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All Set For Zimbabwe's Constitutional Conference

HARARE, JULY 12 - LEADING academics, Professor Phineas Makhurane and
Hope Sadza have been selected by the Parliamentary Select Committee to chair
the All-Stakeholders' Conference on the constitution making process which
opens in Harare on Monday.

The first All-Stakeholders Conference on the new constitution is
envisaged to be attended by 4 000 delegates from interests groups
specifically invited by the Parliamentary Select Committee co-chaired by
Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (ZANU PF), Douglas Mwonzora (MDC T) and David
Coltart (MDC M).

It end on Tuesday. "Everything is on course," said Mwonzora.
"Delegates started arriving on Sunday. We don't forsee any major problems,"
he said.

The Agenda of the conference has two items, firstly the methodology of
collecting and collating evidence on the people's wishes and secondly,
determining the process of constituting subcommittees.

A perusal of delegates invited for the conference by VOP on Sunday
showed that political parties would provide a total of 1600 delegates,
representing 40 percent of the 4000 delegates invited for the event.

Both ZANU PF and the MDC T would provide 600 delegates each, MDC M
160. Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn, United Parties, ZAPU and other fringe politicals
parties would provide 48 delegates each.

Of the other 60 percent, all are allocated to organisations:- Churches
get 400 [10%], NGOs 320 [8%], War Veterans Associations 240 [6%]; Women's
Organisations 240 [6%]; Labour [mostly ZANU-PF affiliated organisations] 200
[5%]; Youth [a good percentage of ZANU-PF affiliated organisations] 160
[4%]; Business 120 [3%]; Farmers 80 [2%]; Traditional Leaders 80 [2%];
Disabled 80 [2%]; Local Authorities 80 [2%]; Government Arms [Executive and
Judiciary] 80 [2%]; Children 40 [1%]; Informal Sector 40 [1%]; Academia
[mostly teacher training and technical colleges] 40 [1%]; Arts and Culture
24 [0.6%]; Media 24 [0.6%]; Residents/Ratepayers Associations 24 [0.6%];
Parastatals 20 [0.5%]; Minorities 20 [0.5%]; Professional Boards 20 [0.5%];
Traditional Healers 16 [0.4%]; Sports 16 [0.4%].

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'Key players excluded from constitutional indaba'

by Patricia Mpofu Monday 13 July 2009

HARARE - Some top civic groups have been excluded from the constitutional
conference that beings in Harare today and which will be dominated by
representatives from political parties, the National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) said.

It was not clear what criteria was used to select delegates to the
conference or why some major civic organisations were omitted while
virtually unknown groups such as the Mashonaland Central Students
Association got the call to attend.

NANGO spokesman Fambai Ngirande said the association was concerned at the
exclusion of what it regarded as critical stakeholders.

But Ngirande said NANGO remained committed to the constitutional reform
process whose credibility has been dented by demands by President Robert
Mugabe that a controversial draft constitution known as the Kariba Draft be
used as the foundation of a new constitution.

He said: "As NANGO we are concerned at the omission of critical stakeholders
that have over the years demonstrated unquestionable commitment to the
country's development.

"l speak here of players such as the CHRA (Combined Harare Residents
Association), Zimbabwe AIDS Network, Transparency International and others."

The constitutional conference, which ends on Tuesday, will be attended by
close to 4 000 delegates specifically invited by a special parliamentary
committee jointly-chaired by Mugabe's ZANU PF party, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's MDC party and the smaller MDC formation led by Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the National Constitutional
Assembly political pressure group are invited but are not expected to attend
the conference because they are opposed to Parliament and political parties
leading the constitution-making process.

Ngirande said while civic groups would be outnumbered at the conference by
political delegates, they were determined to stand their ground and resist
attempts to impose the Kariba Draft that was secretly authored by ZANU PF
and the MDC parties in 2007.

Critics say the Kariba Draft leaves untouched the wide-sweeping powers that
Mugabe continues to enjoy even after formation of a unity government with
Tsvangirai and Mutambara.

Ngirande said: "Naturally this (domination of political delegates) is cause
for concern. However, we can only hope that interests of the people and what
is best for the nation will transcend party political interests.

"Should partisan political interest such as the imposition of the Kariba
Draft prevail, then you can be assured of our vociferous and determined
opposition to this process."

Under the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by Zimbabwe's three main
political parties last year and that led to formation of a unity government
last February the country should have a new and democratic constitution by
mid next year.

New elections for president, parliament and local government will be held
after the new constitution is promulgated. - ZimOnline

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Zim talks on constitution won't include Ramaphosa

From The Sunday Independent (SA), 12 July

Peta Thornycroft

Cyril Ramaphosa is not welcome at Zimbabwe's troubled constitution-making
process. This emerged on Friday after days of haggling about who would be
invited as official delegates to the first "stakeholders" conference, which
begins tomorrow. Ramaphosa and a still-unnamed Rwandese legislator were
recommended for invitations as "distinguished guests". But the Movement for
Democratic Change members were told told by Zanu PF: "We don't want
foreigners." President Robert Mugabe had previously described Ramaphosa as a
"white black man". Registration for the "stakeholders" conference begins
today and the list emerged after long negotiations. Many observers say the
list of 4 000 delegates appears heavily weighted in favour of Zanu PF.
Insiders say MDC members on the steering committee are blocked at every
point on this hazardous constitutional journey. They did succeed in
preventing Zanu PF delaying the "stakeholders" conference beyond Monday.
About 4 000 delegates, from bee-keepers to a widows' group, war veterans and
unemployed youths, have been invited to kickstart country-wide consultations
for a new constitution. Mugabe is insisting that a draft negotiated in a
hurry on Lake Kariba in 2007 between Zanu PF and MDC must be Zimbabwe's new
constitution. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said last week the Kariba
draft was not be representative of the majority of Zimbabweans' views.

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Mugabe Stalls Government Talks Needed for New Constitution

By Brian Latham

July 13 (Bloomberg) -- President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is delaying talks
on a new constitution in a bid to scuttle the country's coalition government
and avoid elections in which he may not be allowed to compete, two members
of his party's decision-making body said.

The president is concerned that if he cedes power he may face prosecution
for violent crackdowns on opponents, the members of the body, the politburo
of Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party, said. The
officials declined to be identified because they aren't authorized to speak
to the press on this matter. The politburo, which has more than 40 members,
sets policy for the party.

Negotiations that were due to start on July 10 between the Movement for
Democratic Change party and Zanu-PF were postponed, MDC lawmaker, Douglas
Mwonzora, said.

An agreement between the rival parties for a coalition government hinges on
the talks beginning today, according to Mwonzora.

The collapse of the agreement may reverse gains that include the
stabilization of the economy after 10 years of recession and the curbing of
an inflation rate that rose to nearly 500 billion percent in September,
according to the International Monetary Fund. The inflation was triggered by
a scarcity of foreign currency that caused shortages of everything from
staple foods to gasoline.

"Any delay will cause a chain reaction of other delays that could scupper
the whole power-sharing agreement," Mwonzora said in an interview from the
capital, Harare. "Then we'd be back at square one."

Political Impasse

Under the coalition agreement, which ended a decade-long political impasse
in February, a new constitution must be agreed and elections held within two
years of that. Mugabe's victories in elections against the MDC party led by
Morgan Tsvangirai in 2000, 2002, 2005 and last year were described as marred
by violence and irregularities by the U.S. and European Union.

Tsvangirai got the most votes in presidential elections in March last year
but didn't win the 50 percent needed to avoid a second round. He boycotted
the runoff in June because he said his supporters were being attacked by
Mugabe's backers and the police. Parliamentary elections also held in March
2008 were won by the MDC, costing Zanu-PF its majority for the first time
since it took power in 1980.

