperson Andrew Phiri said the number of road accidents
from December 15 to yesterday morning stands at 1 532.

He said police in Bulawayo have arrested the driver of a bus that was
involved in an accident which killed eight people.

“Thembelihle Dube (the driver) is being charged with culpable homicide,”
Phiri said. - Xolisani Ncube

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MDC hands out maize seed

Thursday, 10 January 2013 10:56
BULAWAYO - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC has started distributing
maize seed in Matabeleland to disabled people and children orphaned by HIV.

The party unveiled the aid programme after noting that most of the
vulnerable people were not receiving anything under government projects.

The inclusive government has programmes to distribute food and farming
inputs to the vulnerable.

MDC Matabeleland regional administrator Nkululeko Ndlovu said the programme
is being rolled out in Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo
provinces. Each family is getting a 10kg bag of maize seed.

“We have realised that the distribution of free maize seeds under government
programmes have been politicised too much by some political parties and most
disadvantaged families are not getting anything,” Ndlovu said.

“So far we have covered Tsholotsho and Nkayi districts in Matabeleland North
Province. After completing the distribution process in that province we will
be heading to Matabeleland South,” said Ndlovu.

Ndlovu said this was not in any way vote-buying but a social programme by
the party to help the poor who have been discriminated.

The MDC’s distribution of maize seed comes as Zanu PF is also distributing
10kg bags of maize seed around the country. The bags of maize seed,
emblazoned with President Robert Mugabe’s picture, are being doled out under
the $20 million “presidential inputs scheme”.

In its latest report, a leading human rights watchdog, the Zimbabwe Peace
Project (ZPP), said Zanu PF had anchored its campaign on free food and seed
handouts in addition to using state-sponsored violence as it gears for
harmonised elections. - Pindai Dube

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The MDC Today Issue – 496

Wednesday, 09 January 2013

Councillor Mxolisi Ndlovu of Umguza rural district in Matebeleland North has
taken Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban
Development to court over unlawful dismissal.
Councillor Ndlovu was dismissed by Chombo last November on allegations of
However, Councillor Ndlovu has filed papers at the High Court in Bulawayo
challenging his dismissal by Chombo who has been fingered in several cases
of corruption including illegally acquiring land in urban and rural councils
across the country.
In his court papers, Councillor Ndlovu argues that his dismissal by Chombo
is politically motivated. “The investigations that led to me being charged
with seven counts of misconduct were patently biased and clearly conducted
along politically partisan lines,” Councillor Ndlovu said in his court
“The investigation team only confined itself to and obtained statements from
people only affiliated to Zanu PF and shunned and avoided those affiliated
to the MDC to which I am affiliated to. This on its own was a strong bias
that compromised the whole process and First Respondent (Chombo) should not
have persisted with the process amidst such blatant partisanship,” the court
papers read.
Councillor Ndlovu said the decision made by Chombo was premeditated and
biased. “All the charges were trumped up against me to silence me for my
vocal objections and exposure of tender corruption to the Ilitshe Road. The
whole process was a way of punishing me for exercising my right to speak
about the illegality of the public tender process,” said Councillor Ndlovu.
Since 2008 when the majority of current councillors were voted into office
on an MDC ticket, Chombo has been destabilising the operations of the MDC
led – councils and suspending the democratically elected councillors on
phoney corruption charges.
Over 900 councillors were voted into office on an MDC ticket in 2008 in both
rural and urban areas.
Meanwhile, the MDC Youth Assembly has called for the immediate release of
five MDC members who are in remand prison on spurious charges of murdering a
police officer in Glen View, Harare in 2011.
The five members; Yvonne Musarurwa, Last Maengahama, Rebecca Mafikeni, Simon
Mapanzure and Councillor Tungamirai Madzokere are part of the 31 MDC members
who are on trial at the High Court facing false charges of murdering the
police officer. The others were granted bail last year after spending more
than 19 months in remand prison.
“We are clear in our understanding that the continued detention of our five
cadres in the Glen View 31 court case is an act of political harassment and
we strongly believe they are political prisoners,” the Youth Assembly said.
“For 19 long months the Zanu-PF machinery influenced the continued detention
of our comrades at Chikurubi Maximum and Harare Remand prisons, as they try
to make the remaining five political prisoners a ransom to gag progressive
youth against mobilisation for democracy and change. The trial itself has
been a farce and based on unacceptable allegations that our comrades
murdered police Inspector Petros Mutedza,” said the Youth Assembly.
“We demand the immediate release of the remaining MDC comrades Yvonne
Musarurwa, Last Maengahama, Rebecca Mafikeni, Simon Mapanzure and Councillor
Tungamirai Madzokere”. The Continued persecution of the MDC leadership and
membership will not distract the party from its main thrust of ushering a
new Zimbabwe to the many suffering Zimbabweans.
The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!

