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MDC-T calls for yes vote as debate rages over new charter

By Tererai Karimakwenda
30 July, 2011

The draft of Zimbabwe’s new constitution has fuelled passionate debate in
political circles and among ordinary Zimbabweans, particularly because it is
unclear on several key issues that the negotiators failed to resolve.

The MDC-T National Executive, which met Saturday for extensive discussions,
endorsed the new charter, saying they were “satisfied that the draft
essentially captures the views of the people of Zimbabwe and represents an
incremental gain in the democratisation process”.

In a statement the MDC-T said the draft would now be forwarded to their
National Council, which meets this Friday, to come up with a final party
position. The party is calling on Zimbabweans to vote Yes to the new charter
in the coming referendum.

The statement said the national executive had noted that some of the
positive aspects of the draft included, “the resolution of the question of
citizenship by firstly, guaranteeing citizenship to Zimbabweans who were
previously denied citizenship and secondly allowing dual citizenship to
Zimbabweans by birth”.

But conflicting views have emerged on the issue of dual citizenship because
the draft does not clearly state that this right is guaranteed for any
Zimbabwean. The draft simply leaves it up to “an act of parliament” to
decide either way.

Madock Chivasa, spokesperson for the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA),
dismissed the MDC-T statement, saying the draft does not represent the views
of the majority of Zimbabweans. Chivasa told SW Radio Africa that the
outreach process gathered many views that were ignored.

“Many issues are clearly ZANU PF positions. Zimbabweans did not want two
vice-presidents or a parliament that is too big. Zimbabweans also wanted the
right to a diaspora vote. We said earlier as NCA that the process would not
produce anything representing the views of Zimbabweans,” Chivasa said.

Regarding dual citizenship, Chivasa said: “This document does not allow dual
citizenship. It leaves to an act of parliament. If they wanted it why not
just clearly say Zimbabweans are allowed so and so. It’s clear they don’t
want it.”

Chivasa said he found it actually “shocking” that the MDC formations went
along with many of the issues that they used to criticize ZANU PF for. “When
you look at all the issues they parked, they are the same issues ZANU PF was
refusing to change,” Chivasa added.

He agreed with the view of some observers who have said the MDC-T chose to
compromise on key issues, hoping to win the elections then change the
Constitution. The NCA official said this was tantamount to digging their own

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance is reported to have accused the
drafters of the constitution of secretly deleting a section dealing with the
controversial Gukurahundi massacres, from the draft’s preamble.

Useni Sibanda, executive director of the Christian Alliance and one of the
people who wrote the national report covering people’s views, says the
section acknowledging Gukurahundi read: “…. also remembering
post-independence conflicts that occurred and we don’t want them to occur

Sibanda explained that a nation can never heal by trying to forget or bury
the past. This is why the National Organ on Healing and Reconciliation was
established, specifically to help heal the wounds of hatred that the
Gukurahundi massacres inflicted on the nation.

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Zanu PF divisions over draft constitution

30/07/2012 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu

ZANU PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo has insisted the organ is yet to
come up with a position on the draft constitution, apparently
contradicting claims by another senior official that the party was largely
happy with the charter.

The politburo, Zanu PF’s supreme decision-making organ outside congress, is
set to meet again Wednesday to continue examining the draft, spokesperson
Rugare Gumbo confirmed.

“We have made our recommendations as the politburo and we will have the
party’s final position on Wednesday. After that, our members in the
management committee will take the document to their colleagues in the MDC
formations. If they agree, the document will then be taken to the
principals,” he said.

Party negotiator and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Sunday that the
politburo had endorsed about 97 percent of the draft, adding the party would
engage its coalition partners over possible amendments to the document.

“It was a no-holds-barred debate and very robust. It was very constructive.
We went through almost line by line (of the draft),” Chinamasa said.

“Most of the debate drew us negotiators where there were deviations. We
were asked to renegotiate and realign the document with the public views. On
the whole, 97 percent of the document has been endorsed by the Politburo.”

He said Zanu PF would propose amendments to provisions relating to the
appointment of provincial governors; the establishment of the constitutional
court; the deployment of defence forces outside the country and the proposed
restructuring of the Attorney General’s Office.

Moyo told New on Monday: “While I have seen the media remarks
attributed to Cde Chinamasa, I am unable to confirm them one way or the
other because I do not know anything about their source or purpose.

“What I know is what the party spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo has said to the
media to the effect that the party's politburo is still seized with its
examination of COPAC’s final draft constitution and the official position
of the party will only be known when that process has been properly

Moyo, one of the main critics of the draft, also appeared to query
Chinamasa’s claim that Zanu PF agreed with most of the provisions of the

He said: “As to the claim that the party allegedly endorsed 97 percent and
queried three percent, I leave that to mathematicians because I do not see
the relevance of those percentages because constitution-making is not a
game of numbers but is a matter of fundamental principles such that
getting one principle right or wrong can in fact define or redefine a
whole constitution.

“In any event, what percent of the body is a heart or a brain? Is it three
percent or what? And is a body without a brain or a heart really worth
talking about as a body?
“My advice to you is wait until you hear from the Politburo itself [on

Chinamasa’s position was however, backed by Gumbo who told The Herald:
“About 97 percent of the draft is okay, but we want to make sure that we
iron out some loose ends on it. These are key issues, but generally the
party is supportive of the draft constitution.”

The MDC and MDC-T – who share power with Zanu PF in the coalition
government – have also endorsed the draft which is expected to be put to a
referendum leading to new elections.

Other political parties outside the coalition government have yet to give
their verdicts although the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a
civic organisation which has been campaigning for a new constitution – has
already dismissed the document as defective.

“We are going to vote for a NO. We believe it is wrong to have a
constitution from politicians,” the organisation’s leader and constitutional
lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said.

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Gukurahundi crime secretly removed from draft Constitution

Monday, 30 July 2012 07:55 Editor News

The Zimbabwe Christian Alliance has accused drafters of the proposed new
constitution of tampering with the draft’s preamble and secretly deleting a
section acknowledging the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres as part of the country’s
historical legacy.

Useni Sibanda, executive director of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance, told
guests at a women’s peace-building conference in Bulawayo on Saturday,
Gukurahundi had initially been incorporated into the preamble of the draft
constitution released two weeks ago.

“During the outreach programmes which were carried out, people had mentioned
Gukurahundi as part of their legacy and as part of our history so we were
meant to acknowledge that issue of Gukurahundi,” he said.

“I was one of the people who wrote the national report and we wrote:‘ . . .
also remembering post-independence conflicts that occurred and we don’t want
them to occur again’. This part was removed from the preamble. But you see,
you can never heal a country or nation by trying to forget the past, by
trying to bury the past.”

Sibanda said it was important to acknowledge in the constitution what
happened during Gukurahundi from 1983 to 1987 when a North-Koreaan-trained
army crack unit, the Fifth Brigade, was unleashed on Matabeleland and
Midlands ostensibly to deal with armed dissidents, but ended up killing an
estimated 20 000 innocent civilians.

Sibanda said the preamble of the constitution should clearly state that no
one should be killed because of their ethnicity.

“We recognise there is a period we killed each other because of tribes so we
must write about it, the period of Gukurahundi. We should make a commitment
in our constitution that never again in our generation will we have people
killed because of ethnicity.” - Newsday

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Firebrand NCA Chair Threatens A No Vote

Harare, July 30, 2012- National Constitutional Assembly chairperson
Professor Lovemore Madhuku says country is going to have a heavily contested
referendum with his organisation currently compiling a ‘long’ list of
defects in the draft constitution it will soon present to the public.

Madhuku at the formation of the inclusive government three years ago when
the writing of a new constitution was initiated, announced that he was going
to oppose the whole process.

He went on to launch an Anti-COPAC led constitution campaign code named Take
Charge in which he is encouraging Zimbabweans to oppose the new constitution
on the premise of the country’s constitution being written by politicians.

As a result of the formation of the parliament led constitution making body
COPAC ,the National Constitutional Assembly ran out of funds, with donors
directing funding to government.

“Donors took all the money from us saying we were supporting Zanu (PF). The
time is coming and we will stand firm and tell Zimbabweans to resist a
flawed constitution.

“ There is no basis of supporting this document which is being decided by
politicians. We hear that the three principals have a final say to the draft
constitution, and yes that is what is going to happen, and do we want that
to happen? Politicians deciding for us?”, Professor Madhuku told delegates
gathered for a two day SADC Media, Civil Society and Political party players’
round table in Harare, Monday.

“We will be publishing a long, long, long list of the defects of the
constitution and make people see.

There will be a contested referendum. We are individuals and not political
parties and we will make people vote No and that I think is the only way
forward for our country. Our No campaign should not be viewed as a Zanu (PF)
thing as ours is of substance, ” Madhuku added.

The draft constitution was last week handed over to Principals of the Global
Political Agreement, and parliament.

One of the GPA partners the mainstream MDC-T has already endorsed it with
Zanu (PF) contemplating on rejecting the draft constitution.

The document is expected to go to a second all stakeholders conference where
amendments are going to be effected if any arises before a referendum is

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ZANU PF rocked by mutiny on ‘running mates’ clause

ZANU PF plunged further into political turmoil last Friday as a faction led
by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa bluntly told the politburo they will
not accept another attempt by the party to block him from succeeding Robert

In a marathon ‘no holds barred’ meeting, Mnangagwa’s camp accused the party
of enacting laws to prevent the ZANU PF strongman from taking over the party

In 2009, just as it seemed Mnangagwa had garnered enough support to win the
Vice-Presidency of the party, a ZANU PF congress resolution stated that one
of the party’s two deputy presidents had to be a woman. This cleared the way
for Joice Mujuru to be elected to that post.
Two months ago the politburo disbanded the District Coordinating Committees,
after Mnangagwa’s camp had captured the majority of the countrywide
structures. The politburo said he had used his wealth to buy votes but
Mnangagwa’s faction saw this as a plot to block him from using the
structures to have a run at the Presidency.
During Friday’s politburo meeting Mnangagwa’s faction said they were adamant
that the clause in the draft constitution that empowers the party leader to
choose his running mates will have to be amended, or deleted altogether
during the second all stakeholders’ conference.
The Midlands province, which is the Defence Minister’s stronghold, is
strongly against this clause and refers to it as the ‘Mnangagwa clause’
saying it eliminates him from succeeding Mugabe.

While ZANU PF has tried to brush off the revolt against Mugabe as ‘a storm
in a teacup’ analysts told us the situation was very serious, as evidenced
by the party’s plan to hold three consecutive politburo meetings in 7 days.

‘They met last week Wednesday at which they failed to reach consensus. They
met again on Friday for 12 hours and failed to reach an agreement and they
resolved to meet again this Wednesday where they hope to finalise discussion
on the draft constitution and running mates clause. This tells us it hasn’t
been easy, it’s been quite a challenge for Mugabe and his ZANU PF party,’
the source added.

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Full-scale civil servants strike set for Zimbabwe

Monday, 30 July 2012 07:36 Editor News

CIVIL servants have resolved to embark on a full-scale strike and will meet
in Harare today to map out the modalities.

This comes after Finance Minister Tendai Biti last week rebuked them for
demonstrating against poor salaries and working conditions.

Today’s meeting is also expected to end internal squabbles that have hit
civil servants unions over the appointment of a new Apex Council

The civil servants’ unions yesterday said they will start the strike at the
beginning of the next school term.

Schools close on Thursday and the unions’ leaders said they will take
advantage of the holidays to start mobilising their members.

Teachers make up the bulk of the civil servants.

The Apex Council brings together the Public Service Association, the
Zimbabwe Teachers Association, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe,
the Teachers Union of Zimbabwe and the College Lecturers Association of

Zimta chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu said at today’s meeting they will
strategise on how to pressure Government into acceding to their demands.

“Tomorrow (today) is a day for strategising. We are going to mobilise our
people such that we open schools geared up for the strike,” he said.

“We are reviewing the demonstration we undertook last week, especially after
being chided by Minister Biti. We are not a political party, but people
fighting for bread and butter issues through his ministry and he should not
rebuke us the way he did.”

Public Service Association president Mrs Cecilia Alexander said today’s
meeting will define the pending strike.

“We are going to chat the way forward and from there we will start our
consultations on the strike,” she said.

The Government workers are demanding an all-inclusive salary of US$564 for
the least paid worker up from US$296.

They also want 15 percent of the basic salary as rural allowance for those
working in outlying areas.

Commenting on the Apex Council chairmanship, Mr Ndlovu said: “Our
association is going to appreciate anyone selected openly. No one should use
external territorial muscle in determining the transfer of power.

“We are comfortable with anyone from any union chosen democratically.”

The terms for Apex Council chairperson Mrs Tendai Chikowore and PSA’s Mrs
Alexander expired this year. The chairmanship should now go to PSA as the
appointment is on a rotational basis.

Mrs Alexander was the Apex Council secretary. PSA has nominated Mrs
Alexander for the post, a development other unions described as “recycling
old product”.

The new leadership will serve for two years.

Teachers Union of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Manuel Nyawo said he hoped PSA
would come up with a new candidate at the meeting today.

“Without that condition, the meeting will not proceed. We want to have the
names to forward to the Minister of Public Service,” he said.

“Vital at our meeting would be the issue of salaries. We are going back to
the drawing board and after that we are likely to start mobilising.”

Mrs Alexander said she should become the next Apex Council chairperson.

“As for the leadership, our constitution stipulates that the PSA president,
who is me, should represent the association at all negotiating forum and
unions should not have a say in our operations,” she said.

“We have not violated any Apex Council provisions and we are going to stand
by our stance.”

College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe secretary for administration Mr
Jinggy Makarudze said Mrs Alexander had been in the Apex Council for the
past eight years and should pave way for others.

“She is part of the outgoing executive and we need someone new,” he said.

“We are not worried about PSA taking over the chairmanship, but recycling an
individual is unacceptable.”

Minister Biti last week snubbed civil servants and denied them access to his
offices to hand over a petition outlining their grievances.

The workers managed to handover the petition to Parliament.

The civil servants have been agitating for salaries that are in line with
the poverty datum line since the formation of the inclusive Government three
years ago.

Minister Biti has repeatedly told them that Treasury is operating on a
“shoe-string budget” - Herald.

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Bulawayo Residents Face Severe Water Rationing

Bulawayo, July 30,2012--Bulawayo City Council (BCC) pleaded with government
to urgently complete the Mtshabezi-Mzingwane water pipeline as the city
faces critical water shortages after most supply dams have been
decommissioned and tight water rationing introduced.

Last week BCC announced shock water rationing measures which will see water
supplies cut to some residents for 24 hours, twice a week.

However in a statement to the media at weekend BCC public relations officer
Nesisa Mpofu called government to urgently complete Mtshabezi-Mzingwane
pipeline. Last year the government through the Ministry of Water Resources
started constructing Mtshabezi-Mzingwane pipeline in order to ease Bulawayo
water woes.

“The water supply situation is critical, considerable progress has been
realised regarding the Mtshabezi-Mzingwane link and we are hopeful that this
will come on board shortly,” said Mpofu.

Mpofu added: “As at the end of this month five city’s water supply dams had
a combined capacity of 156,4million cubic meters of water against the
potential 263 million cubic meters of water representing 43,1percent of
total capacity”.

The Matabeleland region received less than average rainfall this year, and
Bulawayo has already decommissioned two supply dams – Upper Ncema and
Umzingwane – leaving only three dams: Insiza, Lower Ncema and Inyankuni.

Two weeks ago, Water Resources Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo announced that a
plan drawn in 1912 to construct a 400km pipeline from the Zambezi River to
Bulawayo will become a reality in two years after the Chinese government
availed US$2 billion for the project.
The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project is seen as a permanent solution to
the water woes experienced by Bulawayo’s population of close to a million

In past years funding problems have been blamed for the failure of the
project to take off. In2005, a Chinese contractor, China International
Water Electrical, abandoned the project due to lack of funding and moved
equipment off the site.

