Roy Bennett insists that his trial will not deter him from fighting for
justice in Zimbabwe
* Alex Duval Smith
* guardian.co.uk, Sunday 3 January 2010 00.06 GMT
Barefoot at his front door, wearing faded shorts and a T-shirt, Roy Bennett
looks tired. As well he might. Next week, instead of kicking off the new
year discharging a brief as deputy agriculture minister in Zimbabwe's
power-sharing government, Bennett will be back in Harare's high court,
enduring a further instalment of a trial in which he faces life imprisonment
for conspiring to overthrow the president, Robert Mugabe.
Under the draconian Public Order and Security Act, the former commercial
farmer is accused of buying £3,000 worth of arms in 2006 to carry out acts
of insurgency, sabotage, banditry or terrorism. The prosecution claims to
have email evidence, along with a confession from Mike Hitschmann, a gun
dealer and alleged conspirator, that Bennett bought the weapons to be used
as part of an anti-government plot. "It's complete nonsense," he told the
Observer at his home in the capital where he is currently on bail. "I had
seen Mike Hitschmann at political rallies, but I never bought a single gun
"The court experience is a total nightmare. Sitting in that court every day,
listening to people lying, is like one of those dreams where someone is
trying to murder you but you can't defend yourself because your gun won't
work." Amid no-shows by witnesses and chaos in the paperwork, no one knows
when the trial will end.
Bennett, who is also treasurer-general of Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change, was arrested in February, on the day he was due to be
sworn in to the "inclusive" government that the MDC had finally agreed to
join following disputed elections. He is the tenth person to face treason
charges since Mugabe came to power in 1980. But the fact that he is white,
his political track record and the timing have given this trial a special
Last month, at the Zanu-PF party congress in Harare, Mugabe took his latest
swipe at the "settler's son" who is held up by the veteran president as
evidence that the MDC is a white-led - or British - conspiracy to dispossess
all black Zimbabweans. "Open your eyes," said Mugabe. "This is your country
and not for whites. Not the Bennetts. They are settlers. Even if they were
born here they are offspring of settlers."
Lawyers say the country's legal system - flawed as it is - should clear
Bennett. Dubious witnesses, cobbled-together exhibits and the mysterious
disappearance of evidence have marred the prosecution's case. But if he is
found guilty, the MDC could find itself at a dangerous crossroads. The
secretive nature of the current round of talks between Morgan Tsvangirai,
the prime minister, and the 85-year-old Mugabe has led to a growing
restiveness among MDC supporters. A touchy-feely joint press conference just
before Christmas left Zimbabweans feeling Tsvangirai was in danger of giving
too much ground to his old foe. Diplomats are worried, too. "We are getting
very few clear signals from the talks, and we are worried that some MDC
ministers are being co-opted by Zanu-PF," said a European ambassador.
It is in that political context that Bennett's trial gives an insight into
the workings of power in Zimbabwe. "The outcome of the trial is on the table
of the political talks. Mugabe is dangling the danger of Bennett's
conviction in front of the MDC as a threat. Mugabe has calculated that, if
Bennett goes to jail, Tsvangirai will be considerably weakened in people's
eyes," said John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe.
The grandson of an Ulsterman who arrived in the 1880s to work as an assayer
in the mines, Bennett was a policeman before going to agriculture college in
1978. "I served five years as a regular in the British South Africa Police,"
he said. "The liberation war was on. I attended many murders. The so-called
liberation fighters would go into communal areas and kill black government
employees. That was their way of forcing people to support them. Seeing the
repression, and how the people were getting a hammering from both sides,
gave me a strong affinity with them."
Bennett, who currently lives in Harare with his half-Scots wife Heather, 47,
built up his booming 300-hectare fair-trade coffee farm at Chimanimani in
the east of the country from scratch. Before May 2000, when it was invaded
under Mugabe's ruinous land resettlement campaign, the farm was a hub of
empowerment, known throughout the area. Bennett, a fluent speaker of the
local language, Shona, had ploughed a share of his profits into building
bridges, roads, schools and clinics for the community.
So popular was Bennett that when Mugabe's "war veterans" occupied his farm
his employees and local people resisted. Later they sent a witch-doctor to
protect the farmhouse and curse the invaders. The farm, he says, is now
derelict; he has fought successive court battles but has not been able to
return, even for a visit, since 2004. He has now started a panel-beating
business in Harare.
