By Peta Thornycroft
07 July 2009
As plans to further define and adopt fundamental principles on Zimbabwe's
new Constitution continues, some lawyers say they fear President Robert
Mugabe will stop any new constitution which cuts his executive powers.
At issue is a draft constitution agreed to by ZANU-PF and the two formations
of the Movement for Democratic Change in September 2007 and which is now
known as the Kariba Draft.
Mr. Mugabe favors this draft because it would leave his over-arching powers
intact, while the MDC risks losing a key constituency in civil society if it
gives in to Mugabe's demands.
Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said that while the Kariba draft was
agreed to, he now is firmly committed to a constitutional process this time
around in which all Zimbabweans have input.
But Mr. Mugabe told The Herald, a pro-ZANU-PF daily, that parliament would
not adopt any constitution other than the Kariba draft, even if most
Zimbabweans opt for something different. A two thirds majority in parliament
will be needed to adopt a new constitution.
Constitutional lawyer Derek Matyszak says civil rights activists including
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Unions share his fears that Mr. Mugabe will
stop any new constitution which limits the powers of the presidency.
"Any constitution requires a two-thirds majority in parliament and the MDC
doesn't have two-thirds, so for the constitution to be changed it needs
ZANU-PF's support," he said. "What is likely to happen before it even
reaches that stage, the MDC will say what kind of constitution can we put to
the people in a referendum and ZANU- PF will agree [to it] when it gets to
parliament. So it's likely to be a political compromise before it even gets
to a referendum."
Matyszak, other lawyers and civil rights activists agree that the MDC has
already made compromises on major issues since it was sworn into the unity
government in February.
"I have yet to find a compromise the MDC doesn't find acceptable," he said.
"They seem to be prepared to accept whatever ZANU-PF puts in front of them.
This is what the civics fear, that the MDC will come up with a compromise
which will leave Mugabe's powers pretty much as they are."
ZANU-PF holds its congress in December to elect officers. Most political
analysts believe that Mr. Mugabe will remain on as president of the party
and ensure that the ZANU-PF hierarchy will continue.
They say this means that any ZANU-PF reformers who believe a new
constitution is above party political interests, will be over ruled by
majority of ZANU-PF officers who depend on Mr. Mugabe for political
By Tichaona Sibanda
7 July 2009
The selection of candidates to fill posts in the new independent
constitutional commissions has run into trouble, despite reports of 'huge
interest' in these full time jobs.
Masvingo urban MP Tongai Matutu, chairman of the Parliamentary Legal and
Procedural Committee, said no progress has been made since the deadline to
Parliament had set 19th of June as the deadline for applications to the four
new commissions to be implemented under the Global Political Agreement.
These new organisations are the Zimbabwe Media Commission (that seeks to
reconstitute the Media and Information Commission), the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Human Rights
'I simply want to express disappointment at the way things are moving.
Nothing has happened since the day of the deadline and what it means is we
have not followed the timeline set up by the Parliamentary Standing and
Orders Committee,' Matutu said.
'I haven't heard from parliament's presiding officer on the way forward, or
the clerk of parliament. Neither have I heard from the speaker himself. It
means its back to square one,' Matutu added.
The MDC legislator explained that most members who sit on the panel to
identify potential candidates for the commissions are also actively involved
with the constitutional making process.
'We have cabinet ministers and MPs on the panel that have been travelling
extensively throughout the country on constitutional reforms duties. I
understand their pressing commitments, but we equally have an important
national duty to fulfil,' Matutu said.
'We are obviously concerned about the delay and my wish now is to double our
efforts to complete this task by August,' he said, adding that there has
been a very large interest in the various commissions from people across the
'I cannot disclose the number of applications we have received or the names
of applicants but in due course this would be made public,'
The MP, a lawyer by profession, believes some potential candidates might
have backed off due to the vetting process, which exposes them to intense
public scrutiny. Parliament will conduct the interviews in public and many
who have sat on past commissions under ZANU PF are fearful of being asked
awkward questions of links with the former ruling party.
Those likely to be grilled are Tafataona Mahoso, former chairman of the
Media Information Commission, and George Chiweshe, the current chairperson
of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Both are reported to have applied to
join the new commissions.
Mahoso, dubbed 'the media hangman', was the controversial and vitriolic
chairman of the MIC, an organ created by Jonathan Moyo to control the media
in the country.
He was replaced by Chinondidyachii Mararike in early 2008, when a judge
determined that he was unfit to perform his duties as the chairman of MIC
because he was 'politically biased.'
'He will have a tough time trying to convince the panelists that he has the
right credentials for the job, but as it stands his image and reputation is
badly damaged because during his tenure he closed down a number of
newspapers and has fought to deny license to ANZ, publishers of the Daily
News,' an analyst told us.
'As for Chiweshe, panelists would love to know why ZEC held on to the
presidential results for weeks and why they violated the electoral laws by
holding a re-run after three months instead of the stipulated 21 days,' the
July 7, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - School teachers will on Friday stage a general strike in a bid to
force the government to pay them proper salaries, a representative union
The militant Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) on Tuesday said
its members would start with a boycott of duty one day a week for two weeks.
"We have resolved to boycott classes and stay away from school on Fridays
being the 10th and 17th of July in a campaign code-named Operation Friday
Chisi/Inzalo," said PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou at a press conference in
"There will be further boycott of classes and stay-away from schools every
Thursday and Friday starting on the 23rd of July, if government does not
respond to our action by the 17th of July 2009."
The teachers said they would also take to the streets, with marches taking
place in all major towns and cities.
The teacher's union said it could have gone on a full blown strike but had
decided to take one day off in a week in order to cater for the children of
"We have decided to take off one day a week to protest because we are
considerate to the children of the poor," said Zhou. "The children of the
rich are having unpunctuated learning but if the government does not
respond, we will take two days to three days."
Zimbabwean teachers like all the other civil servants in the country are
currently paid US$100 in monthly allowances.
The government has announced through the Ministry of Finance that it will on
July 16 start reviewing allowances for all civil servants.
