Jul 20, 1:31 PM EDT
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe's constitutional affairs minister says an
all-party panel has finally completed a draft of the country's new
constitution after three years of bitter political wrangling.
Eric Matinenga said Friday copies of the new constitution will be
distributed ahead of a planned referendum in line with the terms of a power
sharing agreement brokered by regional leaders following violent and
disputed elections in 2008.
President Robert Mugabe, the southern African nation's authoritarian ruler
since 1980, has called for early elections to end the nation's fragile unity
government, even without a new constitution.
Matinenga said the proposed constitution will limit the presidency to two
five-year terms in the future. But 88-year-old Mugabe will still be able to
run for office.
Mugabe's party has been accused of trying to sabotage changes threatening
its long entrenched powers.
By Nelson Banya
HARARE | Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:21pm IST
(Reuters) - Zimbabwe has finished drafting a new constitution that limits
the powers of the president while strengthening those of parliament, a key
but much-delayed precursor to elections, a legislative committee said on
In a statement, the inter-party body said it had finished a draft of the
charter, which will now be reviewed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, partners in an uneasy coalition government
formed after a disputed vote in 2008.
The draft, seen by Reuters on Friday, imposes two five-year terms on the
presidency, which currently has no term limit.
It also curbs the sweeping powers of the president by requiring lawmakers'
approval for the dissolution of parliament, declaration of war and public
emergencies. However, the president retains authority over senior
The charter affirms freedom of expression and the press, while giving
increased powers to provincial governing councils - a key demand of
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which accuses Mugabe's
ZANU-PF of centralising power.
A referendum on the charter is set to be held before the end of this year,
ahead of an election expected in 2013.
Mugabe has been pushing for an early election to end the coalition but seems
to have backed off after southern African leaders, fearing a repeat of the
bloody 2008 vote, insisted on a vote only after a new constitution and
electoral law reforms.
However, the southern African nation is set to hold by-elections this year
to fill 38 vacant parliamentary seats after a Supreme Court order last week
to fill three vacant constituencies by August 30.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told parliament the by-elections would
also include 35 other vacant seats, state media reported on Friday.
"We can't hold by-elections in three vacant constituencies only, but in 38
parliamentary vacant seats and in all vacant seats in local authorities,"
Chinamasa was quoted by the Herald newspaper as telling the Senate.
Staff Reporter 47 minutes ago
HARARE - Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Advocate Eric
Matinenga says he believes the final draft of the proposed new constitution
is a good piece of legislation which conforms to international best
Advocate Matinenga made the remarks while briefing the media on some of the
most contentious issues that had been presented in the drafting of the new
View the final draft of the new constitution here
He expressed belief that if a referendum is conducted, the draft will sail
According to the draft constitution, the office of the Presidency and other
Public Office will be limited to two terms.
Presidential candidates shall follow the system of nominating two running
mates who will automatically become vice to the winner and shall succeed in
the case of death or eventualities to the head of state, putting to rest
The House of Assembly will have 66 seats reserved for women legislators,
while Senate will be on proportional representation.
The Bill of Rights has been expanded from the current political and civil
rights, to include economic, social, cultural and environmental spheres.
The death penalty shall not be handed down to women, while men aged 70 years
and above shall not be executed, with the penalty only applying in cases of
The draft constitution also provides that any person born in Zimbabwe shall
automatically be a citizen.
What is left is for the parties and principals to determine whether they are
agreeable to the positions in the draft to allow the holding of a
19 July 2012
Blessing Zulu | Washington
Zimbabwe’s new draft constitution has abolished the death sentence for women
and those under the age of 21 and above 70 years, but pro-life activists say
it does not go far enough.
Also, some legal experts and human rights groups worry the move may be used
to protect senior Zanu PF officials accused of gross rights abuses in the
The alleged violations have seen President Robert Mugabe and some 200
members of his inner circle being hit with travel and financial sanctions by
the U.S. and the European Union.
Rights groups pushing for the total removal of the death penalty, including
Amnesty International say the charter, which will be adopted if approved in
a referendum latter this year - falls short.
Among other notable aspects, the new charter adopts the American and
Malawian system where a presidential candidate has a running mate who
automatically takes over if the head of state is incapacitated or unable to
It also restores the right to vote for so-called aliens or Zimbabweans with
one foreign parent, who for long have been disenfranchised and denied
Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga told VOA
that he has written to the cabinet secretary informing him that the draft is
complete and ready for submission to unity government principals and the
The charter, to replace the current constitution that has been amended 19
times, will also be presented before an All-Stakeholders Conference in the
next few weeks before going for a national referendum.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa confirmed negotiators from the three
unity parties appended their signatures to the draft as a sign of approval,
adding they now wait to hear from the principals.
The three co-chairpersons of the parliamentary panel writing the new charter
also met with other committee members in Harare Thursday to officially hand
over the document.
Co-chairman Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana of Zanu PF told VOA the process is now
complete and his party will call for a special politburo session next week
to discuss the constitutional draft.
Douglas Mwonzora, Copac co-chair representing the MDC formation of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the document was final, adding no one in the
community wants to go back to political bickering over the content.
By Tichaona Sibanda
20 July 2012
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora will be disappointed to note that dual citizenship is not enshrined in the new constitution, whose draft was released this week.
Despite statements from MDC-T officials in COPAC that dual citizenship was in the constitution, the draft of the new charter is vague on the issue.
The only section where it is mentioned is on powers of Parliament in regard to citizenship. Part 3.8 of Chapter 3 says: “ An Act of Parliament may make provision, consistent with this chapter, for the prohibition or permitting of dual citizenship in respect of citizens by descent or registration.”
It’s well been understood that dual citizenship is a contentious issue for ZANU PF and clearly COPAC failed to find common ground, and so it is now just a matter referred to Parliament.
Lawyer and pro-democracy activist Dewa Mavhinga told SW Radio Africa’s Election Watch program that he strongly believes the matter on dual citizenship was deliberately omitted by COPAC.
‘It’s a political position. It’s no coincidence that one party in the negotiations felt uneasy letting millions of Zimbabweans vote in the next election.
‘This is a gross omission which is obviously very disappointing, which does not therefore give hope that perhaps as Zimbabweans living outside the country we could claim our fundamental rights to vote,’ Mavhinga said.
Mavhinga explained that legally, the gap left on dual citizenship, if not clearly expressed in the constitution will come into conflict with the current constitution.
‘As it is, the new draft doesn’t prohibit dual citizenship, it just leaves it to the next parliament to deal with the matter. In the meantime, we know of cases of Zimbabweans who have been convicted of having dual citizenship, like the former Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri.
‘Since it is silent on that, if the new constitution is adopted, a person can have both a Zimbabwe passport and a passport of another country and can move freely in the country without being arrested. But you will simply not be recognised as an individual who holds dual citizenship until Parliament deliberates on it,’ Mavhinga added.
The current constitution is explicit on dual citizenship. Part IV of the chapter of the constitution, drawn up during the Lancaster House talks in London just before independence, states that ‘subject to this section, no citizen of Zimbabwe who is of full age and sound mind shall be entitled to be a citizen of a foreign country.’
By Tichaona Sibanda
20 July 2012
The first Vice-President of Zimbabwe will assume office, to complete the
term of the President, if he dies, resigns or becomes incapacitated,
according to the new draft constitution.
