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US maintains sanctions against Mugabe

June 10, 2009
Geoffrey Nyarota

By Our Correspondent

WASHINGTON DC - A campaign for the United States government to lift targeted
sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his officials has suffered
a major setback after the US Senate resolved to maintain the restrictions.

In a resolution this week, the US Senate on Tuesday said travel bans,
financial restrictions and an arms embargo against Zimbabwe, Mugabe and his
officials would remain in place until there was provable progress towards
the restoration of the rule of law and respect for human rights.

The US Senate said suspension of non-humanitarian government-to-government
assistance would remain in place.

The US is insisting on demonstrable progress towards restoring the rule of
law, civilian control over security forces as well as respect for human
rights in Zimbabwe.

The Senate supported the continuation and updating of financial sanctions
and travel bans targeted against individuals responsible for the deliberate
breakdown of the rule of law, politically motivated violence, and other
ongoing illegal activities in Zimbabwe.

The resolutions were co-sponsored by Senator Russ Feingold, Senators Johnny
Isakson, John Kerry, James Inhofe, Sheldon Whitehouse, Bill Nelson, Roland
W. Burris, Richard J. Durbin, Benjamin L. Cardin, Mel Martinez and Sam

However, the US Senate noted that there had been some progress towards the
implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), including positive
steps taken by the Ministry of Finance in crafting the new economic
blueprint dubbed Short Term Economic Recovery Program (STERP).

The Senate also noted as positive the replacement of the Zimbabwe dollar
with multiple foreign currencies such as the US dollar, the British Pound
Sterling, the South African Rand and the Botswana Pula.

The senators said the full implementation of the GPA continued to be
obstructed by hardliners in the government and important issues regarding
the appointments of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor and the Attorney
General (AG) remained unresolved.

The Senate said it remained worried by the arrests of journalists and human
rights activists and the delay in swearing into office of properly
designated officials nominated by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

It also accused security forces of continuing to operate outside the rule of

The Senate said the media environment and access to the media remain
restricted while land invasions were still continuing in some provinces in
the country.

However, the US Senate said its government would continue to provide
humanitarian aid and resources to non-governmental entities and would
provide concrete financial and technical assistance in response to requests
from the people of Zimbabwe and civil society in their efforts to draft and
enact a new constitution.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has visited Washington and other western
governments on a mission to convince the governments to lift sanctions
against Zimbabwe.

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US Looks Forward to Discussing a Broad Range of Bilateral Issues

Africa: Daily Press Briefing - June 9
Tue, 09 Jun 2009 15:22:57 -0500

Ian Kelly

Department Spokesman
Daily Press Briefing

Washington, DC

June 9, 2009


US Looks Forward to Discussing a Broad Range of Bilateral Issues


12:42 p.m. EDT


QUESTION: Can I have a new topic? I wanted to ask about Zimbabwe, because Morgan Tsvangirai is coming this week.

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

QUESTION: What is the U.S. considering doing in changing its aid programs in Zimbabwe or resuming some aid to Zimbabwe?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, we look forward to his visit. I know he’s going to – has a meeting at the White House. We look forward to discussing a broad range of bilateral issues between our two countries. You know that we have some concerns about the course of democracy in Zimbabwe. And I think we’ll have more to say about it on Friday.

QUESTION: But is the U.S. sort of reviewing its aid programs now? Are there sanctions that could be lifted?

MR. KELLY: Well, I mean, we’re in the process of a broad-based review of our aid programs, including in Zimbabwe. But beyond that, I’m not prepared to go into any details.


Yeah, Mark.

The full briefing is available at


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Zimbabwe PM greeted by skeptical donors

Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:11pm GMT

*Mugabe "not best of angels" but government strong

*Donors so far not stepping up with big pledges

*Zimbabwe still cannot afford to pay IMF arrears

By Simon Denyer and Andrew Quinn

WASHINGTON, June 10 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's fragile unity government must
work harder to convince donor countries that it can rescue the country from
economic and political chaos, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on

Tsvangirai, on a tour of Europe and the United States, conceded that his
governing partner, President Robert Mugabe, may not be "the best of angels"
and that tensions buffet the unity government the two formed in February.

But he said the political underpinnings of the deal remain strong and urged
more help from the international community, which thus far has shown little
readiness to provide more cash to fund Harare's reconstruction efforts.

"Zimbabwe must understand that we need to earn the confidence of the
international community," Tsvangirai said in an interview two days before he
was due to meet U.S. President Barack Obama. "The world is not going to come
forward unless there is demonstrable improvement."

"I am very realistic about what we need to do, and what our shortcomings

It is an uphill battle for Tsvangirai, a former labor leader and longtime
opposition leader now in an uneasy governing alliance with Mugabe's ZANU-PF
party, which he for years accused of stealing elections and intimidating

Harare says it needs about $10 billion to begin fixing an economy mired in
its worst crisis since independence in 1980. But Tsvangirai's trip has
yielded few concrete pledges of new support, a sign of lagging confidence in
the unity government.

The top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Johnnie Carson, said this week that
Washington was troubled by the absence of reform in Zimbabwe and had no
plans for now to offer major aid or lift sanctions against Mugabe.


Western aid is only beginning to trickle in -- and all of it is bypassing
the government.

The World Bank on May 18 announced a $22 million grant, its first since
2001, although it later said the funds would go through nongovernmental
organizations and U.N. agencies due to nagging concerns over government

Britain announced 15 million pounds ($23.9 million) in humanitarian aid,
while Norway and the Netherlands have also pledged moderate amounts of new

Tsvangirai said his government needed $100-$150 million per month to operate
and it must do more soon to persuade the world community that it is making
progress on resolving political conflict, human rights and governance

But he said it was making progress in reopening schools and hospitals,
putting food and other commodities back on once nearly empty store shelves
and sharply reducing inflation.

"We have to budget for the fact that there are skeptical assessments, but
life goes on," he said.

He added that Zimbabwe was still in no position to pay off its over $133
million in arrears to the International Monetary Fund. The IMF looks likely
to keep the door shut on most new grants to Zimbabwe for the foreseeable

Tsvangirai dismissed questions about senior military and security leaders -- 
including some longtime Mugabe allies who still refuse to salute the prime
minister -- saying he was certain they would back the country's legal

"I don't have to have personal love of generals or personal relationships.
If anyone wants to have an attitude towards me, he is also undermining the
inclusive government," he said.

Many Western countries imposed sanctions on Mugabe's ZANU-PF government over
charges of rights abuses, vote-rigging and its seizures of white-owned
commercial farms for redistribution to blacks without paying compensation.

Critics accuse Mugabe, 85, and in power since independence from Britain in
1980, of wrecking Zimbabwe's once-prosperous economy through mismanagement.
The veteran leader blames the economic misery on sanctions and says his land
policy is aimed at correcting colonial injustices.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe are at loggerheads over Central Bank Governor Gideon
Gono, who Mugabe has kept in office even though he oversaw an economic
debacle that at one point saw Zimbabwe burdened with the world's highest
inflation rate at about 231 million percent.

Tsvangirai's MDC party has demanded Mugabe dismiss Gono, who has publicly
admitted raiding foreign exchange accounts of NGOs and other organizations
at the central bank, saying it was an important issue of credibility as the
unity government seeks the backing of foreign donors.

"It is a very important issue, that is why it is a deadlocked issue,"
Tsvangirai said. "The credibility of the reserve bank -- not the merits of
the individual -- is very very important." (Additional reporting by Lucia
Mutikani; editing by Paul Simao)

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Prime Minister's 'niece' speaks about Chegutu farm invasion

By Violet Gonda
10 June 2009

Dr. Arikana Chihombori, the woman related to Morgan Tsvangirai and accused
of attempting to invade a Chegutu farm, has spoken for the first time.

The US medical doctor told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that she was indeed
related to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and also confirmed that she was
given an offer letter to 'take over' part of the Cremer farm in Chegutu. She
said she is Zimbabwean and has a right to land and was given an offer letter
because she had proven she had the resources to take up farming. When asked
if it was right to just go in and steal people's property, Chihombori said
the land redistribution programme is there to 'correct historical injustices'.

The Cremer family said that in January this year Dr Chihombori's sister sent
a group of unemployed youths to take the farm, but the occupation only
lasted three days, after which the youths left complaining of not being paid
enough. In April Dr Chihombori applied to the courts for an application to
evict the Cremer family, producing an offer letter dated December 2008 as
evidence. But Dr Chihombori revealed to us that she is withdrawing the
matter from the magistrate's case - for the time being. She said this was
because of the way the Cremers abused her sister and a Chegutu lands officer
when they went to represent her case at the farm. She said: "At one point Mr
Cremer let his dog at them and started yelling at my sister calling her a
cold stupid kaffir and that he was not going to listen to any instructions
from a kaffir."

The medical doctor insists it was because of this 'abuse' and not pressure
from the Prime Minister to leave the farm alone, that she was taking a step

The website Newzimbabwe reported on Tuesday that Tsvangirai was going to
instruct Chihombori to "walk away from that farm."

Meanwhile an MDC source had told us on Tuesday that Mr. Tsvangirai and the
medical doctor were not related, but the Prime Minister' spokesperson James
Maridadi insisted on Wednesday that the two are indeed related. "Dr.
Chihombori is the Prime Minister's niece and that is not in dispute. She is
52 years old and an uncle cannot be held responsible for the commissions or
omissions on the part of a 52 year old niece." Maridadi added.

On Tuesday Justice for Agriculture, a group that campaigns on behalf of
commercial farmers in Zimbabwe, said the affected farmer had approached the
American embassy to enquire about a US citizen who was attempting to invade
the farm, and the Prime Minister was then reportedly approached when it had
been revealed it was his niece.

But Maridadi said the Prime Minister had not engaged anyone in a discussion
pertaining to the issue of the farm. He stated: "Now that there is a lot of
interest coming out in the press, I think there may be need for the Prime
Minister to maybe look at the case closer and then determine what kind of
action to take from there. But as of now the Prime Minister is on a very
busy schedule of his tour of the US, Europe and Scandinavia, and he doesn't
have a lot of time to engage on the issue of the Cremer Farm, and he doesn't
have the facts."

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Ruling on MDC activists postponed again

By Tichaona Sibanda
10 June 2009

The High Court on Wednesday again postponed a ruling on the MDC activists
charged with attempting to overthrow Robert Mugabe.  The activists contend
their rights were violated when they were abducted by state security agents
and that their case should be referred to the Supreme Court.

Defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama told us the activists applied to refer the
case to the Supreme Court as they believe that they are themselves victims
of crimes perpetrated by the police and other security agents.

Concillia Chinanzvavana, Fidelis Chiramba, Violet Mupfuranhewe and Collen
Mutemagawu were abducted in October and held incommunicado for two months
before being found three days before Christmas last year.

They are the first group of individuals, who were abducted from their homes
during the months of October and December, to finally stand trial.
But the applicants want the higher court to determine several human right
violations against them by the State, including whether or not their
abduction was lawful and whether or not victims of kidnapping can be
lawfully prosecuted.

Muchadehama said Judge Tendai Uchena ruled on Wednesday that the High Court
will decide on their application on the 22nd June. The trial is expected to
start after the ruling.
'The applicants have asked the court to rule at what they believe to be
gross human rights violations against them by state security operatives.
There have been serious violations to their constitutional rights,'
Muchadehama said.
'So to try them in these circumstances violates their right to the
protection of the law. They contend that they are themselves victims of
crimes committed against them by security agents,' Muchadehama added.
Meanwhile Muchadehama himself is coming under renewed harassment. On Tuesday
he was summoned to stand trial at the Harare Magistrates' Court, on 17th
June, on allegations of obstructing or defeating the course of justice.

This is the case in which the State said that Muchadehama caused the
unlawful release from custody of three other clients, Kisimusi Dhlamini,
Gandi Mudzingwa and Andrison Manyere, all accused of terrorism.
Muchadehama had been removed from remand on this case by a Harare Magistrate
who said the State had failed to show any reasonable suspicion that he had
committed the alleged offence.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights believe that the swift revival of the case
against Muchadehama is an attempt by the State to prevent him from
dedicating his energies to properly representing his clients. They said the
Attorney-General and his officers are blatantly trying to intimidate, harass
and prevent him from executing his duties, by putting him on trial in the
middle of all the other ongoing trials.
As the State continues to relentlessly show that it is determined to harass
anyone perceived as an opponent, Deon Theron, the vice President of the
Commercial Farmers Union, was summoned by Harare's Law and Order Section of
the police to appear at their offices on Tuesday.

The police said they had another charge to lay against him but declined to
say what the 'new charge' was, according to reports. Theron was first
arrested and detained for taking photographs of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's vehicle just after the crash in which his wife Susan died.
Theron had been asked to take the photos by the MDC, as he was the nearest
person to the scene of the accident.

Since then he has been continually harassed.

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Brigadier Mujaji takes farm over in style

June 10, 2009

By Gift Phiri

HEADLANDS - On this farm 150 kms east of Harare, an estimated 500 tons of maize and 150 tons of tobacco stand yellowing in the fields.