Bennett describes himself as a "native through generations of history that
was no choice of my own, in the same way as most black Zimbabweans have
roots throughout the region". His brand of politics is based on parleys
under trees: "I did not want to go into politics. But before the 2000
elections the people came and asked me to get involved. I turned to Zanu-PF,
but they would not have me as a candidate. One day the elders and I
travelled up to Harare to see what Morgan Tsvangirai had to say for himself.
We decided on the MDC. "
In 2000 he became one of four whites to win parliamentary seats for the MDC.
His Manicaland constituency - a former heartland of the war against white
rule - had been staunchly Zanu-PF for 20 years. For the seat to have gone to
a white farmer was an insult to Mugabe. He quickly became a priority target
for the ruling party. In 2004 the justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa,
announced in parliament that Bennett's Charleswood estate was to be
resettled. Bennett marched across the floor and wrestled Chinamasa to the
ground. He also took a swing at the anti-corruption minister before being
ejected and jailed for 15 months.
The treason trial is based mainly on a controversial "confession" from
Hitschmann, 49. Until 2006, when he was arrested, the former volunteer
police officer held a formidable armoury on behalf of farmers who had fled
the land invasions. He has been subpoenaed as a prosecution witness in
Bennett's trial, despite emerging only in July 2009 from two years in jail
after being convicted of illegal possession of firearms. The confession that
incriminates Bennett was ruled invalid in Hitschmann's own trial because it
was obtained under torture.
Hitschmann told the Observer he will reveal the full extent of his
mistreatment when he appears in court this month. "The confession naming
Bennett is one of five they made me write after I was handcuffed,
leg-ironed, beaten over the head and told that my wife and son were in
custody. They kicked me in the genitals and burnt my buttocks with
cigarettes, and then I was made to write five different confessions.
"One covered a plan I was supposed to have hatched to derail Mugabe's
motorcade. The second was the alleged MDC plot involving Bennett. A third
had me destabilising the country on the orders of two provincial Zanu-PF
officials, and a fourth involved me in economic sabotage of Zanu-PF assets
on the orders of a party official. The fifth said [defence minister]
Emmerson Mnangagwa and 'unnamed' generals had involved me in a plot to
organise resistance to unseat Mugabe.''
As he prepares to face the prosecutors again, Bennett admits he is
exhausted. He terribly regrets having "ruined" his family's life. "It has
been awful for them. My son Charles, who is 24, had his room raided by
strangers when he was 10 and he has not had a permanent home since then.
They want to break you, and they get close. But I am not a politician. I
cannot be corrupted or intimidated.
"I got into this to help people who now have hung their hats on the fact
that I am committed to represent them honestly and fairly. If it was not for
those people, I would have walked away from this thing long ago.''
1973-1978 After leaving school at 16, serves in the British South Africa
1980 Begins work as a farmer. Later buys Charleswood estate.
May 2000 Charleswood is occupied for the first time; 800 cattle are taken.
24-25 June 2000 Wins seat for MDC by 11,410 votes against 8,072.
2006 Mike Hitschmann is arrested. Bennett asks for asylum in South Africa.
2007 Hitschmann is jailed for two years.
February 2009 After receiving assurances of his safety, Bennett returns.
Morgan Tsvangirai gives him job of deputy agriculture minister. But Bennett
arrested on arrival at airport.
October 2009 Tsvangirai boycotts power-sharing government for a month in
protest at charges against Bennett. Bennett released on bail.
November 2009 Bennett's trial begins. It is due to resume on 12 January.
03 January, 2010 02:55:00
ZIMBABWE Central Bank Governor approved the illegal 54% acquisition of
Premier Bank by Germany investors, selling a bank he is a major shareholder
and also violating the 49% Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act
quantum of equity owned by foreigners, we can reveal.
Germany investment house ADC recently acquired controlling stake in Zimbabwe's
Premier Finance in a US$6 million transaction that saw the Reserve Bank
unilaterally fast-tracking the waiver of the country's empowerment laws to
leave the financial institution in foreign control in a deal that has opened
up a pandora's box exposing how Zanu PF politicians shift goal posts to line
up their pockets, taking the vantage point shouting the loudest patriotism
charade when it involves others.
The Zimbabwe Mail can reveal that some cabinet Ministers from both the MDC
and Zanu PF have decided to take up the matter into the next cabinet meeting
and Finance Minister Tendai Bit has issued a directive to investigate the
manner in which the deal was concluded, amid reports that the waiver of the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act requirements was illegally
carried out by the Central Bank without consulting the relevant Ministries.