But the teachers said they now wanted to be paid proper salaries, not the
allowances that they have been receiving since March, when most teachers
returned to work.
"We want a properly remunerated teacher who is well clothed and fed," said
Zhou. "We now want proper salaries; we are violently opposed to this issue
of parents subsiding teachers.
"The government is the one which should be remunerating teachers and it must
remunerate them properly."
Another union, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) also published a
circular on Sunday notifying the government of its intention to go on strike
if their allowances were not reviewed.
At Tuesday's press conference, the PTUZ also complained about the deployment
of Zanu-PF youth militias in schools.
The PTUZ secretary general, Raymond Majongwe, said the Ministry of Youth,
Indigenisation and Development, was deploying the youths to intimidate
"Youths are being redeployed in schools under the guise of creating what
they are calling Youth Friendly Centres," said Majongwe. "They are being
deployed by the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Development and paid
"They are being brought to schools as History teachers. Nobody knows how
they are being recruited; we have reason to believe that all this is a
Zanu-PF move to frustrate the gains of the Government of National Unity
Majongwe said the youth were asking school heads to appoint councillors who
would give reports to the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment
on events at the schools.
"These youths are to be taken to training centres during the holidays, but
we are saying, 'Why should they be trained?'" said Majongwe.
Majongwe named some of the schools with the Zanu-PF youths as Gwangwara
School in Mt Darwin's Rushinga district, Kanzire School in Uzumba Maramba
Pfungwe and Chikarudzo Primary and Secondary school in Masvingo.
By Lance Guma
07 July 2009
Morgan Tsvangirai, Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara will on Thursday share
the stage at an international investment conference in Harare. The event is
being held to lure investors, despite mounting problems within the 5 month
old unity government. The Harare Celebration Centre in Borrowdale is the
venue for the conference which, according to Economic Planning Minister
Elton Mangoma, will attract all sectors of the economy and the three main
political parties - ZANU PF and the two MDC formations.
Mangoma on Tuesday told Newsreel the conference will focus on investment
opportunities in mining, agriculture, infrastructure development and
tourism. Although a press release from the MDC had not mentioned investment
opportunities in the media, he told us that those wanting to invest in the
media were welcome. Mangoma said the three main political parties will be
answering questions from investors about the unity government. They will
also be explaining, 'the country's investment policies to local and foreign
potential investors,' he said.
The big challenge for the conference however is how to lure investors when
there are still several outstanding issues dogging the coalition. Only last
week MDC ministers boycotted a cabinet meeting brought forward from Tuesday
to Monday to accommodate Mugabe's trip to Libya. Deputy Prime Minister
Thokozani Khupe said this was an attempt to stop Tsvangirai chairing cabinet
in Mugabe's absence. She said as a party they had a right to disengage from
the coalition if they felt ZANU PF was not respecting them as equal
partners. But a day later, Tsvangirai poured cold water on the threats to
quit the coalition, branding it an expression of frustration from his party.
Issues such as the unilateral appointment of Reserve Bank governor Gideon
Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana by Mugabe remain outstanding. The
MDC referred the issues to SADC, but as yet no summit has been called to
deal with them. The programme shows that the morning session will deal with
how the three principals Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara are working
together. The outstanding issues will also be explained at the conference in
a bid to allay investor fears.
Another key obstacle for the coalition government is the issue of
fundamental political reforms. On Tsvangirai's maiden international tour as
Prime Minister most western governments emphasized the need for tangible
reforms before they could commit money to fund the recovery programme. The
shadow of serious concern over property rights, given ongoing farm invasions
and disturbances, will also mean Thursday's conference has its work cut out.
Mangoma told us they could not deny the land violations that continue to
take place, but what was needed was to compensate those who had been
dispossessed of their farm land.
Outgoing US ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee summarized his government's
position by rejecting the notion that money was needed to achieve reforms.
'It doesn't cost anything to start enforcing property rights or to have
judges apply the law equally. Dropping phantom, politically motivated
prosecutions is free. Stopping the arrests of political activists and
independent journalists is also free. Licensing new private media and
allowing international journalists to practice openly in Zimbabwe might even
generate revenue. These are the kinds of steps we need to see to expand our
commitment to Zimbabwe.'
By Chris Gande, Gibbs Dube and Sandra Nyaira
07 July 2009
Zimbabwe would consider adopting the South African rand as its currency and
entering a rand union, Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube told a
forum in London Tuesday.
He said the country can't keep using multiple currencies so it would look at
joining Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho in the rand monetary union where the
rand is used alongside local currencies.
Elsewhere, finance minister Tendai Biti repeated that the Zimbabwe dollar
isn't coming back any time soon, contradicting President Mugabe's contention
it should be restored to help rural dwellers without access to hard
Director Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Research Institute tells
Studio 7 that reintroducing the Zimbabwe dollar doesn't make sense given the
shape of the economy.
Looking for an infusion of foreign capital, the government will make its
case to international investors in a two-day conference beginning on
Thursday in Harare. The gathering will also encourage Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora to identify business opportunities at home.
Economic planning and investment promotion minister Elton Mangoma says the
conference aims to position Zimbabwe as a destination for foreign direct
investment in Southern Africa.Zimbabwe hopes to raise more than 50 million
US dollars by offering so-called Diaspora bonds to millions of nationals
living abroad - though such a venture could face skepticism amid fears that
the money might fund Zanu-PF activities.
The unity government is far from raising the eight to 10 billion dollars it
needs to revive the economy and reconstruct, so it is looking to raise funds
through the private market.
Analysts say many most Zimbabweans abroad, who collectively remit some 500
million a year to the country, will probably subscribe to the bond issue if
the political situation improves.
London-based political analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga tells reporter Gibbs Dube
success will depend on the likely investment return.
07 JULY 2009
MAGISTRATE ORDERS STATE TO INVESTIGATE ASSAULT OF WOZA MEMBERS
Harare Magistrate Jackie Munyonga on Tuesday 07 July 2009 ordered the State
to investigate assault claims lodged by four members of the pressure group
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).
