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New constitution says Vice-Presidents to be elected by voters

Final draft of the new Constitution released by COPAC on Wednesday

By Tichaona Sibanda
19 July 2012

Future Vice-Presidents in Zimbabwe will be elected directly by voters, unlike in the past where they were appointed from within the party in government.

This is contained in the final draft of the new constitution which has finally been made available by COPAC after it was completed on Wednesday.

Since independence all Vice-Presidents who have served under Robert Mugabe were appointed by him from ZANU PF. They were never voted into the position, as happens in neighbouring Malawi or in the United States.

But under the new constitution Part 2 section 5.2 says every candidate for President must nominate two persons to stand for election jointly with him or her as his or her Vice-Presidents.

‘The President must designate one of those persons as his or her candidate for first Vice-President and the other as his or her candidate for second Vice-President.’

The new charter stipulates that the election of a President and Vice-Presidents must take place concurrently with every general election of Members of Parliament.

It means in the next election Mugabe will nominate two people, presumably Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo the current incumbents, as his running mates.

MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai will likely nominate his deputy Thokozani Khupe as his running mate, plus one other candidate from the party. The constitution also spells out that the President and his Vice-Presidents will assume office on the ninth day after they have won the election.

In the past Mugabe has the taken oath of office in hastily organised ceremonies, a day or two after being controversially declared winner. This gave him the added advantage of negotiating any constitutional challenge to his victory, and has served him well in SADC or AU summits where he presents himself as the legitimate president, when the whole world knows he rigged the elections.

The new charter gives the President the power to declare war, but a declaration of war will be revoked if it is not approved by the Senate and the National Assembly within seven sitting days of that declaration.

Over a decade ago Mugabe sent 12,000 troops to back the late Laurent Kabila during the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The expensive involvement in the civil war in the DRC was extremely unpopular with Zimbabweans and it led to the economic crisis that rocked the country, with many millions of dollars each month being spent on the conflict.

View the final draft of the new constitution here

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Police disrupt peace-building workshop in Gokwe

By Tererai Karimakwenda
19 July 2012

A group of ZANU PF activists and others suspected to be CIO agents disrupted
a peace-building workshop in Gokwe on Wednesday, taking personal details of
the organisers and interrogating them.

The workshop was organised by the Centre for Community Development in
Zimbabwe (CCDZ), who the police accused of being “a regime change NGO” as
they ordered the 45 residents from the local community to disperse and
return home.

According to CCDZ director Phillip Pasirayi, the CIO agents demanded to know
details that included the staff members’ full names, addresses, national
identity numbers and places of birth; information which could be used to
hunt down activists in the future.

“It is important for them to have this information because they will know
where to locate certain individuals for purposes of intimidation. If they
know your district of origin they can go there and harass your people,
harass your mother and your relatives saying it’s because of the kind of
work you do,” Pasirayi explained.

The activist told SW Radio Africa that the agents also accused the
organisers of failing to get clearance for the workshop from the Provincial
Governor of Midlands and the Organ of National Healing and Reconciliation,
which is not required by law.

“They do not want institutions like CCDZ bringing information about human
rights abuses to these remote rural areas ahead of the elections. The
communities are still engulfed with fear. It is because of ongoing
intimidation but we can relate it to violations that took place during the
presidential runoff in 2008,” Pasirayi said.

The CCDZ was one of 29 NGOs that were banned from operating in the midlands
by Governor Titus Maluleke in February, at a meeting attended by senior
military officials and police. Pasirayi said the group ignored the ban and
have continued bringing non-partisan, peace-building workshops to several

The Gokwe incident highlights the true situation on the ground in Zimbabwe
as the political parties continue their slow negotiations for a roadmap
towards peaceful elections. Pasirayi said the environment is not conducive
to holding free and fair elections and much work needs to be done.

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Biti hikes taxes on fuel and imports to cover budget shortfall

By Tichaona Sibanda
19 February 2012

Finance Minister Tendai Biti on Wednesday unveiled a revised budget plan,
that calls for public spending cuts and raised taxes on some imports and
fuel, as part of an effort to close a $600 million budget gap.

Biti told Parliament when he presented his Mid Term Fiscal policy that
government has failed to realize the projected growth forecast for 2012 due
to a weaker than expected economic recovery, less revenue and other factors.

This forced him to cut the 2012 budget from US$4 billion to US$3.4 billion,
blaming poor revenue inflows from diamonds from the eastern Marange fields.

‘We thought by June about half of the amount would have been achieved. I am
very worried about the amount coming from diamond sales which is way below
what we anticipated. It is a very worrying situation,’ he said.

He castigated the police and the Registrar-General’s office for sabotaging
government when they withhold funds they collect on behalf of Treasury.
Police in the country collect fines from motorists at roadblocks but do not
remit the funds to treasury,

Economic analyst Luke Zunga said Biti’ candid admission is a reflection of a
government failing to raise adequate revenues and calls for a revisit to
some of the mining investments in the country.

‘He simply looked at the sums from the collection points which is the tax
revenue, VAT, import duty and levies from mining activities and realized he’s
not getting figures he had planned,’ Zunga said.

The economist explained that the best thing Biti can do under the
circumstances is to trim down the figures and ensure things he had budgeted
will not be done now.

‘Money is simply not there, it means the revenue collection in the country
is either not doing well, or business is not recovering well or certain
quarters are hiding money from the diamonds as he stated in his statement,’
according to Zunga.

Apart from lack of revenue from the diamond fields, Zunga attributed the
slow economic performance to some underlying problems like the controversial
indigenization laws.

‘Some of the laws scare away investors and new companies will not come into
Zimbabwe. This removes the appetite for expansion and growth and the economy
will almost stagnate,’ he said.

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Water shortages blamed for typhoid outbreak in Chitungwiza

By Alex Bell and Tererai Karimakwenda
19 July 2012

A Health Ministry official has blamed water shortages and sewerage problems
in Chitungwiza for an outbreak of typhoid, which the Ministry has been
trying to stop from becoming a nationwide crisis.

The Ministry this week confirmed reports of fresh cases of the water-borne
bacterial disease in the high-density suburb outside Harare. According to a
report in the Daily News newspaper the director for disease control in the
Ministry, Portia Manangazira, said several people have been affected but no
specific numbers were given.

Manangazira blamed the outbreak on a combination of water shortages and
sewerage problems in the area, with residents forced to drink unsafe water.
Health Minister Henry Madzorera elaborated saying: “People are eating their
own waste.”

A number of fresh cases of typhoid have been reported in Zimbabwe since last
year and the worst affected have been the densely populated areas around
Harare’s centre, including Kuwadzana and Mufakose. That outbreak threatened
to spread across the country, after cases were confirmed in Bindura,
Mashonaland Central and Norton and Zvimba in Mashonaland West.

In February the Health Ministry admitted it was not on top of the situation,
with a critical lack of medicine and clean water hampering treatment and
prevention efforts. For areas like Chitungwiza, where sewerage problems and
a lack of clean water have been major problems for years, the threat of an
outbreak seemed imminent.

Simbarashe Moyo, the Chairman of the Combined Harare Residents Association
(CHRA), told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that it is “not surprising at all”
that cases of the disease are cropping up in Chitungwiza.

“We know the City health authorities have tried to contain the disease and a
lot has been done to stop the spread. But in Chitungwiza there are burst
sewers everywhere, there is sewage on the streets. And there is not a lot of
clean water. So we’re not surprised,” Moyo said.

