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Zim Constitutional Court orders general elections by July 31st

By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
31 May 2013

A full Constitutional Court bench on Friday ordered President Robert Mugabe
to set an election date that would ensure that polls are held by July 31st.

The ruling follows an urgent application by Jealousy Mawarire, who
complained to the superior court that his constitutional rights to have
elections before the 30th June had been violated by the failure of Mugabe
and his coalition partners.

The ruling, delivered by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, partly read:
“Accordingly, the first respondent [President Mugabe] is hereby ordered and
directed to proclaim as soon as possible a date(s) for the holding of
Presidential election, general election and elections for members of
governing bodies of local authorities in terms of section 58(1) of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe, which elections should take place by no later than
31 July 2013.”

Constitutional law expert Professor Lovemore Madhuku told SW Radio Africa
Friday that the judges’ ruling is a correct interpretation of the law.

“It is a very good judgement in terms of the law and once a Constitutional
Court has spoken that must be the last word on the matter in terms of
constitutional democracy.

“It is not about how either of us feels, but it’s about the law and at the
end of the day when we have difficulties understanding these issues we ask
the courts to make a pronouncement. And when that happens we must abide by
the interpretation of the courts,” Madhuku said.

According to the professor, the ruling means that politicians should try and
carry out all the relevant electoral processes within the time-span set by
the courts.

“There is no room to appeal and there is nothing they can do about: the only
way they can change the court’s decision is by amending the constitution
which they can’t do just for the sake of elections as it takes time,”
Madhuku said.

Last week leader of the MDC Professor Welshman Ncube, who was cited as one
of the respondents, together with other GNU partners Tsvangirai and Mugabe,
said it will not be feasible to hold polls by end of June as demanded by
Mawarire. A date that Mugabe has also consistently said he prefers.

Ncube cited certain electoral processes that need to be conducted before the
elections are held, including the 30-day voter registration that starts
Monday, and amending existing electoral laws in line with the new

But Madhuku dismissed these concerns, and said the judges would have taken
all this into account in reaching their decision: “That is why they said
July 31st and not June 30th. That date came from an analysis of what is
required before elections are held. Amending electoral laws can be done in a
week, it’s only a matter of parliament sitting and doing it.”

He said it was time Zimbabweans changed the way they think about the
constitution and learned to comply, rather than make excuses.

Speaking to SW Radio Africa after the ruling, an elated Mawarire said his
complaint about the election date was a matter of principle as well as a
result of his reading of the constitution.

“I realised that elections had become an issue of public conjecture and
media speculation. Politicians were saying different things and the media
another, so I decided to seek clarity from the courts so they could
competently guide us on when we should have elections.”

According to Mawarire, the holding of elections is a legal issue and has
nothing to do with feasibility: “The three political parties in the GNU
wanted to agree on when the polls are held, but we can’t leave such
decisions about our democratic rights to three parties, as if to say they
are the only political players in this country.”

Mawarire denied that he was being driven by a ZANU PF faction that has
always pushed for a June election date, saying: “I am an educated and
discerning Zimbabwean who has his own mind and I find it insulting that
anyone would think that I am not capable of independent thought.”

The matter was heard by a full bench comprising Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku, his deputy Luke Malaba, and Justices Vernanda Ziyambi,
Paddington Garwe, Anne-Marie Gowora, Bharat Patel and Ben Hlatshwayo, High
Court Judge-President George Chiweshe and Justice Antonia Guvava.

According to parliamentary watchdog Bill Watch, all the judges agreed with
the ruling, except Justices Patel and Malaba.

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Zimbabwe court orders president to hold national polls by July 31 amid doubts on readiness

By Associated Press, Updated: Saturday, June 1, 3:09 AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s highest court on Friday ordered President
Robert Mugabe to hold elections by the end of July, chiding the longtime
leader for what it said was a “violation of his duties” in not proclaiming a
date for the vote earlier.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said the election date should be linked to
the automatic dissolution of Zimbabwe’s parliament on June 29 at the end of
its current five-year term.

A new constitution overwhelmingly accepted in a March 16 referendum requires
amendments to electoral laws and voting procedures that lawyers’ groups say
need about two months to complete.

Veritas, an independent legal research group, said Friday that the court’s
July date is impractical.

A lawsuit was brought to the court on May 24 to force Mugabe to call early
polls. The private court application claimed the country could not be run
without the existence of the parliament, rendering the government illegal.

But Veritas said the constitution allows for the executive arm and
government ministries to continue operating without a sitting parliament for
up to four months after the legislature dissolves on June 29.

Judge Chidyausiku, sitting alongside eight senior judges in the
Constitutional Court, said their ruling ordered elections to be held by July
31. He described Mugabe’s failure to announce the election date as “a
violation of his duties.”

Two judges dissented.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader in a shaky
coalition with Mugabe after violent and disputed elections in 2008, wants a
vote that would end their power-sharing agreement to be held in September at
the earliest.

Tsvangirai said in a statement Friday that the court had no power to set an
election date and the judges had “overstepped their mandate.”

Zimbabweans still expect electoral and wider reforms along with an intensive
voter registration campaign “that would not have anyone unnecessarily
disenfranchised” in the upcoming elections, he said.

The judgment was not available later Friday for legal experts to comment.
But they did say an appeal cannot be made on the Constitutional Court’s
ruling and only parliament can pass a law to overturn it.

Mugabe’s fractious ZANU-PF party has repeatedly called for early polls to
endorse Mugabe, 89, for another five-year presidential term. Mugabe led the
nation to independence from colonial rule in 1980.

The new constitution limits the presidential office to two five-year terms
but is not retroactive, allowing Mugabe if re-elected to serve up to age 99.

Zimbabwe is scheduled to host the U.N. World Tourism Organization summit in
mid-August. An estimated 2,000 foreign delegates are expected to attend and
a bitterly contested poll shortly before would likely raise concerns among

Previous elections since 2000 have been marred by violence, political
intimidation and allegations of vote-rigging.

Veritas said disobeying a constitutional court ruling could lead to contempt
of court proceedings. But contempt charges in the past against at least two
of Mugabe’s senior ministers were ignored and no further action was taken.

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Tsvangirai slams Supreme Court’s poll date ruling

31/05/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Friday that the Constitutional Court
had overstepped its mandate by ordering elections to be held by July 31
insisting that the determination of poll dates was the responsibility of the

Handing down judgement in a case in which a Harare-based rights activist,
Jealousy Mawarire, wanted President Robert Mugabe to be compelled to
announce dates for the new polls, the Court ruled that it was legally
impossible to hold elections by June 29 when the life of the current
Parliament ends.

The court however, said Mugabe had violated Mawarire’s rights as a voter by
not proclaiming an election date so far.

The Zanu PF leader has always insisted that elections should immediately
follow the end of Parliament but faced opposition from coalition partners
with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai insisting the polls should be delayed to
allow further reforms.

In a statement Friday, Tsvangirai said the court had no authority over the
determination of election dates.

“The Supreme Court has no power whatsoever to set an election date. In the
true spirit of separation of powers, an election date remains a political
process in which the executive has a role to play,” the MDC-T leader said in
a statement issued by his spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka.

“There is clear evidence that there are some within the executive who wish
to circumvent the consultative role in the GPA and the share responsibility
enshrined therein to pronounce an election date under the cloak of judicial

“An election date is the responsibility of the executive, which has not
shown that it has failed to announce such a date. SADC and the people of
Zimbabwe know that an election date is a result of political pronouncements
in which the judiciary has no role to play.

