The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Ncube Elected New MDC-M Leader

08/01/2011 19:44:00

HARARE, January 8, 2011- Industry and Commerce Minister Professor Welshman
Ncube was on Saturday elected unopposed to the position of party president,
replacing Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara who did not seek
re-election at the two day congress being held in Harare.

Ncube, who was the party's secretary-general, was elected by all provinces
including Masvingo which had earlier on led a rebellion by disgruntled
delegates who vowed they were still loyal to Mutambara.
Ncube's deputy is Edwin Mushoriwa who was also  elected unopposed into the
party’s second most powerful position in a contest where all positions were
up for grabs.

Addressing delegates at the congress Mutambara said he had made a voluntary
decision not to contest the party,s presidency in the spirit of keeping the
MDC unity intact while demonstrating he was a leader of a party that
promoted true democracy.
Mutambara who had become unpopular with party supporters over the past two
years received a thunderous applause from the floor when he told delegates
that he was prepared to be a ordinary card carrying member of the
MDC.Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga was elected Secretary-General

She is a veteran of the struggle for women emancipation in Zimbabwe and a
founder member of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).She is also
Minister of Regional Integration and International Co-operation.
Former deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and war veteran Moses Mzila Ndlovu
was elected Deputy Secretary-General.Mzila has also held the position of
party provincial chairperson for Matabeleland South. He is currently a
Member of Parliament for Bulilima.Veteran politician Paul Themba Nyathi was
deployed to the position of Treasurer General.He was the National Director
of Elections.PT as he is known in political circles is one of Zimbabwe,s
most experienced and respected political administrators.
Theresa Marimazhira was elected Deputy Treasurer General.She was the
Secretary-General of the Women’ Assembly having risen through the ranks from
the position of secretary of the Midlands Province.Goodrich Chimbaira is the
party,s new national chairman.Ncube's election as party leader changes the
party's name to MDC-N.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC-M On The Verge Of Split Ahead Of Congress

08/01/2011 04:00:00

Harare, January 08, 2011 - The smaller faction of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) is on the verge of a split with disgruntled members
saying they would not recognise Welshman Ncube as the new president.

Led by outgoing national chairman, Joubert Mudzumwe, the members accused
Ncube of unilateralism and regularly flouting the party’s constitution.

“(Arthur) Mutambara is still our leader and will remain our leader till we
hold a legitimate and constitutional congress,” Mudzumwe told a press
conference on the eve of the party’s congress.

He said Ncube should call off the congress set for Saturday and Sunday in
Harare, failure to which the party a split would be inevitable.

Mudzumwe also announced the appointment of Nomalanga Khumalo as the deputy
president, succeeding Gibson Sibanda who died last August.

He said they had kept silent while Ncube flouted the constitution as they
wanted to maintain stability within the party, but matters boiled over ahead
of the congress, as the secretary general had handpicked delegates to

“Power in the party has been usurped by one person, he is literally running
the party on his own having taken over from the chairman and the organising
department,” deputy organising secretary, Morgan Changamire said.

He added that the party had virtually been imprisoned by power hungry
individuals who were sidelining the structures.

Mudzumwe said his grouping would hold a “legitimate and properly constituted
congress” after a complete restructuring of the party.

Ncube’s rise to the presidency had appeared unstoppable with 11 out of the
party’s 12 provinces picking him ahead of Mutambara.

If the split happens, the MDC may see three factions in the country. The
original party was started in 1999 by former trade union members before it
split in 2005. Morgan Tsvangirai leads the mainstream faction.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mutambara takes last stand against "hugely divisive" Ncube

08 January, 2011 03:45:00    Our Corresponent

HARARE - Outgoing President of the Movement for Democratic Change, Professor
Arthur Mutambara and his Secretary-General, "split specialist" Welshman
Ncube are said to be locked in bitter power struggles, amid reports that
Mutambara stormed the top table and challenged Ncube, according to latest
reports coming from the party's Congress in Harare.

Led by outgoing national chairman, Joubert Mudzumwe, the members accused
Ncube of unilateralism and regularly flouting the party’s constitution.

“(Arthur) Mutambara is still our leader and will remain our leader till we
hold a legitimate and constitutional congress,” Mudzumwe told a press
conference on the eve of the party’s congress.

He said Ncube should call off the congress set for Saturday and Sunday in
Harare, failure to which the party a split would be inevitable.

Mudzumwe also announced the appointment of Nomalanga Khumalo as the deputy
president, succeeding Gibson Sibanda who died last August.

He said they had kept silent while Ncube flouted the constitution as they
wanted to maintain stability within the party, but matters boiled over ahead
of the congress, as the secretary general had handpicked delegates to

“Power in the party has been usurped by one person, he is literally running
the party on his own having taken over from the chairman and the organising
department,” deputy organising secretary, Morgan Changamire said.

He added that the party had virtually been imprisoned by power hungry
individuals who were sidelining the structures.

Mudzumwe said his grouping would hold a “legitimate and properly constituted
congress” after a complete restructuring of the party.

Ncube’s rise to the presidency had appeared unstoppable with 11 out of the
party’s 12 provinces picking him ahead of Mutambara.

If the split happens, the MDC may see three factions in the country. The
original party was started in 1999 by former trade union members before it
split in 2005. Morgan Tsvangirai leads the mainstream faction.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Says Budget Insufficient for 2011 Elections

Finance Minister Tendai Biti allocated the Electoral Commission US$30
million to hold a constitutional referendum and set aside US$20 million for
a range of other tasks including a voters roll overhaul and redistricting

Blessing Zulu | Washington 07 January 2011

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has declared that the funds it was
allocated by the Ministry of Finance for 2011 are insufficient to cover the
costs of national elections such as President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF
party have urged be held this year.

Mr Mugabe said late last year that elections should be held by June and his
party later endorsed that course of action in its annual conference early
last month.

But both formations of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
which is co-governing with ZANU-PF in the unity government formed in
February 2009, backed by the Southern African Development Community, say
many electoral reforms must be put in place before elections can be held -
including adoption of a new constitution.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti allocated the Electoral Commission US$30
million to hold a referendum on the new constitution yet to be drafted, and
set aside US$20 million for a range of other tasks including a voters roll
overhaul and redistricting.

The commission has appealed to Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara, head of a rival MDC formation, for increased

ZEC Chairman Simpson Mutambanengwe told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu
that his commission cannot execute its reform agenda with its present

The predecessor electoral commission headed by now-High Court Justice George
Chiweshe withheld the results of the first round of the 2008 presidential
election for more than a month, and was suspected by some of tampering with
ballots or counts to deprive opposition candidate Tsvangirai of a first
round majority and the presidency.

