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Chaos Erupts at Zimbabwe Constitution Conference

      By Peta Thornycroft
      13 July 2009

Tensions threatened to disrupt Zimbabwe's first consitution-writing
conference. Many people left the gathering fearing political hostility would
lead to violence, but leaders vowed to press ahead with the meeting.

Several thousand people went to the Harare International Conference center
for the First All Stakeholders Conference for drafting a new constitution
before fresh elections in about two years.

But civil servants organizing registration Sunday were unable to accredit
more than 200 delegates of 4,000 invited to attend. Some out-of-town
delegates slept overnight outside the conference center to be sure they were
accredited before the start of proceedings Monday.

But there were not enough enough personnel, stationery or cameras to cope
with the hastily arranged conference. When it became clear registration was
impossible before the start of conference, many delegates left the line and
walked into the hall.

Tensions began rising in the hall lobby as Movement for Democratic Change
supporters began chanting slogans quickly followed by groups loyal to Zanu

A member of the committee organizing the conference, MDC parliament member
Douglas Mwunzoro, shouted to those singing and chanting that no party
political slogans were allowed. He was ignored.

Zanu PF supporters complained the national flag was not on display nor was
the national anthem on the program, and they insisted it be sung.

Scores of veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war began singing war
songs and shouting slogans at the top table inside the conference hall and
drowned out MDC speaker of parliament Lovemore Moyo's opening address.  They
also hurled empty plastic water bottles, forcing Moyo to leave the podium.

Police eventually stopped the chaos, but many people left saying they feared

A founding MDC member, Trudy Stephenson, said she saw a well-known war
veteran inside the hall organizing the singing and dancing that frightened
many into leaving. She also said that it appeared some Zanu PF aligned
delegates were able to get accreditation more easily than MDC or
civil-rights activists.

Many observers at the conference center say the chaos reflected tensions in
the five-month-old unity government.

There was no sign of President Robert Mugabe or MDC leader Prime Minister
Morgan Tvsangirai, who were due at the opening.

Zimbabweans hope a new charter, replacing a 1979 document adopted before
independence from Britain, will strengthen the role of parliament and
curtail the president's powers, as well as guaranteeing civil liberties and
political and media freedom.

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"War vets" and youths loyal to ZPF creating mayhem at new constitution conference

Update - 14.45: More details about the delays to the planned conference.
Apparently the machines used for registration purposes were supplied by the
president's office.  The machines were manned by CIO, and should be able to
process two registrants  but for some reason only did 400 instead of 4000
cards.  They switched to manual registration, and only completed the
registration at 3am this morning.

The next delay's came via the "war vets" and youths loyal to Zanu PF. After
the initial disruption of approximately half an hour by Zanu PF loyalists,
we were told that the police moved the rowdy elements off, only to allow
them back in about half an hour later. The latest we have is that everybody
has now left the conference centre. We've also been told that the political
parties have asked their delegates to return this afternoon to start again.

Update - 13.40: There has been no statement yet if the conference will
continue. Zanu PF rural women have taken over the floor, dancing and
toy-toying. None of the dignitaries have arrived: i.e. Robert Mugabe, Morgan
Tsvangirai or Arthur Mutambara. We've been told the former opposition
parties want to continue. One spectator commented on the irony that Zimbabwe's
terrible troubles started ten years ago over the same issue - the
constitution and Zanu PF's unwillingness to allow the people to have a say
in it.

There has been pandemonium at the Harare Conference Centre where the first
All-Stakeholders Conference on the New Constitution opened this morning.
Reports from people in the centre have come in and apparently when Lovemore
Moyo, Speaker of the House, started his opening address Zand PF youth and
"war vets" began shouting, demanding the adoption of the Kariba Draft as the
only draft and proceeded to spray the delegates with bottles of water. The
MDC supporters in attendance responded in kind and the riot police had to be
brought in to quell the situation.

The last message we've received was that approximately 60 Zanu PF supporters
were removed from the conference.

Registration for the conference started yesterday and by 9pm around 2000
delegate hopefuls had still not been registered. There were problems with
the number of cameras needed to take the photos of the delegates. Eventually
authorities were simply stamping the registration forms. However, the Zanu
PF delegates were whisked through the registration process and have also
been accommodated in the capital, courtesy of the State.

There was a heavy presence of CIO at the registration site, with operatives
openly photographing those attempting to participate in the conference. Once
again they are resorting to attempts at intimidating anyone interested in
joining the national debate on the constitution.

There has been a marked indifference from the South African press and public
in the controversial constitutional debate raging in Zimbabwe. At a time
when South Africa is meant to be acting as a watchdog to the implementation
of the GPA this lack of concern is another nail in the coffin for the people
of this troubled state. We challenge the SA press to get involved and truly
respond to the call of neighbours in distress. We've been told, for example,
that some SA film crews in Harare who didn't bother to attend the opening!

This entry was posted by Sokwanele on Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

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Zanu PF responsible: Kasukuwere and Zhuwawo cause mayhem to scupper constitutional conference

Another report has come in from a member of civic society who attended the morning’s shambolic conference.

Early this morning, Zanu PF supporters were ushered into the lower level of the conference centre, leaving the less accessible upper floors for the MDC and civic organisations to crowd into.

Our witness reported that when Lovemore Moyo started his speech it was none other than Saviour Kasukuwere (see a profile on Kasukuwere here) along with another MP, who started the riotous singing that drowned out the Speaker’s address. ZimOnline have a report corroborating involvement of youths loyal to Kasukuwere and also to Patrick Zhuwawo, Robert Mugabe’s nephew.

In Shona they started singing Zanu PF songs and slogans which include inflammatory words like,

“We are doing what we did in June, winning”
“We are doing away with the Prime Minister”
“Zimbabwe is liberated with blood”

Minister Moyo’s attempts to calm the crowd resulted in him being showered with water, beer and alcohol.

Once the riot police finally arrived, they attempted to ascend to the upper floor, but were blocked entry by the MDC and the civics ensconced there. The police finally backed off , leading away only the most vocal of the Zanu spoilers.

Once the chaos had quieted the civics “snuck” away, but a few decided to brave the food queues. Their attempts were unsuccessful as the Zanu supporters were in the majority and not in any mood to share the free meal on offer.

The word is that even if the authorities do manage to reconvene, the civic delegates will not return to participate in the political mud-slinging match, which is bound to descend to further exchange of insults and possibly worse.

The person we spoke to said that some of the elderly who were there were in visible shock over the chaos that marred the start of the constitutional debate, and that a disabled member of a civic organisation who was there to attend spoke of how vulnerable she’d felt in the mayhem.


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Mugabe, Tsvangirai denounce bid to stall new constitution

Africa News
Jul 13, 2009, 20:16 GMT

Harare - Zimbabawean President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai expressed dismay Monday over the disruption of a conference on
the drafting of a new constitution by a group of Mugabe supporters.

The first day of the two-day stakeholder conference in Harare was suspended
after hundreds of youth members of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party stormed the venue,
shouting down a speaker and dousing delegates with water.

Speaking on state television Monday night after meeting with Tsvangirai,
Mugabe said, 'We will not brook nonsense in future. Unnecessary quarrels
should be a thing of the past.'

Tsvangirai also addressed Zimbabweans on television, saying the incident
undermined 'the spirit and credibility' of the power-sharing agreement
between his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu- PF, and that he
hoped the conference would resume unhindered.

The youth, who had been bussed in from rural areas, began their protest as
parliament speaker Lovemore Moyo of the MDC attempted to deliver the opening
address. They drowned him out with revolutionary songs.

Some of the protestors accused the MDC of attempting to write a constitution
that would deny them the right to land, referring to the party's disapproval
of Mugabe's lawless land reform policy.

Veterans of the country's 1970s independence war, who led the run on
white-owned farms starting in 2000, called for the constitutional
discussions to be halted for at least three months, claiming the process had
been hijacked by the West 'to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle.'

'That was done by those who do not want the constitutional process to go
ahead,' said Tendai Biti, MDC secretary-general and finance minister in the
coalition government formed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Under the unity agreement that Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed last September
and implemented in February, Zimbabwe is supposed to write a new
constitution by July 2010.

Zanu-PF has been been resisting the MDC's attempts to overhaul the
constitution, calling instead for an old draft review - that leaves Mugabe's
powers intact - to be implemented.

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Mugabe says Zimbabwe constitution reforms to go ahead

Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:39pm EDT
By Nelson Banya

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said on Monday a new
constitution was necessary and strongly condemned clashes between political
rivals that halted a conference aimed at drafting reforms.