Charles Lock and two daughters

The harvesting season is almost over.

But here the tractors and combine harvesters are quiet. The fields are empty of workers. Farm owner Charles Lock sips coffee on his back porch and anxiously watches clouds drift across the wide sky. Each cloud is a reminder that precious days are slipping past while his crops start to rot in the fields.

If he attempts to harvest he will be assaulted, maybe killed, he fears.

That is the threat posed by one Brigadier Mujaji and the several dozen soldiers who are in the process of taking over his farm, apparently with the government’s approval. The soldiers are uniformed and must be on official assignment.

On Sunday, a caravan of army trucks wound its way up the gravel road to Lock’s front gate. Mujaji, who says he is a veteran of Zimbabwe’s long war of liberation in the 1970s, and the contingent of soldiers, sang, chanted and then held a brief ceremony to declare that Lock’s land was no longer his.

They showed no title deed. There was no court decision; no paperwork. It was more a case of mob rule, The Zimbabwe Times was told.

This invasion on Sunday, a day after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai departed on an extensive tour abroad, has prompted speculation that the move could have been orchestrated by a higher authority seeking to undermine the Premier’s mission in the United States and Europe.

“The law doesn’t seem to mean an awful lot at the moment,” Lock says wryly.

Mujaji broke into Lock’s complex. The soldiers forced their way in and seized 100 irrigation pipes. Last week they took 63.

“He tried to force our workers to help loading them but they refused,” Lock says. “So Sgt Mukoni stole a tractor and they took the pipes themselves and started irrigating the wheat they had sown on my tobacco lands.”

The matter was reported to the police yet again but there was no response.

Mujaji and his soldiers have ordered a stop to operations on the farm for three weeks now, allowing no harvesting to take place. The objective is to force Lock to negotiate to leave the farm.

“Mujaji is acting totally illegally and knows it,” says Lock.

Mujaji is in defiance of three High Court Orders, a writ of arrest, and a Supreme Court order. Lock, who has been acquitted on charges of illegal occupation, owns the crops and equipment. But the police will not intervene to allow him to operate.

Farm invasions such as this are the centerpiece of President Robert Mugabe’s often violent effort to correct the racial imbalance of previous land ownership policies in this country of 12 million.

The program has, however, pushed the country closer to disaster by undermining the nation’s farming sector, the backbone of its already weak economy. Some of the few remaining commercial farmers are unable to reap their crops and wonder what the future holds.

Land reform has been an emotional issue in Zimbabwe since the black majority overthrew white minority rule in 1980, after more than a decade of bloody confrontation.

Today, whites make up less than 1 percent of the population. Before the onset of the “land grab” nine years ago, whites owned about one-third of the nation’s best farmland. About 4 500 white landowners farmed about 28 million acres, while 1 million black peasant farmers shared 40 million acres.

Mugabe has now seized 4 000 of those farms over the past decade and redistributed the land, mostly to his cronies, critics say, with no compensation to the affected farmers.

Last Friday, for the second time, a SADC Tribunal in Windhoek handed down a ruling in a case brought by 75 evicted commercial farmers that the land grab was illegal and racist, but Mugabe’s government has ignored orders to remove the occupiers from the land.

Although Mugabe insists he is trying to correct the wrongs of Zimbabwe’s colonial past, opponents say the land reform program is Mugabe’s desperate bid to stay in power as his popularity continues to wane.

The latest invasions started just as President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara formed a government of national unity in February.

War veterans, senior army and police officials; and Mugabe supporters invaded dozens of farms in the months following the formation of the government of national unity. Lock’s farm was one of those targeted. Mujaji and his band of soldiers, who say they are all veterans of Zimbabwe’s war of independence, overran his property, built a bonfire in his backyard and spent several days singing and playing drums.

But Lock has refused to move. There is 500 tons of maize that has been contracted to the Jesuit Province Food Programme and this cannot be reaped or delivered due to the presence of the Zimbabwe National Army officials on the farm. In addition 150 tons of tobacco stands deteriorating in the fields. There are 300 head of cattle on the farm. Lock cannot milk the cows in calf.

Lock says he has spoken to the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the Minister of Home Affairs Giles Mutsekwa. Mutsekwa, an official of Tsvangirai’s MDC, shares the ministry with Kembo Mohadi, the minister representing Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. Lock says Mutsekwa merely said that the invasion was a criminal issue and had nothing to do with land as all the papers were quite clear.

“But, nothing is done about it,” said Lock. “It is appalling that this is happening and even being denied by our leaders.”

The take-over of the farm means Lock will not receive any compensation for the land, not even for the improvements such as his house, barn and other storage facilities.

As each day passes, Lock says he is debating whether to ignore the threats of his occupiers and start reaping his crop.

“I think it might be worth the risk,” he says, noting that all his savings are invested in the farm.

His land was invaded despite the fact that it met none of the criteria for land acquisition set by the State. And though he says he agrees that a gradual, legal land reform program is needed, he does not like to be lumped with white colonial farmers.

“We didn’t steal the land from anyone. We paid the market price,” he says.

A group of about 20 war veterans and Mugabe supporters has been camped across the road from Lock’s farm. Some have been living there since the renewed farm invasions in February. They sit by a fire keeping a watchful eye on Lock’s farm. The group refused to discuss the occupation with Lock or with visitors. When this reporter asked to speak to them, a middle-aged woman reached for a steel pole and said she would not answer any questions.

The government asserts that most accounts of violence have been exaggerated by white farmers, and that police have matters well in hand.

It appears nothing could be further from the truth, as Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara confirmed when he visited several commercial farms in the Chegutu District on April 17.

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JAG - farm situations communique - Dated 10th June 2009

Email: :

JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 610 073, +263 (04) 799410.  If you are in
trouble or need advice, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here
to help!


1. Twyford Farm Update

It is with great despondency that I write this update on Twyford Farm as
I see no improvement on our situation.

The ministerial delegation that took place in Chegutu on 17th April 2009
led by our Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Mutambara, and was on a
fact-finding mission to assess the land issue, is yet to come to anything
as far as Twyford Farm is concerned.

The reality of it is that, 3 hours after the delegation left the farm,
all my gates were locked with Mr. Muduvuri's keys and I wasn't allowed
back on the farm or in my house. The deputy Ambassador who accompanied me
that day was a witness to this situation. Therefore, since the 17th
April, the "cohabitation" that was supposed to take place on Twyford
Farm, with Mr. Muduvuri using his tractors to plough and plant some
unused land and me, reaping my crops and living in my house, has never
taken place. Moreover, Mr. Muduvuri has since stopped pretending that he
was using his own tractors, and has been using mine only, after he
actually removed his from the farm. He has reaped our seed maize to make
mealie meal with it, has cut most of the big trees on the farm to sell
them as firewood, and has sold all the bricks from the two kilns we had
on the farm. More workers have been beaten to the point of one of them
having his leg broken.

Last Wednesday, 20th May, Mr. Muduvuri's guards, who are guarding
my house and stopping me from entering my property, actually broke into
my bedroom as well as my son's and stole most of our clothing, shoes, and
family heirlooms kept in our bedside drawers.

The Prime Minister gave us great hope that something would be done once
the Ministers saw the devastation in Chegutu alone (as many other farming
areas are being destroyed as I write) and took stock of the farming
situation there. Alas, 6 weeks after the delegation visited our area and
Twyford Farm in particular, no improvement has been seen on any of the
farms and more atrocities are taking place everyday that the Ministry of
Home Affairs, via the police, should be putting an end to.

Twyford Farm, protected by a Final Order in 2006/7 and being a French
BIPPA farm, should legally have been left alone. In actual fact, it is
being looted and abused in such a way that in 4 months of occupation, it
has become a shadow of its former self and has been literally gutted of
all its resources.

Today I am asking our Unity Government and our Prime Minister in
particular, if I am being naive and possibly even gullible when I believe
that change will take place for the better on my farm. Does our PM know
something that we don't? In which case, could he tell us and more
importantly show us as we stand helpless watching our farms being looted
and destroyed while Zimbabwean people need us to feed them. I have always
believed and trusted our Unity Government to do the right thing, to be
fair, to be democratic, to abide by the law. I wonder today: is my trust
unfounded and wrongly placed?



In response to your newsletter, please may I ask you to clarify the
situation to your readers, DODHILL HORTICULTURE P/L is the owner of the
nursery not DODHILL P/L.

Our operations are totally unrelated to Mr Keevil's farming operations on
Dodhill Farm which was taken over, a lot of our customers have completely
misunderstood the situation and read your article as saying we have been
taken over as well.

The Keevils are in no way involved in Dodhill Horticulture, the directors
are Pete Brietenestein and Neil MacCallum.

To set our customer's minds at rest, would you kindly make the
above points clear.

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JAG - farm situations communique - Dated 9th June 2009

Email: :

JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 610 073, +263 (04) 799410.  If you are in
trouble or need advice, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here
to help!



The Cremer family (10) reside on De Rus Farm in Chegutu, where we employ
300 people, some living on the property while the rest are transported
from and to the nearby village, Chegutu, every day.

We grow cutflowers for export, as well as vegetables for the local
market. We have also been contracted by a processing company to produce
vegetable seedlings for their outgrowers as their previous supplier, our
neighbour, has been evicted from his farm under the pretext of land

The farm is 716 ha in extent, and was purchased by my grandfather in
1928. I started paying off my father in 1977. My grandparents and my
wife's parents are buried in our garden.

 As a result of land reform 650 ha was allocated to settlers in 2002, and
we were left with 60 ha, which includes the homesteads and outbuildings.
We have managed to co-exist with the new farmers and have a cordial
relationship with them.

During November 2008 we had a visit from the local Lands Officer who
informed us that the section we were occupying has now been offered to
Dr. Arikana Chiyedza Chihombori, offer letter dated August 2007. He
introduced another woman who he said represented Dr Chihombori.

In January of 2009 this woman, Dr Chihombori's sister, sent some
youths to come and occupy the farm, but they left after three days
(complained of not being paid enough!).

In April 2009 the messenger of the court delivered an application made by
Chihombori to the magistrate's court to have us evicted from the
property (attached). Attached to this application was the same offer
letter, but dated December 2008. (Attached)

It is pertinent to note the following:

I was born on this farm, purchased it and invested my life savings into
the infrastructure on the farm. This makes me a Zimbabwean,
`entitled' to land.

My wife is a third generation Zimbabwean.

We farmed extensively up to 2001, when the farm was
`acquired' by the state.Up to date we have not received any
compensation. We produced crops on 400 ha every year, namely food and
cotton. Cattle were farmed on the rest of the property. Since then the
production from the `acquired' section has been minimal, with
at most 20 ha under crops each year, employing about 20 people on a
part-time basis. On lands that had produced a crop every year for the
past 50 years, there are now thorn trees five meters tall.

In 2003 we were granted Export Processing Zone status, later turned into
an Investment License According to our lawyer, the piece of land in
question was never legally acquired, as the basis of an Investment
License is that the property cannot be acquired.

We are in possession of letters from land committees and the Governor of
the province recommending that we must be allowed to continue farming.

Of significance is the ruling from the SADC Tribunal that the legislation
under which the current farm invasions are `legalized' is in
breach of the SADC  Treaty to which Zimbabwe is a signatory, and that it
is discriminatory on the ground of race. In our case this is relevant, as
we are Zimbabweans who purchased and developed the farm, lost 90 per cent
of the farm, living in peaceful co-existence with our new neighbours,
producing food for the country as well as earning valuable foreign
exchange. We have no other home, income or vocation. The only reason for
evicting us must be race.

Dr. Chihombori did not wait for the due process of law to take its
course, but chose to make a civil case against us in her personal

Dr. Chihombori is a medical practitioner in Tennessee, USA. According to
her website she has been practicing there for over 30 years. As American
citizen she was born in Chivhu which is in the same area as
Tsvangirai's home, Buhera. She accompanied Tsvangirai to the
inauguration of South African president Zuma on 9 May.  On 22 May she
came to our farm to see her `new' property.

It is very obvious that this acquisition is not about land reform. Here
we have a small productive farm being taken from ZIMBABWEANS and given to
someone who resides in America. It is about greed, people stealing our
homes, land, jobs and livelihood and hiding behind politics.

 How can this government ask for food aid while they are busy removing
food producers from their farms? How can they justify the unemployment
rate while they are removing 300 people from employment under the guise
of Land Reform? Our workers, many of them also born on this farm, are
very worried about their futures as they have seen the workers on the
surrounding farms which have been `acquired', starve or have
to resort to theft to survive.

We listened with admiration to President Barack Obama's address to
the Muslim world. I quote a few of his remarks although addressed to a
particular audience are relevant to people all over the world:

We will support them (human rights) everywhere `

`Respect the rights of minorities `

`Respect the dignity of all human beings'

`Governments should not steal from their people'

With all due respect, an American citizen has taken advantage of a
`law' passed by an illegitimate government to violate our
human rights. This law which has been ruled by the SADC tribunal as being
flawed, allows her to TAKE, without compensation our homes, our entire
livelihood and our human dignity.  Will the American government contact
Dr Chihombori regarding this matter or will she feel free to carry on her
search for a free farm and home?  Will they give aid to Tsvangirai and
Mugabe when they are still violating all civilized principles by allowing
farms to be taken which are productive and employ 300 people when 95% of
the population is unemployed? One needs to seriously question
Tsvangirai's change of heart regarding the farm invasions.  Are we
to be sacrificed so that he could appease Mugabe who has stated that all
whites must be removed from the farms?