Zimbabwe's elections have been disputed since 2000 resulting in the
imposition by the United States, Europe and others of targeted financial and
travel sanctions on Mr. Mugabe and more than 200 members of his inner

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Electoral amendments – Zanu plot to sidestep Zuma

Written by The Zimbabwean
Saturday, 08 January 2011 13:18

HARARE – The proposed Electoral Act amendments are a ploy by Zanu (PF) to
preempt an election roadmap currently being developed by South African
President Jacob Zuma and that could include drastic changes unpalatable to
President Robert Mugabe’s party, analysts have warned.
Zanu (PF) legal running dog Patrick Chinamasa – who is also Zimbabwe’s
Justice Minister – has proposed to ban civic participation in voter
education as well as punish anyone announcing election results before they
are released by an election officer. The Electoral Amendment Bill of 2010
also proposes to give the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) more
responsibilities on voter education.
It seeks to ban foreign organisations from providing any voter education
while local organisations would be required to have their
material vetted by ZEC. Organisations such as the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network would also be required to disclose their sources of funding.
“Offensive” or “misleading” election education material would be banned.
Other proposals include the appointment of special police liaison officers
and special investigation committees in provincial centres to handle cases
of politically-motivated violence or intimidation in each province. The
special liaison officers would be senior police officers, to be appointed by
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri, who would work closely with the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and a multi-party liaison committee during
the election period.
Analysts however said the proposed amendments are meant to sidestep Zuma and
his team of Southern African Development Community (SADC) mediators who are
currently working on a roadmap for future polls in Zimbabwe. “The amendments
are meant to counter any proposals that Zuma may come up with that Zanu
fears may work against the party. They want to make
sure they don’t leave their fate in the hands of the SADC team,” political
analyst Donald Porusingazi told The Zimbabwean On Sunday.
The analysts said Chihuri was an interested party and would not be expected
to be impartial when dealing with cases of political violence or
intimidation. “We surely would not expect someone who has openly stated his
allegiance to one of the parties to then be an impartial referee in the
event there is a repeat of the events of 2008 when hundreds of opposition
supporters were murdered by Zanu (PF) militias,” said an investment banker
who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party says more than 500 of its supporters were killed in
the violence that accompanied a disputed presidential election run-off
between the former opposition leader and Mugabe in June 2008. Thousands
other MDC-T supporters were displaced in the ensuing violence allegedly
perpetrated by Zanu (PF) youths, soldiers and so-called veterans of the
country’s 1970s war of independence.
Zuma is the SADC’s official mediator between President Robert Mugabe and
arch-rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who came together in a unity
government under immense pressure from the regional body keen to contain a
political crisis that followed Zimbabwe’s inconclusive elections in 2008.
The proposed SADC election roadmap includes adopting a new
Constitution, drawing up a fresh voters’ roll, ending political violence and
passing of new electoral rules by Parliament. The SADC election roadmap for
Zimbabwe will be modelled along the lines of the regional bloc’s Principles
and Guidelines Governing Elections which were adopted in Mauritius in 2004.
The guidelines stipulate that SADC member states should uphold the full
participation of citizens in political processes as well as freedom of
association, political tolerance, equal access to state media for all
political parties, equal opportunity to vote and be voted for, and voter
education. Zuma is understood to be working on a document that will lay the
basis for establishing impartial, all-inclusive, competent and accountable
national electoral bodies staffed by qualified personnel.
Talk of new elections next year by Mugabe and Tsvangirai to end their
marriage of convenience that insiders say is increasingly becoming a hostile
affair has further stoked up tensions in Zimbabwe in recent months. Civil
society groups say the country is not ready for new elections because
political violence is still taking place, while several electoral reforms
and a proposed new Constitution still need to be implemented and given time
to take root to ensure the next vote is free and fair.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zuma subdues principals

Friday, 07 January 2011 13:59

Clemence Manyukwe, Political Editor

SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma forced ZANU-PF to backtrack on plans to
hold polls before the institution of far-reaching reforms required to
guarantee a free and fair poll, The Financial Gazette can reveal. It emerged
this week that Zuma, the facilitator in the Zimbabwean dialogue has always
been opposed to rushed elections, fearing that they may end up yielding a
contested result, the trend since 2002 when the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC-T) started fielding its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, as a
presidential candidate.
In recent months, ZANU–PF leaders had appeared unstoppable in dragging the
country into another controversial poll as frustrations with lack of common
purpose in the three-party government took its toll, fuelling their
determination to go separate ways.
President Robert Mugabe, Vice President John Nkomo and the party’s chairman,
Simon Khaya Moyo have all previously said going into an inclusive government
with the MDC-T was a mistake and elections, with or without a new
constitution, would be held.
But in an interview with The Financial Gazette this week Zuma’s
international relations advisor, Lindiwe Zulu, revealed that the South
African President had intervened to save the situation hence the deferment
of the polls from the proposed month of June.
“It is an intervention by the facilitator. The facilitator has been very
clear on the need for elections with a difference. We cannot call it
backtracking on the part of any of the parties. It is a matter of the
parties becoming realistic in terms of the time frames,” said Zulu.
“There is nothing wrong with a timeframe, but it needs to be realistic.”
Zulu said there was a lot of work that needed to be done before the country
could hold free and fair polls whose outcome would be acceptable to all the
country’s political parties, the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC) and the African Union.
Apart from the required reforms, state appendages such as the Zimbabwe Human
Rights Commission and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission needed to do some
work to facilitate a credible poll.
Election talk had raffled feathers even among those in ZANU-PF especially
some of its legislators who were strongly opposed to cutting short their
current terms of office.
At the party’s conference held in Manicaland Province last month, President
Mugabe said any legislator who was reluctant to go for polls would be
sidelined and new candidates considered.
At the last minute and in the face of ZANU-PF’s determination to proceed
with the elections voting, the MDC-T had sought to pre-empt ZANU-PF
conference resolution on elections by coming up with a middle-of-the-road
The party said only the disputed presidential poll was acceptable, arguing
that Members of Parliament and councillors should be allowed to continue
with their electoral mandates granted in 2008.
The country’s main workers’ representative body, the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions has also said only presidential polls    were to be held
completing a circle in which ZANU-PF found itself at loggerheads with the
MDC formations, labour and civil society in its scheme.
But the biggest opposition came from SADC through Zuma.
Fearing both the intended and unintended consequences of going it alone,
ZANU-PF finally buckled to pressure but not before putting up a spirited
Since President Mugabe said elections would be held in June this year,
ZANU-PF has been oiling its machinery in a campaign targeted at mainly
youths and church groups with the overall underlining message of
indigenisation and empowerment.
A recent report by the party’s commissariat submitted to ZANU-PF’s December
conference suggested new strategies to win elections saying the party was
losing polls because its membership of an estimated 2,5 million was not
translating into votes.
The report said the empowerment programme; with a special emphasis on mining
has a special appeal to the middle class, which has been hostile to the
The commissariat said the other problem ZANU-PF faced was that officials
were inflating figures on membership hence there was need to authenticate
the existence of members.
The department said ZANU-PF found itself in a paradoxical situation where it
claimed to have a staggering membership, yet facing declining subscriptions
and warned that: “those guilty of inflating membership figures will
literally pay for such inflations.”
It added: “In view of the fact that youths constitute the majority of
voters, provincial structures emphasised that ZANU-PF should target the
youths through relevant messages and programmes to win them over to support
the party. It was suggested that programmes such as the indigenisation and
empowerment must also incorporate this group.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chinamasa To Appear Before Parliament Committee

08/01/2011 19:38:00

HARARE, January 8, 2011--Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa will on Monday
appear before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy to
explain the circumstances leading to the annexation of Mutumwa Mawere’s SMM

Monday will be Chinamasa,s last chance to attend the hearing having twice
skipped the meetings and failure to attend this time will land him in
trouble with Parliament.
One is given three chances to show up at a hearing and Chinamasa has bunked
meetings twice inside one month in December. Edward Chindori-Chininga
confirmed Saturday that Chinamasa will attend the meeting.