The four WOZA members, who were arrested during a demonstration organized by
WOZA on Thursday 18 June 2009 allege that they were assaulted by police
officers whilst in custody and were also denied medical examination and
treatment by the police.
Magistrate Munyonga who on Monday 06 July 2009 postponed the WOZA members'
matter to Tuesday 07 July 2009 to allow the State to explain why the four
WOZA members had been assaulted in police custody and why they had been
denied medical treatment ordered the State represented by prosecutor Public
Mpofu to present a detailed report by 13 July 2009 on his finding regarding
the assault and the denial of medical attention to the WOZA members.
The WOZA members' lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa insisted on Monday 06 July 2009
that the matter of the assaults be brought before the Magistrate as the four
women were complainants in a case against the police.
On Monday 06 July 2009 State prosecutor Public Mpofu, withdrew the charges
of disturbing peace leveled against the four WOZA members after the State
failed to identify witnesses whose "peace" had been disturbed following the
demonstration by the WOZA members.
By dropping the charges against the WOZA members, the State had hoped to get
around the matter of the assaults of the WOZA members whilst in custody.
But Mtetwa insisted on having her clients' grievances addressed by the court
to which Magistrate Munyonga ordered the State to compile a report which
should be presented before the Magistrate Court by 13 July 2009.
For more information please contact;
2009 , 11:58:00
The City of Johannesburg says the first phase of renovating a building
that will accommodate hundreds of Zimbabwean nationals will be completed in
the next few days. The refugees are currently squatting in and around the
Central Methodist Church in the CBD. Johannesburg City spokesperson,
Nthatisi Modingoane, says more buildings are needed to house the refugees.
Meanwhile Zimbabweans living in South Africa should be part of
crafting that country's new Constitution, the Movement for Democratic
Change's South African spokesperson said today. "We expect the
parliamentary committee leading the process to visit South Africa and enlist
the people's participation, like what was done in the 1999 Referendum,"
said MDC publicity secretary Sibanengi Dube in a statement. "To avoid
amending the constitution every day, the process should be as inclusive as
possible," said MDC SA publicity secretary Sibanengi Dube. Dube said there
are about three million Zimbabweans living in South Africa, and another two
million settled in the UK, the US and elsewhere. Excluding them would be
"unfortunate, unconstitutional and disturbing" and would render the process
The party said it was logistically difficult to get Zimbabweans to
travel to Zimbabwe to participate, and it was worried that there appeared
to be nothing established in South Africa to suggest that Zimbabweans will
be able to participate by the July 9 start. According to Agence France
Presse, Zimbabwe will start public hearings on the new constitution, one of
the conditions of the power sharing deal with Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF. The
process is expected to take 18 months, with a draft to be tabled in
Parliament next February, followed by a referendum in July. Additional
reporting by Sapa
By Alex Bell
07 July 2009
A South African couple are facing charges of abduction, human trafficking
and extortion after kidnapping a young Zimbabwean woman and holding her for
The 19-year-old woman was abducted shortly after arriving in South Africa
more than week ago. It's understood the couple responsible for her abduction
had promised her work and even organised her transport from Zimbabwe. But
instead of walking into a job, the young woman was abducted, and her brother
was later contacted to pay a ransom fee of R1800.
Police officials were able to set up a false meeting with the suspects on
Tuesday after the woman's family reported the ransom demand and her
disappearance. The duo was arrested after arriving to cash in on their
scheme. Police later discovered not only the missing woman, but also two
other Zimbabweans who were being held hostage at the suspects' home.
The incident is not the first of its kind in South Africa, where hundreds of
thousands of Zimbabweans have fled to seek safety and jobs. Johannesburg
police have been investigating a possible criminal syndicate, after a group
of Zimbabweans, including two young children, were discovered locked in a
run-down flat in the city centre earlier this year. The group had all been
abducted and their families contacted to pay ransom demands. Three
Zimbabwean men, believed to be part of the criminal syndicate, were
Posted on Tuesday 7 July 2009 - 14:38
Ronny Zikhali, AfricaNews reporter in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Photo: Shepherd
Zimbabwe has dismissed allegation of any fresh farm invasions, a
preliminary report of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee
fact-finding mission said.
The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Professor Welshman Ncube, said the
committee was in its second week to determine if there are reports of farm
invasions in the country but said present findings have revealed that there
are only a "spate of land disputes" as opposed to intrusions.
The Committee was set up after the formation of the all-inclusive
government with the aim of ensuring that the resolutions of the Government
of National Unity are implemented. The committee is made up of all the three
political parties - the two MDC formations and ZANU PF.
"We need time to establish the facts. We cannot say everything which
happens on the farms are farm invasions and as JOMIC this is a matter which
we have been working on in the past two weeks and we are supposed to
complete the gathering of those facts next week (this week).
"However, in some of the cases you have an old farmer whose land was
acquired by Government long ago with an eviction letter offered to them (old
farmers) and did not move. Then a new owner comes and in most cases the old
farmer says we have a Government of National Unity so leave and the new
farmer insists that he has an offer letter thus the starting point of an
altercation," Prof Ncube said.
He denied any form of farm invasions but hinted that there are a number of
anomalies in the farms, which the media has wrongfully interpreted as
"People also have a misunderstanding on what is offered by the B1PPs farms
these farms acquired resettlement depending on someone paying immediate
compensation on the value of the land and the developments made," Prof Ncube
"As JOMIC we need to find a way to arrest these (land) situation. However,
there is also a need to give 99 year leases to white farmers who want to
farm," Prof Ncube said.
By Violet Gonda
7 July 2009
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) continues to issue
exorbitant tariffs to residents, that are way beyond what they earn and bear
no relation to what they actually consume.
On Wednesday and Thursday last week, ZESA officials in Marondera went door
to door disconnecting electricity from a number of homes. Many of the
residents earn allowances of just US$100 and yet are receiving bills of
between $70 and $400 a month.
Marondera based author Cathy Buckle told SW Radio Africa that this is also
in spite of the fact that residents have not received electricity bills for
some months and the electricity metre has not been read for over a year.
