By Alex Bell
14 January 2011
The human rights Tribunal of the Southern African region has ruled that the Zimbabwe government is undermining the rule of law, by refusing to pay compensation to nine victims of state sponsored political violence and torture.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal last month ruled in favour of Barry Gondo and eight others, who successfully sued the State in the Zimbabwe High Court after being beaten and tortured by security agents. The group argued in the SADC Tribunal that the government was refusing to pay the damages ordered by the High Court, in their cases dating back to 2003 and 2007.
The judgment was handed down by Justice Arrirange Govindasamy Pillay in the Windhoek Tribunal. The judgement said that the government was violating the founding principles of the regional bloc, the SADC Treaty, by refusing to pay the compensation.
“We hold, therefore...that the Respondent (government) is in breach of Articles 4 (c) and 6 (1) of the treaty in that it has acted in contravention of various fundamental human rights, namely the right to an effective remedy,” the Tribunal ruled, and “the right to have access to an independent and impartial court or tribunal and the right to a fair hearing.”
The ruling comes as an important victory for the rule of law in Zimbabwe, where the State has displayed a decade long disregard for Court orders. The Zimbabwe Human Right NGO Forum, which led the case before the Tribunal last year, said the ruling is a “progressive.” The group added that it supports the opinion of civil society that one of Zimbabwe’s main challenges is “the absence of the rule of law.”
“The Forum implores Government to respect the rule of law and to honour its obligations under international law in order to ensure the protection of its citizens’ right to an effective remedy and equality before the law,” the group said in a statement.
Political analyst Professor John Makumbe told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the ruling is an encouraging sign that “perhaps we have entered a fascinating year with efforts being made to right the wrongs of the past.” Makumbe however added that “the crux of the matter now,” is whether or not the government will abide by the court’s ruling, after previously dismissing the court as “null and void.”
“I doubt they will abide by it,” Makumbe said. “They will only go along with verdicts that it finds not threatening to ZANU PF.”
The ruling comes as the Tribunal remains effectively suspended and not able to take on any new cases, after SADC leaders decided last year to review the role, functions and mandate of the court. This decision was a result of Zimbabwe refusal to honour the Tribunal and its ruling that Mugabe land grab campaign is unlawful. The Tribunal ruled in 2008 that the exercise was unlawful and discriminatory, and ordered the Zimbabwe government to protect the farmers, their rights to their land, and pay compensation for land already seized.
But in Zimbabwe the Tribunal has been openly snubbed by the government, with Mugabe and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa declaring that the Tribunal’s rulings were ‘null and void’. The High Court then ruled that the Tribunal’s orders on land reform have no authority in Zimbabwe, despite the country being a signatory to the SADC Treaty.
Zimbabwe’s open contempt of court was eventually raised before SADC leaders at a summit in August last year, in the hope that the regional leadership would deal with Zimbabwe as an errant member state. Instead, the SADC leaders resolved to review the Tribunal, a move that legal experts say is an effective suspension of the court. In a legal opinion drafted and endorsed by seven leading national, regional and international legal organisations, SADC leaders have now come under fire for having “deliberately undermined the Tribunal by violating regional laws and acting unconstitutionally.”
“SADC leaders have unlawfully ensured that the
Tribunal can no longer function, leaving citizens without legal remedy at the
regional level,” said Nicole Fritz, Director of the Southern Africa Litigation
“We are also very concerned that the decision to sabotage the Tribunal was taken in bad faith, to appease Zimbabwe and to ensure that it did not have to comply with a series of rulings related to land seizures,” said Fritz.
Makumbe meanwhile said that Zimbabwe’s refusal to honour the Tribunal is “a major threat to the cohesion of the region, because it makes the Tribunal superfluous.”
“I can’t see how any other member state will abide by the Tribunal if Zimbabwe disregards it and gets away with it,” Makumbe said.
To see the judgement click here
Harare, January 14, 2011 – About 15 Zanu (PF) youths went on rampage beating
up Movement for Democratic Change youths and officials at the party’s
Harvest House headquarters in Harare.
The youths who charged at the Harvest House entrance along Nelson Mandela
Avenue beat up MDC youths and passersby before the MDC youths retaliated
leading to the Zanu (PF) youths fleeing from the scene.
The MDC in a statement said the Zanu (PF) youths were wearing their party
t-shirts when they went on rampage.
“Scores of Zanu (PF) youths this afternoon caused disturbances at the MDC
headquarters, Harvest House, and attacked innocent shoppers and workers. The
youths wearing Zanu (PF) T – shirts were dropped at Harvest House by a white
kombi,” the MDC said in a statement.
“They, however, fled after discovering that there were hundreds of MDC
youths who had come to attend a Youth Assembly strategic meeting at the
“Some of the people who were attacked are; Kudakwashe Tapfumanei, Chancellor
Nyamande, Rebecca Mafukeni, Samson Nerwande and Andrew Marufu. No one was
injured. The MDC strongly condemns this unnecessary provocation, which
exposes Zanu (PF) as a violent party.”
Meanwhile in Mberengwa clashes erupted on Thursday between war veterans and
Zanu (PF) youths occupying Texas Ranch Farm in Mberengwa, Midlands Province
over village heads positions.
Texas Ranch Farm has been used as a torture base by war veterans and Zanu
(PF) militias since year 2000 when they grabbed it from a white commercial
farmer. Over 700 war veterans and Zanu (PF) militias have since settled on
the farm and it has been divided into small villages.
Clashes erupted on Thursday as Zanu (PF) youths led by one Tinomuda Shiri
accused war veterans of controlling all activities at the farm and also for
grabbing all village heads positions.
The war veterans led by Langton Mangena with the support of Chief Mazivofa
who also settled on the farm had allocated all village heads positions among
themselves without consulting the Zanu (PF) youths leaders.
“There is no peace anymore in that farm as we are witnessing fights every
week between Shiri’s group and Mangena’s group. The fight is over village
heads positions as the farm as been divided into small villages and war
veterans wants to control everything,” said a small scale miner who operates
a mine adjacent to the farm.
