JOSIANE KREMER Published: 2009/06/18 06:30:32 AM
"We are setting up an anticorruption commission, which is going to be in
place by the end of this month and we hope that it is not going to deal with
just a reaction; it is about prevention," Tsvangirai said in Oslo following
a lecture to members of the Norwegian Nobel Institute.
Transparency International, the Berlin-based antigraft watchdog, ranks
Zimbabwe 166th out of 180 countries in its ranking of the world's
Tsvangirai, whose Movement for Democratic Change entered a coalition
government with President Robert Mugabe last year after months of tough
negotiations, is on a three- week visit to Europe and the US to raise money
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other foreign lenders have held
back aid until there is evidence of policy changes, co-operation between
the parties and an end to endemic corruption. An IMF team is running an
assessment in Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai met Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg yesterday.
In Sweden on Tuesday, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said he saw positive
signs in Zimbabwe but stopped short of offering aid, urging the government
to push through economic and political reforms.
"We are determined to do as much as we can to support the transition to
democracy and increase respect for human rights in Zimbabwe," he said after
"This will be an important task during the Swedish European Union
presidency." Sweden takes over the 27-state European Union presidency on
July 1. Bloomberg, Reuters
by Tendai Maronga Thursday 18 June 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwean civil servants have given the country's fragile
power-sharing government up to next month to hike salaries or face a
nationwide job boycott that could cripple the administration.
The cash-strapped Harare government, which is paying a US$100 monthly
allowance to civil servants, had promised to hike the payments but a trip to
America and Europe by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has to date failed to
raise any significant amounts of aid.
The Public Service Association (PSA), an umbrella union for government
workers, said in a circular to members this week that a meeting with civil
servants in the capital, Harare, had resolved that all public workers go on
strike should the government fail to hike salaries or allowances.
The circular, signed by PSA president Cecilia Alexander Kowa, read in
part: "The PSA leadership has met with the members in Harare who have
resolved to give government time up until the July pay sheet to improve on
salaries and conditions of service, therefore the intended job action has
been put on hold until early July 2009.
"We have agreed that as soon as Government gets some funds it will
improve on the US$100 allowance. If there is no improvement then, the
members promise to take action."
The PSA issued the circular days after meeting with Public Service
Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro earlier this month to try to reach agreement
Mukonoweshuro told ZimOnline the government was working to mobilise
resources to improve remuneration and conditions of service for public
workers, urging civil servants to be patient with the administration that
has been in office for only five months.
"I appreciate that there is need to review the allowances and the
ministry would not waste time to act on the issue if resources come at our
disposal. At the moment the situation is challenging because the government
has not been able to get funds," said Mukonoweshuro.
Inadequate salaries had resulted in frequent strikes by civil servants
that crippled President Robert Mugabe's old government.
But the new unity administration formed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai last
February quickly moved to pay hard cash allowances to teachers, doctors,
nurses and all civil servants to try to woo them back to work as part of a
drive to get Zimbabwe functioning again and on the road to recovery.
However analysts say the Harare administration's ability to get
Zimbabwe functioning again hinges on its ability to raise financial support
from rich Western countries that have however said they will not immediately
help until they are convinced Mugabe is committed to genuinely share power
with Tsvangirai. - ZimOnline
by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Thursday 18 June 2009
HARARE - The European Union (EU) has temporarily agreed to lift a travel ban
on two ZANU PF Cabinet ministers after President Robert Mugabe had
threatened to call off a mission to Brussels to re-engage the bloc over
souring relations. ?
"This was a temporary visa waiver. It was a decision made after a
consultation of all EU partners (in Zimbabwe) and Brussels," said Stephane
Toulet, the deputy French ambassador to Zimbabwe.
He added: "The decision is meant to promote human rights and good governance
in Zimbabwe and to re-engage Zimbabwe with the EU."?
Brussels slapped Mugabe and his inner circle with travel bans in 2002
protesting against the alleged abuse of human rights by Harare. ?
The French embassy granted visas to Patrick Chinamasa and Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi, Zimbabwe's minister of justice and foreign affairs
respectively, since Belgium moved its diplomatic mission from Zimbabwe. ?
