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Zimbabwe police take batons to women protesters 50m from Amnesty chief
June 19, 2009
Police move in on women protesting in Harare

Police move in on women in Harare protesting against the conditions in Zimbabwe

Minutes after the secretary-general of Amnesty International accused elements of the Zimbabwean Government of “persistent and serious human rights abuses” yesterday, riot police broke up a peaceful demonstration only yards away.

Irene Khan had just delivered a damning assessment of continuing abuses in Zimbabwe when baton-wielding officers waded into a protest by a few hundred people, mostly women, in an adjacent park.

Ms Khan was still in a hotel function room when the police struck 50 metres away, although Amnesty officials said that she missed the incident because the curtains were closed.

Ms Khan had described the human rights situation in Zimbabwe earlier as grim, but also urged Western governments not to withhold aid.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwean Prime Minister, arrives in London today seeking financial and political support for the power-sharing Government that he has established with the autocratic President Mugabe. Mr Tsvangirai has struggled to rein in elements of the Government that remain under the control of Mr Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party, and which continue to commit abuses.

Ms Khan said there was no indication that Mr Mugabe — once an Amnesty “prisoner of conscience” while detained by the country’s former white-minority Rhodesian Government — intended to honour commitments to freedom of association and expression that he made as part of the deal to form the new Government last year.

She also criticised Mr Tsvangirai, saying that she saw “no sense of urgency” in implementing human-rights provisions in the power-sharing agreement. She urged Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai to make public statements clearly instructing all party activists to stop harassment, intimidation and threats.

She said that reform of the police and other elements of the security apparatus had been too slow, and criticised efforts to bring suspected abusers to justice. “No major investigation or prosecution has been brought against those responsible for state-sponsored violence” in the past nine years.

She added that journalists, lawyers and human rights activists “continue to be intimidated, harassed, threatened and arrested, often for malicious prosecution”. Violent invasions of white-owned farms had gone on unchecked.

After the nearby demonstration was broken up, a photographer and five women from Women of Zimbabwe Arise, a civic rights group, were arrested and thrown into the back of a police pick-up truck. They had been protesting about conditions in the impoverished country.

“The women were lying on the floor of the truck,” said the photographer, who was the only one to be freed later. “The police beat them, each time shouting, ‘Piece of s**t’. Then they kicked them, shouting ‘piece of s**t’ again. When they cried in pain, the police hit them again.”

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Nearly 1 000 Zim prisoners die: Amnesty

by Nokuthula Sibanda Friday 19 June 2009

HARARE - Nearly 1 000 prisoners have died in Zimbabwe's over crowded prisons
since the beginning of the year, a top Amnesty International official said

The world rights watchdog's secretary general Irene Khan - who told
journalists in Harare that Zimbabwe's unity government had failed to curb
human rights abuses or stamp out political violence - described conditions
in prisons as deplorable.

"The conditions in Zimbabwe's prisons are deplorable with serious food
shortages and lack of medical care leading to high levels of deaths," said
Khan, who arrived in Harare last weekend to assess the human rights
situation five months after formation of a power-sharing government between
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

"The government informed us that out of a prison population of 15,000. 970
prisoners have died between January and May," added Khan. The Amnesty
secretary general met several top government ministers and civic rights
leaders but failed to meet Mugabe.

The announcement by Khan comes barely three weeks after the Harare
government allowed Red Cross into its jails to help feed and treat starving
and sick inmates.

The numbers of prison inmates has steadily increased over the past three
years largely due to worsening economic and political crisis that has pushed
some to into crime in a bid to make ends meet.

Head of the country's prisons Paradzai Zimondi this week blamed the poor
state of prisons on sanctions.

Zimbabwe's prisons have long been seen as virtual death houses with hundreds
of inmates reportedly dying in the jails because of diseases and an acute
shortage of food.

According to local prisoner's rights group Zimbabwe Association for Crime
Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (ZACRO) at least two inmates
die everyday due to hunger and disease at Chikurubi and Harare Central - the
country's two biggest jails.

An outbreak of pellagra disease in 2007 killed at least 23 inmates at the
notorious Chikurubi prison. Pellagra is a vitamin deficiency disease caused
by shortage of vitamin B3 and protein.

A parliamentary committee that toured Chikurubi and other prisons in 2006
was shocked to find inmates clad in torn, dirty uniforms and crammed into
overcrowded cells with filthy; overflowing toilets that had not been flushed
for weeks as water had been cut off due to unpaid bills.

The committee said in a report that the conditions in prisons were inhuman.
However nothing much has been done to date to improve conditions due to a
lack of resource. - ZimOnline

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It's too early to lift Zimbabwe sanctions

June 19, 2009

Britain must support Morgan Tsvangirai's brave decision to share power. But
that is only a start
Mark Malloch Brown
Morgan Tsvangirai is due to arrive in London today as Prime Minister of
Zimbabwe. He will be seeking UK government support and pitching for foreign
investment. How should we respond to such an appeal from a Government that
is led by Robert Mugabe, a man to whom we have got used to saying "no"?

We are clear that we must support the new inclusive Government, whatever our
strong doubts about Mr Mugabe. Mr Tsvangirai has bravely chosen to join a
government with his erstwhile rivals as the only way forward for Zimbabwe.

The reformers who have faced torture and death in pursuit of democracy have
chosen to make this Government work. We must find ways to support them, not
least because the humanitarian crisis is still unfolding: a direct
consequence of mismanagement and corruption.

Agriculture and public health do not recover overnight. Up to seven million
people received food aid at the height of the recent hungry season, and more
than 4,000 have died out of almost 100,000 cholera cases. To tackle this,
the UK recently pledged a further £15 million in humanitarian assistance.
All our support has been transferred through the UN and NGOs, not the
Zimbabwean Government. President Obama offered generous US assistance on the
same terms when Mr Tsvangirai visited Washington a few days ago.

But we must also engage politically. Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mugabe have
overcome many of the early setbacks and declared their common commitment to
the global political agreement (GPA) that they negotiated under South
African leadership with the help of their southern African neighbours. It is
not perfect, but it does provide a programme of steps to be taken before
fresh elections under a new constitution, which the agreement specifies
should be completed within 18 months. If those steps are taken, it is a
basis for the international community to step up engagement and support in
response. By engaging with those committed to reform, we can press for this
timetable to be met.

This is why we have met Mr Tsvangirai, his Finance Minister, Tendai Biti,
and his Foreign Minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi. We discussed how the UK
can help Zimbabwe to implement its own commitments under the GPA,
particularly on constitutional reform, human rights and the rule of law.
When in London, Mr Tsvangirai will meet business leaders as well as the
Prime Minister.

But the inclusive Government must understand the context of UK support. Our
assistance depends on it meeting its commitments. This in turn depends on Mr
Mugabe honouring the agreements he has made with Mr Tsvangirai and the
Zimbabwean people. There is still much to do on this. The media are still
not free, political activists are still harassed, farm seizures continue and
promised personnel changes in key positions have not happened. The EU has
also made clear that its support depends on real progress on human rights
and related issues.

We have heard calls for the immediate removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Let's be clear what those "sanctions" entail. They were never aimed at the
Zimbabwean people. Restrictive measures were directed against individuals
associated with the old regime's corruption and violence, and against
companies that bankrolled that regime. While we can show some flexibility,
such as allowing some Zanu (PF) ministers who are covered by the EU travel
ban to accompany Mr Tsvangirai to the UK, we will not lift the bulk of these
measures until we are convinced that Zimbabwe's transition to democracy has
reached a point of no return.

Zimbabwe has begun the process of re-engagement with the IMF, World Bank and
African Development Bank, and we are encouraging this. While misrepresented
by some in Zimbabwe as sanctions, these assistance programmes always
depended on the performance and credibility of the Government's economic
programme, which is now back on track. It was Zimbabwe's unpaid debts to
these institutions, not British opposition, that prevented them helping.

We welcome the efforts of President Zuma in South Africa, as well as other
neighbours, such as President Khama in Botswana, to provide political and
economic support to Zimbabwe's transition. The Southern African Development
Community (SADC) must stand up for the GPA agreement that it sponsored and
insist that both sides keep their commitments. We remain happy to follow
their political lead; we recognise that the UK can easily set back change
inside Zimbabwe by appearing too intrusive.

By entering a government with Mr Mugabe, the Movement for Democratic Change
has taken a leap of faith. It is beginning to make it work, although there
are plenty of pitfalls. Mr Mugabe could easily try to go back on his word
and grab absolute power again. Nevertheless, it is time to show a little
faith and get behind the agreement to build a new Zimbabwe, while keeping
all sides to their commitments on economic and political reform. As
President Reagan once said in another context, "trust but verify".

Lord Malloch-Brown is Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN

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'Global Fund channelling Aids funding through UN'

by Cuthbert Nzou Friday 19 June 2009

HARARE -- THE Global Fund has stopped financing HIV and Aids programmes
through the government-controlled National Aids Council (NAC) but will
channel funds to fight the epidemic via a United Nations agency.

NAC chief executive Tapiwa Magure told parliamentarians on Thursday that the
Global Fund had took the decision to bypass the council in reaction to the
diversion of the fund's US$7,3 million grant by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
last year.

Government recently requested US$297 million from the donor agency to fight
HIV and Aids.

Giving oral evidence before Parliament's portfolio committee on health
yesterday, Magure said the fund had stopped direct injection of funds into
the council.

"We have been the principal recipient of the Global Fund HIV and Aids
programme and the Zimbabwe Association of Church-Related Hospitals has been
the recipient for Tuberculosis programmes," Magure said.

"The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has been the recipient for Malaria
programmes but due to some of the problems that Honourable (Blessing)
Chebundo has alluded to, the UNDP are now the principal recipient of the
funds on HIV and Aids. It is a retrogressive step at the moment."

Magure was responding to a question from Chebundo on whether government was
still receiving direct funding from the Global Fund after the diversion of
US$7,3 million by the central bank last year.

The official Global Fund website confirmed that the international aid agency
was yet to announce the recipient of grants for the Round 8 of HIV and Aids,
TB and Malaria programmes.

"Principal recipient information will become available upon grant
 signature," the website said.

Magure told the parliamentary committee that the NAC through the National
Aids Trust Fund received US$300 000 between April and May this year from
revenue generated from the 3 percent Aids levy taxed on workers, adding that
the money was insufficient due to the switch from the Zimbabwe dollar to the
multi-currency national payment system earlier this year.

He said 50 percent of the fund would now be used to purchase life-
prolonging antiretroviral drugs.

A Health ministry medical officer responsible for HIV and Aids and TB
prevention, Dr Owen Mugurungi, also told the committee that government was
struggling to fight the two diseases due to inadequate local funding.

The NAC chief added that the UNDP would only start receiving the funds after
a "transition period" between Round 5 of the grant and soon to commence
Round 8.

The HIV and Aids council received over US$13 million in Round 5 of the
portfolio grant, which targeted to scale up Anti Retroviral Therapy and HIV
testing and Counselling in 22 districts in Zimbabwe .

The Global Fund is currently committed to supporting 40 000 out of 340 000
HIV patients annually at a cost of over US$4 million.

Government provides antiretroviral therapy to 50 000 of the targeted 230 000
patients under treatment. The Global Fund also assists retention of skilled
health personnel in remote districts around the country. - ZimOnline

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MPs finally agree to return RBZ vehicles

June 18, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Members of Parliament from across the political divide have finally
agreed to return vehicles issued to them by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) after being promised vehicle loans by the government. Parliamentary
backbenchers had successfully pressured Finance Minister Tendai Biti to
resuscitate the vehicle loan scheme for MPs.

Biti is said to have agreed to disburse "seed money" to the MPs while his
ministry was trying to revive the vehicle loans scheme.

After striking concessions with Biti, MPs from both Zanu-PF and Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) convened a caucus meeting on Wednesday morning where
they agreed to return the vehicles.

"We have agreed that MPs will return the cars to the RBZ," said one MP who
refused to be named.

"The Ministry of Finance has agreed to give us seed money which we will
repay through loans."

According to the source, the Finance Ministry has agreed to underwrite the
MPs by any amount not exceeding US$30 000 each.

MPs are said to have already approached car dealers to negotiate favourable
terms for the purchase of cars.

It has further been revealed that several car dealers in Harare, who have
recently been experiencing a slump in sales, have readily accepted the terms

Zanu-PF and MDC chief whips Joram Gumbo and Innocent Gonese refused to
comment on the matter saying Biti would issue a statement on the matter.

Biti could not be reached for comment as he was reported to be in Brussels
on government business.

A fierce battle has been raging between Parliament and the Finance Ministry
after Biti ordered the return of the central bank vehicles.

Defiant Zanu-PF MPs went further to declare they would not agree to return
the vehicles unless the Finance Ministry also repossessed farm implements
that were allocated to farmers through the RBZ.

RBZ governor, Gideon Gono had issued the vehicles to the parliamentarians
saying they needed them to visit their constituencies.

But Biti, who is locked in a bitter war with Gono, was adamant it was not
procedural for parliamentarians to source vehicles from the central bank
which, he said, no longer had any business in financing government

Parliamentary backbenchers, some of whom have not been allocated government
vehicles, are frustrated by Biti's attempts to bar them from accessing the
vehicles saying ministers had three official vehicles at their disposal
whereas the MPs endured the embarrassment of commuting around their
constituencies on public transport.

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New humanitarian disaster brewing in Zimbabwe

Friday, 19 Jun 2009 00:01
Zimbabwe, a country which has already endured political crises,
hyperinflation and cholera outbreaks in the last 12 months, is facing
another humanitarian disaster, it was claimed today.

According to charities, food stocks for more than a million people will run
out next month unless more is done to step up the distribution of supplies.

The call from ActionAid comes as former opposition leader turned prime
minister Morgan Tsvangirai arrives in London as part of his tour of the US
and Europe.

Ahead of talks with Gordon Brown, ActionAid has called on the British
government to do more to help its former colony.

"The people of Zimbabwe desperately need aid and it should be delivered so
that it works in the most effective way possible," said the charity's chief
executive Richard Miller.

"This is a moment of opportunity and the international community should be
prepared to seize it. The current political settlement is the only game in
town. It is the best hope for change and we need to take it at face value
for the good of all in Zimbabwe."

ActionAid says food stocks are ready to be distributed through development
agencies or the United Nations; or even through the Zimbabwean government
itself, still overseen by president Robert Mugabe.

Mr Miller added that 1.2 million people are in need of seeds, tools and
fertiliser ahead of the next planting season in the autumn.

"We have a three month window to supply small scale farmers with seeds and
tools before the next planting season in October in order to avert an even
bigger humanitarian disaster," he added.

Once the breadbasket of Africa; Zimbabwe's agriculture-driven economy fell
into ruin at the turn of the century following the disastrous land-grab
policies of President Mugabe that saw experienced white farmers evicted from
their land.

The move led to widespread food shortages, exacerbated last year by Mugabe's
decision to expel foreign aid groups during a disputed presidential election
vote with Mr Tsvangirai.

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Mujuru Seeks Mugabe's Help

Thursday, 18 June 2009 21:27
A ZANU PF faction headed by retired army general Solomon Mujuru is
reportedly seeking a meeting with President Robert Mugabe to broker a deal
that will avert a major shake-up of the party's presidium and politburo
during its December congress.

Sources in Zanu PF told the Zimbabwe Independent that the Mujuru
faction wants a meeting with the 85-year-old veteran leader to structure a
deal for the retention of Joice Mujuru (pictured) as vice-president and stop
the axing of some members of the camp from the politburo, the party's
powerful decision-making body.

The Mujuru faction is in a dog-fight with another camp aligned to
party legal secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa over Mugabe's succession. The
retired army chief wants his wife Joice to replace Mugabe if he retires,
while Mnangagwa is eyeing the post.

"Strategists in Mujuru's camp are of the view that the status quo in
the presidium should be left intact," a senior politburo member said. "The
faction has agreed to seek a meeting with the president to sell the idea.
The intention is to guarantee Joice's post and that of others from their
camp in the politburo."