“The Principals have a consultative mechanism that would ensure that a date
is proclaimed following an agreement by all parties. This is what SADC, the
AU and the people of Zimbabwe expect, not a date set up under the cover of
the judiciary without a mechanism to ensure to that issues of the election
environment and reforms are addressed.”

The MDC-T leader has previously said his party would not participate in the
elections unless media and security sector reforms are implemented.

Zanu PF says there is nothing wrong with the country’s security services
adding any talk of reform is the height of treachery.

The MDC-T has over the past week been holding primary elections around the
country to choose candidates for the polls which will replace the coalition

The government has also said it does not have the US$130 million needed to
fund the polls although the regional SADC grouping is expected to hold a
summit in June to discuss ways of raising the cash.

Lawyers however said Mugabe could seek an extension on the July 31 date
through the courts.

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ZANU PF welcomes court decision on election date

By Violet Gonda
SW Radio Africa
31 May 2013

The political actors in the inclusive government have issued mixed reactions
regarding a decision by the highest court in the country that President
Robert Mugabe should call harmonized elections by July 31st.

ZANU PF welcomed the ruling saying the party is ready for the elections
which are “long overdue”. Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo told SW Radio Africa
that there is “plenty of time” in the next two months to prepare for
elections and accused the MDC formations of trying to delay them.

But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said the
court has ‘overstepped its mandate’ and has no power whatsoever to set an
election date. He said an election date remains a political process in which
the executive has a role to play.

Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said his party is not ‘worried’ about the
July 31st deadline but is ‘worried’ about the conditions under which
elections are going to be held. He said: “There must be key processes that
have to be achieved first before elections can be held and these processes
can be achieved within the stipulated timeframe.”

It had been widely reported that the MDC formations in government wanted
elections to be held later to give time for reforms that have still not been
implemented. But Mwonzora said: “The MDC led by Professor Ncube is the one
that wants elections after September. The MDC led by Dr. Tsvangirai wants
elections before the UNWTO conference (August).

“Where you may have heard us talking about September is what the law says –
the period in which the elections must be held by,” added Mwonzora.

We were not able to get a comment from the MDC led by Professor Welshman

Analysts say while the court decision appears to be exactly what ZANU PF
wants, they do say it is possible to hold elections in the given time frame.

International Crisis Group analyst Trevor Maisiri said the new constitution
allows for 30 days of voter registration and then there must be 44 days
within which election date must be announced, and nominations made before an
election. He said: “There is a possibility of running the voter registration
process in parallel to the 44 days for pronouncement of date and for
nominations. That will make it possible for an election by 31 July.”

Maisiri said Mugabe appears to have transferred the issue of election dates
from being a political issue to being a legal one and that only makes it
more difficult for Tsvangirai to argue against.

The development comes as the Southern African Development Community prepares
to hold an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe on 9th June, which observers say
seems to fit perfectly with this plan to hold elections by July.

Analysts say the timing of the summit is significant as SADC leaders are set
to meet in the Mozambican capital to specifically deal with Zimbabwe’s
election preparations. It is at this summit that Mugabe is expected to
present the election roadmap as outlined in the Global Political Agreement,
signed by the political partners when the coalition government was formed
four years ago.

ZANU PF says the summit is an important development as SADC has promised to
assist the election funding in Zimbabwe. “The question of a roadmap and so
on is so wishy-washy. It’s all nonsense that people want to inject but there
is really nothing of that matter,” revealed Gumbo.

However the MDC-T spokesman stressed that his party believes there are at
least four crucial processes that are needed before an election can be
held – completion of voter registration, democratization of the media to
make the media accessible to all contesting parties, total eradication of
violence and security sector reform.

But the ZANU PF spokesman said there are no reforms to talk about. Gumbo
added: “We have finished reforms. Forget about it, it is water under the
bridge. We are not going to look at so-called media reforms. We are not
going to look at security sector reform because reforms were done. They were
all incorporated in the constitution. What remains is for us to go ahead
with the election.” He said his party will finalize the rules and
regulations for his party’s primary elections by the end of next week and
hold them shortly afterwards.

Mwonzora responded by saying: “That is the usual meaningless arrogance of
ZANU PF. SADC is going to discuss conditions of elections.”

But Maisiri believes the MDC formations will have to be clear about what
they are demanding and that their demands will have to be practical,
especially when they go to the SADC summit. He said the former opposition
parties now need to clearly outline what they require from the regional
body. Whether they’ll get it is another question.

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SADC to assess Zim poll readiness

May 31 2013 at 06:15pm

Harare - The southern African regional bloc SADC will next month hold a
special summit to assess Zimbabwe's readiness for general elections due to
be held by the end of July, a top official said Friday.

“There will be a summit on the progress and roadmap to elections in June,”
Lindiwe Zulu, a member of the South African team of facilitators on Zimbabwe
political talks in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) told

The summit will be held in the Mozambican capital Maputo but no exact date
has yet been set.

The summit will review a number of issues, including the cash-strapped
government's efforts to raise the $132 million election budget.

Zimbabwe's constitutional court ruled earlier Friday that President Robert
Mugabe should organise elections no later than July 31.

The polls will end an uneasy SADC-brokered unity government which was formed
in 2009 in the aftermath of election violence and is headed by Mugabe's
rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. - Sapa-AFP

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Why Mugabe can't call Zimbabwe polls


Zanu-PF and the MDC are in new talks as legal problems delay President
Robert Mugabe's wish for elections on June 29.

President Robert Mugabe may not get what he wants — to hold the national
polls next month — because of unexpected legal obstacles that stand in his

Mugabe last week signed the new Constitution into law in a bid to speed up
the poll date. But it has now emerged through party negotiators from Zanu-PF
and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations that they first
need to align the new charter to the existing legislation.

Negotiators from the three parties who spoke to the Mail & Guardian this
week confirmed they are in new talks over a number of constitutional and
legal issues, besides political matters, that still need to be sorted before
a date for the elections could be announced.

The negotiators are now locked in secret meetings to map the way forward,
and all declined to be named owing to agreements among them not to publicise
the details of the talks in the media.

Negotiators say key among these is the mandatory 30-day voter registration
exercise that will only start next week and end in early July.

They said there is now also the extraordinary Southern African Development
Community summit (SADC) that will be held at a date not yet known to discuss
the political and security situation in Zimbabwe, as well as the funding of
the polls.

A special summit on Zimbabwe
SADC's secretary general Tomaz Salamão announced this week that SADC would
hold a special summit on Zimbabwe.

Although Finance Minister Tendai Biti says the country needs $132-million
for elections, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Rita Makarau is
demanding $164-million to organise the polls effectively. Biti confirmed on
Tuesday that the Cabinet had agreed on a consolidated voter registration
plan after the treasury secured $25-million for the process.

Zanu-PF insiders say Mugabe is under pressure from Zanu-PF politburo
hardliners to call for elections by June 29, which is when the tenure of the
coalition government expires.

The SADC-appointed facilitator for Zimbabwe's political dialogue, South
African President Jacob Zuma, met Mugabe on Sunday during the African Union
General Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss preparations for the
special summit.

A SADC troika summit held in South Africa recently demanded that Zimbabwe
first adopt critical reforms, including the controversial security sector
reforms, before the elections take place.

Negotiators say, in addition to these political issues, there is also a lot
of legal work that needs to be completed before elections.