Chapter 5 of the draft on the Executive, part 5.14 states that if the
President dies, resigns or is removed from office, the first Vice-President
assumes office as President until the expiry of the former President’s term
‘The second Vice-President assumes office as first Vice-President until the
expiry of the former President’s term of office. And upon assuming office as
President, the former first Vice-President must appoint a qualified person
to be second Vice-President until the expiry of the former President’s term
of office,’ the new charter says.
If you put this into perspective, whoever Robert Mugabe nominates as his
running mate for the first Vice-Presidency in the next election, will
automatically succeed him if he fails to complete the 5 year-term.
Zimbabwe is set to go for harmonized elections, possibly next year, when
Mugabe will be 89 years and because of his advanced age and poor health, few
people doubt he will go the distance if he gets elected.
Some analysts believe he may step down to allow his anointed first
Vice-President to take over, because by the time the first term ended Mugabe
would be 94 years old.
If he wins and decides to step down, that gesture will once and for all
settle the highly divisive succession battle in his party. As it is Joice
Mujuru, the first Vice-President, might take over the reins, ahead of
presidential hopeful, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Defence Minister.
Under the current constitution if Mugabe fails to finish his term, for what
ever reason, a nominee from his party will fill in the gap for 90 days until
a new Presidential poll can be held.
The one question that hasn’t been answered is why Zimbabwe needs two Vice
Presidents in the first place.
Written by Gift Phiri, Chief Writer
Friday, 20 July 2012 12:03
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has successfully sunk a constitutional
clause that could have stopped him from seeking another term, according to
an official draft of a new constitution released yesterday.
The parliamentary committee driving the constitutional reforms released the
final consolidated draft constitution that retains an all-powerful
president; but with powers to make appointments without parliamentary
oversight severely curtailed.
Mugabe had threatened to withhold his assent to a draft that had
disqualified him as a presidential candidate.
The first draft said: “A person is disqualified for election as President if
he or she has already held office for one or more periods, whether
continuous or not, amounting to 10 years.”
But the draft, officially released yesterday but dated July 17, 2012, says:
“A person is disqualified for election as President or Vice President if he
or she has already held office as President under this Constitution for two
terms, whether continuous or not, and for the purpose of this subsection
three or more years’ service is deemed to be a full term.”
Mugabe, faces the toughest challenge of his 32-year rule in forthcoming
watershed elections where he will stand as his Zanu PF party’s flag bearer.
The parliament select committee said the Second All Stakeholders Conference
will probably be held in one month’s time.
Copac spokesperson Jessie Majome said there were bound to be changes.
“There have been several other drafts, there are repeated changes,” she
Parliamentarians leading the process say the draft could herald the birth of
what is being hailed as “the birth of the second republic”.
Significantly, the draft constitution removes prosecuting power from the
Attorney-General who becomes only a legal advisor to the President while a
new National Prosecuting Authority is created.
The draft constitution retains the death penalty but only for “aggravated
murder”, prohibits gay marriages and gives women a good deal on the question
of gender parity in Parliament.
While the draft acknowledges 50-50 representation it also provides that
Parliament shall not be rendered unconstitutional by failure to meet the
The debate over a new constitution began in 2009, then surged and receded
with each national crisis.
Finally, the parties have agreed to a proposed document after a lot of
trade-offs, and the draft will be presented to Zimbabweans at an
all-stakeholders conference next month.
By Alex Bell
20 July 2012
Robert Mugabe and key members of his inner circle are set to remain on the
list of targeted restrictive sanctions imposed by Europe, despite a review
of the measures taking place next Monday.
European Union (EU) Ministers will be meeting in Brussels Monday and key
decisions about Zimbabwe’s future are set to be made. Chief among these are
a review of the sanctions still in place, which include a ban on direct
government to government aid, and the targeted restrictive measures against
Mugabe and his cronies.
It is understood that EU ministers are already agreed on relaxing the
measures to try and prompt more reform in Zimbabwe, a decision that will be
conditional on these reforms actually taking place. It is widely expected
that the decade long ban on direct government aid will be lifted, while the
restrictive measures against some individuals and companies might also be
Sources in Brussels quoted by the Reuters news agency have said that the
measures against Mugabe himself and his inner circle will definitely remain,
a position supported by the UK. The Foreign Office was quoted this week as
saying the measures on Mugabe will not be relaxed.
But the apparent softening in stance towards the Mugabe regime has riled
many critics, with some arguing that any loosening of the measures is the
same as rewarding the regime for its human rights abuses.
Piers Pigou from the International Crisis Group told SW Radio Africa on
Friday that whatever decision the EU takes is not a guarantee of reform, but
“the old formula of waiting for reform clearly has not worked.”
“Yes, there is the cynical argument that there are many reforms that could
take place without the measures being lifted and it’s all a question of
political will,” Pigou said.
He added: “But what this does do is put the ball firmly into Zimbabwe’s
court and SADC’s court in terms of a narrowed down reform agenda. And,
whatever is taken away can always be reintroduced.”
Staff Reporter 23 hours 49 minutes ago
While the European Union is discussing the lifting of illegal sanctions
imposed on Zimbabwe, the United States of America maintains that the embargo
can only be lifted if the country goes through a referendum and holds
Outgoing US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Charles Ray made the remarks after
paying a courtesy call on Vice President Joice Mujuru at her Munhumutapa
offices in Harare, to bid her farewell.
Ambassador Ray says he does not subscribe to measures that are not flexible,
adding that countries must desist from being obsessed with the negatives but
must focus on the positives to move forward.
He however maintained that unless Zimbabwe goes through a referendum and
holds elections, the embargo will remain.
"Once this country has completed its constitutional referendum process and
holds a credible election reflective of the views of the people, then there
is no other justification for keeping the sanctions," said Ambassador Ray.
The British government has backed 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
Earlier on, the Nigerian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Mamman Nuhu also
paid a familiarisation courtesy call on Vice President Mujuru.
Ambassador Nuhu, who has been in the country since August last year, said he
briefed the Mujuru on political disturbances being perpetuated by the
hard-line Islamist group, the Boko Haram in Nigeria.
The third envoy to pay a courtesy call was the new Zambian Ambassador to
Zimbabwe, Mrs Ndiyoi Mutiti.
Ambassador Mutiti said the two discussed various bilateral issues and also
the forthcoming UNWTO conference which Zimbabwe is co-hosting with Zambia in
Zambia and Zimbabwe have the potential to assist each other to develop
tourism and strengthen bilateral trade.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mujuru also met the visiting Russian delegation,
which expressed interest in enhancing economic cooperation with Zimbabwe in
areas of mining, power generation, energy and infrastructure development.
Mujuru said despite strong bilateral ties, the two countries are not fully
exploiting economic partnerships, adding that Zimbabwe is currently
exporting a large number of raw materials due to lack of value addition.
Speaking through an interpreter, Russian business delegation leader, who is
also the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr Georgy Kalamanov said his
country has already identified various projects and has crafted a Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) which is now awaiting
Russia already has mining interests in the country and the Russian economy
is the world’s 9th largest by nominal GDP.
Vladimir Mzaca | 20 July, 2012 00:02
The passage yesterday of the Electoral Amendment Bill through the House of
Assembly follows the recent finalisation of the country's draft
The electoral law amendment stipulates that presidential election results
should be announced within five days of voting.
Police will also not be allowed in polling stations. A polling station-based
voters' roll will not be adopted.
An electoral court will also be established.
"We are particularly pleased with the provision on the voters' roll and the
role to be played by police. It is structured in a manner that seeks to curb
political violence,'' said Douglas Mwonzora, a Movement for Democratic
Change spokesman and co-chairman of the constitution-making process.