On Tuesday, Mugabe asked Arthur Mutambara, Zimbabwe's Deputy Prime Minister
to engage EU diplomats to waiver the ban on his ministers or he would
call-off the mission to mend relations between Harare and Brussels. ?
Mugabe believes that the United States (US) and EU want to sideline the ZANU
PF component in the coalition government, while channelling money through
the Movement for Democratic Change to boost Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
The ministers are expected to hook up with Tsvangirai on Thursday in
Brussels. Tsvangirai is on a three-week trip to the US and EU to try and
by Own Correspondent Thursday 18 June 2009
BULAWAYO -- Armed guards chased off a messenger of court as he attempted to
evict a senior government official, John Nkomo, from a farm in Zimbabwe's
wildlife rich southern region.
In a letter to the Bulawayo High Court, Deputy Sheriff Peter Thamo Zulu said
when he went to Jijima Safari Lodge to serve a court order on Nkomo to
vacate the farm four men he found at the farm chased him away "at gunpoint".
"I Peter Thamo Zulu the deputy sheriff/ messenger of court refer to case
HC1391/06 was evicted at gunpoint by Nkomo's workers at Jijima lodge," read
part of the letter, dated June 15.
It was not immediately clear whether Nkomo, who is also chairman of
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party, was at the property when the
incident occurred or whether the men who chased away from the farm acted on
orders from the politician.
Nkomo, a minister of state for national reconciliation, was not available
for comment on the matter.
The Bulawayo High Court two weeks ago ordered the deputy sheriff to evict
Nkomo from Jijima Lodge in the Gwayi River Conservancy to pave way for
businessman Langton Masunda, with whom the senior politician had wrangled
for years over ownership of the property.
Nkomo last week filed an urgent court application seeking an order to stop
his eviction from the lucrative safari farm. The appeal is yet to be heard.
Nkomo about five years ago allocated Jijima Safari Lodge - which was seized
from a white farmer during the height of Mugabe's chaotic land
redistribution programme - to Masunda five years ago. At that time Nkomo was
minister in charge of land reform.
The ZANU PF politician later reversed the allocation and tried to grab the
farm for himself allegedly after learning of its successful safari
operation - sparking off the legal dispute with Masunda.
Nkomo, who has lost numerous court challenges against Masunda, argues that
the Lodge is his, saying it is within his Lugo Ranch which he allocated
himself in 2003.
Masunda however claims the lodge is his, saying it is within the boundary of
his Volunteer farms 47, 48 and 49.
The dispute between Nkomo and Masunda over the lodge nearly turned fatal a
month ago when the young brother to Masunda was shot five times by security
officers employed by Nkomo. The matter is before the courts.
The wrangle over Jijima Lodge only helps to highlight the chaos, violence
and thuggery that have characterised Mugabe's land reforms he started in
On paper, the land reforms were to benefit poor black peasant farmers
deprived of arable land by former colonial governments but most of the best
farms seized from whites ended up in the hands of Mugabe's officials, their
relatives and friends.
Land reform has led to hunger after Mugabe's government failed to provide
blacks resettled on former white farms with inputs and skills training to
Poor performance in the mainstay agricultural sector has also had far
reaching consequences as hundreds of thousands of people have lost jobs
while the manufacturing sector, starved of inputs from the sector, is
operating below 15 percent of capacity. - ZimOnline
17 June 2009
By Taurai Bande
RUSAPE - Zanu (PF) minister, Dydimus Mutasa, owns more than 10 farms after
reportedly abusing his authority and issuing land offer letters under the
Mugabe government, sources have revealed. (PIctured: Dydimus Mutasa)
One of the farms, Cold Stream, is run on Mutasa's behalf by his nephew,
Sheila Matamisa. Other farms were put under the management of the
Agriculture and Rural Development authority (Arda).
Highly placed sources within Zanu (PF) confirmed that Mutasa, who championed
the harassment of white commercial farmers, owned more than 10 farms in
Rusape, Headlands and other parts of the country.
"The following ill-gotten farms are owned by Mutasa: Mula farm in Headlands,
Cold Stream, Padiswood (Under Arda Management), Arbed, Loneakkop, Sink Mula,
James farm(Nyazura), Poridget (Epworth/Ruwa). He also has farms in the
Matinhidza Area 17km from Headlands and another In Mazvikadei. He owns yet
another farm on the Brandely road," said a source on the condition of
The sources also said that there was hardly any productive agricultural
activity at the farms. It was not possible to contact Mutasa for comment,
despite repeated attempts.
