By Violet Gonda
18 January 2013
Leaders of civil society organisations (CSOs) held a press conference in
Harare on Friday, in reaction to what they say is a rising crackdown by the
police on rights defenders, as the country prepares for elections. This
follows the arrests of Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
officials, including director Okay Machisa on charges of conspiracy to
commit fraud, publishing falsehoods and forgery.
Abel Chikomo, the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum,
said the CSOs condemned “the arbitrary arrests, detentions and continued
persecution” saying it is an “onslaught meant to criminalize the work of
civil society, discredit it and showcase CSOs as unpatriotic and devoid of
But the CSOs themselves are being criticized for failing to respond in a
practical and cohesive manner to “government abuse”.
Raymond Majongwe, who participated in the press conference on behalf of the
Concerned Affiliates of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, told SW Radio Africa that it was
time for less talk and more action.
“This is the challenge that I threw to the CSOs leaders. That we cannot
continue holding press conferences and ZANU PF knows that we are very
predictable. They arrest people, we have a press conference and after that
we go and enjoy Macheso and Oliver Mtukudzi in the night clubs in the
“But the moment we grow as civic groups and say –if they arrest one they
must arrest all of us – then we would have come out of the woods,” Majongwe
The civic leader said CSOs, which are supposed to be action oriented, have
failed as a collective to make the authorities in Zimbabwe accountable.
He said the MDC formation led by Prime Minister Tsvangirai, which has a
minister in the Home Affairs ministry which is in charge of the police, is
also “equally to blame” for failing to protect the citizenry.
The outspoken unionist said the lack of action by civil society will
continue, until the “right leadership is there to lead the civic movement,”
saying that at present “many of us are there for other reasons.”
Asked what he himself has done to lead by example he said it was difficult
to deal with the challenges on your own. He added: “And we are taking
instructions from so many people. It’s not like the civic movement is
independent. If the civic movement was independent and was driving its own
agenda we would obviously get a lot of things right.”
This is a reference to the fact that some observers criticise the donor
community for unnecessarily interfering in NGO projects.
Meanwhile, the civil society organizations said on Friday that they will be
presenting their grievances to SADC and the AU, the guarantors of the
Zimbabwe political agreement. They also called upon the government to
respect the separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, by
allowing courts to do their work without any undue influence. They also
called upon the international community to picket at Zimbabwean Embassies in
solidarity with human rights defenders under attack back home.
Social commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said there is too much “posturing” by the
CSOs who are failing to fulfill their mandate to defend and protect
Zimbabweans from harassment from central government.
He said: “The causes of this lethargy are because of petty jealousies and
competition. Civil society entities and leaders are very glad to see some of
their competitors being subdued.”
“I really feel there are hypocrites in this sector that take pride in the
demise of their colleagues,” Ngwenya added.
18 January 2013 – Citing arbitrary arrests, intimidation and harassment, the
United Nations human rights arm today condemned recent attacks against human
rights defenders in Zimbabwe ahead of elections expected later this year.
“We are concerned about the crackdown on non-governmental organisations and
dissenting voices seen as critical of President Robert Mugabe’s rule and
apparently politically motivated prosecutions,” Rupert Colville,
spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
(OHCHR), said at a briefing in Geneva.
In the latest case, on 14 January, the police pressed charges against Okay
Machisa, the director of Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) and
chairperson of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.
He was accused of publishing false statements prejudicial to the State,
fraud and forgery after allegedly conducting illegal voter registration. Mr.
Machisa handed himself to the police on 14 January, accompanied by his
lawyer, and remains in detention.
In a previous incident, ZimRights Education Programmes Manager Leo
Chamahwinya and ZimRights Local Chapter Chairperson Dorcas Shereni were
arrested by the police on 13 December 2012.
They were both denied bail by the High Court and remain in detention, Mr.
Visiting Zimbabwe for the first time last year, High Commissioner Navi
Pillay urged President Mugabe to ensure that the upcoming elections will be
free and fair and held in a peaceful atmosphere.
During the visit, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told her that there were
still challenges in the country, despite the formation of the Government of
National Unity in 2009.
The Government of National Unity was formed as part of an effort to stop the
violence that accompanied elections the previous year, when Mr. Tsvangirai
ran against Mr. Mugabe in the presidential polls.
By Alex Bell
18 January 2013
ZANU PF has launched an investigation into alleged diamond fraud involving
five of its officials, who have exposed the party’s control of the Chiadzwa
The case involves more than US$750, 000 that the five party members
allegedly managed to convince companies mining at Chiadzwa to hand over for
ZANU PF activities. The money was then reportedly used in part to fund their
The five include Manicaland provincial chairperson Mike Madiro, ousted
provincial youth chairperson Tawanda Mukodza, provincial youth secretary for
security Admire Mahachi, provincial youth secretary for information Masimba
Kangai and former district coordinating committee member Clever Muparutsa.
