By Tichaona Sibanda
23 July 2012
Sanctions against the remaining firms and most of the112 individuals on the
European Union list will only be lifted once Zimbabwe holds a referendum on
a new constitution.
The EU said in a statement on Monday that they had agreed to lift the
sanctions once the country has held ‘a peaceful and credible’ vote on a new
charter, whose draft was released by COPAC last week.
The EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels also agreed to resume direct
aid to the inclusive government after a 10-year suspension. The EU said the
action they took was necessitated by what they called ‘constructive dialogue’
and political ‘progress.’
‘The EU agrees that a peaceful and credible constitutional referendum would
represent an important milestone in the preparation of democratic elections
that would justify a suspension of the majority of all EU targeted
restrictive measures against individuals and entities,’ the EU foreign
ministers said a statement.
However sanctions against the ZANU PF leader Robert Mugabe will remain in
place and the former ruling party blasted the EU decision to link the
lifting of sanctions to a peaceful vote on a new constitution.
Responding to the EU conditional lifting of sanctions, party spokesman
Rugare Gumbo told a news agency: ‘It’s all nonsense as the decision makes no
difference as we’ve never depended on the EU.’
‘We depend on ourselves so their decision on sanctions makes no difference.
It’s all nonsense.
‘Why are they talking about a lifting of sanctions dependent on the holding
and outcome of a referendum? We don’t think that’s the way to do it. We are
saying all sanctions must go.’
EU foreign ministers said broader easing of sanctions would require
'credible' referendum on constitutional changes
Reuters in Brussels
guardian.co.uk, Monday 23 July 2012 21.06 BST
Zimababwe president Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe. The EU said there was no prospect of lifting sanctions from
Zimbabwe's president and his inner circle. Photograph: Aaron Ufumeli/EPA
The European Union lifted curbs on aid to Zimbabwe on Monday and held out
the prospect of removing sanctions from Zimbabwean officials to encourage
political reform – though not from President Robert Mugabe and his inner
EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels lifted the aid restrictions with
immediate effect but said a broader relaxation of sanctions would depend on
a referendum on constitutional changes due this year in Zimbabwe being
"peaceful and credible".
The step is part of the strategy by western countries of rewarding
Zimbabwe's uneasy coalition government for progress made since a disputed
2008 vote, while keeping up pressure on Mugabe to carry out more political,
economic and social reforms.
A spokesman for Mugabe's Zanu-PF movement said the EU's decision proved his
party's long-held view that Zimbabwe was under economic sanctions, and that
a case the southern African country filed last month with the general court
of the EU challenging the sanctions was valid.
"We are happy on one hand that our case is being validated, but we are
unhappy on the other hand that they are retaining some of the illegal,
immoral and unjustified sanctions which are based on falsehoods," spokesman
Rugare Gumbo said.
Asked whether Zanu-PF would implement more political reforms to get the
remaining restrictions removed, Gumbo said: "We want all these sanctions
removed because they are illegal, but we will never allow anyone to
interfere in our domestic affairs. If there are processes here, we do them
for the good of Zimbabwe, not to please foreigners."
Citing moves by Zimbabwe's government of national unity to "improve the
freedom and prosperity of the Zimbabwean people", the EU ministers said
Europe would end its ban on sending development aid directly to the Harare
government. The EU provides about €100m (£78m) a year in aid to Zimbabwe
through non-governmental organisations. It will resume direct dealings with
Harare under a new aid agreement for developing countries due to start in
2014, the ministers said. The change affects only EU aid, not money given
directly by EU member states.
Further easing of EU sanctions will depend on the holding of a fair
referendum on a new constitution, seen as a key precursor to an election
expected in 2013, the ministers said. The new constitution would limit the
power of the president and strengthen that of parliament.
A "peaceful and credible constitutional referendum ... would justify a
suspension of the majority of all EU targeted restrictive measures against
individuals and entities", an EU statement said.
EU diplomats said there was no immediate prospect of rescinding sanctions on
Mugabe and his inner circle.
Europe removed some Zimbabweans from its sanctions list in February, but 112
people and 11 organisations remain affected by asset freezes or travel bans.
Mugabe, 88, is one of Africa's longest-ruling leaders and has been accused
of hanging onto power through vote-rigging. He has denied reports of ill
health and says he is fit enough to contest the next election.
23 Jul 2012 19:42 - Sapa-AFP
Zanu-PF has dismissed as "nonsense" the EU decision to link the lifting of
most sanctions to a peaceful vote on a new Constitution.
"It's all nonsense," Rugare Gumbo, spokesperson for the Zanu-PF, said.
"Why are they talking about a lifting of sanctions dependent on the holding
and outcome of a referendum? We don't think that's the way to do it. We are
saying all sanctions must go."
Mugabe and other top party officials routinely blame EU and US sanctions for
undermining Zimbabwe's economy, but Gumbo insisted on Monday that the
measures have had little impact on the country.
"We really have never depended on the EU," he said. "We depend on ourselves
so their decision on sanctions makes no difference."
EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday agreed to lift most
sanctions against Zimbabwe firms and individuals once the country has held
"a peaceful and credible" vote on a new Constitution.
Welcoming "constructive dialogue" and political "progress", they also agreed
to resume direct aid to Zimbabwe's government after a 10-year suspension.
The sanctions would be lifted against most of the 112 Zimbabweans still
under an EU asset freeze and traval ban decided in 2002, once a referendum
on a new Constitution has been organised, probably at the end of the year. -
Britain announced a "step change" in its policy towards Zimbabwe, promising
to exempt a raft of President Robert Mugabe's allies from personal
By David Blair, Chief Foreign Correspondent
4:56PM BST 23 Jul 2012
The measures, first imposed a decade ago, ban 112 individuals from visiting
the European Union, while also freezing any assets they hold in European
banks. The targets include generals, cabinet ministers, businessmen and
officials, all of whom are blamed for masterminding political violence,
which has claimed hundreds of lives, or looting Zimbabwe's shattered
economy, which has impoverished millions.
Most of the targeted individuals will be taken off the list and, in
principle, allowed to visit Britain and any other EU member state.
A meeting of EU foreign ministers agreed to take this step provided that
Zimbabwe holds a "credible" referendum on a new constitution later this
year. The restrictions will be eased regardless of whether Zimbabwe goes on
to hold a free and fair presidential election in 2013.
Violence has scarred every poll in Zimbabwe for the last 12 years, with
militias from Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party hunting down his opponents. At least
200 people were murdered before the last presidential election in 2008, with
thousands more beaten, tortured or abducted.
The Foreign Office said that sanctions could be reimposed if the bloodshed
were to recur. Mr Mugabe, 88, has promised to contest the next election
after 32 years in power.
He currently appears as number one on the sanctions list – and William
Hague, the foreign secretary, made clear that he would stay there. Sanctions
on Mr Mugabe and a core of his closest aides will remain in place despite
Monday's decision. But more than half the names will be dropped from the
Mr Hague said this was justified by "concrete progress on the ground".