17 June 2009
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe Republic Police in the Nyamandlovu area of Matabeleland
North refused to grant clearance to a revived Zapu meeting over the weekend.
Nyamandlovu was traditionally a Zapu stronghold in the 1980s.
Sources within the Nyamandlovu business centre community said that the
meeting was meant to launch the party in the area as well as select people
to run the party in the area as part of Zapu's revival attempt.
"The police were scared of being summoned by their superiors, that is why
the meeting was not given clearance. The guys however came to the venue and
when they got there the police chased them away," said a villager.
The police spokesperson for Matabeleland North declined to comment.
Wednesday, 17 Jun 2009 23:15
Zimbabwe's last remaining white commercial farmers - about 400 of them - are
demanding $15 billion each as compensation to voluntarily vacate their
The demands follow an unrelenting push by president Robert Mugabe's allies
since the formation of a coalition government in February to evict them
without paying a cent.
The fresh push by Mugabe's allies to evict the last remaining white
commercial farmers is in defiance of calls by the country's premier, Morgan
Tsvangirai to an end to the land seizures.
Trevor Gifford, the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president, told
inthenews.co.uk that the remaining white commercial farmers were prepared to
vacate their farms without any challenges - only if the broke government
paid them $15 billion as compensation.
"The Zimbabwe constitution says the government should pay for pay full
compensation for the full improvements, damages and interest," Mr Gifford
said in an interview.
"The 400 remaining white farmers face persecution for continuing to farm. It
will be better off if the government pays white farmers $15 billion as
compensation for the improvements on the farms so that the farmers leave
The $15 billion demands are double the needs of the broke coalition
government for the next three years to rebuild an economy shattered by
Mugabe's ill-advised policies for the past decade.
The attorney general's office continues to prosecute white farmers resisting
eviction orders. No comment could be obtained from the lands minister,
Herbert Murerwa, on whether the government was prepared to pay off white
commercial farmers to voluntarily vacate their farms.
According to the CFU president, about 11,600 out of the 12,000 white
commercial farms have since 2000 been grabbed by Mugabe's supporters and
allies under the chaotic land grab that the hardline ruler says is aimed at
correcting colonial imbalances.
"We (white commercial farmers) are Zimbabweans and we should be allowed to
farm but politics has turned the land issue into a racial issue, there is no
need to colour the debate over farms," Mr Gifford indicated.
The evictions of the remaining white commercial farmers are in defiance of a
ruling by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal that
has said the farm seizures are illegal and smack of racism.
Disturbances on farms since 2000 have seen the majority of the population
survive on humanitarian aid as the new black farmers had no agricultural
expertise or agricultural inputs to farm on a large scale to meet the food
requirements of the nation.
June 18, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Zimbabwe could experience increased load shedding after creditors
said they were getting impatient with the failure by the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) to settle outstanding debts.
ZESA chief executive Ben Rafemoyo, says the parastatal has accrued a debt
amounting to a total of US$57 million.
ZESA spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said their creditors had become impatient
but had however not set a deadline for the debts to be settled.
"We have not been paying as well as we would want to but of course we do
have a payment plan in place," Gwasira said.
"Suppliers are threatening to stop supply until they are paid. But the major
constraint has been our own customers who have not been paying in as much as
we would like.
"We rely on our customers. What they give us is what we use to import
Even before the threatened power cuts by the neighbours, the power utility
has already started warning consumers that routine power cuts could get
worse because of the authority's inability to generate sufficient power.
Zimbabwe does not have the capacity to generate its power requirements. It
makes up for the deficit by importing from neighbouring countries, including
the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
But because of the chronic shortage of foreign currency, the country has
fallen US$57-million behind on its payments for the imported power.
Gwasira says most consumers have not paid their monthly bills since the
country switched to using hard currencies early this year. As a result, the
utility is now putting the squeeze on defaulting consumers, giving them
until Saturday to settle their arrears or be switched off.
Gwasira says one of Zimbabwe's main power generating stations was only
partially operational because of the authority's inability to purchase coal
for the generator.