He explained how Chitungwiza is almost entirely dependent on clean water
reserves from the City of Harare, but millions of dollars in unpaid water
bills has seen City officials cut off water supplies.

“So there are a combination of factors that have led to this. But right now,
the authorities should do something to stop this from getting worse,” Moyo

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SA urged to weigh in on campaign against Zim blood diamonds

By Alex Bell
19 July 2012

South Africa’s Mineral Resources Minister is being urged to weigh in on the
ongoing Zimbabwe blood diamonds scandal, and ensure that human rights at the
Chiadzwa diamond fields are protected.

Minister Susan Shabangu is the target of a new campaign launched this week
that urges the public to send letters to the Minister urging her to call for
investigations into human rights abuses at Chiadzwa. The letters also ask
the Minister to ensure that human rights become a central part of the
mandate of the international diamond trade watchdog, the Kimberley Process

Shabangu is currently the KP Vice-Chair and will assume the rotating
Chairmanship role after the US next year. The KP has come under in

creasing pressure to make key changes to its mandate to include human
rights, because of its failures to stop the trade in Zimbabwe’s blood

The campaign launched this week by pressure group Sokwanele, calls on
Shabangu to use her position to entrench human rights in the KP’s future, to
ensure it can effectively fight the trade in blood diamonds.

You can join the campaign here:

The Sokwanele campaign comes on the back of a report in June by
international human rights group Global Witness, which warned that the trade
in Chiadzwa diamonds was funding a “parallel government” in Zimbabwe. The
group called on the international community to act to prevent “off-budget
financing of Robert Mugabe’s feared secret police.”

The report, “Financing a Parallel Government?” said money is being siphoned
off from the Chiadzwa diamond fields, to finance not only a “parallel
government” but also the CIO. This arrangement is reportedly being helped by
a Chinese businessman named Sam Pa, who Global Witness say has provided
funding and equipment to the CIO in return for access to diamond deposits.

The report also formed the basis for the debate launched by a British MP for
targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe to be extended. Peter Hain argued this
week that the restrictive measures should be extended to include what he
called a “small corrupt mafia” operating at Chiadzwa.

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ZIFA chef arrested over Rushwaya corruption comments

By Tererai Karimakwenda
19 July 2011

In sporting news, the police on Wednesday arrested the current Zimbabwe
Football Association (ZIFA) chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze, on
allegations that he criminally defamed the former ZIFA chef, Henrietta

Police questioned Mashingaidze about recent press reports in which he
allegedly accused Rushwaya of secretly meeting two national football team
players as part of “a shadowy match-fixing plot”.

But Mashingaidze’s comments were not unfounded, because Rushwaya was
implicated in the so-called Asiagate match-fixing scam that led to the
conviction of several players on the national squad, after they were found
guilty of accepting payoffs from an Asian betting syndicate.

Although ZIFA insists she masterminded the Asiagate match-fixing scandal and
presented much evidence to show this, charges against Rushwaya at the Harare
Magistrates Court were dropped in May this year. But her corrupt football
activities continue to haunt her.

According to the Daily News newspaper, Rushwaya now faces charges of
“corruptly concealing a transaction from a principal”, after it emerged that
she organised several matches outside the country without the required
authorization from the ZIFA board.

The report said former national team manager Ernest Mapepa Sibanda and
Energy Murambadoro are expected to testify against her.

The Daily News also said they are in possession of email exchanges that took
place between Rushwaya and the convicted Singaporean match –fixer Raj
Perumal, currently serving a jail sentence in Asia.

The emails also show the extent of Rushwaya’s connections within ZANU PF,
which is now believed to be reason she has avoided a jail term. Mashingaidze’s
arrest appears to be another sign of the power she yields within ZANU PF.

Meanwhile the Zimbabwean Olympic team is reportedly at the Athletes’ Village
in London, having been the first to arrive there on Monday afternoon. And
excitement is already brewing among Zimbabweans who are hoping for Olympic
glory to offset the negative political news that is still around.

The team includes marathon runners Wirimayi Juwawo, Cutbert Nyasango and
Sharon Tavengwa, swimmer Kirsty Coventry, rowers Micheen Thornycroft and
James Fraser Mackenzie and triathlete Chris Felgate.

The 2012 squad is the smallest to represent Zimbabwe at the Olympics since
the country first took part in 1980 at the Moscow Olympics.

Zimbabweans in the UK, under the banner of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Olympics
Support Network (ZDOSN) and the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC), have
organised festivities to welcome the team this Sunday. Past and present
Zimbabwean sports stars are expected to attend.

A Family Funday in Chingford in Essex, complete with a football game, prizes
and popular Zim musicians, are part of the all day fair. And what event
would be considered Zimbabwean without the usual “gochi gochi” or braai-ed
meat and beer that remind residents in the UK of home.

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Outrage Over Gukurahundi Song

Harare, July 19, 2012 - There is outrage in southern parts of Zimbabwe over
reports that a former Air Force of Zimbabwe propaganda band composer is
seeking to remix and release a Gukurahundi song.

Concerned citizens have petitioned Media, Information and Publicity minister
Webster Shamu, in desperate attempts to have the song Amai vaDhikondo be
banned from the national airwaves, saying plans to unleash it on the nation
came at a time when the nation is trying to heal the wounds of past

Rephius Tachi, who composed the song while working under the former 5
Brigade commander, Perence Shiri, is reported to be planning the release in
a new 8 track compilation.

“It is so outrageous it has to be stopped and condemned by all peace loving
Zimbabweans,” said Thamsanqa Zhou, who is spearheading a campaign to stop
the song being released.

Amai vaDhikondo was a theme song used by the 5 Brigade during the
Gukurahundi massacres in the Midlands and Matabeleland in the 1980s.

Victims were forced to sing the song before and during the killings.

Independent estimates are that some 20 000 innocent civilian supporters of
ZAPU, an opposition party in Zimbabwe were killed at the time.

”For those of us, who are direct and indirect victims of the Gukurahundi, it
is shocking that a song that arouses emotions and traumatic memories can be
allowed any airplay when all should be focusing on national healing. On
behalf of those who hold strong feelings about human rights in Zimbabwe and
the Gukurahundi in particular, I urge the Ministry of Media and the Organs
for National Healing to order that the song must never be released again."

“Tachi and the Air Force needs to also apologise to the victims of
Gukurahundi for releasing the song in the first place fully aware of what
that song symbolised to innocent victims of the Gukurahundi,” reads part of
Zhou petition.

President Robert Mugabe and the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo forged a
Unity Accord in 1987, which culminated in the end of the political
disturbances in the two provinces of Matabeleland and some parts of the

Although short of offering an outright apology over the atrocities committed
by state security agents in the two provinces, Mugabe has admitted the
crimes were due to a regretted period of madness.

Meanwhile Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa caused a storm on Wednesday
night when he claimed that Mugabe was not responsible for the Gukurahundi

Chinamasa made the shocking remark at a meeting that had been organised by
the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZiC) to discuss the Zimbabwe Human Rights
Commission Bill.