Amendments to law
"While politicians are talking as if general elections will be held any day
from now, the reality is there are still a lot of issues which need to be
taken care of before poll dates can be announced," a senior MDC-T negotiator

"Now that there is a new Constitution, we are still negotiating amendments
to the Electoral Act to accommodate proportional representation introduced
by the new Constitution, election of senators to represent people with
disabilities, take into consideration new time limits on proclamation of
election dates and polling day, the transfer of election results between
polling centres and factor in challenges to the validity of the next
presidential election results."

A Zanu-PF negotiator explained that under the new Constitution 60 senators,
60 members of the National Assembly and 80 members of provincial councils
will be elected by a system of proportional representation based on the
votes cast for constituency members of the National Assembly.

"The current Electoral Act makes no provision for proportional
representation and will have to be amended extensively to take this into
account. Even thresholds on proportional representation and party lists will
have to be negotiated," he said.

"In addition, the new senate will have two senators specially elected to
represent persons with disabilities. How they will be elected and even the
definition of persons with disabilities will have to be set out in the
amended Electoral Act," the negotiator said.

Asked for comment, a senior official of the smaller MDC party involved in
the ongoing negotiations said one provision in the new Constitution alone
makes Mugabe's election date demands impossible.

Time limits
"Clause 157(3) of the new Constitution requires nomination day in every
election to be at least 14 days after proclamation of the election date, and
at least 30 days before the polling day," he said.

"These time limits will have to be incorporated into Section 38 of the
Electoral Act, which will make it impossible to have elections by the end of
next month."

Furthermore, negotiators say the Electoral Act as currently configured is
vague and inconsistent on how and when election results must be transferred
between electoral centres from ward to constituency on a provincial and
national level. This ambiguity, lawmakers say, must be clarified to remove
the inconsistencies.

'There are two reasons why immediate legislative amendments are needed. The
first is that the next general elections will be held in accordance with the
new Constitution, and the Electoral Act will have to be amended to align it
to the new Constitution before the polls are held," an MDC-T negotiator

"The second reason is that the provisions of the new Constitution, which
come into operation immediately, will trigger changes to several other
statutes. "For instance, the Urban Councils Act and the Rural District
Councils Act must be amended before the elections to remove the power of the
minister of local government to appoint councillors because under the new
Constitution all councillors will have to be elected. For the same reason,
the ministerial notices laying down the number of councillors in each
council will have to be amended."

Another negotiator said: "Since the registrar general and his officials will
be obliged to apply the new provisions when dealing with applications for
identity cards, voter registration and passports, there should be less
bureaucracy. However, the president will not be able to issue a proclamation
calling the next elections before all these things are done."

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Mugabe makes his first official visit to Japan in 20 years

By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
31 May 2013

In what has been seen in ZANU PF circles as a major diplomatic coup,
President Robert Mugabe arrived in Japan on Friday where he will meet that
country’s Premier for the first time in more than 20 years.

Mugabe is expected to hold talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and
also participate in the high-level Fifth Tokyo International Conference on
African Development (Ticad) which is held every five years.

The Independent newspaper reports that Mugabe is accompanied by a large
entourage of 50 officials, at a cost running into millions of dollars and
wholly funded by Zimbabwe’s Treasury.

According to the state-run Herald newspaper, the Japanese asked for the
meeting, which will be Mugabe’s first direct talks with that country’s
leader in more than 20 years. His last meeting with a Japanese leader was in

“He will be one of a few leaders that Abe will be meeting on the sidelines
of Ticad, and strongly signals renewed Japanese interest in Zimbabwe, on one
hand, and Tokyo’s desire to normalise relations, on the other,” the Herald

Although Japan did not impose sanctions on the ZANU PF regime over human
rights abuses, it followed the West in withdrawing direct aid to the Mugabe
government, and channeled this through foreign-aid agencies.

In a litany of grievances, the Herald wrote on Friday: “Tokyo also quietly
discouraged Japanese businesses from investing in Zimbabwe and similarly
imposed a travel ban on Japanese tourists to Zimbabwe at some point.”

Mugabe’s trip to Japan follows that by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last
year July, which some analysts interpreted as an indication that Tokyo was
keen to re-engage Harare in view of the formation of the unity government.

The visits by both Tsvangirai and Mugabe have also been seen in the context
of Sino-Japanese relations, with Japan anxious to resuscitate its presence
in Africa amid growing Chinese influence on the continent.

Political analyst Clifford Mashiri said Mugabe’s visit, at a time when the
US and EU have tried to re-engage with the Mugabe-led government after more
than a decade of stand-offs, shows that the western powers are keen to
resolve the Zimbabwean issue and move on.

“We have seen these countries rewarding Mugabe for very cosmetic reforms,
including agreeing to the GNU. Re-embracing Mugabe is also partly driven by
a realization by these countries that they are losing out on Zimbabwe’s rich
mineral resources to China.

“But Mugabe should also realise that this trip has been made courtesy of the
GNU, as was the removal of sanctions by the EU and Australia,” Mashiri said.

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Air Zimbabwe sends 600 workers home

30/05/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

AIR Zimbabwe this week suspended 600 workers, drastically reducing its
bloated workforce in a bid to return to viability.

A company spokesperson said the struggling airline was now operating with a
skeletal staff of about 300, down from a previous complement of more than

“In order to rebuild the route network, offer professional competitive
services on flights, increase financial returns and build a strong passenger
base for the benefit of all stakeholders, the company has had to send over
600 employees on vacation leave,” Shingai Taruvinga, the airline’s
spokesperson said.

“A skeletal staff complement of 307 shall be retained for operations while
the rest of the staff shall be sent on vacation leave to facilitate
streamlined operations and optimum use of personnel for the next six months,
at which point the airline will review progress.”

Air Zimbabwe is struggling with debts in excess of US$100 million and
various other operational problems worsened by an ageing fleet.
The government offered to take over the debts on condition the company
reduced its staffing levels which were also blamed for frustrating
privatisation efforts.

“Air Zimbabwe has a bloated workforce of about 1,400 employees against
ageing equipment and operational assets,” Transport Minister, Nicholas Goche
said last year.

“The equipment is old and faces breakdown, revenue earned through this
equipment does not match the expenditure levels of Air Zimbabwe.

“Therefore, there is a compelling need for retrenchment since Air Zimbabwe
is always having a huge deficit. There is need for a retrenchment exercise,
starting with those that have agreed to be retrenched.”

The company was also forced to suspend flights to South Africa and the
United Kingdom in 2011 after aircraft were seized in Johannesburg and London
over unpaid debts.

The government recently leased two Airbus A320 aircraft as part of a bid to
improve the company’s fleet.

However, one of the jets was grounded in Johannesburg after a bird struck
and cracked its windscreen.

Taruvinga said repairs had since been carried out, adding the aircraft was
now expected back in the country.

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Young Turks make a mark in MDC-T primaries

By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
31 May 2013

The MDC-T primary elections have been held in seven provinces so far and
have witnessed some of the party’s old guard being swept away by the young
turks, amid fears more established parliamentarians could be the next to
fall in the remaining five provinces.

So far 20 legislators, including heavyweights such as former cabinet
minister Fidelis Mhashu, and serving minister Heneri Dzinoytiwei, have not
been confirmed and are due to face the younger generation in the primaries
set for next week.

There has also been tension in the MDC-T with sitting candidates resisting
challenges from the youths, fearing an immediate end to their political

A similar storm is brewing in President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF, with the
party’s old guard reportedly resisting challenges from younger members of
the party. The former ruling party is yet to agree on its rules and
regulations for its primary elections.