Zimbabweans have had to endure power blackouts for years because of problems
with the old power generation plants breaking down. Gwasira says widespread
vandalism is also taking its toll.
ZESA said it would experience increased load-shedding in the short-term due
to reduced imports of electricity from DRC's Snel and maintenance work at
Kariba Power Station.
Rafemoyo said they had engaged Zambia and Mozambique to increase electricity
supplies to mitigate the effects of reduced imports from the DRC.
"We were losing about 100 megawatts daily because we were not receiving
electricity from Snel due to network challenges," said Rafemoyo. "We were
hoping the situation would improve."
Snel has been supplying electricity to Zimbabwe for the past 10 years.
"We had a fruitful meeting with the Congolese to renew our contract with
them," he said. "At present we are receiving 150 megawatts from HCB in
Mozambique which has been constant.
"We are also receiving power from Zambia of between 50 -200 megawatts as and
when it is available."
Zimbabwe needs about 2 389 megawatts daily but has been generating plus or
minus 1 700 megawatts leaving required imports of 689 megawatts or 28,8
Last year internal generation averaged 1 000 megawatts.
Rafemoyo said demand for electricity was increasing at an average of 3
Rafemoyo said the maintenance work at Kariba, which started last Friday, was
expected to last until May 30.
16 June 2009
By OWN CORRESPONDENT
NEW YORK - Zimbabwean author and journalist, Geoff Hill, says he will use
his new position as an advisor on genocide to urge that the Gukurahundi
campaign in be declared a crime against humanity.
At a vote in Washington last week, Hill secured one of six places on the
advisory council of the International Association of Genocide Scholars or
IAGS. A total of 18 candidates competed for the board, and the decision was
taken by a secret ballot of lawyers, academics and activists on all six
The grouping - whose pronouncements on mass murder, ethnic cleansing and
genocide are followed closely by both the United Nations and the
International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague - was formed in 1994 and has
been dominated by members from the USA and Europe.
Hill is the first journalist and first African to serve on the board. The
IAGS was vocal in campaigns to send former Yugoslav strongman Slobodan
Milosevic and Liberian dictator Charles Taylor to trial at The Hague.
At a ceremony in Washington to mark his election, Hill delivered a speech
wearing his trademark black cowboy hat, and called for the Gukurahundi
massacres to be officially classified as genocide.
"These crimes in Africa must be judged by the same standard as the Nazi
holocaust or the Khymer Rouge murders in Cambodia," he said. "People now
accept the 1994 slaughter in Rwanda as genocide, but the previous attacks on
Tutsis in that country and Gukurahundi have been ignored."
Speaking from New York last night, Hill told The Zimbabwean that he had
already started lobbying within the IAGS for a pronouncement to be made on
"Once it is officially recognised as genocide, it may be easier to gain
support for prosecution of those who carried out the killings and
compensation for survivors," he said.
In 1983, on orders from Robert Mugabe, the North Korean trained Fifth
Brigade, entered Matabeleland and murdered between 20 000 and 40 000
civilians. Thousands more were tortured and more than a million people
displaced. A special report commissioned by the Zimbabwe Government has
never been made public and, in 1987, Mugabe granted an unconditional pardon
to all who had taken part.
However, recent cases including that of the late Chilean dictator General
Augusto Pinochet, showed that, under international law, such pardons have no
standing. Despite a 1990 amnesty in Chile, Pinochet was arrested in London
in 1998 on a Spanish warrant, and was later prosecuted in his home country,
when the new government revoked his immunity.
He died in December 2006, before the trial could be completed. Pinochet was
accused of issuing orders that led to the murder of 3 600 people between
1974 and 1990, considerably less than the number of deaths that might be
laid at the door of the Mugabe government since it took power in 1980.
Under the Statute of Rome which set up the ICC at the Hague, the mass
destruction of people's homes as happened in the Murambatsvina programme is
also classified as a crime against humanity, and can be punished by life
But Hill said that Gukurahundi remained the strongest case against the
Mugabe government. "Genocide is not just random killing," he said. "It is a
special category because victims are not targeted at random. Rather, they
are killed or maimed because of their race or religion. For example,
Turkish slaughter of the Armenians before World War I and Hitler's
persecution of the Jews are clear acts of genocide. And using that formula,
I think we would have to say that murdering thousands of people because they
spoke isiNdebele or chiKalanga follows the same pattern.