MM Cremer - Chegutu

Tuesday 9th June

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Case against activists strains new government

    June 10 2009 at 04:10PM

By Nelson Banya

Harare - Zimbabwe's High Court on Wednesday postponed the trial of
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists charged with attempting to
overthrow President Robert Mugabe, in a case that has strained the new

Four MDC members, part of a group of rights activists, including
prominent campaigner Jestina Mukoko, were abducted and unlawfully detained
between October and December last year, their lawyers say.

The case has been held up because the activists have applied to refer
the case to the Supreme Court. On June 22, the High Court will decide on the
application, said Judge Tendai Uchena. The trial is expected to start after
the ruling.

Mugabe and his rival, MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
formed a power-sharing government in February, hoping to end a political
crisis after last year's disputed election.

But the prosecution of the MDC members and rights activists, charged
in May, has raised tensions in Zimbabwe's new administration, which needs
billions of dollars in international financial support to rescue the
country's ruined economy.

Western donors say aid will not flow to Zimbabwe unless a democracy is
created and economic reforms are implemented.

Defence lawyers said state security agents abducted and tortured the
activists, making any prosecution illegal.

"To try them in these circumstances violates their right to the
protection of the law. There have been serious violations to their
constitutional rights," defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama said.

"Applicants contend that they are, themselves, victims of crimes
perpetrated by the police and other security agents,"

State prosecutors accuse the activists, who have been released on
bail, of trying to scuttle the trial. - Reuters

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Amnesty International head will meet Mugabe on Zimbabwe visit

DUMISANI MULEYA  Published: 2009/06/10 07:37:01 AM

AMNESTY International secretary- general Irene Khan will hold meetings with
Zimbabwe's senior government officials, including President Robert Mugabe,
at the weekend as part of her mission to assess the humanitarian situation
in the country.

The visit by the global human rights watchdog will put Zimbabwe's appalling
human rights record in the spotlight at a time when western countries are
refusing to give the country financial aid because of lack of reforms there.

"From June 13-18, Khan will lead a high-level mission to Zimbabwe, during
which she plans to meet human rights activists, victims of human rights
violations and senior government officials, including Mugabe," Amnesty said.

Mugabe was once classified by Amnesty as a " prisoner of conscience" during
his anticolonial struggles in the 1960s and 1970s, but was later condemned
for human rights abuses.

Zimbabwe has a long history of gross human rights abuses since 1980.
Hundreds of opposition political activists were killed last year during a
violent general election.

Amnesty's Africa spokeswoman, Aliane Drakopoulos, said yesterday that Khan
would also meet Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai some time this
month in London. Tsvangirai is in the US as part of a tour that includes a
visit to Europe to seek financial aid to rebuild the country's collapsed

He is scheduled to meet US President Barack Obama on Friday and Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton tomorrow. He is expected to ask for funds and the
lifting of sanctions imposed on Harare in 2001.

"The president (Obama) looks forward to welcoming Tsvangirai to the Oval
Office on Friday," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement

Two weeks ago the US sent senior congressman Donald Payne to Harare to
initiate dialogue on economic aid and sanctions.

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said
political, social and economic reforms were needed before aid could start or
targeted sanctions could be lifted.

"There is no indication that the US government is prepared to lift economic
sanctions against those in Zimbabwe who have been most responsible for
undermining the country's democracy and destroying its economy," Carson

"Increasingly substantial aid is dependent upon them making political
concessions and fulfilling the agreements that they have already made and in
turning the country back towards more democratic rule."

Judging by Tsvangirai's meeting with Netherlands Prime Minister Peter
Balkenende on Monday, western countries are unlikely to give him money and
remove sanctions.

Balkenende told Tsvangirai that without serious reforms, no money would be

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Tsvangirai to be received with full military honours in Germany

Staff writer
10 June 2009

Germany's government said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Tsvangirai will
be received with full military honours during a visit next week. He will be
hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks on Monday.
The German government spokesperson said the country hopes that a new chapter
of bilateral relations can be opened with Zimbabwe, after years of a cool
relationship during Mugabe's rule.
Tsvangirai's trip to Germany will follow his meeting with US President
Barack Obama at the White House on  Friday.  But reports also suggest the
Prime Minister will have some tough questions to answer at the foreign
office in Berlin, over the ongoing violent land invasions and the lack of
the rule of law.

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Tsvangirai defied because he is not president

by Patricia Mpofu Thursday 11 June 2009

HARARE - Officials at Zimbabwe's information ministry rejected a directive
by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to allow four freelance journalists to
cover the just-ended COMESA summit because he is not president, it emerged

In yet another example of the power struggle within the southern African
country's unity government, Information Minister Webster Shamu said his
department would have accepted such a directive only if it had been issued
by President Robert Mugabe.

Opposing an application by the journalists seeking a court order to force
the information ministry to allow them to cover the summit, Shamu said in an
affidavit that Tsvangirai was only head of government business in Parliament
according to a power-sharing agreement signed by Zimbabwe's three main
political parties last year.

The Prime Minister did not have powers to appoint ministers to Cabinet and
therefore had no authority to issue directives to them, declared Shamu.

"I am aware that the 4th respondent (Prime Minister Tsvangirai) issued a
directive attached hereto as Annexure 'B". Prior to that it is noteworthy
that the directive is undated, unsigned, and is not on a government
letterhead as such it is difficult to comprehend its status as official
correspondence," Shamu said.

"The "directive" did not come from the President who is the appointing
authority," he said.

Shamu -- whose ministry went on to bar the journalists from covering the
summit even after the High Court had ordered that they be allowed to do
so-claimed that in issuing the directive Tsvangirai failed to appreciate the
security considerations behind the requirement that reporters be accredited
to cover a summit attended by foreign leaders.

 "More considerations than the simple one of facilitating journalists to go
about work as diplomatic, immigration and security considerations for local
and international journalists must be taken into account," said Shamu, a top
Mugabe loyalist.

He claimed that criminals including suicide bombers could take advantage of
lack of controls to enter the summit venue and cause mayhem.

Shamu also claimed that Tsvangirai had not consulted his department before
issuing the directive, adding that information ministry director Sylvester
Maunganidze had in fact cleared the matter of whether journalist should be
accredited for the COMESA summit with Mugabe.

"I am advised by Dr Maunganidze that he cleared the issue with the President
who made him appreciate that in administrative practices there is never room
for functional vacuums," said Shamu.

However Justice Bharat Patel, who heard the matter, ignored Shamu's
protestations ruling that the information ministry and its agents allow the
journalists  --Stanley Gama, Valentine Maponga, Stanley Kwenda and Jealous
Mawarire - to cover the summit because the Media and Information Commission
that used to accredit journalists no longer existed at law. An order that
Shamu and his officials ignored nonetheless.

Meanwhile lawyers for the journalists were last night preparing a fresh
application for contempt of court charges against Shamu and his officials
after they blatantly ignored Patel's order. - ZimOnline.

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Zimbabwe service chiefs at it again

by Chiedza Murandu Thursday 11 June 2009

OPINION: Zimbabwe's service chiefs seem to have a propensity to shoot
themselves in the foot - when you think they have learned their lesson they
surprise you with utterances that are only bound to bring the entire
constructive process in Zimbabwe to a halt.

Recently but not surprisingly they scored yet another own goal by making a
pronouncement in support of the controversial Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
governor Gideon Gono.

Typical of ZANU PF and its apparatus, isn't it. This comes as no surprise
because ZANU PF and the Zimbabwe military are one and the same.

This raises many questions with regards to the seriousness of President
Robert Mugabe and his men in this government of national unity (GNU). Mugabe's
behaviour and that of his henchmen since September 15 2008 has been

They have shown that they do not share, they do not like to share and they
are not used to sharing at all. Yes he has made some few changes here and
there but only when it suits him or only in an attempt to hoodwink the

The military chiefs, being Mugabe's henchmen have a lot to lose if the GNU
succeeds. No wonder they have always made utterances that are ill-informed
at best and irresponsible at worst.

For starters, prior to last year's March 29 elections they said they would
never salute a person with no liberation war credentials. Whatever they
meant by "liberation war credentials", but we definitely know that they do
not salute democracy, the will of the people, the rule of law, the GNU nor
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

They showed this at the Heroes acre where they displayed their total
disrespect and immaturity - the kind of behaviour you would expect from
gangsters or a private army, not a professional army.

They did not even have the decency to wait for Tsvangirai's speech. But then
what do you expect, this is ZANU PF we are dealing with here, need I say

On May 31, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai gave a very depressing
description of the coalition government, calling it a marriage of
convenience. He went on to say that the coalition government had not been
able to enforce the rule of law.

This was also supported by the United Nations Office of the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs' report, which noted that the unity government had
neither compensated the victims of past political violence nor punished the
perpetrators thereby creating a culture of impunity.

Of course it's no secrete that some of these perpetrators were the military.

The same UN organ also noted continuing and disturbing instances of abuse of
police powers. Politically motivated abductions are still reported. ZANU PF
still deploys military personnel into the countryside. This perpetuates a
sense of fear among the rural folks.

ZANU PF still has the militia on its pay roll and still the military chiefs
refuse to recognise the existence of the MDC in the inclusive government.

Before the GNU there were numerous reports of abductions by the police, by
the military, and by ZANU PF militia, which included the so called war
veterans and the green bombers.

The security forces refused to document cases of political violence
committed by ZANU PF loyalists.

Now after the unity government political activists are still being abducted
and the police still refuse to do anything to stop this. Farmers are still
being attacked, the media is still stifled, and Mugabe still appoints and
disappoints people willy-nilly.

The MDC has been appealing to the conscience of Gono and Attorney General
Johannes Tomana to resign. But the question is, what conscience, these two
are ZANU PF and ZANU PF has no conscience.

I think the truth must be told, Mugabe must be told that either he is in
this GNU or he is out and the military chiefs must be put in their place and
stop meddling in politics. They should stick to protecting the country and
learn that they work for the people not Mugabe. - ZimOnline

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Consumer family basket rises

From The Herald, 9 June

Harare - The cost of living for a family of six as depicted by the Consumer
Council of Zimbabwe has increased by 2 percent to US$437,62 from the
previous month's figure of US$427,11 mainly due to rentals, which are
increasing on a monthly basis. The South African basket ranges at US$82. CCZ
said there was a reduction in the cost of the food basket from US$111,31 in
April to US$111,06. Food constitutes 25,41 percent of the family basket, 10
percent for transport, soap and detergents make up 2,8 percent, while rent,
water, health, education, clothing and footwear constitute the remainder.
Food and detergents costs decreased from US$123,11 to US$123,62, reflecting
a decrease of 0,5 percent. This reduction was attributed to competition on
the market, zero duty on basic food, allowing more people to buy for
themselves directly from foreign markets. There is real increase in the cost
of the basket on transport, rent, water and electricity, health, education,
clothing and footwear from US$304 to US$314, reflecting an increase of 3
percent. CCZ executive director Ms Rosemary Siyachitema said of major
concern was the element of rental, as there seems to be no agreed standard
on how rental space is charged. Landlords seem to be setting rentals
willy-nilly and this is impacting rather negatively on tenants.

She said basic goods were now readily available in forex shops where most of
these products are purchased in bulk from neighbouring countries. Prices of
most basic commodities in shops are still beyond the reach of many consumers
as civil servants only receive an allowance of US$100. CCZ urges the
Ministry of Finance to urgently consider the use of the local currency that
is currently in circulation, as this will benefit consumers who have
Zimbabwe dollars lying idle in their accounts. Even though many service
providers have reduced their charges, there still is more that can be done
especially on rentals and telephone charges. Consumers are urged to seek a
fair deal on the market by ensuring that their rights are observed. They are
also urged to be on high alert and use their money wisely because some
unscrupulous people have sought to take advantage of consumers through
unfair pricing and the selling of shoddy goods and services. She urged
consumers to be on guard and report any anomalies in the market place. They
should always be proactive and assert their rights at all times. It is their
right to choose products and services at competitive prices with an
assurance of quality and all stakeholders need to honour the rights of

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World Economic Forum on Africa opens

By CLARE NULLIS - 3 hours ago

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) - Africa must seize the opportunity to turn the
current economic crisis to its own advantage and reshape global institutions
long dominated by the West, political and business leaders said at the
annual World Economic Forum on Africa.

A World Economic Forum report published to coincide with Wednesday's opening
of the three-day conference showed Africa again languishing at the bottom of
global competitiveness rankings because of bottlenecks in infrastructure,
finance and communications.

A separate report by experts including former U.N. chief Kofi Annan and
former Mozambican first lady Graca Machel said Africa would continue to need
aid, but that it had enough potential and untapped resources to become a net
food and energy exporter and to boost intercontinental trade.