The coalition government was formed after talks organized by the Southern
African Development Community, a group of 15 nations, and led by former
South African President, Thabo Mbeki.

The office of South Africa's President, Jacob Zuma, didn't respond to
e-mailed questions about the delay in talks.

No Opinion

"We are aware of the development," Michele Montas, spokeswoman for United
Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said. "The secretary-general has been
encouraging democratic progress to be made in Zimbabwe, but that is a matter
for the parties, that are now in one government, to discuss. It is not for
us to have an opinion at this point."

The EU supports Tsvangirai, Cristina Gallach, spokeswoman for Javier Solana,
the EU foreign policy chief, said in an interview. Tsvangirai travelled to
Brussels on June 18.

"We support the prime minister," she said when asked about the delay to the
talks. "We think a lot can be achieved if we are able to move along the
lines of what he presented to the EU when he was here."

Since the government's formation the country's economy has improved. Tendai
Biti, the finance minister and a member of the MDC, last month forecast that
Zimbabwe's gross domestic product will expand by at least 4 percent this
year. The IMF on July 2 said there is evidence of a "nascent economic
recovery" and China has agreed to lend Zimbabwe $950 million.

Two More Terms

The benchmark index of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange has more than tripled
since reopening on Feb. 19 with share prices set in U.S. dollars after a
three-month closure, according to Renaissance Capital, a Moscow-based
investment bank that focuses on emerging markets.

Mugabe, 85, has ruled the country since a civil war that ended white
minority rule in 1980, and the MDC is demanding that a new constitution
forbid him from running for president again. Mugabe has insisted that the
country adopt a draft constitution drawn up last year and now rejected by
the MDC that would allow him to serve two more terms.

Patrick Chinamasa, Zanu-PF's chief negotiator, and Olivia Muchena, a
politburo member, didn't answer calls to their mobile phones seeking
comment. Joram Gumbo, Zanu-PF's chief whip, didn't answer the phone. Three
calls to the phone of George Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman, were terminated
after being answered.

"Delayed Indefinitely"

Calls to Webster Shamu, Zanu-PF's communications minister, weren't answered
today, while calls to Zanu-PF's headquarters in Harare also went unanswered.
Text messages to the five officials weren't responded to.

"Zanu-PF wanted the meeting delayed indefinitely, then they changed it to
the end of July," said Mwonzora, who's the head of an interparty committee
on a new constitution. "We have only agreed to delay things" until today.

Mugabe's concerns about possible prosecution by the International Criminal
Court or a new government stem from allegations that he instigated violence
ahead of elections over the last decade that caused the death of hundreds of
Tsvangirai's supporters, the politburo officials said.

The president, a member of Zimbabwe's Shona majority ethnic group, is also
concerned about a crackdown on dissidents from the Ndebele people in the
1980s that resulted in the death of about 20,000 civilians, according to an
estimate by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, they said. The
MDC has not offered Mugabe or his allies an amnesty.

Economic Contraction

Under his rule the country's economy contracted by 40 percent between 2000
and 2007, according to the IMF.

In 2000, after Mugabe lost a referendum that would have boosted his powers,
he initiated a land reform program that involved the often violent seizure
of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black subsistence

That slashed income from the country's biggest export, tobacco, and caused a
famine in what had been sub-Saharan Africa's second-biggest corn exporter as
the company couldn't finance sufficient imports to meet its needs.

About a quarter of the population, estimated by the UN at 12.9 million in
2003, has left the country, with most of them illegally crossing the border
into South Africa.

The Zimbabwe dollar became virtually worthless because of inflation and was
scrapped earlier this year in favor of the use of currencies such as the
U.S. dollar and the South African rand.

While inflation and shortages of equipment and materials led to the closure
of many of the country's mines and businesses, Anglo American Plc, Rio Tinto
Group, Old Mutual Plc, Barclays Plc and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. have
assets in the country.

Zimbabwe has the world's second-biggest reserves of platinum and chrome
after South Africa.

Last Updated: July 12, 2009 18:00 EDT

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Zim's underhand arms trade

From The Weekend Argus (SA), 12 July

Fiona Forde

Zimbabwe is not only stockpiling modern weapons, but is also circumventing
sanctions by exporting arms to the US via Eastern Europe, according to a
report that is due to be released this week. The International Peace
Information Service (Ipis), a Belgian-based research hub, says this state of
play is a good example of why the UN-proposed Arms Trade Treaty needs to be
as comprehensive as possible to stem the flow of weapons into Zimbabwe. The
report says that throughout last year, when the political climate was most
volatile, it tracked shipments of arms in and out of the country, which not
only pose a threat to Zimbabweans, but outline the dubious nature of arms
deals that continue to take place with a country that is heavily sanctioned.
In the space of 48 hours last August, 53 tons of ammunition were allegedly
flown from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Harare by Enterprise World
Airways, aboard a Boeing-707-3B4C aircraft registered as 9Q-CRM, say Brian
Johnson-Thomas and Peter Danssaert, authors of the report. The first
shipment on August 21 contained 32 tons of 7.62x54mm cartridges, according
to the UN's Groups of Experts on the DRC. A second shipment, which they say
ar-rived two days later, contained 20 tons of 7.62x39mm cartridges, the kind
of ammunition used in AK-47s. The ammunition was received in Zimbabwe four
months after a separate and controversial arms consignment from China was
turned away at Durban on the so-called ship of shame in April last year,
only to be flown into the country a month later from Angola, the report also

Despite denials from Luanda and Beijing, an employee of the state-owned
Zimbabwe Defence Industry (ZDI) in Harare told Ipis in June that the
shipment, which contained mortar bombs, rockets and rounds of ammunition,
had arrived in the country - something that Information Minister Bright
Matonga also suggested in May when he told a TV-recorded panel discussion
that "the shipment is already in Zimbabwe". Matonga could not be reached for
comment this week. "Zimbabwe has no national legislation on the import,
export or transit of arms and ammunition that conforms to international
stands," the report's authors say, suggesting the country's borders are
dangerously pervious and proof of what happens when there is no arms treaty
in place. All does not have to be lost in the absence of a treaty, Guy Lamb
of the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) argues. "Illicit and corrupt arms
trading, as well as arms transfers to conflict zones or countries where
governments are responsible for human rights abuses, can be restricted in
Africa by more comprehensive and consistent implementation of existing
regional arms control agreements at the national level," the head of the
arms management programme at the ISS points out. "Examples include the SADC
firearms control protocol and the Nairobi small arms and light weapons
protocol." However, what could happen and what does are very different
things. The researchers also tracked the shipment of 1 349 stripped MAG58
machine gun bodies, 2 051 barrels and various other machinegun parts from
Harare to Podgorica airport in Montenegro in February last year, which they
claim later found their way to the US in a roundabout deal that breached the
sanctions imposed by the government of George W Bush.

According to the airway bill, or shipping document, the consignment was
dispatched by the ZDI to its Montenegran counterparts, a deal they say was
brokered by the Swiss-based company BT International. That company is run by
Heinrich Thomet, the Swiss man who appeared on the US arms trafficking
"Watch List" three years ago. Earlier this year, during a visit to the
Montenegro Defence Industry, the authors of the report were informed "that
the machineguns supplied from Zimbabwe had been bought for refurbishment"
and "that the overhauled machinegun parts, with the exception of the barrels
and receivers" were later shipped on to the United States in a transaction
that was also facilitated by BT International. An investigation into the
trans-Atlantic deal pointed to Ohio Ordnance Works as the recipient of the
gun parts, a dealer that supplies the US armed forces and which previously
supplied the allied forces in Iraq. Ohio's lawyers were unable to confirm or
deny their dealings with Montenegro and in an e-mail to Ipis last month
strongly denied breaching US trade laws, though did not deny importing the
shipment from Montenegro. When contacted by Independent Newspapers,
Montenegro's Department of Defence declined to comment. Given that ZDI is a
sanctioned company, and has been since 2005, the report suggests the
trans-Atlantic deal "may have been to evade US sanctions on Zimbabwean
individuals and entities", embargos which prohibit the "direct and indirect
imports from Zimbabwe into the US", the report reads. The authors also note
that only two countries voted against pushing ahead with the proposed Arms
Trade Treaty at the UN General Assembly last October - the US and Zimbabwe.
South Africa voted in favour of it.

