By Tichaona Sibanda
14 July 2009
The All-Stakeholders Conference, aimed at drafting a new national
constitution, resumed in the capital Tuesday, amid unprecedented security at
the Harare International Conference Centre.
The police, who were accused of letting things get out of hand without
intervening, responded by throwing a 'ring of steel' around the venue, after
the violent disruption Monday. A group of Mugabe's notorious war-veterans
and militia, led by Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwawo,
Mugabe's nephew, had drowned out the proceedings with singing and dancing,
while throwing water bottles at delegates. One MDC councillor was
hospitalised because of his injuries.
The principals to the GPA, Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara, appeared on state television Monday evening condemning the
disturbances and warned they would not 'brook any further nonsense.'
Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa said on Tuesday authorities drafted
in extra police, armed with tear gas and baton sticks, because of fears that
the second day of the high profile national gathering could be disrupted by
'There was heightened security at the venue. Inside the HICC police details
were stationed a metre apart right around the auditorium. Those without
proper accreditation were denied entry and the conference went on smoothly
as a result,' Muchemwa said.
Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee that is spearheading the
process, warned on Monday that ZANU PF supporters must not be allowed to
overshadow the important business being discussed by the conference.
According to Muchemwa, Douglas Mwonzora, head of the parliamentary
committee, explained to the delegates that the process to draw up a new
constitution would be guided mainly by three documents, identified among the
many sent by different organisations and political parties.
Mwonzora, a lawyer by profession, said they will take a cue from the SADC
guidelines and principals on democracy to bring the new constitution in line
with the rest of the regional countries. The conference will also get
direction in compiling input for the constitution from the Zimbabwe People's
Charter, a document that was drawn up by more than 50 civil society
organizations and social movements.
Crucially the process will follow guidelines agreed to in the GPA, that the
constitution be adopted within the stipulated time frame to be followed by
free and fair elections. Although the GPA acknowledges the Kariba draft as
an annexure in the document, Mwonzora said the constitution-making process
must not be reduced to what the three parties agreed to in Kariba. He said a
much broader constituency must have a meaningful input.
Under the unity agreement that Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed last September
and implemented in February, the country is supposed to write a new
constitution by July 2010. But ZANU PF has been resisting the MDC's attempts
to overhaul the constitution, calling instead for the Kariba draft--that
leaves Mugabe's powers intact - to be implemented.
Muchemwa said to avoid accusations of favouring submissions from a
particular party or organisation, the select committee want to produce a
people-driven constitution, with all stakeholders participating in the
process and not have politicians impose drafts on the people.
'This may as well signal a new thinking in the process. The select committee
has decided to use three documents as guidelines and not any particular one
as a reference point. I think this could have been agreed in marathon
meetings that the committee had last night (Monday),' Muchemwa said.
The Zimbabwe constitution referendum of February 2000 saw the defeat of a
proposed new constitution which had been drafted by a Constitutional
Convention the previous year. The defeat was unexpected and was taken as a
personal rebuff for Mugabe and a political triumph for the newly-formed
opposition group, the MDC.
Mugabe went on television at the time and said he would abide by the will of
the people. But a short time later the farm invasions and the violence began
in earnest. There are few who believe that just a decade later Mugabe
genuinely wants a people driven constitution.
The core of the problem also remains. Mugabe has never listened to the
constitution, if it doesn't suit him. Will it be any different this time?
By Peta Thornycroft
14 July 2009
Delegates to Zimbabwe's troubled constitutional convention have resumed
work, following the violent disruption of events Monday by supporters of
President Robert Mugabe.
The resumption of the conference to discuss a new charter followed a joint
press conference by President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in
which they condemned the disruptions.
There was a strong police presence at the Harare conference center when the
session re-opened with about 4,000 registered delegates.
Shortly after the session began, a noisy crowd of ZANU-PF women were
reprimanded by the chair, Hope Sadza, a prominent academic.
Speakers from political parties and human rights groups presented their
views on a bill of rights, local government and the role and
responsibilities of traditional leaders.
Movement for Democratic Change legislator Douglas Mwonzora, who is on the
parliamentary committee organizing the process, said people needed a new
constitution to ensure essential freedoms.
The parties in the unity government pledged in last year's global political
agreement to draft a new constitution that will go to a referendum next year
before new government elections.
One delegate at the conference said many are still uneasy, but most of the
war veterans who had been at the forefront of the violence Monday did not
turn up when the conference resumed.
Two ZANU-PF ministers accused by Movement for Democratic Change delegates of
organizing the disruptions were also not present because they were in a
The conference aims to design and appoint committees and assign them to
gather information from people around the country about what they want to
see in a new constitution.
On Monday, Parliament Speaker Lovemore Moyo, of the Movement for Democratic
Change, was hounded from the podium as he made his opening address.
Furniture was hurled around the hall, and he was sprayed with water while
ZANU-PF militants shouted insults at the MDC.
Thousands fled the conference center because they said they feared violence.
Zimbabwe operates under a constitution written in London before independence
in 1980. It has been amended 19 times and invests Mr. Mugabe with
A majority of Zimbabweans, led by the then-six-month-old MDC, turned down a
new constitution designed by Mr. Mugabe in 2000. Since then there has been
ongoing political turmoil.
By Alex Bell
14 July 2009
The chaos that ended the first day of the All Stakeholders Constitutional
Conference in Harare on Monday has been described as an orchestrated plan by
ZANU PF, which observers say has further revealed the disunity in the
ZANU PF thugs disrupted proceedings after they hurled abuse at the Speaker
of Parliament Lovemore Moyo. Scores of war veterans also sang war songs and
shouted slogans at the top table inside the conference hall, drowning out
Moyo's speech. 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"; and
"Zimbabwe is liberated with blood".
They also hurled empty plastic water bottles in Moyo's direction, forcing
him to leave the podium. Police eventually stopped the chaos, but many
people left the venue saying they feared a serious outbreak of violence
after an MDC councilor was badly injured and hospitalized.
