by Staff Reporter
POLICE say they are yet to establish the cause of Tuesday’s mystery blast at
the home of a traditional healer in Harare’s Zengeza 2 suburb which killed
five people and injured a dozen others.
The powerful blast also damaged up to 12 other properties – two of them
It took a combined investigating team of the police, military experts, fire
services and state intelligence more than 24 hours to collect all the body
parts for the victims who included a 7-month old child who was asleep at the
time of the explosion.
The bodies were removed to a local morgue on Wednesday as investigators
grappled for answers.
Harare police spokesman Inspector Tadius Chibanda said: “We know there are a
lot of assumptions as to what happened, but we need to be thorough so as to
come up with what really happened.
“We have our experts on the ground, the army bomb disposal unit, (power
utility) ZESA, homicide have all been there and we also had a pathologist
attending the scene.”
The traditional healer, who has been named as Speakmore Mandere, was in
consultations with a South Africa-based businessman, Clever Kamudzeya, and
two of his associates shortly after 3PM on Tuesday when the house was rocked
by a loud explosion.
Kamudzeya’s wife, Svodai, who escaped the blast as she was in the car
outside told StarFM: “I was in the other room and they were working in the
spare bedroom. I stepped out to pick something from the car and I only
remember seeing a light before the explosion.
“We had consulted Mandere before and he identified the source of our
problems. We decided to seek assistance from him for the second time and
that’s when this misfortune happened.”
Another lucky survivor was Mandere’s aide, Tawanda Maruma, who said he had
stepped outside to stir some concoction in a clay pot which Mandere used for
casting out bad spirits when disaster struck.
“I don’t really know what caused the explosion, but this guy used to be a
prophet at the same time as being a traditional healer,” said Maruma.
Several theories have been floated by some locals to explain the mystery
Some locals claim Kamudzeya – who owns buses – brought a landmine to Mandere
which he wanted “blessed” to improve its red mercury composition. Red
mercury is said to be in huge demand worldwide and is known to have been
used in dirty bombs.
It is reported that an elderly man has come forward to tell investigators
that he advised Mandere against going ahead with the procedure he was
planning to carry out due to its complex nature.
Others claimed Kamudzeya was returning a “goblin” which he bought from
another healer who would not take it back due to disagreements over the fee.
Mandere, they say, offered to take it off him for a lesser charge.
But the most common rumour locally – also in the sorcerers realm – is that
Mandere was performing a procedure which has come to be known as
“bluetooth” – the act of sending lightning to strike a chosen target.
Locals believe the target individual may have been “protected” or had
superior powers to Mandere. The theory goes that the targeted recipient of
the lightning instigated what is known as “return-to-sender”, resulting in
lightning striking at Mandere’s rented home.
A self-declared practising traditional healer, Morrison Mafuta, who was
among tens of people at the scene said what he had witnessed bore the
tell-tale signs of lightning.
“I have seen this in Manicaland. This is lightning,” he said.
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 11:34
HARARE - A bomb could have caused the mysterious blast that killed five
people in Chitungwiza on Monday, as top security officials cordoned the area
yesterday searching for clues.
Top officials from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) (homicide
and law and order section), a foreign pathologist and members of the army’s
bomb disposal unit have been called in to lead investigations into the
Chitungwiza “house of death” explosion which has left the country in shock.
Police said they have roped in the army and have alerted cooperating foreign
laboratories to be on alert for assistance as they are leaving no stone
Head of the Harare law and order and homicide sections Crispen Makedenge and
Cuban pathologist Gabriella Alvero are leading the investigations in a case
that police officers say is complex.
Charity Charamba, the national police spokesperson, said they have brought
in their most senior and well trained experts to try and unravel the
“Those people (experts) you saw today (yesterday) at the scene were called
in to ascertain the real cause and we are leaving nothing to chance,” said
In 2011, both Makedenge and Alvero led investigations into the mysterious
death of the country’s celebrated war hero, Solomon Mujuru, who succumbed to
unknown inferno at his farm house in Beatrice.
Tragedy struck on Monday afternoon in Chitungwiza’s Zengeza suburb where a
traditional healer and four other persons were blown into pieces by a yet
More than four houses were damaged by the blast that some initially
attributed to black magic.
However, the presence of bomb disposal and forensic experts brings in a
whole new dimension to the unravelling case and could mean that authorities
suspect a bomb detonated at the house.
Tadious Chibanda, Harare police spokesperson, said investigations will
include the army who have supplied their bomb disposal unit to examine the
presence of a bomb and land mines.
“We have roped in Central Investigation Department (CID) homicide, law and
order, special forensic unit, and among other interested parties. We have
summoned all our experts to attend to this complex matter,” said Chibanda.
Top security details told the Daily News they had taken chunks of flesh and
debris for laboratory test and these could be sent outside the country for
When the Daily News arrived at the scene yesterday afternoon, police and
soldiers had sealed off the house which is at the centre of the mystery.
Hordes of curious Chitungwiza residents besieged the scene as they expected
to get an answer to the blast.
Police maintained a heavy presence while the road leading to the house has
been temporarily closed.
Swelimu Mandere father to the deceased traditional healer said his son
doubled in ritual and apostolic activities, a development which makes the
superstitious endorse the black magic theory.
Security officials seem to be maintaining a tight lid on how investigations
The blast rocked Ndororo Street and caused massive damage to houses as far
as a kilometre radius. - Xolisani Ncube
Staff Reporter 21 hours 10 minutes ago
HIGH Court judge, Justice Bharat Patel told the Lands Ministry Tuesday to
come up with a “clear, transparent and accountable” land allocation system
as he reversed the Minister’s decision to offer a Seke property to a Zanu PF
Former deputy minister Phineas Chihota was given Denby Farm in 2005 after
the Lands Ministry reversed an earlier decision to allocate the property to
Transmedia Corporation chief executive Florence Sigudu who challenged the
decision at the courts.
The Ministry claimed that Sigudu had breached the conditions of the offer
letter by allegedly failing to take up residence at the farm but Justice
Patel found in her favour and ordered Chihota off the property.
Justice Patel said the Lands Ministry must come up with a transparent land
"The administration and allocation of land for resettlement purposes,
whatever the modality or form of allocation, should be properly and
effectively regulated, so as to create a land allocation regime that is
clear, transparent and accountable and susceptible to judicial scrutiny," he
In the hard hitting ruling, Justice Patel said the relevant Act does not
provide for the allocation of land through the popularised “offer letters”.
"The Act does not contemplate the allocation of land for settlement through
offer letters and it does not entitle the minister or any authority to
cancel offer or terminate rights conferred thereunder," he said.
"The minister's argument that the offer letter was automatically withdrawn
simply cannot be accepted. The power to withdraw or cancel an offer of land
must be exercised lawfully and procedurally."
Sigudu was offered part of Denby Farm in June 2002 and insisted she took
occupation of the property and prepared the land, moulded bricks for farm
buildings and purchased equipment for farming activities.
But in 2005 during a meeting chaired by the Lands Minister, a decision was
made to consolidate her property with the farm allocated to Chihota. It was
also agreed at the same meeting that she be evicted from her farm.
The Ministry had claimed that the consolidation procedural and that the
offer to Sigudu was automatically withdrawn because she had failed to comply
with the conditions of the offer letter.