Mujuru faction strategists were identified as politburo member Tendai
Savanhu, MP Phineas Chiota, former cabinet minister Rugare Gumbo, and
Mashonaland East chairperson Ray Kaukonde.

The faction, the sources said, wants Mugabe to remain president
deputised by Joice and Vice-President Joseph Msika, with John Nkomo
remaining national chairman.

"Their argument is that the presidium should remain intact until a
clear succession plan is drawn up by the committee led by Nkomo," another
senior Zanu PF official said. "They are also of the opinion that any changes
in the presidium will escalate the current divisions and could split the
party at a time when they should be united to fight the MDC-T at the next

The politburo last month set up the succession committee headed by
Nkomo. Some of its members are political rivals - most notably Solomon
Mujuru and Mnangagwa.

The sources said the move to approach Mugabe was born out of the
realisation that the Mnangagwa faction had come up with an elaborate plan to
remove Joice and replace her with current Women's League boss Oppah

Politburo members aligned to Mujuru, among them Gumbo, Savanhu,
Dzikamai Mavhaire and Ephraim Masawi, the sources said, were at the congress
likely to be dropped from the party's powerful organ that would reflect the
dominance of Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa reportedly has the support of provincial structures to
determine the make-up of the party's presidium. He reportedly enjoys the
support of Masvingo, Midlands, Manicaland, Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and
South provinces.

Mujuru has the backing of Mashonaland East, while Mashonaland Central
and Mashonaland West are reportedly divided over whom to back.

Elections are yet to be held in Harare to elect provincial leaders,
but the province was likely to be headed by Mnangagwa's faction that is
reportedly backing Deputy Energy minister Hubert Nyanhongo to become
chairperson ahead of ex-Mines minister Amos Midzi.

However, the sources said they were not sure how the deal would be
structured and its feasibility given that presidium candidates have to be
nominated by the provinces ahead of the congress.

Politburo members are appointed by Mugabe.

Last week, the Independent reported that sweeping changes were
expected to take place in Zanu PF's youth and women's leagues at their
congresses in July and August that should result in Muchinguri being elected
vice-president of the party at the main December congress ahead of Mujuru
who is accused of working with the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T.

Muchinguri would fight it out with cabinet minister Olivia Muchena to
head the Women's League and automatically secure members for the politburo
as secretary for women affairs.

The leadership of the Youth League would also be overhauled to reflect
the dominance of the Mnangagwa faction in Zanu PF.

Current youth secretary in the politburo Absolom Sikhosana and his
deputy Saviour Kasukuwere are expected to step down in line with the party's
constitution that members of the league should be below 30 years of age.


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Legislators Reject Biti's Vehicles Offer

Thursday, 18 June 2009 21:21
MEMBERS of PARLIAMENT have rejected Finance minister Tendai Biti's
offer of Mazda trucks arguing that the vehicles are expensive to maintain
and not durable for rural-based lawmakers.

The MPs had been offered Mazda BT-50s which are assembled at
Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries, but spurned the offer on grounds that the
cars were not durable for rural roads.Sources say that Biti structured a
vehicle allocation scheme with Willowvale to ease transport problems for
lawmakers but his plan has been met with open resistance from both  MDC and
Zanu PF parliamentarians.

According to sources, the legislators had been told to surrender to
Biti vehicles they received from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and collect
brand new double-cab Mazda T-50 vehicles, but the MPs rejected Biti's offer
amid suspicion that the Finance minister was attempting to score points in
his war with Gideon Gono.

For Zanu PF legislators, surrendering the vehicles to Biti was
tantamount to stabbing Gono in the back, sources said.

Biti and Gono have clashed publicly since before the formation of the
unity government. Biti accused Gono of ruining the economy through
quasi-fiscal activities.

MDC legislators won't surrender the cars that they already have on the
grounds that they are not being given room to have vehicles of their choice.

Under the parliamentary vehicle scheme, lawmakers choose vehicles they
want. But Biti argues that government cannot afford any other vehicles at
the moment.

The MDC-T legislators have accused the party leaders of double
standards by orering them to return vehicles issued by Gono yet various
party executives continue to hang on to theirs.

When reached for comment MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese said
parliamentarians would get vehicles of their choices as soon all
administrative work wass concluded.

"The parliamentary procedure on vehicles has not yet been approved.
But MPs are free to choose vehicles of their choice by sticking to
prescribed limit which is US$30 000. There is no scheme for BT-50s," said

Asked why party officials have not complied with the order to return
the vehicles, he said many were in compliance but could not give details.

But parliamentary sources say Biti is working hard to have the MPs
take the cars.

MDC officials who got Toyota Land Cruiser and Prados from Gono are
Theresa Makone, Heneri Dzinotyiwei, Fidelis Mhashu and Speaker of Parliament
Lovemore Moyo.


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Govt Under Pressure to cut Embassies

Thursday, 18 June 2009 21:21
GOVERNMENT is under pressure to reduce the number of diplomatic
missions abroad amid claims it requires over US$20 million monthly in
salaries and other expenses to keep the embassies running.

Zimbabwe has 38 embassies and three consulates in Africa and around
the world. The missions are draining the fiscus in staff salaries and
rentals for embassy buildings among other operational costs.

Sources said there was a feeling in government that a majority of the
embassies were not serving any economic or strategic purpose.

The Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Gorden Moyo,
told the Zimbabwe Independent that while a country should have diplomatic
missions that pay economic and strategic dividends, Zimbabwe was failing to
sustain its embassies.

He said the issue of the diplomatic missions was not exhaustively
debated in government but said reforms were necessary.

"Ideally, Zimbabwe like any other country, should have diplomatic
missions in strategic countries," said Moyo. "The issue of the embassies was
not exhaustively debated and is still under consideration but unfortunately
for Zimbabwe, the missions are costly and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
has a task to look at the viability of missions and maintain those that are
viable," Moyo said.

He however could not comment on government intentions to shut down
embassies and referred questions to Foreign Affairs minister, Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi, who is currently out of the country while his deputy Moses
Mzila-Ndlovu was not reachable.

Zimbabwean ambassadors working in missions in Africa and abroad are
getting salaries of between US$11 000 and US$13 000 a month.

Zimbabwe has 16 diplomatic missions in Africa in Angola, Botswana, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Malawi,
Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Overseas Zimbabwe is represented in Australia, Austria, Belgium,
Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy
and Japan.

The country is also represented in Kuwait, Malaysia, Portugal, Russia,
Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

In the United States Zimbabwe is represented at the United Nations in
New York and in at the US seat of power, Washington DC.

Some diplomats in the Zimbabwean embassies have not been paid since
last year due to unavailability of funds.

Zimbabwe at Independence opened diplomatic missions in many countries
as a gesture of solidarity and appreciation for assisting Zanu PF during the
war of liberation.


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Parly to Conduct Public Interviews

Thursday, 18 June 2009 21:18
PARLIAMENT will soon carry out public interviews for shortlisted
candidates to head four constitutional commissions amid growing concern the
process could be politically-driven.

Austin Zvoma, the clerk of parliament, yesterday said potential
commissioners of the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Zimbabwe
Anti-Corruption Commission would be interviewed by the Parliamentary
Standing Rules and Orders Committee in public before the names of those
nominated are forwarded to President Robert Mugabe for appointment.

The human rights commission, which seeks to monitor and investigate
human rights violations, has not been constituted since the relevant legal
statutes were enacted two years ago.

"The interviews are going to take place in public," said Zvoma, adding
that the public will "listen and watch without participating in the process".
He said appointments would be gender-sensitive.

Asked when the four commissions would be constituted, Zvoma said it
was up to the president.

He emphasised that the process would be "two-pronged", starting with
parliament and ending with the president who appoints the commissioners in
terms of the constitution.

He said commissioners from past commissions were also eligible to
apply for the new posts.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No 19 Act says the president
shall appoint commissioners for these bodies from a list submitted to him by
the Standing Rules and Orders Committee.

A sub-committee of the Standing Rules and Orders Committee (Law and
Procedure) chaired by Masvingo Urban MP Tongai Matutu, will conduct the

"There are applications from individuals but civic society
organisations raised concerns that why not accept block applications," Zvoma
said. "But the committee will decide the methodology to be used."

He, however, emphasised that the commissions' work was "not advocacy
or to represent sectoral interests" and that the appointments would be based
on "integrity".

After the constitution of the ZMC, the commission is expected to
invite applications from people interested in publishing new newspapers as
espoused in the Global Political Agreement signed last September, which give
birth to the inclusive government.

Zvoma said an Act of parliament would be enacted to provide for "other
duties" of the ZMC.

Meanwhile, the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe this week gave the
green light to anyone of its members to serve on ZMC if they so wish.


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NCA Broke as Financiers Bale out

Thursday, 18 June 2009 21:11
THE Lovemore Madhuku-chaired National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) is
broke after being abandoned by its traditional financial backers who have
expressed confidence in the inclusive government's constitution-making

Traditional donors, mainly Western governments, have withdrawn their
support from the NCA and opting to put resources in the government process
to be led by a 25-member parliamentary select committee.

The assembly is embarking on a rural campaign to raise money from
"peasants" to fund its operations.
On Wednesday Madhuku admitted to the Zimbabwe Independent that his
outfit was broke, but he was quick to say the assembly's relentless campaign
against the parliamentary-led constitution-crafting process would never be

 "It's true that we are in a bad financial patch. Most of our
traditional funders have pulled out and channelled resources to the
parliamentary-led constitutional process, which we remain opposed to,"
Madhuku said.

He said the NCA would soon launch an "aggressive rural campaign" to
raise money from the peasants.
"They will sell their chickens and livestock to support our cause," he

Asked why he was so sure that the "peasants" would support his cause,
Madhuku said: "The NCA was originally people-driven, bankrolled by our
membership, but along the way donors came on board. Now the traditional
donors have pulled out opting to support the government process."

According to the assembly, its members are individual citizens
regardless of political affiliation, race, creed, class or organisation.

Groups in the NCA include political parties, labour movements,
students, youths and women's groups, churches, business associations and
human rights organisations.

Explaining further the NCA position, Madhuku said donor money has
cycles and it was normal for organisations like his to experience financial

"Contracts expire and the time lag before renewal is bad for NGOs,"
said Madhuku.

The NCA, which has dubbed its campaign against the current
constitution-making "Take Charge", has vowed to oppose the Kariba draft
crafted by politicians from the three main political parties who make up the
inclusive government.
The NCA has already pointed out what it said were shortcomings in the
current process and had, to some extent, made parliamentarians think long
and hard about the use of the Kariba draft as the key reference document.
The Independent is reliably informed that the NCA was struggling to
finance it operations such as paying salaries and rentals.
The NCA was founded in 1997 with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as
its first chairman.
In its prime, the NCA spearheaded a successful campaign against a new
constitution in February 2000, which gave President Robert Mugabe his first
ever electoral defeat.
The four-month-old coalition government between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has embarked on a constitution-making
process in line with the Global Political Agreement the parties signed last
The constitution-making provincial consultative meetings are expected
to commence on Wednesday. A new supreme law is expected to be promulgated in
18 months.
An attempt to introduce a new constitution between 1999 and 2000
failed after the NCA and other civil society groupings successfully
campaigned against a government-sponsored draft.
Zimbabwe is currently governed under the 1979 constitution agreed at
the Lancaster House talks in London which has been amended 19 times. Critics
say the changes have helped to tighten President Mugabe and his Zanu PF
party's stranglehold on power.

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Prosecutor Muchenga Accused of Corruption

Thursday, 18 June 2009 21:08
COURT officials at Bindura Magistrates Court have lodged a complaint
with the chief magistrate against acting area public prosecutor Emmanuel
Muchenga for alleged misconduct and corruption.

In a letter dated June 11 to then Chief Magistrate Herbert Mandeya, 18
court officials questioned Muchenga's work ethic.

The letter was also copied to Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, his
deputy Jessie Majome, and the Director of Public Prosecutions, among others.
"We write this minute with great disgruntlement over the conduct of
the above mentioned prosecutor," the letter says. "He has been on the verge
of destroying the justice system for quite sometime now and we have written
this minute to show our displeasure."
The court officials accused Muchinga of recently initiating the
assault on a provincial magistrate in Bindura.
They accused him of "profound interest" in the prosecution of court
staff in cases he allegedly labels corrupt.
In all the cases, the letter read, he has aided in the compilation of
dockets and prosecuting the same.
"Our concern is not that he is not doing his job but we can see that
his war is against those disturbing his corrupt deeds," the letter reads.
Muchenga was also accused of misusing a government vehicle, which he
allegedly uses to pirate daily to the capital.
The court officials also accused him of impersonating the provincial
The court officials also criticised Muchenga's 17-year stay at the
provincial court for "patronising, subjecting and manipulating" other
government workers "to fulfil his wishes".
"We can also note that he does not want or like anyone who has better
ideas or wits than his. He has initiated the transfer or downfall of degreed
prosecutors fearing his job security because he himself is a police
prosecutor and this even puzzles us as to how he made his way into the
justice system from the police with only 5 'O' Levels," the letter read.
Last week, Muchenga represented the state in a case where a Bindura
magistrate, Story Rushambwa, was charged with abusing public office.
Efforts to get a comment from Mandeya were fruitless at the time of
going to press. Mandeya was promoted this week to become the president of
the labour court.


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Vic Falls Heritage Status Threatened

Thursday, 18 June 2009 21:06
VICTORIA Falls' World Heritage status is under threat after two
hoteliers at the prime resort town petitioned the World Heritage Commission
against noise pollution in the town.

The hoteliers, The Victoria Falls Hotel and the Kingdom, separately
wrote to the World Heritage Commission saying noise generated by frequent
flights over the Falls and through gorges and the number of licences given
to helicopter operators were a cause for concern.

They warned that if left unchecked they "pose the single biggest
threat to our status".

According to letters seen by the Zimbabwe Independent this week, the
hotel groups say the flights over the hotel were depriving their guests "of
a quiet and relaxing environment".

"On behalf of the Victoria Falls Hotel, I would like to register a
complaint against the helicopters and the noise they produce which has a
negative impact on the environment and likewise destroys the atmosphere in
our hotel and grounds," reads the letter.

"Daily we have to endure the noise and constant irritation from these
aircraft which fly directly over and above the Victoria Falls Hotel," the
report said.

Said the letter: "If one considers that current hotel occupancies are
running at approximately 20% of capacity surely when normal higher
occupancies return the environment cannot sustain the impact of the
increased flights, increased operators and increased frequency of the

At present there are two operators flying: Zambian United Air Charters
with two helicopters, Batoka Skies (three helicopters) and Zambezi
Helicopters with two helicopters.

The Independent understands that plans are at an advanced stage to
license up to eight more operators.


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Land Wrangle: Sheriff Thrown off Nkomo Farm

Thursday, 18 June 2009 21:04
THE land ownership wrangle pitting Bulawayo businessman Langton
Masunda and Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo took another twist this
week when a deputy sheriff sent to evict the minister was thrown off the
farm by the Minister of National Healing's workers.

High Court judge, Justice Francis Bere, in 2006 ordered the deputy
sheriff in Bulawayo to evict Nkomo from Lugo Ranch that was allocated to
businessman Langton Masunda. The order was not immediately enforced and the
High Court a fortnight ago said it must be executed.

However, when deputy Sheriff Peter Thomo Zulu arrived at the ranch on
Monday to evict Nkomo, he was ordered to leave the property by the minister's
workers who were armed with a letter written by Bulawayo High Court deputy
Registrar Njabulo Mabuya ordering a stay of ejection.

In the letter, Mabuya said the deputy sheriff should not evict Nkomo
as he had filed an urgent application with the High Court to stop the

Lawyers told the Zimbabwe Independent that the power to stop the
eviction rested with a High Court judge, not Mabuya.