Trouble around the conference had already started last week when the event
was postponed from the original date of 11-12 July. ZANU PF had announced
the conference was postponed indefinitely 'due to lack of funds', and the
Parliamentary Select Committee had to put its foot down and announce that it
would take place this week. What followed was a last minute rush to fully
prepare for the conference, which set the scene for the chaos that would
ensue on Monday.
Many civil society groups and NGOs, which were meant to provide a 'people's'
perspective to the constitutional reform process, were not informed of the
conference until the weekend. This included the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR), which sent a letter of complaint to the conference
organisers. ZLHR director Irene Petras expressed anger in the letter after
civil society only represented 8% of the delegates invited to the
conference, which had been organised without any consultation with ZLHR or
"Taking just the issue of the percentage representation of political
parties, parliamentarians and other government representatives, it can be
reasonably perceived that there are intentions to make this 1st
Constitutional Conference a political party-led and parliament-driven
process, rather than a national process," Petras wrote.
Civil servants organising the registration Sunday were unable to accredit
more than 200 delegates out of the 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
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 simply walked into the
Founding MDC member Trudy Stevenson explained there was a clear 'parallel
process' going on during registrations. She described seeing a separate
queue entering a separate room, with ZANU PF MP Nyasha Chikwinya guiding
groups inside. Chikwinya has since been identified as one of the people who
led ZANU PF thugs during the chaos that ended the conference. Stevenson said
the situation reminded her of the elections "and the nonsense at some
Stevenson also described seeing notorious war veteran, Joseph Chinotimba,
inside the hall organising 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,
saying the whole event was a "well planned, well orchestrated disruption and
show of power."
Meanwhile, state media on Monday evening laid the blame of the disruption at
the feet of civil society groups and MDC supporters. The ZBC reported that
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) and the MDC
were responsible for leading the disruption. Ironically however, groups such
as the ZCTU and the NCA have boycotted the event, saying it is not a people
The NCA on Tuesday joined the chorus of outrage over Monday's chaos, but
argued that such an incident was expected. In a statement the group wrote:
"The behaviour displayed yesterday is not shocking in a political process
especially given the ZANU-PF history. We are in no doubt that if this
process continues as it is, ZANU-PF will have its way and the people will be
14 July 2009
By NCA Publicity
NCA Statement on the developments surrounding the politically driven and
politicians-centered Constitution Making Process in Zimbabwe. The National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) is shocked that some people are shocked by
the predictable events that took place at the Harare International
Conference Centre where the three political parties together with a handful
of NGO people converged to start the process of writing a "people driven
The NCA has remained steady fast on the need for a genuinely people driven
constitution making process since its formation in 1997. With the signing of
the Global Political Agreement the NCA immediately articulated the
shortfalls of the process spelt out therein. As all Zimbabweans might be
aware by now that those in the NCA have made their position clear that they
will not be a part of the sham process in article 6 of the GPA.
So we are appalled by the unrelenting effort from the proponents and drivers
of this process to have the NCA participate in a process we have long said
we can not trust. For the record the NCA believes that the process which
politicians are insisting on is fundamentally flawed and thus we have taken
a principled stance to distance away ourselves from this charade of a
The happenings at the HICC confirm our long held principle that a
constitution making process must not be subjected to the whims and tactics
of politicians. It is our belief that any genuine process must place
everyone at the same level. What we saw at the HICC is that the process is a
political process nicodemously seeking legitimacy from civic society. Civic
players who attended the event were reduced to spectators as politicians
The behaviour displyed yesterday is not shocking in political process
especially given the ZANU-PF history. We are in no doubt that if this
process continues as it is ZANU-PF will have its way and the people will be
losers. The face saving press brief at the State House by the principals to
the GPA must will not fool us. The process matters is as important as the
contents. Politicaians must not drive this process or the people will
continue to be spectators as politicians play games with the future of the
We believe that a constitution making process must not be led by the
government of the day or the political parties who dominate the government
of the day. The process must be led by an independent body which is
constituted by various stakeholders but that body must not just be
independent, it must also be seen to be independent. And one way of ensuring
that there is an independent process is to get a commission, normally
chaired by a judge or a former judge or some other independent person.
This current process was brought to the country by the political parties who
were negotiating the so-called Global Political Agreement. That is a clear
indication that it is a political party-led process of making a new
constitution for the country. Even if it then involves people being invited
by the political parties to join it, it doesn't change the fact that it is
led by politicians with political ambitions of capturing or retaining state
power. In short Zimbabwe needs a fresh start. The constitution must be
written by the people. Bumbiro rinyorwe nevanhu.
Tuesday 14 July 2009
Our ref: IP/mn
12 July 2009
Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution
Parliament of Zimbabwe
Attention: Hon. Mwonzora; Hon Mangwana; Hon Coltart
RE: FIRST ALL STAKEHOLDERS' CONSTITUTIONAL CONFERENCE
The above matter refers.
We write to register our several concerns relating to the First All
Stakeholders' Constitutional Conference (1st ASHCC) which is due to take
place from 13-14 July 2009 in Harare.
The following facts are relevant:
1. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has been allocated a total of
eight (8) delegates for the 1st ASHCC. This only became known to us on
Saturday 11 July 2009 - a mere 2 days before the event is due to commence -
through a stroke of luck, after reading The Saturday Herald in which the
list of proposed delegates was published.
2. ZLHR received an invitation - ostensibly from the Clerk of Parliament -
at our offices at 11:30hrs on Saturday 11 July 2009.
3. This invitation was not delivered by a parliamentary staff member, but a
member of a civic organisation who had visited Parliament that same day and
had found a number of invitations for non-governmental organisations "lying
around and in danger of not being delivered, or of being picked up and taken
for use by persons not from the named organisations".
4. The invitation did not provide information as to the intent, objectives
and substance of the 1st ASHCC, nor did it include details of a programme or
even when proceedings will commence.
5. At no stage before this was ZLHR or, to the best of our knowledge, other
colleagues in civil society approached or consulted on views about and
suggestions for the 1st ASHCC, its objectives and how the programme should
be structured in order to ensure that it is something of value and moves the
process of constitution-making forward in a positive way and with meaningful
popular (and civic) participation.