The draft constitution is expected to be handed to the various parties in
the coalition government shortly.
The Southern African Development Community's mediator on Zimbabwe, President
Jacob Zuma, is expected to visit the country soon to assess progress made in
the talks, Zanu PF negotiator Patrick Chinamasa said.
by Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE will hold a mini-general election before the end of the year to
comply with a Supreme Court ruling, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said
in Parliament on Thursday.
Three former MDC MPs who were expelled by their party in 2009 took President
Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to court to force
by-elections in their former constituencies.
Last week, the Supreme Court threw out Mugabe’s appeal against a High Court
order for the by-elections to be held. The government had argued it did not
Mugabe must gazette election dates by August 30, according to the Supreme
Chinamasa told the Senate that the Supreme Court ruling had wider
implications beyond the three constituencies – Lupane East, Nkayi South and
“Countrywide, we will have to run harmonised elections for all vacant seats
in both Parliament and local authorities,” Chinamasa said in reply to a
question by Rushinga Senator Damian Mumvuri (Zanu PF).
Chinamasa said there were THIRTY EIGHT vacant seats in the Senate and House
of Assembly, and more than 200 in rural and urban councils mainly as a
result of deaths.
He told Senators: “The implication (of the ruling) is that the situation in
38 parliamentary vacant constituencies is similar to the situation in the
three constituencies. The implication is we can’t hold by-elections in three
vacant constituencies only, but in 38 parliamentary vacant seats and in all
vacant seats in local authorities as well.”
Chinamasa admitted the government had no budget for the elections, but said
the rule of law dictated that the court ruling must be respected.
According to the government’s own estimates, the by-elections could cost
close to US$40 million. Only on Thursday, Finance Minister Tendai Biti was
warning that the country was nearly bankrupt because the government was
“eating more than it killed”.
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has been demanding elections this
year, but the party has faced resistance from its MDC rivals who insist on
political and electoral reforms to be implemented first, including the
adoption of a new constitution.
This week, the House of Assembly passed the Electoral Amendment Bill and a
new draft constitution was forwarded to President Robert Mugabe and his MDC
coalition partners Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry Minister
Welshman Ncube. It could be put to a public referendum as early as
Zanu PF officials are planning to use the Supreme Court judgement to corner
the MDC factions. If the MDC parties enter the by-elections, Zanu PF will
use that to blow holes into the two parties’ earlier arguments that free and
fair elections are not possible before reforms.
Nathaniel Manheru, a pro-government polemicist who writes a weekly column in
the state-run Herald newspaper, said last Saturday that if the MDC parties
field candidates in the mini-by elections, they would have done their
earlier arguments about “outstanding issues” a lot of damage.
The rug has also been pulled from underneath the feet of the regional trade
bloc, SADC, which has also been applying brakes to Mugabe’s election push,
“Until this court decision, the whole debate has evolved as if only GPA
[Global Political Agreement] principals, watched by SADC through its
facilitator [South African President Jacob Zuma], have been the only factors
at play. The Supreme Court has now shown this was a mistaken overrating of
persons and institutions which, in any event, are themselves the players in
the game about to begin. It has shown it is a game-changer, indeed the
writer of rules of the game which SADC seeks to referee,” Manheru wrote.
“This is a key adjustment to the whole electoral equation in which all sorts
of political arguments, not least among them the bogey of ‘outstanding
issues’, were being summoned to extend indefinitely the saccharine but
increasingly illegal governing moment.
“If the MDC formations needed until June next year ‘to level the playing
field’, they now have until August this year to do so. And we are in July!”
UNIONS Friday called on civil servants to protest next week to demand a near
doubling of basic wages, after the finance minister ruled out any increases
due to budget cuts.
"We are calling for a mass demonstration by all civil servants in Harare on
Tuesday," Tendai Chikowore, spokeswoman for the state employees' umbrella
union, told AFP.
"We are demonstrating against the government. The grievances are
long-standing. We want a review of our basic salaries, rural allowances,
transport and housing allowances."
Chikowore said the workers want across-the-board pay rises, including a
raise from $286 to $560 a month for the lowest-paid government workers.
"The basic salary was not reviewed in January and we thought the government
in its wisdom would be sensitive and make provision for an increase in our
basic salaries in the budget," she said.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti ruled out any wage hikes for this year when he
presented the mid-term budget Wednesday, saying lower-than-expected revenues
had forced the government to trim its spending from the planned $4 billion
to $3.6 billion.
"Indeed, even in the absence of such (salary) reviews, government faces the
real danger of defaulting on salary payment," he said Wednesday.
"Hence, we need not take the current monthly payments for granted but
seriously appreciate the limited fiscal space for wage adjustments."
Biti also blamed the budget crunch on overspending on foreign travel, and
said the government had taken on 10,000 new employees without following
proper hiring procedures.
About one-third of the government's 230,000 employees were already believed
to be "ghost workers" - fictitious names that allow others to receive
salaries fraudulently, according to Biti.
After a decade-long crisis, Zimbabwe's economy has begun recovering
following a power-sharing agreement between long-time rivals President
Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the wake of failed
But the recovery remains fragile. The government has lowered its growth
forecast for the year from 9.4 percent to 5.6 percent, Biti said Wednesday.
Mugabe has accused Biti, a Tsvangirai ally, of deliberately sabotaging the
government by refusing any salary increases.
By Alex Bell
20 July 2012
A property buying spree in South Africa by a top crony of Robert Mugabe’s is
suspected to be part of a money laundering exercise, to process the illicit
profits of Zimbabwe’s still controversial diamond trade.
An investigation by South Africa’s Mail & Guardian has followed the multi
million rand spending spree by Robert Mhlanga, a reported close friend of
the Mugabe family and Robert Mugabe’s former personal pilot. Mhlanga is also
the Chairman of the Mbada diamond firm operating at the Chiadzwa diamond
fields, where reports of smuggling and illegal dealings are still surfacing.
The Mail & Guardian report states that Mhlanga has been on R185-million
property-buying spree in the past year, acquiring prime real estate on the
Durban north coast and in one of the plushest areas of Sandton in
“Mhlanga’s property dealings have raised eyebrows, not least because he
appears content to pay up to six times the going rate for the properties he
buys. Speculation is rife in Zimbabwe that Mhlanga represents the Mugabe
family’s interests in Marange and has been buying properties on their
behalf, although his role as a proxy for the Mugabes could not be proved by
the Mail & Guardian,” the newspaper reported.
The paper explained that Mhlanga’s modus operandi is to buy a “shelf company
with an obscure name”, which he would then use as a vehicle through which to
buy property. Mhlanga is traceable as the sole director of these companies
and, through the company names, to records of property sales at deeds
The report also quotes an economic analyst who says the inflated rate at
which Mhlanga is buying the properties is cause for suspicion.
“There could be money laundering happening, where basically you’re paying a
lot more than it’s worth but there is some other agreement with the guy who’s
selling it to you where a percentage of the transaction flows back to you
later in some other transaction down the line,” the analyst was quoted as
The Mail & Guardian report has come on the back of international warnings
that Zimbabwe’s diamond trade was illicitly funding a parallel government.
Last month, a report by international human rights group Global Witness
turned the spotlight on these suspicions, detailing that the CIO and army
are securing off-budget support from China in exchange for diamond profits.
The report also singled out Mbada diamonds and its actions, including a
suspicious 25% handover of the company’s shares to other companies that have
been linked back to Mhlanga himself. Nick Donovan from Global Witness told
SW Radio Africa on Friday that although they have no evidence of money
laundering, there is room for suspicion.