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Teachers Flee As Zanu PF Youth Militia Launch Terror Bases

MASVINGO- July 12, 2009 - Zanu (PF) youth militia have set bases at
different schools and are reportedly seething with anger demanding a clear
explanation from teachers who absconded lessons on Friday.

Some teachers boycotted lesson on Friday, following a call by the
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)'s to boycott lessons every
Friday to demonstrate against poor allowances. Teachers receive USD 100 a
PTUZ provincial chairman Munyaradzi Chauke told RadioVOP that most
teachers especially from Mwenezi and Masvingo rural districts had fled their
stations, fearing for their lives.
"We have just received information today that some of our members in
different parts of the province are already being persecuted by Zanu (PF)
militia who are demanding individual explanation from our members.
"These teachers were victimized by the same people last year so they
are not certain of what action will be taken against them."
Schools which are highly affected are Rushumbe Primary in Mwenezi,
Mukita Secondary, and Chengwe Primary.
"We have also heard that Chief Chamburira will charge teachers that
heed to our calls."
PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said the struggle continues.
"We are not going back. We are aware that there are some overzealous
headmasters who are also threatening teachers, especially in peri-urban
schools such as Chikarudzo Primary School but we are looking for ways to put
that to an end. Our demands are clear and genuine,"
Teachers have been threatening to down tools due to low renumeration.
The government says its broke and cannot afford to raise the current USD 100
monthly allowances. Last year teachers worked an average 23 days, affecting
the writing and marking of examinations.

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Safari operators accuse ZTA of gross prejudice

Monday, July 13, 2009

By Fidelis Munyoro

Safari operators have accused the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority of "grossly
prejudicing" them by demanding a levy on hunting trophies when the Parks and
Wildlife Management Authority charges a similar tariff.

The dispute, which has spilled into the High Court, comes after the ZTA in
2008 demanded payment of a two percent levy on hunting trophies by all
safari operators.

In terms of the Tourism Act, a two percent daily rate is charged on all
services provided by safari operators and must be remitted to the ZTA.

The Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, an umbrella body of safari
operators from across the country, is resisting the directive on the basis
that operators are already remitting the same two percent levy to the Parks

The safari operators said they found it "strange" that the levy was being
demanded now and yet in the 12 years since the Tourism Act became law they
had never been required to pay it.

SOAZ, through their lawyer Advocate Happias Zhou instructed by Mr Joseph
Mafusire of Scanlen and Holderness, has applied for a declaratory order at
the High Court to stop the ZTA from receiving the money.

In their application, the safari operators requested the court to interpret
the relevant Act to determine its meaning and clarify whether or not there
was by law such a levy prescribed and payable to the ZTA.

Adv Zhou argued that trophies were not within the contemplation of
"designate tourist facilities" for which the respective minister could in
terms of the Act make regulations, including regulations to charge levies.

In Statutory Instrument 106 of 1996 the minister listed "designated tourists
facilities" as accommodation, car hire, hunting tours, fishing, photographic
tours, sight-seeing, canoeing, and horse riding among others.

In another Statutory Instrument a two percent levy was imposed on all such
designated tourist facilities.

The list does not include a trophy.

The question the court has to deal with is whether a trophy is a "facility".

The safari operators are contending that a trophy cannot be a "facility"
that is provided and that it is a "prize derived from enjoying the

"A two percent levy is charged and remitted to ZTA, but this is only on the
enjoyment of the facility, which is what the law requires, as opposed to the
fruits of such enjoyment.

"The fact that trophy fees had not been collected for 12 years bears
testimony to the understanding that it was not chargeable and remittable to
ZTA, and that it was only demanded for now was quite curious," said Adv

In response ZTA lawyer Advocate Obert Takaindisa was adamant that a trophy
fell within the contemplation of designated services and therefore a two
percent levy was to be charged and remitted to the tourism body.

Adv Takaindisa, argued that the levy was previously not collected due to an
oversight on ZTA's part and which they now intended to rectify. He argued
that ZTA, in accordance with the provisions of the Act, has a right to
charge a levy payable to them as the tourism authority. "The first
respondent is authorised to charge and collect from all designated tourist
facility operators a levy of two percent on the total amount that the
operators make in the conduct of their business as operators of designated
facilities," he said. Adv Takaindisa argued that the amount payable to ZTA
included the fee paid by tourists for the use of the hunting services
provided on the operators' property. Presiding judge Justice Bharat Patel
reserved judgment to consider submissions made by both parties' lawyers

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Zimbabwe tobacco price pushed up

Irish Sun
Sunday 12th July, 2009

Zimbabwe has had an excellent season for tobacco prices if not for the
actual crop.

It has been the second smallest crop in more than 50 years.

Tobacco auctions in Zimbabwe this year have been notable for record prices
due to land seizures and thousands of smaller-scale tobacco farmers not
growing tobacco this season due to lack of ability to borrow from the banks.

Zimbabwe's 2009 tobacco crop will earn about $160 million this selling
season with the average price at about US$3.60 a kilogram.

Most tobacco will be exported to Europe with China now also an important

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We don't have enough to lend, say banks

Monday, July 13, 2009

Herald Reporter

THE Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe has said its members cannot lend money
to the public on a sustainable basis because of the lack of long-term
deposits in customers' accounts.

Reacting to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono's statement
last week that banks were holding onto millions of United States dollars,
instead of lending the money to credible businesses, BAZ insisted its
members were giving out "reasonable" loans under the circumstances.

Dr Gono said he might have "to crack the whip" on the banks and urged them
to carry out self-introspection to assess their relevance in the national
economic matrix.

But on Friday BAZ president Dr John Mangudya defended the banks saying they
had no ulterior motives for not lending out money.

"Deposits are not continual or perpetual. This money (deposits) is in
transit. They (customers) bank money today;tomorrow they need to go and buy
goods in South Africa.

"How many of among us Zimbabweans put money in banks for a month? But you
want six-month (loan) facilities."

In limiting loans, Dr Mangudya said the banks were safeguarding the little
depositors' money that they had.

He described banks' lending levels as "reasonable".

"In terms of loans that are being given, the amounts are reasonable," Dr
Mangudya said, adding, "banks are not as evil as they seem to be".

Dr Gono revealed that at the end of May 2009 the banks were sitting on
US$600 million in deposits.

He said some banks, with as much as US$190 million, had only lent out US$2

However, Dr Gono said he did not want to prescribe to the institutions what
to do with their funds because "we want banks to be free to utilise their
funds the way they see fit".

TN Bank and POSB are among the few financial institutions that recently
extended loans to small-scale miners to help capitalise their operations.

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COSATU supports ZCTU boycott

July 13, 2009

By Ntando Ncube

SOUTH Africa's main labour union said has vowed to continue to fight "the
ruling regime" in Zimbabwe and said it strongly backs the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU)'s demand for a people-driven constitution.

ZCTU, the country's largest labour body and the National Constitutional
Assembly pressure group are boycotting the Parliament-led constitutional
reform process saying politicians control the process and will manipulate
the outcome.