Hill, who has written extensively on genocide, is Africa bureau chief Africa
for The Washington Times and author of the book, What Happens After Mugabe?
June 18, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has called for the
rehabilitation of exiled bankers and businessmen forced to flee the country
some five years ago by President Robert Mugabe's government. Mutambara, who
is the Acting Prime Minister, said their participation was key to the
country's economic recovery efforts.
"As Zimbabweans," Mutambara said to parliamentarians on Wednesday, "we have
a duty and obligations to embrace our own superstars, to embrace our own
"As a government we are now reviewing the status of Zimbabweans who are
living out of this country because of our laws, as a result of our vengeance
against our own.
"We cannot succeed as a country if we are targeting our superstars, chasing
them out of the country. How can we drive empowerment when some of the
founders are on the run?"
Mutambara was responding to a question posed by Zengeza West Member of
Parliament Colleen Gwiyo who asked what government had proposed to ensure
laws that were inconsistent with the spirit of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) were removed.
Gwiyo cited the reconstruction of the State Indebted Companies Act which he
said had been used to persecute certain individuals and undermined investor
confidence and property rights.
He asked to what the extent Mutumwa Mawere's Shabani Mashava Mine (SMM) was
indebted to the State.
Mawere, Econet proprietor, Strive Masiyiwa and a dozen other top
businessmen, fled the country during a swoop on banks and assert management
companies by the then newly appointed Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor,
But Mutambara, who did not want to commit himself to responding to the
Mawere saga, reiterated the businessmen must be allowed to return home.
"Strive Masiyiwa Mutumwa Mawere, (William) Nyemba, (Julius) Makoni, Mthuli
Ncube must come back to Zimbabwe if we are going to succeed as a country,"
"Muthuli Ncube is now the head of the business union in South Africa, he is
now professor of finance but he is persona non grata in our country.
"Strive Masiyiwa has not been in Zimbabwe for 10 years. Why? We must ask
"Yes there could be those who have committed crimes. but lets us
rehabilitate our superstars."
Mutambara said government was in the process of reviewing Zimbabwean laws
"to find out if they were offensive to us as Zimbabweans and investment".
"The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs will be bringing to this House, the
number of laws which we need to look at," he said.
"We should not have on our statutes, laws that are targeting individuals,
laws that are vindictive, laws that are retrogressive vis a vis the agenda
of making Zimbabwe a peaceful and prosperous nation."
by Cuthbert Nzou Thursday 18 June 2009
HARARE - Stung by negative publicity in the state-controlled media, Zimbabwe's
former main opposition leader and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
yesterday launched a weekly newsletter to give an update on the "progress
and problems" of the inclusive government.
The newsletter, written by staff in the Prime Minister's office, hit the
streets of Harare yesterday and would be distributed throughout the country.
Sources in Tsvangirai's office said the initial print run of the newsletter
was 40 000 copies and the office was engaging weekly newspapers in the
country to carry the newsletter as an insert in their papers for easy
In an article in the maiden edition, Tsvangirai said its purpose was "to
report back to you, the people, the progress and problems of the Inclusive
Government and to keep you informed about what your government is doing".
"This is in line with the new governance culture of transparency and
accountability, which is one of the key commitments of the global political
agreement," Tsvangirai, currently on tour of Europe, said.
"This newsletter is also an opportunity for you to air your own views and
opinions about the new political dispensation and I look forward to hearing
Tsvangirai's party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), last week
complained bitterly to the state-controlled national broadcaster ZBC and
newspaper stable Zimpapers over biased reporting against Tsvangirai and the
The MDC said despite the formation of the inclusive government between
President Robert Mugabe and the smaller camp of the MDC led by Arthur
Mutambara last February, ZBC and Zimpapers continue to vilify Tsvangirai and
denigrating the party.
The state media has over the past two weeks written articles negative on
Tsvangirai's trip to the United States and Europe. The media claimed that he
was sent by Mugabe to persuade the countries to lift sanctions the MDC
called for before going into government. - ZimOnline
By Jonga Kandemiiri
17 June 2009
The Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa on Wednesday
expressed its opposition to statutory regulation of the media, saying the
Zimbabwe Media Commission in the process of being constituted should
eventually give way to a self-regulatory system.