"We have made clear that we would respond to a peaceful and credible
referendum in Zimbabwe, due to take place in the Autumn, with a suspension
of the majority of EU Restrictive Measures, but not including those on
Mugabe," he said.
This amounted to an "important step-change" in policy towards Zimbabwe, said
the Foreign Secretary, with the aim of encouraging "reformers across the
President Mugabe has formed a coalition with Morgan Tsvangirai, the former
opposition leader who now serves as prime minister. A new constitution has
been agreed that should make a free and fair election more likely.
But real power still lies in Mr Mugabe's hands and economic recovery has
been held back by his insistence on keeping a punitive law that compels any
company owned by foreigners or white Zimbabweans to surrender 51 per cent of
Although no restrictions apply to trade or investment in Zimbabwe, Mr Mugabe
has blamed sanctions for the country's economic malaise. This propaganda
line – however preposterous – has been widely believed. Western diplomats in
Harare believe that lifting the restrictions would rob Mr Mugabe of his
These measures were first imposed at the request of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), which helped compile the list of targeted
Today, however, Mr Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, wants them to be
Alex Vines, head of the Africa programme at Chatham House, said the measures
had "passed their sell-by date" and become an "impediment to progress". He
added that yesterday's decision struck the right balance between rewarding
progress and maintaining the pressure on Mr Mugabe.
Some individuals have already been dropped from the sanctions list,
including Patrick Chinamasa, the Zanu-PF justice minister. He played a key
role in undermining the independence of the judiciary by personally hounding
Anthony Gubbay, then chief justice, into resignation.
By Martin Banks - 23rd July 2012
" The first test will be the elections that follow"
Geoffrey Van Orden
Senior UK MEP Geoffrey Van Orden says he is "cautiously optimistic" after
the EU said it is to suspend most sanctions against Zimbabwe once it has
held a credible referendum on a new constitution.
Though sanctions will remain against the country's president Robert Mugabe,
the move marks an "important milestone" towards holding democratic
elections, according to EU foreign ministers.
More than 100 key individuals have been covered under an EU travel ban and
assets freeze imposed in 2002.
The sanctions were originally imposed a decade ago in response to human
rights abuses and political violence.
Mugabe and his rival, prime minster Morgan Tsvangirai, have been sharing
power since disputed elections marred by violence in 2008
Reacting to the news on Monday, Van Orden, an ECR member, said, "Just as in
Burma we have responded to a change of heart and real progress towards
democratic change, so we must now recognise the possibility of positive
developments in Zimbabwe.
"We have always said that restrictive measures, aimed solely at a governing
elite that has trampled on the people of Zimbabwe, could be eased once there
was serious change.
"There are indications that this will now happen and we need to be prepared
to move accordingly. If there is any backward step then restrictive measures
can be re-imposed and intensified.
"The adoption of a new constitution is a first step. The first test will be
the elections that follow. The international community will expect the
electoral preparations and the elections themselves to be carried out with
scrupulous fairness, properly supervised to give international assurance."
Van Orden, who has spearheaded parliamentary calls for change in Zimbabwe,
added, "I remain concerned that those with a vested interest in the Mugabe
regime and exploitation of Zimbabwe's resources for their own benefit will
try and ensure their continued grasp on power.
"There is no reason why all those genuinely committed to the future freedom
and prosperity of the people of Zimbabwe, regardless of past political
links, should not now seize the opportunity to begin to bring Zimbabwe back
into the international community of democratic nations," said the
CANBERRA, Australia - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has told Australian political leaders that his African nation is ready to shed its reputation as a pariah state and re-engage with the world.
Tsvangirai said in a speech at Australia's Parliament House on Monday that the government he has formed with long-term President Robert Mugabe since 2009 is a step toward ending the "dark and unfortunate history" of "political polarization" within his country.
He says with the international community's assistance, "we should be able to rescue the country."
Australia imposed targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe in a bid to pressure Mugabe to restore democracy and the rule of law.
The Australian government eased some sanctions in March, removing 82 regime loyalists from its financial and travel sanctions list.
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called for Australia to suspend crippling sanctions against his isolated nation and to send the national team for a cricket tour - the first in more than eight years.
Mr Tsvangirai told the National Times this morning that the situation in Zimbabwe was ‘‘much better’’ than the general view of a country in crisis, and the embargo on arms sales should be suspended.
He said sanctions should be suspended even though this would allow President Robert Mugabe to travel freely.
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai with Prime Minister Julia Gillard in her office at Parliament House, Canberra. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The democracy champion said the fragile power-sharing deal — struck in 2009 after Mr Mugabe refused to surrender office despite losing the popular vote — has worked to calm Zimbabwe. A move to suspend sanctions would be a signal of faith in the reform efforts.
"There was a time when any restrictive measures was an incentive for good behaviour, but I think that we are past that. I think we have gone beyond what they can contribute positively," Mr Tsvangirai said.
Mr Tsvangirai wants Australia to suspend sanctions against Zimbabwe. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
He said fresh elections could be held within a year and Australia should immediately suspend its sanctions, while leaving the threat of sanctions in place, should the polls not run smoothly.
"Suspend these measures, but tie them to free and fair elections," he said. "And, if the election is free and fair, fine ... remove them permanently."
Mr Tsvangirai held talks with Ms Gillard in Canberra this morning and had a meeting with AusAID chief Peter Baxter.
Australia is one of the largest aid donors to Zimbabwe, despite the heavy financial and travel restrictions on Mr Mugabe, members of his family and supporters.
Mr Tsvangirai last visited Australia in 2007 – only months after he was brutally bashed while meeting members of his Movement for Democratic Change Party.
In 2008, he won a presidential ballot against Mr Mugabe – but the 88-year-old who has ruled Zimbabwe for the three decades since independence refused to step aside.
"We had a stalemate. I had the support of the people, they had the guns," he said.
Asked if there were dangers in now lifting bans on military exports to Zimbabwe, Mr Tsvangirai said the period of power-sharing had helped calm political tensions.
"I think the transition has removed a lot of barriers of suspicion, of polarisation. I think the country is moving towards accepting ... even the military ... accepting the overall civilian authority as the constitutional position. That way, it doesn't slide the country back again into isolation. Even the military will benefit from a thriving economy."
Mr Tsvangirai said Australia's mining expertise was needed in Zimbabwe and business should again look at investment in his country.
"The country has been isolated for the past 10 years. This is our attempt at re-engagement," he said.
"Africa is going through a very delicate transition from the old Africa of dictators, of nationalisation and poverty. I think it's going through a very optimistic time."
Mr Tsvangirai said Australia’s cricket squad would be welcome in the country.
The Australia A team toured last year, but the
senior XI has not been since 2004.