The MDC-T has however successfully held its internal elections in Harare,
Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, the two Matabeleland provinces, Midlands North and
South. On Friday, the process moved to Mashonaland East with elections in
Mashonaland Central set for Saturday and Mashonaland West on Sunday.

Elections in Masvingo and Manicaland (the two provinces that delivered the
most parliamentary seats for the party outside Harare metropolitan) will
take place next weekend.

It is however the outcome of the primaries in Midlands North and South
provinces that showed the old guard being routed by candidates below the
ages of 35 years.

At least 180 party youths received the go ahead to contest the primary
elections alongside 1,200 other parliamentary candidates during the vetting
process, and many of them have won.

Speaking just after the nominations, national organizing secretary Nelson
Chamisa said the party approved an overwhelming number of youths to
participate in the internal election, to prove that it was a party for the

Among the most notable younger members to sail through the primaries is
youth assembly President Solomon Madzore, Chamisa (who was unchallenged)
Thamsanqa Mahlangu who was also unchallenged in Nkulumane, Settlement
Chikwinya (Mbizo) and Amos Chibaya (Mkoba), who were both confirmed.

On Thursday the deputy organizing secretary of the youth assembly, Happy
Chidziva, won the primaries in Redcliff and University of Zimbabwe student
Joshua Chinyerere made it in Gokwe central as did the youthful pair of
Sibongile Nkomo in Gokwe-Kana and Patrick Musevenzo in Muzwezwe, in the
Midlands North province.

Promise Mkwananzi, the youth assembly secretary-general, told SW Radio
Africa on Friday that the victories by members of the assembly and the
younger generation in the primaries is a clear indication they have what it
takes to lead the country.

‘We are the leaders of Zimbabwe’s tomorrow and this can only augur well for
a nation with the majority of population under the age 45. We expect more
young turks to do well in the remaining provinces, something that we set out
to do before this process began,’ Mkwananzi said.

It’s expected that it will be the young people between the ages of 18 and 35
who could make the difference in the forthcoming harmonized elections. Both
the MDC-T and ZANU PF parties are making it a priority to reach out to the
young voters.

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Zimbabwe Teachers Seek State Protection

Taurai Shava

GWERU — With national elections expected sometime this year, some teachers
say it is essential for the government to take measures that will help
protect them, especially those in the rural areas; to ensure they do not
become victims of political violence as has happened during previous polls.

The teachers’ sentiments come after Education Minister David Coltart’s
pronouncements during a recent tour of schools in the Midlands province’s
Silobela district.

Responding to a question on what measures his ministry is taking to protect
teachers from political violence, Coltart said “politics must stay out of

He revealed that government is finalizing a raft of regulations that will
help ensure teachers are protected.

While welcoming the move, Obert Masararure, a teacher at Sibangani Secondary
School in Silobela told VOA that government must walk the talk as making
regulations that are not enforced would still leave teachers vulnerable.

“We really welcome such a move and we hope it is not just something that is
put on paper and not be fully implemented because in Zimbabwe we now have a
history of things that were written down and were never followed up, said

He said though the government mad agreements in the GPA there were still to
be fulfilled.

Another teacher, who asked not to be named for fear of victimization, also
welcomed the new regulations aimed at protecting teachers from being targets
of political victimization and harassment.

He urged the government to implement the regulations immediately, adding
“that one is a positive development but we are saying if they can fine-tune
it and quickly implement it that would benefit the nation.”

In past elections, scores of teachers in various localities across the
country have fallen to political violence with some of them being maimed or
killed and others having to flee from their schools.

Masaraure says the government must also improve the living conditions for
the country’s teachers, especially those in the rural areas.

“If you look at the salaries of teachers and other civil servants, they
remain pathetic. But the plight of the rural teacher is much worse than most
of these civil servants; it’s like by choosing to be a rural teacher you
become one of the most disadvantaged people because you are not only
separated from your family but from the world itself as you cannot access
the internet; you cannot have electricity; you cannot have clean water.

Masaraure said at the end of the day what government can only give you as
rural allowance is pathetic, at only $12.

Minister Coltart said he is aware of the problems that rural teachers face.
He said his ministry is doing all it can to change things on the ground as
it recognizes that teachers are the most important resource in a nation’s
education system.

“Unfortunately we have allowed the status of teachers to drop that’s why we
see our teacher-training colleges not attracting the brightest brains out of
our high schools; that has to change,” said Coltart

He added if the ministry has a vision for a prosperous nation, the key would
be in the education sector and by revitalizing the status of teachers

During the Silobela visit Coltart also announced the start of the second
phase of the Education Transition Fund which focuses on rehabilitation and
construction of school infrastructure.

The program with a $60 million sponsorship from UNICEF began this week with
a pilot project in Goromonzi district just outside Harare and is expected to
be rolled out to the rest of the country next year.

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Telecel warned as licence fee tops $137m

30/05/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

THE government has hiked operator fees for mobile phone companies to US$137m
with Econet Wireless’ application for renewal of its licence under the new
terms having already been approved.

Telecel Zimbabwe has however been warned that its licence may be revoked
unless the company complies with the country’s empowerment legislation.

Econet’s and Telecel’s licences are up for renewal this year while the
state-owned Net-One’s permit must renew its own permit next year.

Transport and Communications Minister Nicholas Goche would not comment
Thursday on whether the licence fee hike, from the previous US$100 million,
was related to government efforts to raise funds for new elections.

“The license fees have increased from US$100 million for a 15 year tenure to
US$137,5 million for 20 years. How we use the money is none of anyone’s
business,” Goche told reporters in Harare.

“Mobile operators will still pay an annual license fee of two percent of
their annual gross turnover. Operators will also pay 0,5 percent of the
annual gross turnover to the Universal Service Fund.

“The license will cover the range of services that are commonly referred to
as 2G through to 3G. Companies will also pay frequency spectrum fees in
accordance with their different requirements of that limited national

Goche said Econet Wireless, the country’s largest mobile telecoms operator
had already applied to have its licence approved under the new terms.

“Econet Wireless, the largest telecoms firm in Zimbabwe, has already applied
for a license renewal on the new terms, had it approved, and a 20 year
license issued,” he said.

The minister however, warned Telecel Zimbabwe that its licence would not be
renewed until the company restructured its ownership in terms of the country’s
indigenisation laws.

Egypt-based Orascom owns 60 percent of the company with the balance held by
local investors.
"They must meet the conditions they were asked to meet, they must go back to
the original position of 60-40 with Empowerment Corporation once they meet
that position there will be no problem,” said Goche.

"There pressure is on them (to address the shareholding anomaly). If they
don't do that I will not renew their licence. The ball is in the court (as
their licence is about to expire)."

Under the country’s empowerment laws foreign companies cannot own more than
49 percent of their Zimbabwe operations.

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Gossip, Crude Revelations Grip Zimbabwe Social Media Sphere

Gibbs Dube

WASHINGTON — Salacious gossip and sometimes crude revelations, usually
denigrating President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party have become the order of
the day on Facebook as a social media construct, Baba Jukwa or father of
Jukwa, has taken center stage in dissecting the country’s hidden past,
corruption and the electoral process in the run up to the 2013 general

This has unsettled some in the former ruling party. Millions of Zimbabweans
use Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. With more than 80,000 followers, Baba
Jukwa is one of the millions engaged in social media debates on this year’s
general elections and related issues concerning Zimbabwe.

