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Tsvangirai Meets Army Generals

Thursday, 30 July 2009 22:07
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday came face to face with
army, police and intelligence chiefs who last year publicly vowed not to
accept him if victorious in elections at the first meeting of the National
Security Council (NSC) at Zimbabwe House in Harare.

The ice-breaking meeting chaired by President Robert Mugabe marked a
major step forward in the hitherto stalled implementation of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) and the beginning of the thawing of poisoned
relations between rival camps led by Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

The NSC meeting was also attended by Vice President Joice Mujuru,
Deputy Prime Ministers Arthur Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe, Defence
minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Home
Affairs co-minister Giles Mutsekwa, Economic Development minister Elton
Mangoma, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda,
Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga  (pictured
far right), army commander Lieutenant-General Phillip Sibanda, air-force
commander Air Marshal  Perence Shiri, deputy police  commissioner-general
Levy Sibanda and Central Intelligence Director Happyton Bonyongwe.

The NSC meeting is supposed to include vice-presidents, deputy prime
ministers, and ministers of Finance, Defence and Home Affairs. The three
parties in government also nominate a minister each to attend the NSC

The Minister of State Security, Chief Secretary to the President and
Cabinet, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces, commanders of the army and the air-force, the Commissioner-General
of police, Commissioner of Prisons and the Director-General of the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) also attend.

However, Vice-President Joseph Msika, co-Home Affairs minister Kembo
Mohadi, Finance minister Tendai Biti, Industry and Commerce minister
Welshman Ncube (who is supposed to attend as a nominee of his party), police
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Prisons Commissioner
Major-General Paradzai Zimondi did not attend.

Sources said the NSC meeting dealt with formal introductions and the
basic mandate of the organ which is responsible for "reviewing national
policies on security, defence and law and order and recommending or
directing appropriate action".

Although army generals were spotted laughing during a photo
opportunity and wore business suits for the meeting, sources close to the
NSC meeting said their public postures belied their suppressed resentment of

Army commanders, led by Chiwenga, previously made it clear that they
would not accept Tsvangirai's victory in elections. They showed antipathy
towards him and publicly denounced him.
Mnangagwa said in parliament on Wednesday that army commanders have no
obligation to salute Tsvangirai unless as a matter of courtesy.

He was responding to questions raised by an MDC-T legislators on
whether service chiefs still maintain that they will not salute Tsvangirai
and also explain why commanders were absent at his swearing in ceremony in

After Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the first round of presidential
elections in March last year, the army was accused of unleashing a wave of
violence and terror which forced the main MDC leader to drop out of the
race. A list of army commanders and officers who were deployed around the
country to push a paramilitary campaign for Mugabe was circulated on the

However, the army denied it was involved in terrorising and killing
voters ahead of the bloody June 27 second round of the presidential poll
last year.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki sent a committee of retired
army generals to investigate the violence. Mbeki refused to publish their
report, saying they only made a verbal feedback.

Sekeramayi yesterday tried to paint a rosy picture of the NSC meeting,
claiming it was "warm and cordial".

"It was very warm, very cordial and very inclusive. Everybody who
spoke, spoke on the centrality of national interest as the most important
aspect of our nationhood," Sekeramayi said afterwards.

However, a senior MDC minister said last night the meeting was a
"charade" because it sought to cover up the bitterness on the part of the
leadership of MDC over atrocities of the past and resentment of Tsvangirai
on the part of security chiefs.

"Just like the National Healing meeting last week, there is a lot of
public relations being done to present a picture of unity among leaders, but
we know that our leaders are bitter over the violence and killings of the
past," the minister said. "We also know that the generals deeply dislike the
prime minister."

Mugabe is making concessions to allow implementation of a numbers of
issues in the political accord which led to the inclusive government ahead
of the Sadc summit next month.

Tsvangirai is expected to meet South African president Jacob Zuma on
the sidelines of an investment conference this weekend.

Mugabe's move to unblock progress on a number of issues is designed to
stem potential censure at the Sadc summit of his leadership for deliberately
stalling the implementation of a series of issues agreed upon as part of the
unity government.

The array of reforms which Mugabe has allowed include lifting of bans
on  public demonstrations, the licensing of newspapers, allowing the return
of international broadcasters such as CNN and BBC, implementation of the
provisions of the political agreement on the sharing of ambassadors and
provincial governors' posts and sitting of the NSC.

This week alone saw a raft of reforms which are rare in Zimbabwe, the
country still trying to recover from years of repression and economic ruin.

However, there is still a long way to go before democracy firmly takes
root in Zimbabwe. MPs from the MDC, Mugabe's rivals, are currently facing a
vicious crackdown led by their Zanu PF adversaries. Five MPs have been
convicted and a number of others face arrest for alleged crimes ranging from
abductions, violence, corruption to rape.


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Govt Gives Daily News Licence to Publish

Thursday, 30 July 2009 21:57
ASSOCIATED Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of the banned
Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday, have been licensed to operate.Their
newspapers were banned in 2003 after they were accused of breaching media
registration laws.

A Special Board Committee on the ANZ, appointed by the Information
ministry in November 2007, yesterday wrote to the company's lawyers,Gill,
Godlonton & Gerrans,and Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster
Shamu saying the application for registration for the newspaper stable was

This comes as parliament's Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC)
has shortlisted 28 applicants for public interviews on Monday to sit on the
Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) - a body that will be charged with the
powers to regulate the media.

"This letter serves to advise you that your application for
registration as a mass media service provider was successful," the committee's
acting chairperson, Edward Dube, wrote to the lawyers.

"Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe is therefore advised to contact the
relevant authority for their licence," Dube added.

A similar letter was sent to Shamu.

Meanwhile, a list of the applicants who want to sit on the ZMC in the
possession of the Zimbabwe Independent shows that former chairman of the
defunct Media and Information Commission (MIC), Tafataona Mahoso, and other
Zanu PF sympathisers - Chris Mutsvangwa and Vimbai Chivaura -have applied to
join the commission.

Of the 28 successful applicants, six are women, one a lawyer, Chris
Mhike, and a church minister, Useni Sibanda.

Veteran journalists Henry Muradzikwa, Kindness Paradza, Zimbabwe Union
of Journalists president Mathew Takaona, Miriam Madziwa, and Ropafadzo
Mapimhidze have also been shortlisted.

Media studies lecturers Clemence Mabaso, Nqobile Nyathi, Rino
Zhuwarara and Lawton Hikwa, will also be interviewed.

Chairperson of the parliamentary select committee on the media, Tongai
Matutu, yesterday said the interview would go ahead on Monday.

He said "questions for the shortlisted applicants" were with the
Speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo.

The panel for the interviews would be made up of legislators Obert
Gutu, Mabel Chinomona, Thabitha Khumalo, Edward Mkhosi and Chief Fortune

Names of 12 successful applicants would be forwarded to President
Robert Mugabe who will appoint nine commissioners, including the chairperson
of the commission.


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MDC-T Calls for Pardoning of Convicted MPs

Thursday, 30 July 2009 21:53
THE MDC-T has appealed to principals of the inclusive government to
set free convicted MPs amid fears that the former opposition party could
lose its majority in the House of Assembly.

Moving a motion that seeks to appoint an independent parliamentary
select committee to investigate the prosecution and conduct of the
Attorney-General in "politically motivated prosecutions", Masvingo MP Tongai
Matutu said President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
his deputy Arthur Mutambara should pardon incarcerated MPs.

His motion comes in the wake of recent prosecutions and convictions of
MDC-T MPs that has resulted in the party losing influential representation
in the House of Assembly.

Deputy Minister of Youth, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, who was arrested on
Tuesday for allegedly stealing a cellphone belonging to war veterans leader
Joseph Chinotimba, becomes the latest lawmaker to be prosecuted. Already
five MDC MPs have been convicted and sentenced with custodial sentences in
what the party described as "trumped up charges".

Matutu's motion said: "Further disturbed by a clear and deliberate
policy of whittling down the MDC majority in the House of Assembly, this
House unreservedly condemns the unwarranted convictions and continuous
selective application of the law." The mover also pushed for the "immediate
withdrawal, reversal and quashing of all convictions or pending

 "Our plea to the principals is to find a way you can secure the
pardon of these people," he said
Matutu accused the AG's office of "selectively applying" the law
against MDC-T MPs since opening of the lower House last August.

He cited the arrest and conviction of Zaka North MP Earnest Mudavanhu
on charges of abusing government agricultural inputs. He said if "put to
task" he would name Zanu PF legislators implicated in agricultural inputs

"Why are those people who destroyed his home and confisticated his
beasts (during the run up to last June's presidential election runoff) not
being prosecuted? If we want to be fair, why is it that these members of
parliament are easily prosecuted and convicted," Matutu asked.

"If you (the AG's office) continue to selectively apply the law you
are saying you don't want national healing and the inclusive government. Is
it that we are thugs or victims of a system that would result in the
depleting of MDC members in parliament?" he asked.

Mazowe Central MP Shepherd Mushonga who seconded the motion criticised
the Attorney-General's office for not prosecuting suspects linked to eight
deaths of MDC supporters killed in "broad daylight" at Chaona farm last

"The role of the Attorney-General is to prosecute not persecute," he
said. "We don't want persecution, we want prosecution - a display of
professionalism. It is not about Tomana but the office (AG's office) should
be held above board. We don't want to personalise the office of the AG, we
don't want youthful enthusiasm in that office, and we want the AG to know
the consequences of what he is doing."

Zanu PF legislators Edward Raradza and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti however
opposed the motion.

"If we continue opening these boxes (of past misdemeanors), then there
is nowhere we are going as an inclusive government," Raradza said.

Bhasikiti said prosecuting perpetrators for offences committed during
the presidential runoff had "no room in the Global Political Agreement".

"I have respect for the Honourable member (Matutu) but I have contempt
for his motion," he said.


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Govt in Rush to Fulfil GPA

Thursday, 30 July 2009 21:35
THE inclusive government is now in a rush to resolve some of the
outstanding issues of the global political agreement (GPA) ahead of next
month's Sadc Summit that will, among other things, review the pact.

Sadc leaders will meet for the regional bloc's annual summit in line
with their resolution in January to assess progress made in the
implementation of the GPA - signed last September - and the effectiveness of
the unity government since its formation in February.

Impeccable sources in government said the rush to resolve and
implement provisions of the GPA was meant to appease Sadc, which recently
got a letter of complaint from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his
deputy Arthur Mutambara on the unwillingness of President Robert Mugabe and
Zanu PF to resolve the outstanding issues.

Tsvangirai and Mutambara wrote to Sadc chairperson, South African
president Jacob Zuma, asking the regional bloc to intervene and resolve
outstanding issues on the rehiring of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and
the appointment of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana last year.

The premier and his deputy want the appointments rescinded.

Besides the Gono and Tomana issues, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara
have until recently failed to agree on other outstanding matters, among them
the appointment of provincial governors, ambassadors and permanent
secretaries, the meeting of the Zimbabwe National Security Council and the
Council of Ministers and media reforms.

This week, government made pronouncements in line with fulfilling the
provisions of the GPA.
For the first time since 2 000, government said the BBC and CNN were
free to resume operations in the country.

This followed separate meetings between Media minister Webster Shamu,
permanent secretary George Charamba, and principal director Sylvester
Maunganidze and BBC and CNN representatives in the past fortnight.

In letters to the two broadcasters, Shamu said government acknowledged
"the need to put behind us the mutually ruinous relationship of the past".

The move to allow back the two broadcasters is in line with expected
media reforms that will culminate in the licensing of new media outlets,
both print and electronic.

Government also made an announcement that it will uphold the people's
right to demonstrate as long as they followed laid-down procedures, among
them, notifying the police to guarantee peace and security during the

"It would be inviting chaos, for example, if persons anywhere, anytime
were allowed to hold public processions or gatherings in public places
without the knowledge of the police," co-Home Affairs minister Giles
Mutsekwa told journalists on Tuesday. "The obvious result will be the mayhem
that will be created by vehicular and human traffic, particularly in
built-up areas such as towns and cities."

The Zimbabwe National Security council, which replaced the Joint
Operations Command, met yesterday for the first time after the inclusive
government despite that in terms of the law it should "meet at least once in
every calendar month".

The council is made up of the president and vice presidents, the
premier and deputy premiers, ministers responsible for finance, defence
forces, the police force and one minister nominated by each of the three
political parties in the GPA.

The Minister of National Security, Chief Secretary to the President
and Cabinet, Secretary to the Premier and commanders of the defence forces,
the army and air force, commissioner-general of police, commissioner of
prisons and director-general of the CIO are ex-officio members of the

The council, among other things, review national policies on security,
defence and law and order - recommending or directing appropriate action.

The council, it was alleged, never met before because service chiefs
were not cooperative because they were against the formation of the
inclusive government.

Besides the meeting of the security council, the Council of Ministers
chaired by Tsvangirai met on Wednesday and its meetings have now been made

Government has also started the process of national healing, cohesion
and unity in respect of victims of pre and post-Independence political
conflict as espoused in the GPA.

Two months ago, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara resolved the issue of
the appointment of provincial governors, ambassadors and permanent

In September, the MDC-T will appoint five governors in Masvingo,
Harare, Mutare, Manicaland and Matabeleland North, while Zanu PF will have
four governors in Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West
and Midlands. The MDC-M will have one governor in Matabeleland South.

On the issue of permanent secretaries, the three principals agreed to
retain the incumbents because of their experience and that they were career
civil servants appointed on the basis of their qualifications.
The principals also agreed on the allocation of diplomatic posts to
the MDC-T and MDC-M.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara resolved that the MDC-T would appoint
four diplomats and MDC-M one.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Gorden Moyo, said:
"There has been consensus on the diplomatic postings among the parties and
the countries that are vacant at the moment are Nigeria, Sudan, Germany,
Australia and Senegal."

MDC-T will have ambassadors in Nigeria, Sudan, Germany and Australia
and the MDC-M in Senegal.
Moyo said the ambassadors-designate would be posted after undergoing a
diplomatic course next month.

"The new ambassadors will undergo training for three weeks starting on
August 3 and immediately after completing training they will be posted to
their new stations," Moyo said.

He, however, could not be drawn to reveal the names of the five people
seconded as ambassadors-designate.

"The principals agreed in principle on the available posts, but they
will be meeting when vacancies arise to decide on how to fill the posts,"
Moyo said.