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Poor-nation status to give Zim a debt lifeline


Zimbabwe, which is struggling to clear international debt of $11-billion, is
about to join about 40 other nations as a highly-indebted poor country.

Government sources said the Cabinet has already resolved to apply for HIPC
status. They said the government realises that it cannot clear Zimbabwe’s
debts while it is struggling to get the economy back on track.

“The preparatory work for joining other countries with HIPC status is
already under way. A few issues are being addressed at the moment, but we
can safely say we will join that group very soon,” a source said.

The HIPC initiative was launched in 1996 by the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) and the World Bank to ensure that poor countries are not burdened by
debts they cannot manage.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti could not be reached for comment this week but
his colleague, Minister of Industry and Commerce Welshman Ncube, confirmed
that the Cabinet has given the government the green light to apply for HIPC

“We agreed that the only way out of the debt overhang crisis was to adopt
HIPC status,” Ncube said.

“What now remains is the report of the consultant hired by government to
give guidance on the next step. The ministry of finance keeps promising to
give Cabinet that report, but we’re not sure when that’s going to happen.
The sooner, the better.”

According to a statement by Biti prior to his November 2012 budget
presentation, Zimbabwe owes the IMF, the World Bank and the African
Development Bank $10.7‑billion.

Most of the limited revenue generated by the government from taxes has been
swept away by a huge civil servants’ salary bill, which accounts for more
than 60% of the total budget, according to Biti.

Recently, the IMF said its directors had noted that “co-operation on
payments remains poor, and [they had] strongly encouraged Zimbabwe to make
regular and timely payments to the fund and to increase them as payment
capacity improves”.

Biti said the economy was not yet strong enough to deal with international
debt. He added: “The country’s external debt overhang [which stands at 118%
of gross domestic product] remains the albatross around the economy’s quest
for access to the required levels of external financial inflows, both from
multilateral and commercial institutions.”

Joy Mabenge, an expert in debt strategy and the chairperson of the Zimbabwe
Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd), said that the IMF and the World
Bank should introduce a moratorium on interest on the debt.

“These institutions would have us believe that they care about Zimbabwe’s
welfare. We believe it is high time that they put a moratorium on Zimbabwe’s
debt interest accruals,” Mabenge said.

Zimcodd is pushing the government to conduct a debt audit to help establish
how borrowed money is used. It believes this will bring relief to the
current coalition government that is burdened by the repayment of debts
incurred by the previous Zanu-PF-led government.

“We have had people in government office claiming they are borrowing money
from the IMF for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe. It is high time the
government and other players conducted an audit of all the monies that were
borrowed by Zimbabwe to see which debts were legitimately accrued by
government,” said Mabenge.

“We should not repay money that was abused by the previous regime, as this
benefited a few members of (President Robert) Mugabe’s regime rather than
the people of Zimbabwe,” Mabenge added.

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Zambia bans lion, leopard hunting

10/01/2013 00:00:00
by Obert Simwanza I AFP

ZAMBIA on Thursday banned lion and leopard hunting to protect rapidly
decreasing feline numbers for a burgeoning safari industry, despite
criticism that it will drive tourists away.
"We do not have enough cats for hunting purposes, especially if we have to
save our national resources," tourism minister Sylvia Masebo told AFP.

"No amount of convincing from any sector or group will convince me
otherwise," Masebo said. "The cats are gone."
The southern African country, which draws tourists to the world famous
Victoria Falls, hopes to develop a wildlife tourism trade, which has long
been a mainstay of the economies in neighbouring countries.

"Although there is evidence that safari hunting and wildlife record income
for the country, there was a need to weigh the benefits against the
fast-depleting species of some animals," said Masebo.

But the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) said the ban would be bad for the
tourist industry.
"The population of cats in Zambia is around 3,400 to 3,500 and with the ban
on safari hunting for cats we are likely to lose on revenue. It is these
cats that make Zambia's safari hunting competitive in the region," said ZAWA
head of research Chuma Simukonda.

Only 55 felines were hunted a year, he said, though the income from the
sport was unknown.
ZAWA and the government are in a spat after authorities temporarily closed
the agency's offices pending investigations into graft.

Its director and senior officials were fired last month for alleged
corruption in the awarding of safari hunting concessions.