“I am surprised that we are simplifying complex issues. Let’s take
Gukurahundi, once you start a conflict it feeds on itself, it achieves and
assumes a life of its own. So the thrust should be to prevent, once it has
happened, my dear colleagues and brothers and sisters, once it has happened
there is no one, anymore who can be responsible for what happens. It has
happened in our colonial period, it has happened even before the colonial
times. if there is a crisis there is no way anyone can turn to be in
control, so words like president commandeered this or that are just reckless
statements. No one ordered the killing of anyone it was a national crisis,”
said Chinamasa to huge growls of disapproval from the audience which was
made up of civic society players, political party activists and police
who meticulous took notes.

Chinamasa is the latest in a long line of Zanu (PF) ministers who have
sought to trivialise and absolve Mugabe from the Gukurahundi massacres.

Irene Petras, the Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human rights (ZLHR),
urged Zimbabweans to embrace the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill
because it will help prevent future violence in the country.

“We have to celebrate the human rights commission; we have a number of other
commissions that have failed. We also know the Media Commission even the
Electoral Commission, the Human Rights Commission is a brand new body which
holds promise because it hasn’t had any other baggage like what those other
constitutional commissions has,” said Petras.

“We need to make sure that we put pressure so that the commission is
properly resourced and is independent. We should not be sidelined by some of
the issues that might cause us to reject the human rights commission which
can help prevent future conflict in our country when it comes to elections.
There is a crisis in this country and the crisis we have is the crisis of

Some members of the civic society feel the cut-off date of February 2009 is
not ideal because this means letting perpetrators of the Gukurahundi,
Murambatsvina and 2008 post electoral violence off the hook.

Okay Machisa, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition chairperson, said the
instigators of violence in the country were known and they should simply be
arrested and that has nothing to do with the human rights commission.

“The people of Zimbabwe will not forget the crimes of the past, the power of
the people is amazing, you can’t forget the people. The perpetrators of
violence are known, why should they not be arrested, why should we wait for
the human rights commission bill to pass. People want justice these people
must just be arrested,” said Machisa.

Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC spokesperson said: “We must have an instrument
that deals with the future and the past. We know that human rights abuses in
this country are not ending, that’s why we are saying let’s deal with human
rights abuses now and in the future. Those who committed murder in 1980,
2008 are still guilty of murder.”

Nqobani Moyo, the smaller MDC party’s spokesperson, told the meeting that it
was difficult to have the commission investigating human rights crimes in
retrospect because the architects of the crimes are still in power.

“You cannot put in place a law that is supposed to investigate the people
who are holding the keys of power,” said Moyo.

“Let’s be practical and be sincere to our past and our future it was
impossible to apply the law going backwards now. Let’s secure the past and
fight the fight for the future.”

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Indigenisation Regulations Suspended For New Investors

Harare, July 19, 2012 — Government on Wednesday clipped the wings of Youth
Development Indigenisation and Empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, in
a charm offensive to lure investors amid revelations that potential
investors were scared by the empowerment legislation.

The empowerment law states that locals should have 51% in all companies
operating in the country and had unnerved investors needed to help rebuild
the economy devastated by a decade of hyperinflation.

In his mid-term Fiscal policy presentation, Finance minister, Tendai Biti,
said government had agreed to exempt new investors from complying with the
clause that states that at least 51% should be given to locals to align the
empowerment of the people to the country’s efforts to attract new investors.

“In respect of new FDI, FDI will not have to comply with Section 3 of the
Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, that is, the 51% rule. However the
Indigenisation and Empowerment Act and the Investment Act should be amended
to require from foreign investor their own their localisation plans, be it,
listings or share employee trusts,” Biti said.

Biti said the latest measure was arrived after government agreed that the
country needs investors to expand the economy which has been
underperforming. He said he was revising growth projections to 5,6% from the
initial forecast of 9,4%. He said revenue collection would end the year at
US$3,4 billion down from the original US$4 billion due to the
underperformance of diamonds and the drought experienced this year among

He said the first half of 2012 has been a sad balance sheet of unmarked
targets resulting in a long winter of despair characterised by low business
confidence and generally a business as usual approach.

He proposed austerity measures underpinned by a cash budget system. He said
the wage costs consuming over 70% of the expenditure costs are an elephant
in the living room so are foreign travel costs which at US$19 million
continue outstripping other expenditures.

Biti said ministries that are collecting revenue should remit it to treasury
accusing the ministry of Home Affairs singling out the Registrar General’s
Office and Police as notorious.

Biti said in the second half of the year, there will be a freeze on
recruitment and any dispensation will be subjected to concurrence of
Treasury and the Public Service Commission.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who is currently touring Japan
said investors to Zimbabwe were expressing discomfort with the country’s
indigenisation laws.

In a statement,released by the Prime Minister's spokesperson, Luke
Tamborinyoka, stated that throughout the meetings, the Japanese Minister and
the business
executives of leading corporate had expressed concern over the controversial
indigenisation programme, which they said affected both existing and new
investment from Japan.

“The indigenisation law is an obstacle to investment by Japanese companies.
We hope that you will review this law as it is affecting both prospective
and existing Japanese businesses,” the statement quoted Economy, trade and
investment minister, Yukio Edano.

Tsvangirai was quoted as responding: “We have many opportunities in mining,
agriculture, tourism and manufacturing and our quest to attract investment
has been marred by our bad politics and a poorly crafted empowerment law
which has largely scared away investors. It is the implementation that has
been chaotic, even though the law insists on ceding for value and mutual
discussions as a precondition."

“We have successfully managed to mitigate the excesses of this law but
because we are an uneasy coalition, the ultimate answer will lie in a free
and fair election as a precondition for a legitimate government in

Tsvangirai will, on Thursday, hold a meeting with his Japanese counterpart,
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. On Friday he will give a lecture at the
United Nations
University in Tokyo before proceeding to Wellington at the invitation of the
New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key. The Premier will complete his tour in
Australia where he was invited by the country’s Prime Minister Julia

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Zim Tourist Arrivals Up

Harare, July 18, 2012 - Zimbabwe's tourist arrivals rose by 18 percent to
346 299 visitors in the first quarter of the year mostly from Europe and
Africa, according to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).

The ZTA said the increase was 13% above the projected average growth in
arrivals in sub-Saharan Africa this year of 5%.

Mainland Africa remained the major source market, accounting for 308 646
arrivals in the period, up 19% from 258 388 in the comparative period last
year. Overseas arrivals increased 5% to 37 653, up from 35 810 last year
despite general economic instability in the western world.

Arrivals from America grew 28% to 9 901, while Europe’s contribution
increased 16% to 16 829 in the same period. Europe contributed 46% of the
overseas arrivals, followed by the Americas at 26%. Asia, Middle East and
Oceania plunged 23%, 37% and 7% respectively.

However, ZTA sees arrivals from these regions increasing due to the
recently-introduced new airlines flying into the country. The drop in
arrivals from Asia was mainly due to a 52% slump in China’s contribution,
attributed to the unavailability of direct access previously provided by Air

“This means our destination becomes more expensive to the Chinese through
other connecting routes,” said ZTA in the report.

However, Zimbabwe’s air travel market share dropped by 14% from 17% last
year, largely attributed to problems bedevilling Air Zimbabwe.

South Africa maintained its position as the main source market in mainland
Africa, representing a market share of 43%, a 2% growth from last year.

National average hotel room occupancy levels grew to 42% during the period,
6% ahead of the figure recorded last year, while bed occupancy levels also
rose to 31%, up from 27%.