They stand accused of soliciting cash from the Chiadzwa based Mbada and
Anjin firms as well as a third unnamed company, stating the money was needed
for party activities, including last year’s people’s conference in Gweru. It
is alleged Mbada gave them US$300,000 while another US$450,000 was given by
the unnamed company. Anjin was also reportedly approached by the group, but
the company insisted that it would transfer its US$400,000 ‘donation’ into a
ZANU PF account.
According to the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, the group appeared before a
provincial disciplinary committee chaired by ZANU PF Manicaland vice
chairperson Dorothy Mabika last Friday, and again this week. The fate of the
group is not yet known, although reports suggest they could face being
kicked out of the party.
It is already widely speculated that ZANU PF has been using the diamonds
fields to generate cash for the party, and hidden profits that have not been
seen by the government Treasury are said to be lining the pockets of top
party officials. There have also been warnings from top international human
rights groups about the diamond mines financing a parallel regime in
Zimbabwe, to keep Robert Mugabe in power.
The case against the five party officials has further exposed how deep ZANU
PF’s influence runs at Chiadzwa, if money is so readily handed over for
party activities. Political analyst Clifford Mashiri, who has been closely
monitoring the diamond situation in Zimbabwe for several years, said Friday
that the case “is just the tip of the iceberg.”
“There’s every reason to suspect that there’s more to this than is just
being reported,” Mashiri told SW Radio Africa, adding: “We can clearly
deduce that ZANU PF is using diamond money for its election campaign and for
terrorising Zimbabweans head of elections, all of which needs money.”
Mashiri also questioned why the five party members are being “sacrificed” in
this way, given ZANU PF’s usual silence on illegal activity involving its
membership. He said the party is “trying to bring in some fake
transparency,” because they are attempting to save face ahead of elections.
“It is an election tactic to say you are rooting out corruption. But what we
see here is corruption within corruption because there is ongoing
corruption, allegedly committed by the diamond mines, and they are in turn
being solicited for money by corrupt ZANU PF officials,” Mashiri said.
ZANU PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo’s phone went unanswered Friday.
By Tichaona Sibanda
18 January 2013
Principals to the GPA agreed on Thursday to retain the contentious issue of
the running mates in the new constitution, but the relevant chapter will be
suspended for 5 years and will have no effect in this year’s elections.
The chapter on running mates was the only issue described as ‘unresolved’ in
the report that was presented to the principals by a seven member cabinet
A source privy to the discussions held by the principals at State House in
Harare told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the chapter will be invoked in
2018, when a presidential candidate from any of the contesting parties will
have a running mate.
The running mate issue was included in the 18th July draft, reportedly at
the instigation of ZANU PF negotiator Nicholas Goche. According to clause
5.5 (2) of the draft charter, a presidential candidate must nominate two
candidates to stand as his running mates.
But the chapter caused problems in both ZANU PF and the MDC-T, with the
former ruling party discussing it at a politburo meeting and then demanding
that it be scrapped. There were concerns within the party that it would
force Robert Mugabe to reveal his desired successor ahead of elections.
In the MDC-T the issue caused serious ructions and jockeying for positions,
as it left the party deeply divided into three groups over the criterion for
choosing the running-mates.
One group lobbied for the handpicking of running-mates by party leader and
Presidential candidate Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, another preferred
election by the provinces, while the third backed appointment by seniority.
‘The way the principals resolved the issue means that they will revert to
the old system in the coming elections where the president will appoint the
Vice-Presidents after the poll. The chapter will be brought into force
before 2018,’ the source added.
UK based political analyst Sanderson Makombe told us not much has changed
from the draft that was released in July by the parties.
‘Going by what has been said, I don’t think there have been any significant
changes to the draft, although we know there were concessions made by all
‘I honestly believe right now that the YES vote will prevail in the
referendum as all parties are agreeable to the draft document,’ Makombe
Meanwhile, the three constitutional drafters were busy Friday adding into
the new charter issues that have been resolved and agreed to by the
The drafters, former High Court Justice Moses Chinhengo; lawyer Priscilla
Madzonga and University of Zimbabwe law lecturer Brian Crozier are expected
to be done by next week, after which COPAC will present the draft to
Parliament in the second week of February.
by Staff Reporter
THE late Vice President John Landa Nkomo who died on Thursday will be buried
at the National Heroes’ Acre on Monday, Zanu PF decided.
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the party’s politburo had unanimously
adopted a resolution to declare Nkomo a national hero.
Nkomo’s body will be flown by a military helicopter to Tsholotsho and
Bulawayo over the weekend to allow locals in his former stomping ground to
say their farewell before being returned to Harare for burial, Gumbo said.