Cosatu said a people-driven constitution-making process will lead to
democratic elections that will put in place legitimate government in

'We note the composition of the GNU and the evolving constitution-making
process. However we remain fully supportive of the call by the ZCTU and the
whole civil society of Zimbabwe, for a people-driven constitution making
process that should lead to democratic elections in the country, resulting
in a legitimate government being put in place," Cosatu International
Relations Secretary Bongani Masuku said.

The ZCTU which gave birth to opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
in1999 said it was surprised that the MDC had agreed to a Parliament-driven
constitutional reform process during talks that resulted in the signing of
the global political agreement (GPA) last September leading to the formation
of a power-sharing government last February.

Since the establishment of the all-inclusive government in February human
rights abuses have continued unchecked.

"In this regard, we remain ready to work with and assist our counterparts in
putting more pressure on the ruling regime to accede to people's demands. We
also note the continued harassment and persecution of political and civil
society activists even under a cloud of a supposedly new and changed
environment," Masuku said.

"We also support the civil society initiatives led by COSATU, OSISA and the
Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum for a conference in Botswana to assess the
situation under the GNU in Zimbabwe, conditions under Terrorism Law in
Swaziland, the transformation of SADC and the task of building a regional
solidarity movement, through the effective harnessing of all the solidarity
efforts towards maximum cohesion," he said.

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Bob's the only free Zimbabwean

Moses Mudzwiti Published:Jul 13, 2009

Zimbabweans have learnt to accept the unacceptable

IT was such a long time ago that Goethe wrote: "None are more hopelessly
enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

The 19th century German might as well have been talking about modern
Zimbabwe - a house of stones, now in ruins.
a.. Since its independence from Britain, in 1980, bigots and zealots have
looted and plundered the country's wealth.

In the name of freedom, they have trampled on the rights of others, hounded
farmers off their land and threatened to nationalise hundreds of mines.

The unity government, formed in February, has served only to defer the
dreams of a better life of a great many Zimbabweans.

Today, Zimbabwe is flat broke and urgently needs to be placed under

Though many might say that they are free from the yoke of oppression, the
reality is that they lost their rights to chose long ago.

In Zimbabwe, P resident Robert Mugabe, 85, knows best. He is the only one
who enjoys and defines freedom. Everyone else must - for their
preservation - bow down before "His Excellency".

And yet, in the name of freedom, Mugabe hangs on. In December, he will be
re-elected as president of Zanu-PF, placing him in a position to contest nex
t year's elections.

There is still no money to pay civil servants. Schools are barely coping.
Electricity is as rare as snow. Running water and access to medication
remain a pipe dream. Nearly everything has fallen apart.

Though food supplies have somewhat improved, food prices remain prohibitive.

Unemployment still hovers above 90percent and all civil servants are still
stuck on the same income - a paltry US100 a month.

Of course, those who lead the system are reaping the rewards of unity. Cars,
farms and business deals are there for the taking.

Add to that paid trips abroad.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai reportedly stayed in US4000-a- night hotel
on his recent US visit.

Mugabe, with his wife, Grace, in tow, refuses to be outdone. T his week, the
"first couple" jetted off to Libya to spend some quality time with other
African leaders.

Desperate to show who is boss, Mugabe has discovered a renewed appetite for
flying. Hours after he arrived in Li bya, he was off to Malawi, where he
attended that country's 45th Independence Day celebrations.

The next day, he returned to Zimbabwe, only to fly to Zambia to attend a
ceremonial gathering of traditional chiefs.

All this unnecessary pomp costs Zimbabwe's few surviving taxpayers a lot of
money, which they do not have.

The trouble is, Zimbabweans have learnt to accept the unacceptable.

Defeated and deflated, Zimbabweans would rather endure any pain rather than
risk being at loggerheads with Mugabe's system.

Running away seems to be their only other option. Those who can afford to
run are running.

When visa restrictions were lifted in May, the floodgates to South Africa
opened. M ore than 250000 Zimbabweans have crossed into South Africa . Only
30000 are known to have returned home.

For the millions who remain, trapped in Mugabe's endless loop of promises
and poverty, silence seems to be the norm.

"Mugabe has taught us to be ultra- resistant, nothing can shake us,"
remarked a Harare resident . "We have been to Hell and back."

Mugabe seems encouraged by the lack of protests. This week, his henchman,
Zanu-PF chairman John Nkomo, made it known that Mugabe's job was not

Unwilling to loosen his iron grip on power, Mugabe is careful not to show
any signs of ageing. From dying his hair to running up a flight of stairs,
the octogenarian makes a big show of his staying power.

Mugabe's new bedfellow, and former rival, Tsvangirai, insists that he is
committed to the unity government. So committed is the leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change that he has alienated his supporters for the
sake of unity.

Tsvangirai is caught between a rock and a hard place. He has staked his
premiership on a return of law and order, the restoration of the health
system and the re-opening of schools - on a better life for all.

Though it is commendable that schools have reopened, crime and corruption
are unabated. The health system is still a shambles.

Right-thinking Zimbabweans are fed up of being the lousiest nation this side
of the equator.

But, without a vigorous campaign, ridding the country of plunderers and
abusers is impossible.

On one hand, Zimbabweans are afraid of demanding change; on the other, their
leaders, whom they fully deserve, are afraid of change.

How right Bob Marley was at independence when he sang "Soon we will find out
who is the real revolutionary."

For many, it has taken rather long, but all Zimbabweans now know who Mugabe

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Tsvangirai critics investors in failure

12/07/2009 00:00:00
     by Tendai Huchu

MORGAN Tsvangirai's metamorphosis from hero to villain is almost complete.
The former trade unionist now Prime Minister has made the journey from a
valiant opposition leader to being perceived as part of the repressive state's
machinery in record time. This can be traced to his decision to sign the
power sharing agreement.

In a short space of time he has managed to reduce inflation from a
quadrillion percent to something estimated between 2-4%. That figure is one
of the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa. The cholera pandemic has abetted.

He has reopened schools and hospitals which had collapsed. The allowance
scheme he implemented has allowed civil servants to get back to work again.
There is food in Zimbabwe's shops once more.

The United Nations figures say the country has doubled its maize production
this year to 1.14 million tons after years of decline. Businesses and
foreign investors are gaining confidence day by day.

Repression of the public by the state's police and military is at an all
time low. Laws are being put in place for a free media. This is far from the
full list of his accomplishments.

What Morgan Tsvangirai and his government have achieved in the space of less
than six months is nothing short of miraculous. He has brought hope where
there was despair.

Why then, after all this, does he find himself booed by his countrymen when
he addresses them in foreign countries? Why has the media which used to
celebrate him now changed to a more aggressive tone? The foreign governments
which once hailed him now greet him with caution.

The answer lies in his switch from opposition leader to statesman. What his
government has achieved is in itself the cause of his undoing. Zimbabwe's
crisis has raged on for 10 or more years now. In that time, many people
especially its own citizens now have a vested interest in its perpetuation.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 11th July 2009

The fruits of Obama’s election to the US Presidency may be stranger than imagined. As we hastily set up the Vigil in anticipation of rain, one of our first visitors was an Afro-American political activist from Atlanta who showed great interest in our protest. He spoke to Fungayi Mabhunu of the Vigil management team about our demands for free and fair elections, restoration of the rule of law and liberty of the press and constitutional progress. 


There has somehow been an expectation that Obama would side with the African elite. His visit to Ghana and the appointments to his African diplomatic team make clear, however, that he will be an even tougher proposition than Mr Bush for recidivists such as Mugabe.


He appears to be a man with genuine compassion for the suffering of ordinary people  and the Vigil was happy when he refused to receive a minister from Zanu-PF who tried to insinuate himself into the White House on the back of Morgan Tsvangirai. We trust President Obama will put pressure on SADC to enforce the GPA which is now due for review.  Five months into the Unity Government the agreement has still not been observed: no free media, no rule of law, no end to the lies and now the military refusing to relinquish their bloody grip on the Marange diamonds.


