Saturday, 18 July 2009 21:14
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week issued an uncharacteristic
veiled attack on President Robert Mugabe for refusing to accept electoral
defeat in last year's poll.
Giving a keynote address at a two-day national vision workshop in
Harare on Friday Tsvangirai said he wished to see a Zimbabwe where leaders
are chosen by the people and "incumbents" step down once defeated in a poll.
"I envisage a Zimbabwe where political leaders are elected to serve
the people and not their own interests, where incumbents stand down
gracefully if they lose an election," Tsvangirai said amid applause from
delegates who attended the two-day conference.
Political analysts said the attack was directed at Mugabe, who has
ruled the country for the past 29 years and was trounced by Tsvangirai in
the first round of last year's presidential election.
The MDC-T leader however failed to garner the 50% plus one vote that
was needed to claim the presidency.
After losing the election Mugabe's supporters embarked on a violent
campaign that claimed lives of over 200 MDC activists resulting in
Tsvangirai pulling out of a run-off election.
"I want membership of a political party to be no more divisive or
dangerous than membership of a football club," Tsvangirai said.
"Working towards a common vision is not possible if we do not
acknowledge, accept and put aside the differences that divide us today.
"Such divisions have the potential to derail the pursuit of any common
The six-month-old inclusive government of Zanu PF and the MDC
formations is going through turbulent times as Mugabe continues to flout
with impunity the Global Political Agreement (GPA), signed on September15
Mugabe has refused to replace central bank governor Gideon Gono and
Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, after he unilaterally re-appointed the two
against provisions of the GPA.
The MDC has taken the issue to the Southern African Development
Community, the guarantors of the GPA.
Speaking at the same meeting, former Minister of Defence in Mugabe's
government in the 1980s, Enos Nkala accused the 85-year-old leader of
ruining the country.
He said it was not true that smart sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe were
the cause of the current economic crisis.
"If Smith (Ian) managed to survive sanctions why can't we?
"Where have the gold and platinum reserves gone? The problem is we are
looting! Let's stop this looting and develop the country," charged Nkala.
He said Mugabe must stop attacking America and Britain and concentrate
on reconstructing the country he has ruined.
"My friend (Mugabe) is very eloquent and clever but spends most of his
time shouting at other nations."
Acting President Joice Mujuru urged participants to use the Vision
2020 document to draft the new national vision, dubbed Vision 2040.
But Zapu interim chairman Dumiso Dabengwa said Zimbabwe needs a
permanent national vision that is people-centred, non-partisan and that does
not fall away when a new administration assumes power.
Dabengwa said previous visions failed because they did capture the
people's aspirations and were also partisan in nature.
He said the much-hyped Vision 2020, crafted by Mugabe's
administration, collapsed because it did not capture the aspirations of the
ordinary people as it was foisted on them.
But Zanu PF apologist Obadiah Msindo said there was need for national
healing and reconciliation before the crafting of a national vision.
"It's not possible to come up with a national vision when people are
not free to say what they want, when there is so much political tension in
the country," said Msindo, who is Destiny of Africa Network founder.
With the theme, Zimbabwe Vision 2040: Collectively shaping our destiny
in pursuit of a shared national vision, the conference which ended yesterday
was designed to gather views that would form a common national vision.
The conference, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, was
attended by officials from Zanu PF, the two MDC formations, Zapu,
non-governmental organizations and civil society organisations.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 18 July 2009 21:01
NYANGA - Finance Minister Tendai Biti yesterday said he will quit the
inclusive government if he is forced to resuscitate the Zimbabwean dollar,
because he is determined to ensure that his policies are not reversed.
Last month President Robert Mugabe told Zanu PF's National
Consultative Assembly he wanted the worthless dollar which was taken out of
circulation following the formation of the unity government re-introduced
because people had no access to multiple currencies.
But Biti told the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe
Winter School yesterday that the Zimbabwe dollar would not return anytime
"The most important thing is that the Zimbabwe dollar is not coming
"If I have to bring the Zimbabwe dollar back into circulation, I will
go back to my law firm at 200 Herbert Chitepo Avenue."
Biti is a partner at a leading Harare law firm Honey and Blanckenberg.
In calling for the return of the dollar, Mugabe said rural people were
being forced to trade using the livestock because they did not have foreign
"We can't have a country like that," Mugabe told party members. "We
are considering going back to our own currency. People must get money."
But Biti, who set aside US$6 million in his mid-term budget review to
mop up the Zimbabwean dollar, said the demonetisation of the local currency
would allow the government to stop quasi-fiscal activities by the RBZ.
Biti said he was working on a legal framework to ensure that the
central bank sticks to its core business. The framework should be in place
by the end of this month.
"I want to ensure that all the omissions and commissions of the past
don't happen again," he said. "We want the RBZ to stick to its core
business.there is no reason why a central bank should be buying dresses and
He said the number of central bank deputy governors would be reduced
from the current four to two to increase the number of non-executive board
members to nine.
Under the proposals the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance
will sit on the board but will not have voting rights.
He also said that he had removed the section, which allows the
government to order the RBZ to carry out activities outside its core duties.
The MDC-T secretary general said he was going to introduce the RBZ
restructuring of debt Act to service the US$1.1 billion debt of the central
Under this Act, Biti said the debt would be transferred to a vehicle
run by an appointed administrator with powers to liquidate.
He said the money owed to mines would be repaid in gold bonds approved
by his ministry. The gold bonds which had already been issued were just
Biti said by the end of year he was looking forward to the RBZ being a
On the issue of the government having received US$950 million from
China Biti said: "There are too many ministers of finance. This Minister of
Finance has not received US$950 million whether from China, Shanghai, Mumbai
However, he acknowledged that he had received US$10 million and a
consignment of soya beans from the Chinese.
BY KUDZAI KUWAZA
Saturday, 18 July 2009 20:56
EIGHT workers for the co-Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi, are
facing attempted murder charges after they severely assaulted 11 villagers
who were reportedly trying to recover their cattle from the minister's farm
Mohadi's workers are now facing attempted murder charges in a case
that threatens to expose an attempt by the police to cover up for the
vicious attack on the villagers.
According to records at the Beitbridge magistrates' courts, Mohadi and
11 villagers from Chabetha and Shanyaugwe villages are fighting for the
ownership of a herd of cattle whose number is still unclear.
The villagers reportedly drove the cattle from a farm belonging to
Mohadi to their homesteads, claiming that the beasts were stolen from them.
It is the state's case that Mohadi's workers, Salso Ncube (18), Rodger
Mukoni (58), Tamson Sibanda (31), Dukana Sibanda (32), Kenneth Ndou (22),
Keitumetsi Mbedzi (29), Knowledge Ncube (24) and Soul Noku descended on the
two villages between April 25 and 30 searching for the villagers.
They allegedly assaulted 11 villagers with fan belts, sticks, open
hands and booted feet accusing them of stealing the minister's cattle.
The accused also hammered a nail in the upper left arm of one of the
complainants, Dumisani Moyo.
Mohadi then made a report at Zezani police station accusing the
villagers of stealing his cattle.
But when the matter went to court, the prosecutors refused to handle
the case saying the villagers were badly beaten.
They said there were also no witness statements from the police
implicating the villagers.
The matter was taken back to the police station for further
The minister's workers are being charged with contravening Section 189
of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, attempted murder and
They will appear in court on August 31.
BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA
Saturday, 18 July 2009 20:53
ROY Bennett the deputy agriculture minister designate cannot attend
urgent meetings in South Africa because Attorney General Johannes Tomana
(pictured) won't release his passport.
Since Bennett's arrest in February and subsequent release on bail, the
State has stubbornly held onto his passport as part of stringent bail
The Movement for Democratic Change-T treasurer faces charges of
possessing illegal weapons of war allegedly to commit acts of terrorism.
Bennett denies the charges outright.
The MDC-T has been pressing President Robert Mugabe to swear in
Bennett as deputy agriculture minister without further delay.
However, Tomana's reluctance to relax Bennett's bail conditions -
given his imminent swearing in expected next month - has fuelled suspicions
that the AG was hell bent on derailing the inclusive government.
Yesterday MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa hit out at Tomana saying his
actions were divisive.
Chamisa said Tomana's attitude was the "single largest threat to
On Wednesday lawyers Mtetwa and Nyambirai Legal Practitioners wrote to
the AG's office requesting Bennett's passport. They also wanted his bail
Their request was turned down by Michael Mugabe, a law officer
standing in for Tomana.
As a result, Bennett's lawyers filed an urgent chamber application at
the High Court.
However, High Court judge Justice Francis Bere dismissed the
application on the grounds the reasons given by Bennett's lawyers on the
certificate of urgency were "scant and very conservative".
The judge said the deputy minister-designate had "a good case but had
chosen a wrong route".
In his affidavit, Bennett said the stance by the AG's office was a
threat to the inclusive government.