The resolution of the Gono and Tomana issues, sources said, could drag
on as Mugabe is insisting that he appoint them in line with the constitution
and that provisions of the supreme law superseded those of the memorandum of
understanding (MoU) the parties signed in July last year.

The MoU barred Mugabe from making any senior appointments in
government until an inclusive government was formed.

By Constantine Chimakure/ Loughty Dube

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Mawere Battles to Recover Money 'taken' by Gwaradzimba

Thursday, 30 July 2009 21:31
TAP (Zambia) Ltd, a subsidiary of Africa Resources Ltd (ARL) in which
exiled Zimbabwean tycoon Mutumwa Mawere is the ultimate shareholder, is
intensifying efforts to recover about US$700 000 collected by SMM Holdings
(Pvt) Ltd administrator Arafas Gwaradzimba.

The move will add to growing pressure on Gwaradzimba to return Mawere's
companies, some of which have been sold under unclear circumstances.

The latest move will help expose murky management of ARL and SMM
affairs. It is also likely to increase calls for a parliamentary
investigation into the saga which has drawn in President Robert Mugabe,
Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa,
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and many other players lurking in the
background. There are ongoing talks at the highest level of government to
resolve the issue.

Mugabe and Gono want Mawere to get back his assets as part of the
process to close the chapter of lawlessness and company seizures, while
Chinamasa, Mnangagwa and Gwaradzimba have said the courts should decide the
fate of the company.

Gwaradzimba is getting a staggering 6% of gross SMM proceeds and earns
more than shareholders. SMM used to generate US$400 million annually.

While all the other players have defined interests in the issue, it is
not clear how Mnangagwa comes in.
TAP has been persistently pushing to recover its monies from

Kaleb Robinson Zulu, TAP chairman, wrote a letter on March 23 to
Finance minister Tendai Biti asking for assistance to recover the funds
taken by Gwradzimba.

The letter, also copied to Industry and Commerce minister Welshman
Ncube and his Regional Integration and International Cooperation counterpart
Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga, asked Biti to help TAP to recover a sum of
US$698 688,75 from Gwaradzimba which he took in his capacity as a government
agent after being appointed SMM administrator.

Although ARL and SMM have no direct corporate structural connection,
Mawere is the ultimate shareholder of both of them.

The letter said after he was appointed SMM administrator via a
presidential powers-designed instrument, Gwaradzimba arrived in Zambia and
assumed "control, management and all plenary powers of shareholders,
directors and officials of TAP Building Products Ltd with effect of 30
January 2006".

Substantive TAP shareholders however fought Gwaradzimba in the Zambian
Supreme Court and won in a ruling on June 13 2008, restoring their rights
and control of the company.

But by that time Gwaradzimba had managed to extract about US$700 000
from TAP.

"TAP Zambia Ltd's operations have been adversely affected by the
extraction of funds by the administrator," the letter says. "We humbly seek
your assistance and advice in the recovery of these funds given that Mr AM
Gwaradzimba was acting as an agent of the Zimbabwe government."

Former SMM chairman William Mudekunye was in Zambia two weeks ago in a
bid to recover the US$700 000. He met government officials and TAP board

Documents show Gwaradzimba's company, AMG Global, was paid US$345 829,
98, Mulenga Mundashi and Company, a law firm which worked closely with SMM
lawyers in Zimbabwe US$127 346, 10, board members US$111 679,11 in fees,
board members' accommodation and flight tickets $25 639, 27, and auditors
PricewaterhouseCoopers US$89 594,29, bringing the total amount to US$700


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Zimind Journalists' Case Referred to Supreme Court

Thursday, 30 July 2009 21:27
A HARARE court yesterday granted an application by Zimbabwe
Independent editor Vincent Kahiya and news editor Constantine Chimakure,
facing allegations of "publishing falsehoods prejudicial to the state", to
refer their case to the Supreme Court arguing that the charge violated their
constitutional rights to freedom of expression.

Magistrate Moses Murendo granted the application and remanded the
editors to November 24 after upholding the state decision for the editors to
remain on remand.

The journalists are jointly charged with the Independent's finance
director, Michael Curling.

Kahiya and Chimakure are charged with publishing or communicating
falsehoods when they published a story in May revealing the names of law
enforcement agents involved in last year's abductions of Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and civic activists.

The story titled, "Activist abductors named -- CIO, police role in
activists' abduction revealed", stated that notices of indictment for trial
in the High Court served on some of the activists revealed that the
activists were either in the custody of the country's notorious Central
Intelligence Organisation or police during the period they were reported

In his ruling, Murendo said while the state argues that the story in
question was not in the interest of defence and public safety, the media had
an obligation in the public interest to inform them of matters relating to
their safety. Murendo said since state security agents failed to come
forward to claim custody of the supposedly missing people, the development
undermined public safety.

"The application to have the matter referred to the Supreme Court is
not frivolous and vexatious," Murendo ruled. "The court feels that not
referring the matter to the Supreme Court will be wrongful."

Kahiya and Chimakure are challenging the constitutionality of Section
31 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, which they are charged

In their application made through lawyer Innocent Chagonda, the
journalists stated that Section 31 of the Act, which attracts a maximum
sentence of 20 years, is unconstitutional.

The defence team said the penalty of a 20-year sentence imposed by
Section 31 is so heavy and disproportionate to the offence that it infringes
Section 20 of the bill of rights.

Section 20 of the constitution of Zimbabwe guarantees the right to
freedom of expression.

Chagonda also filed a second application in which he wants the Supreme
Court to determine whether two law officers from the Attorney-General's
Office, namely Michael Mugabe and Morgan Dube, cited as state witnesses, can
act as both complainants and prosecutors at the same time in the case.

The two journalists submitted that as journalists, the very nature of
their job obliges them to write on a regular basis, a task which they cannot
safely or efficiently execute if they live in constant fear of arrest for
their writings.


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Flawed Draft Constitution Faces Rejection - Convention

Thursday, 30 July 2009 21:23
GOVERNMENT should immediately halt the parliament-led
constitution-making process or risk the rejection of a draft constitution
resulting from the flawed procedure at a referendum, a National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA)-convened second National People's
Constitutional Convention recommended this week.

The convention, which was held on Monday at the Aquatic Complex in
Chitungwiza and attended by thousands of delegates drawn from the NCA, the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the Zimbabwe National Students
Union, Zimbabwe Chamber of the Informal Economy Associations, National
Council for Disabled Persons in Zimbabwe, human rights and youth
organisations, said there was need for an independent and democratic
constitutional reform process.

"If the inclusive government and/or parliament do not heed our call to
cease forthwith the constitutional reform process as outlined in Article VI
of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), we will actively seek a rejection
of any draft constitution produced by the same process through campaigning
for a "No" vote should that draft be brought to a referendum," read the
resolutions of the one-day convention.

The rejection, the convention said, would be a recommitment to the
principles and resolutions articulated 10 years ago by the first National
Working Peoples' Convention as well as the first People's Constitutional
Convention in 1999 and as outlined as recently as 2008 in the Zimbabwe
People's Charter.

It agreed that from next month, delegates should expand civic
education and lead Zimbabweans to campaign for a democratic constitution.

Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairperson, said the MDC-T had lost
direction by dining and wining with President Robert Mugabe and embracing
the current parliament-led constitution-making process.

He said the major objectives the MDC was formed for were to remove
Mugabe and write a democratic people-driven supreme law.

"We once worked together with (Prime Minister Morgan) Tsvangirai. We
were one, being jailed and beaten together fighting for the same cause. In
1999 he was the one standing here fighting for the same thing we are
fighting for today," Madhuku said amid applause and chanting of slogans.
"But today the new gospel of MDC is Mugabe wanaka, (after) failing to remove
him from power.

We might have elected them (MDC) and served jail terms with them but
it does not give them a licence to write a constitution for us."

He said the NCA's "take charge" campaign is a platform to tell
politicians that they should not treat Zimbabweans "like fools".

"People of Zimbabwe, for how long do you want our politicians to treat
us as fools? Ten years ago they came up with a Chidyausiku Commission
appointed by the president. Now they come back 10 years later with a
parliamentary select committee which does not know who its leader is. Is it
(Lovemore) Moyo, (Austin) Zvoma, (Eric) Matinenga, the co-chairpersons or
the three principals?" Madhuku asked.

He urged people not to tolerate a constitution led by politicians whom
he said should focus on their duties of improving the standards of living of
the people.

Madhuku said: "It does not mean we don't want the politicians. We want
them, but to lead our country.

We want them to put safe water and electricity in our homes, to build
schools for our children, to build hospitals and help curb HIV and Aids, we
want them to build us roads, we want jobs and better salaries.

That is their main role. MPs were not elected to write a constitution.

"The people have their own role, that is to elect leaders of our own
choice, the role to write our own constitution and the right to hold these
leaders accountable if they fail to deliver. We do not want the MPs to write
the constitution for us. Today we are saying once and for all enough is

The ZCTU took a dig at the MDC-T for deviating from its founding
manifesto in 1999, which was subsequently adopted by its inaugural congress
on February 28 2000, that the party "rejects the current appointed
constitutional commission under the Commission of Inquiry Act, and will
facilitate the writing of a people's constitution through a constitutional
commission defined by and accountable to a conference of representatives of
elected, civil and other social groups, after mass education" on the

Wellington Chibebe, the ZCTU secretary-general, said demanding a
people-driven constitution should be a top priority for Zimbabweans.

"We see the divisions and parallel thinking that is going on within
us. Some are now indicating left when they want to turn right, there is
bound to be an accident," Chibebe told the delegates. "Politicians think we
want to take their power. No! We don't want that. We are only preparing the
future of our children."

Zinasu president Clever Bere said his organisation felt insulted by
political parties that were pretending that the constitution-making process
is people-driven.

Bere said: "It is indeed naïve, parochial and stupid for our
colleagues in MDC to expect us to follow them as they rush with the baton
stick into the mountains instead of either handing it over to those with
reserves of energy to continue with the struggle or sprint to the finishing

"We are further disappointed by the continued insult to our
intelligence by the drivers of this Pilsner-driven process, who continue to
blatantly lie to us that this process is people-driven."

He said the parliament select committee and the three principles must
be stopped.

"(Douglas) Mwonzora and (Paul) Mangwana must be stopped. Mugabe and
Tsvangirai must be stopped.

The Biti, Welshman, Chinamasa whisky-driven Kariba draft must be
stopped. Never, never, shall we allow politicians of the day to manipulate
the people of this country using their popularity," said Bere.

Benjamin Ranga of Mutare who claimed to be a member of the MDC-T said
he was disappointed by the way Tsvangirai was behaving.

"I will go and tell Morgan Tsvangirai: where are you getting lost?
Dzoka uyamwe (don't leave the struggle)," Ranga said.

Winnifrida Chisiri, who claimed to be an MDC-T committee member of
Zone three in Harare South at Hopley Farm, also had no kind words for her
party president.

Chisiri said: "Ini ndoda Tsvangirai kudarika kuda kwandinoita sadza (I
love Tsvangirai more than I love sadza) but I think he is now taking the
wrong direction. My house was petrol bombed to nothing and up until now the
MDC has done nothing. MDC does not have any powers, it is being oppressed.

"MDC should come together with NCA and put to an end to the current
oppression. I want to feel safe. I want to be protected by the law and I
want perpetrators of the June (2008) violence arrested."


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The Constitution no one Wants

Thursday, 30 July 2009 21:10
THE Constitution-making process set in motion by the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) is going to be messy; very messy - and futile too.

The reason for this is very simple: in spite of all the utterances to
the contrary, none of the three political parties in the government nor
their leaders desires the new Constitution; not Robert Mugabe, not Morgan
Tsvangirai, not Arthur Mutambara, and come to think of it, not Lovemore
Madhuku, the National Constitutional Assembly chairman.

So, the likely scenario is this: Zimbabwe is stuck with the inclusive
government until at least 2013. But the tragedy is that the inclusive
government is not, strictly speaking, a legitimate government if legitimacy
is determined by the will of the people to chose their leaders.

Zimbabweans need not be reminded that of the three so-called
principals one won an inconclusive election in March 2008, the other "won" a
brutal one in June of the same year while the third did not win anything.

The people of Zimbabwe deserve the right to be led by legitimate
leaders hence they yearn for a new national charter which will allow them to
elect their rulers in a free and fair poll recognised by them and the
international community.

This should be done within the stipulated 24 months; anything outside
that framework would be tantamount to political fraud.

As it stands, the search for a new charter may turn out to be the
mythical "Quest for the Golden Fleece"; in the labyrinthine
liberation-war-versus-basic-tenets-of-democracy rhetorical matrix, writing
it will take guile, violence and intrigue.

The trouble is, if the constitution is written according to the letter
and spirit of the GPA and enables a truly free and fair election, that may
mean the end of many political careers: no one among the so-called
principals to the GPA can claim safety in the elections which should come
after the constitution has been written. As one Soviet-era strongman once
said: "The danger with free and fair elections is that no one knows who wins

President Mugabe is overly aware of this after the March 2008 poll and
before that the February 2000 constitutional referendum.

Revelations by Mutambara on July 18 that Mugabe had not told the whole
truth when saying he had not been invited to the opening ceremony of the
all-stakeholders meeting the previous Monday is instructive about his
attitude towards the whole process.

His insistence on the Kariba draft as the basis of the new
constitution also betrays the fear he has got for a truly people-driven
charter which does not treat him as a sacred cow.

Tsvangirai might still be basking in the glory of beating Mugabe to
the wire in March 2008 but the scenario could be vastly different in another
two years. Many political commentators are already beginning to see
corruption creeping in among his foot soldiers; and also a nascent arrogance
towards the electorate which is not only disturbing but could again remind
us of that major tragedy of African politics: the propensity for

In the new crop of parliamentarians formerly from the opposition one
can already begin to see what we tongue-in-cheek used to call "the
collective instinct", a dark euphemism for the acquisitiveness of Zanu PF
politicians. See how they are grabbing US$30 000 cars when schools have no

A senior MDC-T cabinet minister once said, to avoid a repeat of the
violence of June last year, the process of national healing must be allowed
to run uninterrupted for five years before an election can be called.

There may be a point in this, but such thinking can also be
disingenuous, disguising a wish to remain on the gravy train for as long as
circumstances allow.

As for the smaller MDC led by Mutambara, the writing is on the wall.
They will need a miraculous metamorphosis in the next 20 months to transform
themselves into something remotely resembling a national political party.