"He was a principled man who will be dearly missed, the fact that he held a
senior post in the party and government is testimony of his character,”
Gumbo said on Friday.
“He rose through the ranks, occupying various positions both in the party
and government. He was a unifier and his advice will be greatly missed. His
death is a loss to both the party and the government.”
Nkomo was hospitalised several times over the last three years in both
Zimbabwe and South Africa during a very public battle with cancer.
He was admitted at Harare's Avenues Clinic on Wednesday night but died hours
later. He was 79.
President Robert Mugabe visited Nkomo’s Milton Park home in Harare on Friday
morning where he spoke to gathered mourners.
Nkomo is survived by his wife Georgina (nee Ngwenya) and an unknown number
Contested legacy ... John Nkomo with Vice President Mujuru and PM Morgan
by Staff Reporter
ROY Bennett broke ranks with his MDC-T party on Thursday over tributes to
the late Vice President John Nkomo, accusing colleagues of “telling lies”
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai described Nkomo as “an eminent nationalist, a
liberation war icon and a committed patriot who will be sadly missed by all
Zimbabweans”, while extending “heartfelt condolences over the loss of such a
The party’s spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said “Nkomo’s politics was different
from that of his colleagues which is that of blood”, adding: “He was a
reconciliatory man and befittingly he was leading the Organ on National
But Bennett, the party’s treasurer who lives in exile in the United Kingdom,
said the tributes showed that the deaths of prominent Zanu PF politicians
were becoming “occasions for all sorts of nonsense and stupidity”.
He made reference to a tribute by the United States embassy which said Nkomo
was a “patriot who dedicated his life to Zimbabwe's sovereignty and
prosperity” – hardly any more gushing than those of Tsvangirai and Mwonzora.
“Excuse me. We may not like to speak ill of the dead, but let's not tell
lies,” stormed Bennett, a white former commercial farmer once jailed for
assaulting Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa in parliament.
He went on: “How can anyone with any sense say that John Nkomo dedicated his
life to Zimbabwe's prosperity? Since the 1980s, he has sat at the heart of
the beast that has destroyed Zimbabwe's economy. He has held the hand of the
dictator that has obliterated our hopes and freedoms.
“He must now be remembered by the choices he made. He chose to oppose the
people, rather than serve them. He walked around in tailor-made suits while
Zimbabweans walked in rags. He received private medical treatment in South
Africa, while Zimbabweans in South Africa were dying in the townships.”
Bennett said his advice to “the Americans and others who appear to be
bending over backward to show their neutrality in 2013” was: “Better to
shut-up and say nothing than to insult the millions of Zimbabweans who have
been murdered and impoverished by Zanu PF.”
Meanwhile MDC leader Welshman Ncube said Nkomo was a “unifying force” while
Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa spoke of Nkomo as a “stabilising force in
Added Dabengwa: “He didn’t like to hurt the feelings of anybody. He was
diplomatic and if he knew he did not agree with you, he wouldn’t use the
word ‘no’, but would find a diplomatic way and from that point. I think
people felt he was a stabilising factor.”
ZIMBABWE ELECTION SUPPORT NETWORK
Harare – 18 January 2013– The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)
welcomes the final agreement on the COPAC draft constitution between the
principals in the GPA. While the timelines provided for in the GPA have not
been met, the agreement by political parties will help to expedite the
process to a referendum which is long overdue.
While ZESN raised concerns about the role of parties in the constitution
making process, as usurping the role of citizens, it is important that the
steps provided in the GPA have to be adhered to, to ensure that citizens
have an opportunity to debate the draft. According to press statements, the
constitutional affairs and parliamentary affairs minister, the draft agreed
to by the principals still has to be presented to the standing committees of
political parties, ZANU PF’s Politburo and the full COPAC Parliamentary
committee before the final draft goes to a referendum. This process as
explained by the minister is not in line with provisions in the GPA, which
provides a roadmap to the constitution making process which parties agreed
to and was guaranteed by SADC.
ZESN is concerned that the current process as explained by Minister
Matinenga does not seem to include citizens. Citizens should be given an
opportunity to understand the draft, debate it and make choices based on
information and awareness of the contents of the constitution. The
constitution is for Zimbabweans and they need to be prioritised in these
processes. The draft has to be translated and summarised into content that
is accessible and understandable to citizens to enable informed choices at
ZESN is also concerned that taking the draft back to the parties’ standing
committees and the politburo will regress the process as more changes will
be proposed and negotiations will commence again thus hindering the progress
to referendum. Principals represent their parties and so taking the draft to
political parties again could be duplication of effort. According to the GPA
the draft constitution should be tabled before parliament, before being
gazetted and taken to referendum. In addition, the GPA states that a
referendum on the new draft shall be held within three months of the
conclusion of the debate which though limited would provide time for
citizens to familiarise themselves with the contents of the drafts and its
implications for the governance of the country. ZESN urges the stakeholders
to adhere to these timeframes and not short change citizens.
by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
Zimbabwe's inclusive government managed to resolve all sticky issues that
had stopped the constitution making process paving way for the finalization
of the draft constitution. We will furnish you with the revised document
once it's ready. This means Zimbabwe is now geared toward a referendum where
citizens will have an opportunity to exercise their democratic right.