Sources said the ADC-Premier Bank transaction was fast tracked in secrecy to
bit the new Central Bank legislation which is currently going through its
last stages of debate in the Senate before it is signed by Robert Mugabe
Gideon Gono, the Central Bank Governor has been a major shareholder in
Premier Bank, together with his close ally and sidekick, the former RBZ's
head of bank licensing, supervision and surveillance chief, Norman Mataruka
since the bank started business.
Mataruka and Gono each own 25 perent shareholdings in Premier Bank and
Mataruka's brother in law who is the Chairman of Premier Finance group and
holds 3%. So the two Reserve Bank Officials owned Premier Bank before they
sold 54% shareholding to Germany investors.
Gono is represented in Premier board by his business associate and partner
Blazio Tafireyi who sits on the weekly Financial Gazette board.
Sources said the pair are also linked to the latest big deal in town in
which top business lawyer Tawanda Nyambira of TN Financial Holdings has
acquired Zimbabwe's largest furniture company, Tedco Limited.
Tedco is comprised of Tedco Retail (Private) Limited, Springmaster
Corporation Limited, TN Bank, TN Medical, including Radio Limited, Nyore
Nyore and Sleep Eezzy.
Norman Mataruka also has 20 percent stake in NDH Bank Limited (NDH Ltd) -
against standing bank regulation and general corporate governance rules.
He has been a key associate and enforcer of central bank governor Gideon
Gono, who sank many "an institution" in the tumultuous 2003-2004 period over
what they called "irresponsible banking and unbalanced institutions" caused
by weak governance, and monitoring structures.
Zimbabwe's Banking Act expressly discourages and prohibits RBZ officials
from owning shares in allied businesses, which are subject to their routine
scrutiny or checks for fear of subjective views on appraisals and other
Among those banks culled or said to have been plagued by poor to
non-existent oversight structures and mechanisms were Barbican Bank, ENG
Capital, Guardian Asset Management, Nicholas Ingrain's Aftermarket Banking
Corporation, Rapid Financial Holdings, Royal, Sagit Finance House, Trust
Banking Corporation and a host of other small institutions such as asset
Questions are now asked as to how the pair sanctioned and approved such a
transaction violating the country's Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment
legislation while they are also key shareholders with huge financial
interests in Premier Bank.
The deal saw PFG and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange-listed ADC obtain a waiver
on Harare's stringent banking and empowerment policies to allow foreign
investors a controlling 54 percent stake in order to facilitate
recapitalisation of Zimbabwe's financial services sector.
The southern African country's indigenisation laws restrict foreign
companies to a maximum of 49 percent stake of a business with the remainder
reserved for Zimbabweans while the country's central bank has put in place
policies to make sure that no single investor will own more than 10 percent
shareholding of a financial institution.
But ADC chief executive officer Dirk Harbecke said these policies were
waived after they presented their plan for Zimbabwe, detailing a long term
road map which will see PFG expanding into the region following
consolidation in Zimbabwe.
"We have confidence in the new team at PFG and in the potential of the group
to grow," he said.
"We are not looking in the past (but) there is a need for change. We will
make sure we restructure and build a successful financial institution.
That is our aim in Zimbabwe and that is the aim of the team here. We will
partner with PFG, restructure it and expand, possibly in the region. The
next phase will be to put in place a substantive team to drive the
institution," Harbecke said.
The issue has caused a huge fall-out at the Affirmative Action Group between
the empowerment group's president, Mr Supa Mandiwanzira, and AAG chairman
for Harare Mr Charles Nyachowe over the acquisition of a 54 percent stake in
Premier Bank by foreign investors.
Mr Mandiwanzira, is arguing that despite the acquisition, the bank will
continue to be run by Zimbabweans and the deal will benefit many indigenous
businesspeople that will be able to access lines of credit.
On the other hand, Mr Nyachowe is insisting that the holding of the
significant chunk by the Germans in the bank is in stark contrast with the
country's Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act that limits foreigners
to 49 percent shareholding in any local company.
Mr Mandiwanzira said AAG is always concerned where issues of empowerment are
The former TV presenter and the Central Bank Governor are both related to
the First lady Grace Mugabe. Both have huge influence at the weekly
Financial Gazett owned by Mr Gono.
Sources close to the deal said, the First Family are heavily involved and
they want to use the bank in diamond trade transactions abroad.
The plan also is to use Germany investors to persuade the Germany money
printing company Giesecke & Devreint to restore its services to the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe as Robert Mugabe plan the return of the Zimbabwe dollar.
In 2008 Giesecke & Devrient GmbH, decided to cease delivering banknote paper
to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe citing political tensions.