Bennett said the AGs decision had gone against expectations,
especially considering that other parties involved in the matter had not
"I repeat that the respondent's stance has no discernable legal basis
and is clearly motivated by malice as the administration of justice will not
in any way be jeopardised by relaxing the bail conditions as prayed," said
Bennett in court papers.
Tomana was the only respondent in the case.
The MDC-T has been pushing for Tomana's removal from office on the
grounds that his re-appointment was unprocedural. The party was also wary of
his undisguised allegiance to Zanu PF.
Last month the main witness Peter Hitschmann in the case against
Bennett said he would not testify against the former Chimanimani MP. He said
the allegations were mere fabrications. Bennett's trial is scheduled for
MDC-T secretary general, Tendai Biti said: "He (Bennett) should not be
facing those charges and to deny him his freedom of movement is very
unfortunate," he said.
"This puts question marks on the legi
Saturday, 18 July 2009 20:50
KARIBA - The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, stung by
accusations that it is a paper tiger, has turned the heat on the state media
accusing it of poisoning the new political dispensation.
Thabitha Khumalo who represents the MDC-T on Jomic - a tripartite
forum monitoring the implementation of the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) - said they were worried that the state media had relapsed into
"disseminating hate speech".
"We had a meeting with the media executives and explained to them what
was expected of them in terms of the MoU," she said.
"We noticed a short-lived reform but we are concerned that in the past
four weeks, the state media has reverted back to its old ways of giving
coverage biased towards one party while denigrating others."
Khumalo's statement follows comments by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai that the government-controlled media was violating the GPA by
continuing to serve partisan interests.
"It is a fact that in contravention of both the letter and spirit of
the GPA, the state media continues to serve partisan interests, thereby
failing to fulfill their mandate as a public service to the people of
Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai told journalists at the Gweru Press Club recently.
Tsvangirai gave an example of how the state media vilified him when he
went on a tour of the United States and Europe to drum up financial support
for the inclusive government.
In response to the biased coverage, The Prime Minister's office
recently started its own newsletter to update Zimbabweans on its activities.
But President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba recently
told the state media that he was studying the publication to see if it was
not violating the country's draconian media laws.
Khumalo said Jomic was also concerned about the coverage of the chaos
that characterised the All Stakeholders' Conference on the new constitution,
which the ZBC tried to blame on the MDC, workers, students and the National
Zanu PF officials and ministers were seen urging on the rowdy elements
who forced the suspension of the first day's programme.
"You also find that they continue to ensure that Zanu PF officials
appear on screen articulating their views but when it comes to MDC, they do
a voice over and we say that is wrong," she said.
Jomic is made up of 12 members, with four drawn from each of the
country's three main political parties, Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 18 July 2009 20:45
BULAWAYO - Another Gweru farmer was murdered at his home last week, a
few days after a Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) director was killed by
The murders have rekindled memories of the terror that hit the country's
agricultural sector nine years ago.
Ray van Rensburg (76), an abattoir assistant at Fairhill Farm just
outside the Midlands capital, died on Wednesday after he was attacked by
unknown assailants at night.
This happened hardly a week after the burial of Bob Vaughan-Evans, a
regional director of the CFU in Gweru who was also killed by unknown
Vaughan-Evans' 80-year-old wife is still hospitalised following the
Trevor Shaw, a member of the CFU in Gweru, said the assailants forced
their way into Van Rensburg's house after breaking a kitchen window.
They broke the kitchen window before opening the main door which was
locked from inside.
"The incident happened on Wednesday evening," Shaw said. "We
discovered that the kitchen window had been broken and this is how the
assailants gained their way into the house.
"They could have used a smaller person to go in and open the door from
inside since it was bolted from inside."
He said on the fateful day Van Rensburg who used a hearing aid had
removed the device before retiring to bed. "He had removed the hearing aid
he used before he went to sleep. After the assailants had broken into the
house, they struck him at the back of the head twice as in the Vaughan-Evans'
case and he died in his bed," Shaw said.
The assailants made off with Van Rensburg's wallet that had US$25. No
other property was stolen from the house. Shaw said the motive for the
attack was still unclear. Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner
Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the case yesterday.
But he could not provide further details saying he was failing to
raise police handling the case.
Several commercial farmers were murdered in cold blood at the height
of the land invasions that began in 2000 and received President Robert
Mugabe's tacit support.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 18 July 2009 20:37
BULAWAYO - High Court judge Justice Maphios Cheda's car that was
damaged by a pothole has been repaired by the government after he threatened
to sue the city council, his lawyer said last week.
Cheda threatened legal action after his official Mercedes vehicle
incurred a repairs bill of US$ 1 681.
He said two wheels and rims were damaged when he hit a pothole on a
poorly-lit stretch of Leopold Takawira Avenue on May 24.
Council refused to meet the bill from Zimoco, the Mercedes Benz
dealership in the country saying the road was under the jurisdiction of the
Ministry of Transport.
Government took over trunk roads from the management of local
authorities in 2007.
It emerged this week that the Ministry of Justice, which employs
Cheda, paid the bill but is now demanding that the Ministry of Transport
re-imburse it because it was supposed to pay for the repairs.
Cheda's lawyer, Job Sibanda of Job Sibanda & Associates, confirmed
that the repairs had been carried out.
"My client is happy that his car has been taken for repairs," he said
"The tyres and the rims have been replaced and we are told the
Ministry of Justice is the one that intervened and took the vehicle for
Sibanda said the judge was told that the Ministry of Justice would
recover its money from the Ministry of Transport.
"It is now an issue between the two government departments," Sibanda
"They are now discussing how to handle the matter since they all
belong to one government.
"We are happy that the vehicle is out of the garage and the judge is
now in possession of that vehicle."
Zimbabwe's road network is littered with potholes and Cheda's case
might open floodgates for similar claims.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 18 July 2009 20:33
THE Harare city council is threatening legal action against residents
who are failing to pay outstanding rates, setting the stage for a serious
showdown with ratepayers.
Residents who have refused to settle their bills in the absence of
services have started receiving final letters of demand from the beleaguered
According to one of the letters sent to Lesley Petho of Highlands who
owed US$131, council warned that failure to pay within seven days would
result in "legal action being effected without further warning to you, with
costs charged to your account".
Petho said he had since paid because he feared legal action but was
still unhappy about council's threats.
"I paid because they were threatening to take me to court," he said.
"But it is unfair considering that I did not receive any service from
"These rates include such things as refuse removal which has not
occurred for years and they also include charges for water which we receive
once a week in Highlands."
However, thousands of residents who are in his predicament are
threatening to take council head-on as they feel it is not entitled to their
money because of its shoddy service delivery record.
Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) chief executive officer
Barnabas Mangodza said his organisation was handling a number of complaints
from residents who want to challenge council.
"They have to justify their demands," he said. "It will only be fair
if the charges are proportionate to service delivery or at least be
commensurate with provision of at least basic services like water and refuse
But Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said his council, which took over
from successive commissions imposed by the Minister of Local Government and
Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, needed to start from somewhere.
"If they start talking about the poor state of things, they want us to
get into the blame game and start asking such questions as who is
responsible for the deterioration?" Masunda said.
"But how will that help us? Even me, for the past four years, I have
not had water at Chisipite where I stay but I have been paying council dues.
It is only when we pay that council will have resources with which to
improve its service."
He said council was working on improving the provision of water after
receiving US$2.4 million from the government.
The money would be used to install a line to provide uninterrupted
power to Morton Jaffray Waterworks.
Masunda said council was also working on sourcing adequate water
He said council was engaged in talks with the French and German
embassies who have promised to facilitate the repair of refuse compactors.
Council has not collected refuse in many parts of the city for years
because it could not service equipment.
"Part of the problem was due to lack of compactors because over the
years council's automotive workshop degenerated into an automotive
graveyard, with not even a single functioning vehicle," he said.
But Mangodza said council's threats would not work.
"We also have lawyers on standby and we urge all affected parties to
contact us so we can assist each other", he said. "It has always been our
position that people cannot pay for services that have not been provided."
Mangodza said council was to blame for the chaos because it ignored
pleas by residents to reduce its rates to affordable levels in view of the
high unemployment levels.
The lucky ones with jobs earn an average of US$100 a month, while an
average municipal bill for families in high-density suburbs is US$20 a
He said council could raise more revenue by charging affordable rates
that would encourage residents to pay.
"Councils should stop overcharging residents and finding joy in
threatening them with legal action yet knowing all too well that some of
these people are pensioners whose earnings amount to nothing."
CHRA says it recently carried out a study that showed that 55% of the
Harare council's revenue went towards salaries.
Mangodza urged the local authority to consider other
revenue-generating methods to reduce its reliance on rates and tariffs.
Councils must also consult widely before coming up with budgets to
avoid resistance from ratepayers, he said.