A MISA statement said the process to select eight media commissioners won't
prevent the House Standing Rules and Orders Committee from nominating
commissioners along partisan lines. President Robert Mugabe will appoint the
commissioners from a short list.
The Zimbabwe Media Commission replaces the Media and Information Commission
which was responsible for enforcing the notorious Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act and closed the Daily News in 2003, among other
MISA Zimbabwe Director Takura Zhangazha told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that if the government empanels the commission
it must be viewed as an interim measure simply to ensure greater diversity
of media players in the country.
But Masvingo Urban Member Tongai Matutu, chairman of the House Legal and
Procedural Committee, a sub-committee of the Standing Rules and Orders
Committee, said the panel was merely adhering to Constitutional Amendment 19
in nominating commissioners.
17 June 2009
By STAFF REPORTERS
. while MDC promises to defend media freedom
HARARE - Media hangman, Tafataona Mahoso, has reapplied to sit on the new
Zimbabwe Media Commission that is being established by Parliament.
Mahoso applied to a special parliamentary committee which invited interested
people last week to submit applications to be appointed to the Zimbabwe
Media Commission (ZMC), which is being set up in terms of a constitutional
amendment enacted earlier this year.
Adverts placed in local papers by Parliament's Standing Rules and Orders
committee stipulate that those applying to be commissioners must be chosen
for their knowledge and experience in the field applied for.
Mahoso, who has presided over the closure of four independent newspapers and
refused to open up media space, tendered his application this week, sources
in Parliament have confirmed.
While Tongai Mathuthu, who is heading the special committee receiving
applications, was not immediately available for comment, impeccable sources
in Parliament revealed that Mahoso was among six applicants together with
Professor Claude Mararike, Zimbabwe Union of Journalists president Matthew
Takaona, independent columnist Pius Wakatama and two others. The deadline
for applications for appointment to the media commission is tomorrow, Friday
Parliament will have to sit and vet names of the applicants. Sources say the
Zanu (PF) Parliamentary Caucus was planning to back Mahoso. The 12 names
that will emerge from Parliament will be forwarded to the President, who
will draft the final list of nine commissioners.
Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo, said that interviews would be
conducted immediately after Friday. "The names of those that applied will be
made public while those that are ultimately recommended to President Robert
Mugabe will also be made public," Moyo said.
The setting up of the media commission was supposed to be the starting point
in the planned democratisation of the media that has been under the control
of Mugabe and Zanu (PF), but the retention of Mahoso is unlikely to open up
Observers say it will simply reincarnate the Media and Information
Commission (MIC) which issued stringent conditions for registration of
Hardliner elements in the Media, Information and Publicity ministry are
frantically trying to keep the independent media in check through statutory
regulation mechanisms. High Court orders allowing journalists to practice
without accreditation, while parliament sets up the ZMC, have been
disregarded. Four freelance journalists have successfully applied to the
High Court challenging the legality of the MIC.
Journalists have established their own Voluntary Media Council (VMC) that is
independent from State control.
Loughty Dube, chairman of press freedom group, the Media Institute of
Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe Chapter last weekend told a public meeting
in Kwekwe attended by the Parliamentary portfolio committee chairman on
media, Gift Chimanikire, that MISA would second commissioners to the ZMC in
protest, noting it was opposed to statutory regulation and would push for
self-regulation of media through the ongoing constitutional reform process.
Chimanikire said the MDC was committed to ushering in a new era of media
freedom in Zimbabwe.
"We have been victims of bad media laws like everyone else. Key priorities
of STERP are Constitutionalism and Constitution making process and the
number two priority is media reforms, so you can see media reforms are
important to us," he said.
Officials from the VMC fired warning shots that they would work feverishly
to make sure the voluntary council took precedence and was more credible in
the eyes of the public to ensure that the role of the envisaged ZMC would be
Chimanikire emphasized the MDC's support of the VMC.
"If you go to the MDC policy document you will find that the Voluntary Media
Council of Zimbabwe is there. We believe in self regulation but we cannot
amend the GPA," said Chimanikire.
Besides the ZMC, Parliament was also establishing the Independent Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission under Constitutional Amendment Number 19.