And what do we get from our friends in South Africa? An old Zimbabwean woman – blind and deaf – is arrested in Johannesburg and thrown into jail for loitering. She was sleeping on the pavement.  God forgive you South Africa and your Home Affairs spokesman who blames Zimbabwe’s problems on ‘sanctions’.


We look to President Obama to see through these lies and special pleading and insist that all partners to the GPA – including SADC – live up to their obligations.


The management team met after the Vigil to discuss how we should send home the money we have collected for education in Zimbabwe. As many of you know we have received more than £800 raised by a sponsored run in the London Marathon by Steve Garvey, a teacher at the Dolphin School in South London, and other projects by his pupils. It was decided to spend the money on stationery and sports equipment for schools in Zimbabwe. It was felt that the money would go further if equipment was purchased in the UK. We will keep you informed of progress on this


It was good to see a lot of old friends including Jennifer Hukura who has attended 33 times in the last year.  We value her consistent support.  Thanks also to Kelvin Kamupira for helping the team to manage the register and to Fungayi who went miles out his way to deliver the Vigil camera so pictures could be put on the internet.


For latest Vigil pictures check:


FOR THE RECORD:  158 signed the register.



·    ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday, 18th July from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR President, Executive and a well known lawyer present. Invited guest Cllr Simon Hackett. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.

·    ROHR South East London general meeting. Saturday, 18th July from 1.00 – 5.00 pm. Venue: 18 Sydenham Road, London SE26 5QW. Contact Priscilla Chitsinde 07804696328, Wellington Rupere 07838153217 or Courage Chiromo 07894586005.

·    Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 25th July at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

·    ROHR Brighton general meeting. Saturday, 25th July from 2.00 – 4.00 pm. Venue:The Community Base, Queens Road, Brighton. Contact Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Sehlaphi Mpofu 07786164808, Wellington Mamvura 07956870547 or Phylis Chibanguza 07908406069.

·    ROHR Stoke-On-Trent general meeting. Saturday 1st August 2009 2 00 – 5 00 pm. Venue: Mandela Club Restaurant, 66-68 Piccadilly Street, Hanley, Stoke-On-Trent ST1 1HX. Contact: Pauline Mutema 07850462301, Joana Zhira 07845896347and Farirai Muchibwa 07746628397.

·    ROHR Hayes and Northolt launch meeting. Saturday 8th August from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Brookside Community Centre, Hayes UB4 0PL. ROHR President and a well known lawyer present. Contact Snodia Chihowa 07852921523, Juliet Musandiriri 07551319522, Rodah Kuhlengisa 07958205544 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.

·    Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).


Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.




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Hope for Zimbabwe - and Obama's speech

I was at the gym when I heard Obama's speech to Africa, and it stopped me in
my tracks as last week earlier I had written a response to the many things
going on in Zimbabwe and in particular the feeling of disappointment at
Morgan's speech in London. I sense that God is moving and despite everything
that would make the ordinary people of Zimbabwe sad and dismayed I believe
we should be encouraged. I hope the young people of Zimbabwe hear his words
and act on them. Anyway, here is what I wrote last week.

One of the most powerful images in the bible, is contained in the shortest
verse "Jesus wept" John 11:35 the people at Lazarus's graveside at that time
remarked "See how he loved him!"  This is the picture I've experienced so
strongly whilst praying for Zimbabwe; a God who weeps over a broken nation &

I was at Southwick Cathedral to hear Morgan Tsvangirai's address, and while
understanding the response to an ill advised speech (Morgan, Zimbabwe needs
to hear your heart, hear the truth of your struggle) I shared the sadness
and disappointment felt that day.  Where today is their hope that there will
be real change? After 30 years Zimbabwe is still very much at war with

When I say change I mean change that will allow all the children of Zimbabwe
to realize their dreams; that with their own hard work, they can enjoy and
share the blessing of their fulfilled dreams with their children and others
in peace and security (what untold damage has been done to that generation
by Mugabe's version of the Hitler youth, the Green bombers) Change that will
allow the generation of today to build a Zimbabwe that once again will allow
all it's citizens to be proud and share in the jewel of Africa.

The change will only happen as Zimbabwe's heart changes. Jesus was asked
what the most important law was. He replied 'to love the Lord your God with
all your heart, mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself. When
Jesus was asked to explain who this man's neighbour was, Jesus illustrated
someone who was that mans most hated enemy. That Samaritan man acted to
bring help, because he saw, not his enemy, but beyond that to a person in
real need and had compassion on him (Matt 22 34-40: Luke 10 29-37- -read the
latter and substitute MDC or ZANU-PF)

Just imagine, if some of the those in power now repented of the evil they
have done, and like the tax collector (Luke 19:8), repaid the money they
have stolen from the people of Zimbabwe, sitting now in foreign bank
accounts. Hey, you would barely need anyone else's money to rebuild the
country! This would be a way, Robert G Mugabe to find the peace you seek.
(Luke 19:9)

It is too simple to believe however, that just removing the man Mugabe will
bring about this change. After 30 years hundreds of individuals ensure that
injustice & tyranny oppresses the people. I do not accept that it has to be
this way though; each one of these individuals today has a choice to do
right or to continue to do wrong. There is hope though because I have met so
many Zimbabweans of good character. For it is not the colour of your skin
that matters but the quality of your character (Martin Luther-King)
Zimbabweans have demonstrated this in the Diaspora keeping their families
alive by sacrificially sending hard earned money home. But Morgan T, they
cannot come home yet until the rule of law is truly established, that
justice is done, and human rights are upheld. It is simply untrue to say as
you said at Southwick that this is true today in Zimbabwe however much you
wish it to be. Without justice and truth a healthy nation cannot be built!

There is too much division amongst those that need to be standing together
side by side. Correcting this must start with the church, so that
righteousness can begin to sweep through the whole country. As it says in 2
chronicles 7:14

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray
and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from
heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land".

How many more precious lives need to be lost, how many more hopes and dreams
snuffed out before Zimbabwe get on its knees and repents and stops blaming
others for the mess that Zimbabwe is today.

But despite everything please continue to keep faith and be encouraged
because God so loves Zimbabwe; be encouraged and be part of the change that
WILL come. Every right & kind action matters, you matter so much, and yes
you CAN make a difference.

I pray that God will bless you richly (whether you be black or white,
Zanu-PF or MDC) as you trust in him and walk in his light (1 John 1:7 ; John
12:36; Proverbs 3:5-10)

Adrian Smale

Praying for Zimbabwe

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A new constitution : rock upon which a prosperous Zimbabwe should be built

 Zimbawe's myriad problems are rooted in the defective and undemocratic
constitution that was bequethed to us by our former colonial masters at
Lancaster House,London,in December 1979 ultimately giving rise to our
independence on April 18,1980.The deficiencies of the Lancaster House
Constitution,which has been amended a record nineteen (19) times in less
than thirty years,clearly gave rise to the serious democratic deficit that
has been haunting our motherland since independence.A constitution is the
country's supreme law and thus,it must be crafted with the best interests of
the country at heart.A constitution is a solemn document that binds a nation
together ; attempting to achieve national cohesion amidst competing
interests that ordinarily arise in circumstances of ethnic,cultural,social
and racial diversity.Weak constitutions invariably give rise to
dysfunctional nations that are always torn apart by political
rivalries,economic stagnation and generalised social deprivation.