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Makoni denies sanctions have hurt ordinary people

By Lance Guma
30 July 2012

Former Finance Minister Dr Simba Makoni has argued that targeted sanctions
imposed by western countries on Zimbabwe have not affected ordinary people.
The measures were imposed in response to serious human rights abuses by
Mugabe’s regime and have been the subject of much debate and point scoring

Makoni, a former ZANU PF politburo member who now leads the opposition
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn party, told the state owned Sunday Mail newspaper that
these sanctions were only targeted at a few individuals.

“What sanctions? The travel ban on President Mugabe? And the freezing of
assets, whatever they are? Do you know that today, all the platinum we are
producing is being sold to the West? About 70 percent of the tobacco that we
produce is being sold to Philip Morris and other Western countries? The
little horticulture products that we still can produce are going to

Makoni said: “The few goods that we manufacture, such as shirts, we sell to
Germany, America and other countries. If you look at the statistics of our
trade with the EU today, our trade with the US today, it is growing. How
could it grow if there were sanctions?”

Sunday Mail journalist Munyaradzi Huni then asked Makoni to explain the
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) which was passed by
the United States congress in 2001. ZANU PF argues the Act is a form of
sanctions on the country, effectively restricting Zimbabwe’s access to
finance and credit. But Makoni said ZIDERA was enacted because Zimbabwe had
defaulted on its loan payments.

Makoni, who was Finance Minister at the time, said “This is the reality. I
became Minister of Finance in July 2000. We had defaulted on our payments to
the IMF and the World Bank and the African Development Bank, exactly a year
earlier in August of 1999.”

“And these institutions, of which we are members and President Mugabe says
we are full members of these bodies, took resolutions that this creditor has
defaulted on his repayment, we are not in a position to continue lending
where we are not seeing prospects of being repaid.

Makoni said the provisions in ZIDERA meant that American directors on the
boards of the IMF, World Bank and the African Development Bank would not
support the extension of further facilities to Zimbabwe until it had paid

When pressed by Huni to explain why the MDC had supported the removal of the
targeted sanctions Makoni said:

“If you believe I am not discussing facts, go and check because if you read
Zidera, it will tell you why the US directors in the boards of these
multilateral institutions were instructed not to support the extension of
further facilities to Zimbabwe.”

Makoni was also critical of the controversial indigenisation drive, telling
the paper: “I believe that in the 21st century, the notion or concept of
indigenous is very difficult to affirm. The world is one small village now.
Let me bring us back — the definition of indigenous in our current law, if
you are white you are not indigenous, if you are black you are indigenous.

“In the preamble of the Constitution, it says Zimbabwe shall be a non-racial
country. Let me simulate — there is a family whose forefathers settled at
Fort Salisbury in 1896. They have lived here and they are a fifth generation
and have become residents of this country.

“In our law today, those people are not indigenous. Contrast this with a
family that settled here as farm labourers in 1956, or mine labourers in
1976. There is even a family that settled here in 1983, they are indigenous.
So that is my first position.”

Responding to claims by Huni that fifth generation whites had over the
decades enjoyed government support, due to racial laws that discriminated
against blacks, Makoni responded by saying: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.
I would want us to interrogate that assertion. They are x thousands whites
in Zimbabwe, I don’t believe all of them behave un-Zimbabwean.

“There are y million black Zimbabweans; I don’t believe all of them behave
Zimbabwean. So that’s my take to the position of whites who behave
un-Zimbabwean. We can’t paint every white person with the same brush,
particularly in the making of a law. It’s very short-sighted.”

Makoni said: “The practice of indigenisation as advanced by our government
at the moment runs contrary to our value proposition in MKD, which is
genuine empowerment. Many Zimbabweans have actually been disempowered.”

He added: “Zimbabwe was self-sufficient and had food surplus not from the
white commercial farmers, not from the resettled farmers, but from the
communal farmers . . . but today no A1 farmer, no A2 farmer, no resettled
farmer and no communal farmer has food on their table, but we have got more
land in our hands. Those people have been disempowered.”

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Vigil in London has criticised European Union (EU)
moves to ease sanctions on the Mugabe regime. Speaking on our Behind the
Headlines series their press spokesman Dennis Benton said: “if they (EU)
seriously believe that President Mugabe would change his policies I think
they are absolutely deluded.”

Benton said if the sanctions are removed Mugabe, “will find another excuse
to continue subverting the constitution as he has done for many years now.
He could for instance say the GPA, in addition to calling for the removal of
the sanctions, also called for the ending of foreign broadcasts so he could
say until the British government kicks you (SW Radio Africa) out of the
country Lance, then they are not going to abide by the GPA.”

Benton said they would still welcome the opportunity to demonstrate and ‘dog
the footsteps’ of any member of the Mugabe regime de-listed from the
sanctions who visits the EU. He said they would use such occasions to
broadcast their crimes to the world “and if we get the chance we will see if
we can take them to court.”

SW Radio Africa has invited Dr Simba Makoni on its Question Time programme
this Wednesday and listeners’ can send their questions in advance of the
interview using Facebook, Twitter or Skype by typing lanceguma, on e-mail and in Zimbabwe you can text +263 772643871.

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‘Mugabe power grip weakens’ - Makoni

NewsDay 13 hours 18 minutes ago

HARARE - Disclosures by former Zanu PF politburo member Simba Makoni that
the current wave of chaos rocking the party was symptomatic of Zanu PF’s
failure to deal with leadership renewal seem to add currency to beliefs that
President Robert Mugabe could be losing grip on power.

Speaking about the chaos surrounding the recent disbandment of the party’s
district co-ordinating committees (DCCs), Makoni — a victim of Zanu PF’s
power struggles before he broke ranks with the party to form his own
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) project in 2008 — said Zanu PF was not capable of
managing change.

Makoni said this in a wide-ranging interview published yesterday in the
State-run weekly, The Sunday Mail.

“Some of the symptoms of what is happening in Zanu PF today — the disbanding
of DCCs and the change in the provincial leadership, expelling of people
from the party and their readmission — they are all part of the ongoing
process of advocating for change. The misfortune is that the Zanu PF
leadership is not capable of managing change,” he said.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera yesterday agreed with Makoni and said
Mugabe’s weakening grip on power had become most evidently clear from
disclosures in the WikiLeaks cables.

“His grip on power has always been shaky and if you look at what happened
following the WikiLeaks cables, senior Zanu PF politicians agreed that he
had become a liability to the party but none had the courage to tell him to
relinquish power. Makoni had to leave the party to criticise Mugabe because
he could not do it from within,” said Mangongera.

“The party leaders are also to blame because they have failed to use party
channels to deal with the succession issue. (Dumiso) Dabengwa said they at
one time sent (the late Vice-President Joseph) Msika to talk Mugabe out of
power. Why send Msika? They resorted to using clandestine methods like the
Tsholotsho Declaration. If they continue with Mugabe, he will be an
electoral liability because he will lose. He is no longer that kind of brand
that would appeal to the electorate,” Mangongera said.

Zanu PF grassroots structures are reportedly in chaos following the
disbandment of the DCCs which the top leadership accused of fanning
divisions. Some senior party officials at district, provincial and central
committee level have openly voiced their displeasure over the politburo’s
decision to disband the DCCs. The party members claim the decision had
effectively cut off the umbilical cord that bound the provincial and
grassroots structures.

Makoni said it was “an open secret” that Zanu PF needed leadership renewal
as early as the 1990s and the need reached a crescendo in 2007 when
President Robert Mugabe openly defied calls for him to step down as party
candidate allegedly after party bigwigs predicted him losing to MDC-T leader
Morgan Tsvangirai in the 2008 polls.

“I recounted to you that a conversation started in Zanu PF in the mid-90s
about the need for change. That conversation continued into the
extraordinary congress and that conversation continues today,” Makoni said.

“Its (MKD) origins were in the conversations for change within Zanu PF. When
that change was thwarted finally at the extraordinary congress of December
2007, those of us who believed that if President Mugabe stood as Zanu PF
candidate, he was going to be beaten by Morgan. That was an open secret,”
said Makoni.

“Those of us who saw the danger of the party, not only its presidential
candidate, being defeated and the party itself being defeated and the legacy
of struggle and the legacy of self-determination, and the legacy of being
our true selves being threatened,” Makoni said.

Zanu PF’s succession battle has of late taken an intricate twist with the
two leading contenders — Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa — reportedly fighting each other using grassroots
structures, mainly the now disbanded DCCs.

While most party bigwigs are believed to be pro-change, the matter continues
to be debated with muffled voices for fear of being singled out and labelled
as “sellouts”.

A few years ago, Mugabe partially opened the floor for open debate on the
party’s succession, but closed the debate, arguing it would cause more
fissures in the party. Last year, a Zanu PF politburo member, Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu, was quoted by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks saying there was
growing discontentment in the party over Mugabe’s continued stay in power.

The late retired army commander, General Solomon Mujuru, is reported to have
openly asked Mugabe to disclose his succession plans. - NewsDay

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Zimbabwe hit by H3N2 influenza

Updated: 2012-07-30 17:07

Zimbabwe has been hit by H3N2 influenza with one person dead while more than
140,000 people affected by the disease circulating all over the country, ZBC
News reported on Friday.

Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Director for Epidemiology and Disease
Control Dr Portia Manangazira said the upsurge in the number of influenza
cases is typical in winter but what is worrying is the number of cases of
the H3N2 influenza that have been recorded.

"There has been an upsurge in the number of influenza cases, we have only
recorded one death so far. The virus is likely to continue spreading as the
cold season is still upon us," said Manangazira.

Manangazira said the recorded figures of the H3N2 influenza cases have been
derived from the weekly disease surveillance report that is compiled by the
Ministry of Health and Child Welfare. The contagious disease has seen some
people being severely affected while for others it has been life
threatening. Common symptoms of the H3N2 influenza virus include chills,
fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness,
fatigue and general discomfort.

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Army and lands officials invade poultry giant Glenara Estates

By Tererai Karimakwenda
30 July, 2011

Several ZANU PF officials in the lands ministry and others believed to be
army officers are reported to have occupied Glenara Estates, a lucrative
poultry farm belonging to CFI Holdings.

According to the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, several government
officials were allocated 400 hectares on the 1200 hectare Estate. It is now
feared that a rash of illegal settlers could invade the farm and destroy the
poultry operations on the estate.

The process of taking over Glenara Estates started back in February when
some of the military chefs first appeared on the farm, telling the
management they had offer letters from government.

CFI Holdings produce the well-known Suncrest chickens and are Zimbabwe’s
largest marketers of frozen, dressed chickens and their by-products. Their
facilities produce on average 40,000 live birds each day when they are at
full capacity.

It is clear the ZANU PF chefs are after the profits, but many families
employed on the farm and at the factories would end up unemployed if the
farm’s operations are disrupted or destroyed.

The development comes as the drafters of the country’s new constitution face
strong criticism for producing a document that legalises state theft of
land. It is feared this could lead to a final flurry of land invasions.

The draft gives the state the right to seize privately owned land and
guarantees land invaders the right to any properties they seize. It states
that all agricultural land, including forestry land, conservation land and
horticultural land may be “acquired” by the State for “public purpose.”

The draft also leaves the responsibility for compensation up to the former
colonial power, and only improvements made on the land are to be compensated
for. The seizure cannot be challenged in court, even on the grounds that it
is discriminatory. This ignores a ruling by the SADC tribunal, which said
the Mugabe regime’s land grabs were unconstitutional on the grounds that
they were racially discriminatory.

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Mugabe turns to Tsvangirai for help

Written by Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Monday, 30 July 2012 11:43

HARARE - Beleagured President Robert Mugabe seemingly stuck between warring
Zanu PF factions led by his deputy, Joice Mujuru, and Defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, has turned to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for some

Zanu PF insiders told the Daily News at the weekend that Mugabe has
apparently been stung by the depth of dissention from senior party officials
and a reported rejection of a clause in the draft constitution requiring
presidential candidates to nominate running mates.

The 88-year-old octogenarian at the helm of both Zanu PF and the country
since majority rule 32 years ago will reportedly take advantage of his usual
Monday meetings with Tsvangirai to find a solution that could cool tempers
in his deeply fractured party.

Briefings to the Daily News at the weekend by Zanu PF politburo members
reveal that Mugabe would seek to persuade Tsvangirai to push his party to
amend the draft on the issue of running mates.

This will not be first time Mugabe has turned to his bitter rival to solve
his problems.

Following the WikiLeaks revelations that Mugabe’s closest allies in Zanu PF
had been secretly meeting United States officials, the 88-year-old leader
confided his anger and frustrations in Tsvangirai.

Mugabe has also been confiding with Tsvangirai on his health woes.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed in an interview his
boss will be meeting Mugabe today but declined to say whether they would
discuss the contentious clause.

“The Prime Minister will meet the President as always tomorrow (today) but
it will be presumptuous for me to speculate on what will be the subject of
their discussion or their agenda for this specific meeting,” Tamborinyoka
said yesterday.

A chaotic and emotive politburo meeting on Friday spilled into the wee hours
of Saturday but failed to find a solution as warring factions jostled for 15
hours to assert authority and have their way in determining the future of
the divided party.

“It was hot, rather boiling, and sometimes rather inconsiderate to ageing
members like the President but it had to be done although nothing really
came out of it. The issue of running mates took most of the time.

“The clause runs against Zanu PF’s constitution because congress decides who
takes over while according to this draft Mugabe has a chance to determine
who succeeds him,” said a highly-placed source.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, could neither deny nor confirm the issue
of running mates had divided the party.

“We had a long meeting that ended at 1:30am Saturday. It was robust and
candid debate,” Gumbo said.

Asked whether Mugabe had suggested he would take up the issue of running
mates with Tsvangirai, Gumbo seemed stuck.

“No, no, no those are some people who want to complicate matters. I cannot
disclose to you the finer details of our discussions or if the President
will discuss with the Prime Minister,” is all he could say.

According to the new draft constitution Section 5.5 (2) a presidential
candidate has to nominate two running mates who will jointly contest the
election with him/her.

“Every candidate for election as President must nominate two persons to
stand for election jointly with him or her as his or her vice-presidents,
and must designate one of those persons as his or her candidate for first
vice-president and the other as his or her candidate for second
vice-president,” states the draft.

Zimbabwe is currently stuck in the throes of a succession battle for the
control of Zanu PF that has captured the imagination of the country and at
times the region and beyond.

Early this month, Mugabe pulled the rug from under Mnangagwa’s feet by
surprisingly disbanding a vital party mechanism that drove the party’s
election strategy — the District Coordinating Committees (DCCs).

Mnangagwa’s faction had trounced bitter rival Mujuru’s faction in DCC
elections countrywide thereby strengthening his hand at succeeding Mugabe.

The decision to dissolve the DCCs has been met with resistance particularly
by senior members from Mnangagwa’s home province of Midlands and Masvingo
who in turn have demanded the dissolution of the powerful politburo.

It would be a humiliating climax to Zanu PF’s intriguing succession matrix
and a huge bruise on Mugabe’s ego if he were forced to consult his biggest
political opponent in history on the resolution to a war of attrition that
has threatened to sink not only his party but also the country.

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Army continues to recruit, despite government freeze

By Tichaona Sibanda
30 July 2012

The recruitment of new soldiers by the army is raising eyebrows as it is
being done without authority from the cash strapped government.

Despite the fact that Zimbabwe is not at war with anyone, the army last week
embarked on another countrywide recruitment drive. Army spokesperson Major
Alphios Makotore confirmed to the Zimbabwe Standard this weekend that they
were hiring new recruits.

‘Yes, we are recruiting. It’s a national exercise,’ Makotore told the weekly
independent paper.

Last month, Finance Minister Tendai Biti condemned as unlawful the
recruitment of soldiers and police officers in light of the government’s
decision to freeze new appointments in the public sector.

The army and Home Affairs ministry have so far recruited 4,600 soldiers and
1,600 police officers since May this year.

The MDC-T also accuses the army of bias in its current recruitment exercise
as it is allegedly targeting children of serving and retired soldiers, war
vets and ex-political detainees.

Recently party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told journalists the current
recruitment drive, which does not require minimum academic qualifications,
was being done clandestinely to accommodate ZANU PF youth militia.

Retired Army Colonel Bernard Matongo said the recruitment drive looks very
suspicious as the country prepares to hold watershed harmonized elections in
the near future.