Lodge room occupancy levels grew to 42%, increasing from 36% recorded in the
prior year in the comparative period, while bed occupancy levels also surged
5% to 30%.
Victoria Falls, however, recorded a 3% drop in both room and bed occupancy,
a development attributed to a decrease in arrivals from its major source
markets such as Japan, China, South Korea, UK and Germany.

Kariba and Masvingo both recorded a 6% decline in room occupancy also
attributed to falling numbers of foreign clientele.

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Gukurahundi, 2008 killers will face justice: Tsvangirai

Written by Fungi Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Thursday, 19 July 2012 10:30

HARARE - Ruling MDC parties and legal experts say perpetrators of the
Gukurahundi genocide and 2008 poll violence will be arrested despite an
amnesty clause in the Human Rights Commission Bill currently before

There was outrage last week when the House of Assembly rubber-stamped the
Bill, which limited the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to dealing with
abuses committed after the formation of the coalition government in February

The commission will have no mandate to investigate cases that occurred
before that period, effectively exonerating people accused of committing
political atrocities in Zimbabwe’s troubled history.

The Bill has been transmitted to Senate, where it is expected to sail
through without problems.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said in an interview that justice will not
spare Gukurahundi and 2008 killers.

Asked by the Prime Minister’s Newsletter whether the murderers are now off
the hook, Tsvangirai responded: “No, no, no, that is not true.”

“The ZHRC Bill which is currently before Parliament is talking about the
future, about what is going to happen in the next elections and beyond. That
is what it is dealing with,” said Tsvangirai.

He was referring to the clause in the Bill limiting investigations to the
period after February 13, 2009 the date when the coalition government came
into effect.

This means that if the Bill finally sails through both houses of Parliament,
the envisaged human rights commission would be barred from probing issues
such as the 2008 political violence, the 2005 slum clearance drive dubbed
Operation Murambatsvina and the emotive Gukurahundi massacres.

Justice and Legal Affairs minister and Zanu PF GPA negotiator Patrick
Chinamasa, who steered the Bill through Parliament, said it was common
practice in observing the rule of law that laws should not be applied in

“It is a cardinal principle of the rule of law and good governance that laws
should not be applied in retrospect,” he said.

Tsvangirai, himself a victim of state sanctioned violence, said the
coalition government will set aside a separate vehicle that will investigate
the past rights violations which have bloated the country’s youthful history
since 1980.

“We are going to set up another commission either through the Organ of
National Healing and Reconciliation or a Truth and Reconciliation Commission
which is already part of the constitutional proposals, so we have not
ignored atrocities of the past,” said Tsvangirai.

The MDC led by Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube said the party
was pushing for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission
that will look into political atrocities separately from the Human Rights
Commission Bill which is set to be passed by Senate.

“We are working towards the formation of a commission that will deal with
issues of violence so that perpetrators of the gross human rights violations
are brought to book,” said the party’s director for policy Qhubani Moyo.

University of Zimbabwe lecturer and constitutional law expert Lovemore
Madhuku said the Bill was unconstitutional.

“That is unconstitutional, they cannot pass a law like that,” Madhuku said.
“Why discriminate people when the law says people should have equal
treatment before the law? They should have kept their law secretly because
you cannot establish a constitutional body that is not in line with the
constitution. All people are supposed to be equally protected by the law so
if you pass a law that discriminates, that is a breach of the constitution.”

Madhuku said there was nothing special about the establishment of the
coalition government to preclude crimes that were committed before its

“Soldiers and police have also been there before the coalition government
and they committed their crimes, they therefore should be tried,” said

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said there is no way past crimes
can be swept under the carpet in a country with an effective judiciary,
prosecutorial authorities and also police.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, it must be clearly understood and stressed
that crimes committed in the past remain crimes, whether or not a national
human rights institution or other mechanism exists to deal with past human
rights violations,” the rights group said in a statement.

“Government, political players and other perpetrators of violations must
disabuse themselves of the notion that the creation of such mechanisms
removes responsibility and punishment for such crimes.”

The MDC claims hundreds of its supporters were killed by Zanu PF activists
in the run-up to the discredited 2008 presidential elections, while civil
society groups claim 20 000 people from Midlands and Matabeleland regions
were killed by soldiers during the Gukurahundi massacres.

President Robert Mugabe has defied calls to publicly apologise for the
atrocities, but described the butchering of civilians as a “moment of
madness” at former Vice President Joshua Nkomo’s funeral in 1999.

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Civil servants strike looms

Written by Taurai Mangudhla and Chengetai Zvauya
Thursday, 19 July 2012 13:15

HARARE - Finance minister Tendai Biti yesterday set the stage for a
potentially crippling civil servants’ strike when he did not address their
calls for a salary hike during presentation of his Mid Term Fiscal statement
in Parliament.

Biti, who had already warned that the country’s finances are in a parlous
state as a result of non-performance in the economy and trickling revenue
from diamond companies mining in the rich Marange fields, froze civil
servants’ salaries to curb runaway expenditure that has exceeded targets
mainly on account of a rising wage bill.

The civil service, through its Apex body, gave government a two-week
ultimatum to review upwards their wages, failure of which they threatened to
go on strike.

Biti said the freeze on salaries would be part of government’s attempt to
align any wage bill reviews to economic improvements.

He has termed the practice “eating what we kill”.

“Indeed, even in the absence of such reviews, government faces the real
danger of defaulting on salary payments. Hence, we need not take the current
monthly payments for granted, but seriously appreciate the limited fiscal
space for wage adjustments,” he said.

He said revenues trickling in from the Marange operations were far below

Government had collected a paltry $146 million from the diamond operations
in the first half of the year, less than a quarter of the anticipated $600
million at the end of the year.

The Treasury chief said government will also maintain a general freeze on
the recruitment of staff into the Public Service in view of the expenditure
overrun on the wage bill, which besides salary adjustments, is partly
attributable to an overall growth in employment levels of close to 8 000
during the period January to June 2012 after the Zimbabwe National Army
registered 5 000 plus new recruits.

“Any dispensations on critical areas which may warrant new recruitments will
be subject to Treasury concurrence in consultation with the respective
Public Services Commissions,” Biti said.

Among other reasons, the ballooning expenditure forced Biti to revise
downwards the country’s cash budget for the year to $3,4 billion from $4

Employment costs accounted for 73 percent of the $1,6 billion expenditure in
the first half of 2012 compared to a target of 53 percent, while other costs
relating to the capital development budget and government operations will be
reduced from 20 percent to 11 percent and 23 percent to 15,4 percent, of
total expenditures, respectively.

Key pointers

- GDP growth slashed from projected 9,4 percent to five percent
- 100 percent government ownership of diamond operations passed
- Inflation flat at five percent
- Budget reduced from $4 billion to $3,4 billion
- Diamond revenues $146 million in the first six months
- Constitution drafting completed
- Agriculture policy completed
- Foreign trips still high at $156 million

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UK backs EU moves to lift more Zimbabwe sanctions

19 July 2012 Last updated at 13:43 GMT

The UK backs EU moves to lift more sanctions on Zimbabwe to encourage free
and fair elections, a foreign office minister has told the BBC.

Henry Bellingham said the "conditional" suspension would be a "big step".

And it would depend on "a really credible referendum" on reforms being held
before elections next year.

EU ministers meet on Monday to decide whether to lift bans on direct cash
aid for the Zimbabwe government, as well as visa and asset curbs.