Buckle said Marondera has been crippled by the power cuts. She said many
people have been trying to pay bit by bit and were still trying to raise the
$10 needed for re-connection. She said Thursday was the coldest day of
winter so far, but there was no warning and no mercy from the ZESA people
who came to switch off electricity from desperate residents.
Buckle says the word being used on the street in her neighborhood is
"Murambatsvina," with people comparing the cruelty of events to the
government's massive urban evictions of mid winter 2005.
The author of the weekly column 'Letter from Zimbabwe' said: "In the road
where I live, 90% of homes were disconnected on a freezing July afternoon.
The picture was repeated across town. Families with babies in the house were
not spared; homes with sick and disabled occupants were switched off; homes
with elderly people in their 90's were disconnected. There was no mercy or
compassion, no compromise or humanity - just like it had been in Operation
Marondera's Mayor Farai Nyandoro denied that this was happening. He told SW
Radio Africa on Tuesday that there is a power problem in Marondera at the
moment, but it's a transformer problem.
But Buckle maintains that the situation is more than the issue of a
transformer problemShe said ZESA officials were seen going door to door, in
pairs, physically disconnecting power from people who had failed to pay
their bills. Only those who have been able to pay are being reconnected.
Last month Energy and Power Minister Elias Mudzuri told SW Radio Africa
residents were being asked to pay uniform rates of between US$30 and US$40
per month. He said since February, when they started the system, most
residents have not been paying and ZESA was saddled with a US$60 million
power import bill that needed to be paid. He warned that the country was on
the verge of being cut off by those supplying it with electricity.
Receive highlights of his speech in Ghana, too
You are invited to send a text message to President Barack Obama with your questions and comments in advance of his visit to Africa.
Those who respond early will receive SMS highlights from his speech in Accra, Ghana, on Saturday, July 11. This service is available in both English and French.
President Obama will directly answer selected questions through local radio broadcasts in Africa.
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For more information, please visit http://harare.usembassy.gov
Photo: Gary Hampton/World Lung Foundation
"We have between 300 and 400 people on the waiting list for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and we can only cater for eight people from each of our 15 clinics per week. We fear it might take up to a year before a patient is put on ARV drug therapy," Bulawayo City Council clinical officer Dr Edwin Sibanda told IRIN/PlusNews.
More than 320,000 people in Zimbabwe are in need of ARV treatment; of the 1.7 million living with HIV, only about 150,000 are obtaining the medication from the public health sector.
Bulawayo, with at least 1.8 million residents, is also burdened with a crippling TB epidemic.
Sibanda noted that Zimbabweans, who cross the border in search of better economic opportunities in South Africa, are returning to Bulawayo clinics for treatment, as they are unable to easily access ARVs in South Africa.
"They come for diagnosis when they are in such bad shape that we are forced at times to allow them to jump the queue for antiretrovirals," he added.
Sibusiso Ncube, 27, decided to avoid the long waiting lists in Bulawayo by enrolling for free ARV treatment in rural Nyamandhlovu, about 40km west of the city, at the end of 2008. The process was relatively simple and there was no queue, but he has recently been finding it difficult to get the drugs from the rural clinic.
"The clinic staff say they have run out of drugs, so I have to buy from nurses here for 300 rands (US$40)," Ncube told IRIN/PlusNews.
From Xinhua (China), 6 July
Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has applauded China for
unconditionally extending a 950 million U. S. dollars credit facility to
help Zimbabwe's economic recovery program, The Herald said on Monday. The
president also blasted the West for insisting on condition seven as they
render bits and pieces of aid to their agencies under the guise of assisting
the people of Zimbabwe, the daily newspaper said. Speaking to journalists in
Libya, Mugabe said the Chinese package was negotiated long before the
formation of the inclusive government and all those trying to credit it to
MDC-T were merely politicking. The newspaper said the 950 million dollars is
the first tranche of an expected 5 billion dollars bridging package that was
negotiated four years ago by teams from the ministries of foreign affairs,
industry and international trade, and finance, and at onetime involved the
presidency through Vice President Joice Mujuru.
The Zimbabwean inclusive government said it needs 8.3 billion dollars to
bankroll the Short-Term Emergency Recovery Program, and the Chinese facility
is the biggest package the government has received to date. "Well, it's a
fund that was negotiated long ago, and all that nonsense that it's the MDC
and so on is just politicking, it's a fund also that is targeted, it will
come variously," Mugabe said. "There are amounts for the various sectors,
for agriculture, for health, for mechanization etcetera and so on, and they
will cover energy as well and so we are happy. But you don't get the
political conditionalities from the West," he said. The president took a
swipe at Western nations for being mean to Prime Minister Tsvangirai when he
embarked on a tour of Europe and the United States, with a brief from the
president and cabinet to call for the removal of sanctions and seek a
financial package for Zimbabwe.
The countries the prime minister visited, among them the Netherlands, United
States, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, only pledged about
202 million dollars to be channelled through their NGOs and lectured him on
how the inclusive government should be implemented. "Look at the fund, that
950 million dollars, and we know there is more, there will be more; is given
in circumstances quite different from what the West prescribed for the
mini-funds that attended, you know, all that venture that the Prime Minister
went on from the Netherlands to the United States, the United States back to
Europe," the president said. "And they treated him in a mean way, very, very
mean way even to the extent of trying to divide the inclusive Government as
happened in America where they wanted just the non-Zanu PF side, which meant
the MDC side led by the Prime Minister to accompany him to a meeting with
Obama," Mugabe said.
The Chinese package, the president said, was well meant as it was coming to
the government not NGOs, to assist in national development and economic
revival. "That is the kind of help we would want to get, and not the Western
dictates," he said. The president said Western countries never give the
developing world development funds that promote economic growth and
prosperity as that would put them at par with the West and negate grounds
for dominance. "There is no funding with an investment capacity from the
West that will enable us to move from primary agriculture to secondary
stages of development. They do not want us, the West, to be that. They do
not want us to be their equals, they enjoy being masters over us and this is
what Zimbabwe rejects," he added. Mugabe, however, expressed optimism that
the developing world had seen through the West's designs and would strive to
uphold the ideals of pan-Africanism that advocate economic independence.