A senior police officer based at Mberengwa police station said “they
arrested three Zanu PF youths and two war veterans from the farm on Thursday
and have since paid US$20 admission guilt fee on charges of public
When Radio VOP contacted Shiri on Friday he confirmed the differences saying
“you can’t have same group of people controlling everything, that’s a big
farm shamwari (friend).”
Mberengwa has been a Zanu (PF) stronghold since independence, the party’s
militias and war veterans have been mostly terrorizing opposition supporters
in the past recent years.
Early this year a group of war veterans were arrested after disrupting a
constitutional parliamentary committee consultative meeting on the new
constitution held at Vutsanana Secondary School in the same district.
Friday, 14 January 2011
The MDC deplores the current upsurge in violence, illegal arrests and
abductions of its members and members of the members of the public by state
security agents and Zanu PF supporters. Reports received by the MDC across
the country show that there is a rise in cases involving violence, arbitrary
arrests on flimsy grounds and kidnappings of its members especially in the
rural areas. We have noted a heavy presence of army personnel in the
countryside, harassing innocent villagers. Last week , a group of soldiers
from the 4.2 Infantry Battalion went and beat up people at Mupandawana
Growth Point in Gutu, Masvingo province. Dozens of people were injured.
On Wednesday, more than 30 people were injured and shops were forced to
close at Jerera Growth Point in Zaka again in the same province after
another group of soldiers attacked villagers. Chiefs in Bubi and Nkayi,
Matebeleland North province, are reported to be telling villagers that
soldiers will soon be deployed in the area as peace keepers ahead of
Elson Mutonhori, the MDC Masvingo South secretary was on Saturday morning
abducted at gunpoint by Major – General Engelbert Rugeje and one Major
Toperesu at his Renco Mine home. Rugeje and Toperesu who were driving an
unmarked white Mitsubishi truck took Mutonhori to the Rock Motel in Chivi
some 100km away, where they interrogated and intimidated him until midnight
for wearing MDC regalia. Mutonhori made a report at Renco Mine Police
Station but the police officers refused to open a docket claiming the issue
was political. Self – styled war veteran, Jabulani Sibanda addressed a rally
in Ngundu, Chivi, Masvingo province, and threatened villagers with death if
they voted for the MDC in the next elections.
On Thursday, scores of Zanu PF youths caused disturbances at the MDC
headquarters, Harvest House, Harare, and attacked innocent shoppers and
workers. Four councillors and five MDC youths were arrested in Victoria
Falls last week on false charges of disrupting a council meeting. They were
each granted a US$70 bail each on Wednesday.
Hon. Paul Madzore, Glen View South MP, was served with summons to appear in
court on 15 February on charges of assualting a police officer and resisting
arrest at Makomva Shopping Centre in Glen View in May 2006.
The MDC condemns in the strongest terms all acts of targeted violence and
arrests against MDC officials and ctivists. Further, the MDC denounces the
deployment of security personnel as a plot to inculcate a culture of fear in
the rural areas. The MDC urges SADC, the AU and the international community
to take note of the crackdown on the people of Zimbabwe by lawless allies of
Zanu PF ahead of the coming elections. As a Party of Excellence, the MDC
believes in delivering real change to the people of Zimbabwe with guaranteed
security, dignity, democracy and freedoms, prosperity and hope.
Together, united, winning, ready for real change!
MDC Information & Publicity Department
By Lance Guma
14 January 2011
Attorney General Johannes Tomana has denied state media claims that he has
set up a commission of inquiry to investigate Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and other MDC officials over US diplomatic cables leaked by the
Ever since the Wikileaks website published details of meetings between US
diplomats and MDC leaders, ZANU PF using the state media has been trying
whip up public sentiment against their rivals. Various meetings documented
in the cables, showed MDC leaders discussing peaceful options to force
Mugabe to step down. ZANU PF is trying to spin treason charges out of the
A state media article over the Christmas holidays quoted Tomana as saying
‘the WikiLeaks appear to show a treasonous collusion between local
Zimbabweans and the aggressive international world, particularly the United
States. With immediate effect, I am going to instruct a team of practising
lawyers to look into the issues that arise from the WikiLeaks.’
Speaking to the weekly Zimbabwe Independent newspaper Tomana however denied
making the statement and said he did not have the powers to appoint a
commission or a committee to look into the matter. ‘If you look at the
scenarios around the appointment of commissions, it must be of national
importance and it is only the president who can appoint a commission. I do
not know where all this is coming from,’ he told the paper.
MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa told us recently that the revelations by the
WikiLeaks website are nothing more than ‘harmless thunderbolts’ and that
ordinary Zimbabweans are actually more worried about the ‘leaks in their
roofs’ during the rainy season. Chamisa said ZANU PF had desperately sought
to use the leaked cables as political tools but this would have no impact on
The Kuwadzana MP told us that the MDC are not going to be bothered with
gossip and hearsay. ‘Those cables are mere gossip and opinions by
individuals in the corridors of the diplomatic circles,” he said. Responding
to initials claims that Tomana would set up a commission he criticized the
AG’s double standards saying he failed to act on the violence and murder in
the June 2008 election.
Some analysts have speculated that Tomana might have chickened out of a
probe of the Wikileaks revelations because the same diplomatic cables
exposed First Lady Grace Mugabe as being involved in the illegal looting and
trading of diamonds from Chiadzwa. An alternative theory is that Tomana
might have had his wrist slapped by Mugabe, who told him only he could
appoint the commission.
14 January, 2011 05:48:00 IRIN
JOHANNESBURG, - As heavy rains continue to pound parts of South Africa, the
meteorological bureau has warned that there was a "high risk of floods" in
the central and northeastern parts of the country over the next few days.
The government announced that the army was on standby as the water levels
rose to dangerous levels in South Africa’s biggest river, the Orange.
The river rises in the Drakensberg Mountains in the eastern part of the
country near Lesotho and flows westwards across the country and along the
border with southern Namibia before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean,
covering a distance of 2,200 km.
"We are expecting above-normal rains," said Cobus Olivier, a scientist at
the South African Weather Services.
Vuyelwa Qinga Vika, spokeswoman for the ministry of cooperative governance
and traditional affairs, said 36 people had been killed in extensive
flooding, particularly in the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, parts of
which have been inundated by a tributary of the Orange River.