Mr Bellingham said the UK was keen to show support for moves by the Southern
Africa Development Community (SADC) to ease pressure on Zimbabwe.

He said: "If we get agreement in the EU, it will be a conditional
suspension, not of all the measures but a very large number of them, sending
a very strong signal that because SADC has made positive moves in terms of
Zimbabwe then the EU will respond."

The EU has already lifted some of its sanctions against top Zimbabwean
officials, to support what it said was the power-sharing government's
"significant progress" on tackling the country's economic crisis.

President Robert Mugabe and more than 100 key members of his inner circle
remain the subject of restrictions, which include asset freezes and bans on
travelling to European countries.

The Foreign Office has said the restrictions on Mr Mugabe must remain in

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Foreign travel bill tops US$157 million

19/07/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE coalition government has spent some US$157 million on foreign travel
since coming into office in 2009 but Finance Minister Tendai Biti admitted
Wednesday that they had precious little to show in return by way of benefits
for the country.

Biti revealed the cost of the government's globe-trotting as he presented a
mid-term fiscal review to Parliament that downgraded growth prospects for
the economy and included spending cuts of up to 10 per cent as well as a
jump in tax rates.

He said a major factor in the government’s budget going off the rails was
the cost of foreign travel with officialsspending more than $157 million on
international trips since 2009.

"Another elephant in the living room is foreign travel. This is an area
where we have to take action,” he said and admitted that the benefits of the
foreign trips did not match their cost.

Biti said spending on foreign travel outstripped the non-wage budget
allocations for essential ministries like health and education.

"Expenditures on foreign travel remain disproportionate to expenditures on
more essential services such as health, education, social protection,
infrastructure development and support to agriculture,” he said.

Over the six months between January and June this year, the government used
US$20 million on foreign travel while spending on education and health not
related to salaries for state workers was just over US$5 million and about
US$13 million respectively.

“While it is necessary that Zimbabwe is represented at regional and
international events, essential services will have to take priority, while
foreign trips will need to be further managed downwards,” Biti said.

“I, therefore, re-emphasise the importance of containing the foreign travel
expenditures within allocations in line with measures announced in the 2012
National Budget, which include managing foreign trips, limiting the size of
delegations and adhering to Treasury per diem rates.

“(However I would like to) acknowledge the support from the Principals and
further count on their assistance in this area. Measures are also being
considered towards containment of costs of airfares, including forward
purchase of air tickets.”

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Lifting Zimbabwe sanctions might aid reform before elections

Bold steps can be taken by the EU to ease sanctions while not rewarding
recalcitrant behaviour by Zanu-PF leadership

Piers Pigou, Thursday 19 July 2012 11.01 BST

Lavish party marks Mugabe's 88th birthday
Relying on Mugabe (pictured on his 88th birthday in February), as the best
candidate for regaining political power reflects the limited options
available to the former ruling party. Photograph: Aaron Ufumeli/EPA

Almost four years since the signing of the global political agreement (GPA)
that brought Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) into a lopsided
power-sharing arrangement with Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF, the country is once
again heading towards elections, now expected within a year.

The GPA has achieved some stability, enabling modest progress on reform, but
an array of problems remain. Spoiler behaviour, especially by Zanu-PF, has
not been adequately dealt with, although the Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC), as co-guarantor with the African Union of the political
agreement, has consistently rejected Zanu-PF efforts to fast-track elections
without reforms.

The EU will soon announce whether it renews or lifts its ban on direct
development assistance to the Zimbabwean government, as well as asset and
visa restrictions. In place for a decade, these sanctions have not achieved
their objectives. Instead, they have been used as a propaganda stick against
the EU, which Robert Mugabe and his supporters accuse of promoting regime
change and undermining the economy. Such allegations have successfully
diverted attention from the governance and human rights violations that
brought about these measures in the first place.

A stalemate has ensued whereby the EU (and the US, which implements its own
measures) calls unsuccessfully for reforms as a basis for lifting sanctions.
Zimbabwe and the SADC argue that their continued imposition compounds an
already fraught political atmosphere, which in turn frustrates the promotion
of reform.

The extraordinary SADC heads of state summit in Angola in June narrowed
Zimbabwe's reform agenda to concentrate on completing the
constitution-making process and called for the creation of an implementation
mechanism and timeframe for the draft election roadmap that was signed in
July 2011. But there are still key disagreements between Zanu-PF and the MDC
in relation to the security sector, elections and media reform.

Given the glacial pace of reform, it's fair to ask what will and can SADC do
to accelerate the process in the time available? Jacob Zuma, the South
African president and the SADC facilitator on Zimbabwe, has not been to
Harare since late November 2010 and his "hands-off" approach has raised
concern. Though it forces the Zimbabwean negotiators to take more
responsibility, it also provides opportunities for obfuscation and

Zanu-PF's resistance reflects its own internal preoccupation with
factionalism and the politics of succession. Relying on Mugabe, an
88-year-old with failing health, as the best candidate for regaining
political power reflects the limited options available to the former ruling
party. This has generated fears of a political vacuum and the potential of a
violent succession struggle, in which political opponents would be targeted.
Senior politicians and securocrats have inferred that they would rather burn
down the house than hand power to Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC, even if they won
the elections. Zanu-PF is not averse to employing high-risk strategies and
many analysts concur that they would use violence (as they did in 2008) if
they calculate it is a feasible option.

SADC must step up its game, but must navigate carefully if it is to promote
reform without excluding key elements of the Zimbabwean equation. There has
been post-summit movement toward finalisation of the draft constitution,
deployment of SADC representatives to the GPA's internal monitoring body and
steps taken to create an implementation mechanism for the roadmap. Zuma is
expected in Harare imminently to meet with the GPA principals on specific

But the security sector – who controls it, to whom or what it is loyal –
remains a crucial and potentially destabilising factor. As do issues
relating to intimidation, violence and impunity, and the complicity of the
criminal justice sector. In light of the violence that accompanied the 2008
elections, and the partisan rhetoric of some senior security officials,
Zimbabwe should not be expected to go to new elections without firm
assurances that history will not repeat itself.

The EU's February 2012 review of sanctions against Zimbabwe led to the
removal of some individuals and entities from the list of those not allowed
visas, demonstrating a willingness for compromise that then led to formal
discussions with the Zimbabwean government. Both MDC formations subsequently
joined Zanu-PF and SADC in calling for their unconditional removal. Despite
disagreements about the nature and impact of the sanctions, all agree they
have become counterproductive.

The EU must decide the best course of action quickly, before the elections.
Lifting the ban on government-to-government development assistance will not
guarantee progress on human rights, rule of law and election conditions, or
respect for the constitution-making process, but it will enable a more
focused engagement for those promoting reform. However, if a decision is
taken to relax the sanctions, the EU must also determine what minimum
progress it will require on the election roadmap's objectives. And it should
be prepared to restore sanctions in the absence of such progress. Possible
easing of restrictive measures against individuals and entities should also
be assessed in the electoral context.

Bold steps can be taken in a way that does not reward recalcitrant
behaviour. Removal of sanctions may be a short-lived propaganda boon for
Zanu-PF but limit its ability to deny responsibility for the economy's
problems and give the EU and UK a clearer field on which to work with SADC
for common objectives.

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Zimbabwe cuts spending and raises taxes

July 18, 2012 11:20 pm

By Tony Hawkins in Harare

The Zimbabwean finance minister cut public spending and raised taxes in his
mid-year fiscal review on Wednesday, saying the country had to “act and save
ourselves [or] we do nothing and drown”.