A convention to draw up a new constitution descended into chaos on Monday as
riot police broke up clashes between rival delegates, underscoring the
tensions within a unity government Mugabe formed with arch-rival Morgan
Tsvangirai in February.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai met to discuss the disturbances after riot police
drove the delegates out of the venue and cordoned it off. The two, along
with Arthur Mutambara who heads a splinter faction of Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), jointly addressed the media after their

"We are here to say that we will not brook any further disturbances in the
future. We must have this constitution done, it's a necessity," Mugabe told

"We feel disturbed and we have a sense of abhorrence with what happened this
morning. What happened is not in accordance with the letter and spirit of
the global political agreement. This is not the time to be shouting insults
to each other."

Tsvangirai said he hoped the parliamentary committee driving the
constitutional reforms would regroup and resume the process.

"We had provided our people with hope and we have people trying to undermine
that hope," Tsvangirai said.

"I hope that the speaker of parliament and the parliamentary select
committee can put the process back on rail as soon as possible because we
need this constitution."


Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai ruled out a probe into the causes of the
disruptions, stressing it was important to move forward.

"The question of whoever orchestrated that disruption is neither here nor
there, we need to move forward for the benefit of the people. Let us put
national interests above partisan interests," Tsvangirai said.

The conference is part of a process which should lead to the adoption of a
new national constitution and fresh elections in about two years.

But the chaos reflected the divisions within the coalition government set up
in a bid to end political paralysis and reverse a decade of economic

Zimbabweans hope a new charter, replacing one inked in 1979 before
independence from Britain, will strengthen the role of parliament and
curtail the president's powers, as well as guaranteeing civil liberties and
political and media freedom.

Trouble broke out between delegates from Tsvangirai's MDC and Mugabe's
ZANU-PF during an opening statement by the speaker of parliament.

When Lovemore Moyo, from Tsvangirai's MDC, got up to deliver his opening
speech, he was drowned out by youths singing revolutionary songs and
delegates heckling each other.

The youths were waving fists, a traditional symbol of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party
and singing the veteran leader's praises.

In a statement, the MDC earlier accused ZANU-PF lawmakers and officials of
organizing youths to disrupt the conference.

"Judging by today's events, ZANU-PF MPs (members of parliament) and the
party's delegates were clearly reading from a script whose sole agenda is to
derail the constitution-making process," the MDC said.

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Minister to investigate resurfacing militia bases

From Radio VOP, 13 July

Harare - Home Affairs Co-Minister Giles Mutsekwa will next week embark on a
nation wide fact finding mission following reports of resurfacing Zanu PF
funded militia bases. There are several reports from former Zanu PF
strongholds, that militia bases have resurfaced and that the youths are
harassing Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members who refused to join
Zanu PF after the controversial June 27 2008 Presidential run off election.
Mutsekwa told RadioVOP in an interview this week that he would be visiting
all the concerned provinces to verify the reports. "I will from next week
begin touring the areas where reports of the resurfacing of militia bases
are coming from to find out the truth. I want to assure you that if I find
the existence of such bases I will dismantle them and bring this violent
practice to a stop once and for all, and as the minister of Home Affairs,
ensure that those involved are brought to book."

"What we want is to create a free and peaceful Zimbabwe where no one is
harassed and victimized for their political affiliation. We want a nation,
which is peaceful, where people freely express themselves and associate with
whoever and whichever political party they like. I understand that they are
office bearers who are ignoring these reports and professing, which is why I
have decided to personally investigate the reports," said Mutsekwa.
According to a recent comprehensive report shown to RadioVOP by a top MDC
official, who cannot be named for security reasons, Zanu PF militia bases
have resurfaced in Mashonaland West, East, and Central - with the youths
being deployed to schools to harass teachers and declare no go areas for MDC
activists. It is reported that in Mashonaland Central Province there is a
base at Muzarabani growth point where, recently, a Zanu PF provincial
commissar, a Mudambanje, held a meeting together with one uniformed soldier,
only identified as Kamusengezi. The two reportedly summoned MDC members who
refused to join Zanu PF last year after the June 27 elections and threatened

Five bases were also singled out in the report in Mashonaland East, Mudzi
North and west are said to be located at Kachimana, Madzivanhanga,
Chimukoko, Dzivaretsanga primary schools and Nyagupe Dam. A war veteran,
known as Foroma and his lieutenants namely Charles Nyamuchigu, Tiger
Nhamodzevarume, and one Chamboko who are giving MDC supporters a torrid
time, is reportedly commanding the bases. In Zvimba, Mashonaland west, bases
are reported to be located at Madzorera and Mabvure schools with at least
fifty party youths having been deployed to force villagers, children and
teachers to attend rallies. "The official who unveiled the report is worried
about continuous harassment of people sympathetic to MDC after the formation
of an inclusive government which brought hope among Zimbabweans, most of
whom were victimized last year in June. Most of the youths harassing
villagers are the same people who harassed villagers last year. "Most of the
cases have been reported to the police and local government in the
respective areas but no responses have been received and we are
disappointed. We are also not confident that the government is doing
anything with regards to national healing otherwise we would not be seeing
these things happening," said the official. The Progressive Teachers Union
recently complained about the resurfacing of militia bases at schools. The
union told journalists that two bases at schools in Masvingo and Chiredzi
have been identified, with headmasters of the respective schools being
forced to give youth militia offices to operate from.

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Mnangagwa Police docket disappears

By A-Correspondent

Published: July 13, 2009

ZIMBABWE - HARARE - A police docket  against two ZANU PF stalwarts, Emmerson
Mnangagwa and Webster Shamu has vanished from Zimbabwe Attorney-general
Johannes Tomana's office.

As the MDC sought a probe into the matter, efforts to provide Tomana a copy
of the docket saw the police superintendent who was in charge of the
investigations being immediately transferred from his posting at Bulawayo
Central police station to a rural outpost in Mashonaland Central's Nzvimbo
centre in Chiweshe.

The two high-profile figures had been implicated in massive poaching of
rhinos in Zimbabwe's national parks, after the arrest of a Chinese national
early this year who was found with six rhino horns at a police roadblock
along the Hwange-Bulawayo Road.

It is reported that the Chinese national then implicated a businessman in
Kwekwe whose name to date has been withheld by the police. The businessman
then pointed fingers at Mnangagwa and Shamu.

Mnangagwa, who earned notoriety as the head of the dreaded Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) ministry in the early 80s, is the current
defence minister in the government of national unity.

Shamu is the media and information minister.

The two government ministers are said to have been launching their
operations from HKK Safaris, a conservancy Shamu co-owns together with South
African businessman, Charles Davy. Davy is father to English-Royal Prince
Harry's former girlfriend, Chelsy.

Davy has in the past been accused of violating hunting quotas and Zimbabwe's
then stringent foreign currency regulations at their conservancy near Hwange
national park but has been shielded from prosecution by Shamu. He is also
said to be a personal friend of President Mugabe.

 "The President (Mugabe) is very, very embarrassed," said environmental and
natural resources management minister, Francis Nhema, last week. "He asked
me for the names of the ministers involved."

Nhema, however, refused to admit or deny the two Mugabe right-hand men were
the ministers in question.

This comes before an imminent censure from the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) after the southern African country
officially lost more than 70 rhinos in the past 12 months to well
co-ordinated Zimbabwean and international poaching syndicates.

Tomana's appointment as attorney-general and Gideon Gono's re-appointment as
central bank governor have been referred to SADC for arbitration as they
were unilaterally made by Mugabe without the consent or agreement of the two
MDC leaders. This matter has also seen a bitter feud between Finance
minister and Mugabe appointed central bank governor, Gono.

Under the new global political agreement (GPA) senior appointments such as
these have to be agreed to by all parties in the unity government." Sicne
the year 2000, many dockets implicating ZANUF PF members have disappeared
into 'thin air' In March 2000, another docket implicating then leader of the
war veterans, Chenjerai Hunzvi disappeared after a week of having been
opened. Many other dockets wluld soo follo [sic]

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Zimbabwe Government Proposes to Hand Diamond Field to Commercial Partner


      By Sandra Nyaira
      13 July 2009

Zimbabwe's Ministry of Mines said Monday that it will seek a private firm to
work the Marange diamond field in order to address concerns expressed by
Kimberly Process team which documented human rights abuses there and illegal
mining and exports of gems.

The statement followed a declaration late last week by Zimbabwean security
forces that they would continue to exercise control over the diamond-rich
Chiadzwa field in Marange district of eastern Manicaland Province near the
border with Mozambique.

Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, recipient of a damning report last week from a
review team sent by the Kimberly Process Compliance Scheme, told state media
that Zimbabwe intends to address the areas of concern stated in the Kimberly
Process report.

The report cited "horrific" violence against civilians living in and around
the diamond field, and reported evidence of illegal mining and exports of
diamonds to the world market.

The Kimberly Process opened an investigation after Human Rights Watch
published a report saying the Zimbabwean military had killed more than 200
people in the district to assert its control of the diamond field, and
forced others to work open pit mines.

Mpofu said the government has already started making arrangements with a
private operator who will take over mining in Chiadzwa before long.

Deputy Mines Minister Murisi Zwizwai told reporter Sandra Nyaira of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that statements from the military will not derail
government efforts to normalize the situation in Marange. He said the
security forces have been told soldiers will have to leave once a private
mining operator has taken over in the diamond field.

Human rights lawyer Zvikomborero Chadambuka said statements that the army is
in Marange to protect the mining fields should be dismissed as there is
mounting evidence that soldiers have been abusing locals, mining illegally
and smuggling precious stones.

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Proceeds from Marange diamonds not benefiting Zimbabweans

By Lance Guma
13 July 2009

Several months ago it was reported that there were buckets of rough diamonds
kept inside the vaults of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. These were sold on
the black market and used to keep the ZANU PF regime afloat, when ordinary
Zimbabweans were on their knees and battling the destroyed economy. Last
week the country's security chiefs convened a press conference in Mutare and
basically told the unity government to go to hell, after it gave them a
half-hearted instruction to gradually withdraw from the diamond fields. This
followed a report from the anti-blood diamond group, the Kimberly Process,
implicating the army in mass murder and child labour practices.

All these events have combined to expose the key role played by the diamonds
(and the country's other mineral wealth) in keeping Mugabe in power. The
diamonds, as one analyst put it, helped Mugabe keep the army happy at a time
when his government did not have the money to pay proper salaries. With the
soldiers turning the diamond fields into a lawless 'wild west' there was,
and continues to be, no accountability over proceeds and this suits ZANU PF
in the current unity government. Mugabe's reluctance to remove Central Bank
governor Gideon Gono, even at the cost of the coalition government, has
pretty much given the game away. Gono remains a key figure in this diamond

Newsreel spoke to a businessman who explained how the transactions are
supposed to work. The Central Bank buys the diamonds from those doing the
mining. The bank then sells the diamonds outside the country and retains the
profit. This profit, or agency fee, then goes into a fund run by the Reserve
Bank. The government, through the Finance Ministry, will only get money from
these transactions via taxes. Given that the former mine owners in Marange,
the London-listed African Consolidated Resources, were kicked out of the
claim, it means the army is effectively mining the diamonds, while
exploiting cheap labour from both adults and children in the area.

Mines Minister Obert Mpofu last week told a mining publication that there
was no dispute over ownership of the Marange diamond fields. This is despite
owners African Consolidated Resources still challenging the matter in court.
Mpofu insists the government is the sole owner of the claim, through the
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation. But judging from last week's press
conference in which police, army and CIO provincial chiefs in Mutare put
their foot down and said they were not leaving the diamond fields, the army
appears to be running the show.

The big tragedy is that with an estimated US$200 million per month being
generated from the various diamond mines in the country, that money could
take care of many of Zimbabwe's economic problems. Sadly senior figures in
the army and ZANU PF just continue to line their pockets.

It's a reminder once again, that rebuilding a country is never about a
shortage of money - just a shortage of political will.

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Army plans new Chiadzwa crackdown: radio

      13/07/2009 00:00:00

by Lebo Nkatazo

ZIMBABWE is relaunching a military crackdown on illegal diamond hunters in
the eastern region - risking renewed criticism from human rights groups,
state radio reported on Monday.

Following the launch of Operation Hakudzokwi (No Return) in Marange last
year, human rights groups say dozens of panners were killed by troops,
although the government insists there is no evidence of this.

Only last week, the international diamond certification group, the Kimberly
Process, released a preliminary report accusing the army and police of
looting diamonds in the area.

The KP report also said the security forces had committed human rights
abuses and recommended their withdrawal from the zone.

But in a report on Monday, ZBC radio reported: "Operation Hakudzokwi which
was jointly carried by security personnel to restore sanity at Chiadzwa
diamond fields is bouncing back bigger and more re-invigorated to deal once
and for all with illegal diamond dealers and panners, says the Governor and
Resident Minister for Manicaland province, Cde Chris Mushohwe."

Mushohwe was not immediately available for comment. State radio said Mushowe
had given "a strong warning to illegal diamond dealers and panners to stop
forthwith their unlawful activities as they will have no-one but themselves
to blame when operation Hakudzokwi is re-energised and reinvigorated."

Following the launch of the operation last year, Herald columnists Nathaniel
Manheru -- thought to be President Robert Mugabe's press secretary George
Charamba -- described Marange as the "wild-wild East" where security forces
were employing "shock therapy" against panners.

He wrote that captured diggers were being made to use their bare fingers to
refill gullies they dug.

"The deep gullies are being refilled with bare hands and fingers are sore
and finishing, well before a quarter of the job is done," Manheru said
before declaring: "I do not think diamond hunters will descend on Chiadzwa
ever again."

In a report released on June 26, Human Rights Watch said when the operation
began last year, the government deployed more than 800 soldiers drawn from
three army units - the Mechanised Brigade and No. 1 Commando Regiment, both
based in Harare, and the Kwekwe-based Fifth Brigade -- carried out the
operation under the overall command of Air Marshal Perence Shiri and General
Constantine Chiwenga, commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

The report said in part: "Military abuses in Marange also included denial of
medical care to victims of abuse in the community, including those who
sustained dog-bite wounds and wounds from beatings or gunshots.

"Nurses based in the local community told Human Rights Watch that soldiers
instructed them not to render medical care to any person who sustained
injury by whatever means on the diamond fields."

In January, the state-run Herald newspaper claimed that more than 35,000
people had been arrested under Operation Hakudzokwi.

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Moyo's quest to unseat Speaker put on hold

July 13, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The High Court has indefinitely reserved judgement in a case in
which independent MP, Prof Jonathan Moyo (Tsholotsho North) is seeking to
reverse the election of the mainstream MDC chairman, Lovemore Moyo, to the
position of Speaker of Parliament.

Justice Bharat Patel reserved judgement on the legal challenge by Moyo
seeking to invalidate the Speaker's historic election, in a plot said to be
spearheaded by a number of so-called hawks within Zanu-PF. The party's own
candidate for the position of speaker, who was a member of the smaller MDC
party led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, was defeated in the

MP Moyo, represented by lawyer Terence Hussein, has declared his ultimate
objective as being to bring the tenure of Moyo as Speaker of the 7th
Parliament of Zimbabwe to a premature and inglorious end.

Hussein said the election of the Speaker was flawed because the ballot
papers were revealed to other legislators. He says the election of Moyo
breached Parliamentary rules as it was not a secret ballot, with legislators
showing each other their unfolded ballot papers.

Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma was accused of dereliction of duty by
failing to call the House to order amid the alleged chaos.

But advocate Matthew Chaskalson, representing the Speaker, said everyone
present was satisfied with the manner the vote was conducted and there were
no objections in the House.

"This is because no party should wait and see who wins and then raise
complaints," he told the High Court. "The applicants cannot seriously submit
that they could not object in the voting process."

This position was confirmed by Choise Damiso, counsel to Parliament, who
confirmed that none of the legislators lodged any objections.

The MDC chairman beat former parliamentarian Paul Themba-Nyathi, whose
candidacy for the Speaker's post was sponsored by his party, the breakaway
faction of the MDC led by Mutambara. He enjoyed the full backing of
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

The legal challenge means the MDC's control of Parliament stands doubtful in
the face of the constitutional court challenge against the election of its
national chairman which the applicants claim was in contravention of Article
6 of the Parliamentary Standing Orders.

Moyo was elected Speaker by a surprising 110 votes to the 98 clinched by
Themba-Nyathi, following a surprise change in allegiance on the part of the
10 MPs representing the breakaway faction of the MDC as parliamentarians
cast their ballot.

The distribution of the votes left little doubt of what exactly had
happened. The 10 legislators of the Mutambara group had gone against their
party en masse and voted for the candidate of the rival MDC party led by
Morgan Tsvangirai, leaving their own candidate to receive the overwhelming
but futile support of all Zanu-PF legislators.

Zanu-PF strategically refrained from fielding a candidate while ordering its
legislators to vote for the Mutambara faction's candidate, instead. A
combination of the Zanu-PF MPs and those of the Mutambara faction would have
delivered the required mortal blow on the mainstream MDC candidate on that
crucial day, if the Mutambara MPs had not become last minute turncoats.