July 7, 2009
By Ntando Ncube
JOHANNESBURG - A total of 350 Zimbabwean refugees who were arrested over the
weekend at Johannesburg's Central Methodist Church and accused of loitering
and blocking pavements were released on Monday after intensive negotiation
between human rights lawyers and Westgate Magistrates' court.
The church continues to receive up to 200 new arrivals from Zimbabwe per
Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) said the arrests were a combined effort of
South African Police Service (SAPS), Johannesburg Metro Police Department
Pikitup is a public waste removal management company in the city of
"We have managed to liaise with the court to release all the arrested
refugees. As we are talking now they are in a process of releasing them and
we have talked with the police not to re- arrest them till the issue of
permanent accommodation for refugees is addresses.", LHR director Jacob van
Garderen told the Zimbabwe Times.
"At the moment I must say accommodation is till a problem but we have
managed to get a place in Johannesburg where we can accommodate about 350
refugees. But this will be opened as of next week. So at this point the
accommodation remains a problem."
However, South Africa department of Home Affairs has said the only key to
resolve the problems faced by homeless Zimbabwean refugees in Johannesburg
is to find a permanent resolution on Zimbabwe's political crisis.
"Home Affairs was not involved", Home Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa
said "The solution is to resolve the situation in Zimbabwe."
Mamoepa said the world should lift sanctions against Zimbabwe so that it can
rebuild the economy, adding that the majority of Zimbabweans in South Africa
were economic migrants.
Metro police have vowed to continue to arrest Zimbabwean refugees.
The City of Johannesburg spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane said the city was
trying to arrange shelter for at least 1 150 immigrants.
Currently the church offers accommodation to more than 3 000 immigrants from
across Africa with the bulk of them being Zimbabweans who continue to flock
to the sanctuary, fleeing their home country because of hunger and economic
By Moses Muchemwa
Published: July 6, 2009
Masvingo - STATE-run, Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) failed to open Monday
after students could not raise the required US$300 pegged fees.
Reports from the institution say the students failed to raise the high fees.
Students at GZU said they could not go back to the tertiary institution
because of the prohibitive US$300 fees per semester.
The students also failed to access their last semester results since they
owe the university.
In a statement, GZU Vice Chancellor Professor Obert Maravanyika said: "This
is a national problem. Students are having difficulties in raising their
fees all over the country. We are not an exception but we just encourage all
our students to come and register so that they would be able to attend
lectures. I can not conclude that students have already failed, I know they
"We can not teach because there are almost five percent of the students
here. If they do not reduce the fees, then there will be no learning in the
near future," said one of the lecturers."
Apart from GZU, other state universities like University of Zimbabwe and the
National University of Science and Technology are not operating because of a
myriad of challenges.
UZ is completely closed while NUST is running at less than half capacity
7th Jul 2009 06:50 GMT
By HARRIET McLEA
TOP Johannesburg criminal attorney Ian Small-Smith was one of about 15
lawyers who gave their services without charge to secure the release from
prison of 245 refugees yesterday.
Small-Smith - who has represented shady underworld bouncers, former ANC
spokesman Carl Niehaus and Scorpions prosecutor Gerrie Nel - appeared in
court for the embattled group, consisting mainly of Zimbabweans.
The men were arrested on Friday for loitering outside the Central Methodist
Mission and the South Gauteng High Court in the Johannesburg CBD.
Now Lawyers for Human Rights head Jacob van Garderen is demanding an
undertaking from the SAPS, the Johannesburg metro police and the MEC for
community safety, Khabisi Mosunkutu, that they will not conduct similar
operations in future.
If they do not comply, "we will be forced to interdict them", Van Garderen
Small-Smith did not hesitate when he was approached by Lawyers for Human
Rights to help represent the group:"It was the least I could do," he said.
About 300 people sleeping outside the church and the high court were pounced
on at 11.30pm on Friday by about 100 police officers.
Women and teenagers were released on a warning, but the 245 men remained in
They were released when prosecutors, after the intervention of Small-Smith
and his colleagues, unconditionally withdrew the charges against them of
loitering, indecency and public disorder.
Small-Smith was joined by lawyers from the Aids Law Project, Lawyers for
Human Rights and the Legal Resources Centre.
Jason Brickhill, of the Legal Resources Centre, said the prosecutors had
adopted "a reasonable attitude" and were trying to arrange accommodation for
Bishop Paul Verryn said there were vacant buildings in the CBD that could be
used to house those camping outside his church.
Metro police spokesman Wayne Minnaar said the group's arrest was prompted by
complaints by high court employees and city centre businessmen of criminal
activity in the area, including muggings.
He said film shot by security cameras showed pedestrians being robbed of
cellphones, cash and jewellery by people pretending to be sleeping on the
Minnaar said that the police's "clean- up" operation would be intensified in
the run-up to the soccer World Cup next year.
Verryn said the police were harassing the refugees. He said that two months
ago they took blankets and clothes from those sleeping outside the church,
and three weeks ago a security company employee "sprayed foul water over the
people". - Times (SA)
7 July 2009, 08:10
By Poloko Tau and Louise Flanagan
Standing among a visibly exhausted group of 57 of the first migrants
released from Johannesburg Central police station on Monday, Zimbabwean
Freedom Moyo had only one shoe on.
This 17-year-old youth leaned against a wall to enjoy the sunlight warming
him after a weekend in the police cells on a charge of loitering - something
he still doesn't understand.
Moyo was one of 358 destitute people, mostly Zimbabweans, arrested by Joburg
metro police and the SAPS on Friday night outside the Central Methodist
Church in Pritchard Street in the inner city. They spent the weekend in
custody, and prosecutors on Monday withdrew charges of loitering against all
"I was sleeping on the pavement with many others and all of a sudden there
were loud screams of police officers pushing people around. I don't know
what happened to my other shoe and I still don't know why I was arrested,"
said Moyo in a low voice, his head bowed.