Announcing that the government had reduced its 2012 growth forecast from the
9.4 per cent predicted at the end of last year to 5.6 per cent, Tendai Biti
said he had been forced to cut spending in 2012 by 15 per cent to $3.4bn
while increasing indirect taxes on some imports, especially food, and on

“The first half of the year has been the most economically challenging in
the last 40 months,” he said

Fuel duties have been increased 25 per cent but Mr Biti said he did not
expect this to lead to higher prices at the pump because of the recent
decline in world oil prices.

He described the first half of 2012 as “a sad balance sheet of unmet targets
and policy slippages”. Mr Biti warned that government finances were
“continuing to deteriorate” mostly because the state was not getting its
share of revenue from the controversial Marange diamond fields.

Revenue was $244m (13 per cent) below target in the first half of 2012,
primarily because of a $229m shortfall in diamond revenue.

Because Zimbabwe operates a cash budget system, spending was cut by a
similar amount – $246m – despite overruns in both employment costs and
foreign travel expenses. The finance minister said capital spending was 53
per cent below target while non-wage recurrent expenditure fell 48 per cent
short of budget.

But the government wage bill at $965m was 8 per cent above budget mainly
because of the employment of an extra 9,800 people, more than half of them
by the army.

“The current situation where 73 per cent of our expenditure is on wages for
235,000 people with 27 per cent going to the rest of the economy or 13.7m
people is not sustainable.”

To overcome the leakage in diamond revenues, Mr Biti said the government
would ensure that the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation or
“any other future government diamonds agency” had a 50 per cent shareholding
in diamond companies, including the Chinese-owned Anjin diamonds, which was
the second-largest exporter of Zimbabwe diamonds worth $123m in the first
half of 2012.

Anjin has been the target of angry criticism by some politicians and civil
rights activists, who accuse the Chinese company of failure to pay taxes.

Diamonds have overtaken gold and tobacco to become Zimbabwe’s second-largest
export, after platinum, increasing 370 per cent to $363m in the first half
of 2012 or 20 per cent of the total.

Mr Biti revealed that diamond output was forecast to increase 38 per cent
this year to 12m carats.

Despite strong export growth of 45 per cent, he warned Zimbabwe would have a
trade deficit in the region of $3bn this year with imports of $8.2bn and
exports of around $5.2bn.

He bemoaned the country’s failure to attract foreign direct investment with
inflows far below those of neighbouring Zambia and other southern African

“This economy needs foreign direct investment to increase this little cake
into a bigger cake that will generate jobs,” he said.

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HIV Behind Bars: How Prisons and Jails Are Battling an Epidemic
Updated: July 18, 2012, 12:45 p.m. ET
In two very different places - Washington, D.C., and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe - correctional facilities are facing remarkably similar challenges containing the HIV/AIDS epidemic and treating its victims.
Dr. Taurai Rugara, the prison medical officer at Khami Prison in Zimbabwe, discusses the status of the HIV program with fellow officers. Photo by the Global Fund/Charlie Shoemaker.
Dr. Taurai Rugara, the prison medical officer at Khami Prison in Zimbabwe, discusses the status of the HIV program with fellow officers. Photo by the Global Fund/Charlie Shoemaker.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Zimbabwe and the District of Columbia. They're 8,000 miles apart and nearly as distant economically. But the two share at least two things in common: Both have some of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world. And in both places, ordinary people face remarkably similar challenges. As Washington prepares to host the International AIDS Conference July 22-27, the PBS NewsHour will profile some of the parallel stories unfolding around the epidemic on opposite ends of the globe. We continue our series with a look at correctional facilities.

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe - The hand-written notice is pinned in a dark corner inside the main entrance of Khami Maximum Security Prison:

"It was observed that there was a movement of three lions within the farm prison recently ... Officers, you are advised to warn your dependents and yourself."

And fighting the disease in a place like this isn't easy. "We've got challenges," Rugara said. To name just a few: The cornmeal and beans given to most inmates don't come close to the "high-protein" diet advised for most HIV-positive patients. The machines are slow and outdated. And when electricity blinks out, as it does often, everything remains dark and warm for days -- a major problem for medication and blood supplies that need to be refrigerated. Sometimes the medical team even needs to perform surgery by candlelight.

And that's aside from the recent Zimbabwe parliamentary report that made public the fact that -- at least in some places in Khami's four prison facilities -- the inmates sleep on the floor, rain leaks into their cells, toilets don't work and "plastic and cardboard box materials were put up as doors." After years of debilitating economic inflation and political unrest, the Zimbabwean government simply has no money to fix all the problems.

At Khami Prison in Matebeleland North, approximately 28 percent of the 2,500 inmates are infected with HIV. <span>Photo by the Global Fund/Charlie Shoemaker.
At Khami Prison in Matebeleland North, approximately 28 percent of the 2,500 inmates are infected with HIV. Photo by the Global Fund/Charlie Shoemaker.

"But we are trying," Rugara said, pointing out that the news isn't all bad. Despite the challenges, HIV-positive inmates are usually much healthier in Khami than before (and often after) they're incarcerated.

Prisoners are among the 400,000-plus Zimbabweans currently receiving antiretrovirals -- the life-saving drugs provided overwhelmingly by international groups like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and USAID. "There's no stigmatization for the prisoners to access treatment," said Perry Mwangala, the Global Fund’s senior portfolio manager for Zimbabwe.

And the confined nature of a complex like Khami also inadvertently gives prisoners an advantage: they can access those drugs without the long trips and long waits often necessary to receive the treatment at community clinics throughout the rest of Zimbabwe.

That means people like Biggie Dube have no trouble keeping up with their daily dose of antiretroviral drugs. The former pastor of a Church of Christ was locked up a little over a decade ago when women at his church accused him of rape. Two of his wives and six of his children became infected with HIV before the women spoke out against his behavior.

"Now I am serving 30 years," he said. "I know that I wasn't supposed to do these things as a pastor."

But he doesn't like to dwell on all that. Instead, he's quick to turn the subject to the HIV support group he created for infected inmates a few years ago -- a group that coordinates testing events, prevention workshops, and counseling sessions.

Dube said there's a waiting list of 123 inmates that want to be tested. All of them now know how HIV is passed from one person to another, he said, and not a single one would participate in the type of risky sexual behavior that would further spread the HIV virus within the all-male prison.

"We don't want homosexuals inside here," he said flatly. "It's very bad. Everyone believes that."

Well, maybe not everyone. A recent survey by a University of Zimbabwe Medical School lecturer found that 49 percent of men in the nation's prisons are having anal sex. But because homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe, the nation's top prison officials have stated repeatedly that they won't provide condoms. Doing so would encourage "sodomy," they say, and would amount to encouraging a crime.

Rugara himself said the condom distribution policy doesn't really qualify as one of the prison's many obstacles. "By and large, most of these prisoners come here infected and we just look after them," he said. "There is not much transmission of HIV here."

WASHINGTON | Chances are high that HIV was transmitted at the D.C. Jail.

There’s certainly no way to prove it, but before condoms were distributed at the correctional facility on Capitol Hill, some inmates were known to tell health officials straight-out that they were having unprotected sex there. With thousands of them cycling through the facility every year, many of whom are HIV-positive, it’s a simple matter of probability.