The Zanu-PF strategy was thwarted by the rebellion of the defectors. The
tables were effectively turned on Mutambara when his MPs betrayed him and
aligned themselves with Tsvangirai by turning their back on Themba-Nyathi to
vote for Moyo.

Reports suggest Mutambara MPs had shown their ballot papers to mainstream
MDC chief whip, Innocent Gonese and MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe, to
assure them that they had, indeed, betrayed Mutambara and voted for Moyo.

Zanu-PF and Mutambara's MDC have quietly fumed since then, culminating in
the latest court challenge.

The Speaker has come out fighting, insisting that the doctrine of separation
of powers outlawed the courts from interfering with parliamentary processes.
Speaker Moyo's opposing papers state that the applicants should have brought
a motion in Parliament seeking the reversal of the Speaker vote instead of
rushing to the law courts.

Speaker Moyo has also queried Prof Moyo's standing in the case and
questioned why the aggrieved party, Themba-Nyathi, had not brought the
challenge and what Prof Moyo's interest was in the matter.

The Zimbabwe Times understands the legal challenge was mooted at the Kadoma
Ranch Motel during a so-called strategy workshop of the Mutambara faction in
September last year. Prof Jonathan Moyo, who by all indications has now
returned to the Zanu-PF fold, checked into the motel for the duration of the
workshop, sources say.

At the height of the dispute last year, the MDC issued a statement stating
that the MPs' vote for Moyo was a true reflection of the will of the people
of Zimbabwe.

"The election of Hon Moyo as Speaker of Parliament remains a historic
occasion, which cannot be reversed by losers, regardless of whatever
machinations they can concoct to reverse the people's will," the MDC
statement said.

But Prof Moyo insists that Speaker Moyo was elected through an undemocratic
process and has called for a rescission of the election result.

Moyo says the insistence that mainstream MDC MPs show their ballot papers to
Gonese and Khupe prior to voting was not only unlawful, but it also ran
against one of the fundamental tenets of democratic parliamentary practice.

He has insisted that the election of Moyo should be set aside by a court,
ostensibly because it established an unacceptable standard of behaviour for

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Government in Two Minds About the Rule of Law

By Stanley Kwenda

HARARE, Jul 13 (IPS) - The Zimbabwean government's international investment
conference at the end of last week did little to assuage fears that the
country remains far away from re-establishing the rule of law and stopping
land invasions.

Many among the 400 investors who attended the conference had expected the
new coalition government of ZANU-PF and the MDC to make a bold statement on
property rights and a firm commitment to upholding the rule of law. But
nothing close to that was on exhibition at the two-day event on Jul 9-10 in

Instead, President Robert Mugabe chose to tell the delegates that his
government will not compensate white farmers who lost land during what his
government has dubbed the "land reform programme".

The international investment conference was part of the coalition government's
effort to showcase the nation's investment opportunities and revive the
country's comatose economy.

Investors have insisted that they want to see a return to the rule of law
before they can put any money into Zimbabwe. The farm invasions constitute a
major problem, with productivity at an all time low due to continuing
disturbances. Invasions are continuing throughout the country.

Former legislator and social activist, Trudy Stevenson, told IPS the
government did not say what the investors wanted to hear. "The investors are
interested in the safety of their money and investment. They did not get the
answers," Stevenson told IPS. "There is still a struggle over the rule of
law, although the politicians would not want to say so."

Tony Hawkins, professor at the University of Zimbabwe Graduate School of
Management, told IPS that the "government did little to change perceptions.
The conference underlined the rift in the government as the leaders are not
singing from the same hymn sheet.

"As long as there is uncertainty, things will remain as they are. There is
need for the enactment of legislation which is investor-friendly and
respects property rights."

Investors are also concerned about so-called empowerment laws which limit
foreign ownership of companies. Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu sought to
allay these fears by telling delegates that the new government is having a
re-think on mining laws.

Under "indigenisation" laws, foreign companies cannot hold more than 49
percent of a business and must sell any stake above that to Zimbabweans. The
government is also able to seize 25 percent of shares in some mines without

"Government is in the process of reviewing some sections in the Mines and
Minerals Act with the aim of coming up with a user-friendly operating
environment," Mpofu told the conference. He added that careful consideration
will be taken to ensure that the process of "indigenisation" is not at the
expense of much-needed direct foreign investment.

"We are back to the drawing board - at stakeholder consultation stage -
where submissions of all the views of interested parties are now being
sought again in order to address all the concerns," he said.

Mining has become Zimbabwe's leading source of foreign exchange, with gold
accounting for a third of exports, but political turmoil, unavailability of
energy and unfavourable regulations have forced some mines to close. The
government has launched a review of all mining contracts, saying it would
introduce a "use it or lose it" policy.

"In doing so we want to ensure that all those that are performing will not
be prejudiced," he claimed. "We are doing it in a manner that will not
frighten people away."

But Mugabe in his opening remarks said the country's "indigenisation" laws
are an attempt to "democratise" the economic sector. "Such policies as the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act should not be viewed as
obstacles to investment promotion.

"They should be welcomed as promoting greater participation of our people in
the economy and, indeed, as the democratisation of our economic activity
that builds up to good business returns for the investor," said Mugabe.

Tafadzwa Muropa, a Harare-based economic and social commentator, concurred
with her leader. She told IPS that there can be no better investment other
than that which involves local people. "My expectation is that local people
must benefit from whatever investment coming into the country. There is no
real investment without the involvement of locals.

"What's in it for me, what's in it for the informal businesses. We don't
want investment which comes in the form of aid," Muropa told IPS. However,
she emphasised the need for order. "There is no investor who would want to
invest in a country where there is political instability," she acknowledged.

A German investor, Willy Paps, who runs wildlife conversation businesses in
the country, told the conference that, "if issues of property rights and
rule of law are not addressed, then we are having a big party (at the
conference) and nothing will come of it and I will take my money elsewhere."

Zimbabwe's economy has plummeted to an all-time low over the past decade.
According to the government's Investor Prospectus, the country's
manufacturing sector is operating at 10 percent capacity. At its peak in
1990 it was the biggest contributor to the country's gross domestic product

The mining sector accounts for 3,8 percent of GDP and 4,5 percent employment
and a third of total foreign exchange earnings as of 2007. Tourism accounted
for 16, 1 percent of the GDP in 2007 but has suffered successive years of
decline due to negative perceptions of the country.

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Operation Murambatsvina haunts another proposed clean-up operation

Photo: IRIN
Fearing another Operation Murambatsvina
HARARE, 13 July 2009 (IRIN) - A planned urban clean-up campaign in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, motivated by health and safety concerns has evoked fears among some residents of a re-run of President Robert Mugabe's iron-fisted Operation Murambatsvina in 2005.

Operation Murambatsvina left hundreds of thousands of people homeless after "illegal" structures were demolished by soldiers and police on the orders of the then ruling ZANU-PF government, and was widely seen by analysts as the punishment of city-dwellers for giving their overwhelming support to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

However, the proposal for an urban clean-up this time comes from the MDC city council, in the wake of a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 4,000 people and affected about 100,000 others, and the growing perception that Harare is turning into "another Kibera", a reference to one of Africa's largest slums, on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda told IRIN: "We cannot have a situation where we allow another Kibera to thrive here in Harare. We have council by-laws, which we have to enforce in order to bring sanity in all council business." He said by-laws were being selectively applied.

"For example, if we allow illegal settlements to continue increasing, and then we get another cholera outbreak during the coming rain season, such illegal settlements would certainly encourage the spread of waterborne diseases because they don't have proper water and sanitation facilities," Masunda pointed out.

"I recently visited one of the vending markets and I was shocked to learn that instead of just 62 stallholders operating from the market, there were more than 800 vendors, which obviously means facilities there are being strained and are compromising health standards."

An audit of rented council accommodation, occupied by illegal tenants over the years, will also be instituted. The council is particularly concerned about mushrooming illegal settlements in the affluent suburbs of Gunhill and Borrowdale, and along the city's watercourses.

"We should not promote anarchy; let us remove all the illegal structures as soon as possible and bring back order," said deputy mayor Emmanuel Chiroto.

The mid-winter timing of the clean-up project is reminiscent of Operation Murambatsvina (Throw out the Trash), which left more than 700,000 people homeless, and affected more than two million throughout the country.

Murambatsvina drew international outrage and prompted the United Nations to dispatch Special Envoy Anna Tibaijuka, who condemned its "indiscriminate and unjustified manner" and "indifference to human suffering."