“He knows that he is coming for a hearing on Monday and as far as we
(portfolio committee) are concerned, he is coming,” Chindori-Chininga said.
The committee wants Chinamasa to explain how the government used
reconstruction laws to seize Mawere’s assets.

As the Minister of Justice, Chinamasa was instrumental in first specifying
Mawere on forex externalisation claims and then pushed for reconstruction of
SMM Holdings on the grounds that it was indebted to the state by owing
parastatals and quasi government bodies money.
Chinamasa angered the committee last month when he did not show up for a
meeting. It later emerged that he had approached Speaker of Parliament
Lovemore Moyo seeking permission to defer the hearing. Moyo told Chinamasa
that he had to speak with Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma who oversees
portfolio committees. Chinamasa later spoke to deputy clerk, Kennedy
Chokuda. However, he did not make his request in writing.

“The minister neither submitted anything in writing to the committee nor
submit anything in writing to the Clerk of Parliament and therefore there is
nothing in record,” Chindori Chininga said last month.

Mawere has already appeared before the committee and after Chinamasa’s
appearance, the committee will write a report recommending way forward on
the case. Mawere lost his prized assets in 2005 after government said they
were indebted to the state by virtue of owing parastatals money.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

No deportations until March

JOHANNESBURG, 7 January 2011 (IRIN) - Undocumented Zimbabwean migrants were
given until 31 December 2010 to regularize their stay in South Africa, but
this has been extended to 31 March, and problems with issuing passports by
the Zimbabwean authorities could delay the process even further.

"There will be no deportations until the end of March," said Ricky Naidoo,
spokesman for the South African Department of Home Affairs.

In September 2010 South Africa announced a moratorium on deporting
Zimbabweans and said it would allow migrants until 31 December to regularize
their stay by applying for work, business or study permits.

The lull in deportations will give the department time to process more than
275,000 applications for permits received from Zimbabwean migrants. "We are
trying our best to complete the adjudication process in the next few weeks,"
Naidoo said.

The South African government relaxed its requirements as the 31 December
deadline approached and now awaits a variety of outstanding documents,
including passports, to process the applications.

Zimbabwean migrant rights organizations in South Africa, such as the
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), and People Against Suffering, Suppression,
Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP), expressed their appreciation.

"They [the South African government] even accepted applications with just
birth certificates and, in some instances, not even that," said Braam
Hanekom of PASSOP.

The two NGOs are helping migrants who have applied for permits to obtain the
required documents. The biggest problem was getting a Zimbabwean passport.

Earlier this week, the Zimbabwean registrar general's office indefinitely
suspended the production of passports, temporary travelling documents, and
other documents such as national identity cards and birth certificates,
after saying an electrical fault had affected its database in the capital,

ZEF's Gabriel Shumba estimated that at least 100,000 applications for South
African permits had been submitted without passports.

Naidoo said South Africa had offered to help the Zimbabwean government issue
the passports, but refused to comment on whether the offer had been
accepted. So far, 42,779 applications had been finalized and approved,
10,166 were awaiting review, and 222,817 were awaiting adjudication.

The Zimbabwean daily newspaper, The Herald, which supports the
ruling-ZANU-PF party, on 7 January quoted Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede
as saying that they would start issuing passports again on 10 January.

"But will that help? They have a tremendous backlog," Shumba noted.
Thousands of Zimbabweans who went home to obtain identity documents have
been left stranded.

Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh, head of the refugee and migrant programme at Lawyers
for Human Rights (LHR), a South African organization, told IRIN that the
Zimbabwean authorities had been issuing 500 passports a day before they
suspended production.

The price of not applying

Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean migrants could face deportation from
South Africa, "as only about a sixth of the estimated Zimbabwean irregular
migrant population applied for legal status," the International Organization
for Migration (IOM) said in a statement.

"There are an estimated 1.5 million Zimbabweans living in South Africa, many
of whom migrated as a result of the social and economic unrest in Zimbabwe
in recent years."

The organization has reception centres for refugees at the Beitbridge border
crossing from Zimbabwe to South Africa and in Plumtree, the main border
crossing between Zimbabwe and Botswana, and is on standby to provide free
transportation to deportees. With support from local and international
bodies, IOM has prepositioned non-food items including tents and blankets.

ZEF's Shumba said inadequate publicity about the regularization process and
lack of information on the requirements had deterred many Zimbabweans from

Employers had also often been reluctant to provide letters of employment for
fear of persecution. "The home affairs [department] assured these employers
that there will be no action taken against them a bit too late," Shumba

"Most Zimbabwean migrants work part-time, it was difficult for them to
establish full-time employment," Hanekom noted.

Nevertheless, Zimbabweans migrants could still apply for asylum, he said.
"The application will provide them a temporary asylum seeker’s status until
their interview to establish whether they qualify - this can take up to two
He noted that asylum applications by Zimbabweans had a dismal record, "95
percent of them get rejected, but it can still get you some time."

In the past 10 years, as hyperinflation, and social and economic problems
have rocked Zimbabwe, more and more Zimbabweans have sought refuge in
neighbouring South Africa, the most economically advanced country in the

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

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

War Veterans Invade Tourist Lodges In Zimbabwe's Eastern Nyanga Resort

Nyanga South Member of Parliament Willard Chimbetete said white-owned
tourist lodges and cottages have been the main targets of a campaign
launched by war veterans around the turn of the year

Gibbs Dube | Washington 07 January 2011

Self-styled Zimbabwean liberation war veterans have started to take over
tourist lodges in Nyanga South district of eastern Manicaland province in a
development reminiscent of takeovers of white-owned commercial farms under
land reform from 2000 on.

Sources said war veterans and youth militia aligned with President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, accompanied by operatives of the Central
Intelligence Organization, have been seizing white-owned lodges, cottages
and other tourism facilities.

Nyanga South Member of Parliament Willard Chimbetete said the invaders, led
by a woman believed to be a former freedom fighter, have caused havoc in the

Chimbetete said some of the invaded lodges are owned by foreigners. He said
the police have been informed of the deteriorating situation. A police
official refused to comment.

Reached by VOA, ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo declined to comment.

Charles Kazhenga, a local official of the Movement for Democratic Change
formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said Nyanga business
owners are now living in fear.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

NGOs Challenge Zimbabwe Official's Claim of Kimberly Diamond Clearance

Kimberly Process members had until Monday to vote on an amendment to an
agreement drafted in Jerusalem late last year which would make it harder for
critics of Harare's Marange policy to initiate investigations of abuses

Tatenda Gumbo | Washington 07 January 2011

Grave human rights abuses including killings and forced labor are alleged to
have taken place in the Marange alluvial diamond field in eastern Manicaland

Non-governmental organizations involved in the Kimberly Process
Certification Scheme have challenged claims by Zimbabwean Deputy Mines
Minister Gift Chimanikire that the watchdog group authorized Zimbabwe to
hold two Marange diamond auctions in 2011.

In published comments, Chimanikire has insisted that the Kimberly Process
confirmed the gems to be sold under the purported agreement were mined from
2006 to 2009, so they did not fall under a current suspension of sales
pending resolution of various issues.