“We know there is some kind of connection. So he’s probably benefiting in
some way,” Donovan explained.
He added: “Ever since the government of national unity was formed, there
has been a search for off-budget funding by the security forces and some
members of ZANU PF. As soon as the MDC got control of the Treasury and
clipped the wings of the reserve bank, ZANU PF had to find another source of
funding, other than printing money.”
Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Tendai Biti meanwhile has also been forced to
slash the national budget and induce higher taxes, blaming a “worrying”
shortfall in the diamond revenue once expected to reach the national
coffers. Last year Biti said about US$600 million in diamond revenue was
expected after the lifting of an international trade suspension.
But since then, Biti has admitted that this has not happened and recently
revealed that absolutely no money was coming from at least one of the firms
“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,” Biti said this week.
By Professor Matodzi Harare, July 20, 2012 - Controversial Youth
Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere
risks losing his ministerial portfolio after a civil society activist took
his challenge of the composition of the bloated cabinet to the Supreme
The Supreme Court on Thursday heard an application filed by Moven Kufa, a
civil society activist and The Voice for Democracy Trust seeking the Court
to cut cabinet ministerial portfolios to 31 from 41.
Kufa brought his application on the basis that the bloated executive is
unlawfully chewing up taxpayers’ money.
On Thursday, Kufa’s lawyer, Advocate David Ochieng, insisted that Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had breached the Constitution by appointing
10 more ministers instead of 31. Ochieng argued that the appointment of the
ministers by Mugabe in consultation with Tsvangirai were unconstitutional
and therefore null and void. He also argued that the bloated executive is
unlawfully chewing up taxpayers’ money.
Apart from challenging the appointment of Kasukuwere, Kufa is also
contesting the selection of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation
Development Minister Joseph Made, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister
Walter Mzembi, Minister of State in Vice-President John Nkomo’s Office Flora
Bhuka, Minister of State in Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s Office Sylvester
Nguni, Minister of Health Henry Madzorera, Minister of National Housing and
Social Amenities Giles Mutsekwa and co-Minister of the Organ on National
Healing and Regional Integration Sekai Holland.
If Kasukuwere’s appointment together with that of the other ministers is
ruled invalid it could put Zanu (PF) and Mugabe’s indigenisation drive off
the rails. The former ruling party and its octogenarian leader have in
recent months been using the indigenisation and empowerment drive as a
political campaign tool aimed at winning citizens vote ahead of a planned
Mugabe and Tsvangirai’s lawyer, Advocate Lewis Uriri, opposed Kufa’s
application and argued that Zanu (PF), MDC-T and MDC parties must also be
cited as respondents in the matter because they were responsible for
nominating the ministers, whose appointment is being challenged by Kufa.
Chief Justice Chidyausiku reserved judgment in the matter.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai appointed a total of 41 government ministers in
February 2009 after the formation of the coalition government.
19 July 2012
Thomas Chiripasi | Harare
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court reserved judgment Thursday in a lawsuit by a civil
activist challenging the 2009 appointment of ten extra ministers in
violation of the constitution.
Voice of Democracy Trust director Moven Kufa wants the ministerial posts
lopped from 41 to 31 in line with the nation's charter. But after hearing
arguments, the court said it was not ready to make a determination.
While President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party and the two formations of the
MDC had agreed after protracted negotiations to create a cabinet with 31
ministers, they went on to violate the constitutional provision by adding
ten more posts.
High Court Judge President George Chiweshe last year ruled that indeed the
number of cabinet ministers was not in sync with the constitution, but said
he could not grant Kufa's application fearing it would destabilize the unity
This prompted him to appeal to the Supreme Court. Kufa's lawyer, David
Ocheing told the constitutional court that the High Court had erred in its
"The nub of the argument is that by appointing more ministers than the
constitution allows, the president acted illegally and those appointments
must be set aside," said Ocheing.
But Advocate Lewis Uriri, representing Mr. Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and the ten affected ministers, said Kufa had no legal standing
to litigate in the first place.
"The appellants in the matter do not have the legal standing to bring the
application that they did, in that they do not have a sufficient legal
interest special to themselves as opposed to the generality of the
population," Uriri argued.
"In other words, there is no right in our law to seek to vindicate a public
interest, a violation that is alleged to related to the whole of the
Uriri also argued that the use of the word “shall” in the Constitution was
directory. As such, he said the appeal must be dismissed.
But Ochieng countered that every citizen had a right to ensure those in
positions of authority adhered to the governing charter.
Article 20 of Schedule 8 of the Zimbabwe Constitution amended following the
formation of the coalition government in 2009 reads; “There shall be
thirty-one ministers with fifteen nominated by Zanu PF, thirteen by MDC-T
and three by MDC-M.”
If Kufa's appeal is granted, 10 ministers, including Henry Madzorera,
Saviour Kasukuwere, Walter Mzembi, Sekai Holland, Giles Mutsekwa, Sylvester
Nguni, Joseph Made and Flora Bhuka will lose their posts.
July 20, 2012
HARARE — The Zimbabwe government has begun an investigation into reports of
severe adverse effects - including deaths - from an immunization program
against polio and measles it conducted last month. On Friday, Henry
Madzorera, Zimbabwe’s health minister, said the program was important
because it cuts down the number of childhood deaths from these diseases.
Zimbabwean Health Minister Henry Madzorera attributed the negative physical
reactions some children have to vaccinations to malnutrition, among other
factors. He also said the children may already have other diseases when
they get vaccinated.
"Zimbabwe has among the highest maternal and child death rates in the
world," said Madzorera. "So some events are coincidental due to the high
frequency of child deaths, but also child morbidity. However, vaccination
remains a key intervention in giving a child a chance of life. But the
frequency and magnitude of adverse events becomes higher on these children
who are already sick."
In Zimbabwe, vaccination of children has in the past met with resistance
from some parents, who say their children became ill after getting the
The June vaccination program sponsored by the United Nations children's
agency (UNICEF) and Japan drew attention when a child died in Masvingo,
about 300 kilometers south of Harare.
Deputy Health Minister Douglas Mombeshora confirmed the death and suggested
other factors, not just the vaccination, may have caused the death.
“The child was severely malnourished," said Mombeshora. "We also discovered
that the parents were on ART [AIDS] therapy. The parents had not come to say
they are on treatment. That they are on treatment and the low weight on the
child [was] mostly likely [because] the child was HIV positive.”
It remains to be seen if skeptical parents will listen to such an
explanation and expose their children to immunization programs.
UNICEF procured the immunization drugs after receiving funding from the
Peter Salama, the head of UNICEF in Harare, also says that many children are
sick from other diseases when they get vaccinated to prevent measles and
polio. He says the vaccines are safe.
"Some of those children are already sick," Salama explained. "They have
diarrhea, particularly in winter months, they have respiratory infections.
Parents associate vaccination with their illness, so much of these reports
turn out to be coincidental. We only procure WHO pre-qualified vaccines.
That is the case for Zimbabwe and for other countries in the world. "
The week-long immunization program in June vaccinated against polio and
measles and targeted more than two million children. With official figures
showing that 100 children die every day in Zimbabwe, the immunization
program is seen as the most cost-effective way to reduce child illness and
Zimbabwe's healthcare sector fell into complete disorder several years ago,
after years of political turmoil and the collapse of the economy. Now,
thanks to international agencies such as UNICEF and WHO, there seems to be
July 20, 2012 5:57 pm
By Richard Chidza
HARARE – Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has sought President Robert Mugabe
and his deputy Joice Mujuru’s help in a vicious fight against top Zanu PF
chefs who have invaded wildlife conservancies with the backing of some top
Highly placed sources told the Daily News Mzembi has been involved in a
nasty fight with Shuvai Mahofa, a former Zanu PF MP and deputy minister over
the invasion of a wildlife conservancy and poaching.