July 24, 2012
THE Zimbabwean Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has called on Australia to
end his country's pariah status, suspend sanctions and send the national
team for a cricket tour - the first in more than eight years.
Mr Tsvangirai told the Herald in Canberra yesterday the situation in
Zimbabwe was ''much better'' than the commonly held view of a nation in
In talks with the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, he urged help in running
fresh elections that he hoped would be held within a year, possibly inside
But he said international embargoes - including one on arms sales - should
be suspended as a sign of faith in the reform efforts, even though this
would allow freedom of travel for the President, Robert Mugabe.
''There was a time when any restrictive measures [were] an incentive for
good behaviour, but I think that we are past that. I think we have gone
beyond what they can contribute positively,'' Mr Tsvangirai said.
The democracy champion said a fragile power-sharing deal - struck in 2009
after Mr Mugabe refused to surrender office despite losing the popular
vote - had worked to calm Zimbabwe.
Britain has already moved to lift sanctions and other European countries are
to decide this week if they will follow suit.
Mr Tsvangirai expects a new constitution to be put to a referendum within
two months and said Australia could immediately suspend its sanctions but
leave the threat of returning them, should polls not run smoothly.
''Suspend these measures but tie them to free and fair elections,'' he said.
''And, if the election is free and fair, fine … remove them permanently.''
He said it was ''regrettable'' Ms Gillard had not taken up an invitation she
sought to a summit of African leaders this month, but now was the time to
engage with Zimbabwe.
Mr Tsvangirai last visited Australia in 2007, just months after he was
brutally bashed while meeting activists of his Movement for Democratic
In 2008, he won a presidential ballot against Mr Mugabe, but the
88-year-old, who has ruled Zimbabwe for more than three decades since
independence, refused to step down.
''We had a stalemate. I had the support of the people, they had the guns,''
Mr Tsvangirai said.
After months of stand-off, including threats to Mr Tsvangirai's life that
forced him to seek refuge in a foreign embassy in Harare, regional countries
brokered a power-sharing deal.
''My relationship with President Mugabe has evolved from a very acrimonious
relationship,'' he said. ''I have adopted a position where confrontation
with him in the same government is not going to be helpful.''
Asked if there were dangers in lifting bans on military exports to Zimbabwe,
particular before the next election, Mr Tsvangirai said the period of
power-sharing had helped calm political tensions.
''The transition has removed a lot of barriers of suspicion, of
polarisation,'' he said.
Even the military was closer to accepting civilian authority as the
constitutional position and realised it would also benefit from a thriving
economy, he said.
By Tichaona Sibanda
23 July 2012
Stung by significant inroads made by the MDC-T in Zvimba, gangs of ZANU PF
youths are turning Robert Mugabe’s home district into a no-go zone.
For two weeks in a row elements in ZANU PF, aided by state security agents
and soldiers, have blocked the MDC-T from holding rallies in Darwendale and
Zvimba. On both occasions Tendai Biti, the Secretary-General of the party,
was scheduled to address the rallies.
While the rally in Darwendale last week was disrupted by soldiers, Sunday’s
planned gathering was cancelled at the behest of Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo, according to the Zvimba Rural District Council acting chief
executive officer Prince Mhembere. Chombo is the ZANU PF MP for the
neighboring Zvimba North constituency.
Paradzai Herbert Munangatire, the MDC-T information and publicity secretary
for Zvimba West told SW Radio Africa that they had secured police clearance
to hold their rally at Murombedzi growth point.
‘When we were in the middle of setting up the venue, we sensed trouble was
brewing when hordes of people just invaded the pitch and started verbally
abusing us and blocking our supporters from coming in. Some youths started
playing football and the area just became very tense.
‘At some point we were pelted with stones and quite a number of our
supporters were injured, and the violence continued into the night when one
of our senior district officials was stabbed and left for dead,’ Munangatire
Munangatire added that Sunday was a sad day for politics and democracy in
Zimbabwe, especially as the disturbances took place on Mugabe’s doorstep.
‘Everybody knows who is responsible for the violence and grievous attacks on
our members and no one will dare investigate what happened because this is
Mugabe’s home area.
‘I think the resurgence of political violence is an attack on the country’s
fledgling democracy and the right of the people to civil liberty and freedom
of association,’ Munangatire said.
Political violence breaks out in Mugabe’s rural home area Eight MDC-T
members were on Sunday injured, two vehicles destroyed and
by Staff Reporter
two party officials arrested by the police at a political rally in Zvimba,
President Robert Mugabe’s home area.
According to an MDC-T statement, the political violence broke out on Sunday
morning at Murombedzi business centre, some 15km from Mugabe’s rural
homestead as party supporters waited for Tendai Biti, the Secretary General,
to address them Zanu (PF) supporters are being blamed for the violence.
The MDC-T Mashonaland West Provincial Vice Youth Chairperson, Maltin
Mukusha, who was also attacked, said the Zanu (PF) activists provoked them.
"When we got there in the morning, we found the Zanu PF youths already
playing soccer in the council ground. We informed the police about this and
they said we could still go ahead with our rally as scheduled, but they
(Zanu PF) brought netball courts and made a makeshift ground close to where
‘But we remained calm and continued to sing our songs. Out of nowhere, the
rowdy youth began to throw sand in the air and stones began to rain on us.
Our provincial vehicle was damaged and the district chairperson's vehicle
was not spared," said Mukusha.
Tawanda Bvumo, the Provincial Treasurer, said the rally was cancelled
following police failure to intervene to quell the disturbances as Zanu (PF)
supporters invaded the rally venue.
"We had initially booked the council grounds but the council refused us
access, then we opted for the open space at the growth point.
Apparently, Zanu (PF) youth today claimed to have booked the ground for a
sports tournament. The police then advised us to cancel our own meeting
after Zanu (PF) thugs attacked us," said Bvumo, according to the statement.
Wilson Makanyaire, the Provincial Organising Secretay and another MDC-T
member identified as Sekuru Kwenda were arrested and taken to the nearby
Murombedzi Police Station.
‘‘Reports from Zvimba say they are surrounded by Central Intelligence
Officers who are questioning them (over) why they are holding a rally in
Zvimba,’’ said MDC-T.
Last week, two other MDC rallies were cancelled after a Zanu PF attack, read
the statement, adding that Biti and other party members were attacked after
soldiers from a nearby barrack claimed they had a soccer match at Darwendale
‘‘In Mashonaland East, another rally in Mutoko East took place amid
intimidation by some misguided soldiers who went around the village
discouraging the people from attending. However, this did not work as
hundreds of villagers turned up for the MDC rally,’’ said the statement.
Monday, 23 July 2012
The MDC condemns in the strongest terms the continued barbaric and wanton
disruption of its rallies which resulted in 11 MDC members seeking medical
attention after they were assaulted by rowdy Zanu PF members at a sanctioned
rally at Murombedzi growth point in Zvimba West, Mashonaland West province
Hon Tendai Biti, the MDC Secretary General was expected to address hundreds
of Party members who had gathered for the event.