A statement has yet to be received from the new Kimberly Process chairman,
Mathieu Yamba of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Global Witness campaigner Elly Harrowell, a Kimberly Process member, told
VOA that she knows of no such Kimberly decision.

Harrowell told VOA Studio 7 reporter Tatenda Gumbo that the question of how
diamonds from Zimbabwe's troubled Marange field may be marketed has not been

Kimberly Process members meanwhile had until Monday to vote on an amendment
to the agreement the organization drafted in Jerusalem late last year in a
final attempt by outgoing chairman Boaz Hirsch’s to reach consensus on
Marange diamonds.

The amendment would revise Kimberly protocols to require three instead of
two member nations to accept reports of violence so the group can
investigate further. The change would make it harder for critics of Marange
operations to trigger a new inquiry.

Alan Martin, research director with Partnership Africa Canada, a Kimberly
member group, said the amendment would not allow the KP working group on
monitoring to quickly act on allegations of abuses, adding that there are a
number of underlying issues that must be resolved for Kimberly to clear the
way for more auctions of Marange diamonds.

Grave human rights abuses including killings and forced labor are alleged to
have taken place in the Marange alluvial diamond field in eastern Manicaland
province, which has been under Zimbabwean military control for several

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim Pressure Group To Start Identifying Mass Graves

08/01/2011 19:39:00

JOHANNESBURG, January 8, 2011- The recently formed Mthwakazi Liberation
Front (MLF) says it will soon start a programme of identifying mass graves
containing the remains of thousands of people who perished at the hands of
Five Brigade troops in the early 80s.

Speaking to a small group of Journalists in Johannesburg,s spacious suburb
of Rosebank on Saturday, MLF secretary for legal affairs, Sabelo Ngwenya
said they have already started the process of identifying mass graves and
the victims.
According to Ngwenya, who is a lawyer in Johannesburg, some of the victims
of the Five Brigade included South African refugees who were running away
from apartheid police and unarmed members of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Mk) who were
absorbed into Zipra guerrilla ranks soon after independence in 1980.

Another MLF official, David Magagula who is an author and teacher told the
meeting that his organisation will soon meet leaders of the African National
Congress (ANC) and those from MK on the issue.
However it has been learnt that some of the names of ANC cadres who died in
Zimbabwe during and after the liberation war were compiled by Bulawayo based
Mafela Trust in the 90s.

Last year some ANC leaders returned to Zambia where they had military bases
to collect the remains of their guerrillas who died during the struggle
against apartheid rule.The remains of MK cadres who died fighting alongside
ZAPU guerrillas in the Zimbabwe liberation war have not been exhumed and
taken back to South Africa for reburial.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZIMSTAT hunts for census cash

by Tobias Manyuchi     Saturday 08 January 2011

HARARE -- The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) said
preparations for the country’s fourth population census were underway but
said it was still looking for more funds to ensure the exercise set for
August next year will not flop.

ZIMSTAT, which was formerly known as the Central Statistical Office, has
counted the number of Zimbabweans every 10 years since the first census in

Acting director of the government data agency General Moffat Nyoni said it
was making frantic efforts to raises funds and other resources from Treasury
and possibly donors to ensure a successful census.

“We are still engaging government our traditional sponsor and other
potential supporters to make this process a success,” Nyoni said on Friday

He said an exercise launched last year to draw household maps that will be
used during the census was progressing well despite resource restrictions.

He said: “We began the mapping exercise during the second quarter of last
year and our main challenge during this preparatory stage for the census is
transport which has delayed some of our exercises.”

Previous censuses have shown Zimbabwe’s population increasing with the 2002
enumeration exercise putting the number of people in the country at around
12 million.

But analysts expect the next census to show either a drop in population
growth or stagnation after a political and economic crisis drove at least
three million people or a quarter of the country’s population to foreign
countries in search for jobs and better leaving conditions. -- ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

We won’t abandon Bennett, villagers

Written by Lovejoy Sakala
Friday, 07 January 2011 12:28
CHIMANIMANI – MDC-T supporters here say they will not abandon party
treasurer Roy Bennett despite warnings by war veterans and Zanu (PF) militia
to ditch the exiled politician at the next polls or face retribution.

Bennett, who is in exile in South Africa after fleeing harassment by state
security agents, is a former legislator for Chimanimani and remains hugely
popular among the MDC rank and file here.

However a story carried by The Zimbabwean last December quoting several
villagers declaring their support for Bennett appears to have triggered a
panic reaction from war veterans and Zanu (PF) youths who have since then
besieged the area intimidating and harassing MDC activists in a bid to cow
them into abandoning their exiled leader.

But scores of MDC supporters last week said they were going to back Bennett
should he stand as a candidate for Chimanimani in the next election whose
date is yet to be set.

"We will rather die for democracy and our rights,” said Maxwell Nyahoda, a
local villager. He added: “Nothing will stop us from supporting Bennett ….
Pachedu has done a lot for us.”

Pachedu, which is the local Shona language for “together”, is the nickname
given Bennett by villagers here, a sign of the white former commercial
farmer’s huge popularity in a constituency comprising mainly black peasant

Meanwhile, some MDC supporters here accused Zanu (PF) officials of hijacking
a state farm input supply programme, with any suspected members of the
former opposition party barred from receiving inputs.

"Although the rains have started we are yet to receive support from the
government. The inputs here are being distributed along party lines and
those perceived to be MDC supporters are sidelined," said Ruth Munowenyu.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

IOM activates refugee repatriation plan

by Own Correspondent     Saturday 08 January 2011

HARARE – The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said it has
begun to implement a contingency plan to provide humanitarian assistance to
Zimbabwean migrants who may be forcibly returned from South Africa following
the end of a regularisation campaign on 31 December 2010.

Hundreds of thousands of irregular Zimbabwean migrants could face
deportation from South Africa as only about a sixth of the estimated
Zimbabwean irregular migrant population applied for legal status.

Nearly 276,000 Zimbabweans registered for regularisation through the
campaign that began last September.

However, there are an estimated 1.5 million Zimbabweans living in South
Africa, many of whom migrated as a result of the social and economic unrest
in Zimbabwe in recent years.

IOM announced this week that it would provide humanitarian and protection
assistance to vulnerable returnees, including unaccompanied minors under a
programme it has launched in partnership with humanitarian partners and the
Zimbabwean and South African governments.

“Under the plan, IOM, with support from local and international
organisations, has prepositioned non-food items including tents and blankets
at Reception and Support Centres at the Beitbridge and Plumtree border
crossings into Zimbabwe,” a spokesperson for the agency said.

The locations, bordering South Africa and Botswana, are two of the principal
points for cross border traffic for Zimbabwean migrants.

The IOM Beitbridge and Plumtree centres which opened in 2006 and 2008 have
assisted some 316 000 and 121 000 returnees respectively with protection
services, basic medical treatment and health-related referrals, temporary
shelter, food, water and sanitation facilities.

The centres also assist migrants with psychosocial counselling, information
on HIV and AIDS, family tracing and reunification assistance and

In September 2010, agreement was reached between the Zimbabwean and South
African governments to register all Zimbabwean nationals currently residing
in South Africa.