Across northwestern South Africa, neighbouring Namibia has been on standby,
watching water levels steadily rise in the Orange River, said Japhet Itenge,
the head of the country's disaster management directorate. "We are
monitoring the situation and the village councils have been informed.
The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), staffed jointly by officials from Zambia
and Zimbabwe, said it would open the flood gates of the Kariba Dam, situated
between northwestern Zimbabwe and southeastern Zambia, on 29 January. This
could cause flooding in the region.
by Own Correspondent Friday 14 January 2011
HARARE – The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has tightened the
screws on trade in illicit diamonds by instructing its members to rigorously
screen all stones brought before them in order to cut the flow of gems from
WFDB President Avi Paz this week called on each of the federation’s 29
bourse members to hold a general assembly to discuss how to protect the
reputation of the WFDB-affiliated diamond bourses and their members.
As part of the measures, the WFDB chief said it was important that each
individual diamantaire who holds bourse membership was “completely up to
speed as to the requirements, rules and regulations concerning the ban on
trading in diamonds originating in areas and regions of conflict."
He urged the individual bourses to impose an absolute ban on conflict
diamonds as expressed in the rules and regulation of the WFDB and to prepare
presentations in their native language on the Kimberley Process
Certification Process (KPCS).
"We have to uphold our commitment to assure that no diamonds originating in
conflict regions enter the [diamond] trade, and the members of our 29 member
bourses are those who need to stand guard over this,” Paz said in a letter
The WFDB statement comes in the wake of last month’s arrest of an Israeli
diamond dealer who was caught trying to smuggle illicit stones obtained from
Zimbabwe’s controversial Marange fields.
David Vardi was immediately expelled from the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE)
for violating a ban on trade in Marange diamonds.
Vardi was arrested in late December after a courier he had hired to carry
the diamonds was caught by custom officials as he was about to exit Ben
Gurion Airport in Israel.
After his arrest, the courier, Gilad Halachmi, implicated Vardi resulting in
the trader being picked up for questioning.
The diamonds were not accompanied by Kimberley Process (KP) certificates as
required by law and international treaties.
Diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange region are banned for exports as part of
measures to force the southern African country to adhere to KP mining
The Zimbabwean army is accused of alleged human rights abuses at the Marange
fields, including engaging in forced labour and smuggling.
Harare, January 14, 2011 – Five Zanu (PF) supporters who formed an eight man
terror gang that terrorised villagers in the Beatrice area soon after the
March 29, 2008 elections, were on Thursday sentenced to three year jail
terms by a Chitungwiza magistrate.
Chitungwiza magistrate, Patience Ururu-Madondo found the group guilty of a
combination of torture, open assault and theft, all committed during the
volatile period that succeeded the disputed poll.
They are Carter Matengambiri, Tabeth Mubaiwa, Oncemore Matangira, David
Makina and Zacharia Moyo. Three others were acquitted.
Twenty people are listed as complainants in the matter.
According to the state, all the accused persons were Zanu (PF) supporters
who staged a terror campaign around neighbouring villages in the farming
area accusing their victims of supporting the then opposition MDC party.
While torturing and assaulting the accused, they would command them to sing
MDC songs while beating them up with logs and sticks.
They would also visit the complainants at their homes, making random
searches looking for MDC regalia and party cards.
They would further demand back the farm inputs issued under the RBZ
agricultural mechanisation scheme from those they suspected to have been
supporters of MDC saying the inputs were not supposed to benefit non-Zanu
MDC which lost 200 of its supporters in the 2008 political violence has
always complained of the lack of prosecution of those who were involved.
Chimanimani, January 14 2011- A war veteran has been arrested for planting
mbanje at a coffee farm which he helped to grab from Roy Bennett of the
Movement of Democratic Change (MDC).
Pachedu farm, one of the country's major coffee growers and foreign currency
earner was forcibly taken by a group of war veterans in 2005.
Sources said Gimore Muusha, a well known notorious war veteran in the area
was arrested by police this week after the police got a tip from fellow
invaders. Police recovered 35 mbanje plants in the coffee bushes and in his
pole and dagga house.
“Muusha has been planting mbanje in coffee bushes for a long time and
selling the illicit drug to fellow invaders and workers from surrounding
timber plantations," said the source.
Muusha has been fingered several times in political violence against MDC
supporters. Initially he had occupied Bennett's main farm house when the
farm was invaded but was evicted by government owned Agricultural Rural
Development Agency (ARDA) officers.
Radio VOP failed to get a comment from police as telephone lines were down
due to heavy rains.
Urban management specialists say planting crops in certain areas must be
regulated to prevent soil erosion and the accumulation of silt, among other
detrimental effects that can arise from city farming
Patience Rusere | Washington 13 January 2011
Maize meal or "mealie meal" is a staple of the typical Zimbabwean diet
Many residents of the Zimbabwean capital of Harare and the country's
second-largest city, Bulawayo, have been up in arms recently over the
destruction by authorities of maize crops planted in urban gardens to
supplement food supplies and stretch minimal incomes.
The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai is holds a political majority on the Harare and Bulawayo city
councils, but has protested that it had nothing to do with the slashing of
urban maize crops. It accused police in Harare of destroying the technically
illegal crops to tarnish the council's image.
Yet urban management specialists say planting crops in certain areas must be
regulated to prevent soil erosion and the accumulation of silt, among other
For more on this debate VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere spoke with
Shamiso Mtisi, a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association,
and Precious Shumba, coordinator of the Harare Residents Trust.
Shumba said Zimbabweans must raise crops wherever they live as a matter of
Maize meal or "mealie meal" is a staple of the typical Zimbabwean diet.
HARARE, 14 January 2011 (IRIN) - Timely access to fertilizers, seeds and
good rains have set Zimbabwe on course for a good harvest, say agriculture
The Agriculture Minister, Joseph Made, told journalists the area planted
with cereals such as sorghum and maize had increased by thousands of
hectares this season from 2009-2010.
However, he cautioned that a good crop was only expected if rains persisted
during January. Zimbabwe’s Meteorological Services has predicted heavy rains
in the coming weeks.