"I was just sleeping. I did nothing wrong," he said repeatedly. He said he
was kept in one cell with about 40 men.
"There was hunger and it is very cold in there, although we had thin
blankets. I feel tired and hungry but I'm glad we were released, although it
took this long," he said.
The first group walked out of the police station hours after their case was
withdrawn unconditionally. Many emerged barefoot and tired.
They were counted by officials of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Lawyers
for Human Rights (LHR) against the list of those arrested, before being
escorted back to the Methodist church by police.
The group walked hesitantly with shoulders slumped. Many raised safety
concerns with MSF officials.
"Can't you just find us another place? We're going back to the pavements and
they will be coming back for us. We're just not safe there," yelled one man.
"We've lost our papers during the raid and they will use that to come back
LHR criticised the arrests.
"It is unacceptable that you can charge people for loitering when you
actually found them sleeping in the street. How is that a criminal offence?"
asked LHR lawyer Lesego Kwakwa.
"This is serious violation of human rights, and being migrants does not mean
that you are not protected by the law. The government needs to go deep into
this issue and look into why these people are sleeping in the streets in
this wintry weather."
Kwakwa said they would take individual statements from those arrested to
decide if there was evidence for a civil case against the police for
brutality and unlawful arrest.
"Some of them told me that police took their shoes and threw them in
dustbins, and the majority lost their passports, asylum papers and other
important documents," said Kwakwa.
On Sunday, MSF paid R300 admission of guilt fines for seven people who
needed medical attention, to secure their release. They included a pregnant
woman, two men suffering from psychosis and a deaf and blind elderly woman.
Those in custody for the weekend included 12 teenagers aged 15 to 17, 17
aged 18, 21 aged 19 and five aged 20.
Processing the arrests took hours of officials' time.
Representatives from LHR, MSF, the Legal Resources Centre and the Aids Law
Project spent hours at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court negotiating with
court officials over dropping the charges, and at the police station.
Lawyer Ian Small-Smith helped LHR to secure the release of the group.
The arrests came while council officials have been trying to arrange
emergency accommodation in council-owned buildings for the thousands of
destitute people, mostly Zimbabweans, who flock to the church as a safe
On Sunday, council officials said about 300 had been accommodated and
another 300 were due to get shelter when another building is ready within
days. Prosecutors were concerned about releasing people unless they had
somewhere to go.
July 7, 2009
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe spurned a request for a courtesy meeting by outgoing US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, a US embassy official said Monday.
“Over two weeks before Ambassador McGee departed Zimbabwe, the U.S. Embassy requested a courtesy call with President Mugabe through a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Tim Gerhardson, a US Embassy Public Affairs Officer said.
“Unfortunately, the US Embassy never received a reply from the Government of Zimbabwe regarding the US Ambassador’s request for a meeting with the President.”
McGee, a career diplomat, left Harare for Washington Sunday, ending a stormy two year long diplomatic relationship with the Zimbabwean government.
He was last year briefly detained at a police checkpoint outside Harare when he led a team of European diplomats to visit victims of State-sponsored political violence in Mashonaland East province.
President Mugabe, who accused McGee of violating diplomatic protocol by embarking on an official visit without notifying his government, later told party supporters at a campaign rally last year he would “kick out” McGee for allegedly meddling in the internal affairs of the country.
Even during the completion of his mission, McGee remained defiant.
He said a lot still had to be done by the current inclusive government in Zimbabwe despite what he found to be positive change brought by its formation early this year.
“The rule of law and human rights are still under attack in Zimbabwe,” he said, “Innocent people continue to be arrested and prosecuted.”
He was addressing hundreds of Zimbabweans at a farewell ceremony in Harare Friday.
The ceremony coincided with the July 4th Independence Day commemoration, 233 years after the signing of the declaration of independence in Philadelphia.
“Justice and healing from last year’s widespread violence remain elusive,” McGee said.
“…Across Zimbabwe, villagers whose grain, farm tools, and livestock were stolen last year, remain without recourse as police continue to refuse to record their legal complaints.
“The thugs who stole chickens and plows continue to live alongside the rightful owners and use the stolen goods with impunity.”
McGee pledged his government’s support to efforts by Zimbabweans to restore democracy and economic prosperity.
The US has availed more than $400 million in humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe between last year and this year.
US President Barrack Obama recently announced an additional $73 million in additional assistance to Zimbabwe.
McGee further warned government against hijacking the current constitution making process at the expense of the masses.
“The US Constitution begins with ‘We the people …’ for a reason; because the Constitution creates a government of the people,” he said.
“It is not, ‘We the major political parties’ or ‘We the chief negotiators’ because it is not the constitution. It is everyone’s. No constitution will succeed if it isn’t supported by the people.”
McGee was referring to the Kariba Draft Constitution, a proposal authored by Zanu-PF and MDC politicians in September 2007.
President Mugabe has declared the controversial document must be used as the basis upon which Zimbabwe’s first home grown constitution must be crafted.
McGee will continue working for the State Department at the National Defense University in Washington, DC. He plans to retire after a year’s stint with the institution.
Obama has announced his intention to nominate Charles A. Ray, a career member of the Foreign Service since 1982, to succeed McGee.
Ray has been the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Prisoners of War/Missing Personnel Affairs since 2006.
He served as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia from 2002 to 2005.
A US embassy official says Ray should not be expected in Harare any earlier than October this year.
Published Date: 07 July 2009
By Polly Rippon
A ZIMBABWEAN asylum seeker from Barnsley, who got embroiled in a £1 million
fraud against banks after he was given leave to stay in the UK, has been
jailed for four years.
Dumisani Nyamyaro, aged 32, of Cypress Road, Kendray, is the fifth man to be
jailed for his part in the massive scam which involved the theft of
high-value cheques from banks including HBOS.
Timothy Capstick, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court the case involved the
interception of cheque books, cards and other bank documents - many of which
went missing from the bank's post room in Leeds. Over a 20-month period
stolen cheques were deposited into bank accounts by the fraudsters who then
took the cash out.