As part of the arrangement, irregular Zimbabwean migrants had to apply for
legal residency status based on employment or business ownership in South
Africa by December 31 or risk deportation.

Zimbabwean migrants faced a number of challenges to regularising their
status, including a backlog for processing passport applications in Zimbabwe

IOM assisted registration efforts by providing material, equipment and staff
to support a mobile registration centre as well as working with a farm
association in the Limpopo border area to identify communities and
facilitate registration of Zimbabwean nationals within the province.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC youths can stand up to Zanu (PF) terrorists – Mhlangu

08 January, 2011 03:19:00    by Fungi Kwaramba

HARARE - MDC-T Youth Assembly Chairman, Thamusanqa Mhlangu, has described
the party youth wing as the reservoir of the country’s future leadership,
with the potential to turn around the fortunes of the country and transform
2011 into the year of real change.

The party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was formed just over a
decade ago and enjoys immense support from the youth, who have suffered the
consequences of President Robert Mugabe’s misrule and the resulting 85%

The Youth league of the MDC has so far produced brilliant individuals like
Nelson Chamisa, the Minister of Information and Technology, who has dazzled
aging Zanu (PF) ministers in cabinet with his brilliance.

“The Youth Assembly has been the breeding ground of leaders. We have young
people who have the capability of standing up to Zanu (PF)’s aging

“In 2011 a lot of young leaders are going to emerge from the ranks. It is
common knowledge that the MDC enjoys much of its support from the young
people who are about 65 percent of the country’s population,” said Mhlangu.

“The Assembly stands resolute on elections and is not worried whether
elections are held next month. We are ready for elections. The elections
that we want are the presidential elections as they were we disputed. The
MDC was robbed in broad daylight by Zanu (PF) and Mugabe. We want
presidential polls that will give the nation the leader of their choice,”
said Mhlangu.

Presently Zimbabwe is being run by a shaky coalition government that is
riven by irreconcilable policy differences.

Much to the dismay of Zimbabweans and the world at large Mugabe, who lost
the polls, is the President of the country with executive powers anchored by
the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that ushered in the tenuous coalition

Over the past two years Mugabe has breached the GPA which unequivocally
explains he should exercise his executive powers in consultation with his
partners in the GNU. - The Zimbabwean

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Civil liberties decline since GNU: Survey

Written by IRENE MOYO
Saturday, 08 January 2011 13:15

HARARE – The majority of Zimbabweans believe that their liberties have
worsened since the formation of the coalition government two years ago and
fear that political temperature could deteriorate in coming months amid
election rhetoric by the main parties, according to a survey published last
The survey by Afrobarometer, titled “Zimbabwe: The Evolving Public Mood”,
said confidence in democratic liberties has gradually been replaced by a
resurgence of political fear since the last study conducted in May 2009. For
example, whereas 51 percent of the respondents said they were “somewhat” or
“completely” free to “say what you think” in May 2009 shortly after the
coalition government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai took office, a significantly lower number of Zimbabweans
felt free to openly express their opinions.
“In the atmosphere of October 2010, however, when agents of the old
party-state were again engaging in intimidation, only one third (32 percent)
held the same opinion. Looking at the same coin from the other side, some 67
percent of Zimbabweans do not currently feel free to speak their minds,” the
survey said. This proportion closely matches the 65 percent who felt that
people “always” have to be “careful what you say about politics” in October
2005 when Zanu (PF) held a much larger share of power.
Compared to the early days of the inclusive government when the majority
said they felt at liberty to speak, associate and vote, only a minority of
Zimbabweans express a sense of enjoying these freedoms today. At the same
time, most of the 1 192 respondents also regarded power-sharing as a
compromise that fell short of their preferred method of choosing a
Only 42 percent viewed the current coalition government as “a second-best
solution, to be used only when elections fail,” a figure that held steady
over the previous year.
The rest were divided, with one quarter seeing power-sharing as “a good
alternative to competitive elections, which rarely work well” and another
quarter (26 percent) viewing it as “a bad alternative that should never
replace competitive elections.”
According to the survey, the honeymoon in public opinion following the
introduction of coalition government in February 2009 is over. Evaluations
of the coalition regime also declined during the 17 months between May 2009
and October 2010. Whereas in May 2009, 87 percent judged that the fragile
regime was performing “well” or “very well,” some 66 percent offered the
overall assessment by October 2010.
Mugabe and arch-rival Tsvangirai were forced to form a coalition government
in 2009 following a disputed presidential election run-off that was marred
by violence. Their fragile union has been rocked by bickering over positions
and mistrust among the partners.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chombo’s war with MDC councils

Written by Real Change Times
Friday, 07 January 2011 11:17

Zimbabweans need to understand the source of the war Ignatious Chombo, a
Zanu (PF) politburo member, has declared on the MDC in general and with the
Harare City Council, in particular.
For close to a decade, Chombo was effectively the de-facto mayor of Harare
and used the city as a looting platform for the obscene wealth Zanu (PF) and
himself, personally, fraudulently pillaged from the people. In December
2009, the MDC council set up a special land investigations committee to
examine what happened in the city during the previous decade of Chombo’s
inspired hooliganism. The committee unearthed a sordid tale and exposed the
horror of corruption and asset-stripping Harare experienced in a decade.
For the avoidance of doubt over the MDC’s concern and sincerity; and apart
from what is already in the public domain about Chombo’s activities as a
public officer and a politician, Zimbabweans must consider the following
additional story.

Glen Lorne property
a)    In Harare’s plush northern suburb of Glen Lorne lies a piece of land
technically known as Subdivision “K” of Nthaba which used to belong to the
city council. Chombo alleges that he was allocated the same piece of land in
1995 by the then Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development.
But there was no ministry with such a name at the time although the date
stamp on Chombo’s lease agreement says so. The ministry which existed was
that of Local Government and Housing.?

b)    This piece of land was donated to the city by a well wisher, Walter
Serocold Pell Edmonds, in 1954 and transferred on October 8, 1973 to the
City of Harare on condition that it can only be used as a public space.
Title Deed No. 3662/1954 was specifically endorsed to effect the council
ownership. For years, the piece of land remained that state.?

c)    When Chombo went into full time politics, he claims to have signed a
lease agreement with this non-existent government ministry on January 2,
1997 and agreed to pay Z$6 301 as rentals per year. A further conflicting
point here is that Chombo alleges to have bought the same piece of land on
January 1, 1997. How this was possible on New Year’s Day beggars belief??

d)    Chombo tried to sell the land to a Mr Alois Ndaziva Chimeri
(63-556768T26) who was then residing at 69 Steven Drive, Msasa, Harare, for
Z$250 million on September 15, 2003. But this could not happen as Chombo was
not the registered owner of the property.?