Mounting resistance

In 2005, informal trader Tichaona Shambare's unplanned dwelling in the western Harare suburb of Kuwadzana was destroyed by army and police units. He has since slowly rebuilt it, but now fears it will again be destroyed.

''Another clean-up exercise could turn out to be very costly politically for the MDC because people will say there is very little difference between ZANU-PF and the MDC''
"I have read in the newspapers that there are plans to launch a clean-up exercise, which will be well-coordinated and will not harm the poor, but I don't believe any of that. We, as the poor people, will be affected, but this time we are prepared to defend our houses and will not allow anybody to demolish them," he told IRIN.

Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, said the decision to launch the clean-up campaign could be defended from an urban planning and public health perspective, but "another clean-up exercise could turn out to be very costly politically for the MDC because people will say there is very little difference between ZANU-PF and the MDC," he told IRIN.

Mayor Masunda said the city's long-term plan was to provide low-cost housing to the urban poor.

"When the informal settlements are brought down people will be vetted and deserving cases will be housed in council rented accommodation, while we are also looking at long-term solutions like building more houses." 


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

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Hot Seat transcript: Dr Chihombori vs John W. Worswick
13 July 2009

arikano_chihomboriSW Radio Africa  HOT SEAT transcript: (PART 1) Journalist Violet Gonda interviews Dr Arikano Chihombori and John Worsley Worswick - a farm beneficiary and a dispossessed farmer.  (Pictured: Dr Arikano Chihombori)

Violet Gonda: The land issue is a very emotive one for Zimbabweans. On the Hot Seat this week we attempt to get to the bottom of this contentious issue with guests Dr Arikana Chihombori and John Worsley Worswick. Dr Chihombori is an American citizen of Zimbabwean origin and has been at the centre of controversy since her attempt to take over a commercial farm in the Chegutu area. She also hit the headlines when she accompanied the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to the inauguration of the South African President Jacob Zuma. The MDC say that she is Tsvangirai’s niece and there has been concern that a member of the prime minister’s family is involved in illegal farm grabs. John Worsley Worswick is a spokesperson for the pressure group Justice for Agriculture and has been campaigning for many years on behalf of the commercial farmers. Let’s start with Dr Chihombori – you are planning to take over a farm in the Chegutu area that is owned already by the Cremer family, why?

Arikana Chihombori: Well let me start by correcting your statement – I have never tried to take over a farm, period. I have an offer letter, this application for land was put in over seven years ago and like I said to you at one point the initial offer letter also turned out to be a double allocation which was fine by me because the acreage was a little larger than I thought my sister could handle. It wasn’t until over a year ago that another offer letter was given and again I never had the opportunity to view any land. The same was true with the first property, I’d never seen it before, the land was allocated, it was vacant and my assumption was, when the second offer letter came with 60 hectares, I felt comfortable that my sister could work a smaller plot and I’d never seen it before. I never was given a choice to choose so I assumed it was another available land just like the previous one was. So I’ve never tried to take any land, I only have an offer letter, plain and simple. So I did not choose whether it was going to be Chegutu or Mutare or anywhere, I had no choice. I don’t even know why this particular plot was offered to me, an offer letter is all I have. 

VG: OK, you are an American citizen and I understand you have a large medical practice in the US where you have lived for the last 30 years, so how do you qualify for an offer letter?

AC: When I applied, if I remember correctly, I had to also be qualified in terms of my ability to operate a farm, financially that is and my assumption was they felt comfortable that I would be able to support a farm financially. But this was over seven years ago, it’s probably getting close to eight, nine years ago, I can’t tell you exactly when I put in the application but I felt that it was because financially I could support a farm.

VG: I spoke to the Cremers and they said your sister first came to their farm with an offer letter that was dated 2007 and then later on one that was dated December 2008, so does this mean you were given three offer letters?

AC: Like I said, my sister has my power of attorney, of course you can only get one offer letter. The first offer letter was the one that was the double allocation and I’m told the DA was asked to straighten that situation. It was my assumption that I was going to be allocated a smaller portion of the original offer but to my surprise, a totally different farm was offered other than the one that was originally offered which I thought was simply going to be sub-divided and I would be allocated a smaller portion of that original offer, but that did not happen.

VG: On the issue of your status, I am presuming that you have dual citizenship, an American citizenship and a Zimbabwean citizenship?

AC: Well when I put in the initial application I was still a permanent resident in the US, I have subsequently become a citizen.

VG: But in Zimbabwe, dual citizenship is not allowed.

AC: To be honest with you, it really did not matter as far as I was concerned, my sister was going to work the land but secondly it is my understanding that we are now allowed, dual citizenship is now allowed in Zimbabwe.

VG: John, what are your thoughts on this?
John W. Worswick: Well Violet what I have heard so far highlights the chaotic nature of this so-called land reform programme that we’ve witnessed over the last nine years in the country, multiple offer letters, I’m led to believe the first offer letter was for a farm that was already derelict and probably wouldn’t have been attractive at all. The comments in terms of not being involved in the violent take over is not true because according to the Cremers’ testimony, Dr Chihombori’s sister went there with thugs and put thugs in place on the farm in January of this year with a view these were invaders, indisputably invaders onto the property and the only reason that they pulled off the property was they argued three days later that they were not being paid enough to drive this eviction.

AC: Actually I would like to disagree with that particular story. Look, prior to coming to Zimbabwe in May of this year, I had not been to Zimbabwe for almost 20 months, my last visit to Zimbabwe was in 2007, I want to say August or September. So as far as what was happening on the farm, I can only go by what my sister told me. I am aware of the situation when she went with the, I’m not sure if it was the land officer or just someone from the lands office in Chegutu and that is the situation I discussed with you pertaining to the abuse that took place. Other than that I know she has been back on the farm, again trying to talk to Mr Cremer. The story about trying to invade the farm, I’m not familiar with it. In January certainly I hadn’t been to Zimbabwe, since the previous year. 

JW: Can I come in there -  yes, indisputably it was Dr Chihombori’s sister that was there in January that went onto the farm with these invaders but indisputably also she was acting probably with the power of attorney of Dr Chihombori but certainly acting as her agent on that front. I’d also like to comment on the dual citizenship issue in that provision has been made in the next amendment to the Constitution which has not even been debated in parliament at this stage to allow for dual citizenship but as we stand at the moment, and certainly at the time of these two offer letters the law states basically that from the moment Dr Chihombori accepted American citizenship and swore an oath of allegiance to the United States of America, it automatically rescinded her Zimbabwean passport and she became ineligible and the onus was on her at that stage to avail yourself of the law and be aware of exactly the circumstances of accepting that offer letter.

AC: Well I am aware, this is what I’ve been told that the current unity government document does state that dual citizenship is allowed. The offer letter was given prior to my becoming a citizen, but again, that’s neither here nor there.

VG: What about the process though of taking farms. You’ve said that you were given an offer letter but do you think that is how it should be done that a person can just be given an offer letter and you just walk onto someone’s farm and say I’m taking it over? I don’t know, what can you say about that?
AC: I think that is rather a crude way of putting it as it is my understanding that according to the Lancaster agreement of 1980, the land reform was going to take place and also the Lancaster agreement clearly stated the process which land reform was going to occur. It’s also my understanding that the process of allocating, re-allocating the land started with Section Three letter. The Section Three letter was supposed to give the farmer three years and during these three years the farmer is supposed to come and negotiate with the government, put in an application, identify which section of his farm the farmer was going to keep and the rest would be re-allocated. Keep in mind some of the farmers owned thousands of hectares, so clearly I’m hoping John, that we are in agreement that the land reform needed to take place, the inequalities pertaining to land needed to be addressed.   So after three years, if the farmer had not approached the government or submitted an application, a Section Five letter would be issued and I’m also told this Section letter would give the farmer six months to come and submit an application for an allocation for a smaller piece of land or negotiate with the government which ever way and if again the farmer continued to disregard the Section Five letter, the final letter would be the Section Eight. By the time Section Eight letter was issued it was the understanding that the farmer was unwilling to negotiate with the government, unwilling to apply for a smaller portion of the previous farm and it was after the Section Eight letter that the government was now free to reallocate the farm as it wished as the farmer would not have been willing to apply for a smaller portion.   With that backdrop it seems to me there was enough time given for a farmer who was willing to clearly say let’s do what’s right. Surely how can someone have 20000 hectares, 80000 hectares. The process itself, I may be wrong in how I see it, but I think if that was followed, it seems to me the allocation, the land reform programme would have gone on a little bit smoother but when farmers refuse to put in an application, refuse to agree to share the land, then it started a totally different problem. Where we end up after that it just depends on human feelings.