The area planted with maize was up from 530,000ha in 2009-2010 to 660,000ha
this season, said Made. Other grains had also seen their coverage increase
from 110,000ha to 174,000ha.
In a decade marked by socio-economic instability, food production has begun
to improve in Zimbabwe in the past two years.
A joint mission in 2010 by the UN World Food Programme and Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that after the 2008 season, when
less than 500,000 tons of maize was harvested, production more than doubled
in 2009 and 2010, to 1.27 and 1.35 million tons respectively
Although expensive, maize seeds and fertilizers, unlike in previous years,
have been available in the market.
The pro-ZANU-PF daily newspaper, The Herald, reported in December 2010 that
the government had provided loans worth US$122.2 million to farmers for
support during the 2010-2011 season, with banks providing $286 million to
More than 900,000 poor households have been given agricultural inputs, noted
the FAO in its latest update.
But FAO said it was concerned about food price increases: between September
and November 2010, the price of maize rose by some 26 percent in the
capital, Harare, after having been stable in the previous months.
The price of maize meal, a staple food, has begun to climb in the past two
An estimated 1.7 million Zimbabweans will face severe food insecurity in the
peak hunger period of January to March 2011, according to the 2011 UN
Consolidated Appeal for Zimbabwe. About 38 percent of the $415 million
appeal will take care of food-related needs - down from 50 percent in the
last appeal for 2010.
The peak hunger period is when crops are planted and nurtured to maturity.
The appeal in December 2010 has received a little more than $680,000 funding
so far, with pledges worth $2.9 million.
There has been a scare for the agriculturally rich provinces of Mashonaland
Central and East in the north after army-worm caterpillars destroyed more
than 50ha of planted maize. Farmers in the region said it was one of the
most serious attacks in recent years.
The Herald newspaper said the attack threatened national food security, with
another 800ha of planted sorghum, maize and pasture land at risk. But it
quoted an agricultural official, Godfrey Chikwenhere, giving assurances that
they had enough chemicals to deal with the caterpillars.
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:56pm GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe set up a commodities exchange on Friday, ending
a government monopoly on trade in grains and cereals to try to bring higher
prices for farmers and encourage them to increase production.
Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube said the new Commodities
Exchange in Zimbabwe (COMEZ), a partnership between the government and
private investors, would initially trade grains and cereals and later expand
to cover other commodities outside the agriculture sector.
"We want a situation where the smallest farmer of grains and cereals
wherever located should be able to take advantage of the commodities
exchange," Ncube said at the COMEZ launch.
The southern African country has grappled since 2001 with food shortages
that are often attributed to agricultural disruption caused by President
Robert Mugabe's seizure of white-owned commercial farms for black
The government abolished the only agriculture commodities exchange in 2001,
decreeing the state Grain Marketing Board be the sole buyer and seller of
grain and cereals. Farmers complained of poor prices and payment delays.
The Zimbabwe Agriculture Commodities Exchange traded commodities worth $677
million in 2001 before it was abolished.
Since a political settlement between Mugabe and arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai
in 2009, Zimbabwe's farming has started to recover, with output of tobacco,
a key export crop, doubling last year.
Maize production has also risen on the back of more support for farmers and
the adoption of hard currencies.
Published: Jan. 14, 2011 at 1:59 PM
HARARE, Zimbabwe, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Zimbabwe will divide the state-owned
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe into two companies intended to attract
In a tacit acknowledgement of the government's mishandling of NOCZIM Energy
and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma said that the new firms would
be open to both local and foreign investors, telling journalists: "In terms
of partners being local or foreign it's immaterial ... all we want are
investors and their money. A business venture with sound capital is far
better operational wise than one with no money," the Zimbabwe Independent
newspaper reported Friday.
Mangoma added that no time frame had been set on the search for partners,
noting that "the government is going ahead with the project at the same time
seeking partners" and while "several companies have shown interest in the
project," no definite bids had been submitted.
Mangoma, who is a senior member of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change party, said the reform of NOCZIM followed the
government's conclusion that it wasn't viable for NOCZIM to be both a
regulator and a player.
NOCZIM's reform is an element in the unity government of Tsvangirai and
President Robert Mugabe to privatize and make commercially viable state
companies currently losing money that need Treasury intervention to save
them from collapse.
The NOCZIM reform isn't the government's first attempt to privatize
loss-making government businesses. In November the government sold its
controlling stake in the state's Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company to India's
Essar Group in a deal believed to be worth nearly $500 million.
Mangoma added that the government was yet to decide exactly how much
investment it would require from potential investors to invest into the oil
trading company formed from NOCZIM, saying, "The partner for the
infrastructure company will be taken in on an operational basis and they
will be assisting in the stock management of the company. For the trading
one we are looking for an equity partner though we are yet to come up with
the actual figure of the kind of investment we require."
According to Mangoma, there are up to eight other government-controlled
entities that are earmarked for immediate privatization or restructuring.
Under the government's privatization plan for NOCZIM, one of the new
entities would solely be responsible for national fuel depots and
infrastructure with its primary agenda being managing the importation of
petroleum products through different modes, including the Beira pipeline
running from Mozambique to Zimbabwe, while the second firm would be devoted
to fuel retailing.
By Tichaona Sibanda
14 January 2011
The newly elected national executive of the MDC-M led by Welshman Ncube has
recalled four ‘rebel’ party rapporteurs from the team drafting the country’s
The four rapporteurs are from Harare, Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland
East. They are part of a group that boycotted the party congress held over
the weekend in the capital. All of them were appointed to the constitution
drafting team during Arthur Mutambara’s reign as party president.
The party now wants them removed from the constitution drafting exercise and
replaced by pro-Ncube members. Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us
co-chairpersons of COPAC received communication from the MDC informing them
of their decision to recall the 4 rapporteurs.
‘The group belongs to a faction that is pro-Mutambara and very critical of
Ncube and the way he outmanoeuvred the former president from the hot seat.
The Ncube group now view the rapporteurs as enemies and claim they are no
longer members of their party,’ Muchemwa said.