Mzembi fears anarchy prevailing in the conservancies will dent the country’s
image ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general
assembly conference which Zimbabwe is co-hosting with Zambia next year.
The event is viewed as key to jumpstarting Zimbabwe’s tourism sector which
has suffered the brunt of bad publicity generated by a decade of political
Wildlife conservation activists claimed in interviews with the Daily News
that Mahofa had strong backing from serving and retired military commanders,
some of whom have interests in the conservancies where poaching is rife.
Parks and Wildlife director general Vitalis Chadenga confirmed that poaching
is rampant in the conservancies under dispute. Mzembi says he wants Mahofa,
feared war veteran Francis Zimuto aka Black Jesus and a white farmer
identified as Ken Drummond stopped from decimating animals in the lucrative
A letter sent to Mugabe and Mujuru and seen by the Daily News states that
Mahofa is acting illegally.
“The High Court of Zimbabwe has ruled to suspend Mahofa’s lease agreement
and that Forever African Safaris are the rightful occupiers of the ranch in
the Save Valley Conservancy,” reads the communication.
“The World Tourism Summit is scheduled for 2013 in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe,
yet National Parks director Vitalis Chadenga and Natural Resources minister
Francis Nhema continue to ignore the fact that Savuli has been invaded on
the strength of ‘documents from their offices’.”
Mzembi, who enjoys the support of local chiefs and ordinary people in the
Lowveld, refused to comment on the dispute. He however took a swipe at
officials who were using their political links to amass wealth at the
expense of ordinary people.
“The nation has been witnessing the blatant abuse of well-meaning policies
by greedy individuals who have benefited ‘70 times seven times’ from
virtually every empowerment policy that has been pronounced,” he said.
“An indigenisation move that benefits the same persons over and over again
immediately lends itself to scrutiny and interrogation. Instead we are
witnessing some of the unintended consequences of well-meaning programmes
that end up providing raison d’etre and justification for an attitude of
entitlement and impunity fronted as empowerment by the greedy fringe of our
society. This must be checked,” Mzembi said.
“However I am reluctant to comment on the matter before I talk to minister
Nhema under whose ambit conservancies’ fall suffice to say I am disturbed by
the negative impact of these developments on tourism,” said Mzembi. Chadenga
said poaching was widespread.
“People are hunting without permits but we have instructed our Masvingo
office to act,” he said. He however defended Mahofa, saying whites in the
area were the ones causing problems.
“As far as we are concerned Mahofa has a valid lease and the problem that is
in the conservancy is to do with co-existence. Mahofa got a 25-year lease
under the Wildlife Best Land Reform Policy that seeks to open conservation
to black Zimbabweans.
“It is true I have received protests from in particular the German
ambassador but my response was that what we have is a co-existence issue and
nothing more,” Chadenga said. Chadenga rubbished Mzembi’s claims that the
dispute could affect the tourism event.
“There will be a greater threat to the UNWTO general assembly if we do not
allow Zimbabweans with valid leases to co-exist with former white owners,”
he said. A spokesperson for Forever African Safaris, Wilfried Pabst told the
Daily News Zimbabwe’s hosting of the UNWTO general assembly is in danger.
“The situation is so bad and it is highly likely that several European
countries could declare a tourism moratorium on Zimbabwe categorising the
country as a danger to wildlife,” he said. He added the firm has two High
Court orders against Mahofa that authorities are ignoring.
Nhema was unavailable for comment, but minister of State in Mujuru’s office
Sylvester Nguni was angry at how the Daily News got hold of the documents.
“I am disappointed that people seeking our help see it fit to involve the
media, waylaying the deputy president of the country into a media trap?
“They have already passed judgement that we will not be of much help so you
are not going to get a comment from us and I am not sure they will get much
help,” an angry Nguni said.
A wildlife conservationist Jonny Rodrigues ,who chairs the Zimbabwe
Conservation Task Force, also claimed the army is heavily involved. “There
is involvement of serving and retired army generals as well as Zanu PF
bigwigs who are using people like Mahofa and others as pawns to get
conservancies and land.
Mahofa denied the allegation. “These people are South Africans and I cannot
be fighting foreigners. It is my property and I do not want to see anyone. I
was supposed to share it with retired Colonel Claudius Makova but he refused
and now it is mine alone and I do not even want to see a soldier.
“I surrendered all other farms that I had to my children and they have their
own leases. The poaching that is so prevalent in the conservancy is because
whites are resisting sharing with blacks,” said Mahofa. Nhema said Mahofa
was the rightful owner of the property. Daily News
Friday, 20 July 2012 06:25 peter nyoni News
E-learning facilities will be rolled out to 1,000 schools in Zimbabwe by the
end of the year, the country's minister of Information and Communications
Technology (ICT) Nelson Chamisa has said.
Speaking to Techzim, the politician revealed this ambitious plan could
significantly improve the educational outcomes of students.
He revealed his long-term goal will be to have e-learning courses in the
country's 8,000 schools by 2015.
Techzim said it is "optimistic" about the scheme, but does not know where
the money for these virtual learning environments will come from.
Mr Chamisa stated ministers will monitor the first phase of the roll-out,
before handing the reigns to schools and allowing them to take care of the
facilities themselves, budgeting for the expense of online learning through
their regular costs.
The costs of this large-scale e-learning scheme will be "built into the
schooling system" through school fees or the government, the minister
However, the publication argued more certainty will be required in the
funding model going forward, predicting that Zimbabwe might have to "bring
out the begging bowl" and approach international finance sources if families
and the state cannot find the money for the project.
The politician explained some of the costs involved in a nationwide online
training scheme will include software, hardware and connectivity.
Furthermore, solar power plants will have to be set up in regions without
any electricity, he remarked.
When online learning courses are widespread, children in the Zimbabwean
countryside will have the same competitive advantages as those in Australia,
Beijing and New York, Mr Chamisa argued.
"We are moving from the traditional schools to the modern school," he
The politician has been a strong advocate of computing technology, telling
the Zimbabwe ICT 2010 Achievers Awards that "ICTs are bound to play an
increasingly prominent and pivotal role as a key enabler of renewed and
sustainable growth" - Virtual College.
12:54 UK, 20th Jul 2012
Credit shortages, subsidy hiccups and high energy costs have dashed hopes of
a rebound in wheat production in Zimbabwe, leaving a country once known as
the breadbasket of southern Africa facing another year of record imports.
Zimbabwe's farmers will produce 20,000 tonnes of wheat in 2012-13, well
below the 75,000 tonnes that the government initially targeted, and historic
harvest levels, US Department of Agriculture officials said.
"Wheat production is on a declining trend since 2001, when Zimbabwe produced
more than 300,000 tonnes," the USDA's South Africa bureau said in a report.
"A number of constraints, such as unreliable power supplies for irrigating
the crop, dilapidated irrigation infrastructure, and late payments by the
[state-run] Grain Marketing Board, have contributed to the declining trend
in wheat production," the briefing said.