Residents are also demanding that the city council do away with its
top heavy management structure, which they said gobbled up most of the money
that could be used to finance service delivery.
CHRA says the local authority must return to its old system where it
used to be run under five departments instead of the current nine.
Meanwhile, CHRA has petitioned Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai asking
his office to investigate the treatment of ratepayers by municipalities
across the country.
Mangodza said among other issues, CHRA appraised Tsvangirai on the
need for institutional reforms in councils, harmonisation of local
government legislation and reduction of the excessive powers wielded by the
Minister of Local Government.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 18 July 2009 20:24
BULAWAYO - The inclusive government is drafting a Bill to guide the
emotive national healing process, which will spell out measures to be taken
against perpetrators of political violence.
The Bill will address issues of compensation, amnesty and the period
to be covered by the new dispensation.
However, there is still debate on the way forward with human rights
groups advocating for the prosecution of perpetrators of electoral violence
while the government seems to favour amnesty.
The Minister of State in the Prime Minister's office, Gorden Moyo,
said he was aware of the proposed Bill.
"I am aware that a legal framework or instrument to guide the process
is being worked on and will be brought before parliament soon for debate,"
However, he could not comment further on the matter saying it was
Zanu PF chairman, John Nkomo, MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda and
Sekai Holland of MDC-T are the joint ministers responsible for national
Nkomo refused to comment on the legal instrument last week while
Sibanda and Holland were not available. The other ministers could not be
reached for comment.
A conference on national healing was planned for sometime this week
but Moyo said it had been put on hold to allow for ongoing consultations on
the new constitution.
"There has been a lot of activity on the constitution-making process,
that is why national healing seems to be moving at a snail's pace," Moyo
"The issue of a constitution has deadlines that have to be met whereas
the national healing process is a lifelong process.it is supposed to be
there continually, it does not start somewhere and stop somewhere," he said.
Zimbabwe last year experienced one of the worst episodes of political
violence since the Gukurahundi atrocities.
The violence was largely blamed on militant supporters of President
Robert Mugabe who were angered by the veteran leader's poor performance
against Tsvangirai in the March 2008 polls.
The MDC-T says more than 200 of its supporters died in the violence,
thousands were tortured and hundreds others were forced to flee their homes.
Tired of waiting for justice to prevail, victims have been taking the
law into their own hands and trying to recover their property from Zanu PF
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Saturday, 18 July 2009 17:38
BULAWAYO - Three MDC MPs last week approached the High Court seeking
an order barring the party from proceeding with disciplinary hearings
The three legislators were suspended together with five other senior
party officials for alleged misconduct.
They were accused of disrespecting and de-campaigning Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara's leadership and campaigning for the MDC - T.
Early this month, the eight officials walked out of a disciplinary
hearing protesting against procedures.
In the application filed on July 14, the three MPs Njabuliso Mguni
(Lupane North), Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East) and Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi
South) through their lawyer Thamsanqa Khumalo of Khumalo and Attorneys,
demand to be furnished with "proper" allegations, their places of
occurrences, the list of witnesses and summaries or synopsis' of the
evidence or witnesses' statements.
Alex Goosen, a senior official in the Mutambara camp is the fourth
applicant in the matter.
The officials want the July 4 hearings to be set aside until the
committee hearing their cases is reconstituted.
The chairperson of the disciplinary committee, Lyson Mlambo is cited
as the first respondent while the party is the second respondent.
In their affidavits, the officials argue that the allegations levelled
against them are still unclear.
"As far as I am concerned, the allegations are too vague," Goosen said
in his affidavit.
"The period between October 2008 and April 2009 is seven months long.
"It should be possible for the respondents to advise me precisely
where and when I am alleged to have committed the acts of misconduct."
Mpofu said he does not understand why he was being charged with
associating with the MDC-T since the faction resolved last year that it will
support Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of the aborted June 27
presidential run-off election.
"I am accused of interacting with MDC-T or collaborating with their
structures," he said.
"I am supposed to have done this in the period June 2008 and April
2009. This is a period of 10 months.
"I will understand if I am accused of campaigning for MDC-T this year
for that makes more sense."
On the other hand Mguni argues that during the time he was accused of
holding meetings in Lupane allegedly campaigning for Tsvangirai he was in
the United Kingdom.
Bhebhe who is accused of integrating the party's structures with those
of the MDC-T says all the allegations levelled against him are not true.
Bhebhe argues that he did not integrate the MDC structures with those
of the MDC-T as alleged by his party.
The MP also argued that the July 4 hearings violated the party's
constitution, which guarantees "open, transparent and democratic decision
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 18 July 2009 17:30
HARARE - A senior police officer in Beitbridge who refused to
investigate allegations that police severely assaulted two prison officers
accused of leaking information to the media was last week convicted of
contempt of court.
Chief Inspector Cuthbert Mandere defied a court order instructing him
to investigate allegations that a Detective Inspector Moyo of the Law and
Order section in Gwanda heavily assaulted Bhekinkosi Nkomo (28) and Sayanai
Muchechese (26) of Beitbridge Prison.
The two were accused of smuggling into Beitbridge Prison investigative
reporters from the South African Broadcasting Corporation's special
The SABC in March produced a documentary about conditions in Zimbabwe's
jails that showed prisoners suffering from severe malnutrition.
The prison officers were immediately charged with contravening the
Official Secrets Act.
But the charges were dropped for lack of evidence.
Nkomo and Muchechesi then made a complaint to the court saying they
were badly assaulted by Moyo.
This prompted Beitbridge prosecutor Tasi Moyo to write a letter to
Mandere, who is the officer-in-charge in the district ordering him to
investigate the alleged assault.
But Mandere refused to investigate the case arguing that it was "too
sensitive and political".
Moyo issued a warrant of arrest leading to Mandere's arrest.
Last week Beitbridge magistrate Ignatius Mhene found Mandere guilty of
defying court orders.
But the senior police officer was spared jail when he was cautioned
The documentary showed sickly inmates who appeared to be deprived of
food and medical care.
The SABC journalists said they worked with some wardens and police
They said the film was shot over three months with cameras smuggled
into the prisons.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was quoted as saying the
documentary, which shocked many Zimbabweans due to its horrifying images,
was "a fraud".
He claimed the images were shot in other countries.
BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA
Saturday, 18 July 2009 16:52
THE Zimbabwe Prison Services (ZPS) has described conditions in the
country's jails as an embarrassment to the criminal justice system, in its
first admission that prisoners are dying of starvation.
There are reports that dozens of prisoners are dying of malnutrition
every month because of serious food shortages at the overcrowded prisons
across the country.
ZPS deputy commissioner, Washington Chimboza, recently told a workshop
organised by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) that years of
under-funding had led to serious shortages of food, clothing, cooking
utensils and transport.
He said since 2006 the prisons had recorded the worst death rates in
the history of the service.
"The most severe cases were experienced in 2008 where pellagra was
rampant in our prisons," Chimboza said.
"Malnutrition acted as a catalyst to most deaths given that where
cases of opportunistic infections were evident, it was impossible to
commence one on medication since there was no food in the country in general
and particularly in prisons."
The ZPS had not been able to satisfy any of its statutory obligations
because it was heavily incapacitated, he said.
"Our inability to honour such a mandatory obligation (feeding
prisoners) has caused untold suffering to the inmate population in our
custody," he said.
The country has 46 prisons and 26 satellites, with a total carrying
capacity of 17 000.
The current prison population is 12 971 of which 2 672 people are in
Female prisons have 694 inmates. Earlier this year, Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa claimed that footage for a SABC documentary that exposed
the shocking conditions at the country's jails was shot from jails in other
But the government has since admitted that the situation is dire and
called on well wishers to come to its rescue.
On transport, Chimboza said ZPS had four vehicles only which have been
down since September last year and they could not be serviced because the
costs were always higher than was allocated from the fiscus.
"We are statutorily required to service the High Court and all other
courts throughout the country, but we have become an embarrassment to the
criminal justice system," Chimboza said.
"An offender is expected to be back in court for either remand or
trial after two weeks in custody but we even have cases where offenders have
spent up to a year without access to court such as in Marondera."
Chimboza said due to transport challenges the service requested that
such prisons as Marondera be declared places of holding court but still the
magistrates, prosecutors and other officers would fail to attend court
citing transport problems.
Chimboza also said the prisons virtually had no cooking utensils, with
Chikurubi which has an average holding capacity of 2 000 inmates with only
two cooking pots.
"This presents a problem with cooking", he said. "In Chikurubi for
example, we have 26 steam pots all of which are not functioning.
"We thus had to run around and got two cast pots from other prisons
and those are the ones we are currently using.
In the past, we would also ask for empty drums from such companies as
Lafarge to use for cooking but of late we cannot even get the drums."
He said even if the food was cooked, the prisons did not have plates
and other utensils for serving food.