The Independent Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is set to replace the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC), accused by the MDC of backing and supporting
Mugabe and Zanu (PF) in the last polls. The Anti Corruption Commission is
expected to deal with worsening corruption in the country while the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission is expected to start work reviewing the human rights
situation in the country.
June 18, 2009
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Zimbabwean journalists are at crossroads on whether to take part in
the formation of government's Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) or simply
boycott the process and continue clamouring for self regulation of the
Meanwhile, media experts have warned that journalists risk surrendering the
entire interests of their profession if they boycott the proposed
Zimbabwe's battle-weary media sector is adamant its affairs must be presided
over by a voluntary media council as opposed to continued State regulation.
Government has invited applications from interested media practitioners
interested in joining the ZMC, a creation of Zimbabwe's Constitutional
Amendment (Number 19).
Government has set Friday, June 19, 2009 as the deadline for applications.
The ZMC is set to replace the unpopular Media and Information Commission
(MIC), which has all along been administering the affairs of the media.
A Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee will recommend 12
nominees to the board from which President Robert Mugabe will appoint nine
to constitute the ZMC.
But journalists fear the dominant role by President Mugabe's government,
which has maintained an octopus grip on the media for the past seven years,
will not yield the desired media reforms.
Another group feels the journalists should "ride the tiger" and become part
of the ZMC.
This they say will allow them to second reform minded allies into the panel
who shall then wage the struggle from within.
Fears abound that if journalists refuse to take part in the proposed ZMC,
newspaper moguls who have been eying opportunities in the local media sector
would participate in the process, something that would weaken the
Leading media lawyer, Chris Mhike said while self regulation had more
advantages for journalists, it was safer, given Zimbabwe's obstinate
history, for journalists to "preserve their bargaining power" by taking part
in the commission.
Mhike, a councilor on the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ), said
Zimbabwean journalists had very narrow options and any hard line stance in
the matter would prove disastrous.
"As we look for solutions," Mhike told journalists at the Quill Club, Harare's
press club on Wednesday evening, "we must consider the effectiveness of our
past strategies as an industry and also to focus the effectiveness of
whatever we are going to adopt."
Faced with President Mugabe's intransigent regime, Mhike said, journalists
should opt for participation under protest while attempting to influence
positive change from within.
"We should not be too rigid about our positions," he said, "Let us look at
the opportunities that lie in this body."
Mhike, also a trained journalist, said reform minded media practitioners had
recourse to pursue a duel approach where the ZMC and the VMCZ would both be
He said further that journalists should take advantage of the just started
constitution-making process to push for permanent solutions to their woes.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe director, Takura
Zhangazha, who was the co-panelist during the discussion, also warned of the
dangers of surrendering journalistic principles in pursuit of pragmatic
issues attached to livelihood.
"The ZMC debate is an issue of 'pragmatism versus principles'," he said.
"There are pragmatic components to supporting the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
But these pragmatic components are also dangerous.
"They deal with issues of reality and livelihoods, safety, security and at
least getting some form of incremental change for the media.
"Yes it is logical to take opportunities as they arise but there are some
opportunities that come as threats. The threat becomes losing knowledge of
your history and your principles.
"It's a threat that is likely to become a permanent fixture of the media and
is well capable of reverting to the use of Access to Information and
protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)."
Zhangazha, who said his organizations was not going to interfere with the
ZMC, expressed fears some members of the parliamentary committee may
sideline some aspiring commissioners with whom they have developed personal
He added, "The fundamental position is that these things are done in a rush
and there is still lack of clarity."
He said the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee could still
change goalposts at an instance and still not be held accountable for its
Zhangazha said he feared it would be difficult to get rid of the ZMC even
after the Constitution making process which should be the lifespan of the
He said MISA-Zimbabwe would continue to push for self regulation in spite of
the inevitable existence of the ZMC.
|17 June 2009|
|President Obama and Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at their meeting in the White House.|
Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:07am IST
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[-] Text [+] By MacDonald Dzirutwe
VICTORIA FALLS (Reuters) - Zimbabwe, its economy in ruins, is dreaming of
millions of tourist dollars and even training visits by international soccer
stars when the World Cup comes to South Africa next year.
Scottish explorer David Livingstone is said to have written after first
seeing the Victoria Falls in 1855: "On sights as beautiful as this, angels
in their flight must have gazed."