The violence resulted in 11 members seeking urgent treatment in Chinhoyi
while several Party vehicles were damaged.
The MDC is concerned that known security agents led by one major Mutimusakwa
of the Zimbabwe National Army and Emmanuel Tandi, a Central Intelligence
Operative were leading Zanu PF thugs during the disturbances.
Maggie Hoshiki, a Zanu PF councillor in the area was part of the group of
When the Mashonaland West Provincial Leadership approached the police
seeking assistance, the police officers where unco-operative saying they had
instructions from the Zvimba Rural District Council to bar the MDC rally.
To us, this is an indication that some people are being allowed to act above
the law and can override a lawful decision made by the police.
These violent and unruly disruptions are an unacceptable trend that must be
stopped immediately. We are concerned that these disturbances took place
after soldiers from inkomo Barracks disrupted another MDC rally in
Darwendale where Hon Biti was expected to address last weekend.
Yesterday’s disturbances in Zvimba West are an indication that Zanu PF is
running scared ahead of the next by-elections and national elections, which
the MDC will resoundingly win.
The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!
Monday, 23 July 2012
Masvingo - The new constitution will address social, political and economic
imbalances, notably the land reforms as well as key policy issues in
government, Copac co-chairperson Honourable Douglas Mwonzora has said.
Honourable Mwonzora who is also the MDC spokesperson told members of the
civic society at the National Association of Non Governmental Organisation
offices here on Saturday that the new constitution seeks to address
political, economic and social anomalies ahead of the watershed polls due
next year. He added that the Second All Stakeholders conference was
scheduled for August while the referendum would be held in October.
“The new constitution will address discrepancies in the electoral system and
this includes clearly defining the role of the police force and the
military. There is need to come up with sound government policies and this
can be achieved through the new constitution. All top government officials
must have limited terms of office, especially permanent secretaries in
various portfolios. The new constitution also proposes that all elections
will be held in the last month at the end of each five year term. It is
clear that securocrats are not above the law and traditional leaders will be
bound to carry out their duties in an objective manner,” said Honourable
Honourable Mwonzora said the new constitution will also address the
controversy surrounding the fast track agrarian reforms.
“There is a lot of controversy surrounding the fast track land reform
programme but in the new constitution, it is clearly defined that there
shall be a land commission that will carry out a land audit to ensure a
transparent and equitable land distribution programme. Such an exercise will
be carried out without looking at one`s political background. The land
commission will ensure a one man, one farm policy because the whole exercise
seeks to ensure a fair land distribution,” Honourable Mwonzora said.
“There will be 60 more parliamentary seats and preference will be given to
women and there shall also be a constitutional court comprising 7 judges
that are appointed by the people.
“The new constitution will also guarantee devolution of power and there
shall be a provincial council that will be headed by the provincial
governor. The provincial council consists of members of the house of
assembly, council chairpersons and mayors from the involved political
“The governor will no longer be appointed by the executive since the party
with the majority votes in a particular province will automatically appoint
a governor,” he added.
On other reforms Hon Mwonzora said, “Citizenship will be accorded by birth
irrespective of whether one's parents are aliens.
Speaking about capital punishment, he said: "There are incidents that do not
warrant a death penalty and there will be special consideration to that
The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!
By Alex Bell
23 July 2012
The drafters of Zimbabwe’s new constitution are facing serious criticism for
signing off on a document that appears to legalise state sanctioned theft of
land, which could potentially lead to a fresh flurry of land invasions.
The new document, which has taken over three years and many millions of
dollars to complete, is already being criticised as a deeply flawed product
of negotiation. Analysts from both sides of Zimbabwe’s gaping political
divide have criticised the proposed charter, while other observers have said
the MDC has “given in” to ZANU PF.
But one element that is clearly in ZANU PF’s favour is the section on land.
The draft document enshrines the right of the state to seize land, while
also guaranteeing land invaders the right to the properties they seize. The
draft states that all agricultural land, including forestry land,
conservation land and horticultural land, among others, may be “acquired” by
the State for “public purpose.” The takeovers will also be done without
compensation according to the new charter and compensation issues cannot be
challenged in the courts.
The draft also stipulates that legal challenges to the state takeover of
land may not be on the ground that it was “discriminatory.”
The draft constitution also upholds the standards of the old charter by
insisting that Britain is responsible for compensation for the land seized
as part of the land grab. The draft states that “the former colonial power
has an obligation to pay compensation for agricultural land,” and if this
fails to happen “the Government of Zimbabwe has no obligation.”
This provision flies in the face of a 2008 ruling in the Southern African
Human Rights Court, which ruled that the land grab was unlawful. It ordered
the then ZANU PF led government to compensate the farmers who lost land,
saying the land seizures were “inherently discriminatory.”
Zimbabwe’s new charter however makes the legal provision for this regional
ruling to be ignored, and goes further to enshrine the rights of current and
future land invaders.
The document states that anyone “using or occupying” property before the
constitution comes into effect, “continues to be entitled to use or occupy
that land” when the charter becomes effective.
Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC-T spokesman and key party official heading the
constitution rewriting exercise, told SW Radio Africa on Monday that there
are “difficulties” in the land clauses, arguing that the product is one that
had to be negotiated with ZANU PF.
But he insisted that the provisions ensure that land acquisitions in the
future, when sanctioned by the state, will be done “legally,” because the
state take over of properties will be provided for in this new charter.
John Worsley-Worswick from Justice for Agriculture (JAG) meanwhile said the
clauses on land are concerning “because there are few changes to the old
“We are alarmed,” Worsley-Worswick said, emphasising the need for property
rights to be secured for the future of Zimbabwe. He also agreed that
Zimbabwe was appearing to legitimise land seizures with this document.
“For this country to move forward you need stability in agriculture, because
Zimbabwe is essentially an agriculture based economy. But this constitution
does not allow for any stability,” Worsley-Worswick said.
23 Jul 2012 09:44 - Fanuel Jongwe
Analysts critical of Zimbabwe's draft constitution say it is a flawed
collection of compromises that is doomed to be "thrown away by future
The proposed document, which will be subject to a referendum, was crafted by
experts from the main political parties to a power-sharing government that
has been in place since a violence-marred 2008 election.
President Robert Mugabe, in power for 32 years, was forced into the
power-sharing deal with arch rival Morgan Tsvangirai to avoid a descent into
The draft, finalised on Friday, curtails presidential powers and limits
terms to 10 years.
Under the draft plans there is, however, no age limit for the president,
meaning Mugabe could seek another mandate under its terms.
Mugabe (88) is now trying to get out of the power-sharing deal and has in
recent months been pushing for new elections without a new constitution.
A 'no' vote
But the Southern African regional leaders who brokered the post-electoral
peace deal appeared to have impressed on him at a June summit that elections
must take place under a new constitution.