Supa Mandiwanzira said, "Our position is that we have raised issues with
Premier Bank officials and we engaged them to get an understanding of the
nature of the transaction and we were given assurances by the officials that
part of the sale agreement of the equity to foreigners allows indigenous
people to buy back majority shareholding within three to five years.
"We have also been assured that the bank will continue to be run by a
Zimbabwean management team and board.
"Understanding all this we are satisfied that this is a good deal for the
bank and for Zimbabweans.
"This is good in the sense that Premier Bank will access cheaper lines of
credit and meet minimum capital requirements prescribed by the RBZ.
"It is clear that Zimbabweans will be benefiting from this deal.
"These investors have sunk in money to save the bank. In the deal ADC owns a
46 percent shareholding. KMQ Enterprises, a Mauritius domiciled company,
owns 8 percent equity. The Germans do not own 54 percent in Premier,"
explained Mr Mandiwanzira who is believed to be one of the local
When contacted for comment on the matter, Mr Nyachowe said: "My position is
very clear on the matter. That Premier Bank deal is illegal and it
contravenes the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act. How can foreigners hold
more than 49 percent in a local financial institution?
"Hatisi kuwirirana mu AAG (we are not in agreement at the AAG) over the
approach that some of our members want to employ towards Premier, and that
must not be down played.
"The law is clear on the quantum of equity that foreigners can and cannot
hold. That deal must be investigated and reversed. This is where I differ
"They want to be diplomatic on the matter and have it swept under the carpet
when it is very clear that the law was breached in that deal. I will stand
up for what I believe and will not be cowed into silence. "
Reports say TA Holdings, which is among the top 10 stock picks on the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), had expressed interest to secure shares in
Premier Financial Group Limited.
It is understood that last month, a group of foreign investors led by a
German financial services company, African Development Corporation (ADC),
acquired a 54 percent shareholding in Premier Finance Group Limited in a
US$6 million transaction
Of the remaining shareholding, 28 percent is held by a local consortium and
the balance by other local investors and an employee share trust.
The local consortium which holds 28 percent in Premier is made up of Mr
George Manyere, Mr Walter Kambwanji and Mr Douglas Mamvura.
ADC, which manages more than US$1 billion worth of assets in both developed
and emerging markets, has investments in commercial banking, asset
management and insurance and has been in African in the past three years.
It is controlled by the Altira Group, one of Germany's leading independent
asset managers and has spread its tentacles to Rwanda, Mauritius and Guinea.
The group is planning to make the troubled southern African country the hub
for its investments into the region.
"In Africa, we are investing in countries with strong prospects for growth,"
"We are planning to make Zimbabwe the hub for our investments in southern
Africa," the ADC chief said, rejecting claims that the investment climate in
Zimbabwe was still volatile.
"That statement is not true. The environment has changed dramatically in the
past 12 months. We have been screening the market since last year. We think
this is the right time to invest. We might be the first to invest in
Zimbabwe but investor perception has changed and more investors are coming
because of the stable currency situation.
"Because of the unity government, there has been a lot of improvement in the
economy. It (the economic crisis) is going to be solved. How fast we don't
know but the prospects are good. You will find that step by step, other
investors will begin to come. This is a small problem, sooner or later,
recovery will be achieved," he said.
Zimbabweans are hoping a steady return of tourists will help jolt its economy towards recovery.
With the Victoria Falls as one of its major attractions, the country had 1.4 visitors in 1999.
But numbers took a plunge in 2000 following unrest related to the land-redistribution policy implemented by President Robert Mugabe.
Now they are slowly bouncing back, but the country still has a long way to go to become a major tourist destination again.
Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa reports from the Victoria Falls.
THE bickering between Zanu PF and the MDC is set to continue in the new-year
with one of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's key advisers threatening a
"sharp escalation" in the dispute over full implementation of the GPA.
While a collegial press conference jointly addressed by President Robert
Mugabe and his rivals in December suggested relations within the coalition
government were improving, Eddie Cross, the MDC's policy coordinator says
his party will trigger another showdown with Zanu PF just days into the New
"I think as soon as the government is back in the New Year . the crisis will
escalate sharply unless (South African President) Mr Jacob Zuma steps up to
the plate and does what (former South African Prime Minister John) Vorster
did to (Rhodesian leader) Ian Smith in 1976 and what Mr (Thabo) Mbeki did to
Mr (Robert) Mugabe in 2007.
"Mr Zuma has to say to Mr Mugabe behind closed doors, as Vorster said to
Smith: 'It's the end of the road.