Though Baba Jukwa’s identity remains a mystery, there is no doubt that this
Facebook character, describing himself as a concerned father fighting
nepotism, and directly linking the community with its leaders , is currently
leading the debate on Zimbabwe’s 2013 elections on the social media
platform – Facebook.

He is not alone as millions of Zimbabweans are on various social media
platforms which have become a contested public sphere.

For Bulawayo Agenda Communications manager, Mmeli Dube, this is part of
Zimbabwe’s democratization process.

First-time Facebook enthusiast, Mukoma Mike of Masvingo agreed, noting that
people are using social media platforms to disseminate a lot of information
about this year’s expected general elections.

He said some of the information being disseminated by members of the public
is unsettling some political parties.

Another Zimbabwean, Bekithemba Nkomo, of Victoria Falls believes that
WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media platforms enable the public to
scrutinize the country’s electoral process.

Nkomo said it is now difficult for political parties to disseminate
unfiltered information at a time when many people, especially in urban
areas, are moving away from the traditional media.

He believes that WhatsApp appears to be dominating the social media sphere
with millions of Zimbabweans posting interactive election messages and other

Critics say it is difficult to measure the impact of social media messages
on the electorate though they agree that social media platforms are playing
a critical role in highlighting various issues as Zimbabwe prepares for
crucial polls.

According to Clifford Mashiri, a social anthropologist and PHD candidate at
South London University, there is no doubt that such media have become part
of Zimbabwe’s political system.

And for social media constructs Baba Jukwa and his opponent, the pro ZANU PF
Amai Jukwa or mother of Jukwa, with almost 20 thousand followers on
Facebook, the battle continues in the social media sphere for pocketing
ordinary people’s votes in the forthcoming general elections.

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Zimbabwe's health care system, adding insult to injury
Published on : 31 May 2013 - 5:00am
On the blog beat

Onai Petra Abote is a Zimbabwean freelance broadcast journalist. Close to her heart are human interest and health stories affecting the daily lives of Zimbabweans. She is also a Radio Netherlands Training Center alumnus. Follow her on Twitter: @onaijournalist.

RNW's Africa Desk is proud to feature as part of its content local bloggers who have a knack for expressing their unique perspectives, independent thoughts and engaging stories. The opinions written here are those of the author and not intended to reflect those of RNW as an institution.

As her husband prepares to undergo surgery, our blogger reflects on Zimbabwe’s health care system. And she doesn’t like what she sees.

By Onai Petra Abote, Harare

It’s February and my husband is on his way back to our office from a press conference. He gets into a taxi. It's stopped at a red light and a kombi rams into the taxi head-on. This in itself is no big surprise – police operations endeavouring to control these public transport operators are a recent source of mayhem in Harare – but you can imagine the horror of hearing my husband is in a car accident.

To put me at ease, a family friend who calls says my husband suffered “minor injuries”: just a dislocated arm. This was not so. For months now, he has been walking around with a broken left humerus. Because the fracture is close to the shoulder, he requires surgery.

A Harare-based government hospital said the medical fees, covering surgery and admission, would amount to US$ 2,150; a private clinic quoted us US$ 3,190 for the same service. If you don’t have medical insurance in Zimbabwe, method of payment is cash. There is no room for negotiation of terms.

Now, operating our own business, a TV and audio production company, in the Zimbabwean economy is not easy. We’ve been surviving hand to mouth and can barely pay bills; this has resulted in our not having any medical insurance. To make matters worse, neither the taxi nor the kombi had any insurance. To this day, they have failed to contribute anything towards my husband’s injury.

Pregnancy woes
But the sorry state of affordable medical treatment in Zimbabwe doesn’t only affect people who fall victim to unforeseen circumstances.

Not long ago, my pregnant friend Debra stops by. To my surprise, she arrives at my house with a small travel bag. Upon enquiring what’s inside, I see a small blanket and a warm tracksuit. Turns out, she had left her house at 4 a.m. to stand in a queue that would enable her to access prenatal care at the provincial hospital. Why did she leave so early, I wonder. She tells me that on any one day the nursing staff gives away ten maternal and neonatal health record cards. This document is what she’ll need to show for all her upcoming prenatal visits. Yet once the nursing staff have given out ten cards, they will stop issuing them and turn to other maternity cases, such as check-ups.

Although the government said they scrapped maternity fees at all government institutions, some clinics still charge consultation fees. Others require expectant mothers to come in with their own cotton wool and methylated spirit. In some reports, pregnant women have had to bring along a 25-litre container of water and candles; hospitals are not immune to water cuts and power outages have become somewhat of a norm in Zimbabwe.


It was Debra’s third attempt at this escapade. This time she was lucky enough to get the card. She was also fortunate to have ridden in a taxi and to have warm clothes and juice on hand. But what of that woman barely surviving? The expectant mother , who cannot afford the private clinics and hospitals, who will have to walk for over an hour to the hospital only to be that twelfth woman who is turned away?

Never-ending waiting lists
Debra’s and my husband’s experiences are just a couple personal observations in the space of three months. I have heard of many cancer patients who spend months on end on a waiting list to undergo chemotherapy. Others do not live to see this day. They die in the waiting.

This is what Zimbabweans must deal with when it comes to their health and well-being. The country’s political uncertainty and unemployment rate of over 80 percent does not make the situation any better. It is no wonder thousands flee the country in search of greener pastures. Theirs is a quest to live a better life. But, to me, a better life simply means going to work, earning enough to send the children to school, being able to afford to pay all bills, including health insurance, and saving. As each day passes, the average Zimbabwean struggles – and often fails – to achieve this.

As we now prepare for my husband’s surgery, I sincerely wouldn’t wish what we have gone through on anyone. And I hope Zimbabwe’s health service system improves…soon.

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Diaspora Diaries transcript on the fatal shooting in Diepsloot

Thuthani ‘Suppa Star’ Ndlovu

Alex Bell speaks to Thabani Ndlovu and  the MDC-T’s branch chairman for Diepsloot, Innocent Jeke

28 May 2013

Go to the podcast

 Alex Bell speaks to a colleague of one of two Zimbabwean men shot and killed in the Diepsloot area in South Africa on Sunday night, who was at the scene at the time of the shooting. Thabani Ndlovu describes how the shooter first fired shots at him, before turning the gun on Thuthani ‘Suppa Star’ Ndlovu, killing him. Alex also speaks to the MDC-T’s branch chairman for Diepsloot, Innocent Jeke, who describes how there was chaos after the shooting, with foreign owned shops being looted and people being ‘attacked’.

Alex Bell: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to Diaspora Diaries on SW Radio Africa, your independent voice. I’m Alex Bell and thank you for joining me on the show this evening. Tonight we hear more details about a fatal shooting in South Africa’s Diepsloot informal settlement on Sunday night, that left two Zimbabwean nationals dead and at least four other people injured. The incident took place after six o’clock on Sunday evening and the shooter, said to be of Somalian descent, has been arrested.

The two Zimbabweans who died are an as of yet unnamed Diepsloot resident, and Thuthani ‘Suppa Star’ Ndlovu, from the rumba group Mlambos Express Band. Thuthani and his band mates were busy promoting their music in Diepsloot at the time of the shooting.

Well, my first guest is one of the band’s members, Thabani Ndlovu who was at the scene of the shooting. Thabani, thank you so much for your time and our deepest condolences to you. What actually happened on Sunday?