Mr Capstick said: "The face value of the cheques was well over £1m although
not all the money was successfully withdrawn."
Nyamyaro, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, was caught during
Operation Illmington, which saw 30 houses raided across the country. He was
seen by police with two other conspirators at a bank in Manchester where a
cheque for £136,000 was paid into one account. When his home in Kendray was
searched, police found a stolen cheque jammed in a paper shredder.
Jailing Nyamyaro, who had a previous conviction for deception involving
stolen credit cards, Judge Kerry McGill said: "This was by anyone's
standards a large scale and sophisticated conspiracy. This was not
shoplifting to get food to survive, this was crime by an organised group."
Detective Chief Superintendent Howard Crowther, Head of West Yorkshire
Police's Crime Division, said: "The sentencing of Nyamyaro now sees five men
behind bars for a total of 18 years under Operation Illmington, proving the
commitment of the police and the criminal justice system to bring fraudsters
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
INSIDE ZIMBABWE: Returning the country to economic prosperity hinges on
political stability and solving the land ownership problem, writes BILL
EMBRYONIC SIGNS of an economic revival in Zimbabwe are there for visitors to
see shortly after their flights touch down at Harare International Airport.
As travellers make their way to the city centre the once-empty fuel stations
along the highway are busy with people filling cars. And a stroll through
the city’s supermarkets will reveal shelves stacked with a wide range of
goods, most of which is imported from South Africa.
Less than six months ago hyperinflation had caused goods to lose their value
by the hour. Moreover, the problem was made worse by the former government’s
insistence that businesses refrain from increasing prices to counteract the
zimdollar’s rapid devaluation.
Apart from bringing relative peace and stability to Zimbabwe, the formation
of the transitional government last February between the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) parties and President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party
is also meant to create a platform from which the crippled economy can be
Consequently, when planning and investment minister Elton Mangoma revealed
to reporters during a mining conference in late June that since powersharing
began Zimbabwe’s employment and industrial capacity had doubled, everyone
was pleasantly surprised.
“When we came into office in February, we had employment of 6 per cent and
capacity utilisation of less than 10 per cent,” Mr Mangoma said at the
“Our production capacity has now gone up to between 20 and 30 per cent and
employment is now about 15 per cent. And those who are employed are a lot
more secure because they can see that the companies are a lot more steady,”
What’s more, the department of finance’s decision to sideline the zimdollar
and allow the US dollar, South African rand and pula to be used instead has
brought the once record-breaking inflation, recorded at well over 230
million per cent a year ago, under control.
Mr Mangoma said that by next December the country’s inflation would
stabilise at a rate of “no more than 3 per cent”. This he added would be
Another consequence of the decision to “dollarise” the economy has been the
demise of the once-thriving black market, which Zimbabweans no longer need
to avail of to counteract the runaway inflation.
As the country’s economy declined, everyone, including the government –
which printed zimdollars at will for the cost of paper and ink and then
traded them on the black market for the more stable foreign exchange and
gold – traded on the parallel market to survive.
However, despite the emergence of positive economic signs, the task of
returning Zimbabwe’s economy to one of the most productive on the continent
remains monumental, given that political stability and the land issues are
Indeed, the reality on the ground for most Zimbabweans is that economic
security remains as elusive as the democracy their powersharing politicians
are trying to achieve.
It is an aspiration rather than a reality.
For instance, there is a huge shortage of hard cash on the ground.
This is because western governments are reluctant to lend the $9 billion
(€4.2 billion) the country needs to reboot the economy until tangible
progress has been made in terms of the powersharing deal.
To date the west and east have pledged just over $1 billion in loans and
increased aid through NGOs. The pledge of much-need cash has come while the
International Monetary Fund insists Zimbabwe must repay the billions of
dollars it owes the organisation before additional credit is forthcoming.
According to mining businessman Lee John – who owns most of the gold mining
concessions around Kwekwe region in the midlands – unless problems of land
title, mining claims and the issue of local and foreign ownership are
resolved, then a recovery is sometime away.
“Clear and unhindered title of mining rights would be the first major step
towards mines being resuscitated with local or foreign inputs,” said Mr
“The decision to do away with the zimdollar was a good one as it tackled the
hyperinflation issue, but it needs the foreign donors to come in behind it
with money if it is going to help businesses genuinely start again.
“To date businesses have not been able to run properly because there is no
capital available. We cannot borrow locally as there is no money in the
banks and we cannot borrow internationally because of the lack of political
Mr John believes Zimbabwe’s situation should be seen as an opportunity, as
in theory the unity government should present the country with a clean slate
upon which an economic plan to suit Zimbabwe’s specific needs can be drawn
“I believe we should scrap the current income tax system and replace it with
a progressive consumption tax. This starts at zero for food and basic
necessities and increases up to several hundred per cent for luxury items.
“There also needs to be a new wave of land reform. When Mugabe’s regime
introduced the land reform programme, and removed farmers illegally from
their land, they effectively did away with title deeds and the right to own
“This will have a serious negative affect on investment, as who is going to
invest in infrastructure if they don’t own the land upon which they are
building their business?
“Once this is rectified we should introduce a land tax. If you don’t use
your land productively you get taxed.
“This would deal with many of the idle farms there are at the moment, as it
should force landowners to be productive,” he said.
Commercial Farmers Union economist Kuda Ndoro also believes that property
rights are at the heart of any revival.
He said they need to be respected before the agricultural sector will
prosper, which along with mining are Zimbabwe’s largest industries. “We need
legal reforms. We need to get parliament to debate corrective issues.
“We need confidence to be built and this can only be done by matching risk
and return. Agriculture is currently high risk with low return, so no one
will invest in the sector. If you remove the constraints [the concerns over
land ownership] you reduce the risk, so return increases.
“None of this needs donor funding to be implemented. The only external
funding you need is for surveying land for demarcation, and this can be paid
for by those who will benefit. There is also a huge skills shortage that
needs to be dealt with, as in this sector many of those who had the skills
left because they could not earn a living.”