The deputy commissioner said water was also a problem, with Chikurubi
having gone without water for the last five years.
Prisoners were also spending most of their time naked because of an
acute shortage of uniforms.
"Male inmates have not been able to go on working parties, let alone
conduct visits since they are improperly clothed", he said.
"The unconvicted are expected to use their own clothes, in which case
it is equally difficult for them because in most cases no one would have an
extra set of clothes to wear when they are finally supposed to go home, for
example when they are acquitted or granted bail."
Chimboza said ZPS was also failing to honour its obligations to
provide a free medical service to both its officers and inmates.
"All this is because of inadequate funding", he said. "Every year, we
always prepare our budget and give the figures we require but we always get
less money than we have requested."
Several prisoners have benefited from a general amnesty as the
government tries to reduce the prison population.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 18 July 2009 16:46
ZANU PF is not "sincere" in implementing the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) and this is dampening prospects of a quick economic
recovery, analysts have said.
Last week's violent disruption of the All-Stakeholders' Constitution
Conference in Harare by Zanu PF and ministers and supporters was the biggest
demonstration of the former ruling party's insincerity, they said.
The analysts said this was further strengthened by several incidents
in which President Robert Mugabe has willfully flouted the agreement signed
by his party and the two MDC formations on September 15 last year.
At last week's conference, Zanu PF supporters heckled and forced the
Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo off the high table by pelting delegates
with empty water bottles turning the important constitutional conference
into a circus.
The MDC said Zanu PF had a political motive in disrupting 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 March 29, 2008," said the MDC in a statement.
After the disturbances Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
his deputy Professor Arthur Mutambara held a joint press conference
denouncing the incident.
"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
"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."
But Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace national director,
Aloius Chaumba was not convinced.
"In public, he (Mugabe) speaks what people want to hear but his
actions speak louder than words," Chaumba said.
He said Mugabe has not been sincere from the beginning as shown by his
attempts to inflate the number of ministers in the inclusive government
beyond what was agreed in the GPA.
University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred Masunungure agreed
with Chaumba saying Mugabe was acting in "bad faith" by refusing to address
the outstanding issues of the GPA.
He said his actions had fuelled mistrust and suspicion in the
six-month-old inclusive government.
Masunungure claimed that Zanu PF was stalling the replacement of
Central Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana,
media reforms and the convening of the first meeting of the National
Security Council (NSC) as well as disrupting the constitution-making
Instead, Mugabe has kept the Joint Operations Command (JOC), which he
inherited from Ian Smith's regime and which is widely believed to be making
major policy decisions in the country.
"Generally, there is deficit of good faith," Masunungure said. "The
totality of these issues, cumulatively, shows that Mugabe and Zanu PF are
The MDC has written to the Southern African Development Community
(Sadc), the guarantor of the GPA, complaining about Zanu PF's unwillingness
to address the outstanding issues.
A summit is scheduled for this month to deliberate on the matter.
As the unity government limps on, Zanu PF has been accused of
resuscitating its abandoned "bases" in rural areas where several MDC
activists were murdered while others were severely tortured during last year's
violent presidential election.
The MDC claims that over 200 of its activists were killed and several
thousand others displaced in the political violence.
There are also reports of renewed cases of political violence in the
rural areas further fuelling suspicion Mugabe is already eyeing an election,
Co-Minister of Home Affairs Giles Mutsekwa, who is also MDC-T MP for
Dangamvura-Chikanga promised to institute investigations to determine the
validity of his party's claims.
One political analyst who requested anonymity said what is happening
in the inclusive government was not healthy for the country.
"This is not healthy for the implementation of the GPA," he said. "In
fact, it militates against the spirit of inclusivity, reconciliation and
national healing that they want to foster."
He said some senior Zanu PF officials who committed crimes ranging
from murder, rape to looting of national coffers were sabotaging the
implementation of the GPA because they feared that real political change
would mean that they are brought to justice.
Among them are those who committed murders during the Gukurahundi era
in Matabeleland and the Midlands and in the past national elections as well
as general human rights abuses.
"Those who were involved in these abuses are suspicious of any
political change that the inclusive government seeks to achieve and are
therefore putting spanners in the works," said the analyst.
"The whole political game borders on suspicion, mistrust and fear of
the unknown," he added.
Masunungure blames Sadc and the African Union (AU) for the problems
dogging the implementation of the GPA.
"(Former South African president Thabo) Mbeki had his quiet diplomacy
but (Mbeki's successor) Jacob Zuma's diplomacy is silent. It is as if
nothing is happening," he said.
Zuma, the current chair of Sadc, took over from Mbeki as President of
South Africa this year.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 18 July 2009 16:06
NYANGA - Efforts to bring investment into the country are being
hampered by discord in the inclusive government raising concerns of its
policy consistency, a leading regional banker has warned.
Speaking at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe Winter
School in Nyanga on Friday, Development Bank of Southern Africa chief
economist Sam Muradzikwa said conflicting statements coming from the unity
government were a cause of concern for investors.
"The all inclusive government is a transitional phase," Muradzikwa
"Questions being asked by investors are how long will these policies
stick? Are they here to stay? Certain conflicting statements and actions by
politicians in the unity government do not help the cause."
He said investors were skeptical on whether the policies being put in
place by the unity government will be maintained because of previous policy
changes "which were as rapid as inflation".
Muradzikwa expressed concern at the lack of clear government policies
on some vital aspects of the economy such as mining and indigenisation,
which would hinder investment the country desperately needs to resuscitate
"Unclear policies on mining and indigenisation worry me. We are not
saying that there should be no indigenisation but all we are asking for is
policy clarity and consistency," he said.
"Muradzikwa said most South African companies were reluctant to start
operations in the country because the Zimbabwean government has not yet
signed the Bilateral Investment and Protective Agreement.
"Most companies in South Africa are telling us that without that
agreement they can forget about them going into Zimbabwe. We keenly wait to
see whether it is signed,' Muradzikwa said.
He said there was a need to revise tariffs and taxes being charged by
the government which were skewed and discouraged investment.
Muradzikwa said finding projects in Zimbabwe for his bank to finance
was 'a nightmare" because of a lack of credible and coherent project
proposals by those who applied for loans.
He said the costs of basic commodities were still very high and
unrealistic because of ignorance of the value of the US dollar on the part
Muradzikwa gave an example of some vendors who were selling tomatoes
for as much as US$5 dollars a packet.
This year's Winter School is being held under the theme 'Re-entering
the global economy- How fit is your business?"
BY KUDZAI KUWAZA
Saturday, 18 July 2009 15:44
FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti on Thursday provided the tonic needed to
revive the economy but analysts warned against policy reversals which have
been perfected by the government since independence.
Presenting his mid-term fiscal policy review Biti provided tax relief
for industry by reducing duty on capital, intermediary and raw materials in
a bid to raise capacity utilisation.
On raw materials, Biti reduced the duty to 0-10%from 0-1%, duty on
intermediate goods was slashed to 10% from 10-15% while for capital goods,
the duty was removed signaling government's intention to raise production.
Industries have been crying foul about the high production costs which
have made local products more expensive than imports.
Analysts say the tax relief on production will boost capacity
utilisation to the levels desired under the revival plan, Short Term
Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP).
Under STERP, capacity utilisation will reach 60 percent by the end of
Analysts are unanimous that the relief will increase production and
ultimately lead to an increase in government coffers through corporate taxes
and Pay as You Earn (PAYE) through increased salaries.
"He is increasing the tax base by promoting industries," said Witness
Chinyama, the head of research at Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited.
In the six months to June corporate taxes contributed US$6.9 million
of total revenue generated, representing a paltry 2.4%.
Its contribution was below the targeted US$32.6 million.
PAYE collections amounted to US$47.9 million (16.8%) against a target
of US$40.2 million.
Analysts say although PAYE collections had missed the target
considering that civil servants' salaries were below the tax bracket, the
figure was still modest.
Biti forecast a GDP growth of 3.7 percent this year while inflation is
expected to end the year at 6.4%.
He said going forward the economy is expected to register growth
driven by the rebound in agriculture, mining and information and
telecommunication technologies amongst others.
He said in the 2009-2010 season, Zimbabwe expects to harvest two
million tonnes of maize spurred on by the small scale farmers.
On that note, Biti said, US$146 million had been set aside for inputs
requirements for small scale farmers.
Biti said the long overdue central bank reforms would be taken to
allow the apex bank to concentrate on its core business.
RBZ reforms entail the recapitalisation of the bank as well as coming
up with legislation that drains the debt from RBZ to enable the institution
to start operating on a clean slate.
But the process will be done after establishing the central bank's
assets and liabilities, Biti said.
He said Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) would be explored as an
engine for growth as the economy was constrained to allow for meaningful
"We are in the process of negotiating with the Chinese on various
capital PPP development projects in roads construction, work on electricity
and increase power generating capacity particularly at Kariba," he said.