The writ of execution passed by Justice Bere for the eviction of Nkomo
reads: "Now therefore you are required and directed to eject the said John
Landa Nkomo and all persons claiming through him, his goods, and possessions
from and out of all occupation and possession whatsoever of the said ground
and/or premises and to leave the same, to the end that the said Langton
Masunda may peaceably enter into and possess the same, and for so doing this
shall be your warrant."

The land wrangle between Nkomo and Masunda is over Jijima Lodge that
is on the ranch, which is situated in the Gwayi Conservancy and has been
raging in the courts for the past five years.
The case has been brought before several judges who have given
different verdicts. The judges include Judge President Rita Makarau, Justice
Bere and Justice Bhunu.

The judgements were either in favour of Nkomo or Masunda.
Nkomo was allocated Lugo Ranch whereas Masunda was allocated Volunteer
Farms 47, 48 and 49, both located in the Gwayi Conservancy in Matabeleland

The land under dispute used to be owned by one farmer prior to the
land reform exercise and the boundaries of the two farms were not clearly
defined at the time of allocation of the land.

The dispute between Nkomo and Masunda over the lodge nearly turned
fatal two months ago when Masunda's brother was shot five times by security
officers employed by Nkomo.

The security officer, Eddie Sigoge, was charged with attempted murder
and unlawful possession of a firearm and was granted bail when he appeared
at the Bulawayo magistrates' court.


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Banker Sued in US$70 000 Deal

Thursday, 18 June 2009 21:02
A HARARE businessman has sued former Trust Banking Corporation
director Chris Goromonzi over a US$70 000 grain import deal that went off
the rails.

Duncan Mukondiwa, a fuel importer, wants to recover US$70 000 plus
interest the banker owes him since 2006 when the two partnered to import
maize, fertiliser and rice from South Africa on behalf of the GMB in a deal
that never took off.

High Court documents in the possession of the Zimbabwe Independent
reveal that Goromonzi, representing a Botswana company, Laupa Holdings,
approached Mukondiwa and entered into an agreement on February 7 2006 where
the fuel importer advanced US$40 000 to the banker at an interest rate of
46% monthly.

On March 13 2006, the two signed another agreement where Mukondiwa
advanced US$30 000 to Goromonzi at an interest rate of 43% monthly.

The money, according to the documents, was meant to import grain and
fertiliser on behalf of the GMB and Mukondiwa was to be repaid "out of the
commission proceeds from the grain transaction".

The first transaction was to involve the importation of 50 000 tonnes
of maize to be supplied to the GMB. This was to be followed by the
importation of 52 000 tonnes of fertiliser and 16 000 metric tonnes of rice.
According to Mukondiwa, the transactions never materialised.

"The proposal I am working on is as follows: that you participate in
the transaction under my company and outlay an amount of say US$40 000
towards the various upfront expenses," wrote Goromonzi to Mukondiwa on
February 2 2006.  "This will be subject to an agreement between you and my
vehicle - Laupa Holdings Botswana - who are external principals in the
transaction. Laupa will guarantee you a return - as per discussion of 46%
per month and payments will be made monthly subject to timely receipt of
payments in respect of the export of the commodities to Zimbabwe."

Laupa, a company Goromonzi owned, claimed to have clinched a deal
involving the export of grain from South Africa into Zimbabwe and had a
signed agency commission with Mvela Agri (Pvt) Ltd & Mark Daniels (Pvt) Ltd.

As security to their agreements, Goromonzi and Mukondiwa had agreed
that Laupa would cede part of its future commission in respect of work done
on the grain export transaction.

"The loan shall be secured by a personal guarantee of Christopher
Pasipanodya Goromonzi," read when of the agreements.

But Mukondiwa said when the deal failed to materialise, Goromonzi only
paid him back US$30 000, forcing him to approach the High Court.

Goromonzi, through his lawyers Scanlen & Holderness, in his heads of
argument filed with the High Court on May 20 said the court had no
jurisdiction to entertain Mukondiwa because the contracts "were neither
entered into in Zimbabwe nor to be performed in Zimbabwe".

The lawyers questioned the legality of the transaction on the basis
that exchange control authority was not sought in the deal and that "an
illegal agreement which has not yet been performed, either in part, will
never be enforced".

They argued that the agreement was "illegal or immoral" in that it
"violated" Section 6 of the Money Lending and Rates of Interest Act.

Goromonzi's attorneys also argued that the matter ought to have been
referred to arbitration and insist that the matter was a "classical case of
a vague and embarrassing" claim.

Mukondiwa's lawyers, Kantor & Immerman, on the other hand argued that
the High Court Act provides the country's courts the jurisdiction to hear
the case on the "grounds that the contracts were negotiated and entered into
in Zimbabwe".

Mukondiwa's lawyers also argued that arbitration was not necessary
because the would-be mediator, the Commercial Arbitration of South Africa,
did not exist.

"Therefore, there is no process by which arbitration can be effected
since there is no one to appoint arbitrator and set out the rules for such
arbitration," read Mukondiwa's heads of argument.

Mukondiwa's attorney also argued that the agreement was legal saying
there was no "exchange control restrictions in Zimbabwe presently and that
the economy is dollarised".

"The company (Laupa) which is the principal debtor under the agreement
has no assets and is a shell and was essentially the conduct through which
defendant (Goromonzi) perpetrated a fraud on the plaintiff," read the heads
of argument. "On the facts, the defendant is clearly guilty of obtaining a
loan under false pretences and misrepresentation. The plaintiff is taking
the matter up with relevant authorities despite the fact that the defendant
is using his political connections to thwart the process." - Staff Writer.

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Case Against Zimind Journalists Referred to Supreme Court

Thursday, 18 June 2009 20:58
A LAWYER representing Zimbabwe Independent editor Vincent Kahiya and
news editor Constantine Chimakure - facing charges of publishing or
communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the state - on Tuesday applied for
the referral of their case to the Supreme Court for determination on the
constitutionality of the provisions of the law they are charged under.

The two journalists are jointly charged with their company, Zimind
Publishers pl, represented by finance director Michael Curling.

In the application before Harare magistrate Moses Murendo, defence
lawyer Innocent Chagonda said Section 31 of the Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act, which attracts a maximum of 20 years in prison, infringed
on Section 20 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which guarantees freedom of

He said it was important that the country's highest court decides on
the constitutionality of the provisions as it was a matter of public

Chagonda said the section of the law was a hindrance to the practice
of journalism and was not necessary in a democracy.

He said the section was "too wide, too oppressive, too savage" as to
restrict journalists from exercising their profession.

Chagonda said the Supreme Court should also deal with the question of
whether or not the Attorney-General's Office can be the complainant and
prosecutor in the case.

He said such a scenario would infringe on the accused persons'
constitutional right to a fair trial.

Chagonda said referring the case to the Supreme Court would not in any
way prejudice the state.

Harare Area Public Prosecutor Jonathan Murombedzi then sought a
postponement of the matter to July 9 to allow the state to submit its
written responses in respect of the defence's application. The postponement
was granted.

Charges against Kahiya, Chimakure and Zimind Publishers arose on May 8
when the news editor wrote an article headlined "CIO, police role in
activists' abduction revealed", stating that notices of indictment for trial
in the High Court of human rights and MDC-T activists allegedly abducted
between October and December last year had revealed that the activists were
either in the custody of the CIO or police during the period they were
reported missing.

Below is the full application for referral of the matter to the
Supreme Court.

The Accused persons are being jointly charged for contravening Section
31 (a) (iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9.23.

Section 31(a) (3) of the Code provides as follows: "Any person who,
whether inside or outside Zimbabwe - publishes or communicates to any person
a statement which is wholly or materially false with the intention or
realising that there is a real risk or possibility of undermining public
confidence in a law enforcement agency, the Prison Service or the Defence
Forces of Zimbabwe; shall whether or not the publication or communication
results in the consequence referred to in subparagraph (i), (ii), (iii)
or(iv)". . .
It is respectfully submitted that the above Section contravenes
Section 20 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states as follows: "Except
with his own consent or by way of parental discipline, no person shall be
hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, that is to say,
freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impact ideas and information
without interference, and freedom from interference with his

It is respectfully submitted that Section 31 of the Code is not saved
by Section 20(2) of the Constitution.
To the extent that Section 31 of the Code is inconsistent or restricts
Section 20 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Section 31 of the Code should be
declared void in terms of Section 3 of the Constitution and should therefore
be struck down.

This application is in terms of Section 24(2) which states as follows:
"In any proceedings in the High Court or in any court subordinate to the
High Court if any question arises as to the contravention of the Declaration
of Rights, the person presiding in that court may, and if so requested by
any party to the proceedings shall, refer the question to the Supreme Court,
unless, in his opinion, the raising of the question is merely frivolous or

As will be demonstrated herein below, it is respectfully submitted
that this application is not frivolous or vexatious.  On the contrary, it is
submitted that the chances of the Supreme Court finding Section 31 of the
Code unconstitutional are very high. Furthermore and in any event, it is
respectfully submitted that the constitutionality of Section 31 is a matter
of great public importance with significant implications for the freedom of
the press and freedom of expression generally and therefore it is quite
appropriate for this court to refer this matter to the Supreme Court.

The type of the offence created by Section 31 is generally known as
the false news offence. In the case of Chavunduka and Another v The Minister
of Home Affairs and Another 2000(1) ZLR p552, Gubbay CJ gave a detailed
analysis of the origin of Section 50(2) of the then Law and Order
(Maintenance) Act which provided as follows:

"(1)    'Statement' includes any writing, printing, picture, painting
drawing or other similar representation;
(2) Any person who makes, publishes or reproduces any false statement,
rumour or report which
(a) is likely to cause fear, alarm or despondency among the public or
any section of the public; or
(b) is likely to disturb the public peace;

Shall be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for a period
not exceeding seven years, unless he satisfies the court that before making,
publishing or reproducing, as the case may be, the statement, rumour or
report he took reasonable measures to verify the accuracy thereof."

It is respectfully submitted that the publication in the matter in
casu is clearly protected by Section 20(1) of the Constitution. The
importance of freedom of expression to the Zimbabwean democracy had been
repeatedly underscored in various cases.  See United Parties v the Minister
of Justice & Another 1999 (2) ZLR p254.  In the case of Chavunduka and
Another v The Minister of Home Affairs supra, the court emphasised that
freedom of expression has four broad special objectives to save;

lIt helps an individual to obtain self-fulfilment;
lIt assists in the discovery of the truth and in promoting political
and social participation;
lIt strengthens the capacity of an individual to particulate in
decision-making and;
lIt provides a mechanism by which it will be possible to establish a
reasonable balance between stability and social change.

It is therefore clear that the publication in this matter is clearly
protected by Section 20(1) of the Constitution and that Section 31 of the
Code restricts this form of expression is clearly common cause. It is
submitted that the reality of being liable to a criminal conviction and
imprisonment for a period not exceeding 20 years results very definitely in
the curtailment of free expression.

The next issue that needs to be debated and settled is whether the
limitations which Section 31 of the Code imposes on the right of free
expression is saved by Section 22(2) of the Constitution. In the Case of
Chavunduka & Other v The Minister of Home Affairs & Another supra,  the
Supreme Court examined Section 50 of the then Law and Order (Maintenance)
Act under the following headings:
lAre the limitations authorised by law;

lDoes Section 50(2)(a) makes provisions in the interest of public
safety or public Order and;
lIs the limitation upon the freedom of expression mandated under
Section 50(2)(a) of the Act reasonably justifiable in a democratic society"?

After making the analysis, the Supreme Court found that Section 50(2)
of the then Law and Order (Maintenance) Act was not saved by Section 20(2)
of the Constitution and was therefore declared void. It is respectfully
submitted that there is absolutely no difference between the present Section
31 of the Code and the then Section 50(2) of the then Law and Order
(Maintenance) Act. For the avoidance of the doubt, Section 31 of the Code
will be examined under the following headings detailed below:
lIs the limitation authorised by law?

In the Chavunduka case, the Supreme Court had this to say: "It is
crucial, therefore that the law must be accessible and formulated with
sufficient precision to enable a person to regulate his conduct, he or she
must know, with reasonable certainty, what the law is and what actions are
in danger of breaching the law... a provision will be too vague if it fails
to provide a foundation for legal debate and discussion".

The Supreme Court went on to criticise the then Section 50(2) (a) of
the Act at page 562 as follows: "It is obvious that the provisions do not
criminalise false statements: nor false statements which actually cause
fear, alarm or despondency.  It criminalises false statements which are
likely to cause fear, alarm or despondency.

There is no requirement of proof of any consequence - of damage to the
state or impact upon the public.  What the lawmaker has provided for is a
speculative offence. An offence has been created out of conjectural
likelihood of fear, alarm or despondency which may arise out of the
publication of any statement, rumour or report even to a single person.  It
matters not that no fear, alarm or despondency actually eventuates."

It is submitted that the same criticism can be said of Section 31.
The section criminalises the person who not only intends the prescribed
consequences to occur but who should realise the real risk or likelihood of
the risk prescribed happening irrespective of whether such risk leads to the
prescribed consequences or not. It is concerned with risks and therefore
what the lawmaker has provided for is clearly a speculative offence.

In the Chavunduka case, the Court went on to state as follows:
"Because Section 50(2) (a) is concerned with likelihood rather than reality
and since the passage of time between the dates of publication and trial is
irrelevant, it is, to my mind, vague, being susceptible of too wide an
interpretation. It presses persons in doubt as to what can lawfully be done
and what cannot.  As a result, it exerts an unacceptable "chilling effect"
on freedom of expression since people will tend to steer clear of the
potential zone of application to avoid censor and liability to a maximum
period of seven years imprisonment."

The same can be said of Section 31. In fact, the chilling effect of
Section 31 is more than twice what was provided for under the then Section
50(2).  The chilling effect is 20 years imprisonment as opposed to only

In the Chavunduka case, the Court also dealt with the word "false" and
it found that it was very wide. The inevitable conclusion is clearly that
the provision of the section in question is uncertain in the generality of
the discretion conferred upon the Attorney-General as to whether to
prosecute or not and in its use of language insufficiently precise to
demonstrate the area of risk and provide guidance of conduct to persons of
average intelligence.

It is also submitted that the limitation upon freedom of expression
mandated under Section 31 of the Code is not reasonably justified in a
democratic society.  See Nyambirai NSSA & Another 1985 (2) ZLR P1 and see
also Chavunduka & Other v The Minister of Home Affairs & Another.

In State v Tsvangirai 2001 (2) ZLR 426 the court dealt with provisions
of Section 51 and 58 of the then Law and Order (Maintenance) Act. The
Supreme Court dealt with similar wordings to the current Section 31 of the
Code and made the same criticism.

From the foregoing it is submitted that the chances of the Supreme
Court finding Section 31 of the Code unconstitutional are very high.

This court has in the past and very recently for that matter referred
matters of this nature to the Supreme Court in the form of Section 24(2) of
the Supreme Court. It is submitted that there is no prejudice that will be
visited to the state if the matter is referred to the Supreme Court.

On the other hand it would be prejudicial to the accused persons if
this case is not referred to the Supreme Court. The risk of being tried on a
charge which may be unconstitutional and which has a lengthy imprisonment
term is clearly prejudicial. - Staff Writer.

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Timing key in Mining Sector Reform

Thursday, 18 June 2009 19:58
WHILE there might be a genuine need to give Zimbabweans a piece of the
economic pie, the indigenisation of the mining sector could prove to be an
uphill task in the current economic and political environment because
indigenisation must also ensure growth of the industry.

Chamber of Mines president Victor Gapare says although he strongly
believes in the need to empower locals, pursuing a wealth redistribution
programme in the current economic environment could stunt the growth of the
industry. He says in order for government's planned empowerment programme to
succeed, it required a "functional" economic and political environment.