If the process is to follow the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the
Referendums Act, Zimbabwe is likely to have a referendum in April this year.
On paper the next steps should be as follows:
1) The draft Constitution should be presented to Parliament and Parliament
should conclude the debate within one month (Read February);
2) The draft Constitution emerging from Parliament should be gazetted and
there should be one month (Read March) to allow campaigns for either a Yes
or No vote before the holding of a referendum.
In the preceding week we met senior government officials in the inclusive
government across political parties to re-emphasise the need for key
democratic reforms before the general election to pave way for a democratic
transition. This is out of our realisation that the transitional process
unfolding in Zimbabwe is one of transplacement where actors in government
remain key stakeholders. We will continue with our engagements and your
on-going solidarity is appreciated!
Harare, January 18, 2013 - The US ambassador to Zimbabwe says the recent
incident in which he was blocked to perform his duties in Manicaland in
eastern Zimbabwe by a group of young people does not diminish his respect
for the people of Zimbabwe.
In a statement he posted on his Face book wall, Wharton said:" This event
does not diminish my respect for the people of Zimbabwe, the vast majority
of whom I know to be smart, thoughtful and constructive. Nor does it deter
my determination to work respectfully with the people of Zimbabwe to resolve
disagreements and build a mutually beneficial relationship between our two
Wharton said he defended the right for people to engage in peaceful protests
but said respectful dialogue was desirable for progress.
"Frankly, the young people involved in that protest were victims," he said.
I know that they were organised, transported and paid to disrupt what was
meant to be an opportunity for Americans and Zimbabweans to have a
Wharton's tour of US supported projects in Rusape and Mutare on January 15
and 17 was disrupted by a group of young people who sang and chanted in
protest and suspected to be Zanu (PF) thugs.
The group tore a portrait of US President Barack Obama and danced on the US
flag among other things.
Efforts by Wharton to engage them in meaningful conversation failed, forcing
the US ambassador to drive off.
Friday, 18 January 2013 12:10
HARARE - SADC countries including Zimbabwe have reportedly deployed troops
to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) amid reports of a spectre
of a long multi-national campaign against the Rwandan-backed M23 rebels.
Zimbabwe is reported to have deployed a battalion of soldiers into the DRC
as part of a broader multi-national peacekeeping force to repel the M23
rebels who have been fighting the DRC’s army since April last year accusing
the Joseph Kabila administration of reneging on a 2009 peace deal.
However, Zimbabwe army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore
declined to comment yesterday, saying we “hereby advise you to go back to
your sources for further details on the subject.”
A column of a Sadc intervention force was expected to roll eastward towards
rebel lines this week, the first major deployment of ground troops, in a bid
to stop mass killings and rapes unleashed by the Tutsi-dominated M23 rebels.
Thousands of southern African soldiers, led by Tanzania, are due to take
over the offensive.
Regional armies are scrambling to accelerate an operation which was
initially not expected and has been brought forward by the scale of human
suffering that has seen more than half a million people displaced by
fighting between the M23 and the DRC army.
Sadc has said it plans to deploy 4 000 soldiers to bolster the DRC army as
an intervention force provided by Southern African states.
Heads of State of the Sadc organ on politics, defence and security met in
Tanzania last week to approve plans for the swift deployment of 4 000
regional troops, foreseen in a Neutral International Force (Nif) plan.
The meeting, held last Friday, was attended by President Jacob Zuma of South
Africa, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, Armando Emilio Guebuza of Mozambique
and Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, the current chairperson of the troika organ.
The heads of State expressed deep concern regarding the deteriorating
security and humanitarian situation in eastern DRC and strongly condemned
the M23 and all its attacks on the civilian population, United Nations
peacekeepers and humanitarian actors, as well as its abuses of human rights,
including summary executions, sexual and gender-based violence.
“Sadc decided to deploy the Sadc Standby Force as a block in the eastern DRC
under the auspices of the Nif and welcomed the decision of the International
Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to mandate Tanzania to appoint
a Force Commander for the Nif to be deployed in the eastern DRC,” reads the
summit’s final communiqué.