The armed forces in Zimbabwe have always been accused of propping up Robert
Mugabe and ZANU PF and were responsible for the bloody 2008 election

‘While the government says it has no cash to fund the recruitment drive, it
is clear the army is getting money from diamonds sales to fund their illegal
activities,’ Matongo said.

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Harare makes way for Little Shanghai

27 Jul 2012 11:12 - Jason Moyo

Attracted by Zimbabwe's government, that likes to see itself as China's best
friend, Chinese businesspeople are making the trek to Zimbabwe.

At the packed Wing Wah restaurant, the foodies stuff themselves with chow
mein while others singing karaoke loudly are drunk on the white spirit,

At another table, sophisticated diners are sipping wu-long tea, quietly
meditating on feng shui and getting their chi in balance.

It would not be out of place in uptown Shanghai, but this is suburban Harare
where the growing influx of Chinese nationals is causing something of a
cultural revolution.

Attracted by Zimbabwe's new money and a government that likes to see itself
as China's best friend, Chinese businesspeople are making the trek to
Zimbabwe, hoping to stake out a new life – and with the wave of Chinese
prospectors arriving, even more change is coming.

At the University of Zimbabwe, the Confucius Institute is packing them in –
businesspeople, traders, students and many others gathering in large classes
to learn Mandarin. They enrol for courses such as "Chinese for tourism" and
"Chinese for managers".

Cultural differences
According to Chinese officials, there are about 5 000 Chinese nationals
living and working in Zimbabwe. But they are only those the Chinese embassy
can account for.

The labour unions, the opposition and black empowerment activists are united
in trying to stem the tide, although others say there is no stopping it –
Zimbabweans must simply prepare for it.

This is why Mandivamba Rukuni, a prominent academic, is charging $1000 for a
ticket to his seminars on "learning the skills necessary to become an
effective negotiator with the Chinese".

"The Chinese are very different from us. That is a fact, not an opinion,"
Rukuni said.

"This workshop will explore the cultural differences an African negotiator
needs to be aware of in recognising the bargaining strategies and tactics
their Chinese counterparts are using."

Reflecting the tide, one of the courses at Rukuni's seminar will be on "how
the Chinese approach to negotiation differs from the Western approach".

Prized by conservationists

It is not hard to see why these lessons are popular, even at $1000. Trade
between Zimbabwe and China has doubled to more than $800-million over the
past two years, according to Chinese ambassador Xin Shunkang.

More Chinese nationals are arriving, the wealthier and better connected
heading for the diamond fields, but most trying to get in on the thriving
retail and restaurant business.

"I arrived a year ago. No regret," said a Chinese takeaway owner, who would
only give his name as Caijan.

"In China I would never get the opportunity we have here. Not crowded, good
money, good people."

On the western outskirts of Harare, marshland prized by conservationists has
given way to a large hotel and mall being built by Chinese investor Anjin,
which also has diamond concessions.

When asked why Anjin had been allowed to build on the land, Karikoga Kaseke,
the head of the state tourism agency, said Zimbabwe was not going to lose
investment "to protect frogs and a few trees".

But not everyone is pleased.

"Over the last five years there has been an influx of Chinese businesses of
all forms. Instead of aiding the development and growth of the economy, the
Chinese have brought nothing new except exploiting the locals and
overshadowing them," said Paurina Mpariwa, labour secretary of the Movement
for Democratic Change and also the labour minister.

There appears to be nothing stopping the China wave – not with the Sunday
Mail recently printing on its front page a note from first lady Grace Mugabe
neatly handwritten in Chinese.

A local choir from the Zimbabwe College of Music is touring China, singing
Mandarin love songs.

"We sing most of the Chinese songs very well because of the help of Chinese
lecturers from the University of Zimbabwe," said choir leader Rachel Jera.

Every day there is a headline about some new, grand Chinese project in the
works. This week: a Chinese company is to fund the Matabeleland-Zambezi
water project, an ambitious venture first mooted by colonials a century ago.

A few weeks ago, President Robert Mugabe bowed as he received blessings –
rich with comparisons to Mao Zedong – from Kai Hui, master of Jin'an, a new
Buddhist temple near the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

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The MDC Today

Monday, 30 July 2012
Issue - 404

Tapera Sengweni, MDC Midlands North Youth Assembly chairperson and a human
rights lawyer who was arrested last week in Gweru is still detained at Nkayi
Police Station.

Sengweni was initially arrested two weeks ago in Kwekwe on charges of stock
theft and released on a US$500 bail at the Gweru Magistrates’ Court.

In Kwekwe, the MDC youths have expressed serious concern over voter
registration delays by the Registrar General’s Office. The youths said they
were failing to register because officials at the RG’s office were only
registering 50 people per day.

Meanwhile, Hon Mangoma MP for Makoni North commissioned a mortuary at
Chendambuya Hospital and two classroom blocks at Kufa Primary School over
the weekend.

The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!

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Coventry misses out on 100m backstroke final

30/07/2012 00:00:00
by Sports Reporter
Short on pace ... Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry

ZIMBABWEAN swimmer Kirsty Coventry saw her 100m backstroke Olympic record broken as she was dumped out in the semi-finals in London.

Australia’s Emily Seebohm lowered the mark of 58. 77 seconds set by Coventry at the last games in Beijing as she clocked 58.23 seconds in the heats and backed it up with a dominant 58.39 in the semi-final on Sunday night.

Seebohm was easily the fastest through to the final ahead of Missy Franklin, of the United States, who, before the Games began, many thought was unbeatable.

Coventry, who had sneaked into the semi-finals with the 15th fastest time of 1:00.24, came home in 1:00.39 which placed her 14th of the 16 semi-finalists.

She won silver in the event in Beijing four years ago.
The final will be contested by the top eight.
Coventry – one of seven Zimbabwean athletes at the London Olympics, remains the country’s best hope of winning a medal.
She overcame a knee problem and then shook off pneumonia to make the games.

The 28-year-old – who qualified for three events in London – can still go for gold in her favourite 200 meter backstroke, and the 200 individual medley. She won gold in the 200m backstroke at the 2004 and 2008 games.

Monday, July 30, 2012 (10:45am) at Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park: 200 Individual Medley Heats
Monday, July 30, 2012 (8:50pm) at Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park: 200 Individual Medley Semi-Finals
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 (8:35pm) at Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park: 200 Individual Medley Finals
Thursday, August 2, 2012 (11:45am) at Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park: 200m Backstroke Heats
Thursday, August 2, 2012 (7:50pm) at Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park: 200m Backstroke Semi-Finals
Friday, August 3, 2012 (7:30pm) at Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park: 200m Backstroke Finals

Sunday, August 12, 2012: London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony at Olympic Stadium

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Transcript: Senator Obert Gutu and Irene Petras on Question Time
Transcript: Senator Obert Gutu and Irene Petras on Question Time

Transcript: Senator Obert Gutu and Irene Petras on Question Time

Both MDC formations in the coalition government gave in to demands by ZANU PF that human rights abuses committed before February 2009 should not be investigated by the new Human Rights Commission.

Deputy Justice Minister Obert Gutu (an MDC-T Senator) and Irene Petras (Executive Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights) join the programme to debate this controversial concession and also give responses to questions sent in by listeners.

Interview broadcast 18 July 2012

Lance Guma: Good evening Zimbabwe and thank you for joining me on Question Time. Two weeks ago it was reported that both MDC formations in the coalition government gave in to demands by ZANU PF that human rights abuses committed before February 2009 should not be investigated by the new Human Rights Commission.

This concession set off heated debate and emotions. Tonight on Question Time we have invited the Deputy Justice Minister Obert Gutu, who is also an MDC Senator and Irene Petras, the Executive Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. We also asked you the listener to send in your questions to help move this debate forward. Senator Gutu and Irene Petras thank you for joining us.

Obert Gutu: Good evening Lance, thank you for having me.

Irene Petras: Thank you very much and good evening.

Guma: Okay let me start with Senator Gutu: we understand MPs from the two MDC formations were pressured into accepting this deal despite their strong resistance in parliament. We are told Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told them that the matter had been agreed to by the negotiators from the three political parties. That does not sound very democratic Senator Gutu?

Gutu: Let me start by clarifying the issue regarding how the Human Rights Bill ended up being pushed through the House of Assembly. It would actually be inappropriate I think for anyone to say that members of parliament from the MDC were pressured into accepting something that they did not want.

Ordinarily the MDC has a parliamentary caucus that meets weekly in most cases when parliament is in session and it is at this caucus that all pertinent issues are discussed. There’s very honest, very frank, very robust debate and views are not suppressed so for the insinuation that members of parliament were literally forced, if I may use that term, into agreeing to issues that they did not agree with, I do not think that is the position.

For what has happened is that there was a consensus that although there are a lot of things that we as a party are not happy with regarding the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill with particular emphasis to the cut-off date, it was felt that as a strategic move it is better maybe to have the Bill passed through parliament with all the obvious imperfections that are there so that by the time we go to the forthcoming historic and make or break elections, at least we would have a fully functional and operationalised Human Rights Commission.

Unlike the status quo where we have commissioners who were sworn into office, I think almost two or four years ago, they are occupying office but their Commission is not operational – why? – because there is no operationalised Act of parliament that would enable the Commission to start looking at human rights issues in a practical sense.

So yes one might say there was concession, yes there was concession but people should also appreciate and I would like listeners to bear with us, to say we are in a very difficult period, transitional phase this so-called inclusive government has been a very difficult experience for us as the MDC and I’m happy to say that when we look at issues, look at the global and holistic picture, it was always going to be difficult to have Zanu PF agree to the kind of Human Rights Bill that we would have wanted as MDC.

So we are saying half a loaf is better than nothing; I think it’s better to have a functional Human Rights Commission rather than to have no Human Rights Commission at all going into the forthcoming historic elections.

Guma: Irene Petras, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, what’s your reaction to that?

Petras: Well Lance I think what we need to put on the table right at the beginning is the Global Political Agreement which was agreed by all three of the political parties that are currently in the inclusive government and now in that Global Political Agreement, undertakings were made to deal (a) with the human rights situation and the violations which continue and which were happening at the time that the inclusive government was set up (b) there was an undertaking that the culture of impunity was going to be dealt with.

So all the cases of political violence and past abuses were going to be looked into (c) there was also an undertaking that issues around national healing and reconciliation were going to be dealt with and by the three parties through the Global Political Agreement.

Now the three parties have been agreeing on the Human Rights Commission but what they haven’t done is to show the same kind of urgency in dealing with issues of impunity and in dealing with the issue of national healing and reconciliation.

So now the public has got this perception and this belief that because so much effort and so much talk has gone into setting up this Human Rights Commission, that because the other two issues have been ignored they are going to be dealt with by the Human Rights Commission. And of course we have seen now what has happened and the time limits on what the Human Rights Commission can look at.

Obviously there’s a lot of disappointment by the public, by victims and survivors and the families of those victims so I think that the three political parties have all got to share some of the blame for the disappointments that people are feeling now and also they cannot use that as an excuse to just shove aside the issues of impunity and national healing which are also critical issues in the GPA.

Guma: Now talking about that disappointment from people that Irene is talking about, we have a submission here that came via Face Book from Morris Mbuta and this is directed at Senator Gutu: he says “I talked to one of the MDC legislators who said this concession was a tactic to pave the way for a free and fair election. How is this going to create a free and fair election? And his other question is have you basically traded human rights to win an election?”

Gutu: Let me again maybe clarify the situation that we as MDC, we are obviously are not particularly happy with the final version of the Bill as I’ve already indicated but we are in a very difficult arrangement. We are basically in a forced marriage with Zanu PF.

I think listeners should understand, listeners should bear with me that this coalition government that we have was not the coalition government that we ordinarily would enter into, it was literally forced down the throats of the main political players as an outcome of the disputed elections of 2008.

I’m sure the history of the matter is quite clear so all we are saying that we are particularly aware as the MDC that people and that includes us, that includes the majority, if not all our supporters, they are not particularly happy with the fact that the cutoff date has been agreed to be February 13 2009 on which date the inclusive government came into existence.

But we are saying, if you look at it from a strategic point of view, I also agree with Irene that issues of impunity, issues of national healing have really not been given the priority attention that one would have wanted ever since the inclusive government came into existence three or four years ago and I’ll be the first one to admit that perhaps we should have given more emphasis, we should have actually given more attention to issues of issues of national healing, to the issues of transitional justice rather than maybe just wait and then give the impression that perhaps there was going to be impunity.

And I’m not surprised that the general feeling out there is that there’s been impunity or there is now impunity, that all perpetrators of the heinous crimes against human rights dating back to the Gukurahundi era of the early to the mid-80s; Murambatsvina fiasco and the 2008 election fiasco are going to be swept under the carpet.

I can assure listeners that nothing can be further from the truth. The mere fact that the Human Rights Commission Bill has a cut-off date of 13 February 2009 does not by any stretch of the imagination, imply that there has been impunity that has been granted to all perpetrators of human rights abuses…

Guma: But Senator Gutu for this Bill to pass it would have needed support from your MPs and from the reports clearly a lot of your MPs were opposed to this so how did the Bill go through?

Gutu: Look like I’ve already said, I’ll be the first one to admit that not everyone was happy with the Bill coming or going through in the form that it did i.e. with particular reference to the cut-off date but we are saying that we are in a difficult arrangement, where we appreciate that although we as a party are not entirely too happy with this, sometimes you actually have as a caucus to agree on a common position.

And I believe that listeners will agree with me that it is virtually impossible to have unanimity especially on very emotive and you know, very emotive and sensational issues such as human rights issues in Zimbabwe but then as a party we have to move forward and I’m pleased that at the caucus, people, that is all the participants, the various members of parliament who attended, then realised that as a strategic move it is better to have a situation where we have this Bill go through as it is, and then simultaneously move forward to ensure that matters of transitional justice are also given the urgency that they deserve. i.e. make sure that the organ on national healing and reconciliation is fully operationalised because we all know that as I’m speaking to you Lance today, there is no Act of parliament that has been enacted to give the national organ on reconciliation and integration the force of legality.

So we are saying that by doing what we did i.e. by agreeing to have this Bill on the Human Rights Commission go through that would obviously open avenues for us now at this juncture to make sure that issues of transitional justice are also attended to simultaneously…

Guma: Okay let me bring in Irene, point taken there; Irene what would have been the ideal alternative? Senator Gutu seems to be alluding to Zanu PF’s well-known intransigence and he’s saying this was a necessary strategic move. What would have been your ideal alternative?

Petras: Well I think what should have happened is we should have had a three-pronged way of dealing with this issue and make sure that all three issues were prioritized. So what we should have seen is more sincerity by the inclusive government to prosecute perpetrators of violations which happened either in the election or further in the past.

What we should have also seen is at the same time that the Human Rights Commission was being agreed and set up, the organ on national healing should have also prioritized the setting up of a mechanism which would be able to look at the past human rights abuses; those which happened during previous elections, those that happened during the era of Gukurahundi and all of these past atrocities which are still fresh in people’s minds and which need to be discussed and which need to dealt with.

By just dealing with the Human Rights Commission and essentially leaving the impunity, not prosecuting anybody and not showing urgency in setting up that, the transitional mechanism to look at those past abuses we are now in this situation. But what I do want to emphasise is that the Human Rights Commission is a very important body and it would be in the interests of some of the political parties for people to just ignore that Human Rights Commission, to not have any faith in it so that it will not be an effective mechanism in reducing or preventing conflict as we move forward.

And we all know that whenever an election is coming up, there’s a lot of violence, the levels increase, there’s a lot of violations and if we have a new Commission which has not got all the baggage of some of these other Commissions which are there like the Media Commission, the Electoral Commission, we have a very good opportunity to provide support to that Human Rights Commission.

At the same time I think we need to keep the pressure on to ensure that this other mechanism is going to be set up to look at the past abuses, that it becomes operational, that it has its own Act of parliament and we must also put pressure on the ministries and those who have control of the justice delivery system to ensure that perpetrators of violations who are very well known, there’s a lot of evidence, there’s a lot of information about what they’ve done in the past.