(Pictured: Harare Town House – At one time Chombo acted as virtually the
mayor of the capital city)

e)     Records show that over the years, Chombo tried to transfer the land
into his name but failed. Correspondence, dating back to 25 June 2004,
between the ministry (through the then permanent secretary Mr Simon
Pazvakawambwa), Harare City Council and lawyers Honey and Blackenberg show
clearly the difficulties Chombo encountered in wrestling the property from
the city council. Among the lawyers concerns were issues of conflict of
interest as Chombo, now as the minister, was literally intending to change
the land use for a personal advantage. Further, the lawyers wanted a Capital
Gains Clearance Certificate, Title Deeds and an Agreement of Sale –
documents Chombo did not appear to have.?

f)    Pazvakawambwa, in a letter to the City Valuer and Estates Manager, a
Mr Francisco, dated 25 June 2004 requested that the piece of land be
transferred to Chombo on the basis that the stand had been allocated to him
in 1995. The Town Clerk responded to Mr Pazvakawambwa’s letter on 21
September 2004 advising her that Chombo’s application had been forwarded to
the Director of Works, P.C. Chiwanga for onward transmission to the ministry
for a ‘change of use’ in terms of Section 49 of the Regional Town and
Country Planning Act (1996).?

g)    On 19 November 2004, Chiwanga informed the city valuer in writing that
he had no objection to the land being transferred to Chombo. Because of a
stream that runs through the property, additional legal work was needed with
regards the water rights at the piece of land. Chiwanga advised that this
was now unnecessary because the new Water Act nullified all water rights
which had been an obstacle in the transfer of the land to Chombo.?

h)    On 7 January 2005, the Town Clerk then wrote to Honey and Blackenberg
to proceed with the transfer, further informing the law firm that all water
rights have been nullified by Zinwa.?

i)    On April 11, 2005, the lawyers requested the necessary documents and
details for an effective transfer, among them, the original Agreement of
Sale to Minister Chombo. Nothing happened for a whole month until Mr
Pazvakawambwa wrote another letter to the City Valuer enquiring about the
position regarding the transfer. On June 7, 2005, the Town Clerk responded
to Mr Pazvakawambwa’s letter requesting for Chombo’s details as they were
needed by the lawyers. Ten days later, the lawyers reminded the City Valuer
that they were still waiting for Chombo’s details as per their 11 April 2005

j)    On the 21 July 2005, the Town Clerk advised Mr Pazvakawambwa that the
state can go ahead and transfer the property to Chombo. He advised Honey and
Blackenberg to close their file on the matter as it was now being dealt with
directly by the state. Somehow, something did not seem right as shown by the
subsequent turn of events.?

k)    On 19 September 2005 Mr Pazvakawambwa wrote another letter to the City
Valuer giving the available transfer details of Chombo. On the 11th of
November 2005, the Town Clerk was back at Honey and Bleckenberg with the
Chombo’s details and requesting them to effect a transfer. The acting
Director of Housing Services, James Chiyangwa, availed the lawyers with the
title deeds to conform with their demands for documentation. This holding
deed gave ownership to the City of Harare.?

l)    It appears this was not enough. The lawyers, on 10 February 2006,
advised the City Valuer that they needed more details and reminded him of
their letter on the 11th of April 2005. Five days later, the lawyers – in
another letter – complained about the non-delivery of the Agreement of Sale
and the need for a change of land use. In particular, they raised the issue
of ‘conflict of interests’ on the part of Chombo as he was both the
beneficiary and the authority.?

m)    To cut a long story short, as it reads like high-grade fiction, the
council lawyers in another letter on June 6,  2006 kept on highlighting the
conflict of interest issue with the City Valuer. There was a lot
inter-departmental activities and correspondence in the council as officials
frantically tried to regularise the transfer of this piece of land to

n)    By December 2006, L. Chimba, writing on behalf of the permanent
secretary, informed Town House of a suggestion of a land swap with another
piece of land in an unnamed low density suburb of Harare. Further exchanges
took place until on 13th of June 2008 when L. Chimba informed the Town Clerk
that the property must be  transferred from Chombo to Chimeri as a way of
handling the conflict of interest issue.?

o)    Chiwanga then advised Honey and Blackenberg on 25 June 2008 that
Chombo has since disposed of the land, which would make it easier for him to
authorise the change of land use in capacity as the Minister administering
the Act. Here came in another obstacle, and all this was happening without
the knowledge of the 29 March 2008 MDC council.?

p)    On 24 November 2008, the lawyers insisted on the fulfilment of the
demands of the letter dated 11 April 2005; requested an agreement of sale
for the purposes of Capital Gains by Zimra. They also requested the consent
of the City of Harare.?

q)    In December, Chiwanga gave the lawyers an Agreement of Sale between
Chombo and Chimeri. In February 2009, the lawyers demanded proof of payment
and advised that Chombo risked a heavy penalty from Zimra since he claimed
to have sold the land in 2005 and did not pay capital gains tax within a
month as required by law.?

r)    On 28 October 2009, Chombo obtained a capital gains tax clearance
certificate, citing the date acquired by transferee as the 5 September 2003
between Chombo and Chimeri and done by one Theresa Chenjerai and Elias Foto,
all said to be employees of Zimra.

s)    Honey & Blackenberg, in a letter dated 3 November 2009, sought advice
from the city’s rates department to determine Chombo’s liability. It nearly
took another year before the sale could be effected because of the
opaqueness of the deal.?

t)    On 26 October 2010, Chiwanga – the man implicated in all of Chombo’s
fraudulent land deals from previous investigations – advised the city
treasurer that Sub-division K of Ntaba, Glen Lorne, had had its use changed
from a designated public space to a residential property. Not surprisingly,
this letter is dated 4 September 1996.
In conclusion, the MDC and hundreds of workers in the City of Harare and in
the Inclusive Government are aware of Chombo’s activities since Mugabe
brought him into his Cabinet from a lecture room at the University of
Zimbabwe in 1990s. Like the MDC, they are baffled as to why he remains in
public office. – First published by the Real Change Times

•    The Real Change Times is the official mouthpiece of the MDC-T party.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New twist to Mugabe lawsuit