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
MDC calls for an urgent land audit
The MDC has been vindicated on its calls for the government to carry out a
proper land audit following a ruling by the High Court on Tuesday that the
Ministry of Lands should have a clear, transparent and accountable land
In his judgment, Justice Bharat Patel slammed the Lands Ministry over its
murkiness in land distribution as he reversed the Lands Ministry’s 2005
decision to offer Denby Farm in Seke to a senior Zanu PF politician who
already had another farm next to Denby Farm in 2001.
The MDC condemns the continued greed shown by the senior Zanu PF politicians
in acquiring more than one farm and the MDC’s position remains that there
should be a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit to weed
out multiple farm ownerships and identify underutilised land as stipulated
by the law.
Zanu PF’s land allocation process has been fraught with corruption and
confusion as only last week, Grace Mugabe was reported to have taken over
part of the lucrative Mazoe Estates in Mazowe leaving hundreds of workers
without jobs. Grace Mugabe already owns several farms in Mazowe.
It is therefore important for the inclusive government, to carry out a land
audit in line with the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in order to reassert
agriculture on the pole position as the country’s economic mainstay.
Article V of the GPA is very specific. It requires the inclusive government
to undertake a land audit in order to clear up Zanu PF’s disorder, created
during the chaotic land reform exercise. For that reason, the MDC and the
people of Zimbabwe are calling for an audit to revisit Zanu PF’s land reform
exercise with the aim of restoring to maximum productivity, all agricultural
By carrying out a proper land audit, Zimbabwe will be able to improve food
security and increase the sector’s employment contribution.
In its economic policy, Juice, the MDC’s position is that when it forms the
next government this year, it will carry out an independent land audit and
restore Zimbabwe’s status as the breadbasket of Southern Africa within the
next three years.
The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!
By Violet Gonda
23 January 2013
Police on Wednesday formally laid charges against ZimRights, as more details
emerged in the fraud case that led to the arrest of the group’s director
Okay Machisa and his deputy.
Board member Nunurai Jena signed a “warned and cautioned statement”, on
behalf of ZimRights, after he reported to the police station with his lawyer
Jena told SW Radio Africa shortly afterwards that the organisation was
charged with fraud and forgery, the same charges brought against their two
Jena said, “They are saying because our employees Leo Chamahwinya and Okay
Machisa are being charged with the same offence, in essence they are acting
with the blessings of the board.”
The police allege that ZimRights was involved in an illegal voter
registration exercise, but the organization denies participating in illegal
According to Jena, the police apprehended two white foreigners who initially
were arrested for having fake visas to Zimbabwe. Upon questioning the
foreigners said they received the fake documents through a Mr. Bamu, who is
not a member of ZimRights.
As a follow-up the police searched Bamu’s premises and found some stamps and
a voter registration document. Bamu implicated another unidentified person,
at whose home the police found 990 voter registration slips.
Jena said upon questioning by the police, the unidentified man implicated
Dorcas Shereni, the ZimRights chairperson for Highfields local chapter. It
is Shereni who allegedly claimed the voter registration slips are filled out
and taken to Leo at the ZimRights offices.
Jena said it was this link to Chamahwinya that also led to Machisa, the two
Zimrights executives being in detention.
He said the police are claiming that the employees were given the mandate by
the organization, but he insists the board disassociates itself from any
alleged criminal activities.
Machisa’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said it is “extremely difficult” to know
what the exact allegations against her client and the organization are as
they have been implicated by third parties, “some of whom they did not know
and some of whom have no connection with ZimRights”.
Mtetwa said, none of these documents were found at the ZimRights premises.
She added that the individuals who have implicated her client are unreliable
as they were found in possession of other fake documents, including
passports, birth certificates, and visas for other countries.
Commenting on reports that suggested Shereni fingered the ZimRights
employees, Mtetwa said she has not seen any statements showing this and
Shereni is not an employee of ZimRights but just a member.
The human rights lawyer said the entire case is speculative as the state has
so far failed to show the direct involvement of her client.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 January, 2013
Delegations from Zimbabwean civic society travelled to Addis Ababa this
week, hoping to lobby Heads of State on the sidelines of the African Union
Summit that opened on Monday.
The Zimbabwean crisis is not officially on the A.U. agenda this time, as the
focus will most likely be on serious conflicts in the Sudan, DRC, and now
Mali. But recent developments, including progress in constitutional reform
and arrests of human rights activists, are expected to be discussed in
meetings on the sidelines.
Civic groups at the summit said they want to push for the implementation of
other key reforms stipulated by the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and
present an accurate picture of the intensifying situation on the ground.
This includes ongoing violence, harassment of NGOs and the abuse of civil
The theme for this year’s summit, “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”,
will focus on issues that are hindering economic development on the
Ambassadors and Ministers are already conducting meetings, with Heads of
State scheduled to meet on Sunday and Monday.
Delegations were sent by the Crisis Coalition, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, Human Rights Watch and the NGO Human Rights Forum.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says he does not believed they will be any
more dissenting voices, in either party, in the drafting of a new
constitution following an agreement last week by the party leaders to bridge
their differences on all outstanding issues.
Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2013 - Zimbabwe’s new constitution limits
the president to two terms in office and will probably be approved in a
referendum in March, allowing for elections to take place this year, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said.
“We believe we can have this constitution drafted by next week,” Tsvangirai
said in an interview yesterday in Davos, Switzerland, where he is attending
the World Economic Forum. “Since there is a national consensus by all
parties, the referendum will be a formality.”
Agreement on the constitution ends a four-year political impasse that’s
hampered Zimbabwe’s recovery from a decade-long recession. Tsvangirai’s
Movement for Democratic Change has shared power with President Robert Mugabe’s
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front since 2009 following a
disputed election that observers including from the European Union said was
marred by violence and voting irregularities.
Under a pact brokered by the 15-nation Southern African Development
Community to end the political deadlock, Zimbabwe is required to hold a
referendum on a new constitution before elections can be held. Negotiations
between the two parties had stalled over issues including dual citizenship,
reform of the security forces and land rights.
“I don’t think there will be any dissenting voices,” Tsvangirai, 60, said.
“By March we can go to the referendum.” The election “is definitely going to
be this year.”
The draft of the constitution, which will be ready by the end of next week,
will allow Zimbabweans to hold dual citizenship, Tsvangirai said.
Mugabe, 88, has ruled the country since it won independence from the U.K. in
1980. In the 2008 election, Mugabe’s party lost its majority in parliament
and a second-round presidential vote was boycotted by Tsvangirai because he
said the army and ZANU-PF militia were intimidating his supporters.
Zimbabwe needs to focus on reviving its economy now that the political
impasse has ended, Tsvangirai said.
“Now we need to go to a growth phase,” he said. “We cannot continue to have
an economy that has no infrastructure. We are looking to have 5 percent
Zimbabwe has the world’s second-biggest platinum and chrome deposits after
South Africa and also has reserves of coal, diamonds and gold. Impala
Platinum Holdings Ltd. (IMP) and Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS) operate
platinum mines in the country while Rio Tinto Plc (RIO) runs a diamond mine.
Units of Barclays Plc (BARC) and Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) operate in
the country. Bloomberg News
Staff Reporter 55 minutes ago
HARARE - Zanu PF Secretary for Information and Publicity, Rugare Gumbo says
the party endorses the new constitution and will urge their voters to vote
Speaking after the party’s first Politburo meeting in 2013 at the Zanu PF
headquarters in Harare this Wednesday, Gumbo said the party is delighted
that the GPA principals finally agreed on the outstanding issues in the new
Gumbo said the party is now focussing on other issues like primary elections
as it is currently restructuring at cell and village levels.