Thanks to "erratic rainfall", the harvest of corn, the source of the food
staple mealy meal, looks set to decline too, by more than one-third to
'Little wheat-planting activity'
Zimbabwe's wheat production should be more resilient - against weather
upsets, at least - as the crop is typically planted under irrigation, in the
However, the sowings window "passed with very little wheat-planting
activity" after fertilizer companies failed to release nutrients targets by
a government-backed $20m support programme.
This was "due to the government's failure to settle a $50m debt dating back
several seasons", the USDA said, adding the state also owes money to "the
majority of" farmers for wheat deliveries made in October.
As a further financial setback to farmers, loans for inputs are only on
offer for up to 90 days, "mainly due to the unavailability of credit because
of Zimbabwe's high country risk", while farmers report paying interest rates
of 30% a year on loans.
The country's economic situation has in fact significantly improved since
the administration of President Robert Mugabe began power sharing with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change was implemented three years ago.
Inflation, which hit 500 trillion per cent in 2008, has fallen to less than
5%, and the economy expanded by more than 7% a year.
Even growers who did get wheat into the ground have faced high costs of
irrigating it, estimated at $700-800 per hectare, on top of charges of
$350-500 for inputs and labour, according to the Zimbabwe Farmers Union.
For output to be viable requires electricity prices of about $0.03 per
kilowatt hour, rather than the $0.14 per kilowatt hour farmers are charged,
the union said.
The USDA officials estimate Zimbabwe's wheat imports reaching a record
250,000 tonnes in 2012-13 for a fourth successive season.
In the October-to-April period, Russia was the biggest exporter to Zimbabwe,
with 25,722 tonnes, with Argentina another major supplier.
Members of the newly formed Matabeleland Civil Society Forum (MCSF) will not
endorse the draft constitution if key minimum conditions on the issue on
devolution of power which the forum have came up with is not captured in the
by Zwanai Sithole Harare
MCSF spokesperson, Dumisani Nkomo told the Zimbabwean that the forum will
not accept a provincial assembly without legislative powers.
"The role of the current provincial structure in the draft constitution is
more of a coordinating organ that a executive one. We want an executive
provincial assembly with powers to prosecute and control the natural
resources in respective provinces .Anything short of that will not be
acceptable," said Nkomo.
Nkomo said before deciding whether to urge their members to endorse or
reject the proposed draft constitution, the forum will first of all
articulate their views and lobby at the second all stakeholders' conference.
Nkomo said MCSF members will this week convene a crucial meeting where the
civic society groups are expected to come up with a clear position on the
"Our main thrust is devolution of power, public finances and the truth
commission. We are aware that other civic organisations are busy addressing
other issues in the draft constitution," he said.
Over 400 delegates are expected to attend the meeting. The consortium formed
early this month by like-minded civic society groups, is aimed at advocating
for the inclusion of devolution of power into the new constitution.
Thursday, 19 July 2012
Issue - 397
Buhera - Buhera South Ward 30 chairman, Showman Mudiwa was yesterday
arrested and detained by police at Birchneough Bridge police post for
allegedly trying to incite violence and was fined $20.
Mudiwa was seen putting up MDC posters close to the venue of a Zanu PF
rally. Mudiwa was pinning the posters as part of preparations for a
scheduled district activity to be held at the end of the month.
The MDC condemns the unjustifiable arrest of its members by police and the
partisan justice delivery system.
Mberengwa - The house belonging to Esau Gwatipedza Dube, the MDC
Parliamentary candidate for Mberengwa West in the 2008 elections was petrol
bombed by known Zanu PF youths militia early this month in Chingechuru
Village, Ward 33, Mberengwa West.
The Zanu PF youths, led by one Lovemore Nzwirashe Hove broke into Dube’s
house in the early hours of Sunday, 8 July and threw a petrol bomb into the
lounge. No-one was injured in the attack although there were six minor
children and several family members sleeping inside the house. Part of the
house was damaged extensively and property worth thousands of dollars was
Hove, Simbarashe Ndlovu and Nkambeni Ndlovu were positively identified as
they fled from the scene by one Madyira, Dube’s employee who gave the Zanu
thugs a chase. The three Zanu PF thugs are well-known for terrorising
villagers with impunity with the blessing of Rugare Gumbo, the Mberengwa
West MP and Zanu PF national spokesperson.
The arson attack was reported at Sandawana Police Station but the police
only reacted 24 hours later. No arrests have been made to date and efforts
by Dube to get a police RRB number have proved fruitless as the police claim
the incident is not important.
The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!
Friday, 20 July 2012
High Court judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu has ruled that Nyamadzawo Gapare,
one of the 29 MDC activists being falsely accused of murdering a police
officer in Glen View last year be transferred from Harare Central Hospital
to the Avenues Clinic for better treatment.
The order was made after the State and defence lawyers had agreed on the
position that Gapare was critically ill and should receive treatment from a
A private doctor examined Gapare at the prison hospital on Wednesday and
recommended his transfer to a private hospital with better facilities.
“The application to have Nyamadzawo Gapare treated at a private institution
be and is hereby granted. The Commissioner of Prisons is hereby authorised
to have the said Nyamadzawo Gapare transferred to the Avenues Clinic for
treatment in terms of the proposed medical management plan,” Justice Bhunu
said in his ruling.
The transfer of Gapare to a private hospital has halted the murder trial to
proceed at the High Court until he recovers because the court cannot sit in
the absence of one of the suspects. The application for Gapare to seek
private treatment was made on Monday and the High Court had to visit him at
the Harare Central Prison Hospital to ascertain his condition.
The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!
Friday, 20 July 2012
The MDC welcomes the long overdue action taken by the Minister of Finance to
force greater transparency and accountability in the operations of those
companies mining diamonds in the Marange area of Zimbabwe.
Diamonds were first discovered there in 2006 and the State immediately took
steps to wrest control of the find from the company African Consolidated
Resources Limited. In the chaos that ensued up to 40 000 informal miners’
extracted diamonds and in the subsequent rush, buyers from the whole world
descended on the City of Mutare to buy diamonds.
In 2008, recognizing the size and value of the discovery, the State moved to
take control and in the process hundreds of miners were killed and maimed by
the security forces in an exercise they called “No Return”. Since then a
number of secretive, politically aligned companies have taken up claims on
the site and now assert that they are the largest diamond mines in the
Despite assertions by the Minister of Mines that production could reach $2
billion dollars in 2012 and agreements that they would contribute $600
million towards the revenues of the State, the actual flow of funds to the
Treasury has been miniscule and as a direct result the budget revenue
targets are not being achieved and a harsh revision of the budget has had to
be introduced by the Minister of Finance.
The facts are that the companies now operating at Chiadzwa are operating 9
crushing and sorting plants and are capable to processing 6 million tonnes
of diamond bearing aggregates a year. Experts estimate that the companies
are retrieving between 1 and 7 carats per tonne and that gross revenues to
the companies are between $2 and $5 billion a year.
Signed agreements with the State make provision for at least half of this
revenue to be paid to the State. This compares to the Botswana joint venture
with de Beers Limited which pays to the Botswana government an average of 73
per cent of gross revenue from raw diamond sales.
To correct this state of affairs, the Minister of Finance has now stated
that he will force the companies concerned to accept full State supervision
and control of all raw diamond production, grading and sales. The Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority will then ensure that payments are made to the Treasury
before the balance of proceeds is paid to the mine operators.
The MDC welcomes this move and believes that this single measure has the
potential to transform the State finances and make urgent expenditure a
possibility. However, the question will remain, where are the billions of
dollars that have been extracted from the Marange diamond fields since the
State assumed control in 2008?