"We need leadership visionary enough to say where we want to put our
continent in 30, 40 or 50 years, and to take the steps necessary to keep our
continent there," said Machel. "We have the potential, we have the

Africa achieved economic growth rates of 5.5 percent last year, above the
global average, said Annan. The numbers of people living in poverty are
leveling out, democracy and market reforms are entrenched in many countries,
and great strides are being made against killer diseases such as AIDS and

"Some of this progress is unstoppable but much of it is fragile," he said.

Annan's Progress Panel Report called for more investment in renewable
energy, agriculture and communications.

Africa is the continent most vulnerable to the economic downturn because it
does not have the economic and social levers to cushion the crisis.
Countries like Zambia and Angola are hurting from the decline in commodity
prices, and the regional powerhouse South Africa is reeling under the impact
of massive layoffs in its mining and car manufacturing sector.

Even Botswana - one of the wealthiest and best-managed economies - was given
a $1.5 billion loan last week by the African Development Bank to help it
cope with the collapse in diamond prices - the mainstay of its economy.

"We woke up one morning and we could not sell a single diamond. And for the
first time, we could no longer believe that diamonds are forever," said
Linah Mohohlo, governor of the Bank of Botswana. Faced with a huge budget
deficit that threatened health and education programs, she said the small
southern African nation had to scramble for a foreign bailout.

But many African countries do not get such a kind hearing from donors.

Zimbabwe has appealed in vain for a massive funding package to haul it back
from the brink. Its immediate neighbors are too cash-strapped and Western
donors remain skeptical about President Robert Mugabe's commitment to
reform. His prime minister - former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai - is
on a three-week trip to Europe and the United States to end a decade of
isolation and re-engage with traditional investors, but it remains unclear
whether Tsvangirai and his finance minister can wrest economic policy from
the control of Mugabe and his allies.

Annan warned the world not to turn its back on Africa despite its reputation
as a basket case because of wars and corruption.

"We ignored Somalia and it's now come back to bite us with piracy and
destruction to global trade," he said.

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Mutambara to address World Economic Forum today

June 10 2009


HARARE - DEPUTY Prime minister Arthur Mutambara is today expected to address
the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the topic "Investing in Zimbabwe".
Mutambara's address will be an opportunity for him to explain the country's
economic recovery plan which is contained in Short Term Emergency Recovery
Programme (Sterp) and appeal investors to come to the country.
(Pictured: Arthur Mutambara, Zimbabwe Deputy Prime Minister)

His address comes at a time when Zimbabwe's was rebuilding after political
and economic problems have turned off the tap of foreign investment, the
country's central bank has admitted.

Last year Zimbabwe attracted just US$5,4 milion of direct investment,
according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

In contrast, 1998 - the best year on record - produced investments totalling
$436 million.

"Resource flows to Zimbabwe - a critical component of investment finance -
have been declining over the past five years, reflecting an unfavourable
domestic macro-economic climate," the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said.

The land seizures and, assaults on industrial plant when owned by
Zimbabweans suspected to be backing the opposition by gangs armed and
trained by the government have turned the economy on its head.

High inflation and uninvestors friendly law has also helped to chase
investors further away.

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Mugabe minders give Hong Kong press freedom bloody nose

Asia-Pacific Features
By Simon Parry and Hazel Parry Jun 10, 2009, 6:52 GMT

   Hong Kong - If Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's daughter Bona
harboured hopes of keeping a low profile while she completes her university
course in Hong Kong, they were dealt a painful blow this week.

   The 20-year-old has found herself at the centre of a ferocious row over
press freedom after two bodyguards protecting her were spared prosecution
for grappling with two photographers outside the luxury home her father
provided for her during her studies.

   Photographers Colin Galloway and Tim O'Rourke arrived February 13 at the
luxury 5-million-US-dollar house in a quiet suburb reportedly bought by
Robert Mugabe in 2008. They got as far as the street outside when the
bodyguards confronted them and allegedly tried to grab a camera.

   The journalists, working on a story for the Sunday Times in London about
the Mugabe family's links to Hong Kong, claimed Briton Galloway was gripped
by the throat and lifted off his feet by a male bodyguard while American
O'Rourke was assaulted by the other bodyguard, a woman.

   Police were called and Galloway even managed to present a tape recording
of his conversation with the bodyguards immediately after the assault in
which the female bodyguard appeared to admit assaulting the pair 'because
you were taking photographs.'

   This week, however, after studying the case for three months, Hong Kong's
Department of Justice announced it decided not to prosecute the man, named
Mapfumo Marks, and the woman, named Manyaira Reliance Pepukai, both from

   It took the decision, a department spokeswoman said, because it decided
the two bodyguards acted as they did because they were 'genuinely concerned'
for the safety of Bona Mugabe, who they said was about to leave the house to
go to university with her security personnel.

   The decision has triggered outrage, particularly as Bona's mother, Grace
Mugabe, the president's wife, was herself involved in an incident weeks
earlier when she allegedly beat up another photographer, Richard Jones, for
taking pictures of her shopping in Hong Kong.

   In that case, after a police investigation that concluded there was
enough evidence to prosecute, the Department of Justice ruled the case could
go no further because as the president's wife, Grace Mugabe was entitled to
diplomatic immunity.

   The explanation for not prosecuting the bodyguards was proving a much
harder sell for the Hong Kong government, which has found itself accused of
allowing the Mugabe family to ride roughshod over press freedom in the
former British colony.

   Dr Tam Chi-keung, chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association,
said: 'We are very angry. We regret that the government has not charged
Mugabe's bodyguards. It is obviously harmful to Hong Kong's press freedom.

   'Grace Mugabe may be entitled to diplomatic protection, but these
bodyguards are not entitled to it. ... I think this is a political

   Legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing described the decision not to prosecute as

   'It will send out a negative signal that bodyguards can feel free to beat
people up, which is very worrying,' she said. 'People may get the message
that if you rough up journalists in the name of protecting your client, it
is OK.

   'I can't see how these journalists would have posed a threat to Miss
Mugabe,' she added. 'This is really quite astounding.'

   Lawyer Michael Vidler, who represents the two photographers, described
the decision not to prosecute as 'a bodyguards' charter' and warned it had
broad implications for press freedom.

   'We are looking into the possibility of a judicial review,' he said. 'The
press are here to ensure accountability and transparency. If people who have
the money to pay for bodyguards can attack any journalist who they can later
say they perceived as a threat to their safety, where will that leave us?'

   Galloway, 46, said he was not surprised at the decision but derided the
idea that the bodyguards acted out of concern for the safety of Bona Mugabe
as 'ridiculous.'

   'She was nowhere to be seen,' he said. 'We don't even know that she was
in the house at the time of the incident. We were in the street, and we must
have been 30 to 40 yards [27 to 37 metres] away from the house and going in
the opposite direction when this happened.

   'The idea that we could be a threat to somebody in the house behind a
closed door is laughable, especially as they told us they had attacked us
because we were taking photographs.'

   An editorial in the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's main
English-language daily, said Wednesday: 'Confidence in the rule of law would
have been better served if the guilt or innocence of the bodyguards had been
determined by a court.'

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Zim constitution debate Part 2
Thursday 11 June 2009

HOT SEAT (PART 2): Journalist Violet Gonda brings you part two of the constitution debate with Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga and National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Lovemore Madhuku. The NCA leader claims the government planning to delay the constitutional making process to postpone the elections to 2013, plus discussion on devolution of power.

Broadcast: 05 June 2009

Violet Gonda: Welcome to Hot Seat and the second part of the debate on the constitution making process with Constitution Minister Advocate Eric Matinenga and NCA leader Dr Lovemore Madhuku. Last week the two panelists differed sharply on who should spearhead the making of Zimbabwe’s new constitution. There have been concerns that if the NCA boycott the government led process, they could miss out on a perfect opportunity to act as a watchdog or guardian of the people’s wishes. In this last segment of the programme, I started off by asking Dr Madhuku for his response to these concerns.

Lovemore Madhuku: That’s a very mistaken view. We are trying to build a democracy and one of the conditions of a democracy is diversity of views, citizens have the freedom to hold different opinions, so I don’t understand what is meant by losing an opportunity. I think that we are not just making this statement from the air, there is a substantial body of Zimbabweans out there who believe in what the NCA say and that viewpoint and that approach has to be respected.

We’re clear that the NCA is not advocating for a no constitution. The NCA wants a new constitution but which is genuinely emanating from the people. So what will happen is that if this process unfolds and if the Minister is right that Zimbabweans will participate and that their views will be accommodated and that then we will get a perfect constitution coming out of that process, then Zimbabwe has a new constitution coming out of a process that the Minister has in mind. But the NCA believe is that is not what is going to happen and there will be a distorted document produced by the three political parties and we believe that Zimbabweans will reject it.

So there is no question of any opportunity being lost here. We will have a new constitution but it will be made after the rejection of this one. That is how we see things, how we see the future, so we are not missing an opportunity. I think that those who say we will lose an opportunity just see a one-way traffic, a new constitution coming out of this process which is suitable for Zimbabweans; we don’t believe you will ever get a suitable constitution which comes from politicians.

Gonda: Let me go to Minister Matinenga, if there is no consensus, how will you hope to survive from a process that takes you away from your traditional allies like the NCA, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the Zimbabwe National Students Union?

Eric Matinenga: You know Violet, let’s accept first things first; the majority of people in the MDC, in fact in both MDC formations cut their political teeth as members of the NCA, as members of the ZTCU and as members of these other organisations. So these people never want to sever ties with their allies and that is the point we’ve been making all along – that we want to go into this together and we have been sticking to our allies. And I can tell you that there have been quite a number of our allies, our friends, who have actually placed adverts in the papers indicating that yes, they may not be happy about one or two things in this process but this process offers the only opportunity to change the course of this country. I’m sure that as we talk more and more, the majority of our allies will appreciate what we are trying to achieve, will appreciate that this is an opportunity which we can’t lose and exploit for the betterment of this country.

Gonda: And also Minister, how inclusive is your constitutional making process in terms of reaching out to the diaspora?

Matinenga: Violet we, both the Select Committee is I believe in the process of setting up a web site but I can definitely tell you that as ministry we are in the process of setting a web site, I think it will be ready in about a week or two weeks so that there is this correspondence with the diaspora. I’m also in the process of seeking to arrange meetings with our diaspora population in South Africa. You’ll appreciate that we are unable to visit each and every person out there but we accept that our South African neighbour has the biggest population and we are going to be engaging them as we go along.

Gonda: Can you tell our listeners a bit about the Kariba Draft and whether or not it is relevant to the current exercise?

Matinenga: Let me take you back Violet to the question you asked about the NCA draft which was done I think in 2000 or so. The position is very simple, I have stated this position, one of the co-chairs of this Select Committee has stated the position – the Kariba Draft is just at the same level as our present constitution, the 1979 Lancaster constitution, it’s at the same level as the NCA draft – exactly the same level as the 1979/2000 draft. Obviously it is going to be looked at, it is not going to be the determining factor, it is not even the beginning, in fact if I quote the words of Paul Mangwana, one of the co-chairs, he clearly put the icing on the cake and said ‘look the Kariba Draft is not an exercise of the people, we are going to start afresh’. That is the Senate committee speaking. So the Kariba Draft is going to be considered just like any other draft, if it is placed before the Senate committee by any stakeholder who so wants to place it before the Select Committee or before any sub-committee which is dealing with that particular issue.

Gonda: Dr Madhuku, your thoughts on this Kariba Draft and correct me if I’m wrong, but your organisation has rejected the Kariba Draft Constitution, is that correct?

Madhuku: Very correct. I think that when the Minister makes those statements that he is making, we don’t believe that is what will happen what he is saying. What we believe will happen is that at the end of the process, you’ll get that Kariba Draft being the draft that will be used. It doesn’t matter what they say in the Select Committee, what the Minister says etc, they will always say these things. If they didn’t want a Kariba Draft, if they wanted to start afresh as he is saying then they should not have insisted on a process that they are controlling. The whole point of controlling that process is obviously to control the process. I do not understand it – if the politicians are very genuine that they want a new constitution which will be a product of what Zimbabweans really want then I don’t see why they should say there should be a committee of parliament.

So he may say what he is saying but the Minister is not the main player in this game, the main players in this game are the President of the country and maybe the Prime Minister – and my suspicion which is borne by political events on the ground is that the President will ultimately prevail in this matter, the way he has prevailed over the matter of Gono. He spoke (about Gono) just a few days ago, very clearly and in the way we are used to for 28 years and to say that the political matrix has changed I think obviously is to very simplify it.

But anyway we are debating these things, there will be that stakeholders conference which the Minister is talking about in about one and a half months from now and I think from that stage we will begin to see whether these positions by the politicians would be realised. I think that there’s too much debating on this issue, sooner or later we will see the reality on the ground. But our position is that we don’t trust those politicians and that’s why we don’t want them to lead it. So we don’t trust their statements.

Gonda: Minister Matinenga, do you have anything to say on this?