Over 210 rapporteurs and 70 technicians are currently in Harare working on
the uploading of information gathered during the constitutional outreach
process. All, including the four have signed contracts and have already been
paid some money by COPAC.
Edwin Mushoriwa, the party spokesman told SW Radio Africa the issue of
contracts and money was of no concern to them as they were prepared to let
them go with the pay they have received. He said the party was prepared to
pay those that are going to replace them from party coffers, including their
hotel accommodation and upkeep.
‘In the first place we notified COPAC of our intention to recall them but we
were surprised when they were clandestinely made to sign contracts. These
people are busy holding press conferences and denigrating the position of
the president and image of the party.
‘We therefore don’t have confidence in them to represent us. Whose views are
they going to represent when they are against the new executive. We are
recalling them primarily because of their conduct which is detrimental to
the party,’ Mushoriwa said.
The spokesman said they’ve been made aware of ZANU PF’s chicanery to
allegedly use the four to inflame despondency in the MDC. He said Robert
Mugabe’s party was ‘running them’ and were now of no use to their party.
JOHANNESBURG, 14 January 2011 (IRIN) - Zimbabweans now have until the end of
July 2011 to obtain documentation legalizing their presence in South Africa
following a meeting between Department of Home Affairs Officials and members
of the Zimbabwean Stakeholder Forum on 12 January.
A statement released by the SA Home Affairs department confirmed that
undocumented Zimbabweans could not be arrested before 1 August.
More than 275,000 Zimbabweans submitted applications for work, business or
study permits by the end of last year in a bid to regularize their stay in
South Africa before the end of a 17-month moratorium on deportations.
Human rights organizations fear that thousands of Zimbabweans who have
migrated to South Africa to escape the social and economic problems that
have rocked their country in recent years, could face deportation when the
The Home Affairs department recently announced that no deportations would
take place until the end of March 2011 to allow time to process the
applications. Only about 23,000 have so far been approved, with nearly
221,000 still under adjudication.
However, the Zimbabwean authorities have been unable to keep up with the
demand for passports and other documents needed to process the applications.
After Wednesday’s meeting it was decided to extend the period for processing
documentation until 30 June, after which applicants will have a month to
collect their permits from Home Affairs.
According to the statement, the Department will initiate “a sustained
engagement with the Zimbabwean government to expedite the issuance of
passports”, starting with a meeting between the Zimbabwean Ambassador and
the Consul-General early next week.
The statement also noted that lists of applicants requiring passports were
being provided to the Zimbabwean Embassy on a daily basis.
“We are happy the moratorium on deportations has been extended,” Gabriel
Shuma, Director of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, told IRIN. “The South African
government has shown it's very keen to assist Zimbabweans to have a modicum
of dignity in this country, but we’re not happy that our own government has
been reluctant to assist its citizens.”
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Beitbridge, January 14, 2011 – Soldiers patrolling on the periphery of the
BeitBridge border fence have been accused of sexually harassing desperate
border jumpers intending to cross to South Africa.
Zimbabweans living in South Africa who had come to the country hoping to
acquire travel documents have been forced to leave the country without
passports due to chaos at the Home Affairs Department.
Sources who spoke to Radio VOP said women who use undesignated entry points
into South Africa are subjected to sexual harassment including rape.
“Soldiers are forcing women, especially young girls to sleep with them to be
allowed to proceed to South Africa while men face severe beatings”, said one
transporter who requested not to be named. The transporters popularly known
as “Omalayitsha” are notoriously known to ferry passengers without travel
In the past two weeks the soldiers and police officers have been on high
alert at the border as they thwart undocumented Zimbabweans willing to enter
Zimbabweans have been so daring that they cross the crocodile infested
Limpopo River as they flee their country which has been hit by years of
economic demise and political upheaval.
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists
(CPJ) on Friday warned that Zimbabwe is sliding backwards in terms of
progress towards media reforms and called on the government to urgently
repeal draconian security and media laws that continue to stifle the country’s
CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita in a statement issued here
Friday said Zimbabwe’s unity government was using legal and administrative
constraints to hamper the work of media practitioners.
"We call on the government to repeal the repressive Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which would be in line with media
reform pledges made under the power-sharing government," Keita said in the
He said the Zimbabwean government has failed so far to deliver on a March
2010 promise by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to repeal AIPPA and amend
contentious media and security legislation by the end of 2011.
AIPAA, considered one of the most repressive media laws in the region, also
gives officials sweeping discretion to withhold public information they deem
not to be of "public interest," according to a study by the Media Institute
of Southern Africa.
Since 2002, AIPPA, a draconian piece of media-licensing legislation, has
forced news organizations and journalists operating in Zimbabwe to annually
register with the government and pay accreditation fees under penalty of
prosecution and jail time.
The CPJ statement comes after a late 2010 amendment to AIPPA hiked mandatory
registration and accreditation fees for the press working in the country by
as much as 400 percent.
Under the new fee structure, an international news outlet must pay US$6,000
for permission to operate a bureau in Zimbabwe (triple the old rate of
US$2,000) in addition to a US$1,000 application fee for such permission
(double the old rate of US$500).
Renewal of the permit went from being free to US$5,000.
Zimbabwean journalists working for foreign media are required to pay US$100
to apply for accreditation (five times the old rate of US$20) while the
accreditation fee quadrupled from US$100 to US$400. The fee for renewal of
accreditation went from being free to US$300.
Fees for regional southern African news organizations doubled, while
increases remained modest for local journalists and news outlets.
The authorities have imposed a US$1 fine for each day of delay starting on
January 10, according to local journalists.
Written by The Zimbabwean
Friday, 14 January 2011 11:12
Last night my attention was drawn to a statement published by the online
version of the Zimbabwean newspaper that was issued by the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) under the title: “MDC concerned about the plight of
workers and families in Shabanie and Mashava”
After reading the article, I was compelled to respond not only because it
exposes a binary worldview that is dominant in Zimbabwean politics but also
if the issues are not addressed as they emerge, a danger exists that our
history may end up being distorted and rewritten for purely political
No one can doubt the concern of a political party about the plight of
workers and families. The link between the labour movement and the party
may have a lot in explaining why the party is not concerned about the plight
of a shareholder who lost his rights through an act of state.