The country's hunting community however sees the move as political meddling.
"This is painting a bad picture about Zambia to the outside world. Blood
sport is more beneficial to this country than game viewing," said Gavin
Robinson of the Professional Hunters Association.

"People from Europe and America wish to hunt here but they will now move
elsewhere, meaning all the clients will leave Zambia," he added.

On the other hand conservationist James Chungu welcomed the minister's
"If you feel there are areas where animals are overpopulated and you need to
crop them why don't you get those animals to other parks which have been
depleted so that they produce?" he suggested.

Chungu who runs the Lusenga Trust conservation organisation said ZAWA's
figures were inaccurate.
"We need to have the correct numbers, and if anything the people benefiting
from hunting are not indigenous Zambians. Zambians benefit from game
viewing," he said.

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Ringing the changes to end bartering
MUTOKO, 10 January 2013 (IRIN) - At the end of every month, Tariro Bhachi, 28, in Mutata Village in Mashonaland East Province, walks about 2km from her homestead to the top of a hill in search of cellular signal, joining a throng of others.

While most people do this to make phone calls, Bhachi’s monthly trips have another purpose - to receive notification that a remittance has arrived from her husband, who has been working in South Africa for the last four years.

Her husband first sends the money - ranging from US$40 to $70 monthly - with bus drivers plying the Harare-Johannesburg route to his brother, who works as a hawker in Harare, the capital. His brother then transfers the money using Ecocash, a local mobile telephone platform for cash transfers.

Once notified, Bhachi travels about 40km to the Mutoko business centre to receive the money from an Ecocash dealer.

The telephonic cash transfer initiative, now in its second year, has come as a blessing for rural people like Bhachi, who, in the absence of banking facilities, were isolated from the cash economy.

John Robertson, an economist, told IRIN: “Telephonic cash transfers have made a great difference for thousands of people in communities where money was not circulating well after the government dollarized the economy”.

Cashless society

In 2009, Zimbabwe adopted a multi-currency financial system using the US dollar, Botswana pula and the South African rand, which ended the country’s hyperinflation overnight.

Econet Wireless, the mobile services provider running the Ecocash platform, said in a November 2012 statement that it “moves millions of dollars every day from urban areas to rural areas”, describing the initiative as “a lifeline, particularly for rural people”, the majority of whom live on less than a dollar a day.

For Bhachi, a mother of two, the cash transfer facility has seen an end to her days of bartering.

"I would go for several months without setting my sights on a mere coin"
“Before I started receiving money from Ecocash, I would go for several months without setting my sights on a mere coin. Even though my husband still had the option to send money through his younger brother, bringing it here was difficult for him because he had no time to travel and buses still shun our route; we mostly use private cars or walk long distances,” she told IRIN.

Bhachi used to barter for essential services, such as having her maize milled into flour to exchange for basic commodities and pay for her daughter’s school fees and uniforms.

“At one time, I was forced to surrender three goats to the clinic when my second child fell ill and there was no money to pay the medical bill. I also gave a wheelbarrow, plough and our radio set to a shop owner in exchange for maize meal, cooking oil and sugar,” she said.


Her neighbour, Silas Magorimbo, 50, who has four school-going children, told IRIN he exchanged most of his cattle and goats to pay school fees and to get food for his family.

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“Our failure to access cash made us desperate, and we ended up using our livestock and other important items to get the basic things we wanted. Most of us were left with no animals to use to till the land, meaning that we could not produce as much as we could have done.

“Now, quite a number of us are able to receive money from the cities … through our cell phones, and barter trade has gone down significantly,” Magorimbo said. Now that he is able to access cash, he is rebuilding his herd and covers his basic needs from money sent by his son from Zimbabwe’s second city Bulawayo.

Piniel Denga, Mashonaland East chairman for the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, says the cash transfers are improving livelihoods.

“Even though many families still have no means to access cash through the money transfer mechanism because there is no one to send the money, a notable part of the population no longer has to resort to barter trade,” Denga told IRIN.

He said barter trade tended to short-change villagers as the value of their goods was often higher than what they received in return. “People, for example, [would] exchange a beast worth $600 for something whose price is below $100”.

“Barter trade is mostly a desperate measure adopted to meet immediate needs of communities, such as food availability in the face of hunger, but it creates long-term vulnerabilities when it, for instance, removes the capacity of people to produce food adequately,” Innocent Makwiramiti, an economist and former chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, told IRIN.

“It should be noted, however, that the improvement in money circulation, especially in rural areas, is not entirely because of the telephonic cash transfer method. It is also because, after dollarization, the economy slightly improved and more people can now send money to their families.”