Calling for peaceful elections, Gumbo said Politburo members echoed in
unison the now famous signature tune of the late Vice President Landa John
Nkomo, which goes as; ‘Peace begins with me, peace begins with you and peace
begins with us.’
Meanwhile, Zanu PF and the MDC-T have dismissed allegations by Mavambo
President, Dr Simba Makoni that leaders in the GPA have hijacked the
constitution making process by disregarding provisions of the GPA.
Dr Makoni, who was addressing journalists in Harare, said while the GPA
principals have made a joint public announcement that they have reached an
agreement on all outstanding issues in the new constitution, COPAC is yet to
release the document with all the agreed positions.
He said it is surprising the Prime Minister has made a sudden u-turn by
going against what he promised during the opening of the 2nd All
Stakeholders Conference that he would not cooperate or be part of anything
that violates the GPA or the mandate given to COPAC and parliament.
However, MDC-T Spokesperson, Mr Douglas Mwonzora said Dr Makoni needs to see
the document first before commenting.
Zanu PF’s Gumbo said the three parties in the GPA were the ones who went to
the people to gather information, adding that Dr Makoni has no supporters.
On Thursday the 17th of January, GPA principals agreed on the draft
constitution and the proclamation of dates for the referendum and elections.
by Tarisai Jangara
The recently agreed COPAC draft was doctored to preserve and safeguard
powers for certain individuals in the Global Political Agreement, says
Mavambo Kusile Dawn, President, Simba Makoni.
Last week, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and MDC President Welshman Ncube finalised
the draft constitution paving way for a referendum.
Addressing journalists today (Wednesday), Makoni said the COPAC draft had
been concluded through a faulty process as the GPA principals were
interested in safeguarding their positions in office.
“Why and how would anyone justify the agreement by the principals to the
establish a Constitutional Court and National Peace and Reconciliation
Commission which would be effected after 10 years.
“ Who is not likely to be there 10 years from now. If it is such a good
provision for the constitution and governance, why should we wait for 10
years?” questioned Makoni.
Makoni said the official COPAC draft should be availed to the people
detailing what was agreed by the Principals.
“ We asked of the COPAC document on the agreed positions and we were told
that it was not available thus we have been entirely informed by the media.
“ The document was compromised in the interest and for the mutual self
preservation of the GPA parties . The new constitution was reduced to a
political expedient for the benefit of two individuals,” said Makoni.
by Staff Reporter
MAVAMBO Kusile leader, Simba Makoni has demanded that MDC leaders, Morgan
Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube, explain their role in the constitutional
“deception” reached with President Robert Mugabe saying the deal “usurped
the mandate of Parliament and violated the terms of the GPA”.
Mugabe met with Tsvangirai, Ncube and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara
last week to thrash out a deal on the country’s new constitution after the
Parliamentary committee (COPAC) which had steered failed to bridge
differences between the parties.
The leaders said they had come to an agreement over various sticking issues
adding that the final draft would now be put together leading to a national
referendum and general elections to choose a new government.
But Makoni said the MDC leaders were complicit in the “violation of GPA and
usurpation of the mandate of Parliament” and accused Tsvangirai of going
back on public commitments to ensure the country’s new constitution was not
decided by a few individuals.
“Officially opening the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference in October 2012,
President Mugabe dressed down the COPAC co-chairpersons, and told the
conference …`the GPA Principals had the final say on the new constitution’,”
Makoni said in a statement Wednesday.
“Prime Minister Tsvangirai disagreed with the President, and declared that
he would not cooperate in, nor acquiesce to the violation of the GPA, and
usurpation of the mandate of COPAC and Parliament, to produce a new
“(But) on 17th January 2013, the GPA Principals, in a show of amity and
unity equalled only by what happened at the signing of the Global Political
Agreement, announced agreement on all outstanding issues on the new
“We also ask Prime Minister Tsvangirai what happened to his protestations of
October 2012. He owes the nation a full explanation and justification of
what persuaded him to join in the violation of the GPA and usurpation of the
mandate of Parliament.”
Makoni said Tsvangirai and Ncube must explain why there were concerning
themselves with the succession question in Zanu PF by agreeing to defer the
provision on Presidential running mates by ten years.
“Deferment of implementation of new provisions by ten years is clearly aimed
at taking care of particular persons. So, what was conceived as a key
national development initiative … has been reduced to a political expedient
for the benefit of a handful, maybe just two, individuals,” he said.
“Maybe the presidents of the MDC Formations might care to explain to their
members, and to all other citizens, why it is now their primary concern and
responsibility to … `deal with internal fissures in … ZANU PF’. Is ZANU PF,
in turn, dealing with the internal fissures in the MDCs?”
The terms of the deal agreed the GPA leaders have yet to be made public by
reports suggest compromises were reached on issues such as dual nationality,
provincial governors, the attorney general’s office, devolution and
The constitutional reform exercise has taken over three years as the parties
bickered over various issues, in the process blowing more than US$40
Makoni said the exercise has been a waste of resources the country could ill
“We are appalled by the cowardice and pliancy of COPAC and the whole
Parliament, in abdicating from their responsibility to produce a draft
constitution, and put it to the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We condemn, in the strongest terms, that national resources were expended
in an exercise aimed primarily at allaying the fears and concerns, and
advancing the aspirations of the GPA political parties.”
By Tichaona Sibanda
23 January 2013
Theresa Makone, the influential MDC-T women’s assembly chairperson, has said
‘anyone from any party, including independents’ is free to challenge her in
the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Using her Facebook social networking site, the co-Home Affairs Minister
dismissed media reports that she was in trouble because the former MDC-T
deputy mayor for Harare, Emmanuel Chiroto, would be challenging her in the
Chiroto was dismissed from the party last year on allegations of corruption
and will not contest the election on an MDC-T ticket. Recent media reports
have erroneously suggested Makone faces a stiff challenge to retain her
Harare North seat from Chiroto.
‘I have been receiving questions about who is and who is not challenging me
in the forthcoming elections in Harare North Constituency. This follows an
article in yesterday’s (Tuesday) press in the ‘independent’ media that
Emmanuel Chiroto is challenging me, and therefore I am in trouble.
‘I am worried about journalism that rushes to print without doing its
research, for scribes have a duty to inform the public accurately. The
gentleman in question is not a member of my party, so what is the beef?
Asked Makone on her Facebook site.
She added; ‘Anyone from any party, including independents are free to
challenge me. Those within the party who feel I have not served the party
well within the constituency are also free to throw their names in the hat.’
‘I am very happy to be challenged at any time by anyone in and outside the
party at the forthcoming plebiscite, so there is no need to make news out of
it. I just need everyone to know that a person who does not want to be
challenged cannot be a member of the MDC, because it was for that very
reason that the party was formed,’ she added.
Analysts believe that Makone’s ‘come and challenge me’ mantra puts to rest
assumptions that the party leadership is trying to protect the bigwigs and
sidelining young turks. This was after the party announced stringent
selection criteria for its aspiring council and parliamentary candidates, a
move the party said was aimed at weeding out corrupt elements and guarding
Nelson Chamisa, the party’s national organizing secretary told SW Radio
Africa that they’re extremely excited and gratified at the ‘rich menu’ of
candidates who have shown interest to represent them in the primaries.