The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!
Friday, 20 July 2012
Two days ago, the world celebrated Nelson Mandela Day and I wish to start by
joining everyone across the globe in celebrating the life and work of this
wonderful fighter for freedom.
In one of his many works, the veteran freedom icon made a profound
observation, “To be free is not to cast your chains, but to live in a way
that respects and enhances the life of others.”
In Ghana, one of Africa’s greatest statesmen, Kwameh Nkrumah, is known for
his adage; “Seek ye first the political kingdom, and all else will be given
While this remains another profound statement, it assumed that independence
and freedom are the same narrative, and that freedom would naturally come on
its own after independence.
Fifty years later, it is important to investigate whether Africa has made
great strides towards democracy. While there have been positive
developments, there are others whose record has been associated with
advancing tyranny and oppression of the same people they liberated.
Democracy is universal and as Africa, we cannot accept to be sovereign but
with a minimum threshold of democracy and basic freedoms. Let me hasten to
say from the outset that the struggle for democracy in Africa has been
piecemeal, pedantic and painful.
From Tangier to Table Bay, from the coast of Gabon to Mozambique, Africa’s
story has been a painful and sad narrative. It began as a story of
subjugation and foreign domination by colonial powers that sought to supress
people, to subjugate them, to pilfer their resources and to curtail their
The struggle for independence in the various African countries marked the
first phase of a people that deserved universal standards of equality,
democracy and good governance. Like everyone else across the globe, we
refused to be treated as second class citizens in the countries of our
Thus, the nationalist movement represented our initial quest to democratise
our environment by seeking the same universal standards of equality and
freedom. One by one, all African nations gained their independence and we
all celebrated when the last bastion of a racist edifice collapsed with the
advent of a new South Africa in 1994.
While we have raised our own sovereign flags after independence, some of the
new leadership in Africa betrayed the continent’s collective struggle and
inherited the same traits and culture of impunity, corruption, repression,
misgovernance and personal aggrandisement.
We have had to wage a new struggle for democracy against some of the former
nationalists who have perfected the same repression that so many sons and
daughters of our continent fought against for almost a century.
Because the new governments after independence have refused to accept that
this is the brave 21st century; indeed the new and modern era underpinned by
a new culture of multi-party democracy, tolerance, peace, stability and
We have struggled in Africa to accept diversity, to be tolerant to divergent
views and to create institutions that broaden rather than diminish the
people’s basic rights and freedoms.
As an opposition leader in our democratic struggle in Zimbabwe, I was
treated with scorn, vilified with impunity and generally treated as an
enemy. How dare I have a different view?
This intolerance polarised the nation, scarred society and the people
suffered as a consequence.
When the inclusive government was formed after protracted negotiations in
2009, I became Prime Minister, sharing national responsibilities with
President Mugabe. I had won an election but did not win power because of
certain pillars in the State (securocrats) that decided not to allow the
will of the people to prevail. Now the barriers of suspicion are slowly
collapsing and I am now an opponent and not an enemy.
The misfortune of Africa is that some of our leaders have helped to confirm
and to entrench the negative stereotype of a continent of political
violence, conflict, disease, hunger and war.
They have pilfered national resources, pick-pocketed the collective people’s
struggle and shut their ears to the loud national demand for democracy and
good governance. They have personalised national institutions, perfected the
art of political patronage and undermined their own legacy.
It is the same culture that brought about the spring revolutions when
nations and their people became impatient with repressive leaders. It is sad
that what began as a march towards democracy has been negated by internecine
conflict and a reversal of that march as characterised by the events in
Egypt and Libya.
But whatever the current developments, the situation in those countries will
never be the same again as people continue with their brave march towards
There are many lessons for all of us arising from these spring revolutions,
whatever their shortcomings. The first lesson is that political leaders can
only take the people for granted at their own risk. When those gatherings
began in Tahrir square in Cairo, it was clear that the people were yearning
to be heard.
The second is that we must listen more to the people; because God gave us
one mouth and two ears so that we could listen more than we talk down to the
citizens that we govern.
The third lesson from the Arab springs is that you must retire at your prime
because overstaying in office certainly leads to a time of diminishing
returns when our age and competence cannot cope with the dictates of a new
era. Like any product, there is always a sell-by date, even for politicians.
The fourth and most important lesson is that we must always respect the will
of the people, guaranteed by security of the vote, security of the people
and security of the people’s mandate.
Any government and leadership that claims to be in charge should have the
clear mandate of its people.
What we have seen in coalitions such as the one in my country, Zimbabwe,
demonstrates a serious breach and betrayal of the will of the people because
those who lost the election were brought back into government through the
formation of undemocratic “inclusive” governments.
Inclusive governments that are exclusive to the people’s will. They have
become more of elite pacts that the true expression of the will of the
In West Africa, sad developments have retarded the march towards democracy.
Fundamentalist groups such as Boko Haram have wreaked havoc and killed
innocent citizens. In Mali and Guinea Bissau, the soldiers have refused to
stick to the barracks, opting instead to subvert civilian processes and to
overthrow elected civilian governments.
We must as a continent embrace democracy and create and nurture those
institutions that promote and protect the rights and freedoms of ordinary
citizens. Any professional security institution must respect the
Constitution and protect the people. Any subversion of civilian authority
undermines democracy. That challenge for us as the new crop of African
leaders is to consign repression and misgovernance to the dustbins and to
create a new society with new values.
We are a new generation which must focus on building strong economies,
creating jobs and developing a qualitative and affordable social delivery
system especially in the fields of health and education. We must embrace
ICTs and become part of the global village. ICTs will enable us to realise
our full potential and bring all citizens to the same level in terms of
economic development and access to information.
One sees signs of hope; signs of a continent rising to the challenge and
beginning to assert its political and economic rights. I was saying in my
discussions here in Japan that we have moved from Afro-pessimism to
Afro-optimism underpinned by a brave progression towards democratic
Our negative history as a continent and as individual countries has not
blighted us to new opportunities and the prospect of a new era for our
There has been massive economic revival in Rwanda despite its tortuous and
painful national story while the big economies of South Africa and Nigeria
continue to inspire the rest of the continent.
There is renewed hope following the new government of South Sudan, there is
some modicum of stability and a sense of back-to-serious-business in the
Ivory Coast while there have been peaceful transitions in Senegal, Malawi,
Zambia and Lesotho.
President Joyce Banda came into office this year to join Liberian President
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the only two female Presidents in Africa,
signalling a great stride in the struggle by the women on our continent.
Just before I left Zimbabwe, there was a deafening chorus by Africa’s women
in support of Dr Nkosazana-Dhlamini Zuma as the first female chair of the
African Union Commission! So I am positive about this continent and its
prospect for democracy. I have often said that Africa is the opportunity
continent because of its vast resources and its hospitable and hard-working
I also wish to state that democracy and democratisation alone unclothed by a
meaningful change in people’s lives is dangerous. Democracy must be
underpinned by wealth creation, jobs and food security.
Finally, it would be remiss of me to leave this platform without seeking
your support for the delicate transition process towards democracy that
taking place in Zimbabwe. We have a coalition government following the
election of 2008 which I and my party won.
But what has been frustrating is our non-implementation of the Global
Political Agreement as directed by SADC.
The SADC-brokered negotiation being facilitated by South Africa led to an
agreement by all parties to implement key electoral, media and political
reforms that will create a conducive environment for the holding of a free
and fair poll.