"The best conditions for empowerment entail a functional economic and
political situation," he said. "Empowerment entails that those being
empowered have to raise capital on the market to buy into existing
businesses or to establish new businesses.
"In South Africa, for instance, the financial sector was ready to fund
Black Economic Empowerment transactions. In addition, there were strong
public sector institutions which assisted a number of deals and some of
these include the Industrial Development Corporation, the Public Investment
Fund and the Development Bank of Southern Africa."
Back home, banks are struggling at the moment to fund working capital
requirements for existing companies to lift output, let alone provide buyout
A few years ago, the African Development Bank emphasised the need for
a stable macro-economic environment before implementing any kind of wealth
re-distribution exercise.
At the moment financial institutions do not have the resources to
finance economic empowerment transactions, says Gapare.
On the other hand, foreign financial institutions have been sitting on
the fence as they cannot make head nor tail of the situation, largely owing
to a perceived risk associated with the country at the moment.
In instances where debt was provided to local companies from foreign
financiers, the interest rates were "diabolical" at over 14% annually with a
90-day tenure.
"Buying equity in a company requires long- term debt as in most cases
the returns are over a long period of time. It's impossible to fund
empowerment with a 90-day debt. In short, what we need is a stable political
and economic environment to ensure that economic empowerment deals are
successful. In the current unstable political and economic environment, it's
difficult to see how empowerment deals can be done successfully," adds
Against a background where local banks need to be recapitalised to
support working capital requirements of existing operations, Gapare says
individuals looking at empowerment deals would have to look at other means
to raise capital.
"It will take time for the Zimbabwean financial institutions to be
able to finance long- term capital required for empowerment deals," he
But Empowerment minister Savior Kasukuwere says Zimbabwe should not
give away its resources because it does not have the financial resources to
pursue empowerment.
"Just because we don't have financial resources doesn't mean we should
give away our resources," said Kasukuwere. "Against such a background we
will work with investors who are serious about investing notwithstanding the
absence of capital. We cannot undermine the base value of our yet to be
developed mining resources because we don't have the money to mine."
Instead of fighting over a smaller cake in the form of only 10
foreign-owned mines, Gapare says the bulk of empowerment deals could come
from the creation of new mines through partnerships between local people or
formation of consortiums and foreign investors, who will bring the capital.
This way, Zimbabweans would not have to share crumbs, Gapare says, but dig
into a whole bigger cake of the mining sector.
"The chamber is not against empowerment in the mining industry," he
said. "What we want is a process which will result in the industry growing
rather than the growth of the industry being stunted. There are less than 10
foreign-owned mining companies in Zimbabwe, so the existing mines do not
provide much scope for many empowerment deals. The principle which we want
to achieve is to share a bigger cake rather than a smaller one."
The chamber is currently discussing ways in which empowerment could be
achieved including equity ownership, assistance in the development of
small-scale miners to graduate into formal mines, sourcing goods and
services from local suppliers, skills development, and infrastructure
"Equity participation, while important, is not the only way to achieve
empowerment in the mining industry and invariably equity holders are the
last to get income from a business," he said.
"The bulk of empowerment deals have to come out of the creation of new
mines and these have to be partnerships between local people or consortiums
and foreign investors who will bring the capital," Gapare concluded.
Only three of Zimbabwe's mines are operating at near capacity while
the bulk of mines are operating at below 20% capacity. Gold mines were the
worst hit by years of economic mismanagement at the hands of President
Robert Mugabe's government. Mugabe has been advocating for empowerment for
years but it remains to be seen whether government will come up with an
empowerment programme that will grow the mining industry, let alone benefit
the bulk of ordinary Zimbabweans.
Mugabe's critics believe the empowerment exercise could benefit a
handful of the aged leader's cronies, citing the land reform programme where
party officials got the best farms in an initiative meant to benefit the
poor, as a case in point.


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Commercial Banks Hike Service Charges

Thursday, 18 June 2009 19:19
COMMERCIAL banks have increased service charges by between US$2 and
US$7 per month for individuals, while corporates are being charged between
US$8 and US$15 depending on the bank.

Individuals are also being charged between US$1 and US$4 for every
transaction while corporates are charged up to US$10.

To transfer money to another account, banks charge between 0,75% and
5% of the amount involved.
Figures obtained by businessdigest this week show that commercial
banks have increased their charges by an average of 5% since the first
quarter of the year.
Individuals and corporates will now have to part with between US$30-60
a month in bank charges when they make transactions on their foreign
currency accounts (FCAs).
Civil servants this week said they were earning US$95 as banks were
deducting as much as US$5.
This week banks also advised their clients that the amount of cash
that could be exported in person or in baggage had been reviewed from US$250
000 to US$10 000 on a no-questions asked basis. This threshold shall,
however, have no bearing on the daily maximum cash withdrawal limit which is
set at US$1,5 million. All foreign payments and withdrawals of more that
US$1,5 million require prior exchange control approval.
To be issued with a draft/RMO, individuals and corporates are parting
with between US$8 and US$14.
FCA inter-account transfers cost between US$1 and US$4 depending on
the bank for both individuals and corporates.
Service charges for salary processing are between US$1 and US$3 per
entry for manual salary payments.
Companies will be charged between US$7 and US$10 per payroll for late
salary submissions.
Most banks have not set a charge for intermediated money transfer tax.
Unclaimed salaries for other employees cost between US$4 and US$7.
Facility negotiation fees for corporates cost 5% of the value of the
overdraft or loans.
Between US$5 and US$8 is being charged for stop orders. Accounts
closed within six months are attracting a fee of between US$18 and US$25,
while reactivation of a dormant account costs between US$20 and US$25.
Services for bonds guarantees, securities and indemnities and bills
range from 5% and 10% of the amount at hand.
Charges for letters of guarantee, and guarantees are between 5% and 6%
of the amount involved.
Telegraphic transfers cost between US$17-26 for both corporates and
individuals. The same amount is being charged for deposits received by
telegraphic transfers.
Individuals are either not being charged to maintain their accounts or
are parting with anything below US$5 depending on the bank. Corporates are
being charged between US$8 and US$15 per month for monthly account


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Battle Lines Drawn for LonZim AGM

Thursday, 18 June 2009 19:12
AIM-listed LonZim could be forced by its shareholders to sell most of
its investments in the region when it convenes an extraordinary general
meeting (EGM).

The company has been dragging its heels on the date of the EGM.

AMB Ireland, a 22,12% shareholder, says although it requested an EGM
in April, LonZim was still to announce a date.
At the EGM AMB Ireland will seek to remove four directors and
reconstitute the board to pave way for the sale of the company's "non
profitable and start-up" investments.
In April, AMB Ireland duly requested an EGM through the registered
owner of its LonZim shares, Pershing International Nominees Ltd but LonZim
is seemingly ignoring the demands.
LonZim said then that the "EGM would most likely be held in June" but
no date has been set yet.
"AMB Ireland does not believe it is right and proper for the board to
ignore a duly served shareholder requisition in this way," the company said.
Damille Partners IV, a 6,46% shareholder in LonZim, has also thrown
its support behind AMB Ireland and will support all its resolutions.
AMB capital alleges there is a blatant conflict of interest on the
part of LonZim directors.
The financial services firm says of the £18,96 million capital that
LonZim deployed in investments, £9,78 million, approximately 51,6% of the
total capital, has been invested in related party transactions or
transactions involving Lonrho and or its employees, "either immediately or
in the future".
The company cited LonZim's acquisition of Lonrho shares in a private
placement without shareholder approval as another case in point.
The AIM company also acquired Blueberry International Services Ltd
from Lonrho and the lease by LonZim to Fly 540 Uganda, a Lonrho subsidiary,
of the two aircraft purchased by LonZim in October 2008.
LonZim also bought a 79% shareholding in Aldeamento Turistico de
Macuti, SARL (ATdM), the holder of a Beira property on which a hotel will be
developed, which will be "operated and managed by an entity owned by Lonrho
plc" as announced on February 20 2008.
AMB says LonZim has not made investments in sectors where it has
"obvious expertise" while querying the high number of "non-profitable"
ventures which will require significant management and developmental
Instead, AMB feels that there is need to appoint an independent board
that will sell the company's assets to create value for shareholders and
lower administrative costs which continue to accumulate mainly largely for
the benefit of parent company, Lonrho's benefit.
AMB is proposing Andrew Sprague, Michael Vosloo, Brett Miller and Rhys
Davies be appointed to LonZim's board.
"AMB Ireland does not believe that LonZim's investments will benefit
from any turnaround in Zimbabwe, as the current LonZim structure does not
have the management to operate and turn around the assets, nor will it be
able to source funding for these businesses at commercial rates," AMB added.
The current LonZim board is comprised of four executive directors, who
are also directors of Lonrho, a 24,53% shareholder and the management
services provider and two independent non-executive directors.
According to LonZim's February 2009 interim results, the tangible net
asset value excluding goodwill and other intangibles per share of Lonzim was
58,6 pence per share, a 41,4% reduction in value for Lonzim's initial
shareholders. The Irish company says based on current capital invested,
LonZim's recurring administrative costs annually are estimated to be in
excess of £500 000, of which a minimum of £333 333 is paid to Lonrho as the
management fees while another £48 000 is paid to the executive directors as
directors fees.
LonZim's revenue in the interim period to February 28 2009 was £495
000, while losses for the same period were £716 000.


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Tobacco Alone is Just not Enough

Thursday, 18 June 2009 19:09
IT is just after daybreak and the morning winter chills are yet to
break. Many people are still asleep in the comfort of their beds or are just
waking up. However, deep in the heart of one of Harare's industrial areas
business has already begun in earnest.

By this time, farmers are anxiously following the auctioneer and his
troop of buyers in neatly arranged rows of tobacco bales that the farmers
would have brought to the floors. This process is the culmination of a year
long struggle starting from the seed-bed preparations right through to the
planting, nurturing and curing, bringing the bales to a standard condition
fit for sale as prescribed by industry practice.  For the first time in a
while, payments to the farmers actually count for something given that this
year there is no foreign currency retention ratios. Caesar finally gets what
is due to him.

Amidst all this excitement one can already see the genuine elation
that finally, the farmers receive their toil's worth. For some this means
being able to meet school fees payments, for others realising that dream to
add a bit of furniture to the household and yet for others the funds
received are already being committed to next season's preparations. While
those who dared to venture into agricultural production are smiling all the
way to the bank, should the rest of the country expect much of these
benefits to have a profound difference in their lives?
This year by many standards, will perhaps go down as one of the worst
in recent memory vis-à-vis the overall production in this sector. Initial
estimates of tobacco sales this year were put at 42 million kgs. Give or
take some bales from last year that could find their way to the auction
floors this year, one could reasonably expect that figure to reach 50
million kgs. From a survey at one of the auction floors, the average price
per kilogram so far is sitting at roughly US$3. This brings the total
expected receipts to about US$150 million.
Even after taking into account the downstream benefits expected from
multiplier effects, this is still a far cry from the billions of dollars
that are often quoted as required for the turnaround to take root.
Considering that for the last few years returns from farming were not what
they should have been, one can anticipate a significant part of these funds
to find their way out of the country somehow, just in case a sudden policy
shift was to occur.
No one expects the tobacco to be the sole carrier of the burden to
revive the economy. But, let's face it, despite having a comparatively sound
industrial base, Zimbabwe has always been an agro-based economy with tobacco
being one of the main drivers. After all, every cent counts.
Perhaps it is on this background that the Prime Minister has taken it
upon himself to rally up international financial support. Initial
indications suggest that it will take a lot more on this country's part to
gain any meaningful injections. A comparison has been made where a football
club in Europe spends more buying just one player than total commitments in
aid to Zimbabwe.  The Deputy Prime Minister could not have put it better at
the recent World Economic Forum when he suggested that what Zimbabwe needs
is direct investment as opposed to aid. This is would be the only way out to
create a sustainable economy.
A suggestion would be a shift in focus. Has anyone ever considered
trying to lure African investors, in particular those outside South Africa,
instead? There are a number opportunities available if one can present sound
business models. It is also more likely that convincing such investors to
come on board is easier given their proximity to Zimbabwe. It is amazing
that a country like Gabon, where the long serving president recently died,
has a GDP per capita close to those of some parts of Europe!
While some of these countries remain largely poor, pockets of wealthy
individuals do exist and perhaps looking to Africa could pay dividends.
Surely there are some with spare change for poor Zimbabwe.
The long and short of it is that the agricultural sector and tobacco
in particular, will in its self require significant financial and human
input to get back to past levels. Expecting tobacco alone and other such
sectors to be the salvation will take much longer than initially
anticipated. If the wealthy would much rather spend £80 million on a soccer
player than investing in Zimbabwe, then maybe it is time Zimbabwe wakes up,
smells the coffee and look for other alternatives.


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Zim Economy Among 'least competitive'

Thursday, 18 June 2009 19:06
ZIMBABWE was ranked as one of the countries with the least competitive
economies according to the 2009 Africa Competitiveness Report unveiled at
the World Economic Forum (WEF) last week.

Economic researchers who compiled the report cast the spotlight on
areas where urgent policy action and investment were needed to ensure that
Zimbabwe's economy is revived.

The report identifies, among others, limited access to financial
services as a major obstacle for Zimbabwe's enterprises.
It also pointed out that underdeveloped infrastructure, limited
healthcare and education services and poor institutional frameworks as
making Zimbabwe less competitive in the global marketplace.
According to the report, Zimbabwe was ranked 133rd on the overall
index out of the 134 country's surveyed scoring 2,9 points out of a possible
On "efficiency enhancer" the country was ranked 131, scoring 2,9
points.  Zimbabwe was ranked number 134 on "basic requirements" scoring 2,9
points. The country scored 2,9 points on "innovation factor" where it was
ranked number 122.
The report reflects research findings of three institutions -- the
World Economic Forum, the African Development Bank and the World Bank.
The report said Zimbabwe needed "financial development and trade was
crucial to making the country and the region more competitive if it was to
ride out the current crisis".
It noted that Zimbabwean businesses could become more competitive, if
its government and international partners improve access to finance, resist
pressure to erect trade barriers, upgrade infrastructure, improve healthcare
and educational systems and strengthen institutions.
The country continues to struggle and to lag behind in harnessing its
natural resources and opportunities available to it to develop and advance
economic growth for its population.
The current global economic crisis makes the economic situation of the
country even more dire, despite the country's strategic positioning, as the
main supplier of the world's major minerals such as gold and platinum, and
raw materials such as tobacco, flowers and cotton.
Commenting on Zimbabwe and Africa's economic standings, Jennifer
Blanke, co-author of the report said: "We are finding that overall African
countries tend to be less competitive than many other regions. When you talk
about competitiveness, you're talking about the productivity of nations, for
the capacity to produce goods and services, provide employment".
However, there are a few nations that she calls "shining lights" in
Africa; countries that are "quite competitive by international standards".
These include South Africa, Botswana and Mauritius.
Blanke said good governance was vital for growth in Zimbabwe and
Africa. "Basically, it's the institutional or the governance environment
that sets the rules of the game, allows for a level playing field and
ensures all of the actors understand and have faith in the market. This is
the key issue underlying everything else".
Investment analyst, Philip Chichoni said the problem facing Zimbabwean
business and manufacturers was that of low priced imported goods.
"At the root of the problem is the seemingly high cost of production
in Zimbabwe. Goods from South Africa, Brazil and other countries are landing
at prices much lower than the cost of production here," he said.
Chichoni said the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe has recently
been lobbying for the introduction of tariffs on imported maize meal to
protect the local industry, citing that they are being priced out of the
market by imported maize meal.
"Imports are cheaper for a number of reasons. First, the industry in
the exporting countries is at an advanced level in terms of technology and
mechanisation. Second, the industry is functioning effectively without the
problems of power cuts, water shortages and scarcity of foreign currency to
purchase spare parts and raw materials."
"Zimbabwean manufacturers face these challenges and more. As a result,
their operating costs are comparatively higher.
"The other problem is that of low operational levels. South African,
American, Asian and European companies enjoy massive economies of scale,"
Chichoni said
The report's recommendation to increase competitiveness was increasing
access to finance through market-enabling policies. Africa's financial
systems have been deepening and broadening in recent years, but the current
global crisis threatens to reverse this trend and undermine recent progress.
It is now even more important to upgrade the necessary frameworks for sound,
efficient and inclusive financial systems.
The report said keeping markets open to trade was also important.
"Protectionist forces are emerging in response to the global economic
crisis. Yet, such measures will further reduce demand and restrict growth.
Africa's leaders must resist domestic political pressures to erect trade
barriers that would make the region's recovery even more difficult," said
Economist Brains Muchemwa said after years of strangulation, "the
local industry was not in the best shape to compete, but will gain more
largely from cross-border financing opportunities and fairer exposure to
markets with higher spending power as Zimbabwe is among the countryies with
the lowest GDP per capita in Africa at less than US$380".
Coronation Financial Service investment analyst Lance Mambondiani said
if Zimbabwe and the Sub-Saharan region were to benefit from sustainable
economic growth, there was need for regional integration to increase trade
"Integration tends to promote higher growth through such channels as
improved resource allocation, greater competition, technology transfers and
learning and improved access to foreign capital. Trade and investment tend
to increase in countries which have opened themselves up to the world
economies and growth itself tends to promote integration," he said.
"Needless to say, Africa is a totally different proposition to the EU
or Nafta countries. African countries have a history of bad governance,
dictatorships and protectionism. Whether a common ground can be achieved to
narrow political divisions is perhaps the biggest stumbling block in
Gilbert Muponda said Zimbabwe "needs to invest and attract investment
in major sectors of the economy to improve infrastructure, limited
healthcare and educational services, and poor institutional frameworks that
make it less competitive in the global marketplace".
The report said infrastructure remains one of the top constraints to
businesses in Africa. "Energy and transportation are among the main
bottlenecks to productivity growth and competitiveness in Africa. Investment
in upgrading infrastructure would both place Africa on a higher growth
trajectory as well as serve as a fiscal stimulus at a critical time," the
report said.
Inefficient basic education and healthcare systems constrain Africa's
productive potential as well.
"Unless educational and healthcare systems are upgraded in Africa,
firms will continue to be constrained in their move up the value chain, and
economic development will be hindered," it said.
It is the second report on African business environment to leverage
knowledge and expertise within the three organisations.