The on-going constitution-making process should mark a defining moment in
the history of Zimbabwe.We should sieze this opportunity to exhibit our
maturity as a nation state and also to prove to the entire universe that
Zimbabweans are able to craft a new democratic constitution for themselves
and by themselves.A lot has been said about the present constitution-making
process,both good and bad and it shall not be the intention of this article
to blame-apportion and/or to seek to take sides with anyone or any
organisation.We shoud always look at the bigger picture for our country.We
are crafting the supreme law of Zimbabwe for ourselves,for our children,for
our grandchildren and indeed,for posterity.History will judge us very
harshly if we miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in the
drafting of our own home-grown constitution.When we refer to a home-grown
constitution it would be folly on our part if we choose to bury our heads in
the sand and pretend that we should not learn from the experiences of other
countries that have crafted their own democratic constitutions before
us.Learning has no barriers and wisdom cannot and will never be  confined
within the geographical borders of any one country,Zimbabwe included.I was
dumb-founded by the furor that was caused by a certain group of legislators
when the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution indicated that
they had intended to invite Cyril Ramaphosa and a certain Rwandese
legislator to be guest speakers at the first all-stakeholders conference
that opens in Harare on Monday, July 13, 2009.This group of legislators went
into a frenzy at the joint Parliamentary caucus that was held in the House
of Assembly chambers on Monday,July 6, 2009.They huffed and puffed ;
punching their fists furiously in the air and swearing that no ''
foreigners'' should be involved in our constitution-making process.As I sat
next to Honourable John Nyamande in the Lower House chambers during that
joint caucus,I silently wondered as to what had befallen our collegues.Their
boisterous oppostion to any attempt to invite Ramaphosa and the Rwandese
legislator clearly and unfortunately betrayed their lack of knowledge of the
crucial need to tape from the wisdom of our brothers and sisters within
Africa when it comes to how exactly we can craft our own unique Zimbabwean
and democratic constitution.People who want to acquire knowledge never
hesitate to share ideas with other people; even foreigners.There is no
denying the fact that Cyril Ramaphosa is an accomplished
lawyer,politician,negotiator and businessman.The role that he played in the
moulding of the 1996 Constitution of South Africa is well-documented in the
annals of African history.To invite such a celebrated individual to be one
of the guest speakers at the first all-stakeholders conference is certainly
not to reduce our constitution-making process into a '' foreign'' dominated
exercise.Going forward,I sincerely hope and trust that this group of
legislators will broaden their intellectual horizon and appreciate that
there is absolutely nothing wrong from learning from the relevant
experiences of other people on the African continent.After all,that is what
Pan-Africanism is all about.

In certain political circles,there has also been a concerted effort to
mislead the people regarding the Kariba Draft of September 2007.The Kariba
Draft was not people-driven.It was the culmination of negotiations amongst
three political parties i.e.the two MDC formations and ZANU(PF).It is true
that Tendai Biti,Patrick Chinamasa and Welshman Ncube appended their
signatures on every page of the Kariba Draft.But then this doesnot mean that
the Kariba Draft is acceptable to the people simply because the
representatives of three political parties signed the document.Zimbabwe is
indeed bigger than the MDC and ZANU(PF) combined.Put differently,it doesnot
mean that every Zimbabwean is a member of either ZANU(PF) or the two MDC
formations.The Kariba Draft was exclusively authored by politicians and to
that extent,it is anything but people-driven.People have been fed lies about
the true input of the Kariba Draft.A myopic attempt has been desperately
made to state that the Global Political Agreement( GPA) that was solemnised
in Harare on September 15,2008 makes the Kariba Draft the '' reference''
document for the new constitution.This is a lie.A blue lie.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.For the
record,Article 6 of the GPA states that : '' It is the fundamental right and
duty of the Zimbabwean people to make a constitution BY THEMSELVES and FOR
THEMSELVES.'' Surely,one doesnot have to be an expert in constitutional law
to appreciate the input of Article 6 of the GPA! Some politicians, in a
desperate attempt to serve their own selfish and parochial interests, have
sought to impose the Kariba Draft on the people.The truth of the matter is
that this will not work.Zimbabweans are a clever people.They know that it is
their duty and right to draft a democratic constitution for themselves.Any
attempt to force the Kariba Draft down the people's throats will be
thunderously resisted.It will not succeed.

Every Zimbabwean,throughout the 1938 wards across the country,should be
given an opportunity to give his/her input regarding what they want to see
included in a new constitution.Zimbabweans in the Diaspora should also be
involved in the constitution-making process.All civil society
organisations,including the National Constitutional Assembly(NCA), should
also be involved in this historic process.The people of Zimbabwe must own
the constitution-making process.I am reliably informed that an independent
chairperson will be appointed to steer the process after the first
all-stakeholders conference in an attempt to remove the notion that
presently,the process is driven and thus,controlled, by politicians.In the
unlikely event that the constitution-making process is aborted, it simply
means that Zimbabwe will remain a pariah state.We cannot afford to let this
golden opportunity escape us.We owe it to future generations.Without a new
democratic and people-driven constitution,Zimbabwe is doomed.

Senator Gutu

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Beliefs, values shape our destiny

by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 13 July 2009

OPINION: Why did Barack Obama choose Ghana as the first African country to
host him as President of the United States (US)? Why Ghana and not Kenya,
some will ask? Why not even Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt or Morocco?

Obama is acutely aware that he is after all a product of a system that has
endured for 233 years with back-to-back elections and no history of
unconstitutional transfers of power or disputed elections that only get
resolved with the opposing parties being transformed through convenient
marriages into inclusive governments.

Without a sound and tested democratic culture, Obama's dream of being a
president of America would have remained just a dream if not a mirage.

Ghana's post-colonial journey has not been an easy one like that of many
other African states but what is remarkable is that Ghanaians have worked
hard to invest in a new democratic culture that has been characterised by
improved governance and an emerging plural civil society.

In this historic visit, Obama, the first American President to have a direct
umbilical cord with Africa, had this to say: "No country is going to create
wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or the head
of the ports authority is corrupt. You have the power to hold your leaders
accountable and to build institutions that serve the people. You can serve
in your communities and harness your energy and education to create new
wealth and build new connections to the world. You can conquer disease, end
conflicts and make change from the bottom up. You can do that. Yes you can.
Because in this moment, history is on the move."

Indeed, history is on the move and the future of Africa cannot and should
never be the primary responsibility of non-Africans. Obama may have an
African heritage but he is an American and he was primarily elected to
promote and protect American interests.

Obama can never be divorced from America and Africa simply has to produce
its own Obamas. He will not solve African problems and as he rightly pointed
out in Ghana, the future of Africa is and should always be in the hands of
its builders.

Africa's friends can only respond positively if Africans decide to unlock
the continent's future for our own benefit.

At the bright centre of Africa's future lies the individual African citizen
whose face is as diverse as the continent's citizens are. And radiating from
the centre is and must be the family. From the family comes the community
that we all belong to. When all the communities of Africa are combined we
get the larger African family.

After 53 years of independence, we have no choice but to reflect on the
beliefs that we share, the values that we honour, and the principles that we
hold dear as an African family. What makes us African? What is our identity
in this moment when history is moving at rapid and confusing pace?

As Africans, we must and should be indivisible underpinned by liberty and
justice for all. The importance of the rule of law in building a functioning
and progressive Africa can never be overstated.

I recognise that as an individual there is only so much I can accomplish in
a 24-hour day but it is through my actions that I can impact on the world
around me.

If Africa's future has to be secure, the change must start at the individual
level.  What can I do to make Africa the kind of environment that can
inspire hope? This ought to be the question that we should ask ourselves.

It is often easy to point a finger at our leaders while forgetting that no
leader can ever defy the laws of nature, they are born to die like everyone
and can only see and hear what their eyes and ears allow them. After all,
leaders are nothing more than followers and followers always get the leaders
they deserve.