An election in 24 months may completely sweep them away. See the
infighting that has already rocked the party. Hence you find Mutambara aver
for the idea of the inclusive government going for five years without the
inconvenience of an election.

Madhuku has carved a niche for himself in the Zimbabwean political
landscapes; like him or not, he will always be lurking in the darkness. In
the present debate on who should lead the constitution-making process his is
logic right - very right - in saying politicians should not lead the process
but his stance not to support is too cut in stone to be out of pure

If he and his allies in civil society succeed in the process of
writing "a people-driven Constitution" how will they force their charter
into the mainstream politics for endorsement unless they stand as a
political formation in an election?

The NCA is almost like a political party of the British Lib Dems
tradition which although never coming to the fore is always there; it would
not be surprising if it launches itself in the near future as a full-fledged
party on the strength of this. An election in two years' time might close
Madhuku's space completely, hence he has distanced himself from the
parliament-led process.

So what is the likely scenario in the constitution-making process?

Messrs Mangwana, Mwonzora and Coltart will cobble up a sort of
compromise draft document which will be rejected at the poll.

The MDC-T leadership may half-heartedly support it on the assumption
that, given half a chance, they could win the subsequent election, but those
of its members in unsafe constituencies will bite the process in the back by
campaigning for a "No" vote at the referendum, hoping to extend their stay
in power a little longer.

Zanu PF will pay lip-service to the writing process while using their
grassroots structures to mobilise against it, because Zanu PF faces the
greatest real chance of its total demise as a political formation in an
internationally monitored free and fair poll, hence their harping for the
Kariba draft.

In their campaign against the draft constitution they will get willing
allies in Madhuku and his civil society cohort which is already playing into
the hands of Zanu PF. Madhuku, if he is to be taken seriously, should work
within the parliament-led process.

Meanwhile time will be ticking away and the inclusive government will
be with us until 2013 with all the horrendous implications.

According to Greek mythographers the golden fleece of the winged ram
which Jason sought represented the ideas of legitimacy, hence the journey of
Jason to find it in order to restore legitimate rule to his father's

But there are too many people in the present Zimbabwean political fray
who can never again earn legitimacy in a democratic manner.

They would therefore hide behind the GPA Trojan Horse and trudge along
clogged by their violent history, much to the detriment of the majority. We
need someone with Jason's vision to regain the Golden Fleece.

*Nevanji Madanhire was editor of the Business Tribune banned in 2004.


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Hurdles lie in Wait for National Healing Process

Thursday, 30 July 2009 18:01
THE national healing process being spearheaded by the inclusive
government is a noble idea that was long overdue. But it will face several
hurdles as there is no consensus on what underlies it or the appropriate
transitional justice to follow, analysts have said.

The analysts said the major obstacle was that the process is driven by
political figures bent on fostering a cover-up to political crimes committed
before and after the liberation struggle - hence it lacked credibility.

In line with the global political agreement (GPA) signed last
September, the inclusive government set up an organ to "properly advise on
what measures might be necessary and practicable to achieve national
healing, cohesion and unity" in respect of victims of pre- and
post-Independence political conflict.

The Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration is
co-managed by three ministers -- John Nkomo (Zanu PF), Sekai Holland (MDC-T)
and consultant Gibson Sibanda (MDC-M).

Sibanda lost his ministerial post after failing to secure a
parliamentary seat within the prescribed three months of his appointment. He
is now doing consultancy work for the organ.

But since the organ was formed there is no general agreement on an
array of issues - will victims be compensated, should perpetrators face
prosecution or be pardoned and will a truth and reconciliation commission be
set up?

There are also questions on who should really lead the national
healing between politicians, the church and civil society.

Religious groupings are of the opinion that the church should lead the
process as Zanu PF and the two MDC formations "lack the morality to conduct
it as they are the originators" of this conflict.

Other civic groups have called for the process to be modelled along
the lines of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, amid
suspicion that the government wanted to grant a blanket amnesty to
perpetrators of violence, intimidation and abductions during the country's
political chaos.

Academic and human rights activist based at the University of
Westminster in London, Brilliant Mhlanga, said there are dangers associated
with a national healing process spearheaded by politicians.

"It is very difficult to clearly state who should qualify to spearhead
the process of national healing without being understood as being divisive
in a state that suffers so much of polarity like Zimbabwe," Mhlanga said.

"Further, the problem arises when the process is headed by political
figures that are merely bent on fostering a cover-up of the crimes committed
so as to post finality to whatever issue is at hand, thereby creating a
farce which has a way of haunting future generations. It becomes a good case
of national healing process which is conjured and managed by politicians as
a niche for elite transition."

Speaking at the launch of the three days of national dedication to
national healing last Friday, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said for the
process to achieve its goals the people of Zimbabwe should take ownership of

"The methods that will be employed for this essential process cannot
be prescriptive or imposed upon the people, but must be chosen and endorsed
by the people if we are going to achieve the goal of truly healing our
nation," Tsvangirai said.

Though this might be a noble move, analysts warned politicians with a
guilty conscience of past deeds might still control the process.

"Another point which is worth emphasising is that as much as
politicians might be involved from the sidelines and behind the curtain to
the puppet theatre, people who are fronted here are those characters with
some kind of stature in society," Mhlanga said. "In Zimbabwe, the situation
is completely different.

Robert Mugabe is still in power, and he remains the main perpetrator
of all these crimes and most of his criminals who are answerable for the
Gukurahundi genocide, for example, are still in control of various
structures of the state. This makes the whole notion of national healing a

Paul Siwela of Zapu said national healing could only be achieved if
victims and perpetrators of violence since 1980 were identified.

"All efforts should be made to identify the victim and the
perpetrators for a face to face meeting. A majority of both victims and
perpetrators are still alive. The perpetrators should explain why they
undertook violence as that would help heal the wounds," he said.

Siwela said it was of no use if the perpetrators were unmasked as
victims would continue to carry grudges.
Tsvangirai called for the establishment of a truth and reconciliation
commission to look at atrocities that go back to the pre-Independence era,
but President Robert Mugabe is yet to make a pronouncement on the issue.

The premier said Zimbabweans had suffered many phases of trauma,
upheaval and conflict and that any attempt at national healing should go
beyond the 2008 atrocities and stretch as far back as before the country's
Independence in 1980.

He said: "We must look back resolutely to the pre-Independence era,
the post-Independence Matabeleland massacres and the more recent political
violence that has torn at the fabric of our society. Many of our people have
suffered under each of the phases of our evolution to the Zimbabwe that
exists today."

He said "as leaders we must ensure that there is no cover-up" of past

Though human right groups support Tsvangirai, he might face stumbling
blocks from his partner in the inclusive government - Mugabe, who some say
personally ordered deployment of the army's North Korean-trained 5th Brigade
in Matabeleland and the Midlands, ostensibly to stop an armed insurrection
against his rule.

Mugabe has since called the killings in the provinces a "moment of
madness" but he has never personally accepted responsibility for the
civilian murders or formally apologised.

The political violence that characterised last year's elections has
been an emotive issue since Tsvangirai joined Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara in
the coalition government in February.

Security chiefs and Zanu PF chefs have tried to derail the unity
government unless they are guaranteed immunity from prosecution.

They do not want to face the courts and fear that exposure of their
crimes could threaten ill-gotten gains such as farms.

The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association said in addressing past
injustices in the national healing process "women must be actively involved
in transitional justice mechanism at all levels".

"Transitional justice must effectively address the core underlying
reasons for gender-based violence; violence can simply be transported into
the home in post-conflict situations. Government must create domestic courts
and tribunals that are fully capacitated to prosecute gender-based crimes to
prevent impunity for gender based-crimes," it said.

On compensation, there are sentiments from some quarters that there
will be no forgiveness as long as perpetrators of violence have not been
made to account for their actions and victims compensated.

Siwela said compensation should not be monetary only, but can be
through empowering the area where the atrocities were committed by providing
basic infrastructure.

\"Government should provide free education, medication and create more
job opportunities for people in marginalised areas. This might help in
reconciliation," said Siwela.

He added that government should handle national healing carefully as
the situation in some areas was still tense.

  "Whoever is leading the process should be serious and careful about
this issue, it is a potentially explosive case if not handled properly. Some
people are still bitter with the current leadership and they should be aware
of that," he said.


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We are Ready to Intervene in Zim -- Zuma

Thursday, 30 July 2009 21:51
SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma has said Sadc and continental
structures will intervene in Zimbabwe "if provisions of democracy" are

In a written response to a question in parliament from Democratic
Alliance leader in the House, Athol Trolip, on the outcome of a probe by
retired South African army generals into political violence before last year's
presidential election run-off, Zuma said the region and the continent would
not watch Zimbabwe sliding into chaos.

Trolip had asked Zuma whether he would make public the report made by
the retired generals to investigate the role of the military in violence and
also wanted to know if the president would send them back to Zimbabwe to
probe reports of continued intimidation and harassment of MDC members and

Zuma said South Africa would not make public the findings of the
generals because they did not submit a written report to then president,
Thabo Mbeki, who had sent them to Zimbabwe.

He said the generals had "verbally" briefed Mbeki on the situation in
the country then.

Zuma said there was no need to send the generals back to Zimbabwe
because the formation of the inclusive government in February had resulted
in politically motivated violence subsiding.

"We have noted that since the establishment of the coalition
government in Zimbabwe the nature and extent of violence has subsided," Zuma
said. "We are confident that the current coalition government will make
greater efforts to make certain that there is widespread respect and
promotion for the rule of law and human rights, including political rights
and freedom of association."


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Parly Committee Cannot be Autonomous –– Zvoma

THE country’s constitution-making process has been mired in controversy amid reports that the 25-member parliamentary select committee spearheading the process has written to the principals of the global political agreement –– President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara –– asking for autonomy after “clashes” with parliament’s administration headed by Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma.

Our News Editor Constantine Chimakure on Monday met Zvoma at his Parliament Building offices to get an insight on what is going on. Below are the excerpts.

: What is your role and that of parliament’s administration in the constitution-making process?

: There is need to clarify what the administration of parliament means. Administration of parliament, in the context that it has been reported in the media, seems to suggest two levels. At the first level, it is that the speaker of the house of assembly, the president of the senate and their deputies are part of the administration of parliament and, at the second level, it is clear that reference is to the clerk and staff of parliament.
For the avoidance of doubt it is important to clarify this when people talk about what the administration of parliament is doing or is interfering in. Administration of parliament strictly refers to staff of parliament headed by the clerk of parliament who provides support services to parliament and all its committees. When I say all its committees, that is to say any committee called a parliamentary or select committee of parliament is part and parcel of our responsibility in so far as service provision is concerned.
The speaker (of parliament), the president of the senate and their deputies, sometimes called presiding officers, who provide policy guidelines, are members of the Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) with the speaker and the president of the senate being the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the SROC.
The SROC is the policy-making body of parliament which is established by the constitution for the purposes of running the affairs of parliament. It is the appointing authority of all committees of parliament, committees of the house of assembly, committees of the senate. For the avoidance of doubt, the SROC –– whose composition and mandate were expanded by Amendment No 19 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe –– is provided for in Standing Order No 14 of both the house of assembly and the senate. Its mandate is as follows: “There shall be for the life of parliament a committee to be designated a committee on Standing Rules and Orders which shall consider and decides all such matters concerning parliament as it shall deem fit”.
The SROC appoints all the committees of parliament. So, interpreting Article VI of the GPA, the SROC met in March and appointed, using a consultative process, the select committee on the new constitution in terms of that political agreement. The process of constituting that committee was completed early April and the membership of the committee was finalised and announced by the speaker of the house of assembly (Lovemore Moyo). The terms of reference of the select committee, which are in the GPA, are unambiguous.
Among others, the terms of reference provide for the setting up of a select committee of parliament composed of representatives of the parties to the agreement…

: From your explanation, then what is a select committee of parliament?

: In terms of the rules of parliament in the standing orders –– in terms of its reporting structure and operational parameters –– a select committee of parliament is the same as other committees of parliament, portfolio and thematic.
They (committees) fall generally within the policy framework of a committee of parliament and this is not different from any other select committees anywhere else.
Admittedly, this is a historic and important exercise of national significance and, therefore, requires more resources than ordinary committees. The volume of work, because of the time frame, is much more. The level of operation in terms of reaching out to ensure that the process is people-driven requires a lot of resources, but that is to say parliament, which relies for allocation from central government and from donors, has to secure and obtain adequate resources to meet the requirements of the select committee.

Are you saying the committee’s demand for autonomy is misplaced and unfounded? It is bound by the rules of parliament despite being a creature of the GPA?

Zvoma: It’s a committee of parliament. If the principals (of the GPA) intended it to be independent and autonomous then probably they omitted that part, but that raises other questions. If it is a committee of parliament, how can a committee of parliament become autonomous from its m`other body? I am unable to answer that because the principals and the drafters of the agreement will be the best placed people to address that.

Chimakure: What do you then say to the decision by the select committee to write to the principals asking for autonomy? Co-select committee chairperson Paul Mangwana told the media that they had written to the principals.

: I am not aware whether they have written the letter or not. I have read that they have written, so if they have written we will await the response, but suffice it to say, what I am confident to comment on is the existing provisions and arrangements.
The provision of support services in terms of policy direction and policy compliance with existing regulations, presiding officers –– on behalf the SROC which does not meet on a daily basis –– are mandated to ensure that activities of parliament are undertaken within the given policy framework.
The administration of parliament’s (the clerk of parliament and his staff), responsibility is to provide support services in compliance with existing regulations.  The committee’s terms of reference are clear and are not in conflict with those regulations.
The presiding officers would not dictate to the committee to say we don’t want you to propose this or that in steering the constitution-making process because the select committee’s role is clearly stated, that it is one of facilitating rather than writing the constitution.
In the same way that the presiding officers and staff in their respect roles facilitate the work of the committee through the provision of resources, policy direction, secretariat and logistical support services, the committee itself is also enjoined to facilitate the writing of the constitution by the people and for the people in a transparent, democratic and inclusive manner, which is what the GPA says, not the SROC or the administrators of parliament want.

: Is the clash between your administration and the select committee to do with donor funds? Who is the Non-State Sector Forum who paid allowances to 500 of the 2 000 delegates who attended the first All-Stakeholders Conference a fortnight ago and why were the payments not disclosed to the committee?