". The political, social and economic crisis is re-emerging in Zimbabwe. We
will slide into a condition very quickly in the new year, where the new
government will become totally dysfunctional," Cross who is also the Member
of Parliament for Bulawayo South told South African media.
As haggling over implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) came
to a head last year, Tsvangirai's party temporarily boycotted the unity
administration in October accusing President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party of
being "unreliable and dishonest" partners.
Zanu PF responded by threatening to appoint acting Ministers to supervise
portfolios abandoned by the MDC officials forcing the regional SADC grouping
to intervene and facilitate further dialogue between the feuding parties.
Subsequent talks yielded an agreement over the composition of statutory
bodies to oversee elections, the media and human rights but little progress
on the more substantive issues still dividing the parties.
Cross says the parties held almost continuous talks throughout the holiday
season with no sign of a breakthrough.
"We are back where we were in April 2008. South Africa is confronted with a
situation where Zanu PF is unprepared to accept the outcome of a political
process which has been initiated and managed by the South African
government. The question now is: What do we do?"
"(The MDC is) not prepared to make further concessions with regard to the
fundamental principles enunciated in the (GPA) agreement - we're not
prepared to do so," Cross said.
Tsvangirai's party complains that its officials continue to be harassed by
state security agents and, further, wants President Mugabe to reverse the
appointments of the governor of the country's central bank and the attorney
general, claiming they were not made in the 'spirit' of the GPA.
In addition the MDC says it also wants a more "equitable" distribution of
governorships and other senior positions in the inclusive administration.
For its part, Zanu PF insists it has fulfilled its obligations under the GPA
and will not be making any further concessions to the opposition.
Again, President Mugabe's party accuses the MDC of not doing enough to have
sanctions imposed by Western countries removed. Additional reporting by The
Sunday Times (SA).
By Tapuwa Mashayamombe
Published: January 3, 2010
Sheffield: Nomatter Mapungwana’s mother has said she is not aware of funds
that are missing. Speaking to a ZimEye reporter, Nomatter’s mother said that
‘everything’ has been in the hands of Betty Makoni’s Girl Child Network who
have been custodians of her daughter’s funds who had a tumor removed but is
now requiring an additional operation in London.
“Since mid December everything is just quiet” she said, stating to a ZimEye
reporter that Nomatter (pictured: on the day of her first surgery) was
supposed to have a second operation in December, but the doctors told her
that she needed to first pay a balance of £1862.
Thandiwe said that she was only told on Friday (1st January) that there are
missing funds but also state that the information was sketchy and unclear
such that all she knows is that there is a balance of £1862 which still
needs to be paid to the hospital and nothing more beyond that.
The organisation’s iconic leader, Betty Makoni has now been asked to step
down following the investigations on the missing funds. But one of the
organisation’s leaders, Nyagomo-Mambo has said that Makoni, who is also a
CNN Hero of the Year, was unlikely to step down because of her “intimate”
association with the organization.
Published: January 2, 2010
Sheffield: Despite protests from asylum seekers, the Home Office plans to resume forced deportations of Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers soon, a Home Office official has said. In a full page letter dated 7th December to an Asylum Seekers' organisation in Sheffield, the official said that the Home Office still stands by its October announcement by Phil Woolas which sets out the current position on enforcing the return of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe.
The asylum seekers had hoped that the Home Office would by upon reading the letter of protest, make a U-turn in their favour but this was not so.
Meg Hillier, the Home Office official, stated that Phil Woolas' announced decision would still stand. Woolas had said:
"The UK Border Agency will therefore be starting work over the autumn on a process aimed at normalising our returns policy to Zimbabwe, moving towards resuming enforced returns progressively as and when the political situation develops."
Many Zimbabweans who are awaiting a decision on their cases fear that they will be deported back to Zimbabwe in view of the instability still in the country. Before this announcement, a temporary reprieve allowed Zimbabwean asylum seekers exemption from forced deportation. The asylum organisation which had made the protest is the South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Groups (SYMAAG) Click here for the full letter from the Home Office
Zuma key to implementing faltering Zimbabwe agreement
Jan 2, 2010 10:43 PM | By BRENDAN BOYLE
A Zimabawean MP warned this week that the country's tenuous political accord
would unravel within weeks if President Jacob Zuma did not intervene
decisively to force its implementation.
Eddie Cross, a founder member of Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change and its policy co-ordinator, told the Sunday Times he expected a
showdown within days.
"I think as soon as the government is back in the new year - on Monday - the
crisis will escalate sharply unless Mr Zuma steps up to the plate and does
what (former South African prime minister John) Vorster did to (Rhodesian
leader) Ian Smith in 1976 and what Mr (Thabo) Mbeki did to Mr (Robert)
Mugabe in 2007.