6. The provincial consultations which were held last week, and which we
monitored, were also not a platform at which these issues could be - or
were - raised, discussed and/or satisfactorily resolved.
7. We have learned that there will be two Chairpersons - Dr Hope Sadza and
Professor Makhurane. At no time was ZLHR or, to the best of our knowledge,
any of our colleagues from civil society consulted on our suggestions and
views on this critical issue. Instead, we are advised only after the
selection has been made by politicians.
8. ZLHR also noted from the list published in The Saturday Herald that
political party representation accounts for 40 percent of the total number
of delegates, while non-governmental organisations have an 8 percent
representation. We have also learned that, in addition to the 40 percent
political party representation, all parliamentarians will be attending over
and above the 40 percent, and that the government also has been allocated a
large number of delegates.
In light of these facts, we therefore wish to place on record the following
issues, which are of deep concern to us:
1. It is unacceptable that ZLHR is advised less than 2 days before the 1st
ASHCC that we have been granted 8 representatives and are expected to
organise for our members' attendance and registration in less than 24 hours.
We have members throughout Zimbabwe and we do not pay lip service to the
need for national representation in all our activities and decision-making.
Such short notice and lack of clear logistical arrangements make it
impossible to ensure the registration of our members who are based outside
Harare and who, according to the instructions in the letter of invitations,
are expected to "find their way to the capital where upon arrival they will
be reimbursed bus fares on production of valid bus tickets".
2. The manner in which this has been handled leads us to conclude that ZLHR
is either being put in a position where it will effectively be excluded or,
applying the most generous interpretation, is being sidelined although it
represents an important sector of society, namely the legal profession in
Zimbabwe whose members are mandated with the promotion and protection of
human rights in Zimbabwe - a key issue relating to any process of
3. The fact that there has been absolutely no consultation beyond
politicians around the substance and intent of the 1st ASHCC, the proposed
programme and the selection of Chairperson/s again leads us to believe that
our views are not valued; neither are we considered an important stakeholder
at this key stage of the constitution-making process.
4. The manner in which this has been handled further leads us to believe
that politicians wish to control the proceedings at, and the outcome of, the
1st ASHCC through a blackout of information which results in the exclusion
of key stakeholders, denies them the right and ability to prepare
effectively for all issues which will be raised at the meeting, and shuts
them out of any effective decision-making processes.
5. The percentage of representation of government and political parties when
compared to that of non-governmental organisations in particular and the
civil society in general, is unacceptably high, and again acts to exclude
key stakeholders, including general members of the public. The refusal to
revisit the numbers, as we have been advised, shows unwillingness to make
this a truly representative meeting. Instead, it is likely to be one in
which ordinary people and representatives of various sectors other than
politicians and government representatives will have their freedom of
expression stifled and their freedom of assembly, association and
6. Article VI of the Inter-Party Political Agreement (IPA) acknowledges in
its Preamble that "it is the fundamental right and duty of the Zimbabwean
people to make a constitution by themselves and for themselves" and further
that "the process of making this Constitution must be owned and driven by
the people and must be inclusive and democratic" [our emphasis]. Further,
the constitution-making process is supposed to be a national exercise and
should not be placed in the hands solely of politicians.
7. Taking just the issue of the percentage representation of political
parties, parliamentarians and other government representatives, it can be
reasonably perceived that there are intentions to make this 1st ASHCC a
political party-led and parliament-driven process, rather than a national
8. Regrettably, from the facts above, and the actions you have taken, it is
our considered opinion that you are failing to meet your obligations under
the IPA and the Constitution of Zimbabwe, as well as the principles which
are enshrined in the Zimbabwe Peoples' Charter and the SADC Guidelines on
Constitution-Making and Constitutional Reform.
9. It is further reasonable to assume that such actions have been taken only
in order to present a façade of consultation, representation and
participation, whereas the true intent and effect is the opposite.
ZLHR is committed to striving for a new constitutional dispensation in
Zimbabwe. However, it must be one which is nationally owned, and in which
there is proper, effective and meaningful popular participation, according
to well-known and established principles, without which there will be no
ownership or legitimacy of, or investment in, any new constitution.
For this reason, and despite our serious misgivings as outlined previously,
ZLHR has therefore taken a decision to have our 8 representatives attend the
1st ASHCC under protest. The decision to attend under protest is to ensure
that attempts to exclude and/or sideline alternative voices do not succeed,
but also to ensure that our organisation is not used to legitimise a process
and modus operandi with which we have serious misgivings. Our
representatives will also bring our views to the attention of the
Chairpersons and attendees at the First ASHCC.
We hereby further place it on record that we will take the opportunity,
whilst attending this meeting under protest, to monitor the proceedings,
participation and outcome thereof closely, and will use our findings as a
basis to re-assess, after the close of the 1st ASHCC, whether we can
continue to participate without lending legitimacy to such a flawed process,
or whether we should take alternate action.
We advise accordingly.
ZIMBABWE LAWYERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
cc. Speaker of the House of Assembly
President of the Senate
Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs
Director, Rights and Interests Cluster, Office of the Prime Minister
Chairperson and Board, ZLHR
Chairperson/s, All Stakeholders Constitutional Conference - ZimOnline
14 July 2009
By MDC Media Release
The MDC dismisses the laughable lies by Zanu PF's propaganda mouthpiece, the
ZBC, that the MDC, students, labour and other civic activists disrupted
today's All Stakeholders Constitutional Conference in Harare.
The rowdy and violent scenes that brought the Constitutional proceedings to
a standstill took place in front of cameras. These scenes are on record and
footage is available showing Zanu PF senior members Saviour Kasukuwere,
Patrick Zhuwawo and Joseph Chinotimba leading the mayhem. The three are
certainly not and will never be MDC members.