Zvoma: What is the clash? I don’t see the clash. We have produced a preliminary report of our accounts for the first All-Stakeholders Conference. The committee was briefed throughout the process on the source of funds, being UNDP, Ministry of Finance, the group of Western European countries and USAid. This organisation called the Non-State Actors Forum is an NGO registered in this country, which receives funding from the Western donors –– the European Commission –– and part of the understanding was that funds they receive as part of their work is to promote the work of NGOs end use.
There was an agreement that they would pay the approved transport refunds and meal allowances as part and parcel of the figure of US$968 000 for which an undertaking was given in writing by the Western donors.

Chimakure: Why then the outcry from Mangwana and his committee if everything was done above board?

Zvoma: I cannot answer that. I can only explain what really happened. That question can be best put to Honourable Mangwana and the select committee. For the record, UNDP undertook to provide US$300 000, USAid US$300 000, DFID US$150 000, European Commission, US$150 000 and the Swedish Foreign Ministry US$100 000. From funds allocated by the European Commission, the Non-State Actors Forum paid for 500 delegates from the NGO sector and youth. This is fact.
When parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, or any committee, holds a workshop either in Kadoma, Kariba or wherever, they will ask for resources from the administration. When the resources are made available, members of the committee go to the function and in line with the objective of its workshop, it holds its workshop and on its return, produces its report. The committee does not say we want to physically handle the money.  That is how committees of parliament operate.

Chimakure: The MDC-T has issued a statement accusing you of being “economical” with the truth when you addressed a press conference after the All-Stakeholders’ Conference and that you reportedly blamed NGOs for causing chaos on the first day. Your response?

Zvoma: I never made such a statement. If anyone says that, they are the ones being economical with the truth. What I explained was that I agreed with Honourable Mangwana and other members who said the conference was rushed because the committee was not ready. I explained that decisions related to the dates, budget and delegates categories were made at the last minute and there is evidence to that effect. I never accused any organisation of causing the chaos or problems.

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Biti, Mudzuri meet over fuel levies

Thursday, 30 July 2009 19:09
THE price of fuel is set to come down following a decision by the
Minister of Finance Tendai Biti to review fuel levies and duty.

Speaking to businessdigest yesterday, Minster for Power Development
Elias Mudzuri said following his meeting with Biti this week, they agreed on
important issues that would ensure viability and constant supplies of fuel.

"A statutory instrument would be published with regard to the revised
tariffs. We also agreed on the Noczim issue (scrapping of debt redemption),"
Mudzuri said.
"He also promised to source funding for the industry to ensure it
remains viable," he said.
This comes as Mudzuri on Monday summoned all chief executives of oil
companies to discuss their cost builds and factors affecting their
Industry executive executives who attended the meeting told
businessdigest that the major issue they wanted Mudzuri to address was the
reduction of taxes and levies.
"Oil companies are only making 7% (return), yet government is making
55% on petrol and 35% on diesel on the free on board (FOB) price, which is
the cost of the product before including cost of freight and insurance," an
official who attended the meeting said.
Officials said Mudzuri advised oil company players that he would meet
with Biti to discuss the issues which are being described as "hot and
"For an oil company to break even it needs to import a minimum of 2
000 000 litres per month, and presently that is not happening. There has
never been any funding given to oil companies over the years. If you include
overheads in their operations you find that they are operating at a loss,"
an insider said.
Players in the oil industry said it was now a "hand-to-mouth business
which was being personalised or politicised".
Asked by businessdigest about the fuel situation in Zimbabwe on
Wednesday, the principals of the Business Council of Zimbabwe (BCZ) which
formalised the apex body by appending their signatures to a constitution
that would govern it said the fuel situation needed to be addressed "as soon
as possible" as it plays a pivotal role in the revival of the economy.
The signing by their principals on Wednesday means that the BCZ, which
was formed in September last year, is now a legally constituted body.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Wilson Nyabonda said the
challenges affecting the oil industry negatively affected the economy as a
"There is need for all stakeholders to speak with one voice. If the
fuel issue is not addressed, it will affect viability of every sector and it
is proving to be inflationary," he said.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry president Kumbirai Katsande said
there was a danger that the country would price its self out of the market
if the issue was not immediately addressed.
"We must go for a low cost economy, especially when our borders are
being opened. There will be so much competition," Katsande said.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Obert Sibanda said
fuel was the backbone of industry and therefore "viable levies and taxes
need to be adopted to ensure all sectors of the economy record positive
Oil companies said the major challenge they were encountering was
paying duty upfront before other transactions were done.
They also said long-term plans that need to be addressed were to
ensure there are facilities in place to "smoothly" bring fuel into the
According to papers seen by businessdigest, oil companies, said
government should reduce carbon tax from $0,013 a litre for diesel to
$0,005, and $0,040 a litre for petrol to $0,005 per litre.
"Zimbabwe National Road Authority Road levy needs to be slashed to
$0,01 a litre of petrol and diesel," reads the document in part.
 As of yesterday the price of fuel was higher by an average of
US$0,26c compared to what the region is charging.
"We cannot squeeze revenue targets from the same volume, but rather
reduce taxes and excise duties to ensure we raise volumes especially through
diesel so that industry produces and those volumes are boosted and therefore
raise the revenue base," the document said.


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Load Shedding - More Dark Hours Ahead

Thursday, 30 July 2009 18:48
ZIMBABWE will experience increased load shedding in the short-term due
to under ground capable faults and reduced imports of electricity as
suppliers give priority to their local consumers in winter.

In an interview with businessdigest yesterday, Zesa chief executive
officer Ben Rafemoyo said the country will experience increased load
shedding in the next two weeks due to a combination of increased demand in
winter, reduced imports, faulty underground cables and sub-stations.

"What is worrying is that the meteorological department is predicting
that low temperature would persist until mid August. This means the present
electricity supply situation would persist," said Rafemoyo.
Rafemoyo said while the country was at the peak of winter - when
demand for power is high - electricity imports had declined as suppliers
gave priority to their local consumers before exporting.
"Whoever gives us power is doing so after meeting their local demand.
Supply has been declining while the gap between supply and demand is
widening," he said.
Rafemoyo said Harare and Bulawayo have been experiencing "more dark
hours" due to cable faults which feed sub-stations.
"Areas currently being affected in Harare are Mabelreign, Mount
Pleasant, Highfields, Waterfalls, Marlborough, Avondale, Bluff Hill,
Sunridge and Strathaven. This is because of technical faults being
experienced at Strathaven sub-station," said Rafemoyo.
"The fault has also affected other areas in the western suburbs as
they are receiving power from other sub-stations whose demand is already
high," he said.
In Bulawayo a cable fault at Steeldale sub-station last week affected
Khumalo, Matshemhlope, Belmont, Hillside, Famona, Malindela and Burnside.
"A fault at Forestvale last week which has since been attended to had
also affected some areas in Bulawayo," Rafemoyo said.
Areas that had been affected include Magwegwe, Lobengula, Njube,
Entumbane, Emakhandeni, Luveve and Gwabalanda.
Zimbabwe needs about 2 389 megawatts daily but has been generating
about 1 700 megawatts leaving "required imports" of 689 megawatts or 28,8%.
Last year internal generation averaged 1 000 megawatts. Rafemoyo said
demand for electricity was increasing at an average of 3% annually in the
medium to long-term.
"Estimated annual demand growth is around two percent (short-term) and
3 to 3,5%" he said.
Minister for Energy Elias Mudzuri yesterday said Zesa should
"immediately notify resident if there is a fault in their area if ratepayers
are to have confidence and maintain a good relation with them".
Meanwhile Mudzuri has announced a new board for the Zesa Holding.
The board is made up of Noah Madziva (Chairperson), former CEO
Simbarashe Mangwengwende (Deputy Chairperson), Richard Maasdrop, Francis
Chirimuuta, Andrew Nyambayo, Kurt Rietz, Stephen Hazangwi and Gwyneth Ngoma.
Rafemoyo and Zesa corporate secretary Pardon Chakanyuka are also part
of the board.


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Govt Withdraws Mines and Minerals Bill

Thursday, 30 July 2009 18:41
GOVERNMENT has withdrawn from Parliament the Mines and Minerals
Amendment Bill that sought to cede 51% of all foreign-owned mining firms to

Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary Thankful Musukutwa
said the draft law had been withdrawn to allow for consultation with all

"It is official that we have withdrawn the bill," Musukutwa said.
"This is to allow stakeholder consultation. There has been realisation that
in its present form, the bill would not be able to attract meaningful
investment. Zimbabwe competes with other countries for investors. What would
be contained in the new bill is dependent on the consultations and input
stakeholders would have put forward."

Musukutwa said government would redraft the bill to make it more
conducive to foreign investors.
He predicted an influx of foreign investors seeking mining
opportunities if the indigenous bill is "corrected".
"We need to look at the Indigenisation Bill and see where it needs to
be corrected to attract foreign investors who have been shunning us in
favour of other countries with favourable laws," said Musukutwa.
The bill, among other investor-unfriendly facets, sought to transfer a
majority stake in international mining houses to locals, including giving
the Zimbabwe government a free 25% stake. Under the draft law, foreign firms
mining strategic minerals such as coal and coal-bed methane were required to
cede 51% shareholding to government, with the state taking 25% of that for
stake free. Government was also entitled to take 25% shareholding in
precious minerals such as gold, diamonds and platinum while 26% would go to
The changes to the Mines and Minerals Act were approved by the cabinet
in 2006, but never signed into law.
Mining accounts for about 4% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 16%
of total annual foreign currency earnings to the country.
Commenting on the bill Mines and Mining Development minister Obert
Mpofu said: "It has been recalled for further scrutiny before final
submission to parliament; our aim is to ensure that the bill does not
discourage investment at the same time not compromise indigenisation. We are
currently consulting with the relevant stakeholders, once it is done, it
will be submitted to parliament."
Mpofu said capacity utilisation in the mining sector was currently at
30% but hoped to achieve 60% by the end of this year.
"We are going to achieve our target and there is no doubt about that.
Currently there is a lot of goodwill in terms of support as well as
investors coming into the country. The fact that we have liberalised, people
can now mine and market their precious minerals without restrictions. This
is likely to work to our advantage," Mpofu said.
Zimbabwe boasts huge deposits of platinum, gold, diamonds and coal
among others.
President Robert Mugabe had thrown the economic future of stressed
Zimbabweans into greater uncertainty and confusion with the declaration that
the state intended to nationalise all 500 of the country's large mines.
Mugabe at the time said the bill "would broaden participation in the
sector by indigenous players". Foreign firms that would have been affected
include the world's second biggest platinum producer, Impala Platinum, which
has widespread operations in Zimbabwe; Rio Tinto which has diamond
interests; the world's top platinum producer Anglo Platinum, which is
developing a mine in the country and Metallon Gold owned by South African
tycoon Mzi Khumalo.
Several mines in Zimbabwe have shut down in the past year, suffocated
by hyperinflation and shortages of skills, power and, foreign currency; and
lack of investment.
Critics had warned that if empowerment was not handled carefully, the
country could see a repeat of the "chaotic" land reforms.
Mining has become a pillar of the country's economy, following the
collapse of commercial farming, with gold alone generating a third of all
export revenue.
Meanwhile, an international mining conference that was scheduled to be
held in London will now be held in South Africa on Wednesday.
Having the conference in London would have jeopardised chances of some
government officials and other participants attending as they are on the
European Union travel ban.
Mpofu who was last month denied a visa to England said: "As
Zimbabweans the change of venue has been a positive move in as far as luring
lucrative investment in the country is concerned".


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Gold, Platinum Glitter for Zim

Thursday, 30 July 2009 18:37
ZIMBABWE'S platinum producers continue to lead the pack in output
while gold is expected to pick towards the last quarter of the year, a
chamber of mines report said.

Chamber of Mines president Victor Gapare said platinum mines were
operating at near full capacity despite lower international prices as
compared to last year.
He said: "Mines in the platinum sub-sector are operating near full
capacity. The mines are ramping up production from new capacity. However
prices at around US$1 200/oz are still much lower than the peak of US$2 300
seen in 2008."
Gold mines which were forced to stop operations last year owing to
unstable macro-economic environment in the country are expected to lift
year-end output to around 4 000 kg.
"Gold production is picking up considerably and as at July 24, total
gold production for the year to date was 1 400kg compared to 2 623kg
achieved during the same period last year. My own estimates are that by the
end of the year, it's feasible to have produced at least 4 000kg," Gapare's
report titled state of the mining sector said.
Metallon Gold Zimbabwe, the country's largest gold producer has
started producing while Freda Rebecca is expected to commence operations
soon. Gold prices remain very attractive above US$940 an ounce.
Metallon at its peak accounted for 60% of Zimbabwe gold output.
Hwange is still operating at around 30% of capacity.
The company is said to be refurbishing the dragline at the colliery
which should be completed by end of August.
Current demand for coal is about 350 000 tonnes a month and HCC
expects to be able to meet this demand by Q4 this year.
"What will be critical for HCC is the ability of the major customer
Zesa to pay for the coal as it is not sustainable for HCC to sell below
production cost," the report said.
Base metals and nickel mines are said to be still on care and
maintenance but BNC is remodelling its operations with a view to start
production. World prices are still well below the peaks achieved in 2008.
In ferrochrome, Zimasco is already operating at 60% capacity and will
go up to 80% by the end of August 2009.
Prices have gone up to USC89 from USC69/lb but this is still well
below the USC205 achieved during the third quarter of last year.
The chamber believes that miners should spend aggressively on
exploration going forward.
By 1993, the World Bank had identified Zimbabwe as one of the
countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that needed to spend at least US$20m per
year over a five-year period on new exploration but a myriad of economic
problems saw mines failing to meet key working capital requirements.
For the record the country's gold annual output potential, given an
environment conducive to accelerated investment and exploration, is
estimated in excess of 50 tonnes.
Output which rose to 27 tonnes in 1999 as Zimbabwe became the third
largest producer on the continent has been declining, reaching a record low
of 3,5 tonnes last year.
As of June 30 2009, gold mining companies were owed about US$30
million for gold delivered in 2008, by the Reserve Bank.
During the first quarter of 2009, there were no gold deliveries that
took place as most mining companies remained closed owing to viability
challenges in 2008. Deliveries in April and May stood at 700kg.
To date, gold dealership licences have been issued to Blanket Mine,
Forbes and Thompson, DTZ-OZEGIO of Russia, the Zimbabwe Gold Miners and
Millers Association, the Chamber of Mines and Ashanti Gold Fields.
Zimbabwe's largest gold mine, Metallon Gold, has re-opened two of its
mines, How and Shamva after getting a loan of US$15 million from Afreximbank
(US$10 million) and local financiers (US$5 million) for working capital and
refurbishment of plant and equipment. The other three remaining mines will
resume production by the end of the year.
Zimbabwe is targeting to raise gold output to 650 000 ounces annually
in the next five years depending on power availability.
Platinum production has been steadily on the increase from 500 kg in
2001 to above 5 000 kg in 2007.