Those people need to face the criminal justice delivery system. We are talking about those who are in control of the police, those who are in control at the Attorney General’s office and those who are in control in the Judiciary – they must show they are not partisan, that they are willing to look at and to arrest and to prosecute those perpetrators so that people can have confidence that what has happened in the past is being addressed but at the same time they can bring any new violations to a Human Rights Commission which will be able to investigate and try and either reduce or prevent conflict arising as we move forward.

Guma: Isn’t the problem Irene the fact that we already have a coalition government comprising the victims and the perpetrators and it seems it goes without saying that nothing can be achieved as long as we have this coalition government because you cannot seriously expect the perpetrators to agree to themselves being prosecuted?

Petras: Well I think that’s the conundrum that we have; you do have all sorts in the inclusive government and we’ve seen through this whole debacle there’s not really any sincerity or urgency to address issues which have happened in the past. I think it’s very problematic that the organ on national healing is set up in the office of the president rather than being set up as an independent institution which can go out and do its own investigations and make its own recommendations on the type of mechanism that should be used.

The organ has also not prioritized issues which have been raised by victims; they seem to want to try and push some things under the carpet, they don’t even seem interested in setting up a mechanism which is going to deal with some of the difficult issues, so when you do have that kind of situation it’s going to be very difficult to deal with issues of the past and also if people think that we are in a transition, that’s also sometimes a mistake to think like that because we still are in a conflict situation.

And like you say we still have perpetrators and victims who are together, you’ve got parts of the government which wants to bring accountability, which wants to fight impunity, but you have another part of government which is pulling in the opposite direction and wants people to forget about what happened and as long as you have those two centres of power it’s basically very difficult to deal with those issues of the past.

Guma: Senator Gutu we have a question for you, it’s come via Face Book, it’s from Sibanengi Dube in South Africa. He says what is clear now is that too many concessions are being made without the consent of the masses, even if concessions are necessary there should be a bottom line. Your comment to that.

Gutu: I’ve been deputy minister in this government for just over two years now and I can assure you that working in this inclusive, this so-called inclusive set-up is a real nightmare particularly in my ministry where issues to do with justice delivery system you know are far from being the ideal set-up of what we would want as human rights defenders some of us.

But then we should then look at the whole issue in a very holistic manner. I agree that look, there has been a lot of compromises but then when you look at each and every compromise that we as the MDC have made as a party, it has never been a sign of weakness. If you look at it critically, if listeners look at all the concessions that we’ve made, they’ve actually been made with the best interests of Zimbabwe at heart.

They have been made with the interests of moving the country forward rather than moving it backward. Our counterparts in this so-called inclusive government are just obsessed with one issue and this one issue is about power retention. Power retention at whatever cost. So we are saying look dealing with such a recalcitrant partner in a very unhappy and pretty dysfunctional system, what should we do as MDC?

Because there’s no point if you are going to be headstrong and there’s not going to be any movement at all then the problem is that the people of Zimbabwe are going to suffer cumulatively. Our colleagues on the other side of the political divide are not bothered. They know that their days are numbered and obviously they will never accept a situation where the train of democratization moves at a supersonic speed. No they will not do that.

My own experience in this ministry, in this government, has actually taught me to say look, we are in a very awkward situation, this is the kind of job that no-one would want to have. It’s frustrating; you are dealing with people who’d make sure that each and every day they will put spanners into your work. They’ll make sure that nothing positive comes out for the benefit of the generality of the people of Zimbabwe.

Guma: But Senator Gutu are you making sure as a party that you are making decisions that are supported by the people because as Sibanengi seems to be suggesting decisions are now being made at the top on behalf of the people, rather than the other way – you representing what the people want.

Gutu: Yes I can actually assure my brother Sibanengi that whatever we are doing as a party is actually done with the best interests of the people at heart. We never have in the MDC a top-down kind of approach to politics. If anything we have the converse. What we do is that we hold meetings, we hold rallies countrywide, we are always in touch with the grassroots, each and every move that the party makes we have a message card that is generated from the national information and publicity department at Harvest House of which I am a member.

I myself am the provincial spokesperson of the MDC in the Harare Province and it is one of my tasks to make sure that at each and every meeting that we have and we have at least one meeting every week, every Monday at about 5.30pm we have a meeting as the provincial executive to meet and brainstorm and also ensure that we are in touch with the structures. We go back to the structures, we hold meetings, we hold rallies, we send out fliers, we will never have a situation where people are just told that this is what we have decided to do on your behalf. We don’t operate like Zanu PF and I think this is why we are arguably the biggest and most popular political party at the moment in Zimbabwe.

Guma: Irene, let me bring in you here. Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa was claiming that there was no need for MPs to keep arguing over this clause because the negotiators had already agreed that complaints emanating prior to February 2009 would be dealt with by the organ on national healing and reconciliation. What is the difference? Is there a technical difference between this organ on national healing dealing with these complaints or the Human Rights Commission? What’s the difference between the two?

Petras: Well the Human Rights Commission will be dealing with issues which have arisen since the inclusive government was formed and the organ is supposed to have a backward looking mandate and look at past abuses which have happened. So generally that is the separation between the two.

Guma: Is that a necessary separation? Is that just not being too technical for nothing? One body could simply do everything could it not?

Petras: Well I think it depends; if you look in the region, it’s not a common practice, in fact I can’t really think of a single human rights commission which has had that backwards looking mandate. There’s always some kind of mechanism which has been set up which is separate from the human rights commission to look at what has happened in the past…

Gutu: Exactly, exactly.

Petras: …and that is to make sure that the human rights commission can function effectively, obviously resources are going to be limited and as their priority they need to have promotion and protection of human rights moving forward as their mandate. So that’s why you see even in Kenya, in South Africa, Uganda, lots of different places, they have set up these mechanisms to look at past abuses.

But the one thing that I wanted to stress and which the minister Chinamasa seems to be trying to gloss over and get people to forget is that we also have criminal law in this country and we have Acts, we’ve got the Criminal Code, we’ve got lots of legislation which talks about crimes which have been committed and how people should be punished for that. So we must not forget that there is that whole criminal justice delivery system and perpetrators need to face justice.

The commissions, whether it’s a human rights commission, whether it’s a truth and reconciliation commission are not able to look at those issues of justice and that’s where the criminal law comes in. By failing to use that criminal law, by failing to bring perpetrators before the courts, having them arrested, having them investigated, having them prosecuted, he is the one who is advocating for impunity and that is something which everybody needs to fight and everybody needs to say – no we want perpetrators to face the law and to be accountable for the crimes that they have committed in terms of the law as it stands in this country now.

Guma: How do we move forward as a country? Obviously a lot has happened in the past; we’ve had the Gukurahundi massacres, we’ve had election violence in 2002, we’ve had Operation Murambatsvina, we’ve had the June 2008 political violence – in terms of a model of how to move forward Senator Gutu, what would your suggestion be? The South African route of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission? What’s the best way forward?

Gutu: In fact let me start by thanking Irene for really coming out very clearly on what exactly the position is and I’m sure this will help listeners. Going forward we really should not necessarily copy and paste what other countries have done, like what South Africa has done, what Kenya has done but we can actually learn from their experience, we can learn from the Kenyan experience, we can learn from the experience of South Africa, we can learn from the experience of Myanmar, from the experience of Cambodia.

All I am saying is going forward we should not really cry over this issue of saying because there is this cutoff date so what will happen to perpetrators of human rights abuses prior to February 2009, that has been taken into account. All we are saying is and I want listeners to understand me clearly on this one, we should then look as these issues all the time holistically. We have not at all abandoned the people.

All we are saying is we have made a very strategic move backwards and a few months from now people will appreciate why we as the MDC came up with the decision that we did. It was for their benefit. Going forward I suggest that we can actually learn to capacitate the organ on national healing and I’m happy that the draft constitution, although it’s not yet in the public domain has actually a particular and separate chapter that deals with the national healing program.

It actually has what it is going to be called I believe a national peace and reconciliation commission which will be a constitutionalised body and that’s a critical advantage for us as human rights defenders to say look once we have the new constitution, and it is coming soon, it is going to have a separate national peace and reconciliation commission that will obviously give impetus to these issues to say what will happen to the Gukurahundi issue, what will happen to Marambatsvina, what will happen to all these other human rights abuses that have taken place in Zimbabwe, even prior to independence.

That new commission is going to be tasked now to look at those issues. So when you look at it we have actually scored a spectacular win and people of Zimbabwe will appreciate this when the new constitution comes on board to say the MDC has not made a stupid concession. If anything it is a very strategic concession that will move this country forward.

Guma: Irene – your way forward in terms of transitional justice for the country?

Petras: Well I think the one thing that we need to stress is the issue of impunity is critical. We need to fight that and we need to continue fighting that as we move forward so I think that we need to keep pressure and keep asking questions on the prosecuting authority, on the police and put pressure on them to make sure that cases where there’s information, where there’s evidence the perpetrators have committed violations, face the full wrath of the law.

So anything, and I want to link that also to this mechanism which may be set up if the constitution, the new constitution comes into force that that cannot be the be-all and end-all. We have to learn from the experiences of other countries, we cannot sweep past abuses under the carpet. Even in South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission we see so many years later, that there’s now a push to deal with perpetrators because impunity just continues.

Perpetrators think that they can get away with their crimes and that they will be able to repeat those and nothing will happen to them. So I think it’s up to us particularly those who are in civil society, those who are in the public and to keep pressure on to make sure that these mechanisms that are set up will deal with the issue of impunity and that there is a measure of justice for the victims of violations and also these other forms of transitional justice including reconciliation, truth telling and moralization and those kind of things.

But the moment that we try and stop justice from taking its course and we try not to use the criminal law and we try to avoid prosecutions where there is very clear evidence then we are going to be in trouble.

Guma: I was just about to wind up but we’ve just received more questions. I’ll direct one final one probably to Senator Gutu – this is from Tinomudaishe Chinyoka he says several jurisdictions have categorized some events occurring before February 2009 as crimes against humanity. To what extent would you agree with this?

Gutu: I would readily agree with that to say look, crimes against humanity have been committed in Zimbabwe, as a practicing lawyer myself I would agree. When you look at it, Gukurahundi is a crime against humanity because the unfortunate deaths of plus or minus 20 thousand people cannot be anything but a crime against humanity. It is actually genocide in my humble opinion.

When you also look at the destruction of Marambatsvina, the brutal destruction of people’s habitats, and to the lack of compensation thereafter can also I think safely be classified as a crime against humanity. When you look at the brutal murders and the horrific rapes that took place in 2008, particularly during the presidential election run-off that obviously would equate to a crime against humanity.

So I just agree with this and say look there is nothing that as Irene correctly pointed out that is going to be put under the carpet, there is no impunity I can assure listeners that there is no impunity, there is the criminal law that has always been there and conveniently our colleagues across the political divide would want the impression given that there is nothing that is going to happen to perpetrators of human rights abuses.

Obviously that’s a political spin that they are giving to their supporters and to the world, deceiving the world in the process but we are saying that all those who have committed human rights abuses should know that their day with the law is coming and it’s coming very soon. Or put alternatively – all those who have committed human rights abuses should know that the chickens are coming home to roost.

Guma: Irene, we’ll give the final word to you. Supposing this Bill passes through, becomes law, Human Rights Commission starts its work, this clause, is this something that will be binding? That Zanu PF will say that anything that happened before February 2009 you can’t touch us or are there other ways of proceeding, let’s say maybe we will have a new government?

Petras: Well Lance there are always other ways of proceeding and we’ve seen that throughout history. Even if you take the example of Argentina: you can go for decades and decades with people trying to push things under the carpet, trying to escape justice for some of the gross violations which happened and what have we seen in those countries?

We’ve seen that the people will continue to put pressure and they’ll make sure that they will have their day where they can come, speak about what happened to them and get some measure of redress. I think that listeners need to just keep that in mind, to make sure that they continue to keep the pressure on and to make sure that whatever we do, we fight impunity but also we try and give the Human Rights Commission a chance to prove itself when it comes to issues which are happening now and issues that might happen in the future.

Because while we want to look at things that happened in the past we also want to prevent those terrible things from happening again and if the Human Rights Commission can be an ally in that then I think we need to try and support the work that it does and to strengthen it but at the same time we need to demand from people within the police, the prosecution and the judiciary that they also play their part in terms of the constitution and they bring people to justice.

Guma: Well Zimbabwe, many thanks there to Irene Petras, the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Senator Obert Gutu who joined us to discuss this very, very contentious and emotive subject. Many thanks for your contributions.

Gutu: Thank you very much Lance.

Petras: Thank you.

To listen to the programme:

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Finding the "golden lining" in the Zimbabwean genocide
RW Johnson
29 July 2012

RW Johnson says the modest agricultural successes described by the NYT were built on the pyre of a virtual holocaust

In 2008 there was a sudden burst of articles by Samir Amin, Mahmood Mamdani and other left-wing Africanists suggesting that Robert Mugabe had been considerably misjudged and that his land reform programme had much to be said for it.1

Quite what lay behind this clearly concerted ideological offensive other than embarrassment at the international media's treatment of white farmers as the tragic victims of the Zimbabwe crisis, remains obscure. More recently there have been a number of articles also attempting to suggest that the benefits of the "land reform" are at last evident. A notable example is Lydia Polgreen's "In Zimbabwe Land Takeover a Golden Lining" (New York Times, 20 July 2012).

Ms Polgreen attempts to be even-handed, bluntly accepting that for white farmers the whole process has been one of appalling loss and that crop yields today remain far below what was achieved before Mugabe's land-grabs began in 2000. Instead, she focuses mainly on the 60,000 new black tobacco farmers, toiling on tiny plots to produce 330 million pounds of tobacco this last year (still a far cry from the 2000 crop of 522 million pounds). She cites Ian Scoones of Sussex University on the "myth that land reform has been an unmitigated disaster" and the happy comments of the Zanu-PF-supporting black farmers, ending with the questions "But does it share wealth more equitably? Does it give people a sense of dignity and ownership? These things have value too." Hence the "golden lining".

Ironically, Ms Polgreen's article arrives along with a warning from the World Food Program2 that a new "hunger season" is almost upon Zimbabwe. 1.6 million people are expected to need food assistance - 60% more than during the last hunger season; this because of yet another disastrous cereals harvest of just 1,076,772 metric tons. Although the rainfall has been "erratic", this deficiency would hardly have caused much trouble before 2000 when the white commercial farmers were able to achieve adequate crops even during full-blown droughts, thanks to their sophisticated irrigation technology. The WFP attributes this year's miserable crop to "limited access to agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilisers, a reduction in the planted area, poor farming practices and inadequate crop diversification". The starvation faced by this 1.6 million rather overshadows the happier situation of the 60,000 little tobacco farmers and thus the very limited nature of the "golden lining".

However, to contrast Zimbabwe's recurrent failure to feed itself now with its bumper food exports in the pre-2000 period is merely to show that "land reform" has been achieved at the cost of food security and the wider agricultural economy. The new constitutional draft agreed between Zanu-PF and the MDC effectively acknowledges that the seizure of commercial farming land after 2000 was a simple act of theft, for compensation is now promised - though, doubtless, this will only actually occur if foreign donors are found to foot the compensation bill. Prior to 2000 the World Bank regarded Zimbabwe's commercial farmers as models for Africa in their innovation, productivity and sophistication. All that has been destroyed, which makes it difficult to celebrate the few green shoots one may observe now. But in any case, all such comparisons very largely miss the point.

One must start with the pre-2000 situation. Mugabe had run the economy into debt, quarrelled with the IMF, kicked them out and cut himself off from credit. The economy stalled, unemployment soared amidst growing public disillusion and Mugabe awarded a large cash hand-out to Zanu-PF war veterans which, transparently, the state could not afford. Earlier in the 1990s the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) had repeatedly tried to interest Mugabe in land reform but he had ignored all such initiatives and the whole subject of land reform stayed where it had stalled when the British had earlier pulled out from their initial support when they saw Mugabe was only interested in awarding land to his wealthy cronies.

It was amidst this sour atmosphere of stasis that the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) was born in late 1999. Mugabe had already called a referendum on a new constitution (increasing his presidential powers) for February 12-13, 2000. The MDC, which was as yet unorganized, made no movement to fight the new draft for it was in any case seen as a foregone conclusion that it would pass. In fact it lost by 54.7% to 45.3%.