Sadc pledged to deploy soldiers within hours after talks held in Uganda’s
capital, Kampala between the DRC and the rebels collapsed when the DRC
government refused to sign a ceasefire agreement
DRC’s east, a vast and inhospitable area of rugged rainforests, was seized
last year by the M23 group, which has unleashed unspeakable atrocities.
Sadc noted that any delay in launching a ground offensive could allow the
insurgents to slip away into the forests, regroup and counter-attack.
The 4 000-strong Sadc-sanctioned force — to be backed by Sadc logistics,
money and intelligence services — has seen full deployment with most
southern African states offering troops.
President Robert Mugabe told reporters in Equatorial Guinea last month that
the deployment will be done under the auspices of the Sadc Standby Brigade.
“It is not Zimbabwe alone going to DRC . . . that is the Brigade which is
there to take care of any nonsense by way of a coup or revolt,” Mugabe said.
“It is Tanzania which is the commander.”
But Tanzania, which is due to lead the mission, has already cautioned that
the $10 million available is inadequate to adequately launch the operation
expected to cost up to $100 million.
The DRC has pledged $10 million. - Gift Phiri, Political Editor
on January 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm
By Lance Guma
KWEKWE – Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu threatened state
media editors during a meeting in Kwekwe at which he warned them against
giving the MDC-T any positive coverage ahead of watershed elections this
Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu (left) learning from his
predecessor Jonathan Moyo (right).
Two weeks ago Shamu summoned editors from all over the country who work for
the Zanu PF controlled print and electronic state media. The newly licenced
‘private’ radio stations ZiFM and Star FM sent representatives to the
meeting confirming once more their status as an extension of Mugabe’s party.
One of the editors who attended the meeting told us:
“Shamu basically threatened us and told us we must know where our bread is
buttered. He complained that we were giving the MDC-T too much coverage and
anyone who did not agree with the Zanu PF agenda had to resign immediately.”
Shamu was mainly angered by what he felt was too much airtime being given to
the MDC-T especially by the new radio stations.
“A resolution was passed that all current affairs programmes on radio
stations broadcasting in Harare now have to be anchored by a senior
journalist from the Herald,” our source said.
Some of the people present at the meeting included prominent radio and TV
personality Tich Mataz who was representing Star FM. The station is owned by
Zimpapers, the publishers of the Herald and other state newspapers who are
notorious for their fanatical support of Zanu PF and President Robert
Despite a demand for genuine media reforms, a controversial broadcasting
authority stuffed with Mugabe loyalists awarded two radio licences to Star
FM and ZiFM owned by journalist turned businessman Supa Mandiwanzira.
Mandiwanzira is the Zanu PF treasurer for Manicaland Province.
18 January 2013
Free lance journalist summoned for questioning by police
Police at Hob-house police post in Mutare on 17 January 2013 summoned a
local freelance journalist, Bernard Chikoto for questioning. This was in
connection with a complaint filed by one “Mrs Mukodza” regarding photographs
that Chikoto allegedly took of a house in Hob-House suburb of Mutare.
The house in question allegedly belongs to one Tawanda Mukodza a former
ZANU-PF youth provincial chairman. Police revealed to Chikoto, who was
accompanied by a lawyer from Misa-Zimbabwe’s Media Lawyers Network, Passmore
Nyakureba, that they had intended to charge him with criminal nuisance.
After brief questioning in the presence of the complainant, Chikoto was
released around 4.30pm of the same day without any charges being preferred
However, Chikoto’s lawyer Passmore Nyakureba was this morning advised by
police that the complainant ‘Mrs Mukodza” has since reported the matter at
Chikanga police station where Chikoto is to appear for questioning again
around 12 mid-day.
Misa-Zimbabwe will provide more details as the matter unfolds.
For any questions, queries or comments, please contact:
Senior Programmes Officer
WASHINGTON — Some 150 families have been evacuated from their homes after
heavy rains in Chiredzi on Wednesday night caused massive flooding.
The families, many of them Triangle Limited employees, are now in tents set
up by the sugar manufacturing firm and the local civil aviation authority.
The families have also received blankets and some food.
Officials said flood waters are as high as one metre deep in some areas.
They are now asking the government and foreign donors to assist victims.
Chiredzi Central lawmaker Mose Mare told VOA the floods have devastated the
livelihoods of the affected families.
Chiredzi resident Victor Nyahuma, who said he lost most of his belongings in
the flood, indicated that he woke up at night to find himself surrounded by
water in his home.
"I was awaken by a very hard knock on my door only find out that I was
knee-deep in water ... I was able to only get hold of my certificates and
Nyahuma said he worked with neighbors to assist those trapped in their
As heavy rains continue, the Meteorological Services Department has warned
that there may be more flooding in low-lying areas of the country.
Zimbabweans are being urged to practice extreme caution, know local weather
patterns and areas prone to flooding.