Analysts say a mismatch between capital and recurrent expenditure was
unhealthy. The current ratio is 10: 90 against 25:75.
Biti buried the Zimbabwe dollar to allay fears of business who have
been mixed signals on the fate of the battered currency.
The minister also set aside US$6 million to buy the entire stock of
the Zimbabwean dollar floating around an exchange rate to be determined in
"Demonitising is putting a tombstone on the grave of the Zimbabwean
dollar," he said.
Chinyama said the issue of the Zimbabwean dollar had traumatised the
people and bringing it back injects a temptation of printing money.
To appease the civil service, Biti announced that a grading system
would be formulated resulting in civil servants earning salaries according
to their grades.
But he got few friends in the process.
Having set aside an additional US$14 million monthly to cover
salaries, it means that with the grading system, the lowest paid worker
would be lucky to earn US$200 this month, a figure inadequate to cover
In addition the review of civil service salaries always triggers a
wave of price increases and analysts fear Biti's intervention would leave
the beneficiaries worse off.
The new salary for the least paid worker failed to match the US$454
minimum salary proposed by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
Teachers have been agitating for an industrial action but were
restrained on promises of a "hefty" review in Biti's mid term policy
Biti accused banks of killing the savings culture among the populace
by offering insignificant interest rates on deposits.
He said while deposit rates were meagre, lending rates were ranging
between 7-18% a mismatch Biti said "is unsustainable if we want to restore
the savings culture in Zimbabwe."
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 18 July 2009 15:42
BULAWAYO - Council says an acute shortage of surveyors has seriously
affected the city's expansion plans and delayed the implementation of long
awaited housing projects.
According to a recent council report on ongoing property developments,
the land surveyors department, like many council operations has been
crippled by a severe brain drain.
It is council policy that all new residential suburbs should be fully
serviced with water, sewer and roads before any housing development can be
Bulawayo's population estimated at over 1.5 million has been rising
steadily since independence pushing the need for housing higher.
The city also recently came up with a new master plan that saw its
boundaries widening by more than 45 kilometers.
"The land surveyors' department had a critical shortage of surveyors,"
reads the council report.
"There is no final examiner and principal land surveyor to do
approvals. With most of the work at the final stage, it would take quite
some time before it is finally examined and approved."
The local authority, which is still struggling to raise money from
rates and tariffs following the dollarisation of the economy, said it can
not afford private surveyors because their charges were beyond its reach.
"Private land surveyors needed US$90 per hour to do the final
examinations and approval. The department is however trying its level best
to negotiate for a possible review of the fees," read the minutes.
The surveyor general in the Ministry of lands, Edwin Guvaza, said the
shortage of surveyors was not peculiar to Bulawayo and urged the
municipality to find innovative ways of dealing with the problem.
"There is no way the council will overcome this problem besides having
its own personnel," Guvaza said.
"It will help the council a lot for it to offer competitive salaries
as failure to do so would be disastrous.
"If the council decides to sub-contract, the private sector would have
to charge them fees that are worse than having your own personnel."
Guvaza said US$90 charged by private surveyors was the most
competitive rate that applied in neighbouring countries.
"The tariff is approved by the ministry (after consultations with the
rest of the regional market).
"It might sound too high but this is what the market in the region
charges for private surveyors," he said.
"This is a fee that was gazetted in April and if the council is saying
the rate is too high, then they are saying the government erred in accepting
a regionally-accepted fee, which is a problem on its own."
Meanwhile, the council's allocation for the construction and
maintenance of roads from the department of roads has been slashed to US$254
000 from US$ 700 000.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 18 July 2009 16:40
I was a small boy when the war ended in 1980. I only have fleeting
memories of the war. It was a terrible time, especially in the rural
communities. I remember one day, when literally scores of men in faded
jeans, carrying heavy bags and big guns converged at our village.
I was terrified by the sight of so many men with so much ammunition. I
held on tightly to my mother's dress. Then one of the men spoke to me. He
had a soft voice that did not match his imposing physical appearance. I
expected a coarse perhaps harsher voice.
He said: "'Ko iwe shamwari zvaunochemera mai ko ini vangu vari kupiwo"'
(My friend, since you cry for your mother, can you please find one for me?).
He was surprisingly gentle. He carried those words in a humorous tone
that made everyone laugh in an instant. It lightened the mood. I felt at
ease. I was incredibly surprised by the kind demeanour and conduct of those
men - they seemed kind and respectful.
One of the men approached Sekuru, my grandfather. He asked if he and
his men could have some fruit whilst they awaited the food which the women
of the village were preparing. He wanted permission.
Sekuru Magaisa was a good farmer, at least by peasant standards. He
had a large orchard - oranges, mangoes, peaches - he had everything. Sekuru
had worked hard for it over the years.
He often took the produce to the local schools - Kwenda, Warikandwa,
even as far as kwaSadza, where he sold his fruit to the teachers and
I like to think if he had more and better land, he could have been a
more successful farmer. But historical circumstance had not allowed him the
Sekuru gave his permission but he asked that they take reasonable
amounts from each tree because, in his words, tomorrow other "sons" like
them would also pass by the village and ask for some fruit too. These
fighters were called vana - "sons" or simply vakomana - "boys" for they were
the children of the land who had dedicated themselves to help free Zimbabwe.
I was surprised that these many men with guns would have the decency
to approach an old man, my Sekuru and ask him for permission to pick his
When I saw them approach the village, I thought they would do whatever
they wanted. They were decent men after all, I thought, not the scary
monsters I had imagined.
They had the decency to ask for permission to take someone else's
property even though they had the arms and the physical force to demand
The boys descended on the fruit trees in their multitudes. It did not
matter whether the fruit was ripe.
Clearly, they were hungry. They had explained how long they had
travelled during the night. Food was prepared and they devoured everything
before them. They had a voracious appetite and it showed.
Afterwards, the man who had asked Sekuru for permission to pick fruit
led his men in thanking the villagers. They clapped the clap of elders.
Together they thanked the ancestors. They expressed their gratitude
for the guidance they had received and asked for more guidance as they
pursued their journey and the greater cause. Sekuru blessed them and on
behalf of the village and the community, gave them our best wishes.
The man, whom I now think was the commander of the group, then asked
the women of the village not to sweep the yard after their departure.
He instructed them to spread grains of sorghum and maize across the
whole yard and every place where the comrades had walked at the village.
The chickens would scurry to pick the grains and in the process they
would obscure the marks left by the men's heavy boots.
This, he explained, was a better way to erase the marks because
sweeping the yard would only raise a lot of suspicion if enemy soldiers
appeared and the villagers would get into serious trouble.
I thought that was clever.
During the war years, there was a lot of suffering by the fighters and
the ordinary men and women too - across races, ethnic groups and regions.
Over the years villagers got to know the boys who were fighting.
Sometimes they would come back and other times they would bring the
sad news that a comrade had lost his life in the fighting.
The villagers were also assaulted by rival forces for helping the
boys. The ordinary people provided food and clothes to the boys.
The boys were grateful. It was a mutually beneficial relationship.
They knew that the prize belonged to everyone, not to a chosen few. It was
not just for those who held guns but for everyone who played a complimentary
role in the struggle. As I grew up to be a man, I have learnt more about the
war, the good and the ugly.
Next month, in August politicians will congregate at various shrines
across the country. They will purport to pay respect to those fallen sons
They will remind ordinary men and women of the sacrifices that were
made for a free Zimbabwe. Yet you do wonder whether they have also captured
any lessons from the sacrifices of their fallen comrades, those that Simon
Chimbetu reminded when he said, "Pane Asipo" - that there are others who did
not live to see the party.
Would those brave boys have condoned the present state of affairs in
the country? Would they have participated in the violation of the rights of
those very same men and women who provided the food and camouflage during
Would they have disregarded the laws, dancing on top of chairs and
desks in the courts of law and conference rooms? Would they have resisted
the creation of new democratic constitution? Did they really lose their
lives in order to facilitate the kind of Zimbabwe that exists today?
These are perhaps futile questions. I ask them not of the fallen boys
and girls. No, they will never be able to answer these questions.
But I ask them of their colleagues who survived that struggle and now
preside over the nation; a nation in which if the comrades had waged the
struggle today, there would be no thriving orchard from which to gather
fruit, there would be no chickens, no goats, not even the maize-meal to make
sadza; a nation in which people's dignity has been stripped away.
And yet to restore these things requires neither a life nor a cent.
All it requires is a minimum level of decency and common sense.
Otherwise it can hardly be a surprise if upon posing a question to a
primary school pupil on the concept of independence, her answer might be
that it is a process by which a formerly oppressed and marginalised people
becomes more oppressed, more marginalised and poorer; a process by which
half-dressed dignity is stripped naked, for all the world to see.
This, surely, cannot be what those boys I saw at our village on that
day dreamed of. They deserve better.
Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and
can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, 18 July 2009 16:35
I have had an opportunity to follow various discussions on various
scenarios relating to the issues of electoral laws and systems and
constitution-making processes in some African countries - Burundi, Rwanda,
Kenya, Sudan, Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and the case of Zimbabwe.
I found the recent case of Uganda almost similar to that of Zimbabwe,
in that as in the latter; President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni recently made
pronouncements to the effect that there is no need to make major changes to
the country's electoral laws adding that even the opposition leader was
present when those electoral laws were coined.
Sounds like Robert Mugabe talking to the Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T)
about the Kariba draft which was coined by the three parties.
The only difference is that Zimbabwe so far is dealing with the
constitution-making process, while Uganda is dealing with electoral laws.
However, the two are linked. Museveni argues that not much needs to be
changed, save for a few amendments. In the same vein, Mugabe suggests that
what they agreed on with the MDCs leading to the Kariba draft must remain
with only a few amendments.
In Uganda, as expected, President Museveni is asking everyone to show
cause why there should be a complete overhaul of the system.
"You talk of amending the Electoral Law. Amend it in order to achieve
what? You were there when we reformed the UPC electoral laws - introducing
one ballot box, one ballot paper, counting and announcing results
immediately after counting, etc.
The only remaining point is computerising the voters' register in
order to stop the opposition from engaging in multiple registration of
voters which they have been doing in Kampala, the North and other areas.
Which other electoral reforms are you talking about?"
However, the point that President Museveni missed is that, in the
same way he is trying to stop the opposition from engaging in what he calls,
"multiple registration of voters", by calling for electoral reforms the
opposition also wishes to stop him from rigging the elections and engaging
in other nefarious activities.
We may even add that in this case the opposition believes that by
causing electoral reforms they may finally find the key to the president's
Further, the above statement by President Museveni; bullish and
emphatic as it sounds, clearly seals the call for the cause of the ordinary
masses to at least manage the process of fashioning the democracy they want.
That also is the scenario of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe's constitution-making process is also mired in controversies;
the civil society as usual is part of the confusion.
This confusion and failure to speak with one voice makes it very
difficult for the civil society to even claim that the resolutions of a
divided All-Stakeholders' conference have a binding effect on all other
members of the civil society.
Further, whoever argues that way must also know that their views are
not representative of every civil society organisation in Zimbabwe.
However, it is the nature with most Zimbabweans, to always claim to be
speaking on behalf of everybody, even when they know that whatever they are
saying is not representative of everyone.
The divided calls by the civil society serve to show the discord with
which Zimbabweans speak and sing on a very important issue such as this one
Imagine, they even hold conventions and conferences in very opulent
environments (Rainbow Towers) to discuss problems of a country that is in
dire poverty when the membership on the ground is hungry.
Does that alone not smack of the same profligacy displayed by the same
Parliamentarians who claim to be standing for the wishes of the people when
they also demand US$30 000 a month, while civil servants wallow in poverty?
One strand is being purveyed by Zanu PF in support of the Kariba
draft, while the other is being pushed by MDCs, by way of a Parliamentary
The political logic here is to create a façade of dissent within
political ranks. Mere chicanery!
The first political strand as stated above comes through Zanu PF and
appears to want to force people to embrace a draft that was agreed on by the
MDCs and Zanu PF in Kariba, hence the name Kariba draft.
Everyone knows that this document is very dangerous in that it only
carries the wishes of politicians.
It must be emphasized here that when this Kariba document was exposed
by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and by other people and
political actors like Professor Jonathan Moyo, Independent MP for Tsholotsho
North, now the only opposition in Zimbabwe's Parliament, the MDC as one of
the main signatories and culprits that engineered this draft then started on
another wild wave to fame by claiming that they want a process that carries
the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe, yet referring to a Parliamentary
Select Committee. As if they had not even participated in the drafting of
the Kariba draft in the first instance.
The second political strand is one where MDC is publicly claiming that
they have the people at heart and that what Zanu PF is trying to do by
pushing the Kariba draft is undemocratic.
Meanwhile it is a statement of fact that pushing the Kariba draft down
our throats is undemocratic and bad, what is not said by the MDC is
acknowledging that they were part of the process that produced such a
document. In the same way we do not trust Zanu PF, we also can not trust
It may be necessary to also understand that this is a strategy hatched
by politicians to use a two pronged approach when dealing with us the people
as they often refer to us as "a bewildered crowd".
The idea in their strategy is to ensure that if we reject the Zanu PF
approach of pushing the Kariba draft down our throats, we will end up having
to use the "half-a-loaf-is better-than-nothing" approach, and end up
embracing the MDC parliamentary project.
Zimbabweans have had an opportunity to learn hard facts about the
nature of politicians; that politicians are generally dreamers of, often,
very wild and weird dreams that they always pass on to us, the ordinary
masses, to act on the "national stage", meaning some kind of a puppet
It is clear that the people can not and must not allow to be cheated
by these two strands of political manoeuvring, as it is clear that its
purveyors all have one single thread that runs through the gamut of their
cause: being politicians.
The best for us as Zimbabweans is a people driven constitution not a
half-baked process. Let us have a process that is people-centred and
What Zimbabweans should aim for is a document that will last for a
while before it is bastardised by politicians through amendments.
Brilliant Mhlanga is an academic and a human rights activist from the
National University of Science and Technology (NUST). He is currently a
Doctoral Researcher at the University of Westminster, London.
BY BRILLIANT MHLANGA
Saturday, 18 July 2009 16:33
SPEAKING last Saturday at the burial of the late Ackim Ndlovu, who was
declared a national hero, President Robert Mugabe wondered whether there was
any unity in the inclusive government.
"Are we truly one in the inclusive government? Are we united? Let us
show it. and speak with one voice," Mugabe said, adding that he and his
party were surprised by the actions of the other partners to the Global
Political Agreement (GPA), which forms the basis of the government of
Most people would have wanted to put that question to him instead of
the other way around.
The president and his party apparently are unaware that they are
responsible for the reactions they generate.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is under fire from his party for
trying to shield Mugabe from criticism. The recent cabinet boycott brought
to the fore the disgruntlement within the Prime Minister's party over their
treatment by the other parties to the GPA.
The unilateral re-appointment of the Governor of the Reserve Bank and
the Attorney-General, the continued refusal to swear in Roy Bennett as
Deputy Minister of Agriculture as well as the barring of senior MDC-T
ministers from attending an official function at State House for a North
Korean delegation are violations of the letter and spirit of the GPA, to
which they conveniently feign amnesia.
Was the decision to confer hero's status on Ndlovu, Zipra's founding
commander, a resolution of the inclusive government or a Zanu PF decision?
Why does the president appear ready to notice the shortcomings of the other
parties when he and his party are seen the world over as obstacles to
His response would be instructive and would answer the doubts he has
about the commitment to unity on the part of others in the inclusive
There was understandable anger among former Zapu cadres that Ndlovu
This anger explains why they took over activities in Bulawayo. They
see a mosaic of hypocrisy that dates back to the days of the late Clemence
Muchachi, once a top-ranking Zapu figure who died a pauper in rural Shurugwi
after he was neglected by a government that is quick to confer hero's status
on figures from Zanu PF.
Why does someone who sacrificed so much for the liberation of this
country have to die before getting recognition? If former Zapu properties
had not been seized by the state the plight of freedom fighters from Zapu
would not be so distressing.
Ndlovu should have been allowed an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of
his liberation war contribution before he died.
The decision to declare Ndlovu a national hero was driven by fear of
the revival of Zapu as a political force and a desperate bid to court the
Matabeleland vote to support the Kariba draft constitution document which
Zanu PF has made its icon.
While President Mugabe doubts whether there is genuine unity in the
unity government, the public media continues to pour scorn on the other
parties to the GPA. He may see nothing wrong with this but the other parties
see it differently.
If he wanted to, he could whip them into line and they could cease
forthwith being contemptuous of the other parties. The issue the president
should be raising is his party's commitment to the inclusive government. So
long as Zanu PF continues to block change it will be seen as the sore loser
that it is.
The GPA offered it a patriotic exit from exclusive power. But it has
spurned the deal preferring to hang on no matter what the damage.
by Own Correspondent Saturday 18 July 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe has accumulated arrears of more than US$3.1 billion on its
debt to international financial institutions, according to Finance Minister
Biti did not, however, say what proportion of the arrears were principal
repayments or interest, only saying the outstanding amounts dated as far
back as 2000 when Zimbabwe started facing economic challenges.
"Clearance of our outstanding external payment arrears is one of the key
conditionalities for unlocking new balance of payments support from
multilateral international financial institutions such as the IMF, World
Bank and the African Development Bank," Biti announced during the
presentation of the 2009 mid-term budget review.