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Old Mutual Pensioners mull Court Action

Thursday, 30 July 2009 18:34
PENSIONERS covered by Old Mutual are considering taking the insurance
giant to court in a bid to force the retirement fund organisation to pay
them their pensions.

This comes in the wake of reports that Old Mutual had sought approval
from the Commissioner of Insurance to start paying pension in foreign
currency - a move that pensioners says is a deliberate effort to delay
However, instead of consulting the Zimbabwe Association of Pension
Funds on a figure to pay, it emerged this week that Old Mutual wrote to its
clients that it would pay monthly pensions.
Officials at the Commissioner of Insurance's office on Wednesday told
businessdigest that Old Mutual had taken a wrong channel on the issue.
"Old Mutual, which I believe is part of the Zimbabwe Association of
Pension Funds was supposed to consult first before rushing to notify it
clients," an official said.
"The normal channel is that all pensions schemes should forward
proposals to the association and a uniform figure be determined. But in this
instance Old Mutual skipped protocol and took the wrong channel," said the
Early this month Old Mutual wrote to its clients informing them that
it had introduced two payment schemes.
Under the proposal, pensioners with pensions of less than US$20 per
month were to be paid a one off lump sum while those above US$20 should have
been paid on a monthly basis.
Payments would have commenced 14 days after the letters were sent to
clients but they were allegedly advised to stop payments by the Commissioner
of Insurance, Old Mutual claimed.
It is understood that a meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday to
address the issue.
Both the Commissioner of Insurance Manett Mpofu and Old Mutual
Managing Director, Luke Ngwerume, were not available for comment yesterday.
However, pensioners now claim that Old Mutual might not be in a sound
financial position to pay in foreign currency.
David Frost, a pensioner with Old Mutual under a contributory fund
said legal action could be the last resort.
"Should Old Mutual offer to pay pensions that are unacceptably low,
then legal action against Old Mutual staff pensions fund and Old Mutual as
underwriters should be taken," he said.


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Econet Rolls out 3G Service

Thursday, 30 July 2009 18:25
ZIMBABWE'S largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers Econet
Wireless will launch commercial 3G services alongside an expanded 2,5G data
service on August 28.

Econet chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni said the GSM operator
was ready to roll out a comprehensive package of data services based on 3G
(W-CDMA), GPRS and EDGE technologies.
Last week Businessdigest erroneously reported that the launch had been
deferred to next year.
The new range, which is scheduled to take off next month, will be
initially launched only in Harare, but extended to all major cities by the
end of the year, with the 3G service targeted at the top end of the market
and post-paid contract subscribers.
3G capacity will initially be limited to 55 000 customers. Mboweni
added that the cellco's GPRS network, which does not support video
applications but enables internet browsing and e-mail services, is already
being offered to a limited market and would now be substantially expanded
with the company's utilisation of new bandwidth.
"GPRS is also being used for other critical services such as vehicle
tracking systems and point-of-sale terminals," he said.
Regarding the introduction of EDGE services, Econet said its network
in southern parts of Zimbabwe is EDGE-ready. - Staff Writer.

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Muckraker: Is Tsvangirai that Much of a threat?

Thursday, 30 July 2009 19:42
SO, President Mugabe's idea of exclusivity and national vision is to
get rid of the NGOs working in the country. They have "exceeded their terms
of reference" by posing as "shadow governments", he charged, Louis
XIV-style, at the Global 2009 Dialogue in Uganda this week.

In fact, as the whole world knows, the NGOs have been keeping
Zimbabweans fed during the crisis spawned by Mugabe's disastrous
agricultural policies. If it had not been for their timely intervention tens
of thousands of Zimbabweans would have starved.

Now Mugabe wants them to go because they are acting as "shadow
So what's wrong with that? NGOs and anybody else for that matter are
perfectly entitled to fulfil that function, particularly when the government
itself is incapable of doing anything useful. It is called service delivery.
Their terms of reference are to provide capacity to those working for
national improvement and to help those least able to help themselves.
NGOs embarrass Mugabe by showing him what he should be doing. No
wonder he loathes them!
The Herald, which carried the story from Uganda, tried to be helpful
by claiming the Zimbabwe delegation was "hailed for setting a unique example
in Africa". It also managed to slip in the following: "The NGO community has
been accused of disrupting the recent All-Stakeholders People's Conference
in Harare."
Accused by whom? Nothing more clearly reflects the dishonesty of the
state media. Is Patrick Zhuwao an NGO activist? And what about Saviour
Kasukuwere and Joseph Chinotimba? We saw the real culprits on ZTV!
Mugabe's remarks in Uganda betray a hostility towards organisations
that form a fundamental part of any democratic society and give a warning
that the discredited assumptions of the ancien regime are still with us,
paraded on international platforms when the country was supposed to have
mended its ways.

It is a pity Mugabe's views, redolent of repression, will discredit
the smart partnership project, started by his old friend Mahathir Mohamad
over a decade ago.
"National vision can only thrive in an environment of peace and
stability," the president told his audience. He is quite right. But does
that involve expelling NGOs and arresting civic activists? Investors will be
unimpressed. Chiadzwa provides a picture of what the absence of peace and
stability looks like. And what sort of investment destination is it where a
youthful n'anga is able to con an entire cabinet taskforce and senior police
officers into believing she could tap diesel from a rock?
The country's fuel problems were "a thing of the past", they reported
back to Mugabe.
In fact she was controlling the flow of diesel by operating a tap on a
fuel tank!
And does Arthur Mutambara know his national vision document is "drawn
from the government's Vision 20/20" project that went nowhere? If that is
the case it will suffer the same fate as the Kariba document!
And what about the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which he
is currently charged under? Is that part of his vision?

The president nowadays seems a tad insecure. Why are ministers and
service chiefs required to line up at the airport when he comes and goes?
Does he really need to offer a limp handshake to all of them -- twice
a day in some cases?
Now there is a new manifestation of this preoccupation with the
trappings of power. His office has clearly directed that he now be known as
"Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces".
Not just here and there but every single time he is mentioned in the state
This seems rather obviously directed against any pretensions Morgan
Tsvangirai may have to be Head of Government. But is it really necessary?
It was carried in a caption on Page 1 of the Sunday Mail last weekend.
Then again on Page 3, and finally on Page 11. We could have missed a few!
State journalists are evidently not allowed to mention the president
without citing all his titles. Even the relatively independent-minded
Alexander Kanengoni, in recalling that a friend had advised Patrick Zhuwao
not to send that famous letter, squeezed in this mouthful: "He advised him
the letter was against the spirit of what the Head of State and Government,
Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, His Excellence (sic) President
Mugabe had said at the principals' joint press conference."
Phew! How many column inches does this amount to? But the more obvious
question: Is Tsvangirai that much of a threat? Does the president really
need this sort of elaborate comfort zone?
Again, do we need a media in which journalists are instructed in forms
of address? We would like to know who is giving the press their marching
orders in this regard, especially when we suspect that "Head of Government"
is not a constitutional title anyway. And what can we conclude when
Kanengoni and Funny Mushava, both first-class writers, misspell Excellency
the same way on the same page?
This reminds us of all those "illegal" sanctions that are still deemed
"illegal" despite the pronouncements of the US president that Congress can
pass what laws it wants!

Last week saw some interesting disclosures from Attorney-General
Johannes Tomana. Like the president, he appears to be on the offensive.
He "slammed attempts by some politicians to undermine his office", we
are told, "and has vowed to continue carrying out his duties without fear or
Giving an interview to the Herald, he at the same time gave a number
of hostages to fortune. Asked about the Bennett case where he has been
accused of being "the single largest threat to national healing", Tomana
said: "My job is to ensure that criminals are brought to book and I should
not let people off with impunity. My obligations are not going to stand or
fall on the platitudes of politicians. These are people who are trying to
hide behind politics to settle their scores. They are blaming me for being
Zanu PF. I have my allegiance to my religion as I have my allegiance to my
party of choice, but I have also an allegiance to deliver in my profession.
I am a public servant and I owe it to the people that those facing serious
charges are not given the freedom to flee."
He accused the MDC-T of "fighting crime prevention".
"Should we just ignore (it) when 13-year-old girls are being raped?
Should we let it go when the laws are being broken with impunity? We cannot
do that."

The Herald didn't ask about the status of Joseph Mwale and his
legendary impunity. Nor did it ask why only activists from one party are
prosecuted when it is public knowledge that the bulk of the electoral
violence came from another party, the one arguably better equipped to mount
a campaign of violence.
Who for instance was responsible for the savage assaults on MDC
leaders at the Highfield police station in 2007? Why haven't they been
prosecuted or those who tortured Jestina Mukoko and others?
Hasn't the AG a duty to operate in a way that is even-handed instead?
As for the Bennett case and that of Blessing Chebundo, is it sensible
to discuss guilt or flight risk when those cases are still pending in the
Bennett, let us remind ourselves, voluntarily returned to this country
to participate in the government of national unity. He was arrested despite
assurances made to President Motlanthe that he wouldn't be. Who is the
guilty one there? And is it Tomana's job to lecture the MDC on its duties to
the public. Surely the MDC and every other party has a duty to ensure the AG's
office is managed with professionalism and independence. That should not
include self-serving statements in the press.
At least we can thank Tomana for opening up a debate around his
conduct in the AG's office. That will give us a bone to chew on without any
justifiable grounds for complaint from him. We will want to know for
instance how he moved up the legal ladder so rapidly and if his colleagues
in the legal profession have the same confidence in him as the president?
The GPA is unambiguous that all senior appointments in government
should be made in consultation between the principals. Why did that not
happen in Tomana's case?

Columnist Max Du Preez, writing in the Star, will have struck a chord
with Zimbabweans. As the townships sink into anarchy and violence over
service delivery, senior officials have been displaying extraordinary
"During the weeks that the township protests were raging," Du Preez
said, "it became known that former MK top brass and now Minister of
Communications General Sephiwe Nyanda had spent R2 million of taxpayers'
money on two real James Bond cars for himself -- not just reliable, safe
cars which he should really have at his disposal, but ultra-luxurious
limousines with extras and added bling that would make any multi-millionaire
"During the same time, " Du Preez adds, "we hear that senior ANC
figures refused to stay in the really good and safe housing provided for
them and instead rented homes for more than R30 000 a month -- again using
taxpayers' money."
The ANC's full attention, Du Preez points out, is right now focused on
a debate over whether the mines should be nationalised and how the judiciary
can be manipulated so they end up with a bench friendly to the ruling party.
"Citizens should be forgiven for asking the ANC, its Youth League and
the SACP," Du Preez writes, "whether they really think the state can run the
mines in South Africa if they can't even run the SABC, the Robben Island
Museum or local government."
Both the SABC and Robben Island Museum sagas have provided South
Africans with a useful glimpse into what happens when a post-liberation
aristocracy helps itself to public funds -- all in the name of
transformation, you understand.
Zimbabweans may be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu. Been
there. Done that.

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Eric Bloch: Government's 'fuelish' Policies

Thursday, 30 July 2009 19:38
ON July 5 a state-controlled national newspaper, usually a
governmental praise-singer, stated that a petrol shortage was looming as the
fuel industry is "struggling with constrained capacity challenges coupled
with a very unfavourable fuel import tax regime".

The newspaper, surprisingly correctly, explained Zimbabwe's frequent
fuel shortages as a consequence, primarily, of excessively high governmental
imposts, stating that "The current tax regime of 60% duty on fuel imports
plus the Zinara road levies, Noczim debt redemption levy, carbon tax and
Noczim strategic reserves tax which oil companies have been paying is
eroding the oil companies' capacity to import more fuel into the country".

Undoubtedly correctly, the newspaper suggested that this was one of
the reasons why Zimbabwe has been experiencing shortages of fuel.

The newspaper report also noted that "a number of oil companies got
capital through pre-finance from customers, who paid cash in their purchase
of bulk fuel in exchange for fuel coupons that they would use in the future.
It was difficult for oil companies to get funding from the banks to finance
fuel procurement.

The banks demand collateral for whatever money they lend yet most oil
companies in the country do not even own any assets and are renting the
premises from which they operate."

Surging fuel prices, and recurrent shortages, have grievous economic
and social repercussions. Fuel is a prerequisite of every entity within the
economy, irrespective of the economic sector within which the entity
operates.  Fuel is required for inward transportation of operating inputs
and, for many, also for outward distribution of production.

Fuel is required for transportation of management and labour, and for
many enterprises is also essential for energy generation, in view of erratic
and unreliable supplies from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.

As a result, increases in fuel prices are major   catalysts of
inflation - which is once again a tragic characteristic of the Zimbabwean
economy - and can well be the near death-knell for that economy being an
intense exacerbation of the immense poverty which afflicts almost two-thirds
of Zimbabwe's population.

Moreover, the recurrence of inflation would gravely jeopardise
Zimbabwean attempts to enhance export operations thereby generating
much-needed foreign exchange, a prerequisite of Zimbabwe's economic

Correctly, although being a state-controlled newspaper, the newspaper
contended that it was "time the punitive tax regime is reviewed in order to
support production in our industries. Finance minister Tendai Bit certainly
needs to revisit this area."

And revisit fuel taxes was what minister Biti did when on July 16 he
presented his 2009 mid-year Budget review to parliament. But, tragically,
whilst much of his budgetary reviews were very commendable, that on fuel was
minimal and grossly insufficient, being only a reduction of excise duty on
diesel from US20 cents to US16 cents, and no reduction in excise duty on
petrol, which remains 20 cents per litre.

To all intents and purposes, the minister's concession was symbolic
for in addition to the US16 cents excise duty, diesel importers remain
subject to carbon tax, Noczim debt redemption levy, Zinara road levy and
strategic reserve levy, which amounts to almost US22 cents per litre or
nearly 17% of the average final pump price. Moreover, total duties and taxes
on petrol amount to approximately US58 cents, which exceeds 40% of average
final pump price. The excise duty on diesel reduction was of a token nature
only, and the minister failed to effect any reduction in the gargantuan
taxation upon petrol.