VG: I’ll come to John just now to get his reaction to this but still Dr Chihombori, with the current chaotic process don’t you think there should be proper procedures that should be followed to redistribute land to all who needs it?
AC: I quite agree with you. Yes there needs to be proper procedures and like I said that was my understanding the three letters. It seems to me it was a procedure that if followed, could work but unfortunately you are dealing with issues of beneficiaries and dispossessions and it is a touchy issue. So even when you try to deal with it in the best of environments, it is a difficult situation no doubt about it.  VG: John do you agree that land redistribution was long overdue?

JW: Yes absolutely Violet I don’t think you’ll find a single Zimbabwean especially a Zimbabwean farmer that would argue against the necessity for the equal distribution of the land in Zimbabwe although the statistics have been distorted by the propaganda. We have been all for meaningful land reform but certainly what we’ve seen in the last nine years, ten years since the start of the land invasions is absolute chaos.   I’d like to comment on Dr Chihombori’s ignorance with regard to the legal procedure in Zimbabwe because what she is saying there would have been heaven for us here in Zimbabwe in terms of due process, it’s not the case at all and I think it needs to be clarified.  The original Land Acquisition Act which was brought in in 1992 was a just Act and it involved merely a preliminary notice of acquisition, a Section Five notice which had a validity of two years and gave a farmer due warning. He then would be involved in a court process through a Section Seven having a fair hearing in a court of law to argue his case and win it on merit if the State, and it was incumbent on the State to prove the necessity of taking the land and the suitability of the piece of land being targeted.   Now what we saw in 2002 was the 2002 May amendment to the land acquisition act, wherein a Section Eight which in itself was an acquisition order and an eviction order rolled into one could be issued to a farmer ahead of a Section Seven. So a farmer could be evicted off his property within 90 days of receiving a Section Eight and never been called to court at all and farmers had the right to object on receipt of a Section Five preliminary notice and most farmers did, not all but certainly most farmers did object because the process of acquisition now was absolutely unjust in that it could take a farmer two years, having been kicked off his farm, illegally evicted, it could take him two years before he had a fair hearing in a court and if he won his case at that stage it would be an empty victory in that he would be returning to a farm that was now derelict and this is where the problem started.   We saw many other very unjust laws put in place, there was another amendment that year that allowed for the targeting now of any property that had been under agricultural use over the last 50 years which brought into the target sphere for acquisition urban properties and we’ve had urban properties targeted, anything over two hectares has been targeted for acquisition and deemed to be suitable and necessary.  We then had the repealing of Sections 6A and Six B of the Act, of the Land Acquisition Act and this was a provision whereby farmers could cede property, either old farms if they were multi farm owners or parts of their farm to protect the residual part of the farm and at the time had political policy put in place in terms of maximum farm sizes and we had in excess of 1200 farmers who went down this road and gave away farms and part of their farms and that at the end of the day because three years later we saw the repealing in 2004, we saw the repealing of Sections Six A and Six B of the Act and even in spite of some farmers having formalised this agreement to cede land to the State to protect the residual part of their farm, in the administrative courts there was no basis in law with the repeal of Section Six A and Six B - those farmers were now in a very precarious position out there having ceded property.   We then eventually got to 2005 where there were 4500 cases in the administrative court challenging the acquisition process as having been flawed. We have thousands of cases in the High Court with court orders that were allowing farmers to go back onto their farms but these are not being upheld because of the breakdown of the rule of law in farming areas and the police not prepared to support the sheriff in reinstating these farmers back on their farms.   So the whole legal process at that stage was totally flawed and with all the amendments, 17, to the constitution of Zimbabwe promulgated and in one fell swoop the land was nationalised and from that moment onwards, any farmer that had received a Section Five notice, preliminary notice of acquisition was now deemed to be State land. And certainly this quite recently has been struck down or deemed by the SADC court to be in conflict with SADC protocols and should never have been enacted in the first place. Even at the time, the advice from the legal fraternity was that it conflicted with other parts of Zimbabwe’s constitution.   Now given what Dr Chihombori has said in terms of her perception of what the law was, certainly as a Zimbabwe citizen looking to become a beneficiary of land, certainly I believe it should have been incumbent upon her to make herself aware of the legal process and to make sure that the legal process had been followed because we are talking about the displacement of farming families and although the world seemed to focus on commercial farming families and we’ve only got 4500 of those originally, we’re talking about displacement on average of 140 farm worker families on each property.   So today on the farm worker committee we’re talking about close on to 600 000 families, total population of about 1.8 million people, we’ve had 90% of them displaced and we’ve had gross human rights violations on farms to the extent that we believe it constitutes a crime against humanity and we have a situation where we are recording mortality amongst the farm worker community directly attributable to this of in excess of 20% and could be even over 30%.  VG: Let me bring in Dr Chihombori, what can you say about this because I remember the last time we spoke you had much to say about the treatment of farm workers on commercial farms and also if I may begin by getting your reaction to what John said in this interview where he said your “pretty ignorant” to quote his words on the issues to do with the legal processes, what can you say about this?

AC: The issues that he raised in terms of the various amendments, to expect me to have kept up with the various amendments is ridiculous. If you simply put in an application, do you really need to go in and investigate the laws of the country as a citizen to say am I entitled to be applying for a mortgage loan? Do you investigate the amendments that have been done to one’s ability to obtain a loan from a bank? Of course not. So to expect me to have kept up with the laws and the amendments and the constitution – that’s ridiculous so I won’t even go there. That’s a discussion that John at some point hopefully Violet will have someone from the government to discuss those issues. I am not representing the government in any way, the conversation that I’m here to have according to Violet is what has happened and everything else particularly pertaining to the treatment that my sister received and what I know as just a regular individual what’s happening in my own perception and understanding of what I’ve seen on the ground. Now I’m not going to stand here and answer on policies to do with the Zimbabwean government, I’m not representing the government and therefore those questions should be left to someone from the government.  Now moving on to your next question about mistreatment or rather what I’ve always perceived as human rights violations on the farms, let me start by saying there was a question of how did I get the Cremer farm. I did call the minister of lands in Chegutu and specifically posed him that question – how did you choose to give me this particular farm, unlike any other farm or the previous allocation two, three years ago. They really couldn’t give me a response except that he was one of the farmers who refused to put in an application for his own allocation, so that was the response that I was given. And I was also further told that those farmers who have put in an application for land have been allocated land. The other farmers who did not get land allocated is because they didn’t put in their applications. Mr Cremer I am told is one of them. That is the only reason they would give me as to why they gave me that farm. Let me also make another point that the original farm that was allocated a few years ago it had a homestead, my sister was not interested in homestead, the farm was close enough to Harare, she was fine with just a smaller allocation of that farm. You could drive back and forth from Harare to the farm, it was not far from the farm at all so in terms of saying the farm is developed I don’t even know what the Cremer farm has except what I saw in passing in May, there was some flower growing going on, other than that I have no clue what the Cremer farm has.  So the issue of saying this farm is developed, and some other farm was not developed is mute, the previous farm was quite fine by my sister and the homestead had nothing to do with it.   Now the abuse of other farmers by the current workers, now the reason I agreed to have this dialogue is because I feel as a human being understanding a simple land issue that is Zimbabwe, it’s a complicated situation, it’s a very difficult situation we all end up in. You have those who have been dispossessed, now you are looking at both sides. The white farmers can look at themselves as beneficiaries at one point but are now considering themselves dispossessed. But you could also take the blacks and call them beneficiaries currently but are previous dispossessed. So it’s a very tricky situation whichever way you want to look at it and when you analyse the situation and you take somebody like John and you take somebody like myself, we both have families that were both beneficiaries and dispossessed, so then where do we go which is why I agreed to this conversation. So it takes John and I realistically looking at the situation and being fair as we look at the situation. This house belongs to both of us, we can keep fighting about this house but at some point we need to stop and say John, it’s got four bedrooms, you get two bedrooms, I get two, if we have to share the living room we share the living room but at some point an honest, genuine, sincere approach to the land reform is in place.

VG: But Dr Chihombori, this is where I go back to my earlier question that is this though how things should be done in Zimbabwe? We know that there were a lot of historical imbalances and one could ask you how would you like it if the native Americans decided that they wanted to take your business and then just go and take it because this is precisely what is happening even with the way you narrated how you got the offer letter and how you were given this farm. Is this the way to do it because you also don’t know what happens on the Cremer farm in terms of the kind of production that happens on that farm and this has been the case with many of the farms. How do you respond to this?