No amount of Zanu PF propaganda will camouflage the drama at the Harare
International Conference Centre which took place before thousands of
Zimbabweans, journalists and diplomats. The MDC has no wish or political
interest to disrupt the Constitution-making process. Zanu PF has an
incentive to avoid a people-driven Constitution process ever since they were
resoundingly rejected by the people of Zimbabwe on 29 March 2008.
http://www.kubatana.net/html/archive/demgg/090713nango.asp?sector=DEMGG The disrespect, intolerance
and the contempt displayed toward the Speaker of Parliament, to the parliament
as a whole, to the constitutional process, and to the vast majority of
participants by an organised, permitted and protected, group of ZANU PF
supporters is totally unacceptable. Unless there is clear condemnation of this
action by leaders of that party it will appear that the action is condoned by
the party leadership (some of whom were present and did not attempt to stop the
disruptions) – and that it represents their attitude to the process. It is clear
that this action indicates an unwillingness to participate in a genuine
constitution-making exercise. The absence of security and
safety for the conference process, and the partisan tendencies of some law
enforcement agents present was a serious failure of one of the most essential
conditions to create an enabling environment for the process to commence, this
needs urgent attention. The visible partisanship of the police is a matter of
great concern. There have been selective arrests of Civil Society Activists
while the disrupters of the All Stakeholders Conference continue to walk free.
The lack of respect for
participants was already evident in the chaotic and non-transparent charade of a
registration process. Most people coming with the intention of participating
were unable to register on Sunday, which caused disruption and hardship in terms
of accommodation and food. Definite evidence indicated that some groups received
favourable treatment; and it is necessary that an audit of the registration
process be carried out. The breakdown of the
registration process allowed unrestricted access to the conference room, and
there was a clear, deliberate, pre-planned disruptive activity carried out by
people who were given preferential access to the ground floor, which facilitated
their disruptive action. In these conditions, and
with the atmosphere of chaos, threats and disruptions, and intolerance, it
appears that the process is almost irretrievably broken down. Real leadership of
the Constitution-making process must be shown by the Parliamentary Select
Committee, which needs immediately to include into the collective management
process organisations of civil society; without this leadership the
constitution-making process is threatened. We demand: - That the conference should
continue, under clear and agreed principles and different conditions, and with
the complete prevention of the recurrence of the events of this morning * Issued by the National
Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO) for and on behalf of Civil
Society delegates present at the Civil Society caucus meetings at the All
Stakeholders Constitutional Conference.
National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe (NANGO)
July 13, 2009
Civil society organisations, meeting in emergency caucus at the All Stakeholders Constitutional Conference midday on Monday, are appalled and deeply disturbed by the chaos, disruption and deliberate undermining of the All Stakeholders Constitutional Conference as it started this morning. It appears to us that the process is now seriously prejudiced, and should only continue with clear and agreed-on principles underlying all participation.
- The immediate composition of a broad participatory management committee for the constitution making process, involving substantive representation from civil society organisations of all relevant sectors
- That clear values and principles be formulated and agreed upon as ground rules for participation in the constitution-making process and be the basis for participation
- That substantive mechanisms for conflict and dispute management be established
- That there be an immediate explanation of the events of the morning, including the absense of an adequate security presence and response
- That an enquiry be carried out into the problems surrounding invitations, registration and the provision of accommodation and food for delegates
- That there be an immediate release of all activists arrested.
- That there should be active participation of the three principals of the GPA, as a show of their commitment to the constitution-making process.
The disrespect, intolerance and the contempt displayed toward the Speaker of Parliament, to the parliament as a whole, to the constitutional process, and to the vast majority of participants by an organised, permitted and protected, group of ZANU PF supporters is totally unacceptable. Unless there is clear condemnation of this action by leaders of that party it will appear that the action is condoned by the party leadership (some of whom were present and did not attempt to stop the disruptions) – and that it represents their attitude to the process. It is clear that this action indicates an unwillingness to participate in a genuine constitution-making exercise.
The absence of security and safety for the conference process, and the partisan tendencies of some law enforcement agents present was a serious failure of one of the most essential conditions to create an enabling environment for the process to commence, this needs urgent attention. The visible partisanship of the police is a matter of great concern. There have been selective arrests of Civil Society Activists while the disrupters of the All Stakeholders Conference continue to walk free.
The lack of respect for participants was already evident in the chaotic and non-transparent charade of a registration process. Most people coming with the intention of participating were unable to register on Sunday, which caused disruption and hardship in terms of accommodation and food. Definite evidence indicated that some groups received favourable treatment; and it is necessary that an audit of the registration process be carried out.
The breakdown of the registration process allowed unrestricted access to the conference room, and there was a clear, deliberate, pre-planned disruptive activity carried out by people who were given preferential access to the ground floor, which facilitated their disruptive action.
In these conditions, and with the atmosphere of chaos, threats and disruptions, and intolerance, it appears that the process is almost irretrievably broken down. Real leadership of the Constitution-making process must be shown by the Parliamentary Select Committee, which needs immediately to include into the collective management process organisations of civil society; without this leadership the constitution-making process is threatened.
- That the conference should
continue, under clear and agreed principles and different conditions, and with
the complete prevention of the recurrence of the events of this morning
* Issued by the National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO) for and on behalf of Civil Society delegates present at the Civil Society caucus meetings at the All Stakeholders Constitutional Conference.
controls for small arms
The July 2009 report, Zimbabwe - Arms and Corruption: Fuelling Human Rights Abuses, cites arms transfers from the DRC and China to Zimbabwe, and the export of small arms from Zimbabwe to the US and Montenegro, as examples of weapon transfers likely to be outlawed by an international treaty.
In 2006 the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 61/89 to establish a legally binding instrument, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), for "common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms."
In 2008 the US and Zimbabwe were the only two countries - out of 168 - to vote against taking the ATT resolution forward, but analysts expect that US President Barack Obama's administration will take a different tack from his predecessor, George Bush, on the issue.
The authors Brian Johnson-Thomas and Peter Danssaert noted in the IPIS report: "hopefully, the negotiation of an effective ATT will begin in 2010 and be completed soon, as this will undoubtedly save hundreds of thousands of lives, and prevent millions of people suffering injuries and the destruction of their livelihoods each year."
by Nokuthula Sibanda Tuesday 14 July 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe and South Africa are set to sign a long delayed bilateral
investment protection agreement by end of next month, Zimbabwe's Economic
Planning Minister Elton Mangoma has said.