Lovemore Madhuku, a legal expert at the University of Zimbabwe, sees the
draft as an unsatisfactory compromise between negotiators from the parties
in the power-sharing government.
"It retains an executive president. That's not what the people said during
the outreach programme. In fact, the people don't even know the meaning of
some of the things that are in the [Constitution] constitution," he said.
"From us it's a clear 'No' vote."
Jonathan Moyo, a member of Parliament from Mugabe's Zanu-PF, said the draft
lacked legitimacy because the drafting process by the political parties
excluded other players.
The government-owned Sunday Mail said that even if the draft sails through
the referendum, whenever that will be, the constitution "will most
definitely be challenged and thrown away by future generations".
The proposed document also tackles social issues, allowing same-sex marriage
while retaining capital punishment, though not for women or anyone over 70
It provides for citizenship by birth, descent or registration but does not
allow dual citizenship.
A blueprint for correction
The draft also provides for compensation for white farmers who were forced
off their land under Mugabe's controversial land reforms and protects the
property rights of the new farmers.
Nevanji Madanhire, editor of the privately owned Standard newspaper, said:
"The new constitution ... should be a blueprint for the correction of all
that has gone wrong with our country ... But the amount of compromise the
latest draft shows means the country is ready to continue with the same."
Eric Matinenga, a minister from the Movement for Democratic Change
responsible for constitutional affairs, told reporters on Friday: "We have
had one president since 1980 and it is the feeling of most people that this
has been the biggest weakness of the country."
He added: "The draft recognises that gone are the days when governance was
entrusted in the hand of the 'strong man'."
The draft constitution provides for a vice-president to take over if the
president dies, resigns or becomes incapacitated.
This, according to some analysts, deals with the succession battles in
Zanu-PF and forces Mugabe to choose a successor.
The new rules would also require the head of state to consult Parliament and
the Cabinet on key appointments, alongside fixing term limits for both the
presidency and the executive, said Matinenga.
It protects a serving president from prosecution, but the immunity falls
away when the head of state leaves office, another concern for Mugabe.
The new document, which has been worked on for three years, will be put to a
public conference at the end of August and then to a referendum at a date
yet to be announced.
The constitution-making was characterised by bickering including the
disruption of the first stakeholders' conference by militant supporters of
Mugabe's party and the death of a member of Tsvangirai's party during the
outreach to gather people's input into the charter.
European Union ministers, hoping to encourage the reform process, are set to
resume aid and suspend most of the EU's sanctions against Zimbabwe once the
referendum on the new Constitution has been organised, diplomatic sources
They would however maintain sanctions against a "small core" of people
including Mugabe. The ministers meet on Monday. – AFP
Zimbabwean lawmakers have just finalized a new constitution, but analysts
warn it is flawed. Meanwhile the EU has made a conditional promise to lift
most of the sanctions it imposed on Zimbabwe.
The completion of the draft constitution is the first concrete step towards
new elections in Zimbabwe since President Robert Mugabe was forced into a
unity government with his rival Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008.
The draft curtails presidential powers and imposes a two term limit of 10
years. That limit would start with the adoption of the charter so
88-year-old Mugabe could spend another decade in office, even though he has
ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.
However the draft would also strip the president of immunity from
prosecution once he leaves office, a major concern for Mugabe who could face
charges over human rights abuses.
Nevanji Madanhire, editor of the privately owned Standard newspaper, says
the new constitution was to have been a correction of "all that has gone
wrong with our country. But the amount of compromise the latest draft shows
means the country is ready to continue with the same."
Despite long debate on allowing same-sex marriage and ending capital
punishment, the draft defines marriage as between a man and a woman and
upholds the death penalty, though not for women or anyone over the age of
It allows for citizenship by birth, descent or registration, but does not
permit dual citizenship.
Days of the "strong man" are gone
The document also provides for compensation for white farmers who were
forced off their land under Mugabe's controversial land reforms and also
protects the property rights of new farmers.
Eric Matinenga, a minister from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change says the draft recognizes that the days are gone when
governance was entrusted in the hand of the "strong man."
But Lovemore Madhuku, a legal expert from the University of Zimbabwe said
the draft "retained an executive president."
The draft does help clarify Zimbabwe's vague succession rules in the event
that a president resigns, dies or becomes incapacitated. Under the new
constitution, the first of the country's two vice presidents would take
Zimbabwe war veterans block white-owned in Centenary district, north of
Three years of work have gone into the draft constitution, which will be put
to a public conference at the end of August and to a referendum at a date
which has yet to be announced.
DW's correspondent in Harare, Columbus Mavhunga, says the draft constitution
was supposed to have been put to a referendum last July. "There are those
who argue," he says, "that only the views of the political parties were
considered when drafting the new constitution."
Meanwhile the European Union said on Monday a "peaceful and credible"
referendum on a new constitution would "justify" the lifting of EU sanctions
The conditional suspension of sanctions was proposed by Britain, the former
colonial power in what is now Zimbabwe, and was described by British Foreign
Secretary William Hague as "an important step-change in the EU's approach to
A statement from the 27 EU foreign ministers said individual sanctions
against most of the 112 Zimbabweans, listed in an asset freeze and travel
ban, would be lifted. But an EU official told AFP there was no question of
lifting sanctions against "Mugabe or anyone involved in continued abused of
EU ministers also agreed in principle to resume direct aid to Zimbabwe's
government after a ten year suspension.
Zimbabwe Primer Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
In Harare, a spokesman for Mugabe's ZANU-PF party said of the Brussels
decision. "We don't think that's the way to do it. We are saying all
sanctions should go."
On a visit to Australia, prime minister Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe was ready
to re-engage with the global community after "a very dark and unfortunate
By Alex Bell
23 July 2012
Two properties in Zimbabwe are facing a take over threat by land invaders,
as concern continues to rise about the future of property rights in the
Ruware Ranch, in the Chiredzi River Conservancy, was invaded last Friday by
a group of people armed with axes, who started clearing the land that was
allegedly demarcated by the Land Ministry in January. The invasion comes a
month after hundreds of ZANU PF supporters, accompanied by Lands Ministry
officials, invaded the property and insisted it was promised to them 12
The invasion leaves thousands of animals at risk with 26 different species
inhabiting the property. Already wildlife in the Chiredzi River Conservancy
has been targeted by human encroachers on the land, due to the onslaught of
illegal settlers who have been invading other parts of the Conservancy. They
have been attempting to clear the land for crops, resulting in widespread
destruction and hundreds of thousands of animals being killed.
The destruction has also been raised as a key point of concern in
parliament, with warnings about how these ongoing invasions were set to
affect Zimbabwe’s remaining protected areas. A report by a Parliamentary
Committee on Natural Resources earlier this year identified top military and
ZANU PF figures as the individuals behind the invasion of conservancies.