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Tendai Biti’s Sanctions Lectures: Is he discrediting himself?

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 10th January 2013.
Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s recent claim in Canada and in
other previous university lectures that ‘sanctions’ are ‘not serving anyone’
has fortunately been diplomatically shot down by his hosts in Ottawa who
told him they will stay.
No disrespect for Tendai Biti who has been struggling to put together a
“pro-poor budget” against all odds, but I will explain briefly why I
disagree with his latest escapades which contradict what he stood for in the
previous election – democracy ,human rights, transparency and
I am also fully aware of the harassment Tendai Biti has experienced and
continues to endure at the hands of Mugabe’s militarised Zanu-pf regime
including a nasty spell in Mugabe’s prison and appearance in court on 17, 18
and 19 June 2008 and was charged with four counts including treason.
Tendai Biti in 2009 received a live bullet through the post and his house
was bombed in June 2011 but there have been no arrests. As if that is not
enough, Zanu-pf war vets have besieged Biti’s office more than once – in
June 2011 and in July 2012 and in October 2012.
However, I disagree with Tendai Biti’s global crusade against restrictive
measures that were imposed on Robert Mugabe and about 200 other Zanu-pf
loyalists for rights abuses and stealing elections.
There should be no illusions about the effectiveness of the measures, but at
least they are service a useful purpose by hitting the right people – the
selected elites and not the ordinary people as claimed by propagandists and
regime apologists.
In my view, Biti’s campaign is actually what is not serving anyone given
that he previously described foreign travel expenditure as the “Archille’s
heel” in his 2011 Budget statement.
Although Biti is walking a tight rope, he seems to be barking the wrong tree
by targeting foreign governments without credible evidence of reforms on the
ground which has been missed by their diplomats in Harare. No wonder why
those foreign governments have politely ignored his calls e.g. the United
States, Australia and now Canada.
The GNU partners need not look any further for the need for change
especially after the recent resignation of the Human Rights Commission
Chairman Professor Reginald Austin due to for lack of resources to deliver
Indeed that “exposes the regime’s apparent lack of commitment to upholding
human rights” as some analysts have commented.
Prof Austin said an unnamed senior government official had demoralised the
new team when he compared the new commission with a baby whose birth the
parents had made no preparations for – “no nursery, no cot bed, no blankets
and no baby food” (Newsday 09/01/13).
Biti needs to know that the ongoing problem of human rights abuse in
Zimbabwe will continue to discourage the easing of restricted measures on
the Commander in Chief and his allies especially ahead of the referendum and
For instance the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum’s Human Rights & National
Institutions Report Sept ember 2012 to December 2012, documents the
“continuing harassment” of civil society and political activists that
characterised the period.
The operating environment for NGOs, says the report, continued to be very
challenging. Police arrested and ill-treated peaceful protesters, especially
the Women of Zimbabwe Arise activists.
Other organisations that faced raids and arrests included The Gays and
Lesbians of Zimbabwe, the Counselling Services Unit and many other civil
society organisations offering vital services to vulnerable Zimbabweans, the
report adds.
It is also worth noting that the Zimbabwe’s human rights report presented by
Zanu-pf ‘s Patrick Chinamasa in Geneva was described by civil society as
“appalling” and naturally did nothing to placate diplomats who have the
power to remove targeted restrictive measures especially after he rejected
security sector reforms and described the ICRC as a ‘kangaroo court’.
Also weakening Tendai Biti’s case is the budget deficit and the
non-remittance of diamonds cash to Treasury by Zanu-pf elites while
Zimbabweans endure “endless miseries and health challenges” mentioned in the
Human Rights NGO Forum report due to “an appalling level of service
delivery” and water borne diseases such as typhoid and dysentery.
Even the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare which falls under MDC-T has
confirmed that close to half a million people in Zimbabwe were infected with
diarrhoea in 2012.
Surely, Zimbabwe needs foreign investment, but there needs to be an enabling
environment first in the form of the respect for human and property rights
and the rule of law including BIPPAS.
Probably, investors will be keen to know which constitution will be
guaranteeing their investments and what will happen to Nestle before they
can take the plunge.
While understandably under pressure from the securocrats, Tendai Biti risks
discrediting himself by trying to appease them at the expense of the
generality of Zimbabweans including those forced to leave the country
because of Zanu-pf rights abuses which remain unresolved despite the GNU.
By marginalising the Diaspora and alienating victims of political violence
for expediency, the new partners in the coalition government in Harare may
prove to be their own worst enemies in their rush to go to polls with Mugabe
without any credible security sector, legal and media reforms.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

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