AC: Well I go back to the Lancaster Agreement. The Lancaster Agreement clearly stated the way the land issue was going to be handled. At some point we fell off the tracks in terms of following the Lancaster Agreement. If the Lancaster Agreement was followed it was a document that was supposed to make sure this process was carried on legally and professionally and equitably…

VG: But you as an individual and as a professional do you think how you acquired the offer letter to take another commercial farm that is already productive, do you think that is the way to do it?

AC: No to be honest with you like I said I did not expect an allocation of a farm that was functioning…

VG: But that’s how it’s been like.

AC: Contrary to what I’ve heard and I’ve got a few names of people who were actually given farms that were vacant. The original allocation for me was vacant, like I said I had hoped that I would get a smaller portion of the same farm, it was vacant. There are many people who have been allocated farms that were vacant, this young lady I’m talking about, her farm was vacant.

VG: Let me come to John. John can you respond to some of the issues raised by Dr Chihombori and if I can just point out a few, she talked about farmers, commercial farmers who failed to actually put in their own application for allocation and also the treatment of farm workers. Can you talk to us about some of these issues?

JW: Yes indeed Violet. Can we deal firstly about this particular farm that has been allocated to her. One’s got to look at it against a background of thousands of farms are lying vacant today not having been subscribed to or taken up or if they were taken up they’ve then been abandoned whether it be by A1 settlers or A2 farmers, new farmers, in that they didn’t have title, they didn’t have the skills to make a success of it. Now surely the government should focus on reallocation of those farms rather than interfering with a farm that is productive and has already been downsized. Certainly that’s the situation with the Cremer property, it was substantially downsized from 900 hectares down to 60 hectares and remains a very intensive, highly lucrative property, employing over 300 people.   The process itself with regard to the vetting of beneficiaries for the programme has been substantially flawed in that according to the Land Acquisition Act a board should be set up to vet applicants for farms whether A1 or A2 to assess whether they were suitable and had the requisite skills to farm and not just as Dr Chihombori mentions here that she had the financial wherewithal. It’s interesting also to note that her sister was an applicant and was turned down more than likely because she didn’t have the financial wherewithal to do it but certainly the process of vetting has not taken place at all. It’s not being done by the board, it’s being done by a minister who in the law should have no power to issue these offer letters.  The offer letters themselves, we’ve had various legal opinions over the years because of this are substantially flawed. The fact that there’s multiple offer letters for a single property, there are other properties that have never had an offer letter issued on them and should have done highlights the fact it’s all so flawed.   With regard to the farm worker plight on farms, all the more reason for them to reallocate farms that have already been left or abandoned. We have the issue of landless peasants not being given these farms, we’ve had the political hierarchy and businessmen who have been allocated the farms, it certainly hasn’t gone to the landless peasants and in many cases where it has gone to A1 settlers, the landless peasants, they’ve been displaced from those farms by chefs. So there’s a further injustice in the whole process and all the time the farm workers are the ones who take the brunt of this.   Statistics show only 25% of the farm workers are still in residence on farms, many of them refusing to work for the new farmers because it is tantamount to slave labour. We’re talking about a differential today where existing commercial farmers are using US$30 a month as a minimum wage and many of them paying more than that if you take into account rations,  that they are given but new farmers are paying two to three, four dollars either, a lot of them are political chefs and very wealthy men who are arguing that they can’t afford to pay more than two or three US dollars a month. Some we have of record, some farm workers who were working to try and hold onto their homes and having to work for no cash realisation a month, they were driven into a cashless society and I’ll deal with the implications of that in a moment, they were given a couple of slices of bread and a cup of tea each day and if they worked the whole month they were given a bucket, roughly 20 kgs of maize.   The implications of becoming cashless are very alarming in that they can’t benefit from subsidized education if you don’t have any cash for paying towards putting your kids into school. Likewise on the health service side you cannot take advantage of medical help through clinics, what little was left, if you couldn’t pay something towards that so as a cashless society of farm workers and we’re looking at a large number of them, we’re looking at 1.5 million people with their dependents having been displaced off farms, the results of this are very alarming and when one looks at how it was done, the illegal eviction of farm workers and it is on going as a current issue at the moment, farm workers are being evicted off farms it’s tantamount to gross human rights violations, the right to shelter and a home is a basic human right, the right to work is a basic human right as well so we’re very alarmed about this being ongoing even in spite of high court orders that have been issued for those farm workers to stay in situ.

VG: The discussion with Dr Chihombori and John Worsley Worswick concludes next week where we ask if there are any possible ways that the farming community brought the land invasions upon themselves.


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Zimbabwe: Arms and corruption - Fuelling human rights abuses

 Full_Report (pdf* format - 185.5 Kbytes)

Brian Johnson-Thomas & Peter Danssaert

Antwerp, July 2009 - The following examples of irresponsible arms transfers involving Zimbabwe and other actors should be of great concern to the international community. The examples cited below are intended to illustrate further the need to ensure that the proposed international Arms Trade Treaty is as comprehensive as possible, and fully reflects the obligations of States to prevent arms transfers which pose a substantial risk of being used in serious violations of international human rights law. It is perhaps not a coincidence that these examples involve, amongst others, China and the U.S.A.– both of whose governments have been amongst the 'doubters' in the ongoing United Nations General Assembly deliberations on the ATT since 2006. Hopefully, as the new Obama Administration reviews the U.S. approach to the control of conventional arms, the U.S. position will become more constructive.

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Kariba Dam is 110% full

Kariba Dam is 110% full

Kariba Dam as at June 2009 is 110% full !

This has apparently been allowed intentionally for a number of reasons the most important one being for the maximum generation of power. Zimbabwe is currently suffering major power outages which are impacting seriously on commerce and industry. In addition there is work being undertaken on the northern side of the dam which would be impossible if the flood gates were open.

A further reason given is that the Cabora Bassa Dam which is further downstream towards the Indian Ocean, is still pretty full with rivers still running furiously, and thus the Cabora Bassa authorities have asked for the Kariba Dam not to release water until the end of July.

Kariba Dam is 110% full

When the dam first filled in the early sixties it was followed by a great deal of earthquake activity. Kariba is located on the very southern end of the Great Rift Valley which is tectonically active and many of the earthquakes measured more than 5 on the Richter scale. Kariba Dam is documented in a concerned paper prepared by the World Commission on Dams, which draws attention to many dams worldwide, with reported cases of Reservoir-induced seismicity greater than magnitude 4.0.

In the horrifying floods in Mozambique of March 2000, the US Army Corps of engineers were asked to evaluate Kariba’s safety, but an in-depth inspection was hampered by the dam authorities and several times in recent years, the flood gates have been opened in an attempt to release emergency waters from the giant dam.

There has been renewed speculation about the mighty Zambezi River recently with the building of the Mphanda Nkuwa, 60 kilometers downstream from the huge Cabora Bassa Dam in Mozambique. This new dam is expected to bring hugely destructive impacts to the lower Zambezi.

Although millions of people depend on the Zambezi River for their livelihoods, the Mozambique government – with China’s help – is proposing to build this huge new dam,in spite of huge environmental damage which will be caused by daily fluctuations in river level.

Kariba Dam has been affected by a condition that mars its concrete, known as “alkali-aggregate reaction.” as have many dams worldwide. While regional concern about the dam’s condition is widespread, little is known about the extent of the problem or its implications on dam safety.

Inspections of Kariba are carried out every five years according to the World Bank - reports are complied by an international engineering firm, but these reports are not made public. According to a Zambezi river expert who lives downstream of Kariba, there is concern about the dam’s safety, especially during large floods, because “the dam walls vibrate when several or more sluice gates are open and pass large discharges of water.”

However Kariba’s dam operators deny that there are any problems, and it is certainly in their interest to make sure the walls are stable. Meanwhile the dam wall is looking remarkable and up-stream many residents are saying they have never ever seen the dam this high so early in the season.

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Constitution Watch 6 of 10th July 2009 [1st AllStakeholders Constitutional Conference]


[10th July 2009]

First All-Stakeholders Conference on the New Constitution

Monday 13th – Tuesday 14th July  2009

Venue Harare International Conference Centre

Starting Time 8 am Monday [Registration from 8 am Sunday]

Closing Time  on Tuesday


Prof Makurane and Dr Hope Sadza


Methodology of collecting and collating evidence on the people’s wishes

Determining the process of constituting subcommittees [including thematic committees] of the Select Committee

Civil Society Space at the Conference

NANGO on behalf of The Civil Society Coordinating Mechanism for Constitutional Participation, spearheaded by NANGO and Crisis Coalition, have booked the Jacaranda Room in the Rainbow Towers as a place for civil society to meet and caucus before, during and after the Conference.  Civil society organisations are encouraged to make use of this facility which will be open from 8 am Sunday to Tuesday evening.