The magnificent waterfalls were once one of Africa's biggest tourist
attractions, but Zimbabwe's political violence and economic collapse have
reduced visitors to a trickle both here and at the country's other
Tourist income has slumped from $360 million at its 1999 peak to $29 million
An influx of soccer fans before or after the tournament would be a godsend
for this once prosperous nation and visits by teams like Brazil, Germany or
even England would offer a rare morale boost for millions of impoverished
but soccer-mad fans.
The sight of David Beckham marvelling at the Victoria Falls or bending a
trademark free kick on a local pitch would be a huge coup for a nation
battling to shake-off its bad-boy image.
Tourism officials believe Zimbabwe could reap as much as $100 million from
the World Cup, a windfall for a government which is broke and continues to
be shunned by foreign donors.
The country has made international headlines for all the wrong reasons in
the past decade, from violent seizures of white-owned farms, to election
violence and political repression to the world's highest rate of
"This would be the perfect opportunity to showcase the other side of
Zimbabwe by cleaning up our pariah image and showing the world that we have
much to offer especially to tourists," said economist John Robertson.
But while the dream is almost painfully enticing for long-suffering
Zimbabweans, it may well be unrealistic.
Teams looking for high altitude training to acclimatise for the June 11-July
11 World Cup may feel more comfortable in countries like Angola, Botswana,
Namibia and Zambia, who do not have the baggage of an economy in ruins and a
new power-sharing government that still has not won wide recognition.
A decade of crisis has wrecked infrastructure, including soccer stadiums and
The 55,000-seater National Sports Stadium in Harare has been under repair
for the past two years with no indication it will be ready in time.
Only one other stadium is up to scratch while plans to construct new ones
were abandoned last year.
"When you look at the state of the pitch (at the national stadium), it is
deplorable. We are a bit worried with the rate at which construction is
going," said Henrietta Rushwaya, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Football
Zimbabwe needs $2 billion to revamp decaying infrastructure, according to
Public Works Minister Theresa Makone, and the dangerous state of the
crumbling roads is another major concern.
But Western governments, who distrust President Robert Mugabe, are holding
back on direct aid pending political and economic reforms.
Paul Matamisa, the tourist authority's 2010 coordinator, also cited a patchy
telecommunications network, the slow upgrade of airports and the parlous
state of loss-making Air Zimbabwe.
The Victoria Falls airport is too small to handle larger aircraft, even
though Zimbabwe is only 90 minutes from Johannesburg, heart of the World Cup
matches next year.
A decade ago nearly a dozen airlines flew to Zimbabwe but only four remain
on the route.
"Those are the issues that Zimbabwe needs to address if we are to say we are
ready to receive our visitors for the 2010 World Cup," Matamisa told
There are also deep concerns over the country's health services after the
biggest cholera outbreak in Africa in recent times left more than 4,200 dead
and close to 100,000 infected.
But while the odds seem stacked against Zimbabwe, officials are not giving
up on winning some benefit from the World Cup.
They personally handed Brazilian President Lula da Silva an invitation for
the five-time world champions to train in Zimbabwe.
ZIFA has formally invited the English FA and is still awaiting a response.
The Premier League is enthusiastically followed in Zimbabwe, like much of
the rest of Africa, and if England accepted it would not only thrill
thousands of fans but be a big public relations boost for Harare, given the
former colonial ruler's strident opposition to Mugabe.
Zimbabwe has also invited Germany and the United States -- both which have
now removed travel warnings -- and several other teams from Africa and Asia.
"This place is so beautiful and I do not see anyone not wanting to come
here," said Anne Nielsen, a 29-year-old Danish tourist as the Victoria
Falls, known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya or "Smoke That Thunders" roared behind
Apart from the falls, Zimbabwe can offer safari hunting, some of Africa's
largest game reserves, scenic resorts and the ancient Great Zimbabwe ruins,
one of the most important archeological sites on the continent.
German Ambassador Albrecht Cronze said he was hopeful his country's national
team and supporters would visit Zimbabwe on their way to South Africa.
"We now see a bright future in Zimbabwe and as we prepare for 2010, we
expect German soccer players and fans not only to see the Victoria Falls but
the animals in Hwange (game reserve) and the beautiful scenery throughout
the country," Cronze told a local travel magazine.