Thabani Ndlovu: Yah what actually happened – we are a rumba band and we went to promote in Diepsloot. People had been calling us to Diepsloot for a very long time, wanting us to come and, because we perform in the street and people buy our CDs and DVDs. So we went to Diepsloot Mall where we had our promotion until around 6 o’clock. When we finished there, we decided because we still had a few CDs left, we decided to set the music on top of our van and then drive around the streets of Diepsloot actually announcing the CD because it is a new CD that we just released and then people will buy from us. So as we were driving, a lot of people were stopping us, a lot of people stopped us and then we would stop on the side of the road, sell the CD and then drive again. If someone stops us again, stop, sell the CD and drive again and this last stop, one person stopped us and then we pulled off the road which was right in front of a shop actually that is owned by a gentleman who looks Asian. I cannot tell you he is Pakistan or he is actually, I cannot tell you but he has got the, he is an Asian gentleman. So as we were parked there selling the other CD, I got out of the car. As I got out of the car, he confronted me asking me to move my vehicle – how dare I park a vehicle in front of his shop and I tried to explain to him ‘no, no, we’re only selling one CD and then we are proceeding’. But no he went haywire. He was like – “why, why you buggers, tell me my friend, move your car out of there, move your car.” And you know it was getting ugly so I thought, but I am going anyway, but why shout? Yarrah, when I asked him that he took out his gun, straight from his left hand and he took a shot at me.

I don’t know how I survived but I spinned around and then I threw myself onto the ground and started rolling, running away from him. Some that saw him say that he followed me when I was rolling but he didn’t shoot me from the ground. I don’t know why but immediately he turned his gun to one of my, the band leader. I am the band manager, the band leader is the one who does the singing and everything, he turned his gun to him but that guy was too fast for him – he ran around the vehicle and disappeared into the crowd from the other side and then what he did is he tried to follow him but not seeing him because it was almost dark, it was after six. When he couldn’t find him he came straight onto the people that were sitting on the back of the truck you know there were two guys that still were remaining there. I would like to think maybe they didn’t hear what was happening, they didn’t even hear the first shot because the music was obviously loud at the back and they were talking on the speaker. I don’t think they were concentrating, I don’t think that they knew that there was a problem that’s why they remained on the thing so he took a shot, he actually took two shots.

He shot the guy who died, our band member who passed away Thuthani Ndlovu, he shot him on the chest just above the heart and then he took another shot to our elder of the band. You know we have got an old man in our band who formed this band, so he took a shot at him but he missed. I think he wanted to shoot him on the head like he tried to shoot me on the head and maybe the head moves like that but the bullet passed right in front of the eyes of this old man, he saw the bullet went passed but the powder of the bullet went into his eyes so he couldn’t see, the poison till he went to the clinic.

So then after he had done that, he went round the back, he went and stood in front of his shop now looking at who else was there so that he could shoot maybe, because now I was watching from the crowd now. And then he came around where he had already shot dead a man, this man, this man was still sitting upright, I think he was already dead at that time, he grabbed hold of his tee-shirt, he pulled him down hitting his head against the speaker that was in front of him. This is still on top of the vehicle, so this guy of ours actually hit his head on his knees. So when we saw that he was not getting up we knew maybe he was dead. I was already busy trying to call the police and calling the ambulances. When they came they realized that he was already dead.

But you see when this guy did that, after he did the shooting he went straight into his shop and he closed the door and locked it from inside. So now people charged and they came closer and they started knocking at his door – but why did you kill him, come out, why did you kill him, come out.They were like knocking with their fists before they threw even one stone they were knocking with their fists at the door. But they were knocking hopelessly from what I know about people there, they were like hopeless but they were like knocking, with fists on the doors there, trying to get him, to ask him to come out. After ten minutes he opened that small window where he can sell from. When he opened that window he shouted at people, people dispersed. As they were dispersing he started shooting again – bang, bang, bang, bang – and he shot something like six shots in that instance. Actually people now started running, stamping on each other and two people remained on the floor. One was already shot on the head, one was shot on the arm and he pointed the gun to the one who was shot in the arm who was still leaning against the wall of his shop, he stuck out, he came out with half of body and he was talking to him, pointing a gun to him as if he was going to shoot him again but he didn’t shoot him again, he went straight back inside and he locked again.

Basically that’s what happened so now two people were killed and then four others were wounded. One was shot on the knee, one was shot on the arm, the knee of the arm, one was shot on the chin and then these three didn’t die. The one, the fourth one I didn’t see where he disappeared to but I heard that there was another rasta man who was also shot.

AB: And did the police come? Did they arrest this shop owner?

TN: Yes. The first police van arrived but when that van arrived, people were already starting to throw stones onto the door of that thing (the shop), they were hitting the, they were now hitting the door of the shop with stones, obviously they were very, very angry now. But the police van came very quickly and then I think the police officer just fired a warning shot or something like that. As people dispersed he, I don’t know how he did it but the next thing I saw, he got that man out of the shop and he snapped him and threw him into the back of his van and I could see he was kicking his feet at the police van door with his feet so now the police were kicking feet so that he put them inside and then he locked him and sped off with the guy. We thought maybe it was a game, maybe they were rescuing him from being arrested but no we realized later that definitely the guy was arrested.

AB: Well that was Thabani Ndlovu. He was one of the members of the Mlambos Express Band whose band leader Thuthani ‘Suppa Star’ Ndlovu was shot and killed in an incident in Diepsloot. Now there is a memorial service happening for Thuthani at the Hillbrow Recreational Centre on Wednesday and if anyone would like more information, they can find more details on the Mlambos Express Band Facebook page. You can also go online to and we have more details there. Well I’m joined now by Innocent Jeke who is the MDC-T branch chairman in the Diepsloot area. Mr Jeke, thank you for speaking with SW Radio Africa – what has been happening in Diepsloot?

Innocent Jeke: Right the situation is devastating because these people they were promoting their music in Diepsloot, but they came from Zimbabwe. So what happened is on Sunday it was around half past six to seven at night, in the evening they went to some Somalian shops and they parked their car there and one of the guys entered into the shop, and I don’t know what happened afterwards. Then there was some misunderstanding there because the Somalian says “you are playing your music at a very loud noise” since they were promoting their music, “so can you turn off your radio.” And then these guys I’m sure refused to switch off their radio and then the Somali started fighting with them and he pulled a gun and he shoot one dead at the spot. And then the other guys, the Zimbabwean was shouting, he didn’t even know what was happening there and then he was just caught up in the crossfire. That’s how it happened.

AB: So it’s just the two guys but they weren’t actually together? The one guy was just a passerby?

IJ: Yah unfortunately one guy was just passing through, he didn’t know that there is something which is going on and he was Zimbabwean born, so they were not with these other guys.

AB: And how is the community reacting? First of all are there a lot of Zimbabweans in the Diepsloot area and how have they reacted to this news?

IJ: People reacted, we, because we are also foreigners in South Africa so it wasn’t good for us because they end up looting the Somalian shops to force those people to close down their businesses. And we’ve got also Zimbabweans have got small businesses there and people they start looting on those, their belongings so the situation wasn’t good at all.

AB: So you are saying that there were South Africans looting or who was looting?

IJ: The South African community. They were attacking the Somalians, looting their belongings and also we got some other Zimbabweans who also have the business in the same area, they were forced to close down because of the situation.

AB: Now you have already said that the situation’s been devastating because it is two Zimbabweans killed there. What are people saying? Are people angry? Are Zimbabweans there angry by what’s happened?