Signing of the agreement between the countries that are each other's biggest
trading partner on the continent in addition to being strong political
allies was postponed on the eleventh hour last March, apparently after
Harare objected to a clause in the accord referring to land and investments
Mangoma did not disclose further details on the trade pact but said it could
have been signed months ago had it not been of elections in South Africa
last April that saw new personnel taking over at government ministries and
departments involved in negotiating the agreement.
"We are going to sign the BIPA agreement before the end of August," Mangoma
"This could have been done earlier but as you know there were elections in
South Africa, which resulted in changes at various ministries. This is an
issue we believe could have been addressed some time ago."
President Robert Mugabe's chaotic and often violent programme to seize
white-owned farm land for redistribution to landless blacks also saw several
farms owned by foreigners and protected under bilateral trade agreements
between Zimbabwe and other countries seized without compensation.
The seizure of private land has raised questions about Zimbabwe's commitment
to uphold property rights as well as agreements entered with other
by Nqobizitha Khumalo Tuesday 14 July 2009
BULAWAYO - Three legislators from Zimbabwean Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-M) formation have filed papers with the
High Court in Bulawayo seeking an order setting aside the outcome of their
disciplinary hearing, their lawyer said at the weekend.
The legislators - Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Norman Mpofu (Bullima East)
and Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) - walked out of an MDC-M party
disciplinary hearing last week, saying the hearing was unprocedural.
Their lawyer, Thamsanqa Khumalo, said the three legislators are arguing that
the charges that they are facing are vague and want the disciplinary
committee to furnish them with specific charges before the hearing could
"We have filed papers to the High Court to challenge the unprocedural manner
the MDC disciplinary committee wanted to conduct things and my clients
walked out because we could not participate in the hearing when we did not
have specific charges and dates and venues of when the crimes were committed
and we were not furnished with names and statements from witnesses," Khumalo
He said that they wanted the courts to set aside the disciplinary hearing
proceedings and order the disciplinary committee to provide them with full
details of the charges against the legislators before the disciplinary
hearing is re-scheduled to another date.
The three Members of Parliament (MPs) are part of a group of eight officials
that was suspended by the MDC-M over two months ago and are charged with
urging party supporters to shift their allegiance to the main MDC faction
led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T).
The other five party members are national youth chairman Gift Nyandoro, an
official Alex Goosen and former legislator Job Sikhala, while two other
legislators - Thandeko Mnkandla (Gwanda North) and Maxwell Dube (Tsholotsho
South) - are also set to appear before the disciplinary committee to face
The chairperson of the party's disciplinary committee Lyson Mlambo last
Friday said the committee had already made a decision on the outcome of the
disciplinary hearing and said the party would announce the verdict soon.
"The Members of Parliament chose not to participate in the hearings after
making certain demands which we felt were unreasonable and we went ahead
with the hearing without them and certain decisions were taken without them
and the decisions will be made public soon," Mlambo said.
He said the three MPs who were charged together with Goosen, were employing
delaying tactics on the matter.
"You do not need written statements in a civil matter and the witnesses were
present and the legislators had the latitude to cross examine them but they
did not utilise the opportunity, they feared facing the witnesses and by
walking out they are using delaying tactics," Mlambo said.
Khumalo on his part said the charges levelled against his clients were
ridiculous and general.
"The charges levelled against my clients are ridiculous. An example is the
case of Mpofu who is accused of campaigning for Tsvangirai between June 2008
and March 2009 and we are saying the charge is vague because we need
specific dates and the exact location where he is said to have campaigned
"The period cited by the party as the time Mpofu allegedly started
campaigning for Tsvangirai is June 2008 and the party at that time made a
national decision to campaign for Tsvangirai and that decision was not
rescinded officially so the charges are vague when you look at such
instances," Khumalo said.
Last month the MDC-M suffered a body blow when the party's entire Nkayi
district leadership and all 23 councillors crossed the floor to join the
MDC-T, in protest against the suspension of Bhebhe.
Mutambara, a brilliant robotics professor, became the president of the
smaller wing of Zimbabwe's MDC party after it split in 2005 into two rival
factions with the larger group led by Tsvangirai. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 14 July 2009
STATEMENT: Zimbabweans and their journalism profession are all the
poorer today with the untimely passing of Elias Rusike, an unwavering
champion of media freedom and democracy in the troubled African country.
Rusike, as owner of Zimbabwe's first independent newspaper, The
Financial Gazette, was a towering figure in the fight for a truly free and
vibrant media in the country, often clashing with a regime whose policies
and practices are steeped in anti-democratic values and norms, an
intolerable situation which, sadly, still continues today.
He fought the good fight and ensured that his newspaper, when I and my
many colleagues worked there for years up to the early 2000s, became the
beacon for a new and campaigning journalism for Zimbabweans' real justice,
freedom and democracy.
The Financial Gazette became a symbol of hope in a sea of madness and
desperation for many Zimbabweans who suddenly awakened to their collapsing
lives and future.
As editor-in-chief of the Financial Gazette from 1997 to 2002, Rusike
gave me and my senior editors such as Nqobile Nyathi, Abel Mutsakani, Sydney
Masamvu and others virtual carte blanche in how we ran the newspaper at a
time of crisis and great political and economic turbulence.
"He was an astute media owner who totally respected the independence
of his editors when I was at the helm and ensured that commercialism and
political imperatives did not cloud the news agenda, firmly leaving his
editorial team to thrive only for high quality journalism, excellence and
relevance to steer the newspaper forward."
Issued on 13 July 2009
Editor's note: Mr Mdlongwa issued this statement in his personal
capacity. - ZimOnline
By Patience Rusere
13 July 2009
About 200 members of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe marched to
the offices of the Public Service Commission in Harare on Monday to protest
low salaries and what they allege is harassment youth militia of President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
PTUZ President Takavafira Zhou told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio
7 for Zimbabwe that the teachers, who boycotted classes on Friday, decided
to demonstrate as well to pressure the government to respond to their wage
and other demands.