But no attention has been paid to these warnings and land continues to be
The invasion at Ruware also comes as Matabeleland South farmer Dudley Rogers
has been threatened with eviction, allegedly for allowing an MDC rally to
take place near his property.
According to the Daily News newspaper the MDC-T’s Matabeleland
South provincial chairperson, Watchy Sibanda, said two former police
wanted to take over Rodgers’ farm.
“We had our provincial rally about a month ago at an open space adjacent to
Rodgers’ Olympus farm and since then all has not been well there. Two former
police officers, Muhoni and Gono, have already visited the farm several
claiming they are new owners. They also claim to have offer letters from the
ministry of lands but we wonder if those letters are genuine,” said Sibanda.
“We know ZANU PF is behind all this because they have been accusing Rodgers
of sponsoring our party,” said Sibanda.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 July, 2011
A struggle to take over the illegal business of controlling Harare’s
commuter omnibus ranks has intensified divisions among ZANU PF youth. This
follows reports that an official from the Urban Transport Association of
Zimbabwe (UTAZ) was abducted at gunpoint and assaulted.
What is at stake is an estimated $1.2 million a month that ZANU PF youth
collect illegally from over 8,000 commuter omnibuses operating in the
capital. According to the NewsDay newspaper, the youths grabbed control of
the bus ranks two years ago and force conductors to pay $5 per day to ply
The report quotes sources who said UTAZ chairman Wilbert Zhakata was
kidnapped at gunpoint and heavily assaulted twice in July, losing three
teeth. They claimed Zhakata had demanded that the youth account for the
daily fees they collect, which are split among ZANU PF members in the UTAZ.
The car used to abduct Zhakata is said to belong to the UTAZ provincial
chairman, Fanuel Deera Mutasa, who was quoted as saying: “There was nothing
new in collecting money and maintaining order at ranks”.
Zhakata’s home and his omnibus parked there were also attacked in the same
NewsDay said their investigations revealed that the UTAZ is not registered
legally as a private company with the Registry of Companies.
Political and economic analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga said this is the kind of
lawlessness that pervades in a society when young thugs are given total
authority to operate with impunity. “They start to feed on themselves and in
the long run the innocent bystanders, the passengers suffer,” he added.
Mhlanga explained that the MDC-T went into the coalition government with
noble intentions of making sure that the economy was run properly. “But over
the three years they unfortunately failed to put systems in place for the
monitoring of remittances to the treasury,” the analyst said.
As reported earlier on SW Radio Africa, ZANU PF thugs also force vendors at
council-owned flea markets to pay daily fees in order to sell their goods.
The money is not remitted to council but is divided among the youth. Top
party officials who profit from this illegal trade, tell police not to
According to Mhlanga, the behavior of the ZANU PF youths operating in Harare
is similar to that of senior officials within government who are benefiting
illegally from the sale of diamonds, without remitting the funds to
By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 July, 2012
The police have been strongly criticised for speedily licensing planned
demonstrations by civil servants against Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who
is being accused of refusing to increase their wages.
The umbrella union for civil servants, the Apex Council, resolved last week
to demonstrate on Tuesday over the lack of wage increases that civil
servants have been demanding. Biti has been portrayed by ZANU PF as the one
responsible for their plight.
The Finance Minister has however insisted government has no money for more
wages, blaming the fact that diamond and other revenue due to government is
not being remitted to national coffers.
The MDC-N led by Welshman Ncube has come to Biti’s defense, saying the
speedy clearance of the protests by the police further exposes their
MDC-N spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi reportedly said the speed with which
police acted “raised suspicion” that the police “want to expose Biti as an
By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 July, 2011
Officials from the Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ),
whose peace-building workshop in Gokwe was disrupted by suspected state
agents and ZANU PF thugs last week, are reported to have gone into hiding
fearing for their lives.
The cancelled workshop was at Nyamhara Primary School in a rural district of
Gokwe. The CCDZ said it was part of their initiative to penetrate districts
that were previously declared “no-go” areas for charity groups by ZANU PF.
The headmaster and teachers at the school have also been harassed for
allowing the workshop at their premises.
A statement from the CCDZ said a dozen officials had fled from the area
because agents from the Central Intelligence Organization (CIOs) were
harassing them and local residents who had participated in the workshop. The
CIOs are reported to be driving unmarked vehicles.
One official is quoted as saying: “They came during the night and harassed
our families. If they are genuine police officers why are they visiting our
homes during the night under the cover of darkness?”
The suspected CIOs who disrupted last week’s workshop accused the CCDZ of
being “a regime-change NGO” as they ordered participants to return to their
homes. They then interrogated the staff, demanding information that included
their addresses and national identity registration numbers.
Last week CCDZ director Phillip Pasirayi told SW Radio Africa that CIOs
collect this information in order to use it in the future to track down
activists and harass them. The reported attacks at night appear to confirm
The CCDZ said the matter has been referred to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
By Staff Reporter 4 hours 17 minutes ago
HARARE – In a direct threat aimed at Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa
Zanu-PF’s Secretary for Administration, Didymus Mutasa has warned the hugely
ambitious party’s Secretary for Legal Affairs that he could be expelled from
the party like what happened to some senior party members in the past.
Mutasa said in Harare this afternoon, the party expelled its first founding
president Ndabaningi Sithole and former secretary general Edgar Tekere for
failing to adhere to party principles and dictates.
The embattled defence Minister in a tricky catch 22 situation over how to
respond to the apparent attack on his perceived presidential ambition, which
rightly or wrongly led to the controversial disbandment of District
Coordinating Committees (DCCs) that had become the latest battlefront for
party heavyweights jostling to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
The emissaries of the Zanu PF Presidium and Central Committee to all the
party provinces in the country ended their briefing in Harare on Monday when
they explained the disbandment of the District Coordinating Committees
(DCCs) from the party structure.
The Party Secretary for Administration, Didymus Mutasa accompanied by Media,
Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu, Zanu PF Information and
Publicity Secretary Rugare Gumbo and Secretary for Women Affairs Oppah
Muchinguri, informed the Harare provincial leadership of the divisive nature
of the disbanded DCCs.
He said the party expelled its first founding president Ndabaningi Sithole
and former secretary general Edgar Tekere for failing to adhere to party
principles and dictates.
Mutasa endorsed the leadership of Jabulani Sibanda as the leader of the war
veterans, a move that was underscored by Webster Shamu.
Before the decision to terminate the DCCs which were ironically the
brainchild of former defence minister, Moven Mahachi (now late) and Didymus
Mutasa, the ZANU-PF secretary for administration, protégés and close
associates of Mnang-angwa had made a clean sweep of the 13-member committees
in most provinces where elections had been held, notably in Midlands,
Mani-caland, Masvingo and even in the Mashon-aland provinces where his rival
Mnangagwa’s protégés also had an upper hand in President Mugabe’s home
province of Mashonaland West, where the provincial chairperson, John Mafa
was being subjected to pressure because of his political leanings to Ngwena,
as the Defence Minister is affectionately known because of his complex
Impeccable sources said Mna-ngagwa is now under pressure from his
lieutenants to at least do something to salvage his and their political
They claim that after the Tsholotsho debacle in 2004, where the minister was
said to have been their preferred beneficiary had the plan to parachute him
into the presidium succeeded, most of those in the rank and file of his
so-called faction were left to lick their wounds as the President yielded
the axe on them.