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Case to Reposition, Rebrand Zimbabwe

Thursday, 18 June 2009 18:58
COUNTRIES, like consumer products, rely for their success on their
reputations - their brand images.  The perceptions of potential visitors,
investors or buyers of products are key to their decision-making.

That is why there is now general recognition of the need to
resuscitate and reposition the image of Zimbabwe in the eyes of the world.

The attendance at the World Economic Forum - Africa meeting, held in
Cape Town from June 10 to 12, of a Zimbabwe government delegation together
with a wide cross-section of prominent Zimbabwean business people was the
first significant step in the process of repositioning the country's image.
Government and business representatives attending the meeting were at
one on the need to use it to kick-start the country's return to its former
status as having reliable and safe investment opportunities and being a
world-class, and unique, tourist destination.
The World Economic Forum, based in Davos, Switzerland, is privately
funded by its members who are, in the main, leaders of large multi-national
businesses. Its annual meetings, in Davos, attract the great and the good
from the world of big business and international politics.  The informal
meetings, or "networking", of those attending are as equally important as
the formal proceedings.
Africa, because of its geopolitical and resources importance, warrants
its own annual meeting and many of those who attend the Davos get-together
attend the Africa event.
From Zimbabwe's point of view, the 2009 meeting could not have come at
a better time.  The new political dispensation, coupled with a start to
reform and rejuvenation of the public and private sectors and the accepted
need to improve the country's image, meant that a powerful and positive
message could be presented in Cape Town.
The thrust of "Team Zimbabwe" was to use the precious agenda slot in
the formal proceedings, titled "The Reconstruction of Zimbabwe", to best
effect and also to take advantage of the opportunity to target corporate and
political opinion leaders seen as crucial to Zimbabwe's efforts to again be
acknowledged as a country worth doing business with.
The country dinner, arranged for the opening night of the Forum, had
to compete with the other dinners and corporate functions laid on by other
countries and companies.  In the end, demand for the 100 places available
far exceeded supply and there were more than a few disappointed people.
The chosen format was, time for "networking" before and after, and the
courses of the meal interspersed with presentations from Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara, Finance minister Tendai Biti and Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa.  These added the political clout to the case put forward
by the business representatives such as Shingi Munyeza from African Sun,
Andrew Cranswick from African Consolidated Resources and Douglas Munatsi of
Banc ABC. Under the direction of KMAL's Nigel Chanakira as master of
ceremonies for the evening, all speakers stressed the positive political
changes achieved and the investment opportunities Zimbabwe offers.  Notably,
there was an obvious appreciation of the symbiotic relationship between
business and economic success, and a powerful country brand image, and the
need to progress this.
The country dinner was a success and stood out among all the others
held during the forum.  The Zimbabweans put on an event everyone can be
proud of, being the right mix of serious, factual presentations and
entertainment by internationally-acclaimed Oliver Mtukudzi. As a
brand-building exercise and investment presentation, the evening was
recognised as an important first step.
The formal agenda session on the closing day of the forum was entitled
"The Reconstruction of Zimbabwe".   Mutambara spoke passionately about the
importance of the removal of sanctions as a means to "help us help
Biti reported on progress made with the institutional reforms which
are required to ensure Zimbabwe regains its institutional credibility and
creates a stable investment environment. He also announced that the
Zimbabwean economy would grow by more than 4% this year. Speaking on the
same panel, Chanakira spoke directly to investors to look and consider
Zimbabwe as a competitive, high rate of return, investment destination. A
most welcome panellist was South Africa's Deputy President, Kgalema
Motlanthe, who stressed that Zimbabwe did not have the luxury of time, given
the complexities and time sensitivities of the problems which required money
and investment to be resolved. He reiterated his confidence on a quick
turn-around given Zimbabwe's educated and skilled population, its
infrastructure and natural resources.
In setting out a new beginning for Zimbabwe as a country, the panel
put forward a cohesive message and addressed the political and business
concerns of many potential investors while showing a clear path to
re-positioning the country's reputation and image.
My view on the way forward was strengthened in Cape Town and a great
deal of work lies ahead for all of us as Zimbabweans. There is nothing as
energising as change. And change is what is happening in Zimbabwe. We have
great mountains to climb as we balance the social, political and economic
needs of our people.
Re-branding and repositioning a country will not happen overnight, it
is a process. The key is to re-engage and communicate with relevant
audiences and opinion leaders in a strategic and tactful manner, as was done
at the World Economic Forum.
As business people we understand that becoming a significant player in
an increasingly competitive regional and global market will be a long, hard
journey and our first job is to re-establish our credibility.  At the top of
our agenda has to be re-building our reputation as a safe, reliable and
lucrative investment destination.  We must, and we will, re-position
ourselves in the eyes of the world in such a way as to express our real
personality and spirit.  The opportunity to re-build not only the
fundamentals like basic infrastructure, water and power supplies and a
working health and education system is of priority.  It is also key that we
carry out the work carefully and strategically, looking to the future but
learning from the past.
The world is a highly competitive place and Zimbabwe will need to
reposition itself as a country, and build once again its national
reputation. There is an urgent and important need to reposition and rebuild
Zimbabwe in the minds of its own people, its Diaspora and potential
investors and tourists.
Becoming a globally competitive player is a long hard journey and
Zimbabwe is starting at the very beginning to re-establish its credibility.
This massive challenge will create a myriad of opportunities. This in turn
must be tempered by the need to work carefully and strategically, focusing
our abilities and resources to successfully reposition the image of the
Zimbabwe is a work in progress. We also understand that it is the
actions and words of our leadership that will start and underpin the change
of perceptions needed for the country to succeed. Business needs to thrive
and we need to attract as much investment as possible and so the
relationship is symbiotic. Zimbabwe needs business and business needs a
strong Zimbabwe brand.
The first target market for any re-branding work should be the people
of Zimbabwe, who desperately need to start feeling proud of their country
once again. Then we should engage the Diaspora and, only after that the
international community. It is essential to start work on this very
important project of repositioning Zimbabwe soon, by first getting alignment
and buy-in from our new leadership and key stakeholders, for it is
principally they who shape the world's perceptions.
A start has already been made to align these elements and I believe
this will continue and gather momentum.   There is a well of goodwill
towards Zimbabwe and this goodwill needs to be nurtured as it will bolster
the political and economic rehabilitation process by encouraging those who
must lead our recovery efforts.
Mugabe is Imago CEO. She recently attended the WEF in Cape Town


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Muckraker: GNU: Tsvangirai Must Start Telling it Like it is

Thursday, 18 June 2009 20:33
IT is not difficult to spot the contradiction in Zimbabwe's foreign
policy. On the one hand we have the loud bleatings by our colleagues in the
state media about "illegal sanctions" and Morgan Tsvangirai's failure to
raise meaningful funds on his European and US tour, and on the other hand
what can best be interpreted as calculated manoeuvres designed to sabotage
his mission.

How else can we interpret a statement by Media minister Webster Shamu
that he will only take orders from President Mugabe who appointed him and
not PM Tsvangirai?

This was in response to an instruction from Tsvangirai telling Shamu
to uphold the rights of four journalists in line with a court judgement.
What could be more calculated to undermine Tsvangirai's claims that
the inclusive government is working well and that there have been meaningful
changes in the attitude of Zanu PF? And what more proof is needed that
Zimbabwe is a state where ministers pick and choose who they will obey and
what court orders they will uphold.
EU and US leaders needed to hear that the process of reform in Harare
was well underway and that power-sharing was genuine. They needed to hear
that the rule of law was being upheld. Instead they were given a
demonstration of old-guard recidivism.
Then the state media, which appears incapable of understanding the
significance of any of this, complains bitterly when sanctions remain in
place and Zanu PF ministers are excluded from high-level talks.

Here's the message for the more obtuse members of our fraternity. Zanu
PF's record in the inclusive government is seen as insincere. The case of
the four freelance journalists has been emblematic in exposing the face of
the beast. Court orders are ignored, ministers refuse to accept instructions
from the prime minister and progress to reform is constantly reversed.
The continuing attacks on farmers and their workers by opportunist
predators tell foreign leaders all they need to know about lawlessness in
Zimbabwe despite claims by government spokesmen that all is well.
It obviously isn't!
Tsvangirai, who has a record of courage and integrity, should stop
pretending that he has the situation under control and instead tell it like
it is. Zimbabwe's foreign friends would rather hear the truth from him than
from others. And they have no illusions as to what is happening here because
their embassies are in touch with a broad range of diplomats, politicians
and civics. So when Tsvangirai suggests that he is in charge, donors are
likely to prove sceptical, especially when that scepticism is informed by
statements from people like Webster Shamu!
It was also useful to have the views of US business people on the
record as to investment prospects. MDC leaders have been repeating the
mantra that it is not aid but investment we want. Now they have been told in
no uncertain terms that there will be no investment so long as misrule and
lawlessness persist. That includes a muzzled media.

The Herald on Saturday carried a picture of Shamu and Media ministry
permanent secretary George Charamba in Windhoek to strengthen relations with
their Namibian counterparts. This will involve reviving the unreadable
Southern Times and setting up an equally boring television station, if ZTV
is anything to go by.
Other regional governments will be invited to "buy into" the joint
Also pictured was Zimbabwe's ambassador to Namibia, Chipo Zindoga, who
has a record of partisan pronouncements. Indeed, this whole project and
those masterminding it reflects very poorly on the inclusive government that
is supposed to be putting an end to such party-driven schemes that will
absorb public funds and do nothing to keep the public informed.
But we did note the remarks of Namibia's Information minister Joel
Kaapanda that Namibia supported all efforts aimed at "normalising" the
situation in Zimbabwe.

On this note we were interested to see Jacob Zuma's remarks on
Zimbabwe in his recent state-of-the-nation address to parliament in Cape
He said Sadc, which he chairs, will "participate in promoting
inclusive government until free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe".
So, last year's poll didn't make the grade, something Zimbabweans know
all to well. Glad to have Zuma adding his voice there.
"The plight of the Zimbabwean people has had a negative impact on the
Sadc region", he added.
Nothing there about sanctions!
As for the silly claim that allowing EU ambassadors to "engage"
Zimbabwean ministers would be a "slap in the face" for Zimbabwe because this
would not be a meeting of equals, perhaps the EU should delay the Brussels
"engagement" until our Ministry of Foreign Affairs smells the coffee and
wakes up to certain realities
"It implies that our cabinet is at par with ambassadors," some unnamed
official huffed and puffed.
But it's not the EU that needs  normalisation of relations or benefits
flowing from the Cotonou Agreement. And it's certainly not the EU that has
been "left in the open", unable to defend its sanctions.

The EU has 27 member-states signed up to its stance on misrule in
Zimbabwe. Tafataona Mahoso was trying to suggest last weekend that Comesa
had come to Zimbabwe's rescue while the EU, UK and US are "reeling from the
effects of the financial tsunami".
In other words, delusional Zanu PF spokesmen are in all seriousness
suggesting that Comesa, with President Mugabe at the helm, offers an
attractive alternative to dealing with Western economies.
Let's see how this works out. After all, we know our glorious leader's
record of economic management is second to none. And his foreign policy can
be summed up in three words: "Go to hell".
With this sort of moribund diplomacy, and the likes of Mahoso as
spokesmen, it is certainly not the EU that will be "left in the open".

Sitting in on Tsvangirai's interview in Washington last week was a
US-based representative of the Herald, which has belittled the PM's trip
each day since he left the country a week ago. The reporter, Obi Egbuna,
insisted on reciting long questions read verbatim from copious longhand
notes, which appeared to be an attempt to take up the time allocated for the
interview, we are informed. Either that or as a Mugabe publicist rather than
a genuine journalist, he didn't understand the importance of the short,
sharp question.
Whatever the case, his tendentious questioning was politely indulged
by the other hacks present who assumed he was a rookie reporter.
In Tuesday's Herald there is a fawning interview by Egbuna with Walter
Mzembi who was able to get away with the suggestion that Obama is a prisoner
of Vice-President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. In other words it's a
racial thing! Obama should listen to the "African voice", Mzembi fatuously
And interviewers should avoid congratulating ministers on their
appointment if they want to be taken seriously.
Obama's behaviour in excluding Mzembi from the White House showed he
had "no respect" for the GPA, Mzembi suggested.
In other words, Obama, who underlined the importance of meeting the
benchmarks set by the GPA, is accused of not respecting it while a Zanu PF
minister whose party is busy sabotaging the GPA accuses Obama of not bowing
to the wisdom of Sadc and the AU.
Even funnier is a cartoon by Innocent Mpofu who has Mzembi saying
Obama has the most powerful job in the world but is "out of tune".
At least Mpofu was funny for once. No doubt the dim-witted Mzembi will
suggest the 27 nations of the EU are all out of tune as Tsvangirai continues
his European visit. Or that all 27 states have been rail-roaded into an
anti-Zimbabwe stance by the conspiratorial British. What amazing powers of
persuasion Britain still has. Somebody should tell them!

We were amused by Andrew Donaldson's contribution - "Eish" - to the
Sunday Times this week on the subject of the late President Omar Bongo of
Gabon. It was headed "Beating the drum for Bongo" and quoted Nicolas Sarkozy's
tribute: "A great and loyal friend of France has left us".
French politicians will in particular miss his generosity, Sarkozy
might have added. Gabon's oil wealth maintained an elaborate network of
French estate agents will also miss him. Earlier this year Amnesty
International investigated Bongo for embezzlement and revealed that he owned
33 properties in France with a combined value of more than US$200 million.
Bongo had regarded his rule as indispensable to his people since 1967.
But not all the country's oil wealth found its way into the pockets of
his family, cronies and French politicians. Some went to prestige projects
like Bongoville, his hometown, Bongo University, Bongo International
Airport, Bongo Stadium, and several Bongo hospitals.
There were no Bongo Drummers, Donaldson cheekily adds.
Much of the oil money he kept for himself, Donaldson reminds us.
His personal fortune ran into tens of millions of dollars.
"Maybe that's why Bongo has been praised," he notes. "Politics is
thievery and he stole more than most."