Closer examination showed that this was despite the fact that the results had been clearly rigged in Mugabe's favour in Matabeleland and perhaps elsewhere too3 Once this was taken into account, Mugabe had lost by at least 60-40 and probably by more: the poll we conducted simultaneously showed a 69-31 majority wanting fundamental change in Zimbabwe.4

When one took account of the fact that the MDC had hardly lifted a finger in the referendum but that its presence was now rapidly growing amidst the sheer political momentum generated by the referendum result, it was clear that Mugabe was facing a complete electoral rout in the parliamentary elections due in mid-2000. It was as a response to this situation that the land invasions by Zanu-PF thugs, more or less openly organized by Mugabe's secret police, began.

How had Mugabe, long apparently unchallengeable, lost support so massively? Part of the answer is to be found in the survey which the Helen Suzman Foundation did right across Southern Africa in late 1996.5 Nowhere else in the entire region was there such a dramatic contrast between urban and rural sectors as in Zimbabwe. Urban voters had comprehensively lost confidence in the ruling party, while rural voters remained mainly loyal to it. There was not much Mugabe could do about this. It was no surprise that whites had no confidence in Zanu-PF or that the trade unions led by Morgan Tsvangirai had become bitterly opposed to the government, but in the countryside Mugabe not only controlled all sources of news and information but exercised close social control through his manipulation of food supplies during droughts and famines.

In a word, those who failed to support the ruling party did not eat and nor did they get supplies of seeds, fertilizer and implements. However, what the referendum of February 2000 revealed was that there had been a further large shift in opinion, for it was quite clear that the 2.4 million black Zimbabweans who lived on the 4,000 white farms had also transferred their support heavily into the NO column. Foolishly, indeed, the farmers had done little to disguise this fact and had ferried farm workers en masse to the polls where they had cheerfully demonstrated their contempt for the ruling party. With this further large shift in popular support against him, Mugabe looked doomed.

Why were farmworkers and their families so different? In a word, they lived under the protective umbrella of the white farmers who guaranteed that even in the worst drought they and their families would never starve. It was a cozy arrangement. Most farmers only employed one or two hundred farmworkers but allowed them to bring their extended families to live with them on the farms where they were trypically provided not only with food security but farm schools, Aids orphan clinics and so forth.

The fact that the white farmers - in utter contrast with their South African counterparts - felt perfectly easy about having hundreds of Africans living cheek by jowl with them showed only too well how comfortable the arrangement was for both sides. But the key political fact was that Mugabe lacked his usual means of social and political control over the farmworkers and their families, so when they became disillusioned with the Mugabe government they were perfectly free to express their opinions. Not only was this a dagger pointed at the heart of the Mugabe regime but it was obvious that the farmworkers would be bound to spread their dissident opinions among the surrounding subsistence peasantry living on the tribal reserves.

When the farm invasions began both Mugabe and the international media played up events as a collision between white farmers and landless blacks. There was no doubt that the whites were targets: a few were killed, many more were savagely attacked and beaten; and all were robbed. But politically, of course, this was meaningless. There were only 4000 such farmers and everyone knew they had seldom supported Mugabe anyway. But the main target was the farmworker population, on whom Mugabe now took a terrible revenge.

At one farm after another the farmworkers were corralled - grannies and babies too - into a farm building were they were ceaselessly beaten as they were made to sing Zanu-PF songs. This would go on for days on end and often the workers would be made to beat one another. Sometimes they were tortured with red hot metal or burning plastic dripped onto naked flesh, sometimes workers would be killed in front of the others to provide an example.

It was a hell which sometimes went on for weeks and of which the great continuous theme was that they must never again, upon pain of torture and death, go against the will of Zanu-PF. No white farmer or his family that I ever spoke to doubted that their own ordeal was as nothing compared with what their workers were put through.

At the end of this these workers and their families, often in an emaciated and traumatized state, were simply cast loose upon the roadside verges. The new owners of the farms - usually Zanu-PF high-ups - seldom wanted to farm properly and just treated their new properties as holiday homes where they parked their wives while enjoying their mistresses in town.

So there were few jobs for farmworkers and when they existed they quickly found that they were expected to work twice as hard for a fraction of the pay they had enjoyed in the past. Later, when I tried to ascertain what had happened to this group - a whole 20% of the Zimbabwe population - it was very difficult to understand their plight fully. Their death rate had been extraordinarily high - they were suddenly deprived of food, all their support services and of any idea what to do.

Naturally, the farm schools and Aids clinics were all smashed. Some were HIV+ and soon died. Others - especially the old and the small children - died of exposure and lack of food. But many seemed to die of sheer exhaustion and despair: they simply had no idea of how to fend for themselves in this hostile new environment. One often heard of people who just laid down and refused to move, bereft of any reason to live.

The attempt, in effect, was to annihilate a whole demographic segment - 20% of the population. Inevitably, some stragglers survived and gradually established themselves on the fringe of urban squatter camp life. These were the very same elements who were targeted once again in 2005 in Mugabe's "murambatsvina" (clear out the rubbish) campaign, when some 700,000 shacks and livelihoods were destroyed, affecting some 2.4 million people.

I later attempted to track what had happened to the victims of this campaign by going through local missionaries who had tracked the fate of their parishes. In the Harare area the death rate reported among those affected was 1 in 2. In the Bulawayo area it was 1 in 3. If one averages that figure at two in five, one comes up with a figure of something like 480,000 dead. Everyone agreed that this figure included a large number of ex-farmworkers and their families. Thus the murambatsvina campaign of 2005 seems to have finished off what the farm seizures of 2000 had begun.

This is what one has to remember. Only now is a new census planned and we may soon at last glimpse the true size of the genocide Mugabe has visited upon his fellow-citizens, though it will not be easy to gauge, for so many have also fled into exile. But have no doubt that well over a million farmworkers and their family members died, many of them in desperate and horrible circumstances. This, then, is what has to be remembered most about Mugabe's "land reform".

This is not to say that we should not be happy to see 60,000 small tobacco farmers flourishing today. We can, to be sure, regret that Mugabe did not agree to such an initiative in the 1990s, which could have avoided all the violence. But above all we have to remember that the very modest successes of today's Zimbabwean agriculture are built on the pyre of a virtual holocaust.

It is a bit like celebrating the (extremely modest) successes of Soviet agriculture in the 1950s without paying heed to the millions of productive kulaks annihilated on the very same land in the 1930s. So while there is nothing wrong with Ms Polgreen's article as it stands, one should not forget the absent and more productive farmworkers who died to make all of this possible.

RW Johnson


1See for example Mamdani's "Lessons of Zimbabwe: Mugabe in Context", London Review of Books, 4 Dec.2008 and my reply in the subsequent issue.

2WFP Press Release 27 July 2012.

3See RW Johnson, Political Opinion in Zimbabwe 2000, Helen Suzman Foundation (Johannesburg) March 2000.


5See RW Johnson, The Condition of Democracy in Southern Africa: Political Attitudes in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe (Helen Suzman Foundation, 1997).

This article was published with the assistance of the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung fr die Freiheit (FNF). The views presented in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of FNF.

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Just When I Learn the Answers, They Change the Questions: A Zimbabwean’s Journey

by Senzeni - Posts (12). Posted Monday, July 30th, 2012 at 10:29 am

I smile wryly as I go through my freshman photos. It is hard to believe that just 2 years ago, I arrived in the United States, fresh-faced and starry eyed; weighed down by suitcases, expectations and an overwhelming fear of the unknown. In my head, as well as in my diary and journal, was a clear strategy of how I would ‘attain greatness’.

It amazes me to look back and realize how drastically my interests have changed, how dramatically my intellectual aspirations have evolved and how even my fears are not the same anymore. The certainty I once had about what I wanted to see and achieve is gone, the answers replaced by more and more questions about myself and my path.

After the snow

My friend and I enjoying our first day in the snow.

My friend and I enjoying our first day in the snow.

Prior to my arrival in the States, I had only seen snow on television. It was with great anticipation and excitement that I waited for the first snowy day. I vividly recall my first encounter with snow: It was one of those mornings when I would steal glances at the rising sun from behind my computer while frantically working to finish a paper. From my common room window, I noticed the ice crystals slowly dropping to the ground.

The sight was breathtaking. I dropped all my work, raced to the window; and saw that Yale’s courtyard had been transformed into a picturesque scene from a Disney movie. The beauty of what I was seeing almost moved me to tears.

Snow in Silliman College - Frank Teng MC '13

Snow in Silliman College – Frank Teng MC ’13

Of course, the novelty has long since worn off. With snow comes the obligation to wear layers of coats, all of which have to be removed upon entering a building. There is also the hassle of having to trudge to class in ridiculous snow boots. And after a snow comes the ‘freezing rain,’ which covers the roads with ice, turning the simple task of walking into a Hunger Games-esque challenge.

These days, my heart sinks when I see the snow. My optimism dies. My enthusiasm welters and I just want to go home.

Fearing the cold

Having never encountered snow before, I was afraid that when the snow did come, I would freeze. Today, I worry about a different kind of cold I hadn’t encountered before America. My fear has evolved into a paranoid feeling that the cold, impersonal nature of most Americans is going to smother the warmth out of me.

America is a very cold country. Relationships and human interactions which should be warm and earnest often come off as superficial. Only in America does, “Let’s have dinner together sometime” signal the end of a conversation, not an actual invitation to catch up over food.

The predominant individualistic nature of most Americans makes me yearn for Africa’s ubuntu society. Ubuntu, is a communal social philosophy which emphasizes that a person is a person because of the people around him. Ubuntu calls upon people to belive that “Your pain is my pain. My wealth is your wealth. Your salvation is my salvation.”

It is a concept so impalpable to Americans that my American roommate looks at me in consternation whenever she sees my Zimbabwean friend Nod’s belongings in our room. To her, it signals intimacy. For us, it is a mutual understanding that property rights do not exist between people who inhabit the same space. Having grown up in a family where clothes did not belong to the individual, but to the people who could fit into them, and having gone to boarding school where anything from lotion to school uniforms could be shared, navigating American laws of individualism has been as traumatizing as tightrope walking.

Everyone is so wrapped up in a cocoon of endless activities that they have no time to accommodate anyone else. Even in romantic relationships, many college students, perhaps too busy to invest in their attraction to someone else, resort to ‘hooking up’ because it provides a channel to vent sexual frustration without having to deal with the emotional baggage that comes with a relationship.

One girl is admitted in hospital for a week, and her suitemate does not notice. Another frequently hooks up with a boy who confesses after a year that he is in a 3-year long-distance relationship. I shake my head.

Varieties of love

I also remember how fervently my family and I prayed that I would not get a homosexual roommate. I remember the confusion I felt when I unknowingly walked up to a LGBT stand during the extracurricular activity fair for freshmen students and had to politely talk to the representatives for 5 minutes.

I remember stopping in utter fascination as I watched a person, who I swear was male, strut to class in a dress and high heels.

My home country, Zimbabwe, is an intensely homophobic country. Not only is it illegal to be homosexual, but it also culturally and socially shunned. My society had taught me that gender and sexuality was not debatable. However, during the past two years, I have watched as people I knew came out.

I have sat in on intellectual and academic debates on homosexuality. I have made friends, loved them, discovered their sexuality, and realized that this does not change my opinion of them. I have had paralyzing crushes on boys who I later discovered to be gay, and I have questioned my own sexuality.

More questions than answers

It has definitely been a difficult 2 years. I have cried tears of joy, tears of pain, and tears of disappointment in myself, in Yale, in America, in Zimbabwe. For me, college has not been a place where I discovered myself. It is a place where I lost myself to the questions in my head. If Christianity was forced on Zimbabweans during colonialism, why do people still practice it? Should I wear my hoodie tonight? Is she attractive or am I attracted to girls?

I have also constantly questioned whether studying in the United States was a good decision. Will a 4 year absence from Zimbabwe empower me to serve it better? How will my 12 engineering classes in a liberal arts school stack up against 36 engineering classes and a 1 year internship at the University of Zimbabwe? After seeing all the opportunities in the United States, and after realizing the potential that I have, will I ever happily go back home where electricity and water shortages will force me to be less productive with my life?

I have been forced to defend my beliefs and to have an opinion on some concepts that I could not have cared less about. Sometimes, I have risen to the challenge – gone ice skating, dated outside my race, danced to Katie Perry. Other times, my only comfort being the knowledge despite feelings of a loss of identity; I have still retained an ability to be vulnerable in a land where everyone is “doing well.”

I look at the nave girl in those freshman year pictures and sigh. Just when I knew all of life’s answers, they went and changed all the questions.

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Global Insider: Zimbabwe's Indigenization Effort Proceeds on Partisan Lines
By The Editors, on , Global Insider

    Zimbabwe recently announced it was moving ahead with plans to require foreign-owned banks to give 51 percent ownership to locals. In an email interview, Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, a professor in the department of development studies at the University of South Africa, discussed Zimbabwe’s indigenization program.

    WPR: What is the political and economic strategy behind Zimbabwe’s move to indigenize ownership in various sectors over the past few years?

    Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni: Over the past 10 years, Zimbabwe has consolidated itself into a typical nationalist state as opposed to a neo-colonial state. The leitmotif of this nationalist state has been the ideology of “Chimurenga,” an articulation of history and politics in terms of a series of nationalist-inspired wars of resistance, dating back to 1896. As explained by President Robert Mugabe, the nationalist state of Zimbabwe under the Third Chimurenga seeks to achieve what is termed “conquest of conquest,” that is, the prevailing of Zimbabwean sovereignty over white settler colonialism. The core marker of the victory of nationalist forces is the repossession of land and the indigenization of the national economy. This is the official position.

    At the political level, this indigenization is part of economic empowerment of the “sons and daughters of the soil,” that is, the black people of Zimbabwe. This strategy is linked to attempts by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party to regain popularity while at the same time reversing colonially induced injustices. Practically, ZANU-PF is using the “right of having liberated the country from colonial rule” to economically empower its nationalist-military formations and their clients as part of its consolidation of power. The beneficiaries of indigenization so far have been mainly the “securocrats,” active ZANU-PF politicians and a few clients. That there is a need for fair redistribution of strategic resources to achieve economic and social justice has long been a driving force of the liberation movement. What is worrying is the partisan manner in which economic empowerment is unfolding.

    WPR: What major companies and sectors have been affected?

    Ndlovu-Gatsheni: The farming, mining and banking sectors have been identified for indigenization. The fast-track land reform program has already been carried out. The mining and banking sectors are now on the line, though there is still strong disagreement within the unity government and even among ZANU-PF politicians on the implementation of the 51 percent indigenous ownership threshold. This has meant a delay in implementing the indigenization process in the mining and banking sectors.

    WPR: What impact has the effort had, in terms of foreign investment and ownership?

    Ndlovu-Gatsheni: Land repossession resulted in the redefinition of Zimbabwe as a pariah state and the imposition of restrictive measures, including sanctions, on Mugabe and his close associates. This move has impacted negatively on investment, as Zimbabwe has been cast as a country that does not respect property rights. The current drive to extend indigenization to the mining and banking sectors has affected the unity government’s efforts in trying to attract investment as part of reviving the national economy. Threats of indigenization have made some investors adopt a wait-and-see attitude at a time when the country needs financial support. Again, indigenization is not an inherently negative move in a former settler colony like Zimbabwe, where a minority of white settlers appropriated strategic resources for themselves. What needs to be thought about carefully is how to conduct this process in a nonvindictive way and in a manner that would not harm the economy.

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    Hope for haemorrhaging Zimbabwe

    Chris Chatteris July 30, 2012

    Morgan Tsvangirai'Loss of nationhood, the disintegration of our society ...
    the forming of degenerate militias': these were some of the stark warnings
    which the Catholic Bishops of Zimbabwe voiced in 2011 and which they repeat
    in their recent pastoral letter addressed to 'Zimbabweans in the diaspora'.

    In this measured but powerful document, which is obviously also meant to be
    read by the government, the bishops speak about the 'decimation' of the
    Zimbabwean population through the haemorrhaging, not only of the
    professional classes, but also of less educated Zimbabweans who have fled
    and continue to flee the country in large numbers. This latter group they
    call the 'southern diaspora' (read 'South African').