Though there are no deaths reported from last the flooding in Masvingo
region, officials said four people are missing after they tried to drive
over a flooded river in Chiredzi over the weekend.
BY TAWANDA KAROMBO, JANUARY 18 2013, 10:18
HARARE — Zimbabwe has received a windfall from platinum and gold mining
companies, with the state revenue collector, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority,
on Thursday revealing that mining royalties contributed $136.9m to the
country’s coffers last year.
The revenue collected from royalties was well above its target of $130.1m.
Mining companies in Zimbabwe have been contesting the mineral royalty and
mining fee increases the government implemented last year.
Mining executives and analysts have said the exorbitant fee increases
affected profitability. The country’s chamber of mines has been lobbying for
a review of royalties and fees.
"The increase in the rates of royalties on gold and platinum from 4.5% and
5% to 7% and 10% respectively further contributed to the positive
performance," tax authority chairman Sternford Moyo said.
New revenue collection powers last year resulted in Zimplats, which is now
51% owned by local Zimbabwean groups, giving up its fight over a $33.8m
revised income tax assessment.
The company is now contesting the interest and penalties on nonpayment.
Zimplats CEO Alex Mhembere has previously said the tax demand could delay
the company’s planned projects to ramp up production.
But after an indigenisation pact under which Zimplats would vendor-finance
black Zimbabwean groups to acquire its shares, the government was expected
to lower royalties and mining fees, Impala Platinum said after the signing
the deal. This could happen as early as June.
Mr Moyo said company tax contributions at $442.7m had firmed 14% against a
target of $415m set for the period. This was a result of "recapitalisation
by some large companies".
But Zimbabwean companies still faced challenges, including "lack of credit
lines, energy shortages and high interest rates" on capital. Gross revenue
collections for last year amounted to $3.45bn compared with a targeted
Bloomberg on Thursday reported that the yields on bonds of Aquarius
Platinum — which operates Zimbabwe’s Mimosa platinum mine in partnership
with Implats — slid 158 basis points to an eight-month low after Anglo
American Platinum’s (Amplats’) announcement on Tuesday that it will cut
It plans placing four mine shafts in South Africa on care and maintenance,
cutting 14,000 jobs in the process.
Production cuts at South African platinum mines, which account for
three-quarters of world supply, drove the price of the metal to a
three-month high on Tuesday. The rally extended a 9.9% increase last year
amid violent labour protests.
18 JAN 2013 00:00 - JASON MOYO
With Zimbabwe's largest foreign investors having fallen in line with the
country's indigenisation policy, the question banks now face is increasingly
how – no longer if – Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere will localise
Foreign-owned banks that would be affected are Barclays, Standard Chartered,
Standard Bank's Stanbic, MBCA – which is partly owned by Nedbank, and
However, some banks are unwilling to sell and are threatening to leave the
country if forced to comply. A senior bank executive said this week that
international banks would pull out if they lost control of their business.
International banks would not allow their brands to be used in institutions
in which they did not have control, he said.
"A mine's assets are in the ground and its ability to extract resources.
These can be quantified. But a bank's asset is its brand. Once control of
the local bank is lost, that bank simply ceases to be part of the recognised
global brand and public confidence vanishes, resulting in failure of that
bank," he said.
Officials in the empowerment ministry involved in structuring the deals for
banks say one of the strategies being mooted is to force banks to put up
money to fund black businesses and farms as well as to sell shares to
Kasukuwere last year rejected Standard Chartered's proposal to sell only 10%
of its local operation.
Boosted by his success in forcing large mines to give up controlling stakes,
Kasukuwere this week dared foreign banks to either comply with empowerment
regulations or leave.
"We have the money, we can pay for their [foreign banks'] assets,"
Last year, the banks found a shield in central bank governor Gideon Gono and
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who both came out strongly against
The row calmed as Kasukuwere turned his sights on mines. Now that that
sector is completely indigenised, he is turning his attention to the banks.
"I would like to encourage other companies, particularly in the banking
sector, to comply with our national laws as noncompliance will no longer be
tolerated," Kasukuwere said at the signing ceremony of the Zimplats
empowerment deal last Friday.
"Defiance and arrogance will not be tolerated as companies must respect the
law and desist from provoking the state. There will be no sacred cow spared,
no stone unturned to ensure that the policy is fully implemented," he said.
Fast-track land reform
A year ago, there was scepticism in business circles as to whether mining
giant Zimplats would sell 51% of its business to locals, with some
predicting a compromise would be reached on a lower threshold.