We particularly liked the story, related  by Donaldson, about
22-year-old Peruvian beauty contestant, Ivette Lourdes Santa Maria Carty.
She was invited to Gabon as a hostess for a so-called Miss Humanity awards
ceremony. Within hours of her arrival she found herself escorted to Bongo's
palace where she met the president in his panelled office. She recalls he
pushed a button and a bed appeared.
She tried to explain she was not a woman of easy virtue but Miss Peru.
Presidential guards subsequently found her running around the palace
grounds in a state of distress, or was it undress!
The Peruvian ambassador to the UN has tabled a protest with his
Gabonese counterpart.
Perhaps it was this episode which Sarkozy was thinking of when he
spoke of Bongo as a head of state "who has won the respect and esteem of his

Finally, we were pleased to see Judge President Rita Makarau's
comments at the "relaunch" of the Police Support Unit's Service Charter.
Exactly why it needed to be "relaunched" is not clear. Justice Makarau urged
the police officers to "observe the fundamentals of human rights", when
carrying out their duties. But she then said it was "pleasing to note that
the ZRP had a track record of upholding human rights" which had won plaudits
across the globe.
She might have added that the international perception of human rights
observance in Zimbabwe was largely fashioned by footage of Morgan
Tsvangirai, Sekai Holland and others when they emerged badly beaten from the
Highfield police station two years ago. We recall Mugabe endorsing that
"bashing". Have the officers responsible been brought to book?
At present human rights activists are seeking to challenge their
prosecution on the grounds that they were subject to abduction and torture.
Lawyers were unable to locate their clients at a number of police stations
around Harare where it later transpired they had been held.
It will be interesting to see the outcome of that case in the light of
Justice Makarau's claims.

Justice Makarau reminded us that police commissioner-general Augustine
Chihuri was on record assuring the nation that the force would not abdicate
its responsibility for ensuring the prevalence of peace.
The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe also recorded a statement by
Chihuri that appeared in the Chronicle of June 21 2008 saying: "Since the 29
March elections the MDC-T party has been on a violent diplomatic onslaught
on the country and its leadership peddling falsehoods of winning the
elections.MDC-T party is a violent party that craves for violence since its
What we have not heard enough of from all sectors of society is the
need for a professional and independent police force and a judiciary
unimpressed by the blandishments of politicians. Let's hope these issues are
at the top of the constitution-making agenda.

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Eric Bloch: Zim's Currency Conundrum

Thursday, 18 June 2009 20:29
DURING 2007 and 2008, inflation in Zimbabwe soared. So great was
Zimbabwean inflation that it became impossible for the Central Statistical
Office to measure it authoritatively.

Prices escalated continuously, as did all other elements of cost of
living, stimulating hyperinflation of such magnitude that it was higher than
ever before sustained anywhere in the world. The monolithic inflation was so
great that in November 2008 Professor Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins
University in the US estimated the annual inflation rate to equate to 65
followed by 105 zeros!

With prices continuously rising, many increasing daily and, in
numerous instances, increasingly hourly, the Zimbabwean currency became
meaningless. No one wished to have the currency, for its value was declining
continuously. Zimbabwean currency received on one day would, at very best,
buy half the quantity of goods on the following day as could be purchased on
the day of receipt, and the buying power would decline to at least the same
extent on each following day.
Everyone had total contempt for the Zimbabwean currency, which was
credibly perceived to be virtually devoid of substance.  (So horrendously
worthless was the Zimbabwean dollar that increasingly the populace was
resorting to barter trade, preferring to resort to exchanges of goods and
services than of meaningless, near valueless bank notes, and coins had
fallen into total disuse.
In fact, many suggested that the then currency should be demonetised,
and a new currency introduced. It was suggested that one Zimbabwean dollar
be replaced with one Zimbabwean Azeko, and that 100 Azekos would Peleli!).
Because Zimbabwean currency had lost all credibility and substance,
and was viewed with contemptuous disdain by almost everyone, it fell into
near total disuse. Instead, although it was Zimbabwe's then only legal
currency, increasingly all sectors of the economy transacted in foreign
currencies, especially in US dollars and the South African rand. Doing so
was in flagrant breach of law, but was perceived as the only way of
preserving value or minimising loss of value, save for recourse to barter,
and hence a disregard for the law developed.
Ultimately, government and the Reserve Bank recognised the need to
legitimise this circumstance. On January 29, in belatedly tabling Zimbabwe's
2009 Budget to Parliament, the then Acting Minister of Finance, Patrick
Chinamasa, announced that a basket of currencies would constitute
lawful Zimbabwean tender, that basket comprising the US dollar, South
African rand, Botswana pula, British pound and the euro, in addition to the
Zimbabwean dollar, and that in the Monetary Policy Review four days
later, the Reserve Bank would issue the operational modalities of the
new currency basket.
That occurred, and forthwith the Zimbabwean dollar became almost
totally moribund.  The US dollar became the new currency base, being used
nationwide and by government as an accounting and reporting base, but the
other currencies also being widely used as mediums of trade. In
Matabeleland, the most predominantly used currency was the South African
rand, undoubtedly because of the proximity to South Africa, and hence a
continuous inflow of that currency from the millions of Zimbabweans resident
In Mashonaland, the currency in greatest use was the US dollar, but
throughout any of the five specified currencies was readily acceptable legal
tender. Usage of the Zimbabwean dollar was not unlawful, but none were
willing to accept that currency perceived, with much justification, to be
virtually worthless.
Initially the populace in general, and commerce and industry in
particular, welcomed the existence of a basket of a multiplicity of
currencies, but recently there has been a slow, but increasing, call for the
Zimbabwean economy to be tied specifically to the South African rand. That
call has been reinforced by a publicly-declared suggestion by the Minister
of Finance that Zimbabwe should join the Rand Monetary Union, whereby the
rand would then be the lawful currency of Zimbabwe  (widely known as
Although such view was not widely promoted a few months ago, it is now
gaining intensifying support throughout much of Zimbabwe, and especially so
from the "man on the street", for the rand has gained massively in strength
over the last few months. In February the rand: US dollar exchange rate
approximated R10: US$1, whereas it now approximates R8: US$1. Regrettably,
many (but fortunately not all) traders are immorally exploiting this
strengthening of the rand by preserving a 10 to 1 exchange rate, to the
considerable prejudice of their customers, and this motivating the
intensifying public call for "Randerisation".
In the prevailing environment, that call is readily understandable,
and yet it would be unwise in the extreme for government to heed it. If
Zimbabwe were to be totally tied to the rand, it would inevitably be almost
wholly subject to South Africa's monetary policies. Those policies could be
wholly suited to the South African economic needs, and yet totally unsuited
to those of Zimbabwe, for the economic and other circumstances of the two
countries are not necessarily so identical, and therefore divergent monetary
policies may be necessary to address the needs of South Africa and Zimbabwe.
This is particularly so at the present time when Zimbabwe's economy is
slowly commencing a very long overdue recovery, whereas there are very real
possibilities that the presently very strong South African economy may be on
the threshold of decline.
The May 2009 World Economic Survey of the University of Munich's
Centre for Economic Studies, the Ifo Institute for Economic Research,
foreshadows a "looming recession in South Africa". It records that: "The
economic climate indicator remained in the negative territory in South
Africa in April. Although the assessments of the current economic situation
have been slightly upgraded, the economic expectations for the next six
months remain cautious, indicating that in Africa's largest economy the
first recession in 17 years looms. Capital expenditures and the export
sector are expected to weaken further in the next six months. Private
consumption, in contrast, is expected to stabilise over the next half of the
year. Unemployment and lack of skilled labour continue to pose the most
economic problems, according to WES experts."
Somewhat similarly, the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank,
Tito Mboweni, has voiced concern that the magnitude of the strengthening of
the rand could fuel negative economic developments in the foreseeable
future, and that remedial monetary policies may become necessary.  Those
policies may be very necessary and desirable for South Africa, but not
suited to Zimbabwe's needs, and yet if Zimbabwe joins the Rand Monetary
Union, they would substantially bind it.
Thus, Zimbabwe is faced by a currency conundrum, in that it is
presently increasingly linked to the rand, but such linkage may well develop
against the best interests of the Zimbabwean economy. Therefore, Zimbabwe is
better placed by "hedging its bets", by maintaining a basket of lawful
currencies, until such time as the economy is sufficiently stable as to
restore substance to its own currency, rather than becoming bound to any one
country's monetary policies.

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Past Abuses Should Guide Constitution-making

Thursday, 18 June 2009 19:41
ZIMBABWE'S new constitution should, as a starting point, take
cognisance of past abuses by the Zanu PF government and institute provisions
to right such abuses.

The writing of a new constitution is usually motivated by a perceived
sense of injustice and to make a break with the past.

 The excesses of the Bourbon King Louis XVI and his Queen
Marie-Antoinette precipitated the French Revolution of 1789 and the
attendant Declaration of the Rights of Man.
 In 1776, the 13 American colonies rebelled against taxation imposed
by King George III of England which resulted in the United States
Constitution adopted in 1787 by the Constitutional Convention at
Closer to home, the injustices, inequities and oppression of the
apartheid architects resulted in the democratic Constitution of South Africa
in 1996.
In Zimbabwe, a good starting point in drafting the basic law of the
land should be the Gukurahundi genocide in the 1980s, the usurpation of
executive power by the then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe that resulted in
the executive presidency in 1987, Operation Murambatsvina in 2005 and, more
recently, the coup d'etat by stealth that was executed by the securocrats in
the Joint Operations Command.
 A basic law should take cognisance of such abuses and put in place a
constitution with the necessary checks and balances. Whether a presidential
system or the Westminster model is appropriate should be left to the people
to decide.
 There might even be a hybrid presidential/prime ministerial system as
that which obtains in France. But, nonetheless, whatever model is adopted,
there should obviously be term limits for the life of parliament. The
president/prime minister should preferably serve a maximum two terms. This
would prevent a repeat of the gerontocracy now running the show.
 A clear and defined separation of powers between the three branches
of government is a prerequisite. Of particular significance is the
independence of the judicial branch of government to check on the excesses
of the executive.
 The judicial branch of government must be financially independent;
this is to avoid the humiliation of judicial officers accepting "donations"
from powerful politicians from the other branches of government. What
springs to mind are the recent donations of plasma TVs, farms and other
favours to judicial officers - a toxic situation that has done so much
damage in eroding public confidence in the delivery of justice and brought
into question the independence and impartiality of the judicial arm of
  An appointment to judicial office must be through an independent
commission and removal from office must require the sitting of parliament.
This is a remedy to avoid the forced resignations of judicial officers who
were perceived as opponents of Zanu PF kleptocracy.
The forced resignations of Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay in 2001, Judge
Blackie in 2002 and Justice Paradza in 2003 are cases in point.
Defence forces personnel must be made to declare an oath to serve and
defend the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Officer education at both the Zimbabwe
Military Academy and the Defence Forces College must be broadened to
encompass aspects on democratic governance, constitutional as well as
humanitarian law and the theory of government.
 There is already a precedent for such an undertaking .  officers in
the South African National Defence Forces undertake a four-year Bachelor of
Military Science degree at the Saldanha Bay Military Academy offered in
conjunction with the University of Stellenbosch. This is to avert senior
officers pledging their eternal loyalty "North Korean style" to politicians
whom the electorate has deemed beyond their sell-by date.
 Had the military leaders known that their job is to defend the
Zimbabwean Constitution, they would have accepted a smooth transfer of power
to the opposition as early as 2002. US-style confirmation hearings should be
carried out where senior officers are up for promotion, preferably by a
bi-partisan Parliamentary Committee on Defence.
Where abuses of the past have to inform constitution-making is in the
area of rights accorded to the citizen.
A Bill of Rights must ordinarily recognise freedom of personality,
belief, expression, assembly, movement, occupation, property rights and most
important of all there should be protection from unauthorised search and
The infamous abduction of the human rights activist, Jestina Mukoko
and her colleagues necessitates the inclusion of a "freedom and security of
the person provision" as found in S 12 of the Bill of Rights in the
Constitution of South Africa. Allied to this might be the inclusion of a due
process of law requirement.
 The recent reports in the press of police instructors at Morris Depot
abusing police cadets warrants the inclusion of a prohibition on "torture,
inhuman or degrading treatment or unusual punishment(s)", more or less along
the lines of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms.
 The Constitution of South Africa recognizes this, in S 10 of the Bill
Of Rights, as a question of human dignity . . . "everyone has inherent
dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected. "
The sense of freedom, as Isaiah Berlin once said, "entails not simply
the absence of frustration but the absence of obstacles to possible choices
and activities". To this end, a Bill of Rights has to recognise freedom of
movement and residence.
 Zanu PF in the past 29 years has systematically denied the opposition
space to engage in lawful political activities. This should be enshrined in
a Bill of Rights in the form of a right to freedom of peaceful assembly and
association with others. This might be accompanied, as in S 19 of the Bill
of Rights in the South African Constitution, by detailed political rights
such as the right to form a political party, right to elect one's
representatives and to stand for public office.
The law has been used to harass and arrest political opponents and
human rights activists. One is reminded of the recent cases concerning
Andrisson Manyere, Ghandi Mudzingwa and the arrest of the two scribes from
the Zimbabwe Independent. Due process of law requires that anyone charged
with a criminal offence has the right to know the nature and cause of the
accusation against him/her, adequate time and facilities for preparation of
defence and access to legal representation and to be brought before a
competent court of law within reasonable time, say 48 hours as stipulated by
S 35 of the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution.
 Under such a regime, we would not find innocent people incarcerated
for indeterminate lengths of time at the whim of biased and vindictive
politicians such as the openly partisan Attorney-General, Johannes Tomana.
To avert abuses like Operation Murambatsvina in 2005, a Bill of Rights
has to recognise the right to housing or in some sense private and family
life. The media landscape of the past 29 years has a litany of repressive
laws and forced closures of newspapers such as the Daily News in 2003.
 A Bill of Rights has to start by recognising that everyone has the
right to freedom of expression. This right might be by paraphrasing Article
10 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as a
"right to hold, receive and impart information and ideas without
interference by the State".
 By paraphrasing jurisprudence of European origin, I lay myself open
to charges of Euro-centrism and obviously Zanu PF apparatchiks will point
out that this has nothing to do with an African country. Article 15 of the
Bill of Rights of the Constitution of South Africa is drafted in more or
less the same terms and has resonance to the experiences of Zimbabweans.
The selective application of the law as witnessed immediately after
last year's election, the victimisation of unpopular minorities such as
white commercial farmers for the past 10 years and citizens in south western
Zimbabwe immediately after Independence in 1980 calls for equality before
the law and the right to just and administrative action.
 Selective application of the law has resulted in openly racist and
tribal policies by the Zanu PF government. Cultural and as well as
linguistic minorities must be afforded constitutional protection. This might
have averted the cronyism and patronage that has been, and in some instances
still is, the hallmark of Zanu PF misrule.
 Food security might be elevated to the status of a fundamental
freedom. This is of particular significance in the light of past abuses of
food aid by the Zanu Pf government as a campaign tool and outright
victimisation of opposition supporters through denial of food aid.  It is
ironic that a white supremacist government was superseded by a black
supremacist one.
Such abuses cannot be stopped by a simple laundry list of rights;
these rights need institutions built into the constitution to support
democracy. These might be along the lines of a Human Rights Commission,
Independent Electoral Commission and a Media Commission.
 For these institutions to support governance, accountability and
democracy, there ought to be statutory guarantees of their independence from
both the executive and parliament, a system of funding independent of direct
ministerial control, independent staffing arrangements, statutory
involvement of a parliamentary body in approving and overseeing its budget
and strategic plan, parliamentary involvement in key appointments and lastly
direct reporting to Parliament.
However, there might be instances where the state might be justified
to derogate from some of these rights and this might be spelt out in the
basic document. It is nonetheless, submitted that equality, human dignity,
life (what is Paradzayi Zimondi doing when the prison services are turning
prisons into death factories?), freedom of security of the person, both
natural and juristic, ie companies; are values that the state might no be
justified in derogating from. Whatever justification the state might advance
to derogate from the second tier rights, those deemed capable of being
derogated from must be justified in a competent court of law.
As a bulwark against abuses that have been visited against the
ordinary Zimbabwean citizen by the agents of the state, judicial officers
might be given powers to review actions and decisions that violate these
 Section 39 of the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution
gives ordinary citizens who have been wronged "to approach a competent
court . and the court may grant appropriate relief ."
 What is now termed the Supreme Court might be elevated into a
Constitutional Court with powers to declare legislative enactments
unconstitutional where they violate the fundamental rights. This would solve
the conundrum where we have repressive enactments such as the medial law -
the brilliantly misnamed Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
This article is not intended as prescriptive but only serves as a
basis for an open and honest debate on constitutional reform in Zimbabwe.
Francois Maimona is a trainee lawyer based in Leeds. Email:


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Reform key to Zanu PF Survival

Thursday, 18 June 2009 19:39
A FEW weeks ago Zanu PF took the rare step of announcing that it had
set up a committee to address the issue of succession within the party. This
announcement, made after a politburo meeting, was also accompanied by the
announcement that another committee to deal with ideological issues had been
set up.