The minister made the announcement as the director of the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) External Relations Department Caroline Atkinson said on
Thursday that Zimbabwe would have to find donor support to clear its arrears
to the Bretton Woods institution before applying for aid.
"We made clear there that before Zimbabwe could ask us for regular IMF
financing, they would have to have committed donor support to help them
clear arrears," Atkinson told a media briefing in Washington DC.
Zimbabwe owes the IMF about US$135 million, more than US$640 million to the
World Bank and at least US$400 million to the African Development Bank.
Zimbabwe requires at least US$8.4 billion this year to revive its industry
and restore health and education facilities which had collapsed due to years
of poor funding.
The country also needs a further US$718 million in humanitarian support to
rebuild water and sanitation facilities and to improve food security until
the end of 2009. - ZimOnline
July 18, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Former Zanu PF secretary-general and close ally of President Robert
Mugabe has accused the Zimbabwean leader of plundering the country's wealth
through alleged corruption and mismanagement.In a candid address to
delegates to a seminar called to formulate Zimbabwe's Vision 2040 strategy
in Harare Friday, Tekere said Zimbabwe had been completely destroyed by
Mugabe and his corrupt officials in government.
"We are in a fix. Zimbabwe is thoroughly poor, thoroughly plundered; the
leadership has stolen from it. It is completely destroyed," he said.
He said with the rate at which the country was losing its resources through
corruption and mismanagement by Mugabe, it would not be surprising "if the
country wakes up one day to find it has also lost its flag and national
"We don't have a currency of our own anymore," he said.
"Now that we don't have a currency, the next thing we will end up having no
flag and no anthem.
"What has happened to our resources? Have they all been taken to Malaysia
and Hong Kong? Where is all this plunder piling up?"
Tekere, a prominent fighter in Zimbabwe's liberation war in the 70s,
accompanied Mugabe on his dramatic escape to Mozambique in 1975, where he
subsequently assumed leadership of ZANU in exile.
Tekere now accuses Mugabe of embarking on the controversial Look East
Policy. He claimed this was a ploy by Mugabe to sell out the country's
resources to his friends in Asia.
Even with the policy in place, Tekere said, Zimbabwe was still not honouring
its debts to countries such as China.
"Once upon a time, we bought some planes from China. There were two of them.
I understand each was US$15 million and we got the third one mbasera (as a
token of appreciation). Are you honoring our debts?"
He also accused Mugabe of "losing his head" by calling US assistant
secretary of state for African affairs, Johnnie Carson an idiot.
Mugabe spoke following a discussion he held with Carson whom he met at the
African Union meeting in Libya recently.
The American diplomat had apparently accused the Zimbabwean leader of
violating the unity agreement he signed with his former rivals in the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Tekere then turned on Enos Nkala, who served with him in Zimbabwe's first
cabinet in the early 1980s. He launched a tongue-in-cheek attack on the
former Finance Minister, who was also his close friend, for alleged lack of
foresight when he once suggested that Zimbabwe had enough foreign currency
reserves to last for years.
Nkala was among the delegates attending Friday's conference.
"You, Enos Nkala, you worked as Finance Minister. It's unfortunate Tendai
Biti (current Finance Minister) is not here to "uncrucify" you when I
"When you left that ministry, you boasted we had enormous reserves. Now what
has happened today? Were you lying?
"With the rate at which this country is losing its resources to other
countries, it would not be surprising if you, Enos Nkala wake up one morning
to find you have also lost your manhood. That is how poor we are now," said
the former leader of the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM), now defunct.
Tekere, the former secretary-general of Zanu-PF was sacked from the position
in 1988 after he clashed with the rest of the party's leadership following
his single-handed campaign against corruption.
He formed ZUM ahead of the 1990 general election. While the party put up a
spirited fight it lost both the presidential and the parliamentary
Since then Tekere's political fortunes have declined considerably.
www.chinaview.cn 2009-07-18 21:06:25
HARARE, July 18 (Xinhua) -- The Non Aligned Movement (NAM) has
thrown its weight behind the inclusive government in Zimbabwe and expressed
hope it will successfully tackle national efforts to rebuild the economy,
The Herald said on Saturday.
Leaders of the 118-member grouping made the observation at the
15th NAM summit in the resort town of Sharm El-Sheik in Egypt.
In this regard, the leaders, including Zimbabwe President Robert
Mugabe, who was honored to chair the meeting on its second and last day,
called for the immediate lifting of Western-imposed economic sanctions that
have crippled the economy.
The leaders welcomed the signing of the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) by Zimbabwe's three major parties, the Zanu-PF and the two MDC
formations, and the formation of the inclusive government.
They saluted the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for
its successful mediation role and the region's ongoing endeavors to help
Zimbabwe rebuild its economy.
On the United Nations reform, the NAM summit stressed that efforts
should be made to develop the full potential of the world body as it is the
central and indispensable organ for addressing issues relating to the
The summit said the reform of the UN should be transparent,
comprehensive and inclusive, and fully respecting the political and
universal nature of the world body.
The NAM leaders emphasized the need for the payment of assessed
contributions by major contributors which is critical to the financial
stability of the organization, to be timely, and to be without conditions so
as to enable the UN to carry out its mandates effectively.
They added that a reformed UN should be responsive to the entire
membership, faithful to its founding principles and capable of carrying out
Mugabe urged NAM to rise up the challenges of the 21st century in
order to remain relevant.
From ZWNEWS, 18 July
Bulawayo - The mass graves of those who perished in the Gukurahundi genocide
25 years ago constitute forensic crime sites and should not be disturbed
until medical experts are on hand to assemble evidence that may be used in
trials. The call was made yesterday by the Matabeleland Freedom Party (MFP)
which has long described the murders as genocide. From 1983 to 1987, shock
troops of the Fifth Brigade, answerable directly to Robert Mugabe, murdered
between 20,000 and 40,000 men women and children in Matabeleland. The
soldiers were led by Perence Shire who currently heads the Zimbabwe Air
Force. Moves are now afoot to officially classify the massacre as genocide.
Speaking by phone from Bulawayo, MFP spokesman, David Magagula, told ZWNEWS
that his party was in touch with crime scene investigators from Bosnia and
hoped to win funding so that a forensic sweep could me made of the affected
sites. "When these graves are opened, experts must be there to detail the
crime scene," he said. "They must take DNA from bones so we can identify
victims, and to sift and assemble evidence that may be used in war-crime
Similar work in identifying remains and cause of death is underway in
Bosnia, East Timor and Cambodia. Mr Magagula said that there was widespread
support in Matabeleland for a program of justice and what he called "true
healing" over Gukurahundi. "We cannot forgive the perpetrators when we have
not been told who to forgive or what crimes we are supposed to pardon," he
said. "There must be a full and open investigation, and part of this will
come from forensic evidence at the murder sites," he said. The Matabeleland
Freedom Party manifesto includes demands for a referendum on greater
autonomy for the southern regions of Zimbabwe. But Mr. Magagula said that
delays in delivering justice were "hardening the minds of our people.
Everywhere in Matabeleland today there are calls for complete independence
from Zimbabwe," he said. "This move will only grow louder and more radical
if there is no effort to address the genocide and place the accused on
www.chinaview.cn 2009-07-18 22:05:19
HARARE, July 18 (Xinhua) -- the Zimbabwean government will start
collecting toll fees from motorists with effect from next month to maintain
and upgrade national roads, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said.
Presenting the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy and revised budget in
Parliament on Friday, Biti said the delay in introducing the fees gave
authorities enough time to consult.
The government instructed the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra)
to set up some rudimentary toll gate structures to facilitate the collection
of the money along the major highways in March this year but shelved the
plan to consult further.
According to Statutory Instrument 39 of 2009 published in the
government Gazette in April this year, the government disclosed that the
toll fees would be collected from ports of entry and on city to city routes.
The vehicles registered by a diplomatic mission that enjoys
privileges under the Privileges and Immunities Act, diplomat and government
vehicles, vehicles belonging to a fire brigade or ambulance service and
vehicles bearing Zimra logos will be exempted from paying tolls.
Foreign buses or heavy goods vehicles that cross between two ports
of entry shall also be exempted if they present proof of payment of transit
The new toll fees are ranging from one U.S. dollar to five U.S.
July 17, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Austin Zvoma, the Clerk of Parliament, acted beyond his powers by
suspending two convicted MDC MPs.
The two have appealed against their sentences, human rights lawyers said
On July 15, Zvoma suspended from Parliament Chipinge East MP Matthias Mlambo
(MDC) after he was recently sentenced to 10 months in prison by a Chipinge
magistrate, on what the MDC says are trumped up charges of public violence.
The following day, Zvoma, also advised Shuah Mudiwa, the Mutare West MP who
also represents the MDC, that he had been suspended from Parliament
following his recent sentence of seven years imprisonment on a charge of
kidnapping. Again the MDC says this case was contrived to facilitate the
slashing of the party's slim but crucial parliamentary majority.