    'Decimation' is about right — at least one in ten has been lost. In South
    Africa that would mean 5 million people.

    The concern underlying this prophetic assessment is that Zimbabwe's plight
    could get worse; it could become a failed state degenerating ever further
    into violent anarchy like Somalia or eastern Congo.

    But the bishops' pastoral concern is to speak a word of encouragement and
    acknowledgement to the diaspora. 'We understand your plight. We know why you
    left. You are not to blame,' they tell Zimbabweans abroad. This will be a
    welcome message for a group which has suffered separation from hearth and
    homeland, plus bureaucratic indifference, harassment, exploitation and
    violent xenophobia, most notably in South Africa.

    The letter documents one particularly appalling incident in which a group,
    having braved the Limpopo, were attacked by the gumaguma, the thugs that
    prey on them in South Africa. Five women were raped and two infants were
    torn off their mother's backs and thrown into the river to drown.

    The commentary on this incident is a powerful indictment of the indifference
    of Zimbabwean politicians of all stripes. 'No national leaders came to
    console these mothers who were raped. There were no state funerals for their
    children. These human beings were not seen as national heroes; they are part
    of a nameless mass.'

    The Bishops also ask whether any politicians have visited those members of
    the diaspora who huddle wretchedly in the border areas. They note that at
    election time diplomats and military abroad are able to cast their votes,
    but the diaspora is disenfranchised. 'The vast majority of those who leave
    are seen as politically insignificant and expendable. Their only 'merit' is
    the remittances sent home to prop up a severely depressed economy!'

    What motivates this letter and why now? Repentance for past neglect comes
    through. The bishops confess: 'As Church leaders and as members of society,
    we acknowledge, with a sense of humility and shame, that so many of our
    citizens no longer felt welcomed at home, and had to take flight.'

    They look to the future too, with anxiety and some hope. Clearly Zimbabwe
    cannot be rebuilt without the future aid of the diaspora. The bishops'
    appeal is realistic and uncensorious. 'While we wish you grace and blessing
    in your new land, we hope that one day you will consider coming home.'

    There is also what is probably a final appeal to Robert Mugabe and his party
    to look to their legacy and the judgement of history as his era closes with
    his ebbing life. 'When the history of Zimbabwe is being written in a future,
    reconciled society, how will its authors look back and view the phenomenon
    of a displaced people?'

    The bishops warn that the shameful phenomenon of the diaspora could become a
    central theme of that historical memory: it 'cannot be treated as a footnote
    to recent historical experience. It is an effect of the core failure within
    Zimbabwe to move beyond a narrow ideological mindset to a more inclusive
    view of life.'

    With elections on the horizon, the bishops makes one more call for an
    inclusive political dispensation that ceases to apportion power exclusively
    to the hierarchy and stops excommunicating and exiling its political

    But what pervades the text above all is a simple concern to assert that
    these people, who have been so brutally and contemptuously made to disappear
    from sight and mind, do still count.

    'We wish to affirm that those in the diaspora are Godly human beings, made
    in his image and likeness. They are not a number or a statistic on some
    foreign shore. They are not a stateless people. They belong to the state of
    Zimbabwe. They are our concern. We embrace them as one of us. They must not
    be forgotten.'

    For the international community, including Australia, which has received
    members of the Zimbabwean diaspora and recently hosted key Mugabe opponent
    Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured) in Canberra, it is devilishly difficult to find
    the most helpful stance to take with regard to the present regime. It is
    naive, however, to simply assume that things will come right once Mugabe has

    The fact is that things could get worse once he is off the scene. The
    members of the junta behind Mugabe could turn out to be worse than him.
    These are ruthless characters some of whom would be good candidates for
    arraignment at The Hague and so have everything to lose by losing power.

    What keeps them in funds and in power are the diamond fields at Marange in
    the Manicaland district. The international community has, unwisely,
    gradually been giving these fields access to the international market on the
    grounds that conditions on the fields have improved now that international
    companies have moved in.

    I'm sure many Zimbabweans in the diaspora would still say, with a Zimbabwean
    I know in Johannesburg, that the diamonds of Marange are 'dirty diamonds'.
    They enable Mugabe and his henchmen to do their dirty work.

    At the very least the international community should be saying licences to
    sell on the global diamond market could be rescinded in the event of a coup
    after Mugabe's death. The same threat should be made in the case of another
    round of violence at the upcoming constitutional referendum and the
    presidential elections in 2013.

    Chris ChatterisFr Chris Chatteris is a Jesuit priest teaching theology and
    English at St Francis Xavier Seminary in Crawford, Cape Town. A version of
    this article was first published in the Cape Times.

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    A media glasnost for Zimbabwe coverage?

    by Ian Scoones

    July 28, 2012

    The international media has had an appalling record of balanced reporting on
    Zimbabwe over the last 12 years. A single narrative, repeating the myths we
    attempted to demolish in our book is endlessly repeated. All is disaster,
    the land reform was a catastrophe and punitive sanctions are the only route
    to punishing Mugabe’s rogue regime. Even the move to a coalition government
    and the stabilisation of the economy gets barely a mention.

    Journalists complain that getting stories accepted on Zimbabwe is really
    difficult, especially if they run against this storyline. One well-known
    reporter commented that the British newspapers they send articles to will
    only accept ‘white farmer’ stories, ones which take an explicitly racial
    angle on the land issue. Another observed that editors get worried when a
    deluge of negative comments get attached to articles which even hint at a
    different story. When our book came out journalists were astonished that
    there was another perspective. They had no hint of an alternative from their
    local contacts, and our findings were genuinely news to them.

    We can see quite easily how distorted media coverage emerges. Local contacts
    are not hooked into research networks and repeat what their paymasters
    expect to hear. Journalists are always up against copy deadlines and most
    international news outlets do not have the resources for special field
    investigations. Editors avoid contentious issues if this has the potential
    to bring trouble. And repeating the standard line brings in the money for
    the stringers and freelancers. Of course in Zimbabwe, strict government
    control of international media reporting, at least until recently, didn’t
    help, and added to the problem, fuelling misperceptions.

    This international media coverage, especially in the UK, has created a
    particular view of Zimbabwe, often way out of kilter with ground realities.
    But is this now changing? Is there a new media glasnost emerging around
    reporting on Zimbabwe? In the last week two major articles by two very
    different but well respected journalists have appeared: one in the UK Daily
    Telegraph and one in the New York Times.

    The first by Peter Oborne argues that it’s time Zimbabwe needs to reassess
    the UK position on sanctions. He argues that the UK Foreign Office under
    William Hague is developing a pragmatic approach to Zimbabwe, and showing a
    clear shift from the shrill diplomacy of earlier periods under the Labour
    regimes. Echoes of that were evident in the House of Parliament in an
    intervention by Peter Hain, arguing for yet more sanctions. By contrast the
    Foreign Office is beginning to realise (belatedly) that the sanctions serve
    no diplomatic purpose, and even have the opposite effect. Zimbabwe, Oborne
    argues, needs to be ‘brought in from the cold’. Even the language used is
    from the Cold War era. Glasnost indeed.

    The second piece appeared on the front page of the New York Times
    (remarkable enough for any African story), and was penned by the NYT
    Johannesburg bureau chief, Lydia Polgreen. It is based on some field visits
    to tobacco farms and auction floors in Zimbabwe and suggests, following the
    argument of our work, that there is a ‘golden lining’ to the land reforms,
    as many thousands of small farmers are benefiting, even if there have been
    some important downsides. The case of the booming tobacco sector is used,
    but the wider argument is made forcefully that a rethink is required.

    These two articles have attracted plenty of commentary, much of it negative,
    but they show a brave approach to critical journalism often shied away from
    by others. To their credit the BBC have engaged with our work, both through
    interviews and articles, and most recently with a field visit, resulting in
    a Crossing Continents programme. But as I have commented before, the BBC
    ‘balance’ is sometimes inappropriate; for example counterposing an
    unsubstantiated commentary from the Commercial Farmers’ Union with mountains
    of research evidence as if they were equivalent. What makes these two recent
    contributions stand out is their timing (around renewed debates about
    ‘sanctions’), their location (the NYT and the Daily Telegraph) and their
    positioning (an unequivocal stance which challenges the status quo view).

    The media glasnost is to be welcomed. Let’s hope the old Soviet-style era of
    controlled storylines on Zimbabwe is over and a proper debate can begin.

    This blog was originally posted on the zimbabweland blog. For more go

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    When is Zimbabwe’s Tahrir Moment?

    Posted Monday, July 30 2012 at 16:03

    Mr Mohammed Morsys rise to power on the back of street protests and resolve
    by Egypt’s activists presents an example of grit by ordinary citizens in
    taking on the might of a powerful military establishment, not once, but
    thrice in 18 months.

    Egypt’s experiences will be particularly instructive in my homeland. With
    the constitutional logjam in Zimbabwe, where the military under President
    Robert Mugabe prevented a democratic transition after the March 2008
    elections, and southern African leaders cobbled up a coalition between him
    and his long-time opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, there have been no ‘Tahrir
    moments’ to speak of.

    But that there is a thirst for change is well-documented. Hundreds of
    Zimbabweans died between March and December of 2008 because the electorate
    voted for a new president.

    Voting for change is one thing, though. Delivering it is, as the Egyptians
    have demonstrated, quite another. Much more effort, sacrifice, loss of life
    and limb is required in getting the change to happen.

    It was the people of Egypt who heroically fought for leadership change. They
    achieved this victory for themselves and by themselves. They idolised no
    one, allowing no individual to take the credit and recognising no political
    formation as synonymous with the revolution.

    Mubarak’s removal in February last year was greeted with celebration in
    Tahrir Square, the iconic focus of the revolution. In the days after the
    army conceded to people pressure and forced Mubarak’s hand – the first
    ‘Tahrir Moment’ – the crowds thinned, and then disappeared.

    But they were soon back in force, fearing they had replaced a civilian
    dictator with a military one in Field Marshal Mohammed Tantawi and his
    unelected Higher Military Council. Tantawi responded by speeding up
    parliamentary and presidential elections – another concession to public

    Legislative powers

    When, on the eve of the second round of the presidential election, Egypt’s
    elected parliament was dissolved and the military apportioned itself
    legislative powers, Egyptians took to the streets.

    Morsy’s electoral victory was delayed as the authorities withheld the
    results, an eerie parallel to the intervention of Zimbabwe’s generals in
    March 2008, when Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the first round of the
    presidential election.

    As with Zimbabwe, it seemed the military would derail the democratic
    transition in Egypt. But ordinary Egyptians were having none of it.

    Tahrir Square erupted once more, with demands for the authorities to release
    the results. They eventually did – the third ‘Tahrir Moment’ – and Egyptians
    were able to inaugurate their first elected leader.

    As ordinary Zimbabweans mutter helplessly, as nearly a third of their
    productive citizens are working abroad, as their leaders bicker endlessly
    and one side makes all the concessions, a legitimate question may be asked:
    Where is Zimbabwe’s Tahrir Square? What, if any, are its moments? And who is
    going to make them happen?

    Mr Tsvangirai, the winner of the first round of the 2008 presidential
    elections, accepted a junior role in the government of the man he defeated.
    Somewhere in the mist thrown up by African diplomacy, the loser of a
    legitimate election came up tops

    Tsvangirai was co-opted into an exclusive club in which Mugabe holds all the
    cards. Together, they have trodden over key demands made by ordinary
    Zimbabweans in the public constitutional hearings, including one that bars
    persons over the age of 80 from seeking election.

    Mr Peel is a lecturer, Department of Communication, Daystar University

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    Zimbabwe’s military men will not return to their barracks soon

    Reform of the security sector is a key part of the roadmap to free and fair
    elections being facilitated by South Africa, but it will be difficult to
    change the culture of impunity in the security forces
    Published: 2012/07/30 08:01:57 AM

    ZIMBABWEAN Finance Minister Tendai Biti was forced to hold a rally in a
    clearing in the bush earlier this month after being driven out of the chosen
    venue, a stadium near President Robert Mugabe’s home area, by busloads of
    Zanu (PF)-aligned youths and soldiers. About a dozen people from the
    Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were beaten as the crowd drove MDC
    supporters into the bush, setting the grass on fire as they went.

    This is just one of a number of attacks on political parties and their
    supporters by Zanu (PF) in a rising tide of violence in Zimbabwe. Election
    talk is in the air with the completion of the draft of a new constitution
    and a directive by the courts for by-elections to be held in 38 vacant
    parliamentary seats by the end of August — an election that might change the
    balance of power in the legislature.

    Biti, a top MDC-T official, has never been Zanu (PF)’s favourite person. Not
    only does he control the purse strings in the unity government, but he has
    also been making a lot of noise about the diamond-mining companies’ failure
    to direct the required revenue to the national fiscus. In his recent midterm
    budget, Biti cut the budget by 15% and reduced projected economic growth
    from 9,4% to 5,6%.

    Zanu (PF) moved quickly to establish itself in the diamond industry, seeing
    a new patronage opportunity.

    The companies operating in the rich diamond fields of Chiadzwa have strong
    links to "securocrats" — serving and retired military officials who have
    worked their way into key political and business positions in Zimbabwe. The
    mining companies in the area are under scrutiny by the MDC and international
    nongovernmental organisations because of concern that Zanu (PF) is using
    profits to fund its own agenda. Anjin Investments, for example, is a
    consortium of Chinese and Zimbabwe military interests, while Mugabe’s wife,
    Grace, is said to be a shareholder in Mbada Diamonds. This is chaired by
    close Mugabe associate Robert Mhlanga, who made the headlines in South
    Africa a few weeks ago over his extensive property interests here.

    State-owned Marange Resources is chaired by retired colonel Tshinga Dube, a
    top party official and former head of an arms firm controlled by the defence

    The securocrats are also running parastatals and hold other key economic and
    political posts. They have been pivotal in keeping the party — and the
    president — in power.

    Civil society organisations have claimed that thousands of youth militia,
    war veterans and army commanders have been recently deployed across the
    country to revive the party’s structures in anticipation of another,
    probably violent, election campaign. Top military officers have abandoned
    the pretence of being impartial and have openly declared their allegiance to
    Mugabe. Earlier this month, army chief Maj-Gen Martin Chedondo told soldiers
    that Zanu (PF) was the only party that had the country’s interests at heart.

    The threat of a military backlash in the event of an MDC presidential
    victory is not idle. It was, after all, the wave of violence unleashed
    against the MDC after the president lost the first round of votes in 2008
    that led Tsvangirai to pull out of the race, allowing Mugabe to win the poll

    Reform of the security sector is a key part of the roadmap to free and fair
    elections being facilitated by South Africa. The draft of the new
    constitution provides for the military to become more politically neutral.
    But it will be difficult to turn around the culture of impunity that has
    invaded a large part of the security forces over a decade. As one Zimbabwean
    analyst said recently, the army, air force, police and the intelligence
    agency have failed to provide security, have actively preyed upon the
    population and have become synonymous with human rights violations.

    The MDC-T is confident a new political climate in Zimbabwe will see the
    security forces and their bosses back in barracks and under civilian
    control. But the securocrats are deeply entrenched in power and in feeding
    from the trough of patronage. They are unlikely to give up easily — they
    have nowhere to go.

    • Games is CEO of Africa At Work, an African business consultancy.

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    A Guide to the Constitutional Draft
    by Hon Douglas Mwonzora (MP)
    The draft constitution is a product of two key processes. The first process was the outreach programme where views of Zimbabweans were enlisted. The second process was a negotiation that was either as a result of the inconclusiveness of the data or because of underlying political considerations. The negotiating process which was led by the negotiators of the Global Political Agreement inevitably involved a give-and-take process.

    Chapter 1 : Founding Provisions

    This chapter deals with four critical issues.
    The first is that it puts this constitution above every person, organ, agency or institution of the State.
    Secondly, it provides the basic principles upon which Zimbabwe is founded as a nation. These principles include respect for the supremacy of the constitution, rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedoms, gender equality, good governance, free and fair elections, orderly transfer of power following elections.
    Thirdly, it provides that all security forces must be taught the basic values of this constitution as part of their training.
    Lastly, all indigenous languages of Zimbabwe are recognised as official while an Act of Parliament will prescribe languages of record from time to time.