To reduce the SMM saga into a personal between Hon. Chinamasa and myself can
only be described as intellectual dishonesty. I have no doubt that within
the MDC family there are intellectuals who would and should know better and
yet the statement carries with it the name of the party and must, therefore,
at face value represent the thinking in the party on this complex matter.
Is it fair to describe the SMM dispute as a consequence of personal
bickering and wrangle between Hon. Chinamasa, a political and state actor,
and a private individual like myself? For the record, I have no personal
issue with Hon. Chinamasa and at no stage in my life have I been involved in
any matter that could possibly make him hold a personal grudge against me.
But he is free to speak for himself. How can one upset a Minister of
Justice whose mandate is to promote justice and equity? The Ministry has
very little to do with the private sector and it is only in this strange
matter that issues related to alleged state liability are being handled
outside the Ministry of Finance which point must be of concern to any
However, I have learnt to accept that in Zimbabwe, most of the opinions
expressed are informed by a worldview that reduces any dispute into personal
rather than national terms.
I was recently shocked when a fellow passenger approached me on my way back
from a trip to Zimbabwe in November to warn me that Hon. Chinamasa was on
the same flight that I was booked on. He was expecting some fireworks but I
responded politely to him that I harbour no personal ill feelings against
the person of Chinamasa.
This is and has always been my position. Contrary to the view expressed in
the statement, Chinamasa is a state actor and, therefore, represents the
Republic of Zimbabwe. He took the same oath that was taken by all persons
appointed to cabinet by President Mugabe. It would be wrong for anyone to
attempt to score cheap political points by alleging that the government of
Zimbabwe is divisible.
I should like to believe that the person who authored the statement is fully
aware that there is no constitutional crisis in Zimbabwe. The inclusive
government is the legitimate authority through which the business of the
people of Zimbabwe is conducted. The decisions of the government are
binding to all and the action of any state actor promotes or undermines the
Under the GPA, the three principals are expected to be the custodians of the
peoples’ agenda. There is one head of state and Chinamasa’s actions have to
be viewed in the context that he is and has always acted in a representative
capacity. He has no personal stake in the government and it would be wrong
to accuse him of pursuing personal interest without assuming the burden of
Ultimately, the state is a peoples’ project and anyone who acts in the name
of the state has to be accorded the status that he/she deserves.
Chinamasa has to act within the context he finds himself. He has no power
to pass laws on his own. In fact, even to invoke Presidential Powers to
allow the state and not Chinamasa to seize control of SMM, one must accept
that he must have consulted the President and the President must have
authorised the intended course of action.
In fact, the President did authorise Chinamasa to proceed in the manner he
did. Subsequently, the temporary measures that were used to
extra-judicially assume control of SMM through the appointment by the
executive and not the judiciary of an Administrator were enacted into law
and the President signed the bill which then gave birth to the
Reconstruction of State Indebted Insolvent Companies Act.
Since 2005, this is the law of the country. So to reduce the SMM matter
into a personal one is not only regrettable but misses the fundamental
issues at stake. Chinamasa can legitimately argue the bill was passed by
the House of Assembly in which the MDC was represented and at no stage has
the MDC-T asked for the law to be repealed.
Some may say that the law is a bad law but one must accept that once enacted
it imposes obligations on the part of the Minister of Justice to whom its
administration is vested to enforce it. It would be wrong to target
Chinamasa as a person because he is in reality he must just be a messenger
unless there is proof to suggest otherwise.
If the law was and is considered to have toxic effects like the adverse
impact on the livelihoods of SMM’s employees then surely the MDC-T
representatives in the executive and legislature must know what to do rather
than issue statements that tend to mask the real issues at play.
Because I am black, I would not expect my entry into big business to be
understood not only because of the country’s history but I believe that
attitudes determine the altitude one can climb.
We come from a heritage where there are a few role models in business and,
therefore, anyone who scales the business mountain is easily misunderstood
to be a crony or an appendage of political forces.
I guess to the person who authored the statement, my rights are perishable
and are not worthy of concern to the party. The link between the employer
and worker as social partners is easily lost in the kind of politics that is
focused on narrow and personal issues rather than the kind of Zimbabwe one
would want to see.
I guess if I was of different heritage, the concern may have been about the
kind of legal framework and political morality that would allow the state as
a purported creditor to engage in self help activities and completely rule
out the involvement of the appointment of an Administrator of a company
incorporated and administered in terms of the Companies Act.
I should like to think that the MDC is alive to the fact that the Companies
Act under which SMM was registered has adequate provisions to protect a bona
fides creditor. If this is the case, why then would the party not be
concerned about the fact that in this matter, the state felt as a purported
creditor that it needed the protection of new laws even using temporary
powers given to the President to use in the case of emergencies?
The link between the absence of the rule of law and an environment where
personal liberty is not assured and property rights are not protected and
job losses is and must be obvious to all and yet the import of the statement
is to suggest that job losses have visited Shabanie and Mashava solely
because of a personal dispute between Chinamasa and me.
Ordinarily in an environment that is characterised by checks and balances,
reconstruction laws would not exist and a Minister of Justice would be
restrained from converting allegations into convictions without the
involvement of the courts.
I was specified in July 2004 and de-specified in May 2010. A lot has
happened in between these dates and it must be obvious to the author of the
statement that what has happened could only have taken place because of the
laws that were passed.
We all expect to have a Zimbabwe that respects the rule of law but when
political actors focus their attention on symptoms then one must reflect and
take note that the kind of protection one would expect from democracy cannot
be taken for granted. If the people to whom you look for protection are the
very people who are allergic to justice then only God can help Zimbabwe.
I have repeatedly made the point that if I was selfish, I would find no need
of being involved in multiple businesses because one must accept that this
requires one to trust others to manage a large portfolio.
Although I have been accused of externalisation, is it not strange to the
MDC that I am also credited for creating an empire not in foreign states but
in Zimbabwe. How could I do both? To me it would not make sense for one
who does not believe in building Zimbabwe to then invest in the same
An externalizer does not need an Administrator to expose his/her ways
because actions speak louder than words yet in my case very few have cared
to ask the question what kind of idiot would invest in Zimbabwe and then
stand accused of externalisation. If I had externalised, the consequences
would be obvious and the government would have had nothing to seize as the
assets would have been out of reach.