The party late last year invited applications for prospective candidates for
the 2013 harmonized general elections and has received hundreds of
application from across the globe.
‘We are attracting the best of the best, the crème de la crème from among
our communities and society. But it’s premature now to give statistics of
where the applications are coming from.
‘The major focus is the constituencies they want to represent. After the
deadline for applications on the 30th January, we will then begin the
internal process of validating the applications and this includes
scrutinizing and vetting the CVs and the applications,’ Chamisa said.
on January 23, 2013 at 4:23 am
Report by Tatenda Chitagu
MASVINGO — Zanu PF Chivi South legislator Irvine Dzingirai has declared
himself the new owner of troubled Renco Mine. Dzingirai confirmed his
take-over of the mine last Friday, claiming he was doing so as part of his
party’s indigenisation policy.
Production at Renco Mine ceased last Monday after workers’ wives and
villagers barricaded the main gate demanding an improvement in workers’
conditions and community help projects.
“Yes, I have taken over Renco Mine as we speak. I am the new general
manager. I am at the mine right now,” Dzingirai told NewsDay.
“I just took over the mine. There were no talks.
“In fact, there is no more time for talks as the mine failed to pay workers
their bonuses and there is no money at the pension fund, even though that
money was deducted from the workers’ salaries.”
Renco Mine manager Suprene Kachisa refused to comment citing the company’s
protocol and referred all questions to managing director Ashton Ndlovu who
is based in Harare.
But Ndlovu said he was in a meeting and did not respond to written questions
he had demanded, by the time of going to print. But some of the disgruntled
workers’ wives accused Dzingirai of hijacking their strike for political
“Ours was a genuine strike. It was an apolitical protest comprising workers’
wives and villagers who support either Zanu PF or MDC,” said a villager who
“But we were surprised when Dzingirai came from nowhere and said he is now
the new owner. What also baffled us is that he came all the way from Chivi
to grab the mine. We cannot be used as political pawns like that.”
Dzingirai vowed to stay put at the mine, saying he had the capacity to run
“I have a long history in mining. In fact, I have a diploma in mining and so
the mine will be as viable as it used to be. I will be paying the workers
competitive wages,” he added. NewsDay
By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 January 2013
The families of nearly two dozen farm workers who were evicted from Mara
Farm in Goromonzi South last week are reported to be desperate and living by
the roadside without adequate shelter.
Armed riot police patrolling the farm are also said to be blocking the
families from collecting their belongings, including blankets and clothing
that was left during the forced eviction.
According to the MDC-T legislator for Goromonzi South, Greenbate Dongo, the
new farm owner claims he does not know the families. But Edward Dube, who
took over in 2005 under the land reform programme, is being accused of
refusing to pay the farm workers for long periods.
MP Dongo told SW Radio Africa that he has visited the farm and seen how
desperate the families are. With the area flooded by heavy rains that hit
much of Zimbabwe recently, plastic shacks that have been erected by the road
near a neighboring farm cannot provide enough shelter.
The neighbor, known as Mashingaidze, has been providing water and other
basics that he can spare. The MP appealed to for well wishers who can donate
blankets, food, water, clothing and any other items that would make life
The families can be found by the road near a place called Rock Heaven, close
to the Epworth side of Mara Farm. Young children and a disabled elderly man
with one leg are among the evicted.
The farm workers and their families were evicted Monday last week after Dube
was granted an eviction order by the courts. The court victory was based on
his claim that strangers who do not work for him were living on his
But MP Dongo said some of the farm workers had been at Mara Farm since 1985.
They told him that Dube pursued the eviction after they started demanding
that he pay them what was owed, so they could send their children to school.
Unfortunately many farm workers and their families have experienced similar
circumstances over the years, as commercial farms were taken over by
government and military chefs without any knowledge of farming. This has
caused massive unemployment and starvation.
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 09:59
HARARE - Boarding a rural-bound bus or what is referred to as a “Chicken
Bus” during this rainy season can be a frustrating experience. The bus will
be raining inside.
It becomes more annoying especially when the buses are over-charging and
worse, continuously break down along the way.
With the just-ended festive season turning itself into a culling season one
should be grateful for being alive after so many deaths and injuries.
Despite the risk of being part of the statistics, I boarded a “chicken bus”
to Bikita on a day that most people would not want to travel. It was
Christmas Day and the mood was ripe for the once-a-year celebrations.
One would have thought the coming in of the multi-currency regime meant that
even those at the base of stock would at least afford a decent meal on such
a day, but alas for most people these were just wishes.
As it was raining from Harare to Chivhu everyone in the bus was scurrying
for cover inside the bus.
People complained bitterly that bus owners were reluctant to repair their
buses despite charging exorbitant prices. Never mind the presence of
numerous police details on the country’s roads.
As we reached Roy/Mhunga turn off a heat wave swept through the bus and all
those who were wet due to the raining bus started to feel the sudden high
temperatures. We were welcomed by the Bikita heat and everyone sensed
The rains were not forthcoming and this spells disaster for my loveable and
good-natured people of this area. Crop failure has now become the norm year
after year but in this current season animals like goats also found the
The prolonged dry spell spoiled the Christmas spirit, the usually overjoyed
vendors selling harurwa were nowhere in sight, of-course it is not the
season for those sour insects but the hot climate and unyielding clouds were
a sign of the tough times ahead.
Going down to Bikita office, the mood changed for the worse as there was
little activity as kids loitered agonisingly around the shops. Those who
wanted to drown their troubles in alcohol were not spared too.
Some could be seen ready to attack one scud of opaque beer, the rest seemed
to be resigned to fate and one could almost predict what was going on in
The sorry state of the fields and the near wilting maize crop seemed to be
saying to them — another failed season and more frantic efforts to find the
precious American dollar to buy food.
What about those kinds in their midst, I think food comes first meaning that
some will drop from school, get married at a tender age or flock to the once
touted bright city lights to join hordes of others engaged in endless
running battles with municipal and the ZRP.
If at all you spoiled your little ones with goodies then count yourself
blessed. For some people Christmas was just but one of those painful days.
After another of the several breakdowns and temporarily escaping being some
of the death statistics, we disembarked from the bus to face the souring
temperatures and the sure evidence of climatic change in an area that would
have been painted green with near maturing maize.
Herdboys and girls were engaged in endless battles with goats and cattle
which were always trying to evade and help themselves to the failing green
Rivers resembled the dry season as most people competed with domestic
animals for the remaining shallow wells in the dry river beds.
Prices for a bucket of maize soared to an average of $10 further dampening
the already shattered spirits.
When the rains do finally come, it’s either too late or too much.
Bikita is in dire straits; maybe “miracle money” might also come in handy. -
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 00:00
The Beitbridge Civil Protection Unit yesterday rescued 34 villagers marooned
for the past three days on a delta along the Limpopo River in
Tshikwalakwala. The rescue mission which lasted 30 minutes was conducted
with the assistance of a helicopter from the Air Force of Zimbabwe.
The victims were airlifted from Mapho area to safety atTshikwalakwala
The villagers, most of them from seven families, were left stranded when
their six huts were destroyed by torrential rains which have been pounding
the district for the past eight days.