Friday, 07 January 2011 13:54

Levi Mukarati, Senior Political Reporter

A NEW twist has emerged in the court case in which Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai is suing President Robert Mugabe for allegedly unilaterally
re-appointing 10 ZANU-PF provincial governors, with lawyers representing the
ZANU-PF first secretary insisting that their client is under no legal
obligation to respond to the premier’s latest answering affidavit. Lawyers
representing Prime Minister Tsvangirai on Tuesday officially served
President Mugabe with papers demanding that the defendant make “a serious”
submission before the High Court over his alleged unconstitutional
re-appointments of the 10 disputed bureaucrats.
In his papers to Terrence Hussein —  the defendant’s lawyer — Tsvangirai’s
legal representative, Selby Hwacha, charged that the President presented a
simplistic view of a “serious constitutional issue”.
But Hussein told The Financial Gazette yesterday that his client has no
legal obligation to respond to the premier’s latest affidavit. He said, as
the President’s lawyer, he was now only waiting for the High Court to hear
the case in which Prime Minister Tsvangirai is contesting the legality of
the re-appointments.
Hussein said President Mugabe had already responded to the High Court
opposing the challenge on grounds that under Rule 18 of the High Court
no-one had authority to sue or take a Head of State or High Court judge to
court unless they applied to the High Court    and were granted authority to
do so.
“When Tsvangirai made the application I responded by filing my opposing
papers to the High Court and that is the procedure. I am now eagerly waiting
for the hearing date when we will stand in court and that is where I am
obliged to respond.
“This ultimatum from his lawyers to give us 10 days is nothing to us and I
will not respond. We never asked for the 10 days and it was not for them to
give us the ultimatum. We have no legal obligation to respond.”
While Prime Minister Tsvangirai is suing the President for unilaterally
re-appointing the governors, President Mugabe’s lawyers, citing Rule 18 of
the High Court, argued that it was impossible for anyone to sue a Head of
State without first seeking permission from the    court.
But Tsvangirai’s lawyers in their latest submission to the High Court said
it did not make sense to argue that one must “sue the President for
authority to sue the President.” “The simplistic interpretation placed on
the Rule (18) by the respondents leads to absurdities, which were not
intended when the rule was made. It does not make sense to argue that one
must sue the President for authority to sue the President.
“It appears to me also, that Rule 18 came about during the pre and
post-colonial era of a ceremonial, non executive Head of State such as the
Queen of England, governors of southern Rhodesia, Presidents of Rhodesia and
the first president of the independent Zimbabwe. This is no longer the
position in Zimbabwe’s constitutional democracy,” reads part of the premier’s
latest answering affidavit.
The controversial governors whose stay in office is being contested are
David Karimanzira (Harare), Cain Mathema (Bulawayo), Christopher Mushowe
(Manicaland), Titus Maluleke (Masvingo), Aeneas Chigwedere (Mashonaland
East), Martin Dinha (Mashonaland Cent-ral), Angeline Masuku (Matab
eleland South), Thokozile Mathuthu (Matabeleland North), Jaison Machaya
(Midlands) and Faber Chidarikire (Mashonaland West).
Prime Minister Tsvangirai argues that he was supposed to have been consulted
by President Mugabe over the re-appointments in terms of Section 115 of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The section explains that ‘in consultation’ means that “the person required
to consult before arriving at a decision arrives at that decision after
securing the agreement or consent of the person so consulted”.
The three protagonists in the wobbly unity government — President Mugabe,
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara — were understood to
have agreed on a 5:4:1 formula on the appointment of governors with MDC-T
taking five posts, ZANU-PF four seats and one to MDC-M.
Under the formula MDC-T had lined up Seyiso Moyo (Bulawayo), Lucia Matibenga
(Masvingo), James Makore (Harare), Julius Magaran-goma (Manicaland) and Tose
Sansole (Matabeleland North), while the lesser MDC-M faction had earmarked
Paul Themba Nyathi for the governorship of Matabeleland South.
ZANU-PF governors who were set to vacate are Mushohwe, Masuku, Mathuthu,
Mathema, Karimanzira and Maluluke.
President Mugabe is adamant that he would not implement the agreed matrix on
governors unless and until targeted sanctions slammed against him and his
inner circle by the United States and the European Union are lifted.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Albinos Seek Reprieve On Car Imports

08/01/2011 14:17:00

HARARE, January 8, 2011 - The Albino Society in Zimbabwe led by Professor
John Makumbe says it is lobbying the government to remove duty on all cars
imported by its members because of their disabilities.

"Albinism is a disability," said Dr Makumbe when he addressed members from
his society."We want to bring in motor vehicles and because we are disabled
we should be allowed to bring them in duty free."

Makumbe said he had faced problems with the Ministry of Finance because he
wanted to bring in his motor vehicle duty free because he is "disabled".
Makumbe, a prominent political analyst in Zimbabwe, said he felt and thought
that being an "albino" means that they are "disabled" as said by those who
describe "disabilities".

"I intend to take legal action if they (Ministry of Finance) do not give me
my motor vehicle duty free," he added.
"We, in fact, demand that the regulations on disability and imports be
changed in Zimbabwe. "We are disabled as said by the word describing

Makumbe said he would be taking legal action to ensure that his motor
vehicle was brought into Zimbabwe duty free.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim Media Commission Says Newspapers Prices Exorbitant

08/01/2011 04:00:00

Harare, January 08, 2011 – The prices for newspapers in Zimbabwe is too
steep according to the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) that registers and
accredits media houses and journalists.

ZMC chairperson, Godfrey Majonga in a statement said the exorbitant charges
were a barrier to access to information. Majonga cited the state owned
Herald which is sold for one US dollar and two weeklies, the Zimbabwe
Independent and the Financial Gazette which are sold for two US dollars.

"The two-dollar price which readers pay per copy of the Zimbabwe Independent
or the Financial Gazette is not a normal price for a weekly paper,” Majonga
said in a statement. "The one-dollar which readers pay per copy of the daily
Herald newspaper is not a normal price. In the country where this currency
is issued, two dollars can pay subscription for a national newspaper for a
whole week.”

“One dollar can pay for several copies of national daily. What subscribers
pay here for a quarter is enough in the US to pay for two years," Majonga

The ZMC recently increased accreditation fees for foreign media which
operate in the country by over 300 percent.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Why people must reject Robert Mugabe’s Kariba Draft Constitution

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London 08/01/11

One of the reasons why Zimbabwe needs a new constitution is because unlike
the US Constitution which has been amended only 27 times since 1776,
Zimbabwe’s Lancaster House Constitution has been amended some 19 times since
1980. With at least five amendments regarded as imperfect even by some in
Mugabe’s inner circle, the need for a new democratic constitution cannot

A constitution may be defined as ‘a document having a special legal sanctity
which sets out the framework and the principal functions of the organs of
government within the state, and declares the principles by which those
organs must operate’ (E. C. S. Wade and G. Godfrey Phillips, Constitutional
and Administrative Law, Longman: London, 9th edition, page1). In the case of
Zimbabwe, Zanu-pf is the ‘State’ and the State is ‘Zanu-pf.’

What the experts say about the Kariba Draft

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has focused its criticisms on the
process, substance of the Kariba Draft, Structure and powers of the
executive, presidential appointments, the legislature, the judiciary,
elections, rights and national objectives, local government and the
devolution of powers and size of government (‘Exposing the shortcomings of
the Kariba Draft  Constitution’, Zimbabwe Independent,02/07/09).


The NCA argues that very little is known about the process that went into
the creation of the Kariba Draft Constitution because it was written during
‘a clandestine meeting between the principal negotiators of Zimbabwe’s three
primary political parties’. Nearly all of the weaknesses that led to the
rejection of the Constitutional Commission proposal (2000 Constitution) are
replicated in the Kariba Draft. The Kariba Draft allegedly makes the removal
of a member of parliament automatic after he/she has been absent for 21
consecutive sittings, a move suspected to target opposition politicians
forced into hiding.

Structure and powers of the executive
Under the Kariba Draft, all executive authority rests in the president and
the office of the prime minister is completely absent thereby removing a
vital check on the power of the president.

Presidential Appointments

The  Kariba Draft does away with checks and balances on the president’s
power to make appointments of vice-presidents, judges, senators, ministers
and diplomats by eliminating the office of the prime minister.

The legislature

The Kariba Draft allows the president to appoint 17 senators, dissolve
parliament at any time, override proposed legislation and perhaps escape
impeachment. The Draft allows the President to declare war without
consultation (

The Judiciary

The Kariba Draft fails to ensure the independence of the judiciary by giving
the president or his/her appointee additional control over the structure of
the judiciary.


The Kariba Draft Constitution provides for an electoral commission that is
insufficiently independent.

Rights and National Objectives

The Kariba Draft fails to protect many vital rights such as the freedom of
the media and the right of workers to strike. While social and economic
rights to housing, education and health are covered in “national Objectives”
of the draft, compliance is not mandatory.