Yes, I have no doubt of MDC’s interest in the plight of the workers but I
should like to believe that it should not take 6 years to express it and
should not have waited for me to be de-specified for Zimbabweans to know.
In a binary world that many Zimbabweans choose to live in, every dispute can
be reduced to them and us. In this case, I am condemned to the “bad guys”
and the MDC is free to assume the higher moral ground. What the author
sought to demonstrate is that the SMM dispute is a private matter. If it
was, I would be on the street fighting a private adversary but this is not
Chinamasa is armed with state power and I am armed with nothing. To the
extent that this fight has lasted 6 years, I would have thought that any
rational mind would see the bigger picture and what time it is in Zimbabwe.
In many other countries, this matter would be high on the agenda of people
genuinely interested in change and a better future.
A point is made that: “The reduction of these mines into dead capital means
people in the surrounding areas cannot tap into it for support. Workers have
lost their incomes and their families can no longer afford a lifestyle they
were used to before the de-specification of Mawere in July 2004.” What it
suggests is that before my de-specification in May 2010, the workers were
enjoying a good life style and it appears that it is the view of the MDC
that I should not have been de-specified.
It is then stated that: “It is callous for government whether inclusive or
exclusive to behold such suffering and it takes no remedial actions” when it
is common cause that there is only one cabinet in Zimbabwe and with the
exception of the Ministry of Home Affairs, each ministry has a political
head who reports to President Mugabe. By blaming the actions of any state
actor one must accept that the collective is culpable for the conduct of any
of the Ministers including Chinamasa. Even the Prime Minister and his
deputies cannot escape blame when they have been part of the inclusive
government for more than 2 years. In fact, it is instructive that no
dispute has been recorded between the three Principals on the SMM matter.
What we know is that on the Roy Bennett matter, there have been differences
and the party has a known position.
When the MDC says: “It is equally heartless for any government to ignore the
impact of such selfish and unproductive squabbles on the women, children,
and underprivileged in our society” without providing a solution one must
get concerned about the state of mind of the person who authored this
Is it true as alleged that: “Sadly, the lives of over 60 000 people in the
two towns and surrounding communal lands have been sacrificed by the
wrangling over the future of the mines?” I have attempted to explain that
to reduce fundamental governance challenges into personal feuds with no
respect for the facts and the law is an act of hypocrisy at its best.
It is then suggested that: “Zanu PF - true to its colour, has shown that it
is anti-poor, anti-workers and anti-prosperity, which is why in the MDC, a
pro-poor, pro-workers and pro-prosperity party, we have problems with a
functionary of Zanu PF in the likes of Chinamasa, who want to despoil assets
without considering the burden such behaviour has on the general populace.”
What has this to do with ZANU-PF? I should like to believe that when I deal
with Chinamasa I only do so in his capacity as the Minister and not as
I have nothing against ZANU-PF because as a political club it has no means
to do the kind of things that it is normally credited for. Governments only
work best if citizens are armed with facts and this statement exposes the
kind of work that needs to be done to improve the condition of Zimbabweans.
Before the formation of the inclusive government an argument could be made
that the actions of government reflected the dominant culture in force at
the time but one should like to believe that there is nothing to stop the
MDC-T from stating its position on issues like SMM. I assume this statement
represents the collective thinking in the party that all that is bad coming
from government actions must be attributed to ZANU-PF. This kind of
thinking must not go unchallenged.
In stating that: “The MDC finds the behaviour of Zanu PF towards the mines
intriguing, for nothing can be achieved by the on-going stand-off with
Mawere when a solution remains elusive” it becomes clear that the author of
this statement has limited understanding of how governments work. The MDC-T
has representatives in the government and their actions cannot and should
not be construed as partisan.
I cannot find an occasion where for example, a Minister has issued a letter
on the party letterhead in the conduct of his duties as a state actor.
Since the formation of the inclusive government, we have to make the
collective accountable and it should not be wrong to hold, for instance, the
Prime Minister who is also the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers for
I was baffled by the statement: “In particular, the events surrounding
Mawere’s fate smacks of policy confusion in that at one stage he is declared
a criminal – thus forcing him to go into exile -- and on another his
specification is lifted, without any cogent explanation” because I was
de-specified by the co-Ministers of Home Affairs.
Instead of establishing from Hon. Mutsekwa who was involved in the matter,
it is strange that the import of the statement is to question the basis on
which the decision to de-specify not only myself but others was made. Why
would the MDC-T not be interested in verifying from its own representatives
in government what is going on?
It is not clear what message the author of the statement is trying to convey
when he/she says: “The policy flip flop sends a damaging message to any
would-be investor, with devastating consequences for Zimbabwe’s long term
economic revival” without precisely spelling out who is flip flopping.
The people of Zimbabwe deserve a better deal and my only hope is that our
experiences can help change the content of our daily conversations to a high
political morality that seeks to build nations founded on values and not
personalities. Even when I am gone, I would like my voice of the challenges
of today being heard by future generations. Such a voice must remain
focused on the prize that tomorrow is only different from today if change
begins with us.
Anyone who is interested and concerned about the plight of workers at SMM
must necessarily be concerned about the kind of environment that would
permit the absurdity to take place while political actors chose to engage in
diversionary tactics and strategies whose sole purpose is to score political
points rather than address the root causes of the problem.
by Mutumwa Mawere Friday 14 January 2011
WHAT will Africa be like in 2050 when we complete the first half of this
century dubbed the African century? Whose business is it or should be to
shape Africa’s future?
Changing what our future looks like ought to be the business of our
generation and yet as each day passes, we look to others to do what we can
and should do in our interest to make tomorrow a better and brighter day for
all. We hope and trust others to do what we are not willing to do in our own
self-interest to make the difference that we want to see in Africa.
During the colonial era, we all know what was wrong and what time it was.