IJ: Yah the Zimbabweans, because we are just worried for our situation because if you look at 2007, that’s how xenophobia started so we are treating this as xenophobia because there are some acts of criminality in between the story. Because we cannot rule the issues of xenophobia out in this story because there is some elements of xenophobia in this case.

AB: Have there been other cases of xenophobia recently? We know that there have still been lots of concern about xenophobia since 2008 but have there been recent incidents of xenophobic origins?

IJ: Yah in 2008 they started looting in Somalian shops and then after looting in Somalian shops they started looking for all other foreigners and they end up affecting all foreigners in South Africa. So we are just scared because we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow so we’re just on the lookout.

AB: And have the South African police been helpful? Have they been helping you guys?

IJ: Yah they have been helping because they were closely monitoring the situation. But now the problem is, people didn’t stop looting until 2 ‘o clock a.m. in the morning today (Tuesday) so that was helpful because there were no casualties and such and all other things only that people were looting.

AB: So the looting – did it start after the shooting?

IJ: Yah the looting started after the looting so I’m sure it was just a reaction, or people they were emotional or whatever and some elements of xenophobia. People take advantage of the situation, they start looting and it spreads to the whole district. So we forced all Somalians to close their shops and migrate to other places where there’s no violence.

AB: And are you expecting that there’ll be more violence this evening or later in the week? Is that a concern?

IJ: We don’t know for now because the police have been monitoring so during the day there’s no problems. We are just waiting, at around nine in the evening and if it is quiet then that means it has calmed down.

AB: Well that was Innocent Jeke, he’s the MDC-T’s branch chairman in the Diepsloot area in South Africa and we’ll have more details of this story as we head through the week so stay tuned to SW Radio Africa. Find us on Twitter and on Facebook and you’ll see all our updates there. For now though we’ve come to the end of Diaspora Diaries. Don’t forget at any time if you’d like to leave your thoughts or your opinions you can email me directly on Well that’s my turn to say goodnight, thank you very much for joining me, I’ll be back at the same time next week.


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Zimbabwe - Land Reform. How Successful?

By Professor Tony Hawkins, University of Zimbabwe


Published in the May 2013 issue of Welt-Sichten, Germany


The success or otherwise of land resettlement in Zimbabwe cannot be judged by how many people are on the land now, but by what is produced, what incomes are earned and whether the economy as a whole benefitted.  Hanlon – an apologist for Zanu-PF’s chaotic politically-driven land programme – is either unaware of, or ignores, this crucial point.


It is just one of numerous flaws in his article in which he works hard to avoid confusing his readers with the facts on output, productivity, imports and their macroeconomic implications.  In 2000 – the year in which the Fast Track Land Reform (FTLR) took off, Zimbabwe farms produced 3.7 million tonnes of output (excluding estate-grown sugar)). In 2012, the Ministry of Finance estimated output at less than half that (1.7 million tonnes) and just two months ago, the government estimated  a 20% fall in plantings for the 2013 season that will translate into lower output this year.


Food and livestock production (excluding beef) collapsed from three million tonnes in 2000 to 1.3 million tonnes 12 years later, with cereal output down 55 percent at 1.1 million tonnes. The country that consumes over two million tonnes of cereals a year and that, prior to land resettlement, was largely self-sufficient in foodstuffs and a substantial exporter of farm produce, now  imports some $650 million of food a year, increasing to $731 million in 2012 or 11 percent of total imports.


Understandably given that he is writing a party-political polemic, not serious journalism, Hanlon fails to mention these inconvenient truths preferring to focus on some extremely dubious employment and farm occupation data.  According to Hanlon “white farmers” employed “about 250 000” workers. In fact, employment on formal sector farms (as distinct from “white” farms, whatever a “white” farm was) peaked in 1997 at over 350 000 workers and averaged over 330 000 a year right through the 1990s. Such clumsy disregard for the facts typifies his approach. 


The latest annual figure (2010) shows a total formal farming sector figure of 388 000 – the bulk of whom (287 000) were employed on resettled farms. A further 101 000 were employed on large scale commercial farms, or in Hanlon’s racist terminology “white” farms.  In fact, these are not “white” farms at all, but properties owned by the state, by local and foreign corporates and by Zimbabweans of all races.


These data show that between 2000 and 2010, a total 224 000 jobs were lost on large-scale commercial farms (Hanlon’s “white” farms) while 287 000 jobs were created on resettled farms – a net gain of 63 000 jobs in ten years or 6 000 a year, during which time the population of Zimbabwe increased by one and a half million people. Hardly a measure of success of which Zimbabwe can be proud.


Numerous other inconvenient truths spoil Hanlon’s Zanu-PF panegyric. World Bank data that he quotes with approval show that agricultural value added in constant 2000 prices in 2010 was lower than at Independence in 1980 and less than half its peak in 2001. Output per worker in agriculture rose by a third between 1980 and 2001 but by 2010 had fallen 56 percent. Then there are the latest wage numbers which show that farm workers on resettled farms earn between a third and a half of those employed on large-scale commercial farms, while taken across agriculture as a whole, the average wage is less than 10 percent of the non-farm average.


Just how Hanlon et al can conclude from these data that land resettlement has been a success is best left for them to explain. But this aspect aside, their arguments need to be viewed in a developmental context. One might have hoped that Hanlon’s affiliation with the London School of Economics would have opened his eyes to this. Sadly not.


For a start, economic analysis that focuses on a particular industry or sector to the exclusion of all others – as Hanlon’s does – is seriously misleading. Hanlon’s analysis ignores the spillover effects of land resettlement elsewhere in the economy.  The fact is that – regardless of how many people found poorly-paid jobs in agriculture - land reform sparked a 40 percent decline in Zimbabwe’s GDP. By mid-2012, non-farm formal sector employment at around 800 000 was 250 000 less than in the late 1990s, four times the gains in agriculture claimed by Hanlon. In 2012, per capita incomes at constant prices were one-third lower than in 2000 and even below their 1960 levels. (World Bank database).


After 2000, national savings and net investment turned negative as incomes plummeted and investors took fright at the disregard of property rights and the rule of law, which of course, extended to the conduct of elections in 2002 and 2008. Another inconvenience left unmentioned by Hanlon.


Manufacturing and agriculture in Zimbabwe were – still are – closely integrated. The collapse in farm output (ignored by Hanlon) is mirrored by Zimbabwe’s de-industrialization. Manufacturing output – in volume terms – was lower in 2012 than in 1980 and two-thirds below its peak. Land resettlement far from putting Zimbabwe on a developmental path has thrust it onto a minerals-driven resource path, whereby the economy continues to de-industrialize.


During the process of economic development typically labour shifts from agriculture to manufacturing and services.  One of the drivers of Chinese growth, for example, has been the shift of surplus workers out of low-productivity farming into higher productivity sectors of the economy.  Land resettlement in Zimbabwe has had the precisely opposite effect, thereby perpetuating low productivity and incomes in agriculture. Over time employment in agriculture, as a proportion of the total, must – and will- fall, if productivity and living standards are to rise.


Worse, his article shows no understanding of the modern role of agri-business as distinct from agriculture aside from his reference to contract farming – a model which itself is plagued with numerous problems as anyone engaged in cotton or tobacco in Zimbabwe will attest.