The Air Force of Zimbabwe has been kept busy since Monday when it rescued
five people who were stranded across the Bubi River after a bridge was swept
away by floods in Tshikwalakwala.
AFZ dispatched a helicopter that rescued the stranded villagers after the
Civil Protection Unit had raised alarm.
The district received 139mm of rain between Saturday and Sunday night.
The latest figures bring to 110 people stranded following the heavy rains in
Beitbridge East this week.
A bridge at Tshikwalakwala linking Beitbridge and Chiredzi district through
the Bubi River was also swept away on Monday morning.
Beitbridge Civil Protection Unit chairman Mr Simon Muleya said nine people
had died due to flooding in the area.
The CPU had distributed 130 tents, mosquito nets, kitchen utensils and
several blankets for the victims from the International Organisation for
Migration and Red Cross Zimbabwe.
The district also received a truck from their national office to transport
supplies to all the affected areas.
Mr Muleya said the victims also received food hampers, 480 bars of soap, 990
fleece blankets and 1 000 buckets among other non-food stuffs.
He said authorities were mobilising resources to build two-roomed houses for
Beitbridge Senator Cde Tambudzani Mohadi also donated food hampers and
clothing items to the floods victims at Tshikwalakwala and Chituripasi.
The heavy rains have also left a trail of destruction in the district where
most roads were left impassable.
AFZ director of operations Group Captain Alphious Gwata said that they would
remain on alert.
“In the face of warnings from the Meteorological Services Department that
rains will continue, AFZ will remain ready to dispatch personnel and
equipment to save lives of those threatened by floods,” he said.
During the past week, AFZ has also conducted three rescue operations along
the Save River in Manicaland and Gokwe’s Chirara area, rescuing more than 80
people from the danger of floods.
According to a Meteorological Services Department report, clear weather was
expected to prevail starting yesterday until the weekend when more rains are
"During this period, most of the rains should be confined mainly to the
Mashonaland Provinces, Harare, and the North of Manicaland,” the report
The Met Dept recorded rainfall activity that occurred over most parts of the
country with the highest falls being recorded at Wedza, which had 32mm,
Buhera 27mm, Kadoma 21mm and Zvishavane 19mm.
The Met Dept, however, advised that the rains would increase from Sunday
onwards and urged people residing in low-lying areas to seek shelter on
higher ground should they notice that their areas were under threat of
The weather experts also warned people against taking shelter under trees
during a thunderstorm to avoid being struck by lightning.
Expectations are that there should be a gradual increase in rainfall
activity to cover much of the country from 27 January onwards.
Ninety-six people have drowned while 33 were struck by lightning across the
country since the beginning of the rainy season.
The heavy rains have also destroyed 180 houses in Tsholotsho leaving the
In Beitbridge, Zimbabwe and South Africa were on Monday forced to stop both
vehicular and human traffic after the bridge at the border post was flooded
on Sunday night.
The CPU has also reported major flooding of rivers in Gokwe such as Ume,
Sesame and Sengwa with several people being marooned on some of them.
According to the police, most people drowned after attempting to cross
flooded rivers, while others had vehicles they were travelling in swept away
in flooded rivers and bridges.
The Met Dept has warned that both private and public vehicles should not
attempt to cross-flooded or low-lying bridges.
It has also warned people against attempting to cross-flooded streams or
rivers, and to quickly move to higher ground if they notice their area
Motorists were advised to refrain from parking their vehicles under big old
trees which were likely to give way to heavy winds and to desist from
attempting to cross flooded, low lying bridges.
Police have received reports of 14 people who have drowned after their
vehicles were swept away at flooded rivers and bridges in separate incidents
Tobacco farmers were urged to seek insurance for their crop against hail
damage to avoid loss from the expected rains.
The highest rainfall totals recorded from 1 October to 21 January are:
Mukandi – 973 mm
Hwange – 893 mm, Gokwe – 764 mm, Nyanga – 756 mm, Chisengu – 734 mm,
Rusape – 694 mm, Murehwa – 657 mm, Henderson – 650mm, Mutoko – 627 mm and
Harare Belvedere – 624 mm.
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 00:00
Felex Share Herald Reporter
Enumerators from four provinces have received their dues after participating
in the 2012 population census as Government battles to cover the allowances.
More than 30 000 enumerators and 10 450 supervisors participated in the
population census in August last year and most of them are still to be paid
Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency population census manager Mr Washington
Mapeta yesterday confirmed that only four provinces were paid.
The provinces are Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South and Mashonaland
Enumerators in Mashonaland Central received their allowances about a week
“We have managed to fully pay up enumerators in the four provinces,” he
Mr Mapeta said there were no definite dates when the remaining provinces
would be paid.
“As for the remaining provinces, I do not have the exact date when they will
be paid because we wait for the money from Government. All I can say is the
money will be paid as and when it is availed to us,” he said.
He could not disclose the amount needed to pay the outstanding provinces.
About US$10 million is needed to pay all the enumerators.
Scores of frustrated enumerators have complained over delays in the payment
of their outstanding allowances.
The enumerators claim that they had been promised US$500 and some of them
had incurred expenses to participate in the exercise anticipating that
Government would immediately pay them.
Those with outstanding allowances only got US$150 soon after the exercise.
Most enumerators were drawn from the education sector.
Donors contributed close to US$12 million towards the exercise and the money
was used for food, accommodation and conferencing.
The donors said Government should settle the allowances of the enumerators.
The 2012 population census was marred by disturbances when it started.
Thousands of prospective enumerators wishing to take part in the process
jostled at various centres countrywide to be considered.
The process was also affected by late dissemination of material while
transport shortages also affected the deployment of some officers to remote
The population census will provide data on the demographic and related
socio-economic characteristics of the population at national and
It is also used for planning and implementing development programmes such as
housing, provision of water and sanitation.
Zimbabwe holds a census after every 10 years. The first census was held in
Preliminary results have shown that Zimbabwe has 12, 9 million people, up
from 11,6 million in 2002.
Final results are expected mid-year.
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 00:00
Felex Share Herald Reporter
Administrative bungling has cost over 200 prospective students places at
Belvedere Technical Teachers’ College after the institution failed to enroll
them even though they received admission letters.
The students were turned away for the past three days after arriving for the
first term studies.
College authorities reportedly told the prospective students that they had
surpassed required enrolment figures.
Most of the affected students had been asked to pay US$100 deposit fees.
Some had even paid the required US$520 tuition and boarding fees.
Non-resident students pay US$340.
The college gave the students acceptance letters a few days after the
interviews held in September last year
BTTC acting principal Mr Patrick Chinhoro yesterday confirmed the bungling.
He said the college was refunding some of the affected students while others
were being re-deployed to other sections.
Mr Chinhoro said the college accommodated 650 students but ended up having
more than 800 accepted students.
“Yes, there was some misunderstanding between the students and the school
authorities but we have managed to solve the problem and we are refunding
those who had paid deposits and some who had paid full fees,” he said.
He said there was no option but to refund the affected prospective students.
“We are sorry that some innocent students were affected but we turned the
students away after realising that we had over-enrolled.
“Further investigations showed us that most of the people had forged
acceptance letters while others had photocopied the fees-structure.”
He said they would not report to the police those who forged acceptance
letters because the systems at the institution needed tightening.
“It is the system that is faulty and because I am new in the office, I think
such a situation has been going on for years and we want to rectify that.