We are now in control and yet the invasion of Africa by outsiders who see
more promise in its relatively unexplored and yet to be exploited belly than
its majority inhabitants suggests that in 2050, it is not unimaginable that
the Chinese investors of today, for example, will be given marching orders
by the living generation of Africans who will find cause to blame the
foreigners for their lack of progress.
When the generation of 2050 looks back at our generation, what will they say
about us? We have the privilege of writing our own story through actions and
yet in many African states the preoccupation is on political issues rather
than matters that inspire others to scale the heights of progress.
Someone else’s business?
Imagine the future without your input. That future should have no relevance
to you and yet many of us would want to be alive without asking ourselves
what precisely is the purpose of life if at the end of the day we make no
difference to the environment we live in.
Is the future someone else’s business? It is and should the business to all
who have a stake in it. That makes all of us stakeholders.
On January 7, 2011, I woke up imagining what the future holds for Africa. As
a Zimbabwe-born African, I could only start by imagining what my motherland
will look like in 2050.
Will it be a country dominated by indigenous persons? What would the mining
sector look like? What would be the ownership structure of land? Who will be
the drivers of economic and political change?
Will the current political institutions be still alive in 2050 or will they
sink into followers than drivers as UNIP and Malawi Congress Party have done
in Zambia and Malawi, respectively?
Who will control the economic landscape? Will the brain drain be converted
into a resident brain trust? What would be the state of Zimbabwean schools,
hospitals, roads, prisons and all the institutions we generally associate
with progress and civilisation?
In the case of Zimbabwe, the last 30 years of independence has produced a
toxic mind that regards politics as the key driver of change. It is not
uncommon for people to refer to others as, for example, a Zanu PF or MDC
person as if political parties are capable of owning people’s minds.
To the extent that political institutions and the individuals who drive them
are accorded a different status in society, it is natural that many will
look to politicians to drive the agenda for change.
What we do know is that the current players in the Zimbabwean political
drama will all have expired in 2050 and yet it will be the case that people
will seek to attribute the lack of development to the actions and choices of
a few powerful people.
If one were to ask the question of who most inspires Africans, I have no
doubt that the likely response will be the names of political actors. We
forget that politicians are human beings like all of us. They are incapable
of solving another person’s problems without the means being created by
others. The political market produces intangible outputs.
Therefore, it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of political actors
but we generally associate the impact of human development indicators to
have a relationship with the actions and choices of politicians.
The behaviour of African politicians is no different from the universal
behavior of political actors. Their business is to stay in power for as much
as possible in as much as the business of an entrepreneur is to remain in
business for a long time if not to eat into the market shares of
Any small-scale entrepreneur will tell you that his/her ambition is to be
the biggest and yet in pursuing such an objective, it must be accepted that
the interests of others may be injured or destroyed in the process.
What will BRICSA mean to the rest of Africa? The emergence of the BRICSA
grouping as a leading global player offers opportunities and threats to
The BRIC countries are underpinned by a strong business sector with a
national character and yet the key drivers of South Africa, the only African
state to be invited to join this prestigious group, are not drawn from the
When South Africa boasts of strong economic growth, such growth has yet to
translate into a broad-based internalisation of benefits. In terms of
control of the commanding heights of the economy, we know that in countries
like China, India, Brazil and Russia, the control vests in nationals whose
interests are an integral part of national interest.
The ruling class in South Africa, for example, is still preoccupied with the
baggage of the past while the former perpetrators of economic injustice are
now the global players with African origins.
The misalignment between politics and business is best exposed when you
examine how many of South Africa’s key economic drivers of change are
members of the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).
In the case of Zimbabwe, we have seen business and professional persons
refusing to associate or even become part of the political process and yet
are the most vocal critics of the few who chose to dedicate their lives to a
mandate enshrined in the constitution by representing the aspirations of the
Most of the ruling parties are denied the wisdom resident in professional
and businesspersons’ minds because the status of political players has been
sufficiently undermined by the general disdain and misunderstanding of the
role envisaged in the constitution of political players.
In terms of funding, the political institutions that have no control of the
state face a tough time in sustaining their operations.
I have no doubt that the majority of Africans will be inspired more by faith
in 2050 than by their own political institutions. We have seen more being
done in the name of faith than in the name of politicians.
Tradition of liberation
How can the paradigm shift to make Africa a winning proposition? We all have
work to do. We have to start focusing at what we can do to make Africa work
better for our future generations rather than what politicians have not
Imagine Africa in 2050. If you can imagine it, then you can make Africa what
you want it to be. Our heritage is rich and yet we rarely broaden our
discovery to include the corporate legacy that has been created by the
contribution of all including those born outside the continent but who
decided to make Africa their home.
We all must look at ourselves as drivers of change. It is for this reason I
feel judging by the people who choose to include me in their conversations
that I have played my part in defining my generation.
Any knowledge I share with my generation will no doubt assist future
generations in better understanding what was important to me as I woke up
daily to invest in the business of life fully knowing that the future does
not belong to me physically but will be shaped and informed by the things
that I do in life.
If people gossip about you then you must know that you are alive. Even
people who credit Zanu PF for my business success, in so doing undermining
my own contribution to the process of economic and social change, confirm
the thinking that anything good or that represents progress must have a
political context. If this is true, the next 40 years will test our
collective capacity to rise above the limitations imposed by our past.
The enterprise of nation building is highly dynamic in which the past pain
or glory do not guarantee failure or success. Short-term expedient
strategies will not work for Africa. We have to be concerned about where
Africa will be in the next 20 or 40 years.
We have to carry the tradition of liberation and extend it to the economic
emancipation. We have to build our own institutions to serve not just the
needs of our generation but also the needs of future generations. The role
of the state in any human civilisation cannot be to do what citizens can do
Imagining the future ought to be our starting point than complaining about
the past for there is nothing we can do to change what already has
transpired. As I imagine in the quietness of my time, I hope to hear your
own imagination. Those who choose to remain silent must remember that the
future will never know what it is that occupied our minds and time.
Let us tell the story through conversations that focus on what is possible
if we choose to work together. Rhodesia was an idea but Zimbabwe like Africa
is an idea whose time has come. We are ultimately the change that we want to
see. -- Mutumwa Mawere is a Zimbabwean born businessman based in South