"Mr Zuma has to say to Mr Mugabe behind closed doors, as Vorster said to
Smith: 'It's the end of the road,'" Cross said in an interview in Cape Town.
He said South Africa had intervened decisively twice to help Zimbabwe
towards a political solution, but had failed both times to follow up by
holding the parties to account for their implementation of agreements.
The first was when then-president Mbeki forced Mugabe to reverse the
postponement of an election and go to the polls in 2008 with effective rules
for a free and fair election.
Mbeki allowed Mugabe to force a runoff in the presidential election,
however, and to rig the results of the second poll.
As a result of South Africa's second intervention, Tsvangirai's MDC and
Mugabe's Zanu-PF share power under a global political agreement facilitated
by South Africa almost a year ago - but implementation of the 34
requirements of the accord has stalled with no action on half of them.
Cross said Zuma had shown his skill in Southern African Development
Community meetings on Zimbabwe: "He's a very cunning politician."
Cross said the MDC had made all the major concessions on the agreement and
could not give further ground.
"We are not prepared to make further concessions with regard to the
fundamental principles enunciated in the agreement - we're not prepared to
do so," he said.
He said Zanu-PF had stalled the negotiation and implementation of a new
constitution and had blocked the transfer of the security forces to civilian
control. Human rights, media freedom and the security of property rights had
all moved backwards since the accord was signed.
"We are back where we were in April 2008. South Africa is confronted with a
situation where Zanu is unprepared to accept the outcome of a political
process which has been initiated and managed by the South African
government. The question now is: What do we do?"
The SADC recently put Zuma in charge of efforts to resolve the impasse in
He immediately appointed former cabinet ministers Mac Maharaj and Charles
Nqakula and his foreign policy adviser, Lindiwe Zulu, to drive the process.
Mugabe skipped his usual overseas Christmas holiday and Cross said the
parties to the agreement, which includes a breakaway MDC faction led by
Arthur Mutambara, had held almost continuous talks throughout the holiday
season with no sign of a breakthrough.
Mugabe said at a rare joint news conference with Tsvangirai 10 days ago that
the parties to last year's agreement were committed to the implementation of
the accord, but Cross said Zuma had repeatedly postponed a visit to oversee
the signing of a new implementation agreement, which suggested progress was
"In effect, the political, social and economic crisis is re-emerging in
Zimbabwe. We will slide into a condition very quickly in the new year, where
the new government will become totally dysfunctional.
"The crisis will come because, I think, the MDC will simply say it can't be
business as usual.
"I think the crisis will be triggered by the MDC, but the real issue is
whether South Africa will exercise its responsibility and authority. The
indications at the present time are: No."
2nd Jan 2010 17:37 GMT
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
THERE probably will be two 2010 resolutions for Africans - one for the
leaders and another for the rest. The leaders' resolution goes something
like this: to stop the West from interfering in African affairs: for the
West to leave African alone, to deal with its problems in its own way.
The rest of the African people, except for the fat cats among them, or those
who have fattened themselves on the suffering of the people, would make this
resolution: let no African leader takes us for granted any more.
Independence was achieved as early as 1957 and the resolution then was to
end poverty - or to fight ignorance, hunger and poverty.
Today, going into the 53rd year of this great adventure, most of the
continent is still in the grip of ignorance, hunger and poverty. A
consolation is probably that the carnage of the early years has now been
surpassed by the bloodshed in the Middle East and the killings resulting
from the Islamists' Jihad against what they perceive to be the genocide
being pursued against them by the West.
Most Africans would support a resolution calling on their leaders to
campaign more against the endemic poverty on the continent than against the
imagined campaign by the West to recolonise the continent.
They could cite the recent example of Guinea (Conakry ) where the soldiers,
having staged a coup against the civilian rulers, killed 150 unarmed
citizens demonstrating against them in a stadium.
No content with the bloodbath, the soldiers then proceeded to rape many
women in the stadium - broad daylight. If it was any comfort to the victims,
a soldier tried to assassinate the solder-leader who had taken power. His
intention was evidently to kill the man. But the evil goddess of murderous
soldier-rulers saved that scoundrel's life.
But there must be prayers, day and night, for the man to die as painful a
death as those 150 his people killed in the stadium.