Students should come through the principal’s office not through anyone else
Mr Chinhoro said those with acceptance letters should have obtained the fees
structure from the principal’s office.
“After getting the offer letter, we ascertain the number of people we are
enrolling that year when the students come to collect the fees structure and
in this case they should have done so and paid the deposit by the end of
December,” he said.
Mr Chinhoro said those in need of refunds should visit the institution with
“We have no problems with refunding them and it is only a matter of
producing proof of payment. We are doing this in consultation with our
parent ministry and we have notified them of the problem.
“As for some who are producing evidence that they attended the interviews,
we are taking them on board. There is now normalcy and if you visit the
college now you will see that the chaos has disappeared.”
Some of the affected students told The Herald that they had secured study
leave at their various workplaces only to be told that they no longer had
“The fact that they had given us acceptance letters and told us to pay
deposits was enough guarantee that we had secured places,” said one of the
students who declined to be named.
“What am I going to do with the leave days I had secured? They should have
stopped us when we went to pay the deposits.”
Other students accused college authorities of corruption, saying those who
had secured the places had paid “kick-backs”.
“They knew the actual number of people they wanted, and what was the purpose
of enrolling more students when we had done the interviews?
“It means something is going on in those offices and we urge Government to
look into the issue,” another student said.
Some of the affected students had come from areas such as Buhera, Chiredzi
Another student added: “Who is going to cover for all the expenses I
incurred since the time of the interviews? If you do not pay them anything
then you know you do not have a place.”
The prospective students said the most affected were those that had applied
for Mathematics, Science and Geography. BTTC enrolls students for academic
and technical teacher training programmes.
WASHINGTON — Zimbabwe has been forced to shelf its cervical cancer
vaccination program due to lack of funds.
Health Ministry officials told VOA Studio 7 that cash is needed to help
acquire and distribute vaccines against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
Health Minister Dr. Henry Madzorera said the ministry is currently applying
to various donors for the necessary support to implement the program.
The program is part of the government’s efforts to vaccinate ordinary
Zimbabweans against a variety of preventable killer diseases.
The virus is sexually acquired and can lead to infections and cervical
The HBV vaccination is given to young girls between the ages of 9 to 12
before they become sexually active. Women up to the age of 26 can also be
given the vaccination – three doses over a period of six months.
The government recently also embarked on a major immunization campaign
targeting young children under the age of five to prevent them from killer
on January 23, 2013 at 4:09 am
HARARE – The controversy surrounding the votes from Zimbabwe for the 2012
Ballon d’Or deepened yesterday amid shocking revelations that some names of
the local voting panelists could have been forged onto the official ballot
papers that were sent to Fifa.
The embarrassing case has already triggered an internal investigation within
Zifa with the association’s vice-president, Ndumiso Gumede, saying those
responsible for this shameless act will have to be punished accordingly.
The Ballon d’Or is an international award, whose integrity is protected by
Fifa, who ensure that the right people — national team coaches, national
team captains or vice-captains and selected journalists — have to cast
Revelations that some names could probably have been forged, onto the ballot
papers from Zimbabwe to dupe Fifa in terms of those who voted, is certainly
an embarrassment that could see heads rolling at Zifa.
Fifa use the voting system to harness data that will help them establish the
trend of voting by coaches, players and journalists across the globe and any
attempts to dupe the system is an insult to the efforts that the world
football governing body will be making.
The Herald is now in possession of all the official ballot papers for the
2012 Ballon d’Or that came from Zimbabwe and were sent to Fifa on November
15, 2011, the deadline day for the voting exercise.
The official ballot papers clearly show that Rahman Gumbo, who was the
Warriors’ coach by the time the votes were cast and was supposed to have
voted for the Player and Coach of the Year awards, DID not take part in the
process. Rahman has maintained that while his name appeared on the Fifa
list, as having voted in the process, he didn’t cast his vote.
Zifa technical director, Nelson Matongorere’s name appears on the official
ballot papers, but the former coach, who also denies casting a vote during
the process, appeared to have indicated that he wasn’t the Warriors’ coach.
The official ballot papers show that where Matongorere is said to have cast
his vote, on the space reserved for the national coach, an indication was
made that the person who was voting wasn’t the Warriors’ coach but someone
The ‘coach’ is crossed, on the ballot paper, and the initials TD, as if to
indicate Technical Director, are inserted, followed by the name ‘Nelson
The person who voted as Matongorere, since the Zifa official denies casting
his vote, chose Andreas Iniesta for the 2012 Fifa Ballon d’Or, with Lionel
Messi and Robin van Persie in second and third places.
For the Coach of the Year, he or she chose Vicente del Bosque, Pep Guardiola
and Jurgen Klopp. Interestingly, Esrom Nyandoro, the Warriors’ vice-captain,
is sucked into the drama as his name appears on the official ballot papers
as having voted during the 2012 Ballon d’Or voting process.
While a vice-captain of a national team can vote, it’s unlikely that
Nyandoro did because not only was he not in this country when Zifa battled
to beat the deadline, but a closer look at the ballot shows that the person
who voted even spells the first name of the Mamelodi Sundowns’ man wrongly.
On both ballots, for the Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, Esrom’s
first name is spelt as Ersom and there is even a signature to go with it to
confirm that he voted.
However, the handwriting on all the ballot papers that came from Zimbabwe is
strikingly similar, especially the way the person constructed the “a”
letter, and all seemed to have been done by the same pen.
Wile Fifa said the form should be completed in capital letters, the person
who signed on behalf of Matongorere used both upper and lower cases and so
did the one who signed on behalf of Nyandoro.
Until now, Nyandoro’s name had not featured in this drama with Matongorere
being accused of having masqueraded as the Warriors’ captain, in the voting
process, a charge that he denied.
Zifa chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, has publicly maintained that he
was out of office when the ballot papers came from Fifa and were then signed
and returned to the world football governing body in Zurich.
But all the four ballot papers from Zimbabwe show that they were authorised
by Mashingaidze, whose signature appears on all papers, as it is a mandatory
requirement that either the chief executive (secretary-general) or the
president of the association have to authorise the votes.
Mashingaidze’s signature is followed by a confirmation, of the date he
signed the papers, on November 15, 2011, and an official Zifa date stamp, of
the same day, which made everything authoritative enabling the votes to be
included for the 2012 Ballon d’Or.
If Mashingaidze is right to publicly say that he wasn’t in office when the
voting process was done, does it mean that someone then forged his signature
to give the ballot papers the authoritative seal that was needed for them to
become official documents at Fifa?
Who could be that person, if that is true, who expertly copied Mashingaidze’s
signature on all four ballot papers without making a mistake?
Or was the signature of Nyandoro and his name also forged? These are the big
issues that will confront Zifa this morning and, given that the association
have adopted a zero tolerance on malpractice, this could be an interesting
Mighty Warriors’ coach, Rosemary Mugadza, confirmed to The Herald that she
took part in the voting process after receiving a call on deadline day.
“Yes, I voted and, indeed, filled in those ballot papers for Zimbabwe. I was
phoned to come to Zifa for that and I took with me my captain, (Onai
Chingawo), for the same task and why is there noise about this anyway?
“Wasn’t it a straight forward case?” Mugadza said.