    Chapter 2: National Objectives
    This chapter sets down those things that Zimbabwe as a nation aspires to achieve. These include good governance, national unity, peace and stability, good foreign policies, gender balance, food security, fair regional representation, rights of elderly persons, children, youths, women, war veterans and the workers. It enjoins the State of Zimbabwe to provide education, shelter, health care services, legal aid and social welfare for its citizens.

    Chapter 3: Citizenship
    Zimbabwean citizens are divided into three categories. These are citizens by birth, citizens by descent and citizens by registration. All citizens are equally entitled to the rights and obligation of citizenship. Some of these rights include entitlement to state protection and identity documents like birth certificates, national registration documents and passports. The obligations include duties of loyalty to Zimbabwe, observance of the constitution and to defend Zimbabwe.

    Under this constitution, dual or multiple citizenship is automatically allowed for Zimbabwean citizens by birth. Regarding citizens by descent or by registration, Parliament has the power to make a law either to prohibit or to permit dual citizenship.

    Chapter 4: Declaration of Rights

    This chapter provides a very comprehensive bill of rights. It provides both first generation rights and socio-economic rights. Under this chapter, death penalty is only retainable in respect of murder in aggravating circumstances. However, the death penalty cannot be passed in respect of people under the age of 21 or over the age of 70 or any woman. The bill of rights also provides such rights as freedom to demonstrate and petition and labour rights. Labour rights include the right to collective job action which encompasses the right to strike.

    Under freedom of the media, State broadcasters are required to be impartial and to give fair opportunity to divergent views. Further, the constitution prohibits incitement to violence, advocacy of hatred and hate speech. All Zimbabwean citizens and residents are entitled to access to information.

    Unlike the current constitution, the draft constitution provides for political rights. These include the right to form, join or participate in the activities of political parties and organisations. They also include the rights to peaceful, free and fair elections.

    Under this constitution the rights of accused and detained persons are spelt out including the right to a fair hearing. The socio-economic rights enshrined in the constitution include the right to education, health care, food and water and the right to a safe environment. The constitution further provides elaborate rights including rights of children, women, the elderly, people living with disabilities as well as war veterans. Under this constitution, certain rights can be limited under a state of emergency. However, the following rights cannot be derogated under any circumstances;
    Chapter 5: Executive Authority
    Under the draft constitution, executive authority is vested in the President and Cabinet. Among the duties of the President is the duty to uphold the constitution and to ensure that all laws are faithfully obeyed. The President has a maximum term of two 5-year terms of office.

    The draft constitution enjoins every presidential candidate to provide the names of two running mates during the elections. These running mates are designated as the 1st and 2nd Vice President. In the event of a President dying or leaving office then the 1st Vice President automatically takes over. Although, a President cannot be tried while in office, once he leaves office he can be tried for the offences he committed before or during the time that he was president.

    The President has the duty to appoint ministers from Parliament but may appoint up to 7 ministers from outside Parliament based on professional skills and competency.

    Under this constitution the President has power to declare war or make peace but exercise this power subject to Parliamentary approval. Although, the President has power to grant mercy he can only exercise this power after consultation with Cabinet. The President is allowed to appoint an Attorney General who is his legal advisor. However, this Attorney General does not have prosecuting power.

    Chapter 6: Legislature Authority
    The Parliament is made up of the Senate and the National Assembly. The election into the Senate is by proportional representation using a party list and the zebra system alternating men and women with a woman on top of each list. There will be 88 senators, 18 of whom will be chiefs, 8 will be Provincial Governors, 2 will be representatives of people living with disabilities, while 60 will be elected by proportional representation. Of this 60, each province will produce 6 senators based on proportional representation based on the votes of the National Assembly for the parties in that province. In the National Assembly the 210 seats will remain while there is an addition of 60 women MPs elected by proportional representation. Of these, each province will produce 6. The Clerk of Parliament has a limited term of office of 6 years, renewable once.

    Chapter 7: Elections

    The chapter provides that elections or referendums must be peaceful, free and fair. In particular, the elections shall be free from violence and other electoral malpractices. All contesting parties are entitled to all material and information necessary for them to participate effectively. Further, they are entitled to equal access to print and electronic media. All matters dealing with elections ranging from voter registration, education up to the actual announcement of the results will be done by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. All elections are going to be harmonised and will be held in the last month of a Presidential term.

    Chapter 8: The Judiciary and the Courts
    Under this chapter, the courts of Zimbabwe are listed and include the Constitutional Court which is the highest court of the land. The other courts like the Labour Court and the Administrative Court are given the same status as the High Court. Provisions are made which guarantee the independence of the judiciary. In particular, “Bangalou Principles” regarding the independence of the judiciary are enshrined in this constitution. The appointment of judges is going to follow a procedure where the Judicial Service Commission advertises the posts and calls for applications and nomination of judges. The candidates, including those nominated by the President will be subjected to public interviews before appointment.

    Chapters 9 & 10: Principles of Public Administration and the Civil Service

    The draft constitution will deal with parastatals. These parastatals and state-owned enterprises will abide by the principles of good corporate governance. The heads of the parastatals will have a limited term of office. Ambassadors are going to be appointed by the President while permanent secretaries are appointed by the President after consultation with the Civil Service Commission. The permanent Secretaries have a limited term office of 5 years, renewable once.

    Chapter 11: Security Services

    Under this chapter, the security services are listed as the Defence Forces, Police Service, Intelligence Services, and Correctional Services. Additional security services may only be established under an Act of Parliament. Security Services are under the authority of the constitution, the Parliament, the President and Cabinet.

    Members of the security services must not act in a partisan manner. They cannot further the interests of political parties nor prejudice the lawful interests of political parties. They are not allowed to violate fundamental human rights and freedoms of the Zimbabwean citizens.

    The constitution sets up a National Security Council and obliges commanders of the security services to provide it with reports on the security situation in Zimbabwe from time to time. All commanders of the Security Services are appointed by the President after consultation with the appropriate minister.

    All commanders of Security Services have a limited term of 5 years, renewable once. The constitution sets independent complaint mechanisms for members of the public on the conduct of members of the Security Services.

    Chapter 12: Independent Commissions Supporting Democracy

    The independent commissions are:
    In the appointment of these commissions, both the President and Parliament are involved. The commissions appoint their own members of staff who are enjoined not to be partisan or to prejudice or promote the interests of any political party.
    The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission has a duty to ensure post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation. It does not have a cut-off date.

    Chapter 13:Institutions to Combat Corruption and Crime

    There are two institutions here, the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission and the National Prosecuting Authority. The Prosecutor General who heads the National Prosecuting Authority is appointed in the same way as a Supreme Court Judge is appointed.

    Chapter 14: Provincial and Local Government
    This chapter provides for devolution of power to the ten provinces. It provides the objects and principles of devolution. Each Province is run by a Provincial Council made up of all senators, National Assembly members as well as mayors and chairpersons of local authorities in that province.

    A further 10 people are elected by a system of proportional representation. The jurisdiction of provincial councils is in the sphere of social and economic development of the province. The provincial council is headed by a Provincial Governor appointed by the President from a list of two names submitted by a party with the majority of seats in that province concerned.

    Under the section dealing with local authorities, the removal of councillors and mayors can now only be done in terms of the constitution. The minister responsible for local government has no power to remove councillors and mayors anymore.

    Chapter 15: Traditional Leaders

    Traditional leaders are not allowed to be members of political parties or to participate in partisan politics. They are neither allowed to further interests of political parties nor to violate fundamental human rights. Their jurisdiction is limited only to their communal areas or persons within their communal areas. The appointment of chiefs is done by the President after consultation with the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs. However, the President of the Council of Chiefs will have a limited term of office of 5 years, renewable once for a further 5 years.

    Chapter 16: Agricultural Land

    The chapter deals with land that is subject to Land Reform. It sets fundamental principles including the principle that land redistribution must be fair and equitable, having regard to gender balance and community interests. Every citizen is given a right to acquire hold, occupy, transfer, hypothecate, lease or dispose of agricultural land regardless of his or her colour. This chapter guarantees security of tenure to persons lawfully occupying land. Owners or occupiers of agricultural land are allowed to transfer, hypothecate, lease or dispose of their rights. The draft constitution also allows full compensation for indigenous Zimbabweans or those people holding land under BIPPA agreements. For any other categories, the compensation is for improvements only.

    The chapter establishes a Land Commission which is appointed by the President and Parliament. The Commission has the responsibility to ensure that there will be periodic land audits and help enforce the principle of one person, one farm as well as the appropriate compensation to be paid in respect of agricultural land.

    Chapter 17: Financial Management
    This chapter provides for Parliamentary oversight and monitoring of expenditure by government or its agencies and institutions. Certain levels of borrowing would require the approval of Parliament. Not less than 5% of the national revenue raised will be allocated to the Provincial Councils.

    Chapter 18: General and Supplementary Provisions

    The chapter sets out the way commissions must be governed. It also deals with amendment of the constitution. Generally, for all provisions of the constitution to be amended, the proposed amendment must be supported by two thirds of parliament. However, amendment to any provision of the bill of rights as well as chapter 16 which deals with agricultural land must be done via a referendum. The office of public protector is abolished as it is felt that it had no purpose.

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    Zimbabwe Inclusive Government Watch : Issue 41

    July 30th, 2012

    ZIG line chart Issue 41

    The date of Zimbabwe’s next election has still not been set, but the Zanu-PF hierarchy – with President Mugabe (88) still at the helm after 32 years – is already intensifying well-honed strategies to ensure the party retains power. Despite being split by bitter factionalism, greed and an escalating internal power struggle, Zanu-PF is united in its efforts to weaken Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party and manipulate the electorate.

    The threat of violence has always been the strongest weapon in Zanu-PF’s arsenal. The mass-scale violence that characterised the 2008 pre-Presidential run-off poll was described by a team of retired South African generals sent by President Mbeki to Zimbabwe to investigate as a ‘horrifying picture” involving “horrific” cases of “extreme brutality”. One commented it was the worst they had seen outside a war zone. Already in the rural areas, fear levels are growing and there is intense concern that the lives and livelihoods of these vulnerable people in particular will be at risk once again.

    Historically, the continued support of the armed forces has been crucial for Zanu-PF’s election strategy and their role in perpetrating violence is well documented. Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s demand this month for an additional US$2.5 million from the fiscus to bankroll salaries for 5,000 new recruits therefore came as no surprise. It resulted in a furious altercation between Finance Minister Tendai Biti (MDC) and Mnangagwa (Zanu-PF) after Biti had turned down the additional defence funding. Mnangagwa reportedly threatened to send army generals to Biti’s office but Biti stuck to his guns.

    The following week, veteran journalist Jan Raath reported that more than 10,000 people had been hired illegally in Zanu-PF-run ministries, including those responsible for the army and police. Senior military personnel continued to proclaim their support for Zanu-PF, with Chief of Staff Major-General Trust Mugoba declaring at a public parade mid June that they would not even allow the MDC to go into office.

    An authoritative report released by Zimbabwe’s Research and Advocacy Unit in July last year, “Zimbabwe’s Security Sector – Who Controls the Shots?”, listed the strength of the armed forces as follows:

    • The Defence Forces: 30,000 to 35,000 (army and air force combined)
    • The Police Force: 22,000
    • The CIO (full time staff): 3,000 (Central Intelligence Organisation)

    As Commander-in-Chief, President Mugabe has supreme command of the Defence Forces and the plenary power to determine their operational use.

    The youth militia, a paramilitary force for Zanu-PF, has been responsible since 2000 for acts of torture, rape, arson and murder, as well as the destruction of property and the denial of food aid and health care to opposition members. The number of youth militia currently on the government’s payroll is difficult to substantiate. In November 2009, it was reported that 80,000 youngsters, many of them unemployed, had gone through the controversial “youth service” programme. In March this year, SW Radio Africa reported that nearly 6,000 youths from Zanu-PF’s militia squads, who had been paid for unspecified jobs since 2008, had recently been removed from the government payroll following a government-ordered audit.

    ZIG pie chart - Issue 41On June 27, it was reported that Russian Technologies may supply military helicopters to Zimbabwe in a swap deal to buy the world’s second largest platinum deposit. An external military commentator noted it was possible the helicopters would be used in Zanu-PF’s efforts to retain power. He commented that, unless bought in very large numbers, they would not add much to the internal security capacity. However, if the situation spiralled out of control into something close to insurgency or civil war, they would be a key factor.

    Maintaining supremacy is a costly affair for Zanu-PF, so the battle for control of the nation’s resources, notably diamonds and platinum, continues. Zimbabwe is rich in minerals, and the Zanu-PF elite have honed their skills in converting the proceeds into illegitimate funds to both enrich themselves and stock war-chests in preparation for elections.

    Despite the ongoing controversy and friction surrounding the draft Constitution, Elton Mangoma, the MDC-T Deputy Treasurer said his party was optimistic of the developments. He said the draft had managed to capture the views of most of the people and that his party would support it in the referendum.

    In this issue of ZIG Watch, we have recorded a total of 77 media articles, each representing a unique breach of the terms of the Global Political Agreement (GPA). Representative statistics were generated by categorising the articles according to the nature of the breach.

    The category with the highest number of recorded violations was again that of the harassment of perceived ‘opposition’ politicians and supporters through litigation, with 23 cases having been recorded. Second place was taken up by violations in the form of deliberate or consequential economic destabilisation.

    Instances of violence, intimidation, hate speech, threats, abductions and brutality came in third, while cases of deliberate non-cooperation with GPA partners came fourth. Zanu-PF was either responsible for, or involved in, 98.7 percent of all breaches recorded.

    We have compiled and appended ten articles to represent this month’s media coverage of events in relation to the GPA. This list is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive because of the sheer volume of articles. We invite our readers to review the list of summarised articles, original articles (links provided) and previously captured articles, on the webpage and ask you to share this information with your colleagues and other interested parties.

    In the area of litigation, our first article reveals the shocking arrogance of the police – this time in Mutare – who, having been forced to follow the dictates of Zanu-PF, have become accustomed to a culture of impunity. Rather than spending time hunting down the MDC-T Senator for Mutare, Keresensia Chabuka, the police used innocent MDC activists as bait to force her to come to them. The Senator and other MDC-T officials had been accused of assaulting the acting Mayor of Mutare, George Jeryson. Senator Chabuka told reporters that she was ashamed of the action of the police action in arresting the 10 party activists as bait to entrap her. “They told the activists they will only be released if I present myself to the police. That is what I’m going to do,” said the Senator and handed herself in.

    In the long drawn-out case in which twenty-nine MDC-T activists were accused of murdering a police officer in Glen View last year, the presiding judge dismissed their bail appeal again in the Harare High Court. Justice Bhunu told defence lawyers to focus on the trial and not bail, as it was “highly unlikely they will ever be set free before conclusion of the case”. The judge went on to warn defence lawyer Charles Kwaramba to desist from criticising him in the media or he would file contempt of court.

    In another high-profile case, the Siwela treason trial is also being deliberately dragged out. The case involves three Bulawayo men who were arrested for allegedly distributing Mthkwakazi Liberation Front flyers calling for the separation of Matabeleland and other parts from the rest of Zimbabwe. All three men have denied the charges. Witnesses who testified for the state, mostly police officers, appear to have weakened the prosecutors’ case by giving contradicting evidence. If convicted, the three face the death penalty.

    Also in the litigation category, the state-owned Sunday Mail reported on 24 June that the police had launched an investigation involving Finance Minister Tendai Biti (MDC-T) over the disappearance of US$20 million in a failed bank. However, Biti explained that the money was part of a 2009 emergency International Monetary Fund (IMF) facility to help distressed manufacturing firms. The paper said Biti had transferred the money from the IMF into local bank Interfin, closed during June due to a liquidity crisis.