Local Government and the Devolution of Power

Provincial and local bodies that are provided for in the Kariba Draft may be
manipulated by the central government e.g. provincial governors are
presidential appointees.

Size of Government

According to the NCA, the Kariba Draft, opens the door for a bloated and
inefficient government because it allows the president to appoint as many
ministers as he/she chooses.

Other critics say the Kariba Draft is worse than the constitution that was
rejected in 2000 because it gives the president unbridled powers such as ‘a
clause permitting Mugabe to serve another two five- year terms. Heaven
forbid!’ (The Zimbabwean, 01/07/09).

The case for alternative constitutions

In contrast to the Kariba Draft, the Law Society of Zimbabwe Model
Constitution provides for various checks and balances, ensuring the
separation of powers and civilian control of security services. The LSZ
Model Constitution provides for an enforceable Declaration of Rights; a
bi-cameral elective legislature (with no appointed members); a parliament
that is independent of the executive by determining its own sittings; a
non-executive President as Head of State elected by Parliament and an
executive Prime Minister or Head of Government elected through a nation-wide
ballot for a 5-year term though Parliament will have power to vote him/her
out of office.

Under the LSZ Model Constitution ministers will be appointed by the Prime
Minister, not the President; Judges will be appointed by the President on
the advice of the Prime Minister. The security services – Defence, Police,
Prisons and intelligence will be subject to civilian control. There is
provision for independent commissions covering Judicial Services, Public
Service, Human Rights, Gender and Anti-Discrimination, Truth and Justice,
Land, Media, Conflict Prevention, and Security Services. There will be
extensive devolution and autonomous local government institutions.

How did the Kariba Draft come about?

In a statement, MDC’s spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa said the Kariba Draft was
a compromise document drafted by three political parties and initialled on
30 September 3007 to minimise the possibility of a contested election result
in 2008, in  line with a SADC resolution that had given birth to the
dialogue. It was an interim Constitution that was meant to be used only for
the 2008 election, but on 4 December 2007, Zanu-pf refused to implement the
Kariba draft. Its function and intended purpose therefore died
on 4 December 2007 because of Zanu-pf ‘s intransigence.

“Zanu-pf cannot resurrect a document meant for the 2008 election which they
rejected and turned down in December 2007. They must not be allowed to sneak
it through the backdoor when Zimbabweans have ample time to make their own
Constitution”, said Chamisa. He also disputed the Zanu-pf position as
expressed in the Herald giving the impression that the GPA had made the
Kariba Draft it’s reference document.

Senator Obert Gutu of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai declared: “Nowhere in Article 6 of the GPA is it
unequivocally stated that the Kariba Draft should be the ONLY reference
document for the constitution making process”.

Media reports said that after an extra-ordinary national executive meeting
on Tuesday, 23 June 2009  the MDC –T resolved to reject  what it called ‘any
attempt by Zanu-pf to foist the Kariba Draft, or any other draft, on the
people’ (Zimdiaspora, 25/06/09).

However, an “agreement” allegedly signed between Zanu-pf and the two MDC
formations on 23rd of July 2009 claims Jomic agreed to make Kariba Draft
‘Reference Document’. The report shows that Tendai Biti of MDC led by Morgan
Tsvangirai did not sign the original document while his colleague Elton
Mangoma reportedly signed the original document  alongside Priscillah
Misihairambwi-Mushonga (MDC-M), Welshman Ncube (MDC-M), Nicholas Goche
(Zanu-pf) and Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu-pf) (, 28/07/09).

Given the confusion caused, it is imperative for the MDC to effectively
inform the public about the correct position. Equally, unclear is which
constitution the MDC is going to promote at the referendum if Zanu-pf will
be campaigning for the Kariba Draft. Suggestions of a negotiated
constitution made by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in September 2010 have
raised eyebrows that the country could be ‘bracing for another Kariba Draft’
(Zimbabwe Independent, 17/09/10). Hopefully, it’s a dead issue now.

What Mugabe is doing to promote the Kariba Draft

Mugabe has never stopped using ‘politics of labelling’ or what Brian Kagoro
called the art of ‘kusvibisa’ (techniques of soiling someone’s image) to
undermine opponents as Alex Magaisa once wrote (Zimbabwe Standard,
27/02/10). Labels like ‘mutengesi’ (a sell-out), ‘puppets’ and so on are
known to stick in people’s memories especially those who may not be
discerning or are prone to manipulation. Apart from that, Mugabe uses
diversionary tactics to great effect and political blackmail to undermine
his opponents and avoid focus on unresolved GPA and human rights issues.

During the constitutional outreach programme the youth militia, CIO, the
military and war vets were deployed to drum-up support for the Kariba Draft
‘against those trying to reverse the gains of the land reform programme’.
Villagers were allegedly coached to back the Kariba draft. In January 2010,
a senior air force of Zimbabwe Air Commodore was named as one of several
military officers leading a campaign to force villagers in Manicaland to
attend Zanu-pf meetings in support of the Kariba Draft.

People in Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba, 110 km west of Harare, and
neighbouring Chitomborwizi in Makonde district allegedly now strongly
believe that those calling for a people-driven constitution, who are opposed
to the Kariba Draft, want to include the issue of gay rights in the new

“Masoja akati addresser three weeks ago. Vakatiudza kuti vanhu ava varikuda
zveconstitution nyowani isiri yekuKariba, varikuda kuti tibvume
zvechingochani. Ah, kana ndiwe mwana wangu, zvingaite here kuti ini
ndidanane nambuya ava? Kwete hatidi izvozvo. (We were addressed by soldiers
three weeks ago. They told us that those opposed to Kariba Draft want a new
constitution to allow homosexuality. My child, how can I have a lesbian
relationship with this old woman? We say no to that),” said an elderly woman
(Zimbabwe Independent, 01/07/10).

Some analysts feel that if people refuse to endorse the Kariba Draft, Mugabe
can block the draft constitution in Parliament; refuse to call a referendum
on the constitution; or refuse to sign the draft into law once it is passed
by Parliament (Stanley Gama, ‘Zanu-pf wants Kariba Draft, or nothing else’,

Why Mugabe should go now

That Mugabe must now go is no longer a dismissible opposition slogan but a
strategic necessity that desperately needs urgent legal and constitutional
action, according to Jonathan Moyo, before his re-admission to Zanu-pf in

“Perennial wisdom from divine revelation and human experience dictates that
all earthly things great and small, beautiful or ugly, good or bad, sad or
happy, foolish or wise must finally come to an end. It is from this sobering
reality that the end of executive rule has finally come for Robert Mugabe
who has had his better days after a quarter (now over a quarter) century in
power”, he said in one of his articles.

Elsewhere, Moyo said:

“When Mugabe says the crisis started in 2000 due to the rejection of the
land reform programme by Britain and its allies he is not telling the truth.
Many in his government and party know that the crisis started on August 16,
1997 when the compensation for veterans of the liberation war became an
economic albatross to the fiscus. It is also a widely known fact that the
demands for a new democratic constitution started well before 2000. Indeed,
the MDC itself was formed before 2000.”

Our next installation will be on what could have earned Attorney General
Johannes Tomana a coveted entry on the targeted sanctions list.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London

Back to the Top
Back to Index