Mugadza will probably see that there are startling similarities, in the
handwriting that cast the votes, leading to suspicion of foul play to defeat
the Fifa process. Zifa have launched an investigation after the case was
tabled at a board meeting last week and, until now, all eyes had been
pointed on Matongorere.
Mashingaidze told The Chronicle that, because of the sensitivity of the
case, the names of the four members of the investigating committee will
remain a secret until they complete their exercise.
Voter apathy and a growing disaffection towards Morgan Tsvangirai will put
the MDC at a disadvantage in the polls
Blessing-Miles Tendi Harare
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 23 January 2013 08.32 GMT
Zimbabwe's warring political leaders have finally agreed on a compromise
constitution, starting a process that is expected to end in elections later
A referendum on the new constitution has long been a key prerequisite for
staging a vote, although full details of the compromise are yet to be made
public. The referendum date is set to be announced soon and elections will
But instead of a lively public interest in the winding up of the
constitution making process and the prospect of elections, Harare is
passive. The political bickering and power games that have characterised
constitution-making since 2009 have engendered passivity towards national
Following the outcome of a similar situation in Kenya, some analysts are
even skeptical that elections will take place this year. Kenyan political
parties, like their Zimbabwean counterparts, entered a power-sharing
government after a violent and disputed election in 2007. Just as in
Zimbabwe, the completion of constitutional reform before fresh elections was
seen as important. Kenya's drafting of a new constitution proceeded rapidly
and with some consensus – in sharp contrast to Zimbabwe. However the
aligning of old laws with the new Kenyan constitution was hampered by
bickering politicians, taking two years to complete and forcing delay of
elections until March 2013.
Political analyst Dr Ibbo Mandaza of Sapes Trust believes that enduring
political differences between Zimbabwe's major parties and the protracted
practicalities of harmonising old laws with the new constitution will result
in a repeat of the Kenyan scenario, thereby ruling out elections in 2013 in
Zimbabwe – which will only intensify apathy.
There is also growing disaffection in urban areas towards Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). This will harm the
MDC's chances, particularly because urban constituencies are its traditional
electoral stronghold. Tsvangirai, who rose to prominence in the 1990s as
secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union, successfully
challenged Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF government on a range of social and
economic policies that undermined urban labour. But since Tsvangirai joined
Mugabe in a power-sharing government in 2009, his party's relations with
urban workers have slowly broken down.
A good example of this is civil servants' long-running, futile negotiations
with the public service ministry, which is controlled by the MDC, over wages
and improved working conditions. While a 5% pay increase promised in 2012
has failed to materialise, MDC ministers have lobbied for a US$21,000 each
housing allowance from the state treasury. One MDC cabinet member, who asked
not to be named, said: "We have lost our virginity, our innocence, our high
moral ground. At the last cabinet meeting of (18 December) 2012 MDC
ministers put up a huge fight for an unwarranted US$21 000 housing allowance
per cabinet member. Tendai Biti (the finance minister) was saying, how do we
justify this given that we are not going to increase civil servants'
salaries? My colleagues in the MDC came up with clever ideas for hiding the
housing allowance so the public will not know. What was shocking is that
only one Zanu-PF minister spoke forcefully for the allowance. The real
pressure came from my people. They were passionate. I sat there thinking if
only the public out there knew this."
A different MDC member, the constitutional affairs minister. Eric Matinenga,
has not been afraid to voice his disaffection publicly. Last year Matinenga
announced that he would not run for re-election in his Buhera West
constituency after serving a single term. In the cool of his office in
Harare's Compensation House, Matinenga said: "When I made a decision to run
for political office in 2008 I already had a plan for what I was going to
do. I was going to serve only one term as MP and go back to being an
advocate. The corruption and hunger for power I have seen on both sides of
government (Zanu-PF and the MDC) has not made me want to go back on my
original principle to serve one term. People go into politics to make money.
It is not about public service. I was naive."
Voter turnout in elections has declined steadily in the last decade. The
current passivity and disaffection of urban voters points to continued
decline in voter participation in forthcoming elections. Low urban voter
turnout will undermine the MDC's chances in elections, particularly in the
presidential vote. Mugabe has secured the rural vote in the past because of
co-opted traditional leaders who marshal their respective communities in
support of his candidature, paramilitary control of the country side,
violence and the party's land redistribution programme in the countryside.
These factors preclude apathy and are the preserve of Zanu-PF. The MDC's
increasing loss of touch with its urban support base, therefore, does not
bode well for Tsvangirai ahead of elections.
Blessing-Miles Tendi is author of Making History in Mugabe's Zimbabwe:
Politics, Intellectuals and the Media and a politics lecturer at the Oxford
University's Department of International Development
BILL WATCH 3/2013
[22nd January 2013]
Both Houses of Parliament have Adjourned until Tuesday 5th February
Land Reform Exercise to Avoid BIPPA Farms – “For Now”
On New Year’s Eve Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Herbert Murerwa announced that “for now” the Government would halt compulsory acquisition of agricultural land covered by Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements between Zimbabwe and other countries [BIPPAs]. In fulfilment of this decision, official “offer letters” authorising resettlement farmers to occupy plots on Tavydale Farm, Mazowe district, which is covered by the BIPPA with Belgium, had, said the Minister, been withdrawn. The decision recognises the potential practical implications, the costs, for Zimbabwe of failure by the Government to abide by binding international agreements.
Government liability to pay compensation under BIPPAs is the problem Minister Murerwa stressed – as did Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Patrick Chinamasa a few days later – that BIPPAs do not prohibit compulsory acquisition or make it illegal under Zimbabwean law.
[Note: The Ministers are right. A typical BIPPA recognises the possibility of expropriation for public purposes, under due process of law, on a non-discriminatory basis and against payment of prompt, adequate and effective compensation, which must be freely transferable outside Zimbabwe in convertible currency. While the Zimbabwe Constitution and Land Acquisition Act authorise acquisition of land covered by BIPPAs and make provision for some compensation, BIPPA compensation requirements are more generous to dispossessed landowners. And BIPPAs contain provisions for disputes between investors and the Zimbabwe Government to be decided by arbitration, typically by the International Court for Settlement of Investment Disputes [ICSID] set up in terms of the international Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and nationals of other States.]
The Minister explained that the Government’s decision to stop taking over BIPPA farms had been reached in view of the ongoing litigation in ICSID and because “we do not want to increase our liability” to compensate those dispossessed farmers covered by BIPPAs.
As an example of the Government’s liability under BIPPAs, the Minister cited ICSID compensation awards against Zimbabwe over the Government’s failure to pay compensation after taking over farms covered under the 1996 BIPPA with the Netherlands. The unpaid sum involved is now some $25 million; it increases every six months when interest at 10% is compounded [text of ICSID award of 2009 available from email@example.com].
Save Valley Conservancy: another potential BIPPA problem
Some of the investors in the Save Valley Conservancy, a high-profile wild-life conservation and tourist attraction in the south-eastern Lowveld, include German nationals protected by the BIPPA between Germany and Zimbabwe. The Government’s granting of hunting quotas in the conservancy under the banner of indigenisation, have according to investors had an adverse effect on this on the conservancy’s operations.
Potential cost to tourism: loss of upcoming UNWTO conference?