Matinenga: Violet I can understand the suspicion by people of this country but I think the important point made by Dr Madhuku is that let’s wait and see what happens at the First Stakeholders Conference. I think it is at that conference which is really going to disabuse a lot of people about a lot of misconceptions. And I can say that from what I have seen as to what is happening, people realise that this is a genuine process which is going to take all Zimbabweans on board.

Gonda: Right and also discussing a bit about some of the issues that we may find in this new constitution, what about the separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary? How prominent a feature is this question?

Matinenga: Well Violet we are talking about process now you are on issues of content. I think in every constitutional making process when you are looking at content, there are basic issues which stick out like a sore thumb which must be addressed but one does not want to pre-empt these issues but safe to say, that in general discussion with people those are issues which always come to the forefront and I am sure that those will be adequately addressed at content level.

Gonda: So right now you are not ready to discuss it on content level?

Matinenga: No of course not. I don’t want to give the impression that I am dictating the form of a constitution which must take place. It’s really not my domain and I tend to disagree with Dr Madhuku when he says that this is really going to be an issue between, in the main, Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mugabe. This is an issue which is going to engage the generality of the people of Zimbabwe and basically people know what they want. They’ve gone through this process in 1999/2000 and they are revisiting those very same issues and I’m sure that they will include in that document those very pertinent and common and internationally accepted standards which must be contained in every constitution.

Gonda: You are the Minister of Constitutional Affairs but can you explain to our listeners what your role is in this because we have on the one hand the Parliamentary Committee that is going to report to the Speaker of Parliament, so where do you come in?

Matinenga: Yes, yes. I think this is an issue which has caused a bit of misrepresentation particularly in the Zimbabwean press, some quarters of the Zimbabwean press. The relationship between my ministry and Select Committee is the similar relationship between Ministry and its permanent secretary. The Select Committee is implementing the process and the ministry as representative of government is responsible for policy direction and in terms of good international practice we have said that the Select Committee must not be interfered with, it must be left to carry out the process. But as government we have got the responsibility to see that in implementing that Article 6 process, that Select Committee is properly funded and government is not going to shy away from its obligations in that regard. That is what happens in the region and that is what happens internationally. It is the responsibility of government to fund and direct policy but to leave that Select Committee independent in its implementation of Article 6.

The only difference is that in implementing that policy and in following good regional and international practice, ministry representing government is not going to be seen and is not going to be interfering with that process. That Select Committee should do what it has to do, it should come to the First Stakeholders Conference, and those sub-committees should do what they have to do without interference. This is why I said I disagree with respect when Dr Madhuku say at the end of the day the people who are going to make the decisions is Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe. But having said that it is also regional and international practices that in any constitutional making process the government of the day must fully and properly fund that process. The government of Zimbabwe is going to do the same in this process.

Gonda: Dr Madhuku, in the current make up, Cabinet ministers should be sitting members of parliament or senators, now is there not contamination of governance.

Madhuku: I think in this particular situation there is not much of a difference because the Select Committee that has been set by parliament will be directed not by parliament or by government as the Minister has said, they will be directed by the political parties that constitute those so clearly it is irrelevant that there’s a government Minister there, we have a Select Committee there. This whole business of coming up with a new constitution under the Global Political Agreement is a political process that’s why I insist that under this process, Zimbabweans are endorsing the principle that Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai will ultimately decide what goes into that constitution and that is why we have said we reject it in total and that is why we are not participating in that process.

This idea that the Select Committee will be left independent and implementing the policy is difficult to understand because the Minister will be giving it money, he sets the policy but that policy which he sets – I’m sure any policy by a minister is set in Cabinet, that Cabinet is led by the various so-called heads of Cabinet there – the principals, and the principals are directed by their political parties.

Just before I was coming to your interview, I was listening to the news and we were told here that the ZANU PF politburo is meeting every week these days – and one of the items on the agenda every week is a report on what is going on in the constitution making process. The same applies to I’m sure the party that Minister Matinenga is in the MDC-T. So everything will boil down to the political behaviour. If the Gono issue becomes problematic we shall see that it will affect the constitution making process. If there’s a bad relationship over the appointment of provincial governors and so on, it will affect. This whole business will end up as a political party process.

Gonda: Before we go I wanted to find out your thoughts on reports that I saw this week about devolution. Now the MDC Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo announced an MDC proposal, saying it could see the country being divided into five regions each with a budget and a local parliament of its own. Now Minister Matinenga can you confirm if it is an MDC proposal?

Matinenga: Violet what I can only say is that our manifesto in the last election clearly recognised the need for devolution of power. I’m not aware of the detail which you refer to but it has always been a position of the MDC that power has unfortunately been concentrated in one person and we need to make people feel that they are part of Zimbabwe and that they are exercising some power but unfortunately at present I am unable to give you the actual detail as to how that devolution is going to be coming about. But it is also an issue which is very much alive in the constitution making process and I’m sure that this issue will thoroughly be debated, canvassed and addressed in our new constitution.

Gonda: Dr Madhuku, what are your thoughts on that – on devolution of power?

Madhuku: Yes I think I should say first and foremost that the issue of devolution is an issue that Zimbabweans would want addressed in the new constitution. If Minister Sipepa Nkomo raised those points he was actually raising from the NCA draft of 2001. If you read the NCA draft it is very clear on that and in fact currently it is the best document on devolution that you can come across. The NCA draft came out from the input of the people so I’ve no doubt that if there’s a genuine constitution making process in this country devolution would end up in the constitution in the manner close to what the MDC-T say – if that it is an MDC position. The MDC clearly as the Minister said in his manifesto talks about devolution and we know that many of our people in the country would want devolution. But devolution will only come in a genuine constitution making process. The unfortunate thing about the MDC-T’s position is that they will not get devolution from this process that they have embarked on, and so they don’t know what they want . . .

Matinenga: laughs

Madhuku: . . . if they want devolution they must get a people driven process which is will be genuine. The one that they have put, Mugabe is going to negotiate with them and at the end, there’ll be no devolution in that constitution.

Gonda: Minister Matinenga I can hear you laughing in the background, would you like to respond?

Madhuku: (laughing) What is the laughter about?

Gonda: (laughing) I don’t know, but that’s why I’m asking.

Matinenga: (laughing) . . . I don’t know. Dr Madhuku has got this ability of gazing into crystal balls. I’ve already said that devolution is an issue which is dear to the MDC’s philosophy and it’s going to be addressed. So how he can say ‘well you know it’s going to be different or whatever’, I don’t know what he’s talking about honestly.

Gonda: Dr Madhuku, do you want to clarify?

Matinenga: you want me to laugh again?

Madhuku: It’s not a matter of clarification, I know that good things in a constitution like devolution only come out of a good process. The current process is not is a good one. So I don’t have to wait for the last Stakeholders or the draft to know that under the current process, ZANU PF will not accept devolution, they will shoot it down, the MDC will be forced to accept it if they go with that process. So that’s what I’m simply saying. I would have wanted a situation where we can have an open process and then those good things like devolution come in.

But anyway I think that if we don’t get devolution in the constitution that Minister Matinenga is presiding over, then obviously, Sam Sipepa Nkomo and all those people who have put across that proposal will campaign for a No vote because I don’t see why they would accept a constitution without devolution.

Gonda: Before I go to Minister Matinenga, Dr Madhuku, since you said this was something that was discussed in the NCA constitution how would you respond to people who say that this issue of devolution has the potential to actually kill a perfectly sound constitutional draft if the rest of the country turns to their tribal affiliations?

Madhuku: No there’s no such thing as tribal affiliations. Zimbabweans are very mature if they are given free space. You only get tribal affiliations or those sentiments coming out of an oppressed framework. If we get a free discussion in the country which is what happened with those meetings that produced the NCA draft that Minister Sipepa Nkomo is quoting from. I think Zimbabweans across the various ethnic divides here appreciate devolution. Devolution is not for Matabeleland; it’s devolution for the rest of the country so it is wrong for those, of course in this case Sipepa Nkomo announcing it might have served the impression that it’s a Matabeleland thing. It’s not a Matabeleland thing. Devolution is, as the Minister there said earlier on, is an aspect of what we would want to see our country develop into and this is why it is in the MDC manifesto, it’s a progressive thing.

Gonda: Advocate Matinenga, can you just briefly outline or tell us the timeline for a new constitution and also if you can explain reports saying that the time limit was dropped from Amendment 19 by Justice Patrick Chinamasa, what is that about?

Matinenga: Let me just give you the timeline first. I indicated that the first step was the establishment of the constitution of the Select Committee which was done on 12 April. In terms of the GPA we must then hold the First All Stakeholders Conference within three months of 12th April which takes us to about 12/13 July. After that we have four months of formal consultations which will take us to about mid-November. Then after that we have the time to do the real writing of the constitution, another three months which takes us to mid-February 2010. Then thereafter we go to a second All Stakeholders Conference which looks at the draft against what the people have said. Thereafter we take that draft to parliament and we go to a referendum. That is roughly the timeframe.

Yes, Article 6 is not part of Amendment Number 19. Amendment Number 19 only incorporated that part of the Agreement, which is Article 20. Article 20 being the form of government which sets out the powers of the President, Cabinet, Prime Minister and so forth. Let me say this, at the time the Bill was brought through Parliament, people were so excited and I was one of them that I did not even realise that the Minister who was directing the Bill through Parliament had clearly said that the other portions of the Agreement really are of no constitutional value and that it was only Article 20 which was of a constitutional value and that the other Articles were simply being attached to the Bill for information purposes.

So there was no deliberate attitude on the part of Patrick Chinamasa to drop those issues or it was not something done in bad faith, because I’ve gone back to the Hansard report and I’m satisfied that he clearly explained why every Article was not being made part of the Act. One may also actually say that the fact that, particularly Article 6 was not made constitutional may be advantageous in one way or the other because there has been some unease about the time available for this process. A lot of people have expressed the view that maybe it is too short and if it is genuinely too short, if there is a genuine desire, genuine reason to extend it, it will be easier to extend an Agreement rather than to amend the constitution. I’m simply saying this in order to anticipate what may happen. I’m not anticipating an extension but I’m simply saying if it does come about it is maybe going to be better than in terms of Agreement than in terms of amending the constitution. But I hope not.

Gonda: But was it up to the Justice Minister to just make that decision without consulting the other parties?

Silence . . .

Gonda: Hello?

Matinenga: (thinking Madhuku had been disconnected) He is lost again and this time I am not coming back.

Gonda: aagh

Madhuku: I am still here (laughing) . . .

Matinenga: (laughing) You know we have to retrieve him every time . . .

Gonda: (laughing)  . . . he is still here

Madhuku: (laughing) . . . he didn’t want to answer that question. He is avoiding that question . . .

ALL laugh . . .

Gonda: Are you avoiding the question Minister? Are you able to answer that question?

Matinenga: Was that question directed to me or Dr Madhuku?

Gonda: It was directed to you about the Justice Minister just making that decision. I know you said it wasn’t a deliberate thing that he did but surely since you are working as partners shouldn’t he have at least consulted with you before he had done that?

Matinenga: But some consultation maybe superfluous Violet and if it doesn’t really touch upon the essence on what we are wanting to achieve it becomes meaningless.

Gonda: Dr Madhuku?

Madhuku: Well I think that on that point, of course I think the Minister is making clear what happened, I don’t think they’d really thought about it – the whole point of whether Article 6 becomes part of the constitution or not. But he is correct in saying that in it not being be part of the constitution there’s an advantage, which advantage we haven’t realised because we wanted to use it to have portions of it changed – by getting an independent chair or whatever, which we haven’t.

So it will be very problematic for the government then to at a convenient time to start changing the Article when they were not changing it earlier on when they were saying well we don’t want to change what was agreed.

But I can see from what he is saying, there are possibilities of extending this constitution making process, to a period that might not be acceptable – because there’s also discussions Violet about this government wanting to remain in power for the next four years or so. I think they don’t want elections until 2013. So they are likely to use the constitution making process to claim that they are still writing a new constitution therefore they will go on. This is why they want to control the process.

Gonda: I actually wanted to ask you that question but I just didn’t have time but since you brought it up, the MDC has always referred this arrangement as a transition but you said in your statement, I think in an interview that I did with you before – that there are many in the inclusive government who want to have this arrangement last for a five year period. Now who precisely is thinking this will be a five year arrangement Dr Madhuku?

Madhuku: Well I think that currently the President – who is the only person there who has a clear term of office in that government – is the one who took oath on 29th June and he is supposed to go for five years from 29th June. The rest of those other people are the parliamentarians who also have a five year term that they took – but their five year term goes hand-in-hand with the presidential term. So legally they are entitled to go for the next five years from 29th June, both Parliament and the government. But then they said in their discussions – which they didn’t put anywhere – there’s nothing in the Global Political Agreement to say that arrangement will be transitional, they said they will review it after the constitution making process, at least that’s what they said. Now what it means is that they may as well choose to go beyond the two years that they have announced because they are not bound to it and our suspicion is that they will go on and on.