That’s why Traci Outlaw, the no-nonsense HIV testing coordinator for Unity Health Care, now hand-deliver condoms to the cells of transgender inmates, bisexual men or anyone else who wants them on her daily walks through the wards.

"There's no point in wearing blinders -- we know that they're having sex," Outlaw said. "We can't answer how or where, but it happens and we know that. And if we don't put tools in place to ensure that this virus can at least be arrested, it's not going to go away."

Traci Outlaw

Traci Outlaw, the HIV testing coordinator at the D.C. Jail, talks with a nurse in the facility's clinic.

The D.C. Jail became an outlier among U.S. correctional facilities in 2005 when it lifted its ban on condoms. Sex is still illegal here -- as in almost every other jail and prison in the nation -- but D.C.'s stubborn HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of around 3 percent eventually convinced officials that the condom ban had a greater potential to encourage the spread of HIV than to discourage sex.

And if sex is happening in the cells (which usually hold two inmates each), it's extraordinarily important that it's safe sex, Outlaw said. On any given day, 4.5 percent of the population in the jail is infected with HIV, according to the Department of Corrections and Unity Health Care.

The relatively high rate is partially driven by the fact that inmates here are more likely to have previously engaged in some of the risky behaviors -- including unprotected sex and injectable drug use -- that transmit the virus so well.

But there's another reason the rate is higher, Outlaw said: The D.C. Jail is also identifying more formerly undiagnosed HIV-positive residents than nearly any other testing site in the city. In fact, it's now the largest testing site in Washington. Just about every inmate admitted to the jail receives a voluntary HIV test as "the fifth vital sign" at intake, making it as routine as TB testing, and the physical and mental health screenings.

Those who are newly diagnosed are connected immediately with medical care, medication, and counseling. And at discharge, the facility puts them in touch with a medical provider in the community to make sure their treatment continues without interruption.

It's widely regarded as an efficient and effective program -- and one Dr. Taurai Rugara might emulate in Zimbabwe, if for only a more reliable flow of electricity and resources.

But it hasn't always been this way.

"All of the areas where they're now doing a good job, they were not doing a good job when we first reviewed their work," said Walter Smith, executive director of D.C. Appleseed, a public interest organization that grades the city on its initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS.

When Appleseed launched its first annual report card in 2005, Smith said the testing, treatment and counseling programs at the jail needed quite a bit of improvement. The condom distribution policy seemed "haphazard," he said, and the discharge procedures to connect HIV-positive inmates with medical resources in the community also weren't "very well thought-out.".

In part due to the spotlight of the DC Appleseed report cards, things started changing after 2005. And for the last four years in a row, "HIV/AIDS Among the Incarcerated" is the only category that's landed straight As.

"Now don't get me wrong, they're not perfect. They're not testing everybody. They're not suppressing the viral load of everybody or perfect in their discharge processes. But they're very, very good in all of these areas," Smith said. "And it's really quite remarkable that the area where things are really successful now is at the D.C. Jail."

Even so, that success can be fleeting, Outlaw said.

Just as in Zimbabwe, the inmates eventually leave. And when a medical officer isn't standing there to watch them take their daily medication, some simply won't do it. Others will re-engage in risky habits as soon as they're released. And still others will be transferred to a federal correctional facility where condoms aren't permitted and unprotected sex is likely.

Outlaw repeats the same words to nearly all of them: "HIV doesn't have a face, so you just have to be real cautious of who you become engaged with."

With each discharge or transfer, she's fully aware that many of them will return. She just hopes they'll still be relatively healthy when they do.

Jason Kane traveled to Zimbabwe with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. To read part 1 of this series, "The Forgotten AIDS Orphans, From D.C. to Zimbabwe," click here.

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A sweeter life for vulnerable families
1 / 1
The honey bee is providing an income for vulnerable families
Showing image 1 of 1
GOTO, 18 July 2012 (IRIN) - Garikai Samaita, 36, from Goto village in rural Wedza, about 100km southwest of the Zimbabwen capital Harare, has discovered how to take the sting out of bees and use them to sweeten his life.

In about September 2011, a bee swarm settled in a tree near his homestead and became a nuisance when they stung his eight-year-old son, prompting Samaita to try to smoke them off his property.

However, by coincidence an agricultural extension worker visiting a relative in the village discouraged him from such a course of action and advised him to approach international NGO Environment Africa (EA) for advice on honey production, and so began a bee-keeping project reaping a livelihood.

Samaita is one of several thousand people benefiting from EA’s programme aimed at boosting rural incomes for vulnerable households through the sustainable exploitation of the environment.

Bees play a critical role in the balancing of the ecosystem and, as agents of pollination, increase production of crops, fruits, seeds and vegetables, and its honey is also a highly nutritious foodstuff.

“Bees used to scare me very much, especially after a friend of mine was stung to death by a swarm when I was growing up. We always lit huge fires underneath trees to drive them away, but the bees are very useful friends now,” Samaita told IRIN.

Since embarking on his beekeeping enterprise, or apiculture, with two hives about nine months ago, his production of honey has tripled from the regular harvesting of six beehives kept in a nearby forest.

“I am now managing to get by and have enough money to look after my family, unlike in the past when we used to struggle. Here in Wedza, harvests have been poor for a number of years because of drought, but I am one of the few in this area who have enough food in the house,” he said.

Read more
Burial societies provide for the here and now
Small grains are tough sell
A lean season ahead
According to USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems (FEWS NET) southern Zimbabwe was the worst affected by drought, and national cereal production for the 2011-2012 season is estimated at 1.1 million tons - a third lower than the previous harvest - and only about half of the annual national cereal requirement of about two million tons.

The US$80 or so a week generated from honey sales along the highway and from customers in Harare is sufficient to buy food for Samaita’s family, pay the educational costs for his two school-going children, and cover the costs of his ailing mother’s medication and hospital fees.

Samaita takes his honey-combs to a community owned processing plant at the nearby Wedza growth point, where EA assists in refining the produce and packaging the honey for sale.

The EA initiative began in early 2011 and is currently benefiting about 5,000 poor and vulnerable rural families in 23 of the country’s 59 districts.

Adding value

Some beneficiaries have begun adding value to their apiculture through diversification, which does not detract from honey production, and are selling beeswax, which is mostly used in candle-making, woodwork lubricants and wood preservation. Other potential avenues for revenue from beeswax include hair care products, such as shampoos and hair wax, as well as soap.

The scope for other value-added products include propolis - which has medical applications - royal jelly, a honey bee secretion specifically used for the nutrition of queen bee larvae and in demand by the cosmetic industry, and bee venom (apitoxin), a colourless liquid with anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory properties.

On average, a beekeeper can produce about 60kg of honey per hive in a year, Barney Mawire, EA’s country manager, told IRIN. The producer earns about US$10 a kilogram, which makes it “a potentially lucrative business for those that are involved in it”.

''My life has changed so fast. We sold all our cattle to meet medical expenses when my husband died four years ago and I never dreamt of owning livestock again''
Nellia Goromonzi, 40, a widow from Zvimba District about 90km northwest of Harare, has bought three head of cattle using the proceeds from her EA beekeeping enterprise.

“My life has changed so fast. We sold all our cattle to meet medical expenses when my husband died four years ago and I never dreamt of owning livestock again. I no longer have problems sending my three children to school and I have joined three other beneficiaries so that we may start a beer selling business,” she told IRIN.