In addition, the minister announced that the previously determined
introduction of toll fees on national roads would now be effected on August
1. Those toll fees will include US$5 on each fuel tanker, every time it
passes through a toll gate (which can range from four to 10 per journey
dependant upon routes travelled, and applicable irrespective of whether or
not the tanker is carrying fuel, therefore impacting also on the tankers'
return journeys). Thus, to some extent, that which the minister has given
with one hand he intends taking with the other.

In his statement, the minister also emphasised government's intention
to pursue vigorously Public Private-sector Partnerships (PPPs), being
partial or total privatisation of parastatals. Doing so is long overdue,
although oft foreshadowed by past Zimbabwean governments, and therefore the
minister's statement is deserving of approbation.

However, very regrettably, he did not include Noczim in entities upon
which primary focus is to be targeted. Although Zimbabwe has numerous
international, national and provincial oil companies, Noczim has a
near-monopolistic stranglehold upon the fuel sector.

It is not only the chair of the National Procurement Committee, but it
also has an almost absolute control over the oil supply chain, inclusive of
the Beira terminal and the pipeline form Beira to Feruka and Msasa tankage,
and also controls allocations and distribution to oil companies. In
addition, it has a monolithic debt burden, which impairs its ability to
effect timeous allocation to the oil companies.

If Zimbabwe is not to be confronted by frequent shortages of fuel
supplies, and if fuel is not to be a trigger for recurrent inflationary
trends hindering the much-needed economic recovery, two major courageous
actions must be rapidly pursued unreservedly by government. First and
foremost, and notwithstanding that minister Biti has a desperate need
(created by his predecessors) for revenue inflows, he needs to review yet
again the excessive, highly counterproductive governmental imposts upon

Instead of a token 20% reduction of just one of the diverse fuel taxes
(and only in respect of diesel), he needs to effect reductions, or removal
of some of the taxes and levies, which would bring about an aggregate
reduction of not less than 15% to 20% of the total governmental charges.
Concurrently, the near-foolhardy intent of tollgates on national roads needs
to be rescinded.

(How can toll fees be justified when roads are ill-maintained, when
such fees are inflation-stimulating and when the manner of their intended
implementation impacts not only upon long-distance users of the roads, but
also upon those residents in proximity to tollgates, travelling minimal
distances on the national roads?).

Although attainment of a balance between fiscal revenues and outflows
is an essential element of Zimbabwean economic recovery and wellbeing, and
although minister Biti's determination to achieve this is most praiseworthy,
that recovery and wellbeing cannot be achieved by levying duties and taxes
which are massively inflationary, and by continuing an infrastructure which
compounds fuel costs, whilst causing recurrent fuel scarcities. Doing so is
a blatant pursuit of "fuelish" policies, which should be speedily replaced
by economic recovery-inducing policies.

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Zero Duty Policy Opens up Avenues of Communication

Thursday, 30 July 2009 18:07
THE reaction of the state-owned media, especially the Herald, to
Finance minister Tendai Biti's midterm financial policy speech is hardly
surprising. More so the reaction of the likes of former Information minister
Jonathan Moyo.

Moyo attacked Biti with all sorts of words, from accusations of the
new policy as partisan to charges of  abuse of the parliamentary floor and
threatening national sovereignty and security by allowing the free movement
and entry of foreign media content in Zimbabwe.

Despite its struggles to deal with so many problems, chief among which
is that it is broke, the unity government through this policy has done
something progressive where it matters most. And that is opening the avenues
of access to information by as many of Zimbabwe's citizens as possible and
indeed the ability of the people to communicate without restrictions, be
they of policy or poverty.

It is in the context of this that the attacks by Moyo have to be
understood. It is not surprising that when it comes to the advancement of
views that represent dissent, views other than their own, Moyo and the likes
of former chairperson of the defunct Media and Information Commission
Tafataona Mahoso become analysts of choice for the Herald.

It is also important to note that despite being an independent Member
of Parliament, Moyo's heart and spirit are still on board the Zanu PF gravy
train. This is so because the ideological views of Zanu PF when it comes to
media and the rights of citizens to access information, freely associate and
speak their views, were shaped and are still influenced by the likes of Moyo
and Mahoso.

Where Zanu PF would from time to time suppress dissent in the media in
the 1980s, it had neither the confidence nor inclination to be so vicious
until Moyo came onto the scene, presiding over the promulgation of laws that
include Aippa and BSA.

It is the effect of these laws that Zimbabwe is struggling to reverse
and the reason for Moyo's anger.

In Moyo, Zanu PF found new energy and zeal that it never had to
repress critical media voices.

So when he is quoted by the Herald attacking Biti for allowing
duty-free entry of newspapers, computers and mobile phone handsets, his
views have to be understood from a historical point of view of not only
having nostalgia for his days in the former ruling party but also a warped
ideological view based on the dominance of one view, his view, and the
subjugation of the rest, to his narrow-minded thinking.

The attack on the free movement of media products as a threat to
national sovereignty and security is a strange and unintelligent argument
that should not be taken seriously nor have space in serious national

Of all things that have gone wrong in Zimbabwe, Moyo sees foreign
newspapers and duty-free computers and mobile phones as a threat to national
security and sovereignty. What of the fact that almost half of the
population is being fed by foreigners because of the destructive policies of
Zanu PF?

What of the fact that we are almost getting electricity which we are
unable to pay for for free? What of the hordes of police and military
service persons who have run away from duty because of paltry salaries? What
of the abduction of innocent citizens, the torture and killing of civilians
in Chiadzwa and other parts of the country?

For a very long time the likes of Moyo have abused terms such as
national sovereignty and security to mean the protection of Zanu PF's

The citizens of Zimbabwe have enjoyed neither the benefits of
sovereignty nor security as many have had to cross crocodile infested rivers
to look for a better life in other peoples lands. Citizens have neither
enjoyed security as they are daily harassed by security arms of the state.

The argument of sovereignty and national security has to be dismissed
with contempt as an attempt to capture the national psyche in a historical
trap. Sovereignty and security can only be guaranteed in a free society able
to feed itself and sleep without fear of harassment by its own security arms
and politicians.

Moyo and the Herald should take time to unpack the jargon they use,
more so declare their own baggage and interests rather than pose as sober
thinkers with the interest of the country at heart. It is not surprising
that Moyo did not like what Biti said, more so because he is a lowly
backbencher, whose voice is becoming fainter every time he opens his mouth.

This is indeed an unfamiliar position for Moyo who is used to
strutting the national stage with gusto.
The policy pronouncement by Biti might have its economic shortcomings
but it is a major contribution to the freedoms that Zimbabweans are crying

It is also a major contribution to the development and usage of ICTs,
be it in the mobile phone or computer sector. The more Zimbabweans can talk,
access information, share ideas and concerns the more they can become
liberated and play their rightful roles as citizens.

It is possible that an increase in mobile phone usage at reasonable
charges can be a major contributor to state revenue as mobile phone
companies increase their revenues, hence tax contributions. It is possible
that the duty-free entry of computers is the panacea Zimbabwe needs to move
into the ICT-driven knowledge age in all its sectors, and free us from the
Stone Age that Moyo and others want to keep us in. All these aspects have a
liberating feel and effect.

Zanu PF and the likes of Moyo would rather have people remain
ignorant, submissive, read the Herald and listen and watch the ZBC, then go
to sleep. We are not told how newspapers printed in London and distributed
in Zimbabwe are a threat to national sovereignty. Why should Moyo or anyone
else determine what people read. Why should the choice of what I read not be
left to me if I can afford it?

This policy pronouncement is probably the most progressive and
pro-poor as it enhances access to communication facilities. And with such
facilities a communal farmer in Murehwa can easily communicate with his/her
market at Mbare, negotiate prices, organise business and make a living. It
is through communication and access to information that society can hope to
move forward.

For those caught in the past, their attacks of this policy are not
only shocking but another reminder of the threats of regression and myopia
that lurks in the dark. Unfounded Zanu PF phobias fuelled by false
prophecies of its oracles, in the form of Moyo and Mahoso, should not be
allowed to stop Zimbabwe moving forward.

*Rashweat Mukundu is Programmes Manager: Media Institute of Southern
Africa (Misa) Regional Secretariat.

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Candid Comment: National Healing: Words not Enough

Thursday, 30 July 2009 20:58

MILTON Mono, that doyen of gospel music in the late ‘70s, penned this song about joy, peace and love: “Let there be, joy in the land; let there be, peace with the people; let there be, love in our lives; from now on.”

I was reminded of this song during last weekend’s national healing commemorations, Zimbabwe’s new peace days which were celebrated over three days. The national peace days — meant for renouncing political violence and promoting national healing — are a creature the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, itself a creature brought into being by the principals to the Global Political Agreement.

National healing or peace is in essence a good idea. But is it enough to just say let us hold national healing commemorations?  If an injustice has been committed then the aggrieved persons can forgive.

But of immense importance is that the perpetrator of the injustice also needs to acknowledge the fact, and needs to apologise.

Can there be peace without justice? In Zimbabwe one is guilty unless proven innocent. How many MDC sympathisers have been killed, beaten, tortured, raped, and hounded from their homes by known assailants who are still roaming free to continue their heinous acts?

Can there be national healing before we can fairly address the plight of Zimbabwe’s white citizens whose property rights were breached by the land reform project?

Could this new Unity Days commemoration be a rather sneaky and cowardly way of trying to deflect any serious attempt at reaching national reconciliation through a genuine programme of holding perpetrators of the gravest crimes to justiciable account, and compensating those who have lost their lifetime possessions?

I am in total agreement with Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe when they say for peace to prevail in any given nation, the state should be totally transformed into a safe house for every individual.

The powers of the state to carry extra-legal mandates such as militia and para-militia activities against its people should end. The state should lead its citizenry and fulfil its duties under the spotlight of sacrosanct values, ideas and legal instruments that ensure that the Bill of Rights is elevated to a supreme position so it becomes the compass of how the populace and the state interact.

This has not happened in present day Zimbabwe, given the fact that the police, state intelligence and other arms of the executive are still carrying out extra-legal activities with impunity. The people of Zimbabwe’s safety remains severely endangered.

That we are coming from a dark age of reprisal and human rights violations and organised state acrimony on those holding dissenting views is undisputable. What is dismissive is an attempt by the present-day government to create symbolic days and moments in our country whereby the people, the region and the international world are misled into believing that the incumbent is whole-heartedly moving the country from the abyss of terror towards a glimpse of light and peace. 

Peace in its totality is a function of political will and maturity on those who are holding public office and the people of Zimbabwe at large believing that proper mechanisms of truth and reconciliation have been met.

Only after those who were aggrieved acknowledge that restorative measures have been done and those who have committed acts of terror acknowledge that they violated other people’s rights can peace as a concept be fully recognised.

President Mugabe cannot be the agitator of violence (remember: “We have degrees in violence” or “Let’s strike fear into the hearts of the white man…”) and define peace at the same time, as if he holds the rod of making the rules as he goes along. How much pain does he cause by his mere mention of peace without justice?

While we remain cognisant of the need for national healing, at the same time the concept of national healing should be holistic by mainly addressing the following fundamental issues:


Put differently, peace can never be wished into existence by mere words and public relations stunts as the Organ on National healing, Reconciliation and Integration would have the nation believe.

For as long as known murderers like Mwale and hundreds others walk free, the beast will remain in Zanu PF and there will be no healing in the land.

Let there be peace!

Thondhlana is editor-designate of the forthcoming NewsDay.


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Comment: Zanu PF, MDC Causing Deliberate Confusion

Thursday, 30 July 2009 20:55
ZANU PF and the two MDC factions in the inclusive government - aided
and abetted by gullible civil society organisations pursuing partisan
agendas - are now increasingly becoming merchants of confusion in the
constitution-making process.

There is a systematic and sustained attempt by these parties to throw
mud all over the place and confuse people about what is going on around the
current initiative.

In the process, the people and the noble idea of a new constitution
become the victims of the turf wars fought by the parties in the name of
constitutional reform. This calculated and contrived disorder cannot bring
reforms and progress. It can only further delay change and, if not stopped,
could trigger turmoil.

This issue is very simple but is now becoming clouded. Zanu PF and the
two MDC factions agreed to use the Kariba draft as the basis for ongoing
consultations to produce a new constitution. However, they are now publicly
fighting to cling onto or reject the document for entirely different

They are using lies, propaganda and deceit to achieve their narrow
ends. All open-minded and enlightened people must reject this partisan
approach. A representative, structured and democratic constitution-making
process must be put in place.

The statement issued by Zanu PF and MDC negotiators last week
clarified matters if ever there was need for such elucidation. This has left
civic organisations blindly following their political handlers, exposed and

That is the problem with surrogate civic groups not pursuing a
principled democratic agenda. They just tag along with their handlers
without advising them on the right course to follow.

While a number of progressive donors are helping the broad
democratisation cause and must be applauded, local civic leaders must set
the agenda and the debate because they know better what needs to be done and
have permanent interests in this issue.

The statement by the negotiators clearly and without a doubt shows
that in terms of the GPA, the shoddy Kariba draft is the basis for this
constitution-making process.

The problem is with Zanu PF and the MDC factions which are fighting
for a different cause altogether under the guise of constitution-making. In
reality, they are not struggling for a new constitution as they would want
people to believe, but political dominion and influence. Their ultimate
objective is not necessarily a new constitution, but how to maintain power,
in the case of Zanu PF, or gain it, for the MDC.

There is nothing wrong with this at all but they must not create
confusion and deny people the right to produce a new constitution. We need
to restore order, put things into perspective and avoid acting like a
primitive and frozen society unable to write a constitution for 10 years in
the 21st century!

The confusion about the Kariba draft is politically contrived and
unhelpful. If civic groups are clear-minded and strategic in their thinking,
they should reject the Kariba draft and then demand an open and democratic
approach to force Zanu PF and the MDC factions to abandon their very bad
document - cobbled together in 2007 - and adopt a new inclusive and
transparent process to come up with a good, legitimate product.

Here is the evidence that Zanu PF and the MDC factions agreed on the
Kariba draft and may well be indulging in monkey business:

"We the undersigned negotiators of the Global Political Agreement wish
to clarify and explain that the three parties to the GPA agreed to be the
place and role of the 'Kariba Draft Constitution' within the
constitution-making process agreed to and set out by the parties in the
 GPA," the statement says.