I also know from information that we gathered going around and so on that I think they will want to go beyond the two years that we initially heard. So we are most likely not to have any elections until 2013 and what they are going to use is the constitution making process. There is no timeline as to when the President will send that draft to a referendum and if the draft is also accepted at the referendum, there’s also no indication as to when it gets into force. So you can get a constitution made and accepted by the people and then taken to parliament but then they say well it will get into force in 2013. So there are so many parameters that might arise.

Gonda: Is this correct Mr Matinenga?

Matinenga: No, but he’s certainly correct that the GPA does not give a life span to this transitional government. But again Dr Madhuku properly said that the MDC has always described this period as a transitional period and the MDC wants to effectively govern this country and effective governance is only going to be brought about by elections which are properly managed as a result of a new constitution and that is not in five years time I can assure you that.

Gonda: And a final word Dr Madhuku.

Madhuku: I just need to say to all Zimbabweans who are listening, that the only reason why the NCA is not participating in this process that the minister is describing is because the NCA believes that, that process is not people driven and that the best thing for our country is to get a people driven process. So the NCA is just not rejecting this process just out of sheer interest in rejecting things that are coming the government.

Gonda: And Minister Matinenga, a final word.

Matinenga: Violet, the door is still open for the NCA to come and participate in this process. Please don’t let’s just speculate because we can only determine as to whether this process is people driven or not, having regard to what is going to be done. I think Dr Madhuku really got to the point but let’s see what happens at the First All Stakeholders Conference. It is only at that point that we will be able to see, maybe some clarity, as to where we are heading. But I can tell you this; we are heading for a process which is home grown, of the people of Zimbabwe, inclusive and transparent. Thank you Violet.

Gonda: Advocate Eric Matinenga who is the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and Dr Lovemore Madhuku the chairperson of the National Constitution Assembly, thank you very much for participating on the programme Hot Seat. – ZimOnline

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Wheat Shortfall Looming In Zimbabwe as Farmers Shift to Other Crops

By Patience Rusere
09 June 2009

Zimbabwe's wheat supply stands to tighten as farmers hit by financial
pressures move away from the crop which requires a considerable up-front
investment for success.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted the National Farmers Union as
saying many wheat farmers cannot afford to purchase essential agricultural
inputs due to the country's shift to a multiple hard currency monetary
regimen and prohibitive loan conditions.

Many have therefore shifted their cropping to barley, the report said.

Zimbabwe needs 400,000 metric tonnes of wheat to meet national requirements,
but agricultural expert Renson Gasela of the Movement for Democratic Change
formation led by Arthur Mutambara says he expects a harvest of only about

Gasela also told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that this year's maize harvest has not been that good despite reports it
exceeded expectations.

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The Big Question: Has power-sharing done anything to end the crisis in Zimbabwe?

By Daniel Howden

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Why are we asking this now?

Morgan Tsvangirai arrives in London today on the UK leg of a tour of Europe
and the US in an effort to convince Western leaders that Zimbabwe has turned
the corner. The former opposition leader and now prime minister has insisted
that he's not trawling the rich world with a "begging bowl" but the reality
is scarcely different. The once prosperous Southern African nation is
bankrupt and without development aid to go with the humanitarian assistance
already being supplied there can be no recovery. As the acceptable face of
Harare's power-sharing, Mr Mugabe's worst political enemy is now his most
effective emissary.

What were the terms of the agreement that brought about power-sharing?

The unlikely photo opportunity in Harare, in February, which launched the
new administration, was the result of months of often farcical negotiations,
led by South Africa. Under the terms drawn up by former president Thabo
Mbeki the opposition were to be offered half of the cabinet posts including
a say in the security services, with ministers answerable to an executive
prime minister, Mr Tsvangirai. Political prisoners were to be released while
regional governorships were to be split again between the opposition MDC and
Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. The key finance ministry was to be turned over to
the MDC with the expectation that the governorship of the central bank would

Why did Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change sign up?

A number of factors drove the clearly exhausted opposition leader into a
pact with his main enemy. The impossibility of holding free and fair
elections had been amply demonstrated. The security forces had come close to
smashing the grass roots network of his party. South Africa had failed to
act as a fair broker and was putting intense pressure on Mr Tsvangirai to

The MDC breakaway led by Arthur Mutambara allowed itself to be used as a
wedge to split the opposition. Western governments offered warm words and
cautious support but were in no position to deliver regime change. Added to
this were the mundane ambitions of his own lieutenants, almost all of whom
have taken quickly to a new life of chauffeur-driven Mercedes provided by
the state. Several leading MDC figures were worried that their own chance to
be in government was fading.

Have the original terms been fulfilled?

No. Most but far from all political prisoners have been released, and the
impotence of the MDC faction in government has been revealed as police and
courts have ignored the prime minister. Several high-profile prisoners,
including Mr Tsvangirai's own head of security Chris Dhlamini, are still
facing charges despite providing evidence that they were tortured by state

The regional governors have taken more than six months to be installed. But
worst of all Gideon Gono, the central bank governor and architect of
Zimbabwe's hyperinflation which eventually killed the currency, is still in
his job. The fate of the man who used state coffers and international
deposits to bankroll Mr Mugabe's cronies and pay for state-led putsches is
the most accurate weather vane of progress. So far he is untouched.

Who or what is blocking reforms?

Controversy continues to rage over who is the stumbling block to meaningful
progress. Recently a number of leading MDC figures, including the respected
finance minister, Tendai Biti, have had warm words for the schoolteacher
turned autocrat. Others have suggested that at 85, Mr Mugabe was being used
as a figurehead by the military men behind the Joint Operations Command, the
cartel of generals and Zanu grandees that have long been the country's real
powerbrokers. However, the tactic of co-opting, discrediting and
demoralising political rivals was patented by Mr Mugabe as far back as the
1980s when he swallowed up and spat out Joshua Nkomo. As he sat in Victoria
Falls this week taking the leadership of Africa's largest trading bloc,
COMESA, preaching self-reliance and welcoming President of Sudan Omar
al-Bashir who is wanted by the ICC, it was hard to believe much had changed.

What does the rest of Zimbabwe think of the two main parties?

While some people regard the unity government as the last chance for
progress others see it as a betrayal of the people. Women's rights activist
Jenni Williams, who has been arrested repeatedly, calls it a "government for
politicians, not people". Respected lawyer and human rights campaigner
Lovemore Madhuku has criticised the failure to progress on a new
constitution which was supposed to be the main task of the MDC once in a
unity government. Meanwhile thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans have continued
register their objections by walking out on the country, in many cases
literally, by crossing into South Africa and other neighbouring countries.
Zimbabwe's large and well-educated diaspora has given its verdict by staying
away in droves.

But are there any signs of progress in Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe's schools are reopening as teachers have received basic salaries.
The cholera crisis that highlighted the collapse of healthcare has been
brought under some kind of control with international donor help. And
hyperinflation has ended with the switch to the US dollar.

There is a darker side to each of these green shoots though. In schools
there are no pens, paper or textbooks to teach with. Controlling cholera -
more normally associated with disaster areas or war zones - cannot conceal
the flight of most of the country's doctors and nurses. And while
dollarisation has made life easier for those with hard currency, in parts of
Harare it has pushed anyone without remittance money into poverty.
Agriculture, once the mainstay of the economy, is still in a dire state,
with farm invasions intensifying under the unity government. The MDC has
denounced the takeover of commercial farms but been ignored.

Why is Tsvangirai raising funds for such a dysfunctional government?

From the moment that the opposition leader agreed to share power he had no
choice but to try and make it succeed. By contrast Mr Mugabe is under little
or no pressure to change course. The octogenarian's faction has retained
control of the instruments of hard power and coercion and in the shape of Mr
Gono the means to pay for their upkeep.

They have handed Mr Tsvangirai the thankless task of bailing out the
devastated economy and atrophied public services knowing that should he fail
it will be seen as his failure. The MDC has admitted that they must show
Zimbabweans that they can "make a difference" while their government
colleagues either stand idly by or actively sabotage their efforts. Mr
Tsvangirai needs to his Western supporters to stomach their distaste for Mr
Mugabe and invest in his potential leadership and he can provide them with
scant evidence that it would be a winning bet.

So is the new alliance working?


* The former opposition has declared that the country is on an upward

* Strikes have ended and teachers have gone back to work with schools

* The crippling hyperinflation is over and Zimbabwe is now stable with the
US dollarisation


* Unemployment is nearly total, with only fractionally more than five per
cent of people in paid work

* The United Nations is feeding more than half of the population through the

* Robert Mugabe and his inner circle have retained the hard power in

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Zimbabwe's children 'put at risk'
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 11:09 UK
Orphans in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has more orphans per head of population than anywhere else

Some governments around the world are putting politics before the lives of Zimbabwe's children, British charity Save the Children UK told the BBC.

It says they are withholding funding until there is true political reform.

There are an estimated 1.5 million orphans in Zimbabwe, the highest number per head of population in the world.

A charity official suggested fears that aid would be misused by President Robert Mugabe were unfounded as it could be channelled through the UN.

The BBC's Mike Thompson, who has just returned from Zimbabwe, says that some estimates put the total number of orphans in the country as high as 1.8 million.


Most have lost their parents through HIV/Aids, malaria or cholera.

Yet many nations are reluctant to offer more financial help, he says, in case it is misused by Mr Mugabe, the man seen as the architect of the country's problems.

But Save the Children UK's country director in Zimbabwe insists it is short-sighted of some world leaders to continue denying children much needed help, which could be given through aid agencies.

'Mixed picture'

Meanwhile, UK Minister for Africa Mark Malloch Brown says Britain wants to renew its ties with Zimbabwe.

An orphan preparing maize

He said the power-sharing deal between President Mugabe and the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, who leads the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was working better than expected, although the MDC was still in a very difficult position.

"They [the MDC] clearly do not have any say over the security apparatus or over issues of political freedom and predictably President Mugabe is keeping a tight grip on his presidential powers and privileges so it's a mixed picture," he told the BBC's World Today programme.

Mr Malloch Brown, who is in Mozambique as part of a tour of southern Africa, said any steps towards re-engagement would be stopped if the political situation deteriorated in Zimbabwe.

"We are willing to take this inclusive government, if you like, on probation and try to support it but if indeed we see a rash of new attacks on opposition leaders or people being imprisoned unjustly then that process of re-engagement would reverse itself.

"But for now all of those who are supporting change in Zimbabwe, the progressive leaders in the region, others outside, I think want to make the same wager, to take a careful gamble on the good guys prevailing."

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Zimbabwe to gain from Beira Corridor project

June 10, 2009

From  Our Correspondent

MAPUTO - Zimbabwe could benefit from a project through a EUR65 million
European Investment Bank (EIB) loan to Mozambique meant for the
rehabilitation of the Beira Corridor.

The EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund was set up within the framework of
the EU's response to the 2005 Gleneagles Declaration on Africa to support
infrastructure projects with a cross-border or regional impact in
sub-Saharan Africa.

Plutarchos Sakellaris, EIB Vice President responsible for lending operations
in Africa, said the loan will be complemented by an additional EUR29 million
interest rate subsidy from the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund, at a
ceremony to mark the official signing for the loan in the country's capital

The Beira Corridor project is of crucial economic importance to the SADC
region as it could create efficient links between the countries,
facilitating international trade and commerce. The corridor has a road and
railway connection to Zimbabwe and Beira has always been basically a transit
port, handling the import and export cargoes of Zimbabwe other countries in
the region since the beginning of the last century.

The port of Beira was founded in the late 19th Century during the scramble
between the Portuguese and the British over the occupation of land in
eastern southern Africa

A EUR23 million rehabilitation programme will benefit the port of Beira as
well as countries such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique itself, Zambia, Malawi and
also the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"We are delighted to cooperate with other international donors and notably
with the World Bank as well as the EU member states and the European
Commission through the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund to support this
project which will significantly reduce transport costs in the Beira
Corridor. We are convinced that the benefits of this investment will reach
beyond Mozambique's borders and the involvement of the Trust Fund serves to
underline the positive impact the project will have on the region as a

Sakellaris says improving Mozambique's sea and inland transportation systems
as well as those of surrounding landlocked countries of southern Africa will
see the project speed up regional economic growth and contribute to overall
poverty alleviation. The package will aid improvements to the Sena railway
line which links Beira both to the coal mining town of Moatize and to the
Malawian border as the refurbishing of the Beira port access channel at an
additional cost of EUR42 million.

Business opportunities have also attracted private players, with LonZim Plc,
a company listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. Although its main target is
building a portfolio of investments primarily in Zimbabwe, the company
indicated in a press statement in April 2009 that it may also make
investments in business outside Zimbabwe especially in the Beira corridor.

It is reported that the EIB and Trust Fund financing will be made alongside
funding from the World Bank and from Dutch and Danish development agencies.

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Sibanda chickens out of Gono debate

June 10, 2009

By Ray Matikinye

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association leader
Jabulani Sibanda on Saturday chickened out of a public meeting convened to
debate the so-called outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement
and the threat the former freedom fighters pose on the unity government.