There are pan-Africanists among us who will say the Guinea-Conakry incident
should not be blown out of proportion, that it was provoked by the
demonstrations and that the soldier rulers had to defend their regime with
whatever they thought was appropriate action - including the rape of unarmed
An African resolution would most certainly demand that the African Union be
more assertive in protecting the rights of the African people, rather than
those of the African leaders.
The cronyism which has resulted in the AU's protection of leaders such as
the Sudanese president, Omar Al Bashir should be ended. Unless the leaders
take a conscious decision not to condone murderers among their lot, the AU
will follow the same deadly path to doom as the Organisation of African
Millions of Africans will continue to die in the name of African leader's
solidarity against the African people. In Zimbabwe, as in Sudan, the Western
card has been played for all it's worth: for the sake of maintaining unity
against so-called imperialist designs, demands by the opposition for
democracy must not be entertained.
Some among the African leaders are of the view that the opposition in
Zimbabwe, rather than rely on Western support, ought to do the "African
thing" - launch an armed struggle against the ruling regime.
Strangely, there seems to be a readiness to support such an alternative
among some African leaders, than for any struggle which receives support
from the West.
What most African leaders are used to be bloodshed in a struggle? There are
suspicious of African leaders who prefer peaceful means and particularly
those who seek and actually obtain such support from the Western powers for
such campaigns. If this attitude is not abandoned, there will always be
difficulties for an African campaign for change which is based entirely on
peaceful rather violent means.
Incidentally, there have been important questions asked about how South
Africa has managed to garner so much international respect within such a
short period of its emergence into full nationhood. Nigeria has been
independent since 1960. Not once has it ever been mentioned, even in the
small print, as a possible venue for such international sporting occasions
as the Olympics or Fifa World Cup.
Ghana, independent three years before Nigeria , was the first African
country to be visited by President Barack Obama only a few months after his
inauguration as the first African-American president of the United States.
Many had exspe4cted him to make that historic visit to Kenya , the
birthplace of his father. Bit in all honesty that would have been a terrible
blunder. Kenya had a bloody election in which thousands were killed: it took
the seasoned diplomatic skills of the former UN Secretary-General, Kofi
Annan, to end the bloodshed and restore a semblance of normalcy.
Ghana, on the other hand, had just emerged from an election in which the
ruling party had been soundly defeated - and there have been little violence
in the poll. But it had won few international favours. No huge international
sporting events had taken placed there either.
South Africa and Africa owe a lot to Nelson Mandela. Some might believe this
song has been overplayed. But it happens to be the truth. If Mandiba had
done "the African thing:", the game would not have ended as peacefully as it
did, even taking into account Thabo Mbeki's blunders.
Nobody can pinpoint with any accuracy, what magic Mandela used to cool
things for so long. The greatest pity is that, so far, not many African
leaders have taken a leaf out of Madiba's book. The violence continues, the
killing of innocent citizens continues, the deprivation of human rights for
citizens continues and the rotten, murderous dictatorships continue.
One 2010 resolution that Africans might add to their present ones is an
appeal to God to bless all African women giving birth henceforth to produce
children endowed with the same amazing gifts as Nelson Mandela.
For Zimbabwe, that resolution would be accompanied with one which would
demand that all the people learn by heart the lyrics of hit song by Josphat
Somanje, Hauwine from his album, This Time. It's not a political song, but
in 2010, things can be done differently. This is Afric 's year, in so many
BILL WATCH 46/2009
[31st December 2009]
The House of Assembly has adjourned until 2nd February 2010
The Senate has adjourned until 9th February
Update on Inclusive Government
The three principals met Wednesday 23rd December – without the benefit of the expected report from the negotiators. Afterwards the principals held a joint press conference at which no significant announcements were made about the results of the negotiations so far. The nation was asked to be patient while the negotiations continue.
The negotiators are not due to meet again until mid-January.
It was announced on 28th December that President Mugabe had commenced his annual leave. Vice-President Joice Mujuru will be Acting President during his absence.
The names of the chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of the Electoral Commission [ZEC] and the Human Rights Commission [ZHRC] have not yet been officially announced. The names of the members of ZEC and ZHRC were given in Bill Watch 45 of 21st December, as were the names of the chairperson, deputy chairperson and members of the Zimbabwe Media Commission [ZMC].
Three Year Macro-Economic Policy and Budget Framework 2010-2012 [STERP II] Launched
Wednesday 23rd December Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe launched the Three
Year Macro-Economic Policy and Budget Framework 2010-2012, also known as STERP
II. Acknowledging that
Legislative reforms specifically referred to include:
· reforms aimed at strengthening governance and accountability,
· promoting governance and the rule of law, promoting equality and fairness, including gender equality;
· major changes to the Mines and Minerals Act;
· stronger consumer protection legislation;
· review and updating of all legislation governing the transport sector;
· harmonization of all the country’s labour laws;
· and a clear legislative framework for Public Private Partnerships.