"We do this so as to restore, reaffirm and defend the co-operative
spirit among the parties to the agreement, which co-operative spirit is
absolutely essential and indeed is a pre-condition for a successful
conclusion to the agreed constitution making process."

The statement goes further to say: "We hereby place it on record that
the agreement of the parties was that the Kariba draft which was negotiated,
agreed to and initiated by all three parties to the GPA, would be used by
the parties through the Parliamentary Select Committee to consult the people
on the content of a new constitution for Zimbabwe."

It says agreement was that the Select Committee would take the Kariba
draft to the people and consult them on which provisions of the draft they
agreed with and accepted and which ones they did not agree with.

This is self-explanatory and very clear. People must not be seized
with this designed chaos but should keep their eye on the ball and demand an
open, inclusive, transparent and democratic process.

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Comment: Reforms Must Bring Better Governance

Thursday, 30 July 2009 20:38
PHEW! What a week of reforms.

We were told this week government will now allow international news
channels BBC and CNN to report from Zimbabwe; police will now allow people
to hold demonstrations and the National Security Council proposed under the
Global Political Agreement was yesterday expected to hold its first meeting
while a date to interview applicants to be considered for appointment to
serve as commissioners on the Zimbabwe Media Commission has been set for
Monday. All announcements in a space of five days! Soon we expect to hear
measures to license new media titles.

Before that, Zimbabwean leaders led by President Mugabe solemnised the
Peace Days by attending commemoration events. Mugabe then took senior
politicians from the two MDC formations to the Smart Partnership Dialogue
shindig in Uganda to perhaps demonstrate to his peers and all those who
cared to observe that the inclusive government was working well. How
convenient it was, especially with DPM Thokozani Khupe parroting Mugabe's
line that Zimbabwe can "go it alone".

There are a number of theorems to explain this feverish activity in
the quest for reform: Two of them are most plausible.

First President Mugabe would like to demonstrate to his peers in the
region that the GNU project is working well ahead of the Sadc Summit in
Kinshasa next month.

The other is that aid from donor countries is now linked to the GNU's
ability to demonstrate tangible reform. The government has moved quickly to
put together a raft of measures which if viewed collectively may convince
donors that the country is on the road to reform.

What better way of doing so than throwing on the table a copy of a new
daily title to demonstrate the extent of media reform and government's
commitment to press freedom. This week Andrew Harding became the first BBC
correspondent to enter the country on an authorised assignment since 2001 --
another milestone to demonstrate the opening of media space?

Mugabe can also brief colleagues at the Sadc summit and diplomats on
the meeting between the co-Home Affairs ministers and senior police chiefs
held this week culminating in the new brief to allow Zimbabweans to
demonstrate without interference from the police. This will also demonstrate
to Sadc that the experiment of having two interior ministers was bearing
fruit and there were no contestations.

Co-Home Affairs minister MDC-T's Giles Mutsekwa led the PR show this
week telling us that the police were jolly good fellows whose role was
misconstrued in the management of public order during demonstrations.

"It is never the intention of the police to use minimum force
willy-nilly," he said. "Only on rare occasion will police resort to the use
of minimum force to deal with unlawful public gatherings..." How pleasant
for an MDC-T minister to expound the virtues of the police in crowd control.
So what is the need to agitate for the repealing of the Public Order and
Security Act which was Zanu PF's weapon of choice in crushing dissent and
closing the democratic space"?

I recall Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa's statement six years ago
defending Posa. He told me in an interview:  "We cannot amend Posa when we
are under an onslaught from institutions which are causing mayhem and
anarchy in the country."

We cannot loosen up and let the MDC and other puppets of the United
States and Britain run around bombing bridges and shops. Get it from me,
Posa will not be amended. We are not doing that and we make no apologies."
The law was amended last year but we need to see a change in the mindset of
those entrusted to implement the law.

The "reforms" announced this week could be a good start but they must
be done in the spirit of ensuring that this country is governed better and
that there are greater freedoms instead of them being billboards to
advertise to the outside world the extent of reform with a view to enticing

Pronouncement by Mutsekwa about the police and demonstrations has
little to do with ensuring there is professional conduct in the force and
that security laws, including the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act
are not used selectively on perceived political opponents.

The challenge for Mutsekwa and his Zanu PF colleague Kembo Mohadi is
to ensure that the current crop of police officers and their commanders can
execute their duties under the dictates of the new political dispensation.

For that to happen there is need for reform of the police, including
depoliticising the force. We want to see the police helping to fulfill a key
GPA facet that there should be freedom of assembly, association and

We also expect to see media reform moving beyond licences and allowing
foreign news channels to set up shop. But we must also attend to draconian
laws littered all over the statute books. The government's commitment to
media freedom will be demonstrated next week by its nominees to the ZMC. The
presence of denizens of the the old order will send a wrong signal.

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Kunonga attempts to stop Bishop’s enthronement

by Pat Ashworth

Joyful: the new Bishop of Harare at the sports stadium USPG

THOUSANDS of people from parishes all over Harare gathered in the city on Sunday to celebrate a double ceremony.

In the morning, the city’s sports stadium was packed for the consecration of the new Bishop of Harare, the Rt Revd Chad Gandiya, which took place during a jubilant four-hour eucharist. The preacher, the Rt Revd Khotso Makhulu, the former Primate of Central Africa, said: “Chad, you have your work cut out. But love God, proclaim Christ, and help your people understand the respons­ibilities of discipleship.”

Canon Edgar Ruddock, the deputy general secretary of USPG, described the atmosphere throughout the service as “at times electric, always prayerful, and above all pervaded by a sense of hopefulness”. Messages of solidarity included one from the Arch­bishop of Canterbury.

In the afternoon, the enthronement was set to take place in St Mary’s Cathedral. Last-minute attempts by the excommunicated former bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, to stop the event meant that bolt-cutters had to be used to gain access to the cathedral; but the ceremony went ahead as planned.

Kunonga, an apologist for President Mugabe, has waged a campaign of violence against Anglicans in Harare.

On Friday, he applied to the High Court for an injunction to prevent Bishop Gandiya’s enthronement.

Justice Ben Hlatshwayo ruled in favour of Kunonga in what the Bishop of Botswana, the Rt Revd Trevor Mwamba — a former barrister — described as “a political ruling devoid of any grains of law”. The courts have no jurisdiction over internal church matters. The diocesan lawyers had foreseen the ruling, and had an appeal ready to submit to the Supreme Court. The judgment is now in abeyance until the case is heard. Bishop Mwamba said: “There is no way this judgment will be upheld on the basis of law. We pray for the triumph of justice and the rule of law in Zimbabwe.”

News reports, knowingly or unknow­ingly, confused this case with the out­stand­ing case over the diocesan assets and property illegally retained by Kunonga. Under the headline “Kunonga Wins Church Battle”, The Sunday Mail announced that the judge had granted an interim order banning Bishop Gandiya’s ordination, and reported that the ruling had “also dealt with the issue of control of the church properties”.

Similar stories rapidly circulated online. A story headlined “Kunonga given control of Anglican property” reported: “Anglican parishioners were horrified over the weekend when the ousted Bishop Nolbert Kunonga was given control of church property by High Court Judge Ben Hlatshwayo.” Another report said that Kunonga “was given latitude to take control of all the church properties within the next seven days”.

In an extraordinary announcement, Kunonga has apparently accepted it was not lawfully possible to withdraw the diocese of Harare from the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), but insists he is the Bishop. The Deputy Chancellor of the CPCA, Bob Stumbles, said last week: “He ignores the fact that he, and all his associates, clergy and laity, are no longer recognised as Anglicans, and are held to be parties to a schism from the Anglican Church.”

Kunonga still has 38 charges against him, including incitement to murder. In August 2007, he held a diocesan synod, and forced through a motion that stated: “The diocese of Harare does not recog­nise homosexuality as an acceptable Christian norm, and hence does not recognise marriages from such relationships.”

On the pretext that “homosexuality was a seriously insurmountable and divisive issue between the diocese and the CPCA”, he wrote to say: “We are withdrawing from the Church of the Province of Central Africa.”

Clergy and laity were bullied and intimidated out of their churches. The High Court ruled that until a decision could be made, there must be shared access for services. Kunonga responded by increasing the persecution of those who remained loyal to the CPCA.

On 15 March 2008, he announced that he had formed his own Church, of which he was Archbishop. He was excommun­icated from CPCA and the Anglican Communion in May 2008. The “Board of Trustees” he set up, now called “The Dio­cesan Trustees for the Diocese of Harare”, filed the application to stop Bishop Gandiya’s consecration taking place.

The Provincial Dean, the Rt Revd Albert Chama, has invited Kunonga to write to the CPCA acknowledging his error in trying to withdraw the diocese and acknowledging that CPCA owns the property and assets.

Kunonga should unconditionally restore and account for all the Church’s assets and monies since 21 September 2007, and withdraw all court actions against CPCA, its dioceses and parishes, the Dean suggests.

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Water Rationing Looms in Bulawayo

By Busani Bafana

BULAWAYO, Jul 30 (IPS) - Bulawayo city council is to tighten a water
rationing programme relaxed last year because residents are rapidly pushing
up the city's daily consumption by using municipal water supplies for
non-domestic activities.

"Although we had a very good rainy season and a reasonable inflow into our
dams, we have had a tremendous increase in the consumption of water by
residents," director of engineering services, Job Ndebele told IPS.

Council raised alarm after the daily water use rate peaked in May, when
Bulawayo consumed an average of 173,000 cubic metres of water a day. Though
this fell slightly to 156,000 cubic metres in June, it was still well above
the city's targeted daily consumption rate of 110,000 cubic metres per day.

"If the consumption continues as it is, we will have no choice but to
introduce restriction disks which control the amount of water which goes
into properties as well as the rationing exercise," he said. It fell.

Residents of Bulawayo usually use the most water in October, during the hot
season, when they bath more and water their gardens frequently. In 2008,
council put a cap on water use and consumption for October 2008 was 90,000
cubic metres of water a day - 30 percent less than usual.

According to Ndebele, the present extraordinarily-high water use in Bulawayo
is due to the use of domestic water for washing cars, watering gardens using
hose pipes, brick moulding and constructing houses in residential areas.
Residents have resumed building houses, an activity many abandoned at the
height of Zimbabwe's economic crisis, and this has created a proliferation
of brick-moulding enterprises. Growing demand for vegetables has also led
many urban families to plant back yard gardens as a means to quickly
generate income.

According to council, borehole water is to be used for all these activities.
Unless residents of this city of close to a million people become water
thrifty, the city council will be forced to tighten a water-shedding
programme first introduced 25 years ago during one of the worst droughts in
the country.

"It is now a must to save water by all means possible," said Ndebele. "Any
tips and techniques which will halt the high rate of water use by residents,
some of whom have abused the monthly allocation of 5,000 litres should be

The Department of Engineering Services submitted a report to the Council
Future Water Committee in July, proposing to impose new penalties for
residents who exceed their free monthly allocation. Penalties have been set
at between 20 and 100 U.S. dollars for violations including exceeding the
monthly allocation and making illegal water connections on properties.

"We are talking to all residents to save water today for the sake of
tomorrow," Bulawayo United Residents Association chairman, Winos Dube, told
IPS. "Jokingly, people have always said, 'Save water - bath with your
neighbour's daughter', but as an organisation we cannot encourage that.

"The message is clear though: that residents need to save water. There is a
case for using buckets when we are doing laundry (rather) than washing under
a running tap and that using containers should become part and parcel of our
strategies to keep a check on water use."

Water resources and infrastructure development minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo
told IPS that water challenges faced by cities such as Bulawayo called for
the promotion of water conservation and appropriate water saving technology.
He said his ministry had not yet looked into such technologies as part of
national policy.

"We are open to ideas and proposals," said Nkomo adding, "Awareness should
be raised over water efficient technologies to bring the private sector and
research institutions to work with government."

Some simple water saving techniques are being popularised. According to a
guideline issued by Bulawayo Water, an initiative of the city council,
residents should read their water meters regularly to keep track of water
usage, and familiarise themselves with the stopcock valve to shut off water
quickly in the event of a burst pipe.

The guide offers more tips on reducing water use by flushing toilets only
when necessary, not letting water run while rinsing dishes and to use a
glass of water to rinse after brushing teeth instead of a running tap.
According to the guide, a full bath uses up to 150 litres of water; a shower
can use 10 litres of water a minute, while a slow dripping tap wastes more
than 1500 litres of water in a month.

"By placing a brick in the (toilet) cistern, which holds about 15 litres,
you save at least five litres of water (per flush)," Ndebele told IPS. "We
are encouraging residents to install and use water-saving technologies
within their homes even though for now there are very few people who are
using it. It is also important that we look at such technologies and
encourage the private sector to get business out of such technologies."

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Clinton will push South Africa to pressure Mugabe

2 hrs 17 mins ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will press
South Africa to use its influence with Zimbabwe's hardline President Robert
Mugabe when she is in Pretoria next week, a senior American official said on

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, said
Clinton would urge the regional diplomatic heavyweight to get Mugabe to
fully implement a power-sharing deal with opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai so that impoverished Zimbabwe could return to democratic rule.

"We will encourage South Africa as a primary (regional) leader ... to press
the government of Robert Mugabe to fully implement the global political
agreement that he signed," Carson said of Clinton's meetings with the South

South African President Jacob Zuma has taken a harder line on Zimbabwe than
his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, but the United States would like Zuma to do
more to quicken the pace of reform in its neighbor.

Carson met Mugabe earlier this month on the sidelines of an African Unity
summit in Libya, an encounter he described as a "little bit difficult." It
was the highest level meeting by a U.S. official with Mugabe in many years,
said Carson.

"We are trying to encourage reform, progress, commitment to the GPA and
improved human rights. We will continue to do so," he said of his meeting
with Mugabe.

The United States, troubled by what it sees as an absence of reform in
Zimbabwe, has no plans either to offer major aid or to lift sanctions
against Mugabe and some of his supporters.

Before any of that can happen, Washington wants more evidence of political,
social and economic reforms, said a U.S. official.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is blamed for
plunging Zimbabwe into economic ruin. He argues that his country's economic
woes, which include hyperinflation and a collapsed infrastructure, are
caused by sanctions imposed by the United States and others.

Targeted U.S. sanctions include financial and visa restrictions against
selected individuals, a ban on transfers of military items and a suspension
of non-humanitarian aid.