Africa's open arms attract friends to the cause but clinched fists undermine
our collective future. There are many of us who believe that Africa's future
is only secure if sovereignty is vested exclusively in the hands of blacks
while forgetting that citizenship without responsibility is meaningless.

Views on how Africa can best unlock its future are as varied and diverse as
people who call themselves African. As I listened to Obama's farewell speech
to Ghanaians, I could not but reflect on what happened on August 10 1969 in
post-colonial Zambia.

On this day, former President Kenneth Kaunda announced the nationalisation
of copper mining companies that were key to Zambia's economy in terms of
revenue contribution on the belief that such a move will spur growth and

This decision was in line with the adopted post-colonial socialist policy
framework premised on the belief that sovereignty over mineral development
must be vested in the state on behalf of the people.

The view held then as it is held in many developing countries was that the
state could be relied upon us the custodian of development and revenues
collected from the nationalised mines could then be used to address poverty

The reality is that the socialist policies failed to improve the economy of
Zambia and what was not understood is that the state can only do so much but
the responsibility for making a country work must lie with the citizens on
whom the state's viability is contingent upon and not the other way around.

The nationalised mines failed as predictable to perform as anticipated and
more importantly the strategy to use the state as the driver of economic and
social change under a one-party system also failed resulting in Kaunda being
forced to hand over power to a democratically elected government.

There are many who believe that the state and not the market must be the
instrument through which resources are allocated. To who do the resources of
Africa belong? This is a contested issue so is the issue of how best this
resource endowment can be exploited.

Some have argued that the resources that have enriched a few in Africa
belong to the creator and not to the living. An argument that says that it
is not sufficient for Africans to hold the view that the resources in the
ground (in their native form) belong to the generation that happens to be
alive when the resources are exploited; has been advanced by a few
misunderstood Africans. To develop a nation requires more and must be
anchored by an appropriate ideology.

What is required is a new conversation in Africa. What works and what does
not, should be obvious to all but what is obvious cannot be taken for

Many of Africa's bright stars have voted with their feet and in so doing
have exposed the fact that they may after all be less concerned about the
future of Africa than their own personal and family survival and growth.

I am acutely aware that America may not have all the answers that Africa
seeks but it cannot be denied that there is something bigger that connects
Americans than divide them.

The foundational principles, values and beliefs that inspired a few to
declare independence are still intact and without these principles the idea
of Obama as a president would just be another Martin Luther King dream.

Africa needs its own builders and we cannot abdicate in discharging this
noble responsibility. Some of us have chosen to share our insights into
complex issues that occupy our minds as we try to better understand Africa's
condition, challenges and opportunities.

One hand cannot clap but two hands can make a noise. Working together, I
have no doubt that we can invest in the right beliefs, values and principles
required to lift Africa up. And yes we can!

More importantly, we must change the tone and content of our conversations.
We must look at ourselves as individuals to locate the kind of response that
is required to change Africa. - ZinOnline

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Constitution Watch 7 of 12th July 2009 [AccreditationInstructions & Programme for 1st All-Stakeholders Conference]


[12th July 2009]

First All-Stakeholders Conference on the New Constitution

Monday 13th – Tuesday 14th July 2009

Venue Harare International Conference Centre

Accreditation to the First all Stakeholders Conference is now in Progress

[Registration from 8 am Sunday]

Organisations have to bring in lists of delegates on their organisation’s letterhead and their official letter of invitation from Parliament.

All delegates are required to register in person.  ID badges with photos will be issued to all registered delegates.

The Civil Society Open Space

This is open now in Jacaranda Room 1, Rainbow Towers, for the use of networking, caucusing and support to CSO delegates.  Civil society organisations are encouraged to make use of this facility which will be open from 8 am Sunday to Tuesday evening.

If CSOs are experiencing accommodation problems - there are only 2750 accommodation spaces available – NANGO is organising logistical support for CSO delegates in case of possible shortages. 

Draft Programme

Please note the Programme has still not been finalised – a series of meetings are taking place now to try and finalise it.

Day 1 Sunday July 12th  Check in and Registration

Day 2 Monday 13th July

Chairpersons:  Prof Makurane and Dr Hope Sadza

9.00  National Anthem

Opening Prayer


Welcome Remarks    Speaker of House of Assembly Hon L. N. Moyo

Remarks                       Deputy Prime Minister Hon. A.G.O. Mutambara

Remarks                       Prime Minister Hon. R.M. Tsvangirai

Keynote Address`      His Excellency The President Cde R.G. Mugabe

                                      This is still being confirmed

Vote of Thanks            President of Senate Hon. E. Madzongwe

10.30 – 11.00         Tea Break

11.00 – 13.00         Plenary Session

Objectives of the All Stakeholders Conference – by Select Committee

Presentations from other countries: Best Practices [Note: there will be no visiting speakers – but this slot has not been replaced]

13.00 – 14.00          Lunch

14.00                        Group Work

·   Proposal for Thematic Committees

·   Proposal on process of consultation

·   Composition of Thematic Committees

·   Guiding Constitutional Principles

Day 3 – Tuesday 14th July 2009

8.30                        Group Work Presentations in Plenary


Here the programme becomes unclear.  Either the Conference will finish at lunch time or [this is still being debated] it will be extended to continue after lunch

             Group Work presentations in the plenary continued

Way forward

Closing Remarks: President of the Senate Hon. E. Madzongwe

Closing Prayer



Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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PEACE WATCH of 11th July 2009 [Torture is TotallyUnacceptable]


[11th July 2009]


JESTINA Mukoko has been awarded the 2009 Human Rights Award by the city of Weimar in Germany.  [It was in Weimar that the Constitution of the German Republic was drafted.]  The award is in acknowledgement of her steadfast work as a human rights activist and Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, an organisation which works to promote peace and documents human rights violations.  Towards the end of last year she was abducted, “disappeared”, and tortured by State agents and accused of “terrorism”.  She was only moved from prison to hospital in mid-February and is now still on bail awaiting the outcome of her court case.  Her unlawful abduction and subsequent detention has been widely noted in Germany and strongly condemned by the German government.

It is Time Zimbabwe Signed the Convention against Torture

Parliament resolved, some years ago, that Zimbabwe should become a party to, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [CAT].  But that resolution has not been followed up by the Government.  When on 1st April co-Minister of Home Affairs Giles Mutsekwa was asked why Zimbabwe had not ratified the Convention, he replied that he was looking into why the papers prepared in 1995 had not been processed.  He has not reported back to Parliament.  The question cries out for a more satisfactory answer and for action to be taken.  As we pointed out in Peace Watch of 5th February: “It is high time that Zimbabwe signed the Convention.  At present Zimbabwe sticks out like a sore thumb in the region – all the countries round us have signed and ratified or acceded to [i.e. joined] the Convention.  12 out of 15 SADC States, and 47 out of 53 African States, have joined.  Zimbabwe, which used to be a progressive leader in Africa, is now a country shamefully out of step with the rest of the continent.” 

Assist in the campaign to get Zimbabwe sign the Convention by lobbying your MPs to take action.  Letters may be delivered to MPs c/o Parliament, Kwame Nkrumah Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets, or posted to P.O. Box CY298, Causeway.  Alternatively phone the Ministers of Home Affairs – Giles Mutsekwa and Kempton Mohadi on Harare 730642.

State Concedes that Jestina Mukoko was Tortured

The Supreme Court sitting as a Constitutional Court on 25th June heard Jestina’s application for the criminal proceedings against her to be permanently stopped, on the grounds that her constitutional rights had been violated by her abduction last December and the unlawful detention and torture, inhuman and degrading treatment to which she was subjected by State security agents.  The State conceded that the evidence produced by Ms Mukoko, which was undisputed by the State’s witnesses, established that her constitutional rights to liberty, to protection from torture and to protection of the law had all been infringed. 