The Tsholotsho plan incensed the top leadership of ZANU-PF resulting in the
suspension of six provincial chairpersons who had clandestinely nominated a
new leadership for the endorsement of the 2004 congress whereby Mnang-agwa,
who had no fingerprint linking him to the plan, was to succeed the late vice
president, Simon Muzenda.
Inside sources say due to fears of a repeat of the 2004 Tsholotsho debacle,
Mnangagwa’s lieutenants want him to respond decisively. They say the manner
in which the issue of scrapping DCCs was brought about at the Politburo and
eventually at the Central Committee was not procedural. More so, they claim
that the scrapping of DCCs itself was unconstitutional.
But the Defence Minister is said to be pondering his next move as acting or
not acting has grave consequences. The same sources say he is caught between
a rock and a hard place.
For starters, if he acts, he will be moving against the orders of the
President although he will gain marks in the court of public opinion for
defending internal democracy in ZANU-PF. That in itself is considered
political suicide in the party.
But if he does not act, he will have angered a constituency that has stood
by him in ensuring that he stands a good chance of succeeding President
Mugabe should the veteran leader decide to exit office.
Also, he faces the humiliation of being eliminated from the presidential
race in which he has been a front-runner along with his nemesis, Vice
President Joice Mujuru. Added to that, there is an unhappy section in the
security sector that has supported him and pushed for his eventual takeover
of the highest office in the land.
All these people say that because Mnangagwa’s lieutenants were in control of
the levers of power in the DCCs, this had presented a huge threat to Vice
President Mujuru who then managed to pull the rug under Mnangagwa’s feet.
The decision to do away with the grassroots structures was made in Mnangagwa’s
absence, as he was reportedly on a working visit in China. Sources said
Mnangagwa’s rivals in the highest decision-making body of the party took
advantage of his absence.
It is believed the Defence Minister was not consulted and had no input in
the decision to scrap the DCCs. His close aides say this situation was
But inside sources say the Politburo claimed it had evidence money was used
to “impose” candidates on the electorate during the DCC elections. Yet
critics of the decision argue that most senior members of the party were
also guilty of using cash and influence to sway voters in breach of rules
passed at the Bulawayo conference last December.
An attempt to speak to the Defence Minister through his mobile phone was
fruitless as he did not answer calls placed to him.
Political analyst, Dewa Mavh-inga, said it was high time the Mujuru and
Mnangagwa factions unite to enable President Mugabe to deal with his
“It is high time Mnangagwa throws his weight behind Joice Mujuru to support
her candidature — so that when the two main factions in ZANU-PF unite, they
will be able to force President Mugabe to deal with the succession issue
without playing the factions against each other,” said Mavhinga.
The DCC elections had become the battleground for ZANU-PF factions tussling
for control of strategic party structures in the battle to eventually
produce a successor to President Mugabe.
Infighting rocked DCC elections in Masvingo, Manicaland, Mash-onaland East,
Bulawayo and Matabeleland North and South provinces, as the factions led by
Vice President Mujuru and Mnan-gagwa fought for control of the provinces.
The divisions, which had torn the party apart were complicated by the
emergence of two strong security establishment-based groups rooting for
President Mugabe to stay on while another was pushing for Mnangagwa to
eventually succeed the President.
Internal strife has been so pronounced that it forced President Mugabe to
publicly denounce factions and their leaders, saying they were destroying
Mnangagwa had for a long time been seen as the blue-eyed boy of the
President. But his fortunes had dipped in 2004 as he was seen as the leader
of the Tsholotsho fiasco.
By Staff Reporter 13 hours 25 minutes ago
DEPUTY Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara’s woes continue to mount as his
political party MDC-M has failed to access State funds under the Political
Parties Finance Act. Government has disbursed money earmarked for political
parties to the Welshman Ncube-led MDC formation leaving the other faction in
Professor Mutambara had made frantic efforts to secure the money.
He reportedly wrote two letters to Justice and Legal Affairs Minister
Patrick Chinamasa arguing that they were entitled to the money.
Zanu-PF and the MDC formations were allocated US$8 million in the 2012
national budget to be shared proportionately according to the number of
legislators each political party has in Parliament.
Government introduced funding after outlawing foreign funding of political
This was after it emerged that the MDC was receiving funding from outside,
particularly from those countries hostile to Zimbabwe.
Minister Chinamasa confirmed the development yesterday saying he was guided
by the enabling legal statutes.
“The Act provides that I should deal with secretaries-general or secretary
for administration (with respect to Zanu-PF).
“We have therefore disbursed money to Welshman Ncube in the same account
that we have deposited,” he said.
Minister Chinamasa said: “Until there is a court order to the contrary, we
will continue disbursing the funds in that manner.”
Prof Ncube, who is also Industry and Commerce minister, was Prof Mutambara’s
secretary-general before ousting his leader.
He was elected president at the MDC congress held in 2010.
However, a section led by former national chairman Mr Joubert Mudzumwe has
been challenging Prof Ncube’s election in the courts.
The faction’s secretary-general Mr Maxwell Zimuto yesterday insisted that
they were entitled to a share of the money.
“Our argument is based on the premise that we have some MPs who have
expressed allegiance to us in writing.
“No one can just dismiss us because we are a legitimate party entitled to
anything that the MDC-M must get as a party that signed the Global Political
Agreement,” he said.
He, however, could not name the legislators aligned to the faction.
Mr Zimuto acknowledged writing to Minister Chinamasa.
“I have written letters to the minister twice and he has not responded.
“He has probably decided that we are not a party but at least he should have
responded to our letters.”
The High Court has since upheld the contention by Prof Ncube but Prof
Mutambara has lodged an appeal against the ruling in the Supreme Court.
July 23, 2012 in News
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and the First Family are embroiled in a dispute with
the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church over the construction of a church
building on land located eight stands away from the Mugabes’ private
residence along Borrowdale Brooke road.
Stand 280 Borrowdale Brooke Road was bought by the Borrowdale SDA church
years ago, but it has since been barred from building by Mugabe’s security
details who say the structure would compromise the First Family’s security.
Consequently, members of the Borrowdale SDA congregation of the church’s
Glenara North district continue to conduct their worship services at the
Borrowdale Community Hall, for which they pay, whilst their stand lies idle.
A senior official from the East Zimbabwe Conference, the church’s
administrative body in Harare, confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent that
the church owned the Borrowdale stand, but declined to divulge why
construction was yet to start.