The union is asking for a minimum salary of US$454 a month.
The teachers union said ZANU-PF youth militia, deeply implicated in
post-election violence in 2008, have set up bases in schools around the
country and are intimidating teachers.
Education Minister David Coltart said the government does not have the money
to meet the union's salary demands - but told VOA his ministry would look
into militia activity.
Monday, 13 July 2009 18:43
From Zim Diaspora correspondent in Harare
THIS week, Harare-based Zim Diaspora's undercover reporter set out to
unravel the activities and authenticity of a United Kingdom based human
rights organisation, Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR).
During a weeklong investigations, our reporter found out how Zimbabwe has
been besieged by different sort of evil forces - all at play in a country
where arbitrary arrests, repression, political persecution, violations of
human rights have become a way of life.
In such an environment, a haven of bogus humanitarian organisations now
exists intentions of taking advantage of a screwed-up situation. Such is a
day in life in Zimbabwe.
Our reporter picked up ROHR for validation in an attempt to protect the
beleaguered masses of Zimbabwe who have more often been victims of fake
organisation. There are many such organisations which have looted money from
I set out early in a Harare morning and my first port of call was the
National Association of Non Governmental Organization (NANGO), an umbrella
body of all Non Governmental Organization operating in Zimbabwe. In there,
access to information was not problematic, I was allowed to access the
organisation's register as a means of establishing the authentic existence
of ROHR, which I was after.
From NANGO's registration book, ROHR Zimbabwe was formed in 2007 and is
registered as a human right non-profit making organisation. ROHR is also
listed as a member of Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe.
As a journalist, there is a saying which goes "good news is good". However,
I was convinced this was a worthwhile assignment in light of the recent
controversy surrounding ROHR.
Armed with this information, I left the NANGO offices partly satified that
the organisation I was investigating has passed the litmus test, let alone
the first step of my investigation.
Now, my next step was to try and establish ROHR's physical location in
Harare as a means of confirming the real existence of this organisation.
This was paramount to prove that ROHR was not one of those organisations
administered from backyards. I also needed to find out what exactly was ROHR
doing and what have they achieved so far.
I drove around Harare for about one and half hours without any luck at all.
I reckon that is always the case with Third World countries where Navigators
are still 50 years away, that is, if Google map ever bothered to add
Zimbabwe in it.
ROHR Zimbabwe offices are located in the serene and plush suburb of
Alexandra Park at number 5 Normandy Street. The offices are professionally
manned by individuals who are undoutedly well polished in terms of
presentation and greeting strangers like myself.
What attracted my attention as soon as I entered the ROHR Harare offices was
a soft-spoken man called Mr Tichanzi Gandanga whom I was later told was
Zimbabwe's leader of the organisation.
After speaking to him for a few minutes I learnt a lot about ROHR from this
eloquent and handsome man. Mr Gandanga is a veteran human rights activist
who has suffered a lot at the hands of Zimbabwe's security agents. He has
been arrested, abducted, tortured and detained innumerable times.
It was after talking to him at length that I discovered that ROHR Zimbabwe
was formed by exiled Zimbabweans, victims of human rights abuse. These are
individuals who suffered at the hands of government sponsored evil forces of
repression in Zimbabwe. It was through talking to Mr Gandanga that I had a
full picture on how Mr Ephraim Tapa now ROHR Zimbabwe's CEO also suffered in
the hands of President Mugabe's notorious CIOs. I also got to know that
former abductees such as Gandanga, Stanley Zvorwadza and Edgar Chikuvise had
joined ROHR not as a means of making money, but as a calling to highlight
gross human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. This explained to me why ROHR
Zimbabwe's membership was growing everyday. Zimbabweans know these people
championing the human rights cause, hence atrcating membership is not a huge
"ROHR Zimbabwe's founding vision is to see Zimbabwe become a peaceful, just
and free nation that is conscious of and respect human rights. This is to be
achieved through various strategies that encompass radicalism, active
participation, awareness campaigns, capacity building in rural communities
and wholesale mobilization of Zimbabwean masses. ROHR Zimbabwe, because of
its strong belief in action, it is the power behind many powerful
demonstration that have rocked Zimbabwe to the core in recent years," said
"On the ground ROHR Zimbabwe is scoring many goals. This is as a result of
its radical approach, responsiveness and sheer bravery. The organization
first cut its teeth with investigation and exposure of the Mumbengegwi issue
in which Zanu pf Minister Mumbengegwi's wife was accused of murdering one of
her employees at her farm and claiming farm workers were like dogs. Since
then, the firebrand organization has stood shoulder and chest higher than
many of the docile but well funded human rights organizations operating here
in Zimbabwe," he said.
"The organization's funding comes mainly from its many overseas based and
local well wishers who desire to see a human right engendered Zimbabwe. Also
unique in their funding structure is membership fees paid by thousands
across the world. The structure is only peculiar to them and this adds
impetus to their activities as well as guards against funds abuse and
docility. To their credit ROHR Zimbabwe is finally becoming the face of
human awareness campaigns and a knight of rural communities' mobilization,"
Mr Gandanga said ROHR Zimbabwe' physical presence in the country's ten
provinces makes it the most important human right organsation in Zimbabwe.
"We are pleased with our capable leadership in England and in South Africa
which assist in resource mobilisation thereby making us more effective in
executing our work. I can now tell you that ROHR Zimbabwe is now known right
in every corner of Zimbabwe. We have started off programmes in grass root
level of training people about their right to have rights," he said.
Mr Gandanga highlighted that a lot needed to be done in Zimbabwe as far as
human rights issues are concerned.
"Of particular concern are the continuing arbitrary arrests, abductions and
detention of opposition forces and human rights activists. ROHR Zimbabwe has
also noted with concern and has highlighted to the government the need to
move away from pretending that victims of violence have forgiven the
perpetrators because they set up the National Healing Commission. We are
currently moving around the country to educate people to avoid retribution.
We agreed to do this after realising that many people in Zimbabwe are
extremely bitter with ZANU-PF did to them," he said.