    In the category of deliberate or consequential economic destabilisation of the country or its economy, Zimbabwe’s indigenisation ministry, in a report dated 5 June, ordered all foreign-owned banks operating in the country to start transferring majority stakes to local people under its controversial empowerment program. Several executives of foreign-owned banks were reported to have met with Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and indicated they would comply with the law. Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono protested the move, saying the banking sector should not be indigenised, and that anyone who wanted to venture into the sector should apply for a license to operate a private bank. The banking sector falls under Gono’s controversial stewardship as Governor of the Reserve Bank.

    Biti and Mnangagwa fought bitterly this month over defence funding. Biti reportedly turned down Mnangagwa’s demands for an additional US$2,5million from treasury to bankroll salaries for 5,000 new army recruits. Tensions ran high, with Mnangagwa allegedly threatening Biti, claiming there was a risk of mutiny and that Biti was compromising State security. Biti was said to have refused to fund the recruits until the government got more cash from controversial diamond mining operations. Prior to this, there had been agreement within the severely cash-strapped inclusive government that no additional troops were required.

    Zimbabwe’s Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, passed into law more than three years ago, states that Zimbabweans must be majority shareholders with a minimum of 51 percent in major foreign-owned companies across the economy.

    In a statement guaranteed to destabilise the economy further and discourage foreign investment, President Mugabe told his party’s central committee that 100 percent of company shares should remain in the country. He claimed that the 49 percent was “a leakage” and that Zimbabweans must be in control of the economy while foreigners came in as partners.” He did not explain how prospective foreign investors could be persuaded to invest their money in Zimbabwe for minimal returns.

    In the category of violence, Zanu-PF secretary for the Women’s League and Politburo member Oppah Muchinguri openly admitted to journalists that her party hires militia regularly to unleash violence on political opponents – a fact previously denied. Chipangano, the notorious, militant Zanu-PF group operating in Harare’s Mbare suburb, has been accused of murder, violence, robbery, intimidation, coercion, looting and the disruption of businesses owned by ‘opposition’ activists, although any connection to Zanu-PF has previously been denied. Ironically, Muchinguri is also co-chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), tasked with monitoring and documenting violations of the Global GPA.

    A female chief in the Mudzi North area of Mashonaland East, Chief Otilia Chimukoko, is allegedly forcing villagers to contribute money for a legal fund to assist seven Zanu-PF members accused of murdering an MDC-T official during May. Each village is required to collect a minimum of US$50 or face violent punitive action.

    Our final article highlights the level of non-cooperation between the members of the GPA. At a conference in Harare organised by the Centre for Public Accountability, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu refused to give an account of diamond revenues emanating from the vast and highly controversial Marange fields.

    Police use MDC activists as bait to hunt down Mutare senator
    SW Radio Africa (ZW): 13/06/2012

    Police in Mutare are using innocent MDC activists as bait to hunt down the party’s senator for Mutare, Keresensia Chabuka. The senator and other MDC officials are accused of assaulting acting Mayor of Mutare, George Jeryson. Jeryson was elected as an MDC-T councillor, but is suspected of working closely with Zanu-PF Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo. Senator Chabuka told reporters that she is ashamed and left with no words to describe the police action in arresting 10 party activists as bait to get to her. ‘They told the activists they will only be released if I present myself to the police. That is what I’m going to do this evening (Wednesday).”


    29 MDC-T activists denied bail again
    SW Radio Africa (ZW): 19/06/2012

    Twenty-nine MDC-T activists accused of murdering a police officer in Glen View last year had their bail appeal dismissed again in Harare High Court on Tuesday. Responding, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu said there were no special circumstances to grant bail to any of the activists. Justice Bhunu told defence lawyers to focus on the trial and not bail as it was highly unlikely they will ever be set free before conclusion of the case. The judge warned defence lawyer Charles Kwaramba to desist from criticizing him in the media or he would file contempt of court, whilst giving activist Dewa Mavhinga an earful for penning newspaper articles critical of his previous judgments.


    Police deny exhibits in Siwela treason trial
    ZimEye: 20/06/2012

    The eighth witness in the treason trial of Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) party secretary general, Paul Siwela, declared ignorance over exhibits collected from Siwela’s offices when the investigations re-started at the trial in Bulawayo. Siwela, together with other MLF leaders Charles Thomas and John Gazi, are facing treason charges which they deny. The witness, police officer Isheunesu Kadziya, told the court that although he was part of the team which searched Siwela’s offices on March 4, 2011, he did not read what was written on flyers, calendars and other documents. He said they recovered 400 flyers, an MLF T-shirt, calendar and MLF membership cards. He declined to be associated with flyers presented in court.


    Zimbabwean police investigate finance minister
    Reuters: 24/06/2012

    Police said on Sunday they had launched an investigation involving Finance minister Tendai Biti. The state-owned Sunday Mail said the probe was over the disappearance of US$20 million in a failed bank. Biti explained that the money was part of a 2009 emergency International Monetary Fund (IMF) facility and intended to help distressed manufacturing firms. The paper said Biti had transferred the money from the IMF into local bank Interfin, closed this month due to a liquidity crisis. “Yes the money is missing. The fact that Interfin was appointed the fund manager means it was them who were handling the money and not me,” he said.


    Zimbabwe Minister Orders Foreign-Owned Banks to Transfer Majority Stakes to Locals
    VOANews (USA): 05/06/2012

    Zimbabwe’s indigenization ministry has ordered all foreign-owned banks operating in the country to start transferring majority stakes to local people under its controversial empowerment program. Legal adviser Psychology Maziwisa said several executives of foreign-owned banks who met with Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere Tuesday indicated that they will comply with the law. Maziwisa said at least two of the banks have already made efforts to offload a 51 percent stake to indigenous people as prescribed by the empowerment law. Central bank governor Gideon Gono protested the move Monday saying the banking sector should not be indigenized, suggesting that anyone who wants to venture into the sector should apply for a license to operate a private bank.


    Biti, Mnangagwa clash over army
    Daily News (ZW): 10/06/2012

    Finance minister Tendai Biti, and defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, locked horns on Thursday, in front of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, over defence funding. Official sources said Tsvangirai watched in bewilderment as the two fought verbally, with finance minister Biti being threatened by Mnangagwa after he turned down the Zanu-PF minister’s demands for an additional US$2,5million from treasury to bankroll salaries for 5,000 new army recruits. Tensions ran high, with Mnangagwa allegedly threatening to send army generals to Biti’s office, saying there was a risk of mutiny and that Biti was compromising State security. Biti was said to have declared that treasury would not fund the recruits until the government got more cash from diamonds.


    Zimbabwe President Mugabe wants 100 percent local control of economy
    News Track India: 30/06/2012

    Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Friday said the country wants 100 percent control over the economy by local people while foreigners come in as partners. Mugabe said Zimbabwe must get the lion’s share from the exploitation of its natural resources, arguing the 51-49 percent ownership model was no longer acceptable. Foreigners benefits must be minimal, around 10 percent, he stressed. He said this when addressing his Zanu-PF party’s central committee. “… we want the 100 percent to remain in the country,” Mugabe said, reiterating that Zimbabweans must be in control of the economy while foreigners come in as partners. “That is why we are talking of ownership and not mere participation,” he said.


    Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF official admits to use of election violence
    The Africa Report: 05/06/2012

    Zanu-PF secretary for women’s league and Politburo member, Oppah Muchinguri, has admitted her party regularly enlists services militia to unleash violence on political opponents. Chipangano—the notorious militant Zanu-PF group staying in Harare’s Mbare suburb – has been accused of murder, violence, robbery, intimidation, coercion, looting and disruption of businesses owned by opposition activists. Muchinguri on Monday told journalists that her party engages the services of the group. Muchinguri, also co-chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic), said Chipangano was being “hired” by politicians from Zanu-PF. Muchinguri said the coalition government must speedily act on the group by “sending a message to other similar groups that might want to set themselves up.


    Chief forcing villagers to pay defense for Magura killers
    SW Radio Africa (ZW): 14/06/2012

    Chief Otilia Chimukoko has allegedly been leading Zanu-PF activists in the Mudzi North area of Mashonaland East, forcing villagers to contribute money for a legal fund to assist the Zanu-PF members accused of murdering an MDC-T official last month. One of the few female chiefs in the country, Otilia Chimukoko, is moving around the Chimukoko area with Never Makita, Dudzai Kamhaka and another activist identified as Nyamuromo. They are demanding that each villager pay US$1 with each village collecting at least US$50 or there will be violent punitive actions. The villagers are being told openly that the money is to provide legal fees for the seven party members accused of murdering Cephas Magura.


    Obert Mpofu refuses to account for diamond revenue
    ZimEye: 11/06/2012

    Mines Minister Obert Mpofu on Monday failed to give an account for diamond revenue emanating from Marange fields when he answered questions at a conference in Harare organised by the Centre for Public Accountability. “I am minister of mines not minister of revenue … ZIMRA collects revenue. Ask me about mining issues and I will explain. I do not deal with figures but mining development. Anything to do with figures is not my duty,” Mpofu told delegates in Harare Monday. Delegates had asked him where the diamond revenue from Marange was going following Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s recent complaints of non remittance to the treasury revenue by mining companies.


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    Court Watch 14/2012 of 28th July [3 Cases with Important Political Ramifications]

    COURT WATCH 14/2012

    [28th July 2012]

    This bulletin covers three court cases that have important political implications.

    1. The By-Elections Case This was an appeal by the President to the Supreme Court after he lost a case in the High Court over his failure to call by-elections to fill 3 vacancies in Parliament. The Supreme Court has ordered the President to call by-elections to fill these vacancies. [The decision sets a precedent for the other 23 Parliamentary vacancies needing by-elections.] This is a decision that will test the President’s willingness to abide by a court decision. If by-elections are held [there could be up to 26] they will test the political temperature for the forthcoming general election and provide a test run for the new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

    2. Too many Ministers Case This case was lost in the High Court, but an appeal has been made to the Supreme Court. It is a citizen’s complaint about a breach of Schedule 8 to the Constitution, which incorporates Article 20 of the GPA; this stipulates that the Inclusive Government should have 31 Ministers, but in fact 41 were sworn in. If the appeal were won it would mean a reduction and reshuffle of Ministerial posts.

    3. The Provincial Governors Case This is a complaint taken by the Prime Minister about the President’s unilateral appointment of Provincial Governors. A preliminary technical objection about taking the President to court had to be dealt with first. The objection was heard and rejected by the High Court. There has, however, has been a notification of intention to lodge an appeal at the Supreme Court against this decision.

    1. Supreme Court Orders Three Parliamentary By-Elections:

    Reasons for Judgment Not Provided

    Background In 2009 three MDC-M MPs were expelled from MDC-M for undermining the party’s authority. Forfeiture of their seats in the House of Assembly followed, creating three parliamentary vacancies. As with all other vacancies in this Parliament, the President failed to call by-elections although section 39 of the Electoral Act provides that the President “shall” gazette a notice ordering a new election to fill a constituency vacancy, and must do so within 14 days of being notified of the vacancy by Parliament.

    Bulawayo High Court decision ordering by-elections The three former MPs took the President to court. In October 2011 the High Court upheld their case and ordered the President to ensure that by elections for the three constituencies were held.

    President’s appeal to the Supreme Court The President appealed to the Supreme Court against this order, arguing that section 39 of the Electoral Act is a merely directory provision not legally obliging him to call by-elections, and also that in any case the Government does not have the money to finance by-elections to fill these vacancies and the many other Parliamentary and local council vacancies that have built up since March 2008.

    Supreme Court orders President to call by-elections On 12th July 2012 the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the President’s appeal and ordered the President to gazette a notice “ordering new elections to fill the vacancies as soon as possible but no later than 30th August 2012.” This creates a precedent for the other 23 vacant constituency seats in Parliament.

    Reasons for this decision were not furnished It is not known when they will become available.

    Until the reasons are available, one can only speculate on whether or not the court:

    agreed with the MPs’ arguments that the word “shall” in section 39 of the Electoral Act really does mean “must”, and

    was not prepared to accept as a legally valid excuse the Government’s claimed inability to fund a large number of by-elections.

    2. The “Too Many Ministers” Case – Judgment Awaited

    Background In this case the Prime Minister and the President are both accused by civil society activists Moven Kufa and the Voice for Democracy Trust of breaching Article 20.1.6(5) of Schedule 8 to the Constitution. The complaint is that the numbers of Ministers appointed in February 2009 exceeded the maximum number allowed by the Article and that this rendered the excess appointments unconstitutional, null and void. [The Article says there “shall be” 31 Ministers, 15 nominated by ZANU PF, 13 by MDC –T and 3 by MDC M. But, 41 Ministers were appointed.] The applicants asked for an order unseating the last 10 Ministers sworn in, alternatively an order compelling the President to cut the numbers of Ministers down to 31.

    High Court Dismissed the case in April 2011

    Judgment Summary Justice Chiweshe ruled that the Article’s wording was directory only, that the stipulated numbers had not been “outrageously” exceeded, that the inter-party proportions had been largely observed and that the “anomaly” in departing from the Article did not warrant the order sought. Moreover, to grant the order sought by the applicants “would destabilize the government of national unity and cause unnecessary confusion within the body politic and prejudice the public interest at large”, which he said would be inconsistent with the intention behind Schedule 8 to the Constitution. [Judgment available from] The applicants noted an appeal.

    Appeal heard in the Supreme Court On 19th July the applicants’ appeal was heard in the Supreme Court, with the applicants pressing for a straightforward application of the plain meaning of the Article, i.e. that 31 means 31.

    The court reserved judgment

    3. Tsvangirai v Mugabe [Provincial Governors Case]

    Continuing from the point reached in Court Watch 10/2012.

    Background In November 2010 Prime Minister Tsvangirai launched a High Court case seeking an order setting aside the President’s appointment earlier that year of ten ZANU-PF provincial governors. His complaint was that the President had not secured his agreement to these appointments, although he was required to do according to Schedule 8 to the Constitution, incorporating Article 20 of the GPA, which provides for key appointments to be made by the President in consultation with the Prime Minister

    President’s technical objection The President’s lawyer, Mr Hussein, objected to Mr Tsvangirai’s application on the grounds that Mr Tsvangirai had gone to court without first obtaining leave to do so from a High Court judge, arguing this was required by rule 18 of the High Court Rules.

    Objection rejected It was not until 11th June this year, that Judge-President Chiweshe, who was the High Court judge hearing arguments for and against the President’s technical objection, ruled the objection not valid and that the main case should go ahead in the High Court; and the date was set for the 10th July.

    President asks for leave to appeal to Supreme Court The President’s lawyer promptly filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against this ruling. This resulted in the High Court hearing set down for 10th July being indefinitely postponed pending a decision on the appeal application. On 26th June Justice Chiweshe heard argument from sides on this application, and reserved his judgment.

    Leave to appeal denied On 24th July Justice Chiweshe dismissed the President’s application for leave to appeal. [Judgment available from]. He said the proposed appeal had no prospect of succeeding, because the Supreme Court has already decided in a previous case that, notwithstanding Rule 18, the President can be sued in his official capacity without prior leave from a High Court judge. No date was set for the main case to proceed.

    Note: Some reports, including one from the MDC-T Information Department, have wrongly described this as a “Supreme Court decision” – it was a High Court decision. The matter may in fact go the Supreme Court [see next paragraph].

    Further Appeal Direct to Supreme Court The Prime Minister’s lawyer, Selby Hwacha, has received a letter from the President’s lawyer stating his intention to apply direct to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal. [The law states that if a High Court judge refuses leave to appeal, a Supreme Court judge may nevertheless grant leave to appeal.] When the application is made, it will be dealt with either by the Chief Justice or by one of the other Supreme Court judges to whom it is allocated by the Chief Justice. It is only the preliminary technical objection that will be up for discussion. The validity of the provincial governors’ appointments will not be argued or decided.

    Meanwhile, Justice Chiweshe cannot set a date for the hearing of Mr Tsvangirai’s main application in the High Court.

    The real constitutional issue is still to be argued

    The President’s determined efforts to put an end to this case with his technical objection have up to now caused long delays preventing Mr Tsvangirai from having his day in court over the real issue in the case: whether the President breached the Constitution when he unilaterally appointed the provincial governors, and, if so, what the courts can or will do about it. That, after all, is what this case is really about.

    Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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