The German Ambassador to Zimbabwe has recently pointed out that failure to remedy the interference with the Save Valley Conservancy by positive Government action might also affect perception of Zimbabwe’s qualifications to co-host, with Zambia, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO] General Assembly scheduled for Victoria Falls at the end of August. Relocation of the UNWTO gathering – or its failure to attract comprehensive international attendance – would be a major setback to those working to make the gathering a success. And relocation to Madrid is said to have been mentioned as a possibility last week by visiting UNWTO officials dubious about the slow pace of preparations, particularly on the Zambian side. The officials will also have taken note of ZANU-PF supporters’ demonstration against the US Ambassador on his visit to Mutare on 16th January – if an ambassador is treated in this way it could keep foreign tourists away. Successful hosting of the UNWTO event is generally regarded as vital to ongoing efforts to showcase Zimbabwe’s tourism facilities and boost the tourism industry, with benefits for the whole economy.
Coming Up this Week– AU Regular Summit in Addis Ababa, 21st to 28th January
The AU Summit runs from 21st to 28th January. Already under way are meetings of the Permanent Representatives [Ambassadorial level] and the Executive Council [Ministerial level] preceding the two-day meeting of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government on Sunday 27th and Monday 28th January.
The Summit theme is “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”. The Zimbabwe situation does not feature on the draft Heads of State Agenda, but that does not preclude Zimbabwe and the latest developments in the constitution-making process being discussed in official or informal side meetings. There is also likely to be vigorous civil society lobbying at the Summit about ongoing violence, attacks on NGOs and the lack of civil liberties reform ahead of Zimbabwe’s upcoming elections. The Summit will undoubtedly be preoccupied with serious conflicts throughout Africa, e.g. Sudan, DRC, and now Mali. The proposed AU intervention in the Eastern DRC by a Neutral International Force which will include the SADC Standby Brigade, may affect Zimbabwe if its troops are committed there.
Résumé of Recent SADC Meetings
Regular SADC Summit – Maputo, August 2012
This Heads of State Summit in August 2012 was covered in Bill Watch 39/2012 of 20th August. On Zimbabwe the Summit communiqué [available from firstname.lastname@example.org] urged the GPA parties to complete the constitution-making process and continue implementing the GPA. The day before the Summit there was a meeting of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. President Zuma’s Report to the Organ as Facilitator of the Zimbabwe negotiations, which was transmitted to the full Summit, has now become available [from email@example.com].
SADC Extraordinary Summit – Dar es Salaam, 7th and 8th December
Extraordinary Summits of the Troika of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and SADC Heads of State and Government took place in Dar es Salaam on 7th and 8th December. The main subject of the Summit meetings was the situation in the Eastern DRC, but President Zuma also reported verbally on the latest developments in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe was represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Mumbengegwi.
The communiqué of the full Summit [full text available from firstname.lastname@example.org] contained only one short paragraph on Zimbabwe, reaffirming the SADC position that the elections in 2013 must follow the completion of the constitution-making process, including the Referendum:
“9.2 Summit urged the political stakeholders in Zimbabwe to fully implement the GPA.
9.3 Summit also urged the political stakeholders to finalise the constitutional process including referendum before the holding of the elections in 2013.”
The communiqué does not reveal what President Zuma told his Troika colleagues about developments in Zimbabwe – but it would no doubt have included, on the constitution-making process, the setting up of a Principal’s Committee to resolve outstanding disputes and expedite the process.
Comment: Now that on 16th January the GPA principals have duly announced agreement on the draft constitution, it is hoped that President Zuma will focus more on the full implementation of the GPA.
Zimbabwean Troops for DRC?
What the December SADC Extraordinary Summit decided
According to its communiqué the SADC Summit in Dar es Salaam condemned the actions of the M23 rebels in the Eastern DRC and decided that the SADC Standby Force should be deployed there. The Summit:
“(iv) affirmed that SADC, as a block will deploy the SADC Standby Force in the Eastern DRC under the auspices of the Neutral International Force (NIF) ...
(vi) mandated the SADC Interstate Politics and Diplomacy Committee (ISPDC) and the SADC Secretariat to work together with the ICGLR [the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region] to engage the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council for support to the deployment and sustenance; ...
(vii) noted pledges by Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania to contribute to the deployment of NIF, and called on other SADC members who had not made pledges “to do so as a matter of urgency”.
A day or two later President Mugabe confirmed that Zimbabwean troops might be sent to the Eastern DRC as part of the SADC Standby Force, and stressed that the costs of any such intervention would be shouldered by SADC or the AU or UN, not by Zimbabwe. There have however been local newspaper reports, perhaps based on an unconfirmed report in a Ruanda newspaper, that Zimbabwean troops are already there.
About the SADC Standby Force
The SADC Standby Force was officially launched in Zambia in August 2007, when SADC member States, including Zimbabwe, concluded a Memorandum of Understanding to set it up. The function of the Force is to participate in missions envisaged in Article 13 of the African Union Protocol establishing the AU Peace and Security Council. [Full text of MOU available from email@example.com]. All the African regional economic organisations have such Standby Forces in keeping with the “African Peace and Security Architecture” of the AU.
When will deployment of the Standby Force to DRC start?
AU consultations on the envisaged Neutral International Force [NIF] for the eastern DRC are still under way. There was a Ministerial level meeting in Addis Ababa on 8th January, chaired by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security. And developments were discussed at the Organ meetings in Dar es Salaam on 9th and 10th January [see below], after which SADC Executive Secretary Salomao said neither the size nor the functions of the NIF have been determined. [This will be discussed at the AU Summit this week.]
What the Zimbabwe Constitution says about Defence Forces deployment
Section 96(1) of the Constitution gives the President, in the exercise of his functions as Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, the power to “determine the operational use” of the Defence Forces. Article 20 of the GPA does not in as many words impose curbs on this power, but unilateral action by the President would not be in accordance with the spirit underlying the GPA.
What the COPAC draft Constitution says about deployment
Clause 5.23 of the latest available COPAC draft lists deploying the Defence Forces as one of the executive functions of the President that has to be exercised on the advice of Cabinet. Prior Parliamentary approval is not needed, and for deployment in accordance with multilateral international commitments – such as the commitment to the SADC Standby Brigade – Parliament would not even have to give later approval, but would have to be promptly notified.
SADC Organ Troika Extraordinary Summit 10th January
On Thursday 10th December there was an Extraordinary Summit in Dar es Salaam of the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, attended by Troika chairperson President Kikwete of Tanzania and members President Zuma of South Africa and Pohamba of Namibia, plus Mozambique President Guebuza in his capacity as SADC chairperson. There was a preliminary meeting at Ministerial level on 9th January.
Organ Summit proceedings The agenda of the meetings included the Eastern DRC, Madagascar and Zimbabwe, with the emphasis on the first two. According to its communiqué the Summit received a progress report on the Neutral International Force [NIF] for the eastern DRC, noted pledges by Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania to contribute to the deployment of NIF, and called on other SADC members who had not made pledges “to do so as a matter of urgency” [full communiqué available from firstname.lastname@example.org].
On Zimbabwe the communiqué records the following:
“8.1. Summit commended H.E. Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa and the SADC Facilitator on Zimbabwe Political Dialogue for his efforts towards full implementation of GPA in Zimbabwe.
8.2 Summit urged the political stakeholders in Zimbabwe to expedite the finalization of the constitution making process on the outstanding issues in order to pave the way for peaceful, credible, free, and fair elections in the country.
8.3 Summit mandated the SADC Facilitator to continue to engage the political stakeholders in Zimbabwe.”
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