Speculation among bank executives has now turned to how the banks will be
indigenised and many are looking at how the empowerment deal with financial
services provider Old Mutual was structured for clues as to how financial
services may be treated. As part of the Old Mutual deal, the company set
aside a total of 25%: 10% for staff, 9% for pensioners, 2.5% for a
"youth-development fund" and 3.5% for black investors. It also had to spend
money on a low-cost housing estate and a government-administered national
housing fund. Insiders at Old Mutual said negotiations would soon resume on
the remaining 26%.
At the centre of Zanu-PF's pursuit of foreign banks is the belief that they
deliberately refuse to fund farmers resettled under its land-reform campaign
and emerging black businesses.
Before the launch of "fast-track land reform" in 2000, 80% of all bank
lending went into agriculture, according to a report last year by the
African Development Bank. Farm loans now account for only 22% of all bank
lending, the report said.
Hit by a liquidity crisis because of a poor performing economy, banks have
little in reserve and are reluctant to lend money to farmers who have no
title to put up as security.
18 JAN 2013 00:00 - RAY NDLOVU
Foreign firms in Zimbabwe are opting to protect their investments instead of
fighting the new Zanu-PF indigenisation law.
Fearing a repeat of Zanu-PF's land-reform policy, more foreign-owned
companies are expected to comply with the indigenisation law rather than
engage in lengthy legal battles for seized assets should the party win the
Zimplats, a subsidiary of South African mining firm Impala Platinum, signed
a historic $971-million deal last week and agreed to transfer a controlling
stake to the government and a 10% stake to local communities.
Saviour Kasukuwere, Zanu-PF's secretary for youth development and
indigenisation, who is also Zimbabwe's indigenisation and empowerment
minister, said Zimplats had set a precedent for all foreign-owned companies
Political observers have ruled out the likelihood of confrontation between
the foreign-owned companies and Kasukuwere, and cite the Movement for
Democratic Change's (MDC's) lack of clout in the unity government and the
"fresh memories" of Zanu-PF's treatment of white commercial farmers during
the farm invasions of 2000 as strong factors that will prompt more companies
to sign up.
"Most of these companies have massive investments in Zimbabwe [and] they
would rather protect them than be confrontational," said Charles Mangongera,
a political analyst. "They saw how the white farmers were violently
suppressed and they wouldn't risk having their investments decimated by
Eric Bloch, a senior partner at the H&E Bloch consultancy, said the trend
was not surprising. "What we are seeing now is a wave of forced compliance
by the foreign-owned companies because the pressure to meet the
indigenisation law is increasing," said Bloch.
An official in the indigenisation ministry said this week that the South
African sugar giant, Tongaat Hulett, which is listed on the Johannesburg
stock exchange, was expected to make an announcement on the indigenisation
plan for its Zimbabwe unit, Hippo Valley, "any time this month".
Nestlé Zimbabwe, Innscor Africa and Fawcett Security are among the
foreign-owned companies that have been issued with ultimatums to comply with
the indigenisation law.
Mining and bank industries
In the mining sector, companies that have concluded their indigenisation
deals include the Mimosa, Unki and Blanket mines, and Pretoria Portland
Cement. In manufacturing, Schweppes Zimbabwe and British American Tobacco
have signed deals, with Old Mutual and Ecobank Zimbabwe leading the way in
the financial services sector. Hotel group Meikles Africa has also fulfilled
the indigenisation requirements.
Kasukuwere has indicated that his focus is now on the banking sector.
"My full attention is now on the foreign banks. Tell them that Kasukuwere
says that there is nothing special about them. The foreign banks are free to
leave Zimbabwe if they do not want to comply with the empowerment laws. We
now have the money and we will pay for their assets and ask them to leave,"
Observers say the upcoming poll is more a battle over economic policies than
political ideologies and that Zanu-PF's belligerence will increase as it
realises the tables have turned in its favour as a result of the Zimplats
"Without a doubt, the economy is going to be a major issue in the next
election, Mangongera said. "With unemployment levels officially hovering
around 80%, both Zanu-PF and the MDC realise that they must have economic
blueprints that appeal to the masses."
The MDC recently launched its jobs, upliftment, investment, capital and the
environment manifesto, which undertakes to provide a million jobs in the
next five years and grow a $100-billion economy by 2040. But observers warn
that the MDC is fast losing ground against the indigenisation law.
The MDC spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, criticised the wave of
indigenisation and accused Zanu-PF of using the proceeds to boost party
coffers. "That is asset grabbing on the part of Zanu-PF. It does not
increase national wealth. We know the proceeds of the Zimplats transaction
will be abused. All funds must be held by the treasury," said Mwonzora.