The issue of succession and ideology are key to Zanu PF's survival
beyond President Robert Mugabe. By making this announcement the party
leadership has set in motion a process that it might not be able to stop.
Zimbabweans would be expectant that finally the party might come to terms
with and sense its self-destructive mode and take a new turn, hopefully for
the better.

For Zimbabweans, the Zambia situation where the Movement for
Multiparty Democracy now dominates the political scene like the former Unip
of Kenneth Kaunda shows that in the long run Zimbabwe's democracy will
benefit from a reformed and democratic Zanu PF. The complete dominance of
the body politic by one party has to be avoided. And in any case, it will be
interesting to see if a new political alternative to the current Zanu PF and
MDC ideological positions can emerge within Zanu PF.
It was the demise of Chairman Mao in China, infamous for his violent
Cultural Revolution and intolerance of dissent, that resulted in a major
turn on economic reform. The China we see today, though not the best example
on democracy, is an outcome of reform that started in the Communist Party of
China. Without this, China would have gone through another cultural
revolution as Zimbabwe has seen a third Chimurenga, with destructive
It is possible that nothing much can be achieved from these
announcements. The issue of succession has been talked of in Zanu PF before
and Zanu PF is inconsistent in words and delivery. This issue has also been
used by Mugabe to bait the ambitious who have been exposed and dealt with
ruthlessly. The fate of the likes of Dr Eddison Zvobgo was sealed on the
succession question. Zvobgo was more poignant, likening the succession
question in Zanu PF with the story of the madman of Ngomahuru, who upon the
receiving the baton in a relay race ran away with it into the mountains. The
consequence is that the madman's team lost the race.
Indeed President Mugabe and Zanu PF have lost the race, as well as the
trust and faith of the people of Zimbabwe. The party's hold on power through
democratic means has slipped. The party now survives on violence, deception
and patronage.  Without violence and its dwindling patronage system, the
centre cannot hold in Zanu PF.
The announcements appear to be a belated realisation that a top
leadership hitting the mid 80s cannot be relied upon to take the party into
the future.  Zanu PF has been blind to the fact that since the mid-1990s it
lost the people of Zimbabwe completely. This is despite the failure to unite
the nation soon after Independence leading to the massacres of innocent
civilians in Matabeleland.  Zanu PF faces the real possibility of complete
demise if it mishandles its succession issue.
At the centre of this succession is the need for a credible and
visionary leadership to rise within the party. A leadership that can lead
with brains and vision and not violence and patronage as we have seen in the
past. It is clear that the patronage system of Zanu PF has permeated all
facets of its political body and the state. A senior official in the Local
Government ministry is known to boast that he is not a member of Zanu PF,
but a shareholder. People who have shouted the loudest in support of Mugabe
have suddenly become rich, not only owning ill-gotten farms but also getting
all sorts of deals to supply this and that.
City council security guards, who a few years ago were doing
commendably well by arresting pickpockets at Mbare Musika now have a new and
enriching vocation, shouting praises of President Mugabe and are now living
pretty. Zanu PF has relied so much on its abuse of state security organs,
the CIO, army and police to the extent that not many people have any trust
in these.
But this abuse cannot go on forever. At some point the vakomana,
meaning security chiefs that Zanu PF has relied on so much, will also have
to give up. Zanu PF has looked outward to external forces such as the
security forces and patronage to maintain its hold on power. Failure of the
party to realise these weaknesses and take them into account as part of the
succession debate and ideological refocus means the future of the party is
Those who have stood by Zanu PF, especially the security chiefs, have
created a false sense of security based on browbeating citizens and the
opposition. The same grouping has lacked the foresight to realise they still
need to be trusted by the people and must show a vision that can be shared.
It is here that the ideological committee set up by the politburo and
includes the likes of Didymus Mutasa comes in. A critical question that it
has to answer is:
will the committee be willing to face Zanu
PF's demons in the face and seek to exorcise them?
These demons include an archaic, redundant and unattractive ideology.
This ideology is based on the politics of either being with us or against
us, race and ethnicity and conceptions of belonging and homogeneity which
neither tolerate dissent nor respect basic principles of democracy.  In this
politics of Zanu PF, all citizens are expected to reconcile their views with
those of Zanu PF and accept to be subservient to the dominance of Zanu PF,
literally, to survive.
There is nothing wrong with Zanu PF advancing its nationalist
ideology, as long as this is done persuasively and in the interest of the
country. However, Zanu PF nationalism is a convoluted political position
driven by an insatiable love of power. Since 2000, Zanu PF has shown total
disdain for the MDC, and all its actions have been driven by hatred of the
MDC and not selling its programmes and winning the hearts and minds of
Moving forward, one hopes that Zanu PF, as a minority party, will seek
to reengage the people of Zimbabwe on what it can offer. As a minority
party, Zanu PF can no longer afford to bury its head in the sand like the
proverbial ostrich, but actively seek to locate the heart beat of society,
by reforming and repenting from its bad ways.
Zanu PF needs to abandon its ideology of deprivation, nepotism,
violence and chaos and reengage all sectors in Zimbabwe from  academia,
civil society, business and labour if it is to be a party of the future.
Otherwise all the efforts at succession and ideological reform will come to
naught. Despite its appearance of strength and the grandstanding of security
chiefs, Zanu PF is really in a corner and a shell of its former self.
Rashweat Mukundu is a Programme Specialist: Media Freedom Monitoring,
Misa Regional Secretariat.


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Candid Comment: Constitutional Debate Leaves out Rural Folk

Thursday, 18 June 2009 20:54
IN debating a new constitution it is important that we all understand
what it means to its people.

A constitution is about how a people want to live, share resources,
respect their human rights, the path they wish to take in developing their
communities, who should rule them and how. It is like a covenant that
governs every citizen, regardless of their tribe, race, religion or physical

Everyone should be able to see herself/himself in a constitution; they
must own it, be part of it. To own something means that you have been part
of the process that built or developed that item. It is something you can
defend in case somebody wants to take it away from you.
There are many arguments as to why people voted No in the 2000
constitutional referendum. We need to ask to what extent were the people of
Zimbabwe involved in the processes of the making of that constitution. What
ownership did the people have in the process of constitution-making? How
were people organised to give their views and who organised them?  The issue
is not about whether the rejected constitution was better than the current
one or not, but about the process used to develop it, hence its rejection.
Today we ask the same question about how the people will be organised
or are being organised and by whom, for the making of our new constitution.
The how part of it is important. Parliamentarians and politicians need to
understand that if we are to have a people's constitution.
The constitution-making debate has been a political, academic and
intellectual debate thus far about who is best suited to drive the process.
The larger part of the people have not been involved because the process is
designed by parliament and not by the people for parliament. We have heard
contradictory views from parliamentarians regarding the new constitution and
the process of constitution-making. There has been mention of the Kariba
draft that was crafted by the two MDCs and Zanu PF being used as a reference
document to the new constitution.
At a political rally MDC-T legislator Sam Sipepa Nkomo made mention
that his party was pushing into the new constitution the devolution of power
to the provinces and the division of the country into five regions. Nkomo's
statements were made following Zapu's pronouncement of their party's
resolution to devolve power to the regions and the creation of five regions
with elected premiers or governors. In the Kariba draft there is no mention
of the devolution of power to the regions. There is mention of 10 provinces
with governors appointed by the president.
We read in the newspapers President Mugabe indicating that the Kariba
draft will form the basis of the making of the new constitution. The MDC-T
co-chairman for the parliamentary select committee said the
constitution-making process will be people-driven. He did not tell us how
the people will be empowered to lead this process.
The debate on the new constitution has not cascaded to the lower
levels of our communities. I frequently participate at various meetings
including rural district council meetings. There has never been mention of a
new constitution at these meetings. Last week I visited five rural district
councils, and in all of them there were no debates around a new
Based on these facts and the competition for "voter space" among
political parties, it is best that the constitution-making process is led by
people who are not affiliated to any political organisation. Parliament can
play a monitoring role, ensuring that the process is done according to laid
down rules and agreed principles.
Parliament has not informed us as to how the various groups of women
and young people living in the rural areas will be mobilised to participate
and give their views. We have not heard mention of how persons with hearing
impairments, visual impairments and other forms of physical disabilities
will be catered for in the constitution-making process. Parliamentarians can
rely on the experiences and expertise of various NGOs, civic organisations
and faith-based bodies to lead the constitution-making process. The result
will be such that all people, including those who sit in parliament, will be
satisfied with the people's contributions.

Obadiah Moyo is a rural development activist.

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Comment: Living a lie

Thursday, 18 June 2009 20:51
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai next week returns from his US and
European trip with a few dimes in the bag relative to the needs here.

Naïve opponents in the inclusive government expected him to fight hard
to have sanctions lifted and with it secure more aid for the country. This
did not happen on this trip but Tsvangirai returns with volumes of useful
information on what the Western World thinks about Zimbabwe and areas our
rulers need to concentrate on for this economy to turn the corner.

These are basic issues dealing with the rule of law, an end to
repression, protection of property rights and respect for other fundamental
On Tsvangirai's trip, it was not just politicians pointing out the
deficit on each of the fundamental issues, but potential investors to this
market too. They are not convinced that Zimbabwe is a good investment
destination. Tsvangirai's blandishments in Washington when he met business
leaders, that government had rolled back inflation from 500 million percent
to three percent and that there was increased government accountability was
not convincing at all. In Sweden he tried another strategy.
He said at a press conference: "We are making a case for re-engagement
because we, as Zimbabweans, have decided not for the sake of the
international community, but for own sake, that we need the freedoms, the
reforms and we need economic recovery whether Mugabe is there or not."
He is right that the country needs to move on but those investors and
donors unhappy with Mugabe's continued stay in office want to be convinced
that the inclusive government is working well under his stewardship.
Tsvangirai's statement in Stockholm therefore sought to airbrush the Mugabe
factor in the quest to present Zimbabwe as rehabilitating.
Just as he has tried lately but failed to wish away the negative
impact of attacks on media freedom and continued disturbances on the farms,
the issue of Mugabe's commitment to the reform process will continue to
haunt Tsvangirai on his trips to Western capitals. This trip has therefore
taught Tsvangirai an important lesson. To the West, Tsvangirai is a change
agent for a government whose transformation process is either too slow or
barely noticeable.
Therefore it was not surprising that the Corporate Council on Africa,
which represents 180 companies dedicated to strengthening the commercial
relationship between the US and Africa, told Tsvangirai's delegation that
they were not looking at Zimbabwe as an investment destination at the
moment. The council said before investing in Zimbabwe, most American
companies wanted to see a combination of political and economic reforms to
create a sustainable investment climate.
On the same day, the council's president and CEO, Stephen Hayes, who
was visiting Zimbabwe at the invitation of the US, advised the Zimbabwean
business community not to expect any significant new American private-sector
investments in the near-term until reforms are made. He said the American
business community looked forward to the day when Zimbabwe became a "beacon
of investment and a leader in addressing Africa's economic development
At the moment Zimbabwe is not the flavour of the month,
notwithstanding the propaganda surrounding the country's taking over the
chair of Comesa earlier in the month. We were at the time bombarded with
positive news about the Zimbabwean economy turning the corner because of the
new business configuration in the Comesa region and the benefits to local
industry. President Mugabe's assumption of the Comesa chair was feted as if
it was a meritorious appointment in recognition of prudent business
leadership in the region. This is what we have become good at: celebrating
expectation as a success. Those pontificating on the benefits of regional
integration and the formation of the customs union in Victoria Falls chose
not to examine the parlous state of the Zimbabwean economy, neither did they
take time to examine real causes of economic stagnation in Zimbabwe. The
formation of the customs union became the panacea for the region's woes.
This ruse does not address concerns of investors as observed by the
Corporate Council on Africa. These concerns are aptly captured by the Africa
Competitiveness Report released at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town
last week.
Zimbabwe has fared badly in all respects. It is at the bottom of the
pile in competitiveness on the continent; only a point better than Benin.
Zimbabwe's overall performance was sabotaged by very poor ranking in key
indicators like protection of property rights, the independence of the
judiciary, state profligacy, corruption, unclear regulations, political
instability, opaque policy-making and high taxation. Zimbabwe has also fared
poorly in its ability to provide adequate infrastructure for business and in
social protection programmes, especially in health.
To this add the incident of the Information minister Webster Shamu
recently saying that he does not take orders from Tsvangirai and the
resultant contemptuous move by the minister to disregard a court order
allowing journalists to attend the Comesa Summit and we have a perfect
example of a Zimbabwe which remains unattractive to investors. Tsvangirai
and his colleagues in the inclusive government know what needs to be done.
They must stop living a lie and get to work.

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Editor's Memo: Politicians Authors of our Hunger

Thursday, 18 June 2009 20:35
'HUNGRY people cannot be good at learning or producing anything,
except perhaps violence," said mid-20th century American entertainer Pearl

This crude observation is true for many countries on the continent
where children go to bed hungry while their equally hungry parents butcher
each other instead of tilling the land. Vice-President Joice Mujuru earlier
this week made disclosures which not only contradicted the official line
with regards to the causes of hunger in this country, but also brought out
the relationship between violence and hunger, a very useful observation.