As we prepare for the next election, I urge all of you to support the call
for a free and fair election in Zimbabwe in which the people’s will is
respected and protected. I urge all of you to be ambassadors of democracy;
torch bearers for a peaceful environment in our country that will enable
citizens to cast their vote without let or hindrance.
The people of Zimbabwe would greatly benefit from a global campaign to end
violence and to ensure a credible poll in our country.
I urge you all to support SADC and the regional effort in stabilising the
situation in Zimbabwe so that the people in our country are allowed to
choose their own government without violence and intimidation. I call upon
every one of you to stand by us in this delicate moment, aware that we must
all become global citizens ready to defend peace and democracy everywhere.
The struggle against apartheid and indeed the new global pressure against
repression, terrorism and violence everywhere on the globe is evidence that
the world will no longer stand and watch while a people elsewhere are
brutalised and killed.
The struggle in Zimbabwe is an extra-ordinary struggle by ordinary people
keen to create a new culture and a new country with new values.
A new Zimbabwe with a legitimately elected government and in which the
ordinary citizen will be free to pursue and live their dream. With
everyone’s support and prayers, that new Zimbabwe is possible within our
I thank you.
20 Jul 2012 07:31 - Editorial
For too long Zimbabwe has been afflicted by an atmosphere that is at once
febrile and frozen.
Anxiety runs high, rumours bubble ceaselessly to the surface, and very
little real progress takes place.
Zanu-PF with its hands on the guns – and the diamonds holds the blocking
stake in the global political agreement, and the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) is so keen to hold on to any of the available levers that it
accepts compromise after unsatisfactory compromise. But now there are signs
of real movement.
The completion of a draft constitution appears to represent an imperfect
but important step toward the restoration of democracy. There are real
threats to this process, however, particularly from the security
establishment and its political proxies, who seek to cling to power at all
costs. It is crucial to ensure that they cannot scupper the constitutional
One way to weaken the hardliners is to listen to the growing chorus of
voices for the dropping of European Union and United States sanctions that
target the Zanu-PF elite. The Southern African Development Community has
long been arguing that the sanctions harden attitudes and make it more
difficult to secure reform commitments from President Robert Mugabe and his
party. Indeed, sanctions are the glue that holds together an
otherwise fractious Zanu-PF leadership and provide a key campaign platform
for Mugabe. Remove them, and you deprive him of his excuse for
miserable economic performance and a shared sense of injustice with the
This argument is now having an impact in Western capitals. The European
Union is ambivalent in public, but appears to be edging toward easing some
key restrictions, and Bruce Wharton, US President Barack Obama’s nominee for
ambassador to Zimbabwe, made conciliatory noises in senate testimony this
week. “We do need to make it clear that our policies are flexible … and we
should be able to adjust them in response to democratic progress, progress
on the rule of law on the ground in Zimbabwe,” he reportedly said.
A tougher line
The diplomatic grapevine suggests that Britain is taking a tougher line, but
there can be little doubt that a new consensus is beginning to emerge in the
international community. There is a real possibility, of course, that all
this represents an effort to wish change into being, and a risk that it will
lead to a settlement that gives up too much justice for peace.
Certainly that is a charge that can be levelled at the establishment of a
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission with no powers to investigate events prior
to 2009. That means continuing impunity for the Gukhurahundi massacres of
the 1980s, the political violence of 2002 to 2008, and the mass demolitions
of Operation Murambatsvina in 2005.
Compromises like this may be difficult for supporters of the MDC leader,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, to stomach.
Hard to stomach, too, is the scale of the looting of Zimbabwe’s resources
that has only accelerated during the sanctions era. As we report this week,
eye-watering sums are being siphoned off to South Africa and, no doubt, to
other countries too. Any credible path forward for Zimbabwe will have to
deal with this issue.
Off course none of this progress will mean anything unless an environment
for generally free and fair elections can be secured.
Right now, however, we have to give a cautious nod of welcome, even to
compromised progress, and support calls for the lifting of sanctions that
are probably more helpful to Mugabe now than they are to proponents of
July 20, 2012, 1:33 pm
It seems the much-delayed constitution may finally be ready and, having been
signed by all the negotiators, will be handed to the GPA principals today,
Friday. Will Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF actually stand by the new
constitution or will they play their usual dirty tricks behind the scenes
and undermine or even sink it? That is the question all Zimbabweans must be
Meanwhile, Robert Mugabe was at the AU conference in Addis Ababa,
calling for the removal of sanctions. In the UK, Peter Hain, a British MP
and one-time anti-apartheid activist was doing the reverse and calling for
sanctions not only to remain but to be extended. And, at the EU we are told
no decision has yet been made but today comes the news that the UK. will
back the move to lift sanctions; it will apparently be a ‘conditional’
suspension of sanctions. Clearly, Zimbabwe not yet done enough to convince
the world that the country is on track towards ‘free and fair’ elections but
at least the voters roll is public knowledge and online for all to see. Is
Zimbabwe now ready for ‘free and fair elections’? Perhaps more to the point
is whether Mugabe will get away with another rigged election? The online
voters roll shows that there are 5.6 million names on the roll; how many of
them are centenarians or even actually alive is uncertain. While Tobiah
Mudede, a fanatical Zanu PF supporter, remains in place as Registrar General
those questions are bound to be asked, given our past experience of the man.
Events on the ground suggest that Zanu PF is definitely in election
mode. The army is already openly campaigning for Mugabe’s party in the
Rusape/Nyazura area. Truck loads of soldiers were seen arriving and dropping
off military personnel in a so-called ‘exercise’ which involves nothing
more –at the moment – than wandering around the villages. Zanu PF has
reportedly spent $14 million on top-of-the-range new vehicles for the
election campaign. Where that money came from is anyone’s guess; this week
we heard that Zimbabwe has no money to host the World Tourism Conference. At
the same time, revelations about Zimbabwe’s huge mineral wealth – and
diamonds particularly – continue to create high expectations. Yesterday the
Minister of Finance, Tendayi Biti, was forced to cut the budget, citing poor
diamond revenue as the cause while the economy apparently ‘loses momentum’.
The growth forecast has been cut to 5.6% for 2012 as the country struggles
to attract foreign investment. Needless to say, Saviour Kasukuwere’s
‘Indigenisation’ has effectively deterred foreign investors but this morning
came the rather puzzling announcement that new investors will not have to
comply with indigenisation. What was the point of ‘indigenisation’ at all if
it is selective in its application? We hear that Zanu PF are relying on
‘Indigenisation’ to win them the next election but it’s hard to imagine
ordinary Zimbabwean voters being swayed by that argument when they know from
experience that ‘indigenisation’ simply means giving to those that already
have. Interesting to see that the Chinese have already asked to be exempted
from ‘indigenisation’ in the case of Zimasco (chrome and steel).
It is Zimbabwe’s huge mineral wealth that has dominated the financial
news this week. There are allegedly 60 different types of minerals just
waiting to be exploited but energy supply is still the big problem as Zesa
collapses under its huge debts. The hope that Chiadzwa diamonds would solve
all the country’s problems has been shown to be exaggerated. The government
had expected the diamonds to generate $600 million but between January and
June this year they only realised $416 million. Perhaps the original
estimate was hopelessly optimistic but whatever the reason the disappointing
reality of diamond revenue has upset Zanu PF’s hopes for assured victory at
the polls. Even the security chiefs are worried that perhaps Zanu PF might
not win. Without Zanu PF protection the generals stand to lose everything.
Payback time is looming!
Yours in the (continuing) struggle Pauline Henson.
Read more ... Email this letter to a friend