Clinton leaves on Monday for a seven-nation trip to Africa. Aside from South
Africa she will also visit Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola,
Liberia, Nigeria and Cape Verde. She returns to Washington on August 14.

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Three-Day Zimbabwe Healing & Reconciliation Exercise Sidestepped Key Issues

By Patience Rusere
30 July 2009

A three-day period of national reflection on healing and reconciliation
called by Zimbabwe's national unity government last Friday through Sunday
left unaddressed the question of how the country should deal with
perpetrators or compensate the victims of violence.

Speaking Wednesday in Gweru, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai called the
process "delicate" given the need to balance the need for the nation to bind
up its psychic wounds through non-retributive justice and the legitimate
demands of those scarred by violence.

President Robert Mugabe, whose ZANU-PF supporters and allies are generally
considered to have committed most of the violence which followed the March
2008 elections, acknowledges that violence occurred but says Zimbabwe must
forgive and move on.

His long-ruling party lost its parliamentary majority in those elections and
Mr. Mugabe himself trailed now-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the
presidential first round, winning a runoff ballot from which Mr. Tsvangirai
withdrew in protest of mounting deadly violence.

For perspective, reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
spoke with Clement Moyo, chairman of the Mediation for Peace Center in
Bulawayo, who has worked for two decades with victims of the 1980s
Gukurahundi purge in Matabeleland, and political analyst Gladys Hlatshwayo
of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.

Moyo said President Mugabe should apologize to the victims, arguing that
many of them would consider this a sufficient gesture for them to move on as
he has urged.

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Mawere was right, Chihombori is phenomenal

July 30, 2009
Abigail Mphisa

tsvangirai-chihombori1Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Dr Arikana Chihombori at the Zuma inauguration back in May

GOING by what I have read about her so far, I have to admit that Dr Arikana Chihombori is a phenomenal woman – truly out of the ordinary.

I do agree with Mr Mutumwa Mawere when he says she is in a class of her own. She is well connected and presumably well travelled as well and seems to thrive on name throwing with prominent people such as Libya’s Gaddafi and the AU’s Jean Ping, among others seemingly finding their way into her conversations with amazing ease.

The woman is so skilled in social relationships that even though she and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were separately invited to South African President Zuma’s inauguration, she ended up by the PM’s side. The PM was so taken in with his newly found niece that, even though he seems to have no clue how they are related, he ended up simply saying if someone says they are related to him he cannot say no to them.

He could not even bring himself to condemn the fact that Dr. Chihombori was involved in taking over a productive farm at a time when the MDC was telling us it was not the right thing to do.

However, it is not the fact that this charming woman is well connected and related to prominent people that bothers me. What bothers me is the fact that this presumably wealthy middle class American can utter such statements as, “There is plenty of farmland for all” with so much conviction that one was left with no doubt whatsoever that she actually believed it.

I had to read this statement several times to make sure that I understood what was said. I had assumed that she is wealthy because she kept saying the reason she was allocated a farm had to do with the fact that she could support one financially. One also needs to have lots of money to throw around in order to feel comfortable investing in an environment where security of tenure is not guaranteed.

If Zimbabwe has plenty of farmland for all then we would be the only country in the world to be fortunate enough to have land as an unlimited resource. One would also have to wonder why we have been fighting, killing and maiming each other over plentiful land. Did farm land all of a sudden become plentiful for 14 million blacks after the dispossession of 4000 white commercial farmers?

It would also bring to question why Dr. Chihombori’s sister could not secure a piece of land without her well-connected sister’s assistance. We are told the sister has the Doctor’s power of attorney – meaning she acts on the doctors behalf. Why would any family go to the extent of having an American citizen secure land for them – bona fide Zimbabweans, in the midst of unlimited farmland?

According to the information on hand, Dr Chihombori has resided in the USA for the past thirty years. One can only speculate that the reason she chose the USA over Zimbabwe had to do with the fact that she found the former more attractive in terms of the quality of life offered to citizens. The reason she has done well in the USA has a lot to do with the spirit of entrepreneurship engendered in that society. Property rights are sacrosanct in the country whose passport she now travels on and yet she is comfortable participating in the orgy of dispossessions dubbed land reform in the country of her birth.

As a well-connected and well travelled citizen of the world’s wealthiest nation who also told us she considers herself a “child of the world”, she is well aware of the fact that America’s wealth was not created on the foundation of subsistence farming. Currently, less than one percent of the US population is involved in agriculture and yet it is the world’s biggest net exporter of food. Where in the world has the Zimbabwean subsistence farming model of development in which this American citizen is willing to participate ever brought prosperity? We have been at it for almost a decade now and have been fed by Dr Chihombori’s adopted country for all this time.

Is this not a source of embarrassment for her?

Here are some of the questions that I would have loved to be put across to Dr Chihombori. I understand that the fact that she is not a Zimbabwean citizen and therefore not entitled to land does not seem to bother her, as she argued that the unity government intended to de-criminalise dual citizenship. She has already secured a piece of land in her birth country where, according to her, there is enough farm land for all.

Firstly, how much would she be willing to invest in the venture? Secondly, given the fact that all it takes is an offer letter from the Lands Minister to secure possession of a farm, if another well connected individual comes waving an offer letter for the same piece of land, would she willingly give way to the new owner? Thirdly, it would be interesting to find out how she would react should the new owner wish to take possession of his/her property when Dr Chihombori’s sister is busy harvesting crops whose inputs were bought by the American.

The second issue that troubled me was the allegation that white farmers are sabotaging black farmers by paying higher wages than black farmers can afford. It is one of those statements that leaves you wondering, once again, if you read correctly. The good doctor starts by accusing Mr Worswick of failure to acknowledge the ill treatment of farm workers by white farmers. At the same time, she is incensed that white farmers are paying higher wages than those paid by black farmers, arguing they are only doing so in order to ensure that the black farmers fail. She offers to provide phone numbers of black farmers who are being sabotaged in this manner.

The reason why these white farmers are paying higher wages, we are told, has nothing to do with higher productivity.  It has to do with the fact that they are receiving financial assistance from some unnamed sources in Britain. The sole purpose of this financial assistance is so that white farmers can pay artificially high wages. This complaint is being put forward by one who is saddened by the fact that white farmers ill-treat black farm labourers. Then again she complains that white farmers are paying more. Has the good doctor never heard of ill-treatment of farm labourers by black farm owners?

Violet Gonda should have requested for the phone numbers of the black farmers who have been whingeing to Dr Chihombori. It would be interesting to know who these farmers are. Presumably, they would also be in a position to name the white farmers who are the recipients of the “sabotage” funds. Dr Chihombori should have been asked how she knew for a fact that money was flowing into the country to subsidise farm labourer’s wages. Reporters could then make visits to both black and white farms and establish levels of productivity and the labourers wages.

Here is the issue though. How many white farmers are still working the land? My understanding is that there are less than 400 and that the sizes of their farms have been drastically reduced. It is not very clear how many black farmers are currently working the land taken from white commercial farmers. However, there were approximately 4500 white owned commercial farms before the land invasions. It means that more than 4000 are now in black hands. Is Dr Chihombori saying, in a country with 94 percent unemployment black farmers are failing to be productive because they cannot get labour due to unfair competition from a handful of white farmers? This, quite honestly has scaled new heights in terms of the ludicrous.

I know that as a nation one of our favourite pass times is looking for excuses for our failure. We tend to be very fond of bringing into the mix racial issues as a very quick and often effective way of neutralising criticism. We either fail because of the effects of colonialism, sanctions, the drought or outright sabotage by the West – never because we are just incompetent. However, this new excuse put forward by Dr Chihombori goes beyond the preposterous.

And this is coming from one who has seen and experienced firsthand what healthy competition between businesses can do for a country!

Farming is a business. Imagine the Chief Executive Officer of OK Zimbabwe telling his board that the reason for his poor performance is that TM supermarkets pays better salaries and therefore are able to attract better skills. I find it difficult to understand Dr Chihombori’s motive for seeking to advance such ridiculous excuses for failure.  Black farmers have failed the nation for close to a decade now. Dr Chihombori could tell us when exactly this sabotage scheme started.

On another issue, I found Dr Chihombori rather patronising.  Admittedly, Americans are very much into first name basis. However, if one is having a conversation with someone who would rather be addressed formally, then surely it is rude to keep calling them by their first name. Dr Chihombori could have had the courtesy to enquire from Mr Worswick if he did not mind being addressed by his first name. Did it not seem odd to the good lady that while she kept saying “John”, Mr Worswick kept referring to her as Dr Chihombori?

I also believe it is patently dishonest for Dr Chihombori to want to pretend that Mugabe would have welcomed the participation of whites in politics. Whether you are black or white, Mugabe considers participation in politics treasonous unless one joins Zanu PF. That explains the countless body bags of opposition supporters. The fact that Mugabe felt betrayed by whites because of their support for the MDC says a lot about the democratic deficit in our country.

In a democratic dispensation, citizens of a country are at liberty to join a political party of their choice, or to stay out of politics altogether if they so choose. While it is convenient to point to the disinterest of whites in the country’s politics, the truth of the matter is that the majority of us blacks also stayed out of politics. This explains why the late Edison Zvobgo created the executive presidency which has wrought so much havoc on our country and we did not even seem to be aware of it.

Coming to Mr Worswick, I only have one comment to make. While it may be true that many farm labourers prefer to work for white farmers, is also true that many white farmers did ill treat their workers and it would not have hurt for Mr Worswick to admit it.

It also has to be pointed out that the white farmers were quite intransigent in their attitude towards land imbalances. They were more concerned about seeking protection from the country’s laws so that they would not have to give up any of their land rather than doing what was morally right.

Therefore, although the buck certainly stops with Mugabe in terms of his failure to take decisions to avert the destruction of our country, there is a lot of blame to go round.

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Out of Africa
Tabisile Ndlove with her family, beginning a new life at Finley.

Tabisile Ndlove with her family, beginning a new life at Finley.

In search of a better life for her family, a registered nurse from Zimbabwe is loving the space and freedom of her new home in the Murray region.

While many of her peers sought work in the big cities of Australia, Tabisile Ndlove took up a position at an aged care facility in Finley. She's now inspired others from Africa to make the transition to country living and a better way of life.

Tabisile's placement at Berriquin Nursing Home has been a win-win situation, with her employer desperately seeking a registered nurse and being unable to recruit one within Australia.

With the assistance of an overseas recruitment agency and the support and certification from the Murray Regional Development Board, Berriquin Nursing Home was able to sponsor Tabisile under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme. More than three years later the match continues to be a wonderful success story.

"It's been a fabulous experience and we've enjoyed being able to offer a position for someone like Tabisile when we couldn't fill it any other way," Director of Nursing Vivienne Muirhead said.

"Our nursing home wouldn't have been in operation without her, it's as simple as that. We were desperately seeking a registered nurse nearly four years ago, but because of a real skills shortage we decided to undertake a sponsorship.

"We were so pleased to find someone like Tabisile, who is highly skilled and has the right attitude for the job. It's also great to know we've given an opportunity for someone from a struggling country to experience a better way of life."

Tabisile and her family have settled in well.

"It is such a change from where we came from," she said.

"My home town Bulawayo has 1.3 million people, here in Finley it is a small country town where people know you and you know most of them. They are very friendly. It is a big change in environment, living in a more well developed country that offers a better life for my children. My country has problems, but here there is better education and opportunities, it is easier to do things."

Tabisile has quickly made friends with other local women and mothers, joining a patchwork club making quilts. She has also bought a house and a car, while her husband who is a qualified teacher has picked up some work at a dairy farm. Her two children have settled in well at school, her eldest daughter is finishing year 12 and hopes to study medicine at university. They also enjoy living close to regional cities, capital cities and the snowfields.

Tabisile says the main reason her family has been able to settle down so well has been the sense of community offered by a country town.

"I have spoken to friends of mine who have migrated to bigger cities in Australia. They are finding it more anti-social, everybody keeps to themselves, where-as here you are interacting with everybody," she said.

Tabisile has inspired other skilled workers from her native country to also consider migrating to the Murray region, while Berriquin Nursing Home has again met a skills shortage, employing another registered nurse from Zimbabwe.

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Stakeholders convene to strategize against forced evictions

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Stakeholders convene to strategize against forced evictions

30 July 2009

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and other key stakeholders like Amnesty International Zimbabwe Chapter have objected to the plans by the Harare City Council to carry out forced evictions of people in informal settlements around Harare. The pending evictions have generated restlessness and panic among residents of Harare who feel that the move is unfair and violates residents’ right to shelter.

What is disturbing about this issue is the lack of adequate planning regarding the issues of forced evictions given the vivid memories of operation Murambatsvina of 2005. The most worrying issue is that contrary to the reasonable arguments regarding health hazards in the light of the recent cholera outbreak, there is no clear plan of resettlement of the affected people in compliance with international norms on evictions. Further is the absence of consultations and agreed solutions with the members affected and these are coming as mere directives. Effectively, this is disregard for human rights. CHRA is reliably informed that the City of Harare has not made any plans for alternative accommodation for the affected residents. One of the Harare City Councilors only highlighted that the settlers might be put at Caledonia Farm in Mabvuku; a place that neither has sanitary facilities nor readily built houses.  

In this regard, representatives from the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), Amnesty International Zimbabwe Chapter (AIZ), Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Traders Association, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Zimbabwe Chamber of Cooperative Housing, representatives from the Gunhill settlements and Newlands Arts and Crafts met to deliberate on this issue and came up with strategies on how to deal with this issue. The delegates to the meeting made the following resolutions;

·Meeting with the Mayor and his Deputy on Wednesday the 5th of August 2009 and having a press conference thereafter.

·Aggressive media campaign through opinion letters and alerts

·Demand that Council should give a three months notice to the Gunhill informal settlers and come up with alternative accommodation for them.

· If the City of Harare is to go ahead with evicting The Newlands Arts and Crafts Informal traders; not only an alternative, but a marketable selling point should be made available to them.

·Petition letters will be written to the Ministry of Local Government, City of Harare Councilors and Parliamentarians.

Residents object to forced evictions which do not address the long term issues of socio-economic rights especially of the people and vulnerable. An agreed plan must be put in place to curb the recurrence of such settlements. CHRA remains committed to advocating for good and accountable local governance as well as lobbying for quality municipal (and other) service delivery on a non-partisan basis.

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