“The conference is not involved in the construction of churches,” said the
official speaking on condition of anonymity. “Congregants build their own
churches and the conference only keeps individual churches’ title deeds.
Borrowdale church has not raised the issue with us but I can tell you that
we value the security of individual church members.”
However, a church member familiar with the on-going wrangle said the
president’s security guards warned the church against any construction on
the stand, saying it posed a great risk to Mugabe. He said while he was not
sure when the church was barred from developing the stand, he had learnt of
the order when he joined the congregation in 2010.
“We were warned not to build the church here because the stand is located in
a high security zone and special clearance is needed for any form of
development to take place,” said another church member.
“They (Mugabe’s security guards) said the congregation would make a lot of
noise which would attract many people and compromise safety and security of
the president. They keep telling us that the laws are likely to change after
elections to allow us to build, but we have reached a point where we might
be forced to sell the stand because it’s of no use to us idle.”
Surprisingly, while the Borrowdale SDA church has been barred from building,
construction of a private secondary school is in progress just three stands
Borrowdale Brooke Academy, owned by Ian Henney, currently has one
double-storey building, and construction was in progress when the
Independent visited the school last week. Classes were in session and
enrolment was also in progress.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba was adamant that Mugabe’s security
guards were within the law to stop construction of any structure close to
“The president’s residence, whether State House, in Zvimba or Borrowdale
remains a security issue,” said Charamba.
“There is no way structures can be constructed willy-nilly around such
designated areas, and there is nothing like private property because this is
the Head of State and we cannot compromise his security.”
On why the school is being built in the “designated area”, Charamba said the
criteria used to vet construction of structures did give room for a school
after considering security issues.
July 23, 2012 in News, Politics
Faith Zaba/Brian Chitemba
DIVISIONS and bitterness are simmering in the faction-riddled Zanu PF over
the controversial dissolution of district coordinating committees (DCCs),
with senior party officials and their allies in lower structures seething
with anger over the unilateral politburo decision.
The Zanu PF politburo, an administrative organ of the central committee,
recently resolved without consultation to disband the DCCs and then imposed
the resolution on the central committee, the party’s decision-making body in
between congresses, before sending out senior officials to explain its
Contrary to state media reports all provinces and other structures had
welcomed the party’s contested resolution to disband DCCs, Zanu PF insiders
told the Zimbabwe Independent this week the dissolution of DCCs is fuelling
internal strife, already intense due to President Robert Mugabe’s raging
The conflict over DCCs is centred on succession now threatening to further
divide and tear Zanu PF apart.
The decision to disband the DCCs is widely seen as a move by the faction
aligned to Vice-President Joice Mujuru and a cabal of politburo hardliners
and state security service chiefs who wanted to contain the camp led by
Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, the party’s legal affairs secretary,
which had prevailed during recent acrimonious DCC elections that left in
their wake a trail of disputes and protests.
The group aligned to Mnangagwa believes the move was yet another calculated
ploy to block – by manipulating the constitution — its leader from
consolidating his position to take over if Mugabe either retires or is
incapacitated due to ill-health or old age.
Insiders say the disbanding of DCCs sent out political shockwaves and a
sense of deja vu to the Mnangagwa faction.
In 2004, Zanu PF amended its constitution to stipulate that one of the
vice-presidents had to be a woman after it became clear Mnangagwa was on an
irresistible ascendancy to become vice-president following his faction’s
seizure of seven of the 10 provinces. The move at the stroke of a pen helped
Mujuru to become one of the co-vice-presidents with the late Joseph Msika at
After working hard to regain lost ground following setbacks during the 2004
and 2009 congresses, Mnangagwa again now finds himself thwarted through
another constitutional amendment — this time dissolving DCCs, his new
springboard to power.
“While Mnangagwa and his allies mourn the DCCs dissolution, his rivals —
without even consulting him as legal affairs secretary — are moving fast to
overhaul some clauses in the constitution to deal with the issue of senior
officials manipulating structures to secure positions, while sidelining
party members who have a constitutional right to elect leaders or be elected
to office,” a senior Zanu PF official said.
“We must defend our constitution by restoring power to the people (members
of the party) which had been usurped by structures, including the DCCs. We
want a model like that of ANC of South Africa which ensures the grassroots,
not higher level structures alone, vote at the party congress.”
According to the ANC constitution, “At least 90% of voting delegates at the
conference shall be from branches, represented by elected delegates. The
number of delegates shall be in proportion to the paid up members”.
The remaining 10% are allocated by the National Executive Council from among
the provincial executive committees, the Youth League and Women’s League.
Some senior Zanu PF officials who have openly defended DCCs dissolution
reportedly want the grassroots to be involved in the elections, not
nominations, of the presidium — namely the president, two deputies and
chairperson — at a congress.
Party officials say this would deal with contradictions in the party
constitution in which members’ rights to elect leaders are taken away by
higher structures. For instance, although the Zanu PF constitution under the
rights of members allows party members to vote to any office leaders of
their choice, higher structures like provincial coordinating council (PCC),
which should act as the elections directorate — not the electorate — of the
province, end up choosing leaders themselves. Article 7.32 (i) of the party
constitution says the top four positions are elected by “congress directly
upon nomination by at least six PCCs”, something which appears to take away
the voting rights of the grassroots who vote by acclamation, applause or
The PCCs are made up of 44 members of the provincial executive councils,
members of the central committee and national consultative assembly in the
provinces, chairpersons of DCCs and 68 members of the provincial executive
committee of the Women and Youth Leagues.
Officials say this approach was promoting the imposition of leaders and
decisions on the people. The disbanding of DCCs, for example, was
unilaterally made by the politburo and foisted on the central committee,
which is supposed to be the supreme decision-making body outside a congress.
According to the party constitution, the politburo is the executive
committee of the central committee. It acts as the administrative organ it
and is answerable to the central committee on all matters, not the other way
A high-powered delegation led by the party’s secretary for administration
Didymus Mutasa which is out there struggling to explain the disbanding of
DCCs has met with hostility. Mutasa, who was accompanied by the party’s
national commissar Webster Shamu, war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda, and
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo, this week embarked on a whirlwind tour of
provinces, starting with Midlands on Monday where DCC members aligned to
Mnangagwa queried and protested the decision to abolish their posts.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Mutasa’s delegation visited Matabeleland North,
Bulawayo and Matabeleland South provinces where party officials expressed
anger over the DCCs dispute.
“I brought you a message from the senior party leadership that the DCC
structure has been removed from our constitution. The central committee has
already endorsed the decision and President Robert Mugabe has tasked us to
go to the provinces and explain the decision,” Mutasa has been telling party
Insiders told the Independent the meetings have been tense, with officials
expressing fury at the DCCs disbanding. In Midlands, Zanu PF chief whip
Jorum Gumbo, a Mnangagwa ally, described the DCCs dissolution as “painful
and unceremonious”, showing the issue has left behind more divisions and