Other than the Mines and Minerals Act, no specific Acts are listed for attention. No time frame is given for the reforms, other than that they will occur during the three years 2010 to 2012. In March last year STERP I mentioned several Acts as requiring reform – the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Urban Councils Act, the Rural District Councils Act and the Labour Act, but none of these promised reforms has yet reached Bill stage.
Portfolio Committee Reports on Budget Issues
House of Assembly Portfolio Committees prepared Post-Budget Analyses of the votes for their Ministries set out in the Estimates of Expenditure for 2010 presented by the Minister of Finance. These analyses were given orally to the House by committee chairpersons during the debate on the Finance (No. 3) Bill on Tuesday 8th December. In spite of protests by several Ministries of inadequate allocations the Estimates were estimates were approved. [Electronic version of the debate, including the analyses, available – note this is a pdf document of 500kb.]
Parliamentary Committee Meetings
House of Assembly Portfolio Committees and Senate Thematic Committees will resume their meetings on Monday 25th January.
Chiadzwa Diamond Field: Recent Developments
It looks as though, in spite of the High Court confirming the rights of African Consolidated Resources [ACR] to their claims in the Chiadzwa diamond field [which had been taken from them by the Government in 2006], exercising those rights is being subjected to major delays. The Government, the Mining Development Corporation and its joint venture partners have noted an appeal against Mr Justice Hungwe’s decision restoring to ACR its claims, but pending the appeal Justice Hungwe’s order remains in force by express stipulation of Justice Hungwe. Nevertheless the joint venture partners continued their operations and Justice Hlatshwayo refused to treat as urgent an application by ACR to evict them from the area in dispute. This means that the eviction application hearing will have to take its turn on the ordinary court roll next year.
Meanwhile the Environmental Management Agency [EMA] has ordered a stop to mining activity by the joint venture partners on the ground that they have failed to comply with the requirements of the Environmental Management Act for submission to and approval by the EMA of environmental impact assessments. Also, local inhabitants listed for relocation by the Government to make way for mining operations launched an urgent High Court application for an order halting their relocation until they had been properly compensated for their losses; this received a setback when Justice Musakwa refused to treat the application as urgent, meaning that, like the ACR application to evict the joint venture partners, it will have to take its turn with other applications on the ordinary court roll when High Court sittings resume next year.
Finally, in a move which, if it succeeds, could leave the Mining Development Corporation and its joint venture partners in exclusive possession of the Chiadzwa field by virtue of special grants issued by the Government, the Mining Commissioner has notified ACR and other holders of Chiadzwa diamond claims that he proposes to cancel their claims with effect from 25th January 2010. The reason stated for the proposed cancellation is that the claims were improperly pegged and registered on land that had been reserved against prospecting and pegging. The claim holders have the right to appeal to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development against the proposed cancellation – and also to challenge it in the High Court.
In the interim the Minister of Finance in his Budget speech announced measures to ensure that the exploitation of the Chiadzwa diamonds would be more transparent – that there would be official monitors on site and producers would have to declare and pay weekly dividends to the Government.
The latest developments mean that the ownership of these claims and who benefits from them become increasingly blurred. This could make for delay in the realisation of the Minister of Finance’s hopes for Chiadzwa diamonds to boost both the economy and Government revenues. It also makes the monitoring situation for the world lobby against misuse of diamond revenues more difficult.
Bills in Parliament:
House of Assembly: None. All Bills have been dealt with.
Senate: Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill awaits Committee Stage. Amendments have been tabled for consideration.
Bill Awaiting Introduction: The Public Order and Security Amendment Bill [Mr Gonese’s Private Member’s Bill] was gazetted on 11th December. The Bill now awaits introduction in the House of Assembly. [Electronic version available.]
Bills Awaiting President’s Assent and Gazetting as Acts: Financial Adjustments Bill, Public Finance Management Bill, Audit Office Bill, Appropriation (2010) Bill and Finance (No. 3) Bill. [Electronic versions of Appropriation (2010) and Finance (No. 3) Bills as passed by Parliament available on request.]
Statutory Instruments: Several statutory instruments are due to be gazetted in the Government Gazette dated 1st January 2010 giving effect to budgetary measures under the Customs and Excise Act, Value Added Tax Act, Capital Gains Tax Act and Income Tax Act.
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