Goromonzi employs her cousin to hawk some of her honey produce along the road and supplies shops in the nearby Murombedzi business centre in rural Zvimba in Mashonaland West Province, and is also receiving orders from businesses in the nearby farming town of Chinhoyi.

Economist John Robertson told IRIN: “Beekeeping can indeed be employed to change the lives of people. Beneficiaries can generate enough money to fight hunger, buy assets and send their children to school or foot health bills. What is needed, however, are strategies by stakeholders and the government to make sure the initiative is sustainable.”

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

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Shocking levels of ZRP corruption on the Byo - Beitbridge road

Dear Editor

I would like to share with you and your readers my eyewitness account of the shocking level of corruption of the ZRP officers on the Bulawayo-Beitbridge road:

I boarded a cross border Toyota Quantum (popularly known as 'omalayitsha') on friday night (13 July) in Johannesburg, on my way to Bulawayo. We arrived at the Zimbabwean border at 4am. The ZIMRA official demanded, and was paid R800.00 for 'quick' processing of clearance procedures. Next up was the CID officer checking Temporary Import Permits (T.I.P) for the car and trailer. He raised an issue with the trailer papers, and demanded R600.00 to allow us through. After negotiating with the driver, he eventually settled for R200.00.

As we made our way towards the gate, about 50m from the CID checkpoint, we were stopped by two uniformed officers who demanded to see our passports. They then asked for money from the driver, who gave them R50.00 as some form of 'protection fee' in future. At the gate, about 30m from the police officers, a rude female immigration officer stationed with VID officers also demanded to see our passports. She said something to me in Shona and when I told her her words were too deep for me to understand, a heated argument ensured, and the driver had to pay her R100.00 because she was threatening to detain us as 'punishment'.

Driving down 200m from the gate, police officers manning a roadblock in a Ford Ranger truck demanded R200.00, and were paid. Still in Beitbridge at the Masvingo turn, another roadblock, more ZRP officers, another R200.00. About 50km from Beitbridge, three ZRP officers in the middle of nowhere, R100 taken. Another roadblock awaited at Makhado, R200 paid. Just before West Nicholson, more policemen, and this time, the driver had no more cash, and had to borrow R100 from a female passenger.

At Gwanda, just before Joshua Mqabuko college, yet another set of starving policemen, the same lady had to lend the driver R100 more to pay the thugs. Upon driving out of Gwanda town, yet another roadblock, the passenger again lends the driver R100 rands more to pay up. We then encountered the BMW patrol vehicle 10km from Mbalabala, and the police officer asked for a re-test certificate from the driver.

Obviously, being SA based, he didnt have it. The corrupt officer then demanded a spot fine of $20 or a bribe of R100. The driver explained to him how dry the other officers on the route had already sucked him. The officer would have non of it, got into the BMW and drove away towards Gwanda with the driver's licence and the TIP document.

Now we were stranded, waited for a while hoping the BMW would return, and after an hour in the scorching heat, I decided to take over the wheel as I had my licence on me. We paid a further $10 at the Mach Binding roadblock, and after 7 long hours, we arrived in Bulawayo. After paying R2150 and $10, we arrived in Bulawayo. Considering there are over 100 cross border vehicles passing through the border on a typical weekend, how much to the dirty and corrupt ZRP officers make? Your guess is as good as mine!!!

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I Paid a Bribe

The latest reports on the I Paid a Bribe website suggest corruption on the
roads is still high in Zimbabwe. The website has received 46 reports in
under a month.
by Staff Reporter

On 22 June one witness reported a man named Moyo “made me pay $25, saying
the ticket was of value $57,” because his valid tax disc was supposedly on
the wrong side of the dashboard. Two other witnesses reported similar
problems from the same Mr. Moyo at the corner of Rezende Street by Bhadella.
One of the witnesses, posting under the name Chiweshe, said that he is
“familiar with this guy.”

“I run a tuckshop near Rezende Street. They clamp your vehicle and wait for
you to approach them to ‘make an offer’. Their crew especially target those
of us who operate businesses in that area, as we park there on a daily
basis. Will try make a video to post,” Chiweshe wrote.

Traffic cops were flagged for corruption by other witnesses, too.

One, posting anonymously on 28 June, said, “I paid a bribe to a cop to avoid
a court sentence for apparently breaking the law by turning against a red
traffic light,” at the intersection of Samora Machel Ave and Rotten Row. The
bribe was $20.

Another poster was frustrated at the amount of police interference drivers’
are expected to put up with on the roads.

“Can the responsible authorities tell the nation [of] the harassment drivers
are getting from the police for not having a SAZ certified fire
extinguisher, reflector triangle and bib. Last week a police officer
demanded my car keys for not possessing the above. Is this lawful or are
they are just trying to make money with us?” wrote the anonymous poster.

Another witness said, “I didn’t have to pay a bribe, and got off with a
‘Caution’, but they did accept a bribe from the vehicle stopped behind me,”
at the corner of Court Road and Kennedy Drive.

The roads aren’t the only places subject to bribery and scams, one witness,
again anonymous, recounted an experience with customs officials.

“On June 13, 2012 my daughter (US passport) paid her and her sister’s entry
visa with $60 ($30 each). The Customs Officer took the money then proceeded
to act as if he was busy, then returned and asked for the money again. When
she complained that she had already paid, he became angry, kept her passport
and sent her to the back of the line. She was then forced to pay again. No
receipt was given. Be aware to pay with the exact amount and insist on a
receipt before the Customs Officer leaves or tries to conduct any other
business,” the witness wrote.

Not everyone is happy with the website, found at One
poster called it “ridiculous.”

“Must be popular with Roadies (sic) and Poms. Don’t you realise where you
are? ‘Bribing’ is the ‘African way’. Wake up or leave. Nothing will change,”
the poster wrote.

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JAG Open Letter Forum - No. 802- Dated 18 July 2012

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.

Jack McLellan - Zim Land Series Communique

Dear Jag

It is a sign of the weariness of farmers and farmers representatives that
the latest letter in the land series in which Mr Rukuni has accepted the
racist acquisition of land, has gone unanswered. Are we to accept the
dictates of the corrupt, dysfunctional government as just? In a country that
cannot even organise the licencing of it's vehicles can they be trusted to
adjudicate a just compensation package?. Compensation must be seen to be
fair value.

He is saying that if you destroy someone's livelihood and you are poor
yourself, you don't have to pay fair compensation. That doesn't seem right
to me.

The government itself wants full compensation for any perceived wrongs why
farmers? In fact the poor over 70's have to fully compensate their ex
workers, that have been made redundant by the ftlrp, before they get their
pittance. The government accepts world food program to provide food to
compensate the poor for their own incompetence. Are we living in a different

The first hurdle has been overcome ie that acceptance that compensation must
be paid, as Mr Rukuni has stated, that must be expanded on. All we need now
is negotiation in good faith and by experienced and unbiased valuers. I am
sure any genuine compensation program any where in the world has independent
adjudicators and is not a one sided affair as is presented by the writer and
there is laid down guidance that can be followed. I am sure 99% of displaced
farmers would accept these terms if they had no likelihood of getting their
land back, even to the extent of being paid in installments. As for paying
for it, if the government was genuine in its desire to put the matter to
rest the money would be found. One of the major problems is no-one trusts
the present govt.

Jack McLellan


All letters published on the Open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.


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