Mudiwa, like Mlambo appealed against the sentences and both are out of
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) executive director Irene Petras
said the suspension from parliamentary duties of Mlambo and Mudiwa was null
"The purported letters of suspension emanate from the Clerk of Parliament,
Austin Zvoma," Petras said. "The suspension has been ordered despite the
fact that both MPs have appealed their convictions and sentences and these
appeals have yet to be considered by the courts and/or finalised."
Mlambo was convicted and sentenced to 10 months in jail with hard labour on
May 11 after he was found guilty of obstructing a police officer from
discharging his duties.
The Chipinge East legislator was arrested on April 11 at the funeral wake of
an MDC member in Chipinge, Manicaland. He was accused of inciting MDC youth
members during his address.
The police alleged the youths became hostile during the funeral.
Mudiwa, the MP for Mutare West was sentenced to seven years in jail on
charges of kidnapping a 12-year old girl.
The governor and resident minister for Manicaland, Christopher Mushowe, who
lost the Mutare West seat to Mudiwa in the watershed March 29, 2008, polls,
is said to have influenced the court process.
Charges against Mudiwa arose from an incident that occurred in November 2007
in Marange in which Mudiwa, and his co-accused are alleged to have waylaid
the girl who lives in Muchisi Village in Marange and kidnapped her.
Human rights campaigners have said the law was being applied selectively in
a deliberate strategy to reduce the number of MDC MPs in Parliament. But
Zanu-PF denies the suggestions.
The mainstream MDC has 100 seats in the 210-seat House of assembly while
Zanu-PF has 99 and a breakaway MDC faction holds 10 seats. Another seat is
held by Professor Jonathan Moyo, an independent MP.
Petras said the Clerk of Parliament had no authority under either the
Constitution of Zimbabwe or the Standing Rules and Orders of the House of
Assembly to purport to suspend any Member of Parliament.
"As such, his actions are null and void," Petras said.
Section 42 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe says upon the sentencing of a
legislator to death or a jail term of six months or more, 'such member shall
cease forthwith to exercise his functions . and his seat shall become vacant
at the expiration of 30 days from the date of such sentence.'
But because Mlambo and Mudiwa both won the right to appeal against their
sentences, this allowed them to continue their duties in Parliament, until
the matters were finalised.
Petras said the action taken by the Clerk of Parliament usurped the
functions of the judiciary and violated the principle of separation of
"The unilateral action also violates several fundamental rights and freedoms
which are protected under the Declaration of Rights in the Constitution and
which the state is obliged to ensure, both on behalf of the individuals, and
the constituencies they represent," she said.
"Hon. Mlambo and Hon. Mudiwa should be immediately permitted to continue
attending Parliament, exercising their rights, and executing their
"The Clerk of Parliament should also desist from taking similar unlawful
action against any other Member of Parliament who may have been convicted
and sentenced, but who has filed an appeal against such conviction and
By MICHELLE FAUL (AP) - 3 hours ago
CAPE TOWN, South Africa - Doctors Without Borders warned on Saturday that a
chronic shortage of drugs to treat AIDS in six African countries could cost
thousands of lives and reverse progress made on the continent most afflicted
by the disease.
In recent weeks, some clinics have stopped accepting new patients, Eric
Goemaere, medical coordinator in South Africa of the organization, which is
also known by its French abbreviation MSF, told The Associated Press.
He said apathy of governments, donors and the organizations they work with,
as well as the global economic crisis, were to blame.
"There's no doubt people will die as a consequence. It's a catastrophe in
the making," Goemaere said before the opening of a four-day international
AIDS conference in Cape Town.
A newsletter for the conference said, "Amidst a lingering global recession
and reports that world leaders are retreating on prior commitments, the
5,000 AIDS researchers, implementers and community leaders gathering in Cape
Town this weekend are determined to raise their collective voices."
The conference president, Dr. Julio Montaner of the Geneva-based
International AIDS Society, added, "Either we move forward or we will fall
back. That is the reality we face at this pivotal moment in HIV scale-up."
The countries affected are Zimbabwe, Uganda, Congo, Malawi, Guinea and South
Africa, with the last suffering the highest rate of AIDS infection in the
At the end of 2007, 33 million people worldwide were living with HIV,
according to the World Health Organization. Two-thirds of them live in
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which provides a
quarter of all international financing to fight AIDS across the world, has
not received $3 billion to $4 billion in promised funding, according to Mit
Philips of the MSF research center in Brussels.
"Some countries have committed but have not paid and there's a lot of
uncertainty at an international level whether the Global Fund will get the
money it needs," she said in a telephone interview.
The fund has already slashed 10 percent from grants already approved last
year, Philips said.
The fund's Web site says that, since its creation in 2002, it has approved
$15.6 billion for more than 572 programs 140 countries.
In addition, Philips said, there has been no promised increased in funds
from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a pet project of
President George W. Bush that is credited with saving millions of lives.
On the campaign trail, President Barack Obama promised to expand the program
by a billion dollars a year. But Philips said funding has remained flat.
Goemaere said organizations using the project's funds in Uganda have been
told to stop taking on new patients.
For those who do not die, that means getting sicker and sicker before
getting access to the drugs, that they may need expensive specialist care
instead of that of ordinary health workers, and a greater likelihood of
suffering side effects from the anti-retrovirals.
"It makes a huge difference if people come walking in for treatment, or if
they are coming in on stretchers," Goemaere said. "We're very scared" of
hearing no new patients must be enrolled.
Local news reports that some AIDS victims in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal
province have been forced to halt their drug regimen raise other issues.
Such patients develop drug-resistance and then must be treated with a more
expensive cocktail of medication.
Goemaere also feared difficulties in getting drugs could reverse decades of
work to fight the stigma attached to AIDS: "We will be going back to the
dark times with people thinking that treatment is not reliable or not
accessible, so 'let's hide the disease.'"
The United Nations last month warned governments against using the global
economic crisis as an excuse to cut funding for fighting AIDS at a time when
there are nearly five new HIV infections for every two people put on
"With reports of drug shortages here and elsewhere foremost on our minds, we
must hold our leaders accountable for the needless deaths that will result,
along with countless preventable infections," said the South African
co-chairman of the conference, Dr. Hoosen Jerry Coovadia, who is professor
in HIV/AIDS research at the University of Natal-Durban.
Dear Family and Friends,
On the side of the main highway near Harare there's a hand painted
sign on a piece of battered tin. 'Bricks 4 Sale,' it says, the
message wedged into a forked stick. Standing in a forlorn heap
alongside are the very bricks. Its a sad little assortment of rubble:
lumps of red, odd sized, second hand bricks with eroded edges, cracks
and chips and some even with splotches of white paint on them.
A few kilometres away a very battered blue pick up truck with no
number plates and a seriously twisted chassis is below a bridge
across the main road collecting water from a stream. The stream bank
is full of litter - plastic bags and drinks bottles, broken glass and
beer tins. In the back of the truck there's a huge white plastic
container that must hold a thousand or more litres. Three women and
four men are working in a line with buckets, pouring murky water from
the polluted stream into the water tank.
A little further along the road a crooked tree branch is propped up
with chunks of cement, a thin plank nailed onto the top. Standing in
a line along the plank are six old plastic jam jars. They have no
lids and are half filled with a murky brown liquid. "HUNEY" is the
sign that's written in charcoal on a stone nearby.
A group of soldiers stand right in the road trying to wave down a
lift and as you swerve to avoid them you see how very young they are,
almost children still and yet wearing army camouflage. No private cars
stop, no one knows who's who these days. The big 4x4's flick past,
windows closed, doors locked, huge aerials swinging. On their car
doors are the stickers announcing that they are the people keeping
Zimbabwe alive, the international aid organizations.
Strange scenes are everywhere in our broken country after a decade of
collapse, even in upmarket suburbs. Rounding a corner in a quiet
residential neighbourhood its not unusual to come across a great
gathering of people. At the hub is whichever house in the street is
fortunate enough to have a borehole, and whose owner is gracious
enough to share. A hosepipe over a wall fills countless buckets, tins
and twenty litre plastic containers. Patiently men and women wait for
a share, some carrying their containers in aching hands, others
pushing wheelbarrows and hand carts.
Even with such abnormality around us, not to mention the disgusting
scenes of hooliganism at the constitutional conference recently,
there are little glimmers of light coming into view. The removal of
20 US cents worth of government levies from fuel is one, the lifting
of import duty on newspapers, mobile phones and computers is another.
A breath of fresh air is blowing into our country and lets hope it
turns into a gale and blows away what newspaper owner Wilf Mbanga
calls Yesterday's Men. Until next week, thanks for reading, love
cathy Copyright cathy buckle 18th July 2009.
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline: 263 4 336710
Landline/Fax: 263 4 339065
Mobile: 263 11 603 213