Mugabe is not giving up without a fight
Tuesday 7 July 2009 / by Rejoice Ngwenya
Virtually abandoned and discarded by a bankrupt government she has worked
for almost thirty years, my sister Zanele Ngwenya, fifty five, languishes in
a dilapidated hospital ward after a bone-crunching automobile accident. To
term the United Bulawayo Hospital [UBH] a 'hospital' is an overstatement.
Almost thirty years under the clutches of a senseless, abusive dictatorship,
Zimbabwe's once fine medical system has turned into a hellhole. A 'hospital'
with no blankets, no food, no drugs, blocked plumbing, and two solitary
tungsten bulbs dangling from the cracked ceiling is a good setting for a
Ms Ngwenya is one of many women in the ward that looks after fractures, but
due to an astronomical flight of doctors out of the country, she has to make
do with a North Korean practitioner whose knowledge of English is limited to
one word: 'bones'. The early morning visiting hour slot greets you with an
overwhelming stench of cheap medicine, human odour and stale food.
Ironically, a few blocks down the road, a state-of-the-art health investment
worth several millions of United States Dollars lies idle, almost ten years
after its completion. Ekusileni Medical Centre was a brainchild of Zimbabwe
political icon Joshua Mqabuko kaNyongolo Nkomo. Because President Robert
Mugabe hated this man, the entire ZANU-PF system of governance condemned the
project to oblivion.
July, another irony, is commemoration month of the death of Joshua Nkomo.
State media is currently engrossed in an orgy of primitive egotistic
hypocrisy, praising Nkomo as 'Father Zimbabwe' and yet, his party and
properties either remain expropriated or like Ekusileni Medical Centre, lie
While Ms Ngwenya is gasping for life at UBH, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirayi and President Robert Mugabe brandish swords at each other on
issues a far cry from life-saving reality. Of course Zimbabweans want a new
constitution - at least they can guarantee a quick exit of the forgettable
ZANU-PF machinery of deceit, repression, corruption and violence. But Mugabe
is not giving up without a fight. The agreement that brought about the
Inclusive Government was succinct in that Zimbabweans have to debate and
reach a consensus on a new constitution within eighteen months from
Article 6 of this agreement created an all party Select Committee of
Parliament to supervise constitutional debates in communities. But other
members of civil society, particularly the National Constitutional Assembly
[NCA], argue that a process driven by Parliamentarians is not only prone to
partisan contamination, but also subverts the will of the people. Their
definition of 'popular' excludes politicians, who on the other hand claim
they were themselves elected by 'the people'.
The conflict of constitutionalism is not new in this Southern African
country. Ian Douglas Smith, the last colonial ruler of Rhodesia, also had
his brand of constitution that was rejected by the British who eventually
brought him kicking and screaming to Lancaster House, London in 1979 where
technically, Zimbabwe was born. Both Mugabe and his late revolutionary
colleague, Joshua Nkomo, resented the British-brokered document that
guaranteed property rights of the white minority for ten years.
By 2008, Mugabe had amended the Lancaster House constitution a record
nineteen times, hence the ire of NCA and their constituents. In fact, 1999
was another battlefield because the NCA, at that time fronted by the then
Secretary General for the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions [ZCTU] Morgan
Tsvangirayi, dismissed Chief Justice Chidyausiku's Mugabe appointed
Constitutional Commission as a sham. Almost every protagonist ran a parallel
process, so that by the time Mugabe's propaganda hit man Professor Jonathan
Moyo took his version of the Draft Constitution to a referendum, the NCA and
Tsvangirayi had galvanised enough Zimbabweans to vote 'No!'
Since then, the NCA, through its never-say-die chairperson Dr Lovemore
Madhuku, has waged a campaign against using Mugabe's amended constitution to
drive the electoral process. His argument is that as long as Mugabe is
afforded unlimited executive authority, he will, as he has, manipulate all
electoral outcomes, even if he appointed what he terms an 'independent'
electoral authority. Some neutral commentators have however put a damper on
Madhuku's crusade. At one time, the NCA was meant to have changed guard, but
Madhuku is alleged to have 'manipulated' the organisation's constitution to
enable him to resume another term as chairman. Thus, the critics argue, the
good doctor has lost the moral [high] ground to wage a democracy war against
fellow constitution abuser Robert Mugabe!
The bulk of civil society is also divided. Recent stakeholder consultations
have not produced hard and fast resolutions on desisting from participating
in the government brokered process. Some argue that the Select Committee of
Parliament co-chaired by lawyers Eric Matinenga of MDC and Paul Mangwana of
ZANU-PF is 'not representative enough', since there are other [small]
parties that did not make it to Parliament but have a following, like Dr
Simba Makoni's Mavambo Kusile Dawn [MKD]. However, others say that MDC and
ZANU-PF are THE political parties that represent THE people, so their
legitimacy is unquestionable. The second group urges its constituents to
participate to ensure content reflects sectoral interests, while the last
groups claim to be 'observers' to the process.
On July 3, both the NCA and ZCTU stayed out of another stakeholder 'people's
convention' running under the "Our Country Too" brand attended by two
thousand civil society representatives. This group divided constitutionalism
into eight thematic entities who took common resolutions on issues like
enshrining fundamental liberties in the Bill of Rights, devolution of power
and proportional representation. Enshrining local governance in the national
constitution and infusing powers of recall was said to be key in progressive
The 'people's convention' was resolute in trashing the GNU Kariba Draft,
while arguing that if the Select Committee of Parliament so much as
manipulates the process, they will campaign, like they did in February 1999,
for a No Vote at the next constitutional referendum in 2010. Taken whichever
way, until there is a system of governance that allows for democratically
elected representation guaranteeing of individual liberties and good
governance, the likes of Ms Ngwenya and her young brother Rejoice, will have
to make do with dilapidated public health delivery system.
Rejoice Ngwenya is President of Coalitin for Liberal Market Solutions, a
think tank, based in Harare and affiliated with African Liberty.
Monday 06 July