The debate also covered the controversy surrounding the unilateral renewal
of the appointment of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and the
controversial appointment of Attorney General Johannes Tomana.

Sibanda was expected to explain his organization's position following a
recent outburst by his deputy Joseph Chinotimba over demands by the two MDCs
that President Robert Mugabe reverses the appointments he made in violation
of the GPA.

Last week Chinotimba threatened that war veterans would drive out all
remaining white commercial farmers from their properties if Gono was removed
from the central bank.

There has been a relentless public outcry over Gono's reappointment.

The public view him as the author and architect of their misery since his
appointment in 2003, particularly over the past few years when Gono's
activities created economic and financial hardship which they say has
impoverished them by fuelling inflation through the reckless printing of
bank notes.

The two MDC parties that partnered Mugabe in a coalition government in
February are demanding that Gono be removed.

The organisers of the public debate said Sibanda had assured them that he
would attend but failed to turn up.

"I met him this morning and he promised to attend but I don't know what made
him to chicken out," an official of Bulawayo Agenda who convened the debate,

Political scientist and University of Zimbabwe lecturer, Professor John
Makumbe, who  saved the day for the organisers, said Gono had created his
own problems.

"Those who say he should stay are the authors of his failures," Makumbe said
during debate on the controversy surrounding the embattled central bank

He said Gono and Tomana's appointments were irregular because they violated
provisions of the GPA.

The controversy surrounding these two appointments had generated heated
public debate and the public now viewed the two appointments as a litmus
test of where real power lies in the coalition government.

Recently, Mugabe scoffed at calls for Gono's removal saying the governor was
not a thief. He said Gono had saved Zimbabwe from economic collapse. Top
Zanu-PF leaders, traditional chiefs and top members of the military have
taken the cue to rally behind Gono.

"If we can recover the money looted from the central bank we would not need
financial help from the IMF (International Monetary Fund)," Makumbe said.

He said some Zanu-PF hardliners continued to encourage violations of the GPA
in the hope that the inclusive government would collapse. He cited the
violence which still continues unabated in such areas as Mutoko, Mudzi and
Muzarabani as examples.

"The most disappointing thing about this violation is that the MDC has
remained quiet about the violation," said Makumbe. "The inclusive government
will not be able to turn round the economy if farm invasions continue
because Zimbabwe's economy is agro-based."

He said Gono's presence at the helm of the central bank was a further
impediment to government efforts to attract investment and financial help.

Makumbe said the outstanding contentious issues posed no serious threat to
the inclusive government given Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's assurances
that there would be no going back on the GPA.

"The removal of Gono and Tomana is viewed by Zanu-PF hardliners as a victory
for the MDC," he said. "I suggest Tsvangirai and his party maintain the
incremental approach to reform like the proverbial camel which ultimately
displaced its master from the tent in the middle of the hot desert."

He criticised civic organizations that are threatening to boycott the
drafting of a new constitution saying the electorate would have the chance
to reject a flawed constitution in a referendum before it was adopted.

"No one wants to remain saddled with the Lancaster House Constitution with
all its warts after being amended 19 times," Makumbe said.

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Four poachers die in shootout

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Herald Reporters

Police in Masvingo at the weekend shot and killed four poachers including
one believed to be a soldier following a shootout at Ruware Conservancy in
Chiredzi, bringing to seven the number of poachers killed in the Lowveld
over the past month.

It is believed that the four, who were part of a group of seven suspected
poachers, wanted to kill and de-horn rhinos when they were intercepted by a
police team working in conjunction with game rangers from the conservancy.

The poachers reportedly started firing at the police and the game rangers
after they were ambushed and ordered to surrender.

Two of the suspects fled, but one was arrested and police were able to
impound an Isuzu truck that was used for the abortive mission and two
rifles, a pistol and more than 10 live rounds of ammunition and spent

The death of the four poachers comes hard on the heels of last month's
shooting of three suspected poachers by police in the nearby Malilangwe
Conservancy Trust.

The poachers were also after rhinos.

The four were identified as Marvelous Masvauro (48) a soldier based in
Masvingo and attached to Operation Maguta, Godfrey Dhliwayo, Jameson
Madividze and Bothwell Mazhetesi, all of Masvingo.

Support Unit police spokesperson Inspector Charles Jack said the four's
accomplice Innocent Mudzviti (30) of Masvingo helped them identify the
poachers after he was arrested.

Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Phibion Nyambo on Monday
confirmed the shooting of the four poachers in the Lowveld, saying
investigations were continuing.

"We shot and killed four poachers at Ruware Conservancy and the poachers had
fired at the police first when they were ordered to surrender and we want to
strongly warn such elements that in future we will not hesitate to shoot
because rhino poaching is on the increase in the Lowveld," said Insp Nyambo.

He said police were intensifying patrols in the Lowveld.

It is believed police in Chiredzi received a tip-off that there were some
poachers on the prowl in the Ruware Conservancy area and they teamed up with
game rangers from the conservancy before ambushing them.

When the suspects were confronted by the joint team of police and game
rangers, they allegedly opened fire and a shootout ensued resulting in the
death of the four.

Cases of poaching have been on the increase in the Lowveld and during the
past 12 months.

Zimbabwe has lost more than 70 rhinos to poachers earning the country
censure from Cites and putting the country on the group's agenda next year.

The poachers are believed to comprise local and foreign nationals who have
woven well-organised syndicates that are lured by big money that accrues
from selling rhino horns abroad.

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Zimbabwe PM Tsvangirai to US: Process in Harare Flawed, But 'Irreversible'

By Blessing Zulu & Thomas Chiripasi
Washington & Harare
10 June 2009

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in Washington for the first
time since taking office in February, said Wednesday that he will "not gloss
over the issues" still troubling the country's unity government he formed
with President Robert Mugabe, but will also make the case that Zimbabwe's
"irreversible" democratic transition merits American support.

Mr. Tsvangirai was scheduled to meet Thursday with Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton and on Friday with President Barack Obama to talk about what
the White House described in a statement early this week as "the difficult
road ahead" for Zimbabwe.

With U.S. officials already setting the bar high to provide budget support
for Zimbabwe's unity government, Mr. Tsvangirai told VOA that his diplomatic
initiative "is not an attempt to gloss over the issues" in Harare where, he
recently acknowledged to his own Movement for Democratic Change party, there
has been scant progress on human rights.

"Now engagement is not an event, it is a process. It is a
confidence-building process," said Mr. Tsvangirai, referring to his effort
to re-establish ties with Western countries.

"We have to say that in that engagement, there is a lot of education. There
is misconception, there is perceptions that have been created, but there is
also a point that we can clarify the current status of the country. Remember
that we have said the new political dispensation is irreversible - but it is
not perfect," Mr. Tsvangirai said.

He suggested that Monday's statement by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
for Africa Johnnie Carson to the effect that more substantial reform was
needed before Washington could provide major development aid was not
necessarily the last word on the subject.

"One does not prematurely state a position before you have engaged," Mr.
Tsvangirai said.

"I am here on an official visit and I am hoping to engage the United States
government at its highest level, and I'm hoping that at every stage there is
an understanding of where we stand. I'm not saying everything on the ground
is perfect. I'm saying the process that we have embarked on in creating the
inclusive government is an irreversible process towards achieving democracy
and transformation in the country," he said.

Before coming to the United States, Mr. Tsvangirai was cordially received in
the Netherlands, where however Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende also
indicated that the Hague wanted to see more progress on human rights and the
rule of law before boosting aid.

But British Minister for Africa Mark Malloch-Brown told reporters in Maputo,
Mozambique, that his government wanted to give Zimbabwe's unity government
"a chance of success."

"We are engaged, but it is a cautious engagement", he said. "We're not yet
convinced that (President) Mugabe and those around him are committed to a
democratic transition."

But he made clear British aid will remain linked to progress on rights

Mr. Tsvangirai, on the second stop of an eight-nation tour of Western
capitals, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
while acknowledging the shortcomings of power sharing in Harare, he hopes
re-engagement with the West will yield results.

Harare correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported that as Mr. Tsvangirai
pursues his initiative in Washington and other capitals, hopes are high at
home that he will return with the means to expand the new government's
currently underfunded social and economic programs.

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War and Soldiers: Understanding the Past, Building the Future

Saturday 20 June 2009, 9.00 – 5.00pm

St. Antony’s College, 62 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6JF
Nissan Lecture Theatre

The BZS Research Day 2009 will explore Zimbabwe’s military history, and historiography, both prior and post Independence. The military has often been a key stakeholder in national affairs, throughout Zimbabwe’s history, and will continue to remain a major player for the foreseeable future. Zimbabwe’s military history is thus inextricably linked to the nation’s social, political and economic history, and research on Zimbabwe’s conflicts and the military is a vital pathway to understanding the past.

The Research day will highlight a range of research questions, including: what is the current situation, in terms of ongoing research on Zimbabwe’s military history? What are the most pressing gaps in our knowledge of Zimbabwe’s soldiers and conflicts, past and present? What are the key insights and/or questions which have been uncovered by the various ongoing Zimbabwe oral and archival military history projects? What is the relationship between war and society? And, perhaps most importantly, how best can research on war and soldiers, be used constructively as Zimbabwe embarks on a fragile stabilisation and reconstruction process?

Zimbabwe’s history – and her military history in particular – has always been, and continues to be a highly contested terrain. Throughout Zimbabwe’s history, political groups have often tried to “appropriate” history, and use it as a legitimation tool, particularly during times of extreme political and military conflict. This makes the work of researchers even more valuable, as they painstakingly detail what really happened, from a variety of sources, including oral, archival and secondary sources. Just as important are the first-hand accounts of current and former soldiers, and they too will present their accounts at Research Day.

There will be five sessions on the day, as well as a concluding discussion. The opening session will provide an historical overview of key aspects of Zimbabwe’s military history. Each session will include opportunities for questions and comments from the floor. The summation will draw together the main strands from the Day and suggest the most fruitful avenues for future research.

* * *

War and Soldiers: Understanding the Past, Building the Future

09.00 – 09.30: Registration


09.30 – 10.30 Zimbabwe’s Military History & Military Historiography: the longer view

Pathisa Nyathi [Bulawayo] – Beyond Military Tactics and Strategies: War, Soldiers and the Metaphysical in the Ndebele State [delivered by Marieke Clarke ]
Terence Ranger [Oxford ] – The World Wars in Zimbabwe’s Military History


10.30- 10.50 Tea/Coffee


10.50 -12.05 Remembering the past: Oral Histories
Christine Tazarurwa, [University of Bedfordshire] – Hurricanes and Healing: Oral History on the long- term effects of Military Service on Women Soldiers in ZANLA
Sue Onslow and Annie Bramley [LSE, London and UWE, Bristol] –Why Did you Fight? Oral Histories of White Members of the Rhodesian Forces

Jocelyn Alexander [Oxford] – “Oral histories of soldiers in prison 1968-80"


12.05 – 13.30 Lunch


13.30 – 14.45 Locating the past: Sources for researching military forces in Zimbabwe’s history
Gerald Mazarire [UZ, Harare] – ZANLA and ZIPRA sources

Kent Fedorowich and Tim Lovering [UWE, Bristol] – Rhodesian Forces sources

Geoff Quick [BSAPA UK] – British South Africa Police sources


14.45 - 15.10 Tea/Coffee


15.10 – 16.30 Military legacies: Building the Future?

Wilbert Sadomba [University of Johannesburg, SA] – War Veterans and the Land Occupations
Josephine Nhongo-Simbanegavi [University of Alabama, USA] – Title tbc.
Knox Chitiyo [RUSI, London] – Education and the Military in Zimbabwe, past present and future


16.30- 17.00 : Conclusion/Summation: Diana Jeater [UWE, Bristol]


To register for the Research Day please use the form below. For further information on the programme itself contact the convenors:

Knox Chitiyo
Professor Diana Jeater
Angelous Dube

And watch the BZS website:

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Duo charged of insulting president Mugabe: one year in hiding

10 June 2009


Two Zimbabwean musicians face charges of singing songs that are
'sensitive and insulting'. Their lawyers and producers say the country is
not yet safe for the duo to return to enter a fair trial.

By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri - reporting for Freemuse from Harare

Happison Mabika, 33, and Patience Takaona, 29, have been in hiding
since last year when they failed to attend a court to answer charges of
singing songs 'too sensitive and insulting' President Robert Mugabe. Their
lawyer Charles Kwaramba later told Freemuse that the duo were fearing for
their lives.

It is now more than a year after that, and Zimbabwe has now a
coalition government but the two musicians - 'Dread Reckless', and 'Sister
Fearless' as they are better known by their fans - have not emerged.

Fear for their lives
"They are still in fear for their lives. They fear the worst can
happen to them. We are in touch and we agreed that they stay where they are
hiding while we assess the situation. So far there is no reason to be back -
there is still no rule of law in Zimbabwe. People still live in fear," says
Marvelous Khumalo, who markets their music.

"I would want them back and they too want to come back so that they
continue their singing career. We need them now than before, I can say. But
they cannot risk because they can be re-arrested and exposed to dehumanising
treating - as was the case when they were arrested last year."