Uncertainly Caused by Postponement

Most people were geared up for the Conference this weekend as it had been scheduled for 10th – 12th July 2009.  There was considerable anxiety and frustration when civil society organisations who have been working for years on constitutional reform had not received invitations and had heard nothing.  The Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution, who are mandated by the Interparty Political Agreement [IPA] to drive the constitutional process, were locked up in marathon meetings in Parliament going on for days.

The postponement came after disputes following the Select Committee presenting its plans to other Parliamentarians.  Originally some MPs wanted it delayed to the 26th.  The reason was that they needed more time to prepare their delegates.  The State press reported that there were also members of the Select Committee, namely Chief Charumbira, ZANU-PF chief whip Joram Gumbo and Minister for Women’s Affairs Olivia Muchena, who sought a postponement and said that the Select Committee had made some decisions when some members were not able to attend meetings.

The Select Committee chairpersons stuck to their guns and said they had to follow the Interparty Political Agreement [IPA] timeframe.  [The IPA says it must be held before the 13th July, three months after the setting-up of the Select Committee.]  A compromise was reached and the meeting is now scheduled for next week.  The Speaker of Parliament said that there had been “immense pressure to defer the conference for a longer period of time by certain political parties, but my job is to implement what is outlined in the GPA...if there are those who want to derail the process…we will not allow it.”

The Select Committee, however, gave way on the invitation of distinguished guests from other countries whom they had wanted to attend and give the benefit of their wisdom and experience – Mr Cyril Ramaposa and a Rwandese legislator.  They will not now be attending.

[It is unfortunate that the conference, instead of being held over the weekend, is now on a Monday and Tuesday and very late notice is being given.  It makes it very difficult for professional people and those in full-time employment to make the necessary arrangements.  But this suited the political parties who said they wanted to bus their delegates in on Sunday.]

Selection of the 4000 Delegates for the Conference

Breakdown of Delegates

1600 [40%] of the delegates will come from Political Parties including Members of Parliament

Of the other 60% - 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%].

Note:  Individuals were invited to provide information about their qualifications and skills.  These seem to be ignored. 

It is still not clear how diaspora organisations will have a say in this important Conference.

Many civil society organisations and networks that have been working for years on Constitutional issues and civic education were not given representation.  Some of the large networks, e.g., those representing hundreds of HIV/AIDS organisations, have been left out.

The Select Committee has said they would allocate a few more delegate places to CSOs that had been omitted, but this has not yet been done.

Civil society organisation invitations are being distributed through NANGO and Crisis Coalition.

Method of Selection

This was supposed to have been done by the Select Committee on the basis of who registered at the Provincial Consultative Meetings month, but it seems there might have been considerable “interference” from other Parliamentarians and staff of Parliament.

Comment:  It was reported that in some provincial consultative meetings party supporters and war vets were mobilised to attend [and caused considerable disruption].  This could well have reduced the attendance of other civic-minded people.  It was also reported that in some districts allocation of buses was done with party-political bias.  The selection of delegates being in the hands of the Parliamentarians gives Parliament huge de facto control over the outcome of the Conference – it would be more transparent if civil society monitors had overseen this process.  This, together with the overweighed number of political party delegates, feeds into fears that the constitution coming out of this process will be largely a political compromise.

Organised Civil Society Reactions

We “are dismayed to note the unfavorable distribution of delegates, wherewith some bogus and/or politically aligned organisations have been given a greater share of delegates compared to organisations already invested in the reform process.”

The Law Society of Zimbabwe has been given 2 delegates; the Bee Keepers Society have been given 2 delegates. 

“It’s just all about political parties”.

“We will reserve judgement till we see the composition of the subcommittees who are to go around the country consulting the people.  It is that process which will determine the main content of the Constitution.”

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

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Bill Watch 24 of 13th July 2009 [Debacle atConstitutional Conference]

BILL WATCH 24/2009

[13th July 2009]

The House of Assembly is due to resume on Tuesday 14th July,

and the Senate on Tuesday 21st July

Note:  If the All Stakeholders Conference is able to resume on Tuesday and work continues through the afternoon, it is likely that the Speaker will immediately adjourn the House of Assembly until the following day.

First All-Stakeholders Conference on New Constitution

Accreditation day [Sunday] was marked by bad organisation, and fewer than 300 of the 4000 invited delegates had been accredited by close of day.  On Day 2 [Monday] the opening speeches [including the President’s key note address and speeches by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Arthur Mutambara] were due to start at nine.  Nothing in fact happened until almost twelve, when leaders from Parliament arrived.  After a short prayer and few minutes of the Speaker of Parliament’s speech the proceedings were interrupted by a noisy demonstration by war veterans.  As of close of day the proceedings had not been resumed. 

Update on Constitutional Commissions Nominations

The short-listing of candidates from among the large number of applicants has still not been completed.  Work on short-listing stopped while all Parliamentary energies were concentrated on finalising arrangements for the First All-Stakeholders Conference.  Short-listing of candidates is expected to be resumed later this week.

Update on Inclusive Government

There are two serious new problems confronting the inclusive government:

·        The accusations by MDC-T that today’s debacle at the First All-Stakeholders Conference was engineered by ZANU-PF in an attempt to derail the Constitution-making process.

·        The Kimberly Process demand that military activity cease immediately at the Chiadzwa diamond fields will be a test of the government’s authority.

In Parliament this week

Minister of Finance’s Mid-Term Policy Statement

This will be presented to Parliament on Thursday 16th July.  “This will be a report card basically explaining how we have done so far”.   As the Minister has already said he will be making serious policy pronouncements aimed at boosting the country’s economy and reviewing taxes, he is expected to present Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure and a Finance Bill.

New Bills Unlikely

Although the final draft of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill has now reached Cabinet, it is unlikely that this or any of the Bills on the legislative reform agenda will be presented this week or next.


·         questions for the Minister of Finance asking for guidance on what people should do with their old bank notes; whether there will be an independent audit of the Reserve Bank’s distribution of farm mechanization equipment and agricultural inputs; and which part of the 2009 Budget caters for the Prime Minister’s Office [Note: the approved Estimates of Expenditure contain no specific provision for the Prime Minister’s Office.]

·         questions for the Minister of Defence on measures being taken to ensure that the entire Defence Forces uphold the Inter-Party Political Agreement; and on the attitude of the Defence Forces chiefs towards the Prime Minister

·         questions for the Minister of Agriculture about the allocation of ARDA agricultural properties to private individuals; and calling for information on the winter wheat and barley plantings and the anticipated tobacco hectarage for the 2009-10 season


·         a motion for urgent reform of media laws moved by Mr Chikwinya of MDC-T on 17th June [so far only Mr Chikwinya’s speech has been heard, so much more debate can be anticipated – points raised by Mr Chikwinya include the need for the public media to provide balanced and fair coverage, and the reaction of the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity to the High Court ruling declaring the Media and Information Commission extinct]; 

·         a motion on the need for measures to eliminate abject poverty in the communal areas and to extricate them from their present state of underdevelopment [moved by Mr Chinyadza of MDC-T]

·         Mr Chimanikire’s “take note” motion on the report of the SADC Parliamentarians' Policy Dialogue on Poverty and Social Transfers [“ social transfers” being the term used to describe social welfare measures and pensions as means of reducing poverty].

Senate Thematic Committees will be holding their inaugural meetings on Thursday [not open to the public].

House of Assembly Portfolio Committee meetings open to the public on Thursday: Education, Sports and Culture for oral evidence from Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture [Committee Room No. 4, 10 am]; Media, Information and Communication Technology for oral evidence from Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum [Committee Room No. 1, 10 am]  [Note: if you wish to attend, it is advisable to clear attendance with Parliament beforehand by telephoning 700181and asking for the relevant committee clerk.]

Update on Legislation

Statutory Instruments – the SI extending the suspension of customs duty on groceries and basic commodities until 31st July was gazetted on 10th July.


We sincerely apologise to those on our mailing list who recently received multiple messages requesting documents or to subscribe to Bill Watch.  Our mailing lists got too big for our old system, but ever since we introduced our new system it goes amok after power cuts.  Our IT consultant has repeatedly assured us that this has been sorted out.  Nothing is worse than having one’s mail box cluttered with unwanted messages, so we are sincerely sorry and hope it will never happen again.

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


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