Ms Mukoko was represented by distinguished advocates Jeremy Gauntlett and Beatrice Mtetwa.  In an emotionally charged courtroom Mr Gauntlett took the court through Ms Mukoko’s account of her ordeal: how she was unlawfully abducted from her home on 3rd December, subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment in the course of removal from her home to the place of detention, unlawfully detained until the 22nd December, including long periods in solitary confinement, tortured, threatened with death, deprived of medical care and access to lawyers.  Mr Gauntlett’s referred to the court record in detail, showing that the State had produced no evidence to dispute Ms Mukoko’s affidavit and oral evidence detailing her abduction and subsequent treatment. 

Mr Gauntlett argued that a permanent end to the prosecution was the only appropriate remedy.  He contended that the evidence of police complicity in the illegality that had preceded Ms Mukoko’s handing over for formal police arrest on 22nd December could not be ignored [see below] and that a trial should not be allowed to proceed in a case in which the State has such “dirty hands”.  [Electronic version of Mr Gauntlett’s heads of argument available on request.]  The State argued that the criminal trial should proceed, maintaining that a separate inquiry into Ms Mukoko’s complaints would be a sufficient remedy for the wrongs she had suffered. 

After hearing legal argument from both sides the court reserved judgment.  This means that the court’s decision on whether or not to stop the prosecution for good will be handed down at a future date to be advised.  This could take months.  If the decision is not known by 20th July, when Ms Mukoko’s trial is due to start in the High Court, the trial is likely to be postponed until the Supreme Court’s decision has been announced. 

State Complicity in the Torture

What made the case doubly horrific was that the evidence indicated that Ms Mukoko’s treatment had not been at the hands of rogue elements among State security agents, but showed State/police complicity.  On 22nd December, while blindfolded, she had been handed over to the police in circumstances demonstrating police complicity with the actions of those who had abducted, detained and tortured her.  The Minister of State Security in his affidavit, far from denying the allegations levelled against State security agents by Ms Mukoko, had acknowledged that the agents were carrying out their mandate and refused to reveal their identities. 

There had also been no denial of the evidence that Ms Mukoko had been denied the protection of the law – her abduction, although reported to policed and recorded as a case of “kidnapping”, had not been investigated by police and the perpetrators had not been brought to book.  The Attorney-General had questionaby invoked his wide powers as chief prosecutor as justification for his refusal to order police investigations into Ms Mukoko’s abduction.

Potential Impact on Other Cases Alleging Torture

A few days after the Supreme Court hearing in the Mukoko matter the second abductees trial [the “bombers” case] came up for hearing in the High Court before Justice Hungwe.  Defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama applied for the case to be referred to the Supreme Court for the determination of constitutional questions – the same questions as had already been referred by Justice Uchena in the case of Concillia et al on 22nd June.  In spite of opposition from the prosecutor – and the production of a statement from current State Security Minister Sidney Sekeramayi denying abduction and torture by State security agents – Justice Hungwe granted the application for referral to the Supreme Court and postponed the trial.  As the same questions arise in the third abductees trial, which is due to start on the 20th July, a similar application is likely to be made – and granted – in that case also.  Whether or not these three trials proceed later will depend largely on the Supreme Court’s decision in the Mukoko case.  [Note: Justice Uchena’s written reasons for referring the case of Concillia et al to the Supreme Court became available this week. Rejecting the Attorney-General’s attempt to distance the police and prosecution from the actions of State security agents before the 22nd December, he points to the uncontested evidence alleging police involvement from the time the applicants were originally abducted, and concludes that it would be undesirable for the serious allegations levelled against the State security agents and the police to be swept under the carpet.] 

UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

26th June was the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture – 26th June having been chosen by the United Nations [UN] because it was on that date in 1987 that the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into force.  To mark the occasion the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum issued a statement drawing attention to numerous cases of torture in Zimbabwe since June 2008, noting the impunity enjoyed by most perpetrators, and calling for Zimbabwe to become party to the Convention and its Optional Protocol.  [Full text of Forum statement available from]

Extra-Judicial Killings Alleged in Chiadzwa Diamond Fields

Human Rights Watch [HRW] released its report Diamonds in  the Rough: Human Rights Abuses in the Marange Diamond Field of Zimbabwe on the 26th June.  The 62-page report documented how “Zimbabwe’s armed forces, under the control of President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), are engaging in forced labour of children and adults and are torturing and beating local villagers on the diamond fields of Marange district. The military seized control of these diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe after killing more than 200 people in Chiadzwa, a previously peaceful but impoverished part of Marange, in late October 2008.  With the complicity of ZANU-PF, Marange has become a zone of lawlessness and impunity, a microcosm of the chaos and desperation that currently pervade Zimbabwe.”  The report recommended investigation of the human rights abuses by the Kimberley Process, the organization that controls international diamond marketing and of which Zimbabwe is a member.  [Full report available at]   The Ministry of Mines denied the allegations of killings, forced labour and human rights abuses. 

A Kimberley Process team visited Zimbabwe’s last week in the wake of the recent Kimberly Process meeting in South Africa, where the HRW report was released.  It went to the diamond fields [there were media reports of the Chiadzwa area having been cleaned up in advance] and met Ministers, government officials, lawyers, human rights activists, miners, residents in the vicinity of Chiadzwa, and victims of the alleged abuses.  The team’s final report has not been completed, but in a confidential memorandum presented to the government it recommended the immediate withdrawal of the military [“There cannot be effective security where diamonds are concerned with the involvement of the military”] and stricter controls to curb illegal mining and processing  and diamond smuggling.  State media played down the adverse conclusions spelled out by the team in its memorandum, but independent media reports say the team concluded that the military had been directly involved in illegal mining and that the authorities had carried out “horrific violence against civilians”.  Although the government stated last week that it would comply with the team’s recommendations, including a phased withdrawal of the military, the latest news is that the military will stay in place for “security reasons”.

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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New Zimbabwe-born search engine

Sunday Mail, Sunday, July 12, 2009

Business Reporter

AS the world becomes more interconnected, success in the new era is
heavily dependent upon innovation, creativity and unique
problem-solving skills.

Zimbabwe has scored another first in this regard with Onny.

Onny is a new search engine that is proudly Zimbabwean with a global
reach, which is redefining the versatility of a search engine in
Zimbabwe and beyond.

Mr Kingstone Kanyile, the brains behind Onny, told this paper that he
was inspired to develop the search engine because of his
understanding that the power brokers in the new global arena will be
the knowledge facilitators because as humanity evolves there are
questions that need answers.

He said that Onny was developed to precisely help web surfers to find
answers to questions such as: How do I do it? Where do I find it? Who
are they? What is it? What is going on?

He said although ignorance will be more tyrannical and enslaving than
in the past, Onny is the search engine for serious Internet surfers
who have a thirst to acquire knowledge in new ways that will help
them innovate and create real opportunities for themselves.

The name Onny means a state of joy in anticipating answers to
questions. So Onny primarily seeks to deliver that happiness to all
surfers of the Internet.

Onny is different from other search engines in the way all pages and
search results are indexed on the web pages.

Onny has been developed to become the darling search engine for all
Internet users, knowledge workers, students, businesspeople and

In essence, Onny is for everyone who has a compelling need to keep
informed and understand their world to stay ahead.

To access this search engine, you simply log onto or

On the home page Internet users can simply tell all their friends
about Onny when they click on the "tell a friend" link.

Mr Kanyile said Onny is the first of many innovative IT-driven
solutions with local roots and a global impact that the market is
going to see coming from his corporation.

Onny is signalling the dawn of a new era for Zimbabwe as we embrace
innovative solutions to claim our space on the global arena.

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