Mr Gandanga added that: "We would like the Unity government to work but as
of now it looks like nothing but a symbol of Mugabe's intransigency of
relinquishing power. To us Mugabe remains an icon of repression and we would
like him to leave office for the good of Zimbabweans".
ROHR's director of Information, Mr. Edgar Chikuvise said there was a need
for Mr Mugabe to dismantle his evil machinations that has caused a lot of
suffering in the country since he took office in 1980.
On constitutional matters, ROHR Zimbabwe, he said, it was a sacred right for
every Zimbabwean to participate in such a process of governance to the
realisation of rights and other freedoms. As such, he said ROHR Zimbabwe is
strongly opposed to the imposition of the Kariba draft upon the people of
Zimbabwe. The organisation believes that the Kariba draft should only be
used as a soft landing spot or as reference only, said Mr Chikuvise.
ROHR Zimbabwe is currently lobbying the government to include human rights
in the schools curriculum.
Much of their activities and source of funds could not be drawn due to their
policy of not sharing much of their private information.
From the interviews, the evidence seen and past experiences ROHR Zimbabwe
thrust, vision and objectives remains the dream of every Zimbabwean. Its
idea of lobbying the government to include a curriculum on human rights in
every stage of education is as good as it comes.
July 14th, 2009
The week proved to be another one of frustration although pressure is
building on the Transitional Government to confront the real issues impeding
the much mooted economic revival. Mistrust at the top level, continues to
interfere with day to day cooperation and this, in turn, is holding up the
implementation of policy.
However, much is being done in ministries where the former opposition
parties have control and legislation is being prepared to deal with a number
of long outstanding matters of concern. The budget is expected next week and
this has, to some extent, resulted in caution as exemplified by the stock
exchange where activity is flat as investors trade cautiously.
Property and Consumer/retail are the best performing sectors as opposed to
those that struggle to take advantage of a growing market due to lack of
funding. To compound this, local product remains expensive or provides
retailers less margin. This is due to high cost electricity, rent and raw
materials (high interest rates).
Fuel shortages exasperate an already difficult situation but it is believed
that a new energy policy will address this by liberalising the industry to
allow market forces to determine conditions. Despite short term political
uncertainty, Zimbabwe is now proving to be an attractive investment
14 July 2009
By Hilaire Avril
PARIS - In 2007, the French corruption watchdog Catholic Committee against
Hunger and for Development (known by its French acronym CCFD) issued a first
report on the colossal sums stolen by corrupt heads of states and hidden in
mostly Western secret bank accounts. Figures are hard to come by, given the
secrecy that shrouds such looting of public funds.
But CCFD's research came up with assets worth between an estimated 105 to
180 billion dollars, stolen by 30 corrupt regimes.
CCFD recently published a second report, signalling a massive discrepancy
between ambitious recovery targets and embezzled sums effectively retrieved
to date. Despite numerous legal proceedings, less than five percent of
assets stolen have so far been recovered.
"Dirty money doesn't acknowledge borders, whereas justice systems still
function according to strict geographic boundaries," says Jean Merckaert,
CCFD's lead campaigner in France. The report says 4,4 billion dollars has
been recovered, and a further 2,7 billion dollars frozen.
"In some cases, Western governments are in no hurry to divulge
misappropriated assets located on their territory. They would rather not
disclose their support to some of these corrupt leaders, even after their
deaths," Merkaert explains.
The sums diverted are so considerable that it has a direct negative impact
on many countries' development. The World Bank and the United Nations Office
on Drugs and Crime, which launched the stolen assets recovery initiative
(STaR) in 2007, say corruption is draining between 20 and 40 billion dollars
a year from developing countries. Such amounts dwarf development assistance.
Beyond the depletion of precious public funds, such looting of the public
treasury often generates mounting public debt. Mobutu Sese Seko, former
leader of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), not only diverted an
estimated six billion dollars from his state's coffers, he left the country
with international debt of 13 billion dollars.
In comparison, the country's total health budget for 2009 amounts to 41
million dollars, states CCFD.
The publication of the initial report in 2007 helped a number of civil
society groups to launch legal proceedings in France's courts to recover
some of these assets located on French soil. Complaints were lodged against
specific leaders, among who are Denis Sassou-Nguesso of Congo and the late
president of Gabon, Omar Bongo.
"It was astonishingly easy to track some of these ill-acquired properties.
Several of these names are listed openly in the French phone book,"
according to Merkaert. "Some of these corrupt leaders are so used to utter
impunity they do not bother with discretion."
A large part of diverted public funds is never properly accounted for in
their country of origin in the first place. Some are undeclared proceeds
from mining and oil concessions, a practice the multilateral Extractive
Industries Transparency Initiative is currently struggling to limit.
According to CCFD, Sassou-Nguesso's regime "forgot" to account for billions
of dollars worth of oil revenue between 2003 and 2005.
Once abroad, funds are hard to trace. Most sums end up in tax havens and
countries which allow opaque legal practices, such as trusts or foundations
never compelled to reveal their true owners. Many recovery procedures have
bumped into banking confidentiality, with local authorities turning down
victims' requests to assist them in identifying accounts where the assets
have been hidden.
Some assets are also laundered and "recycled". The Bongo family is said to
own a mansion on avenue Foch, one of central Paris's most expensive
addresses, among other prime items of real estate.
The 2007 legal proceedings have not yet yielded results. Despite confirming
the existence of the suspicious assets and even adding new ones to the list,
French courts have declared the plaintiffs had "insufficient cause".
"We are now waiting for the Court of Appeals to decide on Sept 17, 2009 if
it is qualified to hear these cases," says Merkaert. Such delays have
sometimes allowed the culprits or their descendants to move the funds to
other accounts and countries. The partial restitution of the Marcos funds to
the Philippines happened after a 17-year campaign.
Jean-Marc Bikoko, from Cameroon, has been trying to tackle the problem from
the other end, in Yaoundé. The public sector union leader campaigns to
recover funds looted by former Cameroonian ministers -- an uphill battle.
"All civil society can do is investigate and urge the administration to take
action," he explains.