Speaking at an International Women's Day event in Bindura last Sunday,
Mujuru said Zimbabweans went to war so that they could enjoy various
She said people were free to join political parties of their choice
just as they chose the churches they wanted to go to.
"During the liberation war, we fought a repressive system. We were not
fighting a particular race.
"During the war, we were united as a single family because we were
fighting a common enemy. Why not today?" she asked.
"We used to be the bread basket of Africa, but now we are even failing
to produce enough for our own consumption because we were pulling down each
other because of inter-party differences," she said.
She did not however tell us which common enemy Zimbabweans must be
united against today. Even in independent Zimbabwe the people still have to
put up with repression which has been a major threat to peace and
nationhood. Mujuru is right though that we have become a hungry people
because "we are pulling each other down". This is a useful admission by the
VP as it debunks her party's mantras on the causes of hunger in this
country. The authors of hunger are politicians who use the poor as pawns in
the power game.
The violence which erupted in this country last year and in previous
years can be traced back to powerful political forces who recruit the poor
and the hungry to butcher fellow villagers under the guise of preserving
national sovereignty and protecting resources, especially land.
It is the politics of land that has brought poverty here. We are all
too familiar with dishonest headlines like: "Mugabe blames West for Zimbabwe's
food shortages"; "10-year drought to blame for food shortages - Mugabe";
"Mugabe says Zimbabwe's food shortages artificial", and "Mugabe blames
sanctions for food shortages".
Building institutions of peace in this country as envisaged in the
national healing programme must have food self-sufficiency as a key
component. A society that is dependent on food handouts from donors or from
political parties is vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation. Only very
recently, we have been getting reports that party alignments are still being
used to direct food distribution in Matabeleland North.
Hungry villagers still line up behind Zanu PF or MDC councillors to
get food aid.  These are people beholden to politicians and political
parties. It is not only food aid that is still subject to this kind of
manipulation. It extends to the disbursement of monies for small projects,
access to basic amenities and even the allocation of land by government
officials and traditional leaders.
It would therefore be a major tragedy for this country to go into
elections again when we cannot produce enough to feed ourselves. The promise
of an election in the next 18 months is too ghastly to contemplate as long
as this country is hungry.
With food shortages, rural people will spend more time at hopeless
party meetings where they are told that the source of their hunger is
sanctions, or poor leadership or Gono and so on. They will be taught the
language of hate; that is to hate hunger and whoever is responsible for it
and their supporters. Fighting your neighbour becomes a contest to end
hunger. Powerful men and women who can bring food to a village can also call
the poor villagers to arms, to dispossess others and to punish those with
full stomachs. This is the stupid politics of violence.
We have achieved very little in years of food shortages other than
bringing destruction to ourselves and to institutions that have
traditionally safeguarded our national ethos and dignity. Nzara inobvisa
hunhu! Our national healing will not amount to much as long as we are
Those who have been entrusted to work towards a more peaceful, just
and sustainable Zimbabwe must therefore help make ending hunger a major
For peace to have meaning to many who have known only suffering, it
must be translated into bread or mealie meal, shelter, health, and
education, as well as freedom and human dignity - a steadily better life.
If peace is to be secure, long-suffering and long-starved people in
this country must begin to realise the promise of a new day and a new life.
That is national healing.


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Zim Independent Letters

Govt's Anti-sanctions Crusade Futile

Thursday, 18 June 2009 20:50
THE anti-sanctions crusade which has seen Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai visiting at least six European countries to lobby for the removal
of sanctions is set to be a futile attempt which exposes Zanu PF's

In my view no sane country would want to normalise relations with
President Robert Mugabe's administration, especially given the fact that his
party has violated or is still to fully commit itself to some of the
provisions of the Global Political Agreement.

If from the day the principals from the three political parties
authenticated the agreement by signing it all the parties had shown full
commitment to the forged unity, then the international community would
naturally have considered reversing its sanctions stance against Zimbabwe.
Recent outbursts by Mugabe at the funeral of Dr Gideon Gono's  brother
in which he pointed out that Gono would remain the Reserve Bank governor
when we all know that his reappointment was in sharp contrast to the spirit
of the GPA, clearly show the president's unrepentant mood and attitude. As
usual Zanu PF's top brass joined the pro-Gono chorus in support of the
president's sentiments. This a clear indication that the party is not
willing to share the political cake with other parties when circumstances
demand otherwise.
Tsvangirai has been sent on a wild goose chase and the Dutch
government was right in its demand for transparency, genuine and honesty
commitment from Zanu PF to the unity government before normalisation of
Zanu PF must realise that its anti-sanctions rhetoric will be futile
until the party fully commits itself to all the provisions of the unity

Farai J Nerera

Women vulnerable to Witchcraft Suppression Act

Thursday, 18 June 2009 20:42
THE trial and sentencing of Regina Sveto for practising witchcraft
raises more questions than answers.

It is my submission that the amendment of the Witchcraft Suppression
Act which made it an offence to accuse someone of being a witch will leave a
lot of women vulnerable to this draconian and archaic piece of legislation
which should not have any place in the current dispensation.

If the evidence that was adduced before the learned senior judicial
officer indicated that the (naked) woman was possessed by evil spirits which
restrained her from acting reasonably the best remedial action would have
been to refer her to a qualified medical practitioner in terms of the Mental
Health Act.
I have seen a lot of mental health patients who got treated and led
normal lives in the end. I believe Sveto falls in the same category of
mentally retarded people and needs to be helped. It is very unfair,
irrational and unjust to subject the victim of evil spirits to prison
(though in Sveto's case sentence was suspended as she was a first offender
and because of her age) when the best option cure.
Interestingly, it was reported in the media that one chief whom the
court used as an expert witness in the case indicated after the court had
passed its verdict that the accused should pay a beast for the offence as
per our customary law.
The question is how objective, credible or admissible can evidence
given by the chiefs be in such cases when they are material beneficiaries of
the due process? What happens in the event that the accused fails to raise
money to buy a beast for the chief for the fine? Considering that the
learned magistrate saw it fit to give the accused a wholly suspended
sentence, how did the chief arrive at his quantum of fine?
At the end of nearly every year when Form Twos, Fours and Sixes are
about to write public exams we get reports of school girls becoming victims
of mamhepo (hysterical problems which I believe are due to puberty) where
they utter a lot of nonsense, in some cases alleging that they have been
bewitched by their fellow students or relatives.
If the current witchcraft law is applied to these young schoolgirls
may also be found guilty. The question for our legislators and, in
particular, the parliamentary legal committee is: Did you apply yourselves
diligently before repealing the Witchcraft Act?
The weakness of the law is that it is common for African relatives to
accuse people who work hard and are successful of being in possession of
zvikwambo (goblins) and this is destructive. I believe that Sveto's case
should be brought to the High Court for review because this law falls in the
category of Sharia law which should not have any place in statutes in these
modern times. Much work should be done on this issue.


MDC Alienating Sympathisers
Thursday, 18 June 2009 20:41
THE MDC is fast alienating its supporters which will have serious
implications for the party and the country as a whole. Criticising the
Government of National Unity is now deemed to be unpatriotic in certain

Unlike what happened soon after Zimbabwe's Independence in 1980, it is
important for intellectuals, academics, journalists and other opinion makers
to subject Morgan Tsvangirai's role in the GNU to critical scrutiny and
avoid falling into another 29-year dictatorship nightmare.

There is so much excitement in media circles about Morgan Tsvangirai's
first overseas trip as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe's coalition government
intended to "revive contact with EU and US officials after Zimbabwe's
absence for seven years".
That's rather surprising because Zimbabwe has never severed diplomatic
relations with the US despite the hostile attacks on US Ambassador James
McGee by the Herald.
However, what is seriously lacking in the coalition government and
indeed in the delegation is the element of inclusiveness by excluding people
like Dumiso Dabengwa, Simba Makoni, Wellington Chibebe and Lovemore Madhuku.
They would have more to contribute than some of the people in the premier's
If it turns out that Tsvangirai has been sent by Mugabe, or
volunteered to go and plead for the lifting of sanctions while the reasons
for their imposition have not yet been fully addressed, then the MDC could
be fast alienating its sympathisers at home and abroad. Some of the
decisions of the MDC are quite debatable and as a democratic movement it is
only right to subject some of its actions to scrutiny.
On June 2, MDC Finance minister Tendai Biti reportedly slammed the
West over sanctions saying: "The West is being unscientific and
 ahistorical." MDC leaders may sooner rather than later realise that what
they say may be misconstrued following a response by the British Embassy to
a Herald article which claimed the UK government had to "airlift" destitute
British pensioners from Zimbabwe because Western sanctions had destroyed the
economy.  The Embassy said it was disappointed that the Herald continues to
"peddle gross distortions and misinformation".
I agree with Jethro Mpofu, "Opposition blunders keeping Mugabe in
power" ( June 4 2009) when he says:
"It must embarrass all people who respect democracy in the world,
especially the political opposition in Zimbabwe that despite the many mass
graves of Gukurahundi, the ruins of Murambatsvina, a collapsed education and
health delivery system, an economy on life support and a starved population
of hard-working Zimbabweans, Mugabe remains at State House and answers to
the title of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe".
The reasons given by the MDC for not contesting the re-appointment of
31 permanent secretaries by Robert Mugabe on May 20 were far from convincing
at a time when Zimbabwe continues to lose its best brains to other countries
in search of jobs, and others remain in the diaspora.
Websites for ministries of Foreign Affairs, Labour, Public Service and
Welfare, Home Affairs, Higher Education, Justice, Defence and Health are all
not up to date and don't reflect the new dispensation and portray a very bad
image. The Foreign Affairs website was last updated on November 12 2008 and
according to it the next presidential election will be on March 29 2008,
while upcoming events include the Comesa Summit from November 25 to December
8 2008. The Home Affairs website has only one minister, Kembo Mohadi.
The MDC's 9th Conference called on the controversial Attorney-General
Johannes Tomana and the embattled governor of the Reserve Bank Gideon Gono
to "resign forthwith" in the national interest. As if to cave in to such
threats, Finance minister Tendai Biti later said he had "ring-fenced" Gono
and Western countries could no longer use him as an excuse for withholding
critical aid, meaning that Gono is going nowhere.
The MDC's commitment to Press freedom needs to go beyond a resolution
for media reform and for the Herald and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation to reform and report equally, fairly and consistently in line
with the GPA. There is no credible reason why the MDC does not state
categorically its opposition to oppressive laws like Aippa, Posa and others.
Similarly, why should newspapers like The Zimbabwean, which is meant to
balance the reporting of news back home, be charged 50% duty?
It can be argued that the MDC is alienating its sympathisers by
commission and omission.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri


      Zesa go-ahead: GNU out of Touch

      Thursday, 18 June 2009 20:39
      THE Herald's front-page article of June 11 headlined "Zesa given
go-ahead to cut power" shows just how out of touch our so-called unity
government is with the people.

      I would happily pay my Zesa bill or any other of the utilities
if I had received a salary this year.  Since February I have been received
only US$100 a month in handouts from my company, which has barely managed to
feed my family.  We have no medical aid, no insurance, no ZBC licences, no
fuel for our car and haven't managed to pay last term's or this term's
outrageous school/ PTA fees.  We already live in abject poverty and now Zesa
wants to cut off the electricity, which will be followed rapidly by - mark
my words -water and telephone cuts.

          Can I remind the minister who has given this go-ahead and who
more than likely gets all the above mentioned facilities free, that our
money is still there in the bank, just a number on a ledger because the
government scrapped the Zimdollar.  I did not see any directive from the
government to convert all our banked money into a useable currency - no; all
our savings and our lives were just scrapped by the stroke of a government
       Can I also remind the minister that 95% of this country's
business and people had to start with a nil balance in February; some
sectors are only now starting to recover to make
      some money and only starting to pay something towards their
       Haven't the people of this country been through enough in the
past two to three years without the government sanctioning further misery
and upset?  Zesa's woes were because of their own problems, their
inefficiency has been paramount to their troubles for years.
      Remember too for most of 2008 we couldn't get the money we
earned from banks so couldn't use it, and we couldn't pay Zesa.
      Surely we should not be made to suffer any further; let Zesa
suffer alongside us, the poor and the hungry.  We will pay when we can, we
promise, but putting us in the cold and dark will not help this country
recover any sooner.



      TelOne Charges Outrageous
      Thursday, 18 June 2009 20:38
      PLEASE warn all your valued customers about how TelOne charges.
The charge is 21c per unit, a unit is charged for the first three minutes
and thereafter a unit for every 30 seconds.

      Thus the minimum charge is 21c and after three minutes the
charge is two units a minute -ie 42c per minute.  A four-minute call costs
63c, five minutes is US$1,05, and so on.

      This now makes sense as to why the phone bills are so very high,
especially for those using TelOne for Internet access.  In the Zimbabwe
Independent's businessdigest (June 5-11) TelOne's acting public relations
executive, Collin Welbesi, was quoted as saying that they charge 7c per
minute.  It was also reported that "the average local usage per month at a
household level is 200 units which translates into 600 minutes" (TEN
hours!).  This is obviously a distortion of the true position and typifies
the half-truths we have become so used to accepting from the previous
       TelOne customers should be
      warned not to use their services for Internet, email or
business. One Internet usage (or phone call) of 30 minutes costs US$11,55 or
almost half what Econet is charging for one month's 24-hour Internet
service.  TelOne's "rental" for handsets I have to supply is US$25 or again
what Econet charges per month for their 24-hour Internet service.  This is
all totally outrageous.
      Econet charges 25c per minute (depending on the system) so a
10-minute call costs around US$2,50 - keep your calls short and sweet!

      Alan McCormick,


      SMS The Zimbabwe Independent
      Thursday, 18 June 2009 20:37
      WE want  elected provincial premiers who will implement the
policies formulated by the  provincial legislature.
      Mamjiji, Zvimba.
      WE don't want a president with executive powers; once bitten
twice shy; the constitutional committee must know that.
      Shikota, Hwange.

      LET'S advocate for the devolution of power and proportional
representation in the new people-driven constitution.
      Tozivepi, Uzumba.

      IF Tsvangirai and the MDC are who they say they are then why is
the prime minister's niece grabbing a farm? We all put ourselves at great
risks for the MDC. We are losing trust rapidly.

      IAM a civil servant getting US$100 per month, my Zesa bill is
US$119, total amount to be paid in levies and fees for my three kids is over
US$200, Zinwa bill is at US$48, my transport expenditure stands at US$40 per
month and some good people have allowed Zesa to cut off electricity.
      I am preparing my family for darkness because I am not Jesus who
fed thousands from three loaves. I cannot tear US$100 to come up with US$500
and talk of food is another problem. Mr Mudzuri are you still with us or
      Amai Zimba.

      AMERICA should not dictate the person to lead the army in
Zimbabwe please, we are no longer a colony?

      SHAME for Musapenda's cartoon
      in the Sunday Mail, "Ronaldo is
      sold for US$130 million and then Obama gives us only US$73
million". Ronaldo is the world's property, don't liken him to Zimbabwe.
      Makandiona N, Mbare.

      SHAME on Tsvangirai and his American niece, this woman is
selfish. If the uncle is not able to control his greedy relatives then start
subtracting your votes Tsvangirai. We are not going to repeat the same
      Mai Zimba.

      CONGRATULATIONS to the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe for being
elected as the chairperson at the Comesa summit's round table. We pray that
through the leadership role entrusted on her, she will rescue Zimbabweans to
a bright future.
      WARP, Bulawayo.

      IF Gono is concerned about the welfare of Zimbabweans then he
should resign.

      IF Zanu PF is an honest party in the inclusive government it
should walk the talk, assisting the prime minister in his talk with the West
over sanctions.
      David Marango, Chitungwiza.

      PREVIOUS UN observers noted rule by conquest not by consensus.
Any changes? Not so fast prime minister. Donor conditions are neither unfair
nor hard on Zimbabweans. Convince your partners to put the nation first.
      Zim hostage.

      WHETHER Zesa meters are being read or not at US7cents per KW,
Zesa tariffs are expensive, that's the bottom line.
      Zesa A customer, Bulawayo.

      TO compare Tsvangirai with the likes of Joshua Nkomo is
nonsensical. Nkomo is our liberator and Tsvangirai is a mere puppet of the
West. The man is there to fight the vision of Mdala wethu. Please do no
insult us like that.
      TT Moyo, Lupane.

      MAY Zifa please update its website so that pictures of
facilities like stadiums, gyms, hotels etc can be seen at the click of the
button in preparation for  SA 2010.
      Agripa Ngwazi.

      AFTER the shambolic land reform and black empowerment  we are
now the laughing stock of the globe. Let us wake up youths of Africa, they
are lions in sheepskin.

      MUGABE did not grab the land from the whites whom you call
former land owners, but he just took back what was stolen from our ancestors
so forget about what you call property rights. It is democracy to give back
what have been stolen to the owner.
      TT Moyo.

      DEMOCRACY and transparency within the MDC-T has been choked
badly and there is a widening gap between the top leadership and the
structures. The flopped rally at Glamis stadium was an indication. God save
the MDC.

      THE West wants regime change in Zimbabwe and does not want
Mugabe to be there simply because he won't reverse the land reform

      MORGAN Tsvangirai must stop making excuses for Mugabe. He is
deceiving you and will finally put a knife in your back. Be warned.
      Take heed

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