Last year they were released on bail after spending five days in jail
for allegedly singing songs 'too sensitive and insulting Mugabe'. In
Zimbabwe, the crime attracts a two-year jail term if convicted.

'Not yet safe'
After failing to come to court, a warrant of arrest was issued against
them by the magistrate court in Harare. Their lawyer says he is not
concerned about the warrant of arrest for the musicians.

"The warrant of arrest can be cancelled, but only if they come to
court," says Kwaramba. "But I would not advise them to come in public - it
is not yet safe to do so in Zimbabwe despite the formation of the coalition
government. Politicians are still being arrested and many people are still
disappearing - what more of musicians? They can disappear too."

Kwaramba said he has not talked to 'Dread Reckless' and 'Sister
Fearless' but added that their relatives had told him that they had fled the
country. He and Khumalo refused to confirm rumours that they are in
Botswana. "The situation in Zimbabwe is still very far from being normal to
be able to respect human rights. What can stop singers from being arrested
and exposed to bad treatment?," asks Kwaramba.

Persecution of artists
Zimbabwe is generally an unsafe place for protest artists. They are
either assaulted, arrested, threatened to succumb by going into exile or
stopping to sing. Thomas Mapfumo is now based in the United States after he
sang several songs condemning the status quo. He sang 'Corruption in the
Society' and 'Mabvebve' ['The country is now like torn pieces of cloth'].
Raymond Majongwe, a protest musician, last year said he had to record
his album in neighbouring South Africa in after recording companies in
Zimbabwe refused fearing reprisals from the regime.

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Zimbabwe Business Watch : Week 24

The financial stalemate continues as the Transitional Government battles to
balance accountability and credibility with the urgent needs of the
economy - an issue where there is no compromise.

Retail sales continue to grow, especially the food sector, but this is at
the expense of manufacturing which cannot access capital to pay for raw
materials and other strategic inputs.

Workers are now demanding wages that exceed the regional average placing
further strain on those that export or compete against other countries in
supplying the Zimbabwe market. Unions argue that excessive utility bills are
forcing them to raise their log of claims above what might be expected.

Because the bank notes that fuel the cash transaction driven market place
are provided by economic exiles, the wear and tear on them is excessively
high and now banks are beginning to refuse notes that do not meet their
minimum condition standards. Needless to say the Treasury has no authority
to print new Rand or USD and this compounds the problem.

Foreign Governments who have committed to a rescue package, continue to
remind the Zimbabwe Government that there must be genuine reforms through
the legislature and a distinct return to the rule of law before help is
sent. The Stock Market is characterised by low activity and local interest
rates are beginning to climb well above the currency host countries, further
strangling recovery as USD inflation lurks around the corner.

This entry was posted by Sokwanele on Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

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JAG open letter forum - No. 639 - Dated 11th  June 2009


Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
jag@mango JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM - with "For Open Letter
Forum" in the subject line.


Dear JAG,

There is not a single person black or white, who has ever had anything to
do with Zimbabwe who does not have an extraordinary love for the place.
The country itself is truly God's own country.   So are most of
our people.   We have been tested more than many in this world and it has
produced in us a self reliance, a `get up an go' attitude,
tremendous tolerance and the ability to see the funny side in the most
absurd situations.

For every person who has left, there has been a definitive moment which
has caused them to take the heartbreaking decision to leave the country
they love and have built up in the most trying of circumstances - the
country more often than not, where they were born.   For every person who
has left, the agonies of moving are real and we find ourselves having to
pit our abilities against a very much greater and more sophisticated
marketplace - with no networks in place.   Some have succeeded and
succeeded spectacularly in their migration - others are still
battling.     We have had to grow enormously in the process - and
this causes change - and that causes us to start seeing things from
different perspectives.

For every person who has not had a definitive `we must leave'
- the decision has been equally heartbreaking as the country has broken
down more every day, as health and education has been compromised and as
security becomes an ongoing nightmare.   But they have battled on, losing
farms, losing businesses, losing jobs, and we are amazed at their gritty
determination and courage to see this dreadful time through.   For
everyone still in Zimbabwe the one thing that keeps them going is hoping
against hope that every `green shoot'  might indicate
progress and that things will come right.

We have an extraordinary man at the helm trying desperately to make a
difference.  Every one of us admires his courage and tenacity and prays
he will have success in uncertain and dangerous times.

For everyone who has left, there is a need to justify why they have done
it.   For everyone who has not, there is just as great a need to justify
why they have not.

We are all the same people - let us understand and remember this and not
resort to the sad and unthinking letters which have flowed just recently.
We must support each other, whatever decisions are made and despite the
heartbreak and emotionalism of families and friends split apart.   UDI,
sanctions, and a war did not destroy our unity - don't let it
happen now.

I was one of about 60 people who walked to raise funds for Zimbabwe in
Adelaide a couple of weeks ago.  It was about 50/50 black and white
walking.   The camaraderie and fun we had was heart warming.   At the end
of a wet and chilly walk we all went in for a hot cup of coffee.   A
delightful black Zimbabwean came up to me at the end and said
`let's do this again - we have so much more in common
with you than we have with Australians.'

Of course we do - and let's not forget it.
Jill Baker

Author:    Jill Baker

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Bill Watch 19 of 9th June 2009 [Appointments to Constitutional Commissions]

BILL WATCH 19/2009

[9th June 2009]

Both Houses will resume sitting on Tuesday 16th June

Appointments to Constitutional Commissions

Parliament has published advertisements in the Press inviting applications from qualified persons who wish to be considered for appointment to the four Independent Constitutional Commissions – the Zimbabwe Media Commission, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission .  The advertisements list the functions of each commission and state the qualifications required of candidates.  Applicants must submit: a cover letter, a comprehensive CV, a typewritten submission, no more than two A4 pages long, stating why the applicant is a suitable candidate and certified photocopies of proof of professional qualifications.  Applications must be addressed to the Clerk of Parliament and either posted or hand-delivered to the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Parliament Building, cnr. Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and Third Street, P.O. Box CY 298, Causeway, Harare, or emailed to by Friday 19th June.  

[Not stated in the advertisement is whether the positions are full-time or part-time, but we have been informed by Parliament that at the moment the idea is that all chairpersons will be full-time, and members may be a mix of full-time and part-time.  Given the importance of these commissions and the calibre of members needed, and given the policy of trying to attract skilled Zimbabweans abroad back to the country,  the notice is very short – the sort of notice usually given for a temporary typist.  Also for this type of post, best practice would indicate a call for nominations by stakeholders as well as a call for applications.]

 [Electronic version of advertisement available]

Media Freedom: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

The Prime Minister on 23rd May stated that the Media and Information Commission [MIC] no longer existed legally, and that accordingly there was no need for journalists to apply for accreditation until the Zimbabwe Media Commission was duly constituted to take its place. 

The President’s spokesperson Mr Charamba a few days later issued a conflicting statement justifying the maintenance of MIC accreditation requirements, and this was followed up last week by an order from the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity that journalists wishing to cover the COMESA Summit had to have MIC accreditation. 

Four freelance journalists took the matter to court.  On Thursday Justice Bharat Patel overruled the Ministry’s order, agreeing with the applicants that MIC was legally extinct, having been abolished in January 2008.  He ordered Minister Shamu and his Permanent Secretary Mr Charamba to retract their statements that journalists had to register with MIC to cover COMESA and also ordered them to put notices in the print media, through radio and TV to that effect.  He also interdicted them “from making statements” or “attempting in any other way to compel the four and/or any other journalist to accredit to the COMESA Summit or to assume any functions of the Zimbabwe Media Commission [not yet constituted], including the levying of accreditation fees”.  The judge said that his order would have effect notwithstanding any State appeal. 

It was promptly announced through the press that the State would appeal against the decision.  The Prime Minister expressed surprise at this development, saying that the Attorney-General had given him a legal opinion that “the MIC was defunct.”  [In fact the State has not yet appealed.]  The journalists took the High Court order to the COMESA secretariat who refused them entry, saying they had to stick to the list of names given to them by the Ministry.  The journalists are taking contempt of court proceedings.

On Friday police picked up Chris Mahove, a journalist with The Worker, while taking photographs of a demonstration by Harare city council workers.  The Worker’s editor, Ben Madzimure, was also arrested when he went to the police station to enquire after his colleague.  Both were held for some hours, then released after intervention by lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.  The police deleted the photographs from the camera.

COMESA Summit at Victoria Falls

Only seven heads of State out of nineteen COMESA member States came to the Summit.  Their meeting was preceded by meetings of officials and the Council of Ministers.  The COMESA Customs Union was launched – but a lot of technical work has to be done before it will be fully effective.  The countries of the East African Community are still deliberating whether to join.  All Zimbabwean Ministers were instructed to attend the Summit, which seems an unnecessarily extravagant gesture in view of our straitened economy.  As COMESA is a trade summit, it would have been sufficient for relevant Ministers and officials to attend.  [In fact not all Ministers went.]

Update on Inclusive Government

Provincial governors – there has been no further official announcement on the sharing of provincial governorships and when new provincial governors will be appointed. 

Reserve Bank Governor and Attorney-General – this issue, the remaining unsettled “outstanding issue”, has been referred to SADC as guarantor of the Inter-Party Political Agreement [full text of letter to SADC chairman, South African President Jacob Zuma, available on request].  The MDC-T National Conference on 31st May called for an extraordinary SADC Summit to deal with the matter [see resolution below], but the SADC Secretary-General has said there are no present plans for an extraordinary summit.  The next regular SADC Summit is not due until August.

Legislative Reform – no reform Bills have been gazetted, but Minister of Finance Tendai Biti has announced Cabinet approval of a Bill to amend the Reserve Bank Act and also said that his Ministry was working on a Public Finance Bill designed to replace the Audit and Exchequer Act.  Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga said that the Council of Ministers had considered a draft legislative agenda circulated by the Prime Minister’s department.

Prime Minister’s Overseas Tour – the Prime Minister left on the 6th June on a three-week tour that will include visits to the Netherlands, USA, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, UK and France. This is part of his 100-Day Plan to have Zimbabwe re-admitted as a member of the family of nations and put an end to years of international isolation as an essential step to reviving the country's collapsed economy. 

Acting Prime Minister while Mr Tsvangirai is away is Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

MDC-T National Conference

The MDC-T held its 9th Annual National Conference over the weekend 30th-31st May.  In his address Mr Tsvangirai claimed progress for the inclusive government but acknowledged that it was necessary to “move faster to ensure the full implementation of the GPA, the rapid progress of a people-driven constitutional process and the return to the rule of law” and that the “outstanding issues, which we have now referred to SADC, must be resolved so that confidence in the GPA is not undermined and it continues to provide a positive transitional framework” [full text of address available on request].  Conference Resolutions included the following on: [Full text of conference resolutions available on request.]

Outstanding IPA issues:

Noting the reference of GPA outstanding issues to SADC, Conference calls for the immediate convening of an Extra-Ordinary Summit of SADC to urgently deal with the outstanding issues.

 Aware of the conflict and divisive effect of the unresolved issues of the Attorney General and the Reserve Bank Governor Conference calls that in the national interests, Johannes Tomana and Gideon Gono must resign forthwith.

The Inclusive Government’s performance:

Whilst acknowledging progress made in some areas by the Transitional Government, Conference calls on the Transitional Government to address the issues of deficit of performance in the following areas:

 i.     The absence of any legislative reform agenda

 ii.    The slow pace of media reform

 iii.    Continued high and multiple tariffs by State bodies and parastatals

 iv.   The slow implementation of the Government 100 Day Plan

 v.    The continued deployment of the military in villages

 vi.   The existence of militia and ‘ghost workers’ on the government payroll

Update on Parliament

The Select Committee on the Constitution has almost completed its work plan.

Portfolio committees have not met while Parliament has been adjourned.  They will resume meeting on Monday 15th June. 

The Parliamentary Legal Committee has still not met.

By-elections – no by-elections have been announced [7 are needed].

Ex-Minister Gibson Sibanda – Mr. Sibanda, having ceased to be a Minister because he has no seat in Parliament, will not be able to sit in either the House of Assembly or the Senate when Parliament resumes on 16th June.

MDC-M District Councillors join MDC-T

MDC-M's entire district executive and councillors [23] announced they were leaving MDC-M in protest against the suspension of Nkayi South Member of Parliament Abdenico Bhebhe.  [Bhebhe is also the party's Matabeleland North provincial chairman.]  The party district chairman Jabulani Manqonda Ncube said “the whole constituency and district leadership has crossed the floor to MDC-T led by Prime Minister Tsvangirai."

Update on Legislation


No new Bills have been gazetted.


The Appropriation (2008) (Additional) Bill [passed by Parliament on 24th March] has still not yet been gazetted as an Act. 

Statutory Instruments

SI 77/2009, made under the Environmental Management Act, provides for the collection of a levy payable at ports of entry on all hazardous substances and hazardous waste imported into Zimbabwe

SI 84/2009 fixes the 15th June as the date of commencement of the Engineering Council Act [replacing SI 65/2009, which was invalid because gazetted late].


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

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