"But the Cameroonian National Commission against Corruption has consistently
been staffed with tainted characters, themselves accused of corruption, and
the president reserves the right to approve its reports," he laments.
"Campaigning for the recovery of stolen funds exposes you to endless
harassment. As a civil servant, you are systematically vilified, often sued
and sometimes jailed," he adds.
But raising awareness of the cost of corruption has led some international
organisations to pay more attention to embezzlement by corrupt politicians.
The United Nations Convention Against Corruption, signed in 2003, built on
"Although not every country has signed the convention, this is a major step:
five years ago, we had no legal avenues to retrieve stolen assets. Now,
their recovery by the country of origin is a recognized principle in
international law," indicates Merkaert.
But only national governments can enforce such principles. "Many of Mobutu's
assets (including one of Belgian colonialist king Leopold's castles near
Brussels) have been located but the current Congolese administration does
not seem keen to recover them. Is that because one of Mobutu's sons sits in
the current government?" Merkaert asks.
"The recent commitment against tax havens taken at the London G20 summit is
a good sign but we increasingly face the problem of 'legal havens',
countries which make recovery proceedings exceedingly hard," says Merkaert.
"In the past, France has turned down a request by Nigeria for legal
assistance in retrieving funds stolen by former president Sani Abacha,
stashed in French bank accounts, on the grounds that the official request
was written in English, not French."
Inter Press Service (IPS)
July 14, 2009
THE Commonwealth Organisations’ Roundtable on Zimbabwe, held in Johannesburg July 7 – 9, 2009, brought together Zimbabwe civil society, local government, parliamentarians from the region and other partners, and those from the Southern African region, with representatives of Commonwealth Associations and Organisations in order to:
Commonwealth Organisations welcomed the recent visit of the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe to the United Kingdom and his interaction with Commonwealth representatives on that occasion; they noted the commitment by the Prime Minister to the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and to realising the benchmarks set out by the Zimbabwe Government in this regard.
Discussions at the Roundtable centred on key areas including governance, democracy and the citizen; social protection and human resource development; humanitarian assistance and the rehabilitation of infrastructure; economic stabilisation, reconstruction and development.
Commonwealth organisations reaffirmed the commitment expressed in the Kampala Civil Society Statement “Realising People’s Potential” to engage with the people of Zimbabwe and commit resources to planning and development for the future.
Commonwealth organisations, regional and Zimbabwean partners indentified the areas where support was required, noting that the full implementation of the GPA is an urgent necessity including the restoration of human rights, the rule of law and the freedom of the media:
Zimbabwe’s economy has collapsed but steps have been taken to reverse its decline. Commonwealth business organisations and investment agencies will be encouraged to play an active role in the rebuilding of the economy. Support for micro finance and small enterprises will be explored through Commonwealth networks.
The Roundtable recognised the scale of the challenges facing the Inclusive Government and its need for regional, Commonwealth and international support to address these. A Special Programme for Zimbabwe will be developed by Commonwealth Organisations with Zimbabwean and regional partners, drawing on the strengths of the Commonwealth’s unique networks across more than 50 countries and responding to requests for advice, training and practical support. Such a programme will be an essential means to strengthen the links between the people of Zimbabwe, the people of the Commonwealth and the wider international community to support the process of reconstruction and development. The Special Programme will be communicated to CHOGM through the Commonwealth Peoples’ Forum, in Trinidad and Tobago in November 2009.
Johannesburg, July 9, 2009
By Lance Guma
14 July 2009
Founding Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) commander Ackim Ndlovu
was declared a national hero last week, despite living the life of a pauper
after being neglected by government. Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme told
us he met the 77 year old Ndlovu in Mpopoma in 2003 and he was battling high
medical bills after losing his leg to cancer. His colleagues in ZAPU, which
recently broke away from ZANU PF, have slammed the hypocrisy of Mugabe's
party in acknowledging Ndlovu's contribution, but only when he had died.
ZAPU also say they felt insulted the ZANU PF politburo only consulted
amongst themselves to decide on his hero status. There was a delay in making
the decision leading his family to make a decision to bury him at Lady
Stanley Cemetery in Bulawayo. At the last minute ZANU PF buckled to pressure
and declared him a national hero. 'Ackim Ndlovu is a hero of heroes who does
not deserve to suffer the indignity of having to be "vetted" by people, some
of whom were not even born when he started the armed struggle,' a ZAPU
The partisan nature of conferring hero status has remained controversial to
this day. Only last month veteran politician and MDC Chirumanzu Senator
Patrick Kombayi, was over-looked for hero status, despite what his party
felt was a huge contribution to the liberation war. ZAPU has also had the
likes of its commander Lookout Masuku, Swazini Ndlovu, Masala Sibanda and
Wilford Lizzat Sibanda, buried in Bulawayo instead of the national shrine.
Even those accorded hero status like Clemence Muchachi, a top six member of
ZAPU, suffered neglect just like Ndlovu. Muchachi for example was ferried to
hospital in a scotch cart when he was ill.
But as is often the case, any liberation fighter who went against ZANU PF
after independence automatically got over-looked for hero status. The most
shocking decision to date was the refusal to acknowledge ZANU founder
Ndabaningi Sithole as a national hero, after he later went into opposition
politics. ZANU PF hid behind cooked up accusations that he had planned the
assassination of Mugabe using landmines on a Harare road. He was sentenced
to two years in prison, but died before serving any time in jail.
The MDC have since February this year been calling for the unity government
to make all decisions on hero status instead of ZANU PF's politburo. 'Hero
status must be conferred by an all-stakeholders' body with no single
subjective interest in the conferment of such national status on any
individual,' the party said in a statement.
July 14, 2009
Afghanistan's first foray into the world of international cricket following
the ICC World Cup Qualifiers could happen as soon as the end of July.
Zimbabwe Cricket has confirmed that it is looking at possibly staging its
opening four-day match in the 2009-10 Intercontinental Cup at home to
Afghanistan on July 30.
Zimbabwe, who will be fielding an A team in the competition, albeit not
under that name, will then host a match against Kenya at the start of