78% say no to state takeovers
Zimbabweans do not approve of the government's indigenisation and economic
empowerment policy, according to a survey.Results of a survey carried out by
the Mass Public Opinion Institute on behalf of AfroBarometer show that even
some in Zanu-PF do not approve of the indigenisation drive.The survey,
titled Zimbabweans Prefer Empowerment via Jobs Rather than Business
Takeovers, asked 2 500 Zimbabweans what they thought of the policy. "The
common view held by the majority of respondents (78%) is that creating jobs
is a far [more] effective way of empowering all Zimbabweans than taking over
ownership of businesses (19%)," the survey found. "This view was widely
shared by Zimbabweans in all 10 provinces, across the political divide [and]
age and educational groups."The survey said that six out of 10 Zanu-PF
supporters think empowerment should be done through job creation rather than
taking over foreign-owned businesses. – Nkululeko Sibanda
By Tererai Karimakwenda
18 January 2013
The company that owns Zimbabwe’s well-known Mazoe Citrus Estate has warned
of a possible 30% loss of revenue, following the recent takeover of a large
portion of their property by Grace Mugabe, who reportedly wants to expand
her orphanage nearby.
Robert Mugabe’s wife is said to have recently taken control of at least
1,600 hectares of land on the Mazoe Estate, which is owned by agro-producer
According to NewsDay newspaper, the acquisition came just weeks after the
Governor of Mashonaland Central, Martin Dinha, promised Grace more land for
her school and orphanage.
Dinha was reportedly speaking at the official opening of the Amai Mugabe
Junior School in Mazowe earlier this month, where he said Grace’s school and
orphanage “had given the province a facelift”, Newsday said.
Dinha had also toured the orphanage in October last year, when he said
papers were being prepared to extend the orphanage because Grace needed more
land for her projects. The governor has been instrumental in facilitating
the land acquisitions for Grace.
A worker at the farm who confirmed the development, told Newsday: “Nothing
is happening here at the moment. The offices which were on this side (citrus
estate) have been moved to the other side (at the orphanage) and this
happened after it was taken over by the First Lady, so we are not sure of
the way forward now.”
Charles Taffs, President of the Commercial Farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe (CFU),
said this takeover of land by government officials is nothing new, but has
unfortunately continued at a time when the country should be building
“We cannot continue along this line and until our leaders understand this
and do something about it will destroy us. We need to correct this and
attract investment and create employment. No-one is going to invest in
agriculture while all of this is still going on,” Taffs told SW Radio
Regarding the land grab by the first lady, Taffs said: “In terms of that
family it’s well documented the land they have and what’s happening on those
farms. Why is it that they continue along this path. It makes no sense.”
Taffs then referred to recent comments made by the Minister of Agriculture,
promising that no foreign-owned properties protected by BIPPAs would be
acquired under land reform for now.
“This is not happening on the ground and we are seeing conflicting signals
coming from government all the time. This is adding to this mess of investor
instability and lack of confidence,” Taffs stressed.
Apart from destroying investor confidence the land grabs have been
responsible for the fact that this year at least 1.7 million Zimbabweans
will go hungry, as not enough food is grown to feed the nation.
By Alex Bell
18 January 2013
The announcement by the principals in the unity government of their approval
of the draft constitution has been met with mixed reaction from Zimbabweans,
with many still expressing doubts about the contents of the new charter.
Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube
announced Thursday that the draft had been finalised, three years after the
process of writing a new constitution was started. The document still needs
to be ‘rubber-stamped’ by the standing committees of the political parties
in government, ZANU PF’s politburo and the full COPAC parliamentary
committee, before a final draft goes to a referendum.
The news has so far been cautiously welcomed, because it means the drawn out
constitution making process is finally gaining some momentum towards a
referendum. But there are also concerns being raised that the process is far
removed from the people-driven one that was originally promised, and the
result will be a constitution with few changes from the current Lancaster
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) said on Friday that it remains
“unshaken” by the agreement reached by government, because “the COPAC
process was illegitimate, undemocratic and not people driven.” NCA
spokesperson Madock Chivasa told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the
constitution is clearly politicised and will be “rejected” if key changes
are not made.
“This has fallen short of the democratic process of coming up with a new
constitution because the government leaders were the ones to finalise it.
That is even worse than the COPAC driven process. So we hope they’ve made
some changes, for example the unlimited powers of the President. But if the
views of the people have not been taken into account, they will reject it,”
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) also expressed reservations on
Friday about the lack of public input, both in the making of the draft and
in the coming ‘rubber stamping’ process.
“Citizens should be given an opportunity to understand the draft, debate it
and make choices based on information and awareness of the contents of the
constitution. The constitution is for Zimbabweans and they need to be
prioritised in these processes. The draft has to be translated and
summarised into content that is accessible and understandable to citizens to
enable informed choices at the referendum,” ZESN said.
The groups added that is “concerned that taking the draft back to the
parties’ standing committees and the politburo will regress the process as
more changes will be proposed and negotiations will commence again, thus
hindering the progress to referendum.”