What Hanlon sees in purely racial terms – taking back land from whites - was much more than that. Land resettlement switched resources -  workers and capital - from a relatively high-productivity commercial farm sector, able to develop agribusiness linkages with manufacturers and retailers in Zimbabwe and abroad, to a low productivity, smallholder sector where the difficulties of building such links are far greater. In agriculture, value-addition is concentrated at the downstream end of the value chain and unless farmers can participate in value chains they will be left behind. Hanlon’s failure to even mention the devastating impact of land resettlement on industrial production and thereby on value-addition highlights his political and racist myopia.


Leaving aside such tiresome economic realities, perhaps the most depressing aspect of Hanlon’s work is his blithe disregard of institutional economics.  If Hanlon and his ilk are to be believed, corruption, the rule of law, democracy and human rights have no role to play in the development process.

The fact that 13 years after the land reform programme, the same men and women – in politics, business, government and the security services – are using precisely the same language and arguments to justify expropriation of mines and businesses, is studiously ignored. 


By condoning if not glorifying such conduct, Hanlon et al have demonstrated that in their view the end justifies the means. In the process, they ignore the 60 percent of the Zimbabwe population that live in poverty and the 50 percent (minimum) formally unemployed while simultaneously demonstrating their ignorance of the crucial role of strong institutions in the development process.


Quite what Hanlon’s article was meant to achieve is far from clear. Is it just a plug for his book? Is it intended to win votes for Zanu-PF at the forthcoming election? Revisionism of this kind might be good for selling books or even winning votes but it adds nothing to the serious debate about the role of agriculture - and more specifically smallholder agriculture - in economic development in the new normal global economy of today. A sorry comment not just on Hanlon’s journalism but indeed on the LSE.




Tony Hawkins is Professor of Economics at the Graduate School of Management at the University of Zimbabwe.

Contact e-mail:


This article was published in the May 2013 issue of Welt-Sichten


"Welt-Sichten" explains the background to global political issues and focuses attention on emerging and developing countries. Each month, the magazine offers analyses, reports and interviews on a broad range of topics: from the global economy and development policy to climate change and environmental protection, peace issues and the role of the church and religions. "Welt-Sichten" is published by the Verein für entwicklungspolitische Publizistik, comprising seven Protestant and Catholic development organisations based in Germany and Switzerland.




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Let's “spruce up Mugabe’s image”

May 31, 2013, 2:09 pm

Apparently South Africans are about to be treated to a specially televised
visit to Zimbabwe’s State House to witness the Mugabe family ‘at home’,
looking and behaving just like any other family in the land. It’s all part
of a plan to “spruce up Mugabe’s image” and it’s not the first time it has
been tried. So, he and Grace are gathered around the dining table where they
and their children chat and reminisce about the past like any other family –
or that’s the impression they want to give but, of course, they are not like
any other African couple. The spotless white napery and the ‘family silver’
are not exactly typical of how African families live in the high density
suburbs where there may not even be water or power. It’s hard to believe
that anyone will be taken in by this attempt to revive Mugabe’s image. The
fact that he is an ordinary family man does not exclude the possibility of
another less endearing side of him – even Hitler loved dogs! Mugabe is the
consummate politician whose past shows that he will stop at nothing to keep
Zanu PF and himself in power. Perhaps it is not his own people that Mugabe
is interested in impressing but the outside world. We are told he is very
concerned with his ‘legacy’ these days which I take to mean what will the
history books say about him? Will he be regarded as the great African leader
who brought freedom to his people suffering under the colonial yoke or will
he be seen as just another power-hungry African dictator? These days his
rhetoric is all about peace and harmony but while he talks of peace his
followers do the exact opposite and sections of his Zanu PF party are
following quite another agenda. Harare South was this week a virtual war
zone after Zanu PF attacked MDC activists and in another incident there was
a brutal attack on teachers and children at a school in Lower Gweru by a
group of thugs carrying machetes and knives. 13 people were injured, some of
them seriously. The fact that police once again failed to intervene
suggests, as the MDC’s aspiring candidate for the area commented, that “it
is our opponents who are sponsoring these unknown youths.” One of the most
tragic facts about the Zimbabwean situation is surely the use of youngsters
to commit these heinous acts of violence.

Mugabe’s Vice President Joyce Mujuru echoed the call for peace and
non-violence this week. Ironically, it was at the funeral of the notorious
CIO agent Kanengoni when she spoke words of peace. Elias Kanengoni was in
fact a convicted assassin, sentenced to seven years in gaol for shooting the
Gweru mayor Patrick Kombayi. Even then, Mugabe intervened to protect his
agent; he used his Presidential powers to free Kanengoni from prison. And
this week, Kanengoni was declared a ‘national hero’; a man who had
personally orchestrated the violence in Chiweshe which killed 14 MDC
supporters in the 2008 election campaign.

The African Union is fifty years old this year and there is much talk about
whether the continent has fulfilled Kwame Nkrumah’s dream of a united
continent. Mugabe was there in Addis Abbaba at the AU and 24 hours after his
return to Zimbabwe he flew off to Japan for an African Development
Conference, accompanied of course by his wife, Grace and all the usual
hangers-on. Africa’s development might be better served if this particular
leader stopped jetting round the world but then, perhaps he believes that
attendance at all these international events shows the world what a great
leader he is. Only time will tell but the ultimate test of any leader’s
worth is surely the state in which he leaves his people and his country.
Will Robert Mugabe pass that test?

Yours in the (continuing) struggle, Pauline Henson.

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Court Watch 6/2013 of 30th May [Glen View 29 Murder Trial: Hearing of Application for Discharge Still Pending]


[30th May 2013]

Update on Glen View 29 Murder Trial – Part 1

State v Solomon Madzore and 28 Others

Case Reminder:  In May 2011 Police Inspector Mutedza died as a result of injuries received in a scrimmage with members of the public at Glen View 3 shopping centre.  Between May and January 2012 the police arrested 29 MDC-T members and officials.  Some were released on bail, 7 of them having endured nearly 9 months in prison before release.  Solomon Madzore, the MDC-T Youth Assembly chairperson, and Paul Rukanda, a district party office-holder, were denied bail.  On 1st March they were all committed for trial when the indictment charging them with Inspector Mutedza’s murder in contravention of section 47 of the Criminal Law [Codification and Reform] Act was served on them at the magistrates court.  The committal for trial resulted in all the accused being returned to remand prison, as section 66 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [CPE Act] requires an accused person to be remanded in custody once indicted on a murder charge for trial in the High Court.

Early stages of the case were covered in detail in:

Court Watch 4/2012 of 9th March gave the circumstances of the case and followed the court appearances made by the accused from the initial arrests in May 2011 up until 1st March 2012 when the Attorney General indicted the 29 accused for trial on a murder charge, with the trial to start on 12th March; and all the accused were committed for trial and ordered held in prison pending trial.

Court Watch 5/2012 of 14th March gave an update on the defence’s application to postpone the trial from 12th March to 2nd April to allow the defence team to complete its defence case outline, and another application for release on bail for the duration of the trial. 

Court Watch 9/2012 of May 2012 outlined further developments in the case: the lodging of the defence outline and the accuseds’ continued stay in remand prison waiting for the start of their trial and a decision on bail.

Developments since March 2012

Delayed start of trial: 4th June  Although set down to start on 12th March, the trial did not start on that day and the accused did not plead to the indictment.  The defence applied for a postponement to allow them further time to complete the outline of the defence case.  There was further delay because of the  court vacation, which ran from 7th April to 6th May.  The trial finally started before Justice Bhunu and assessors on 4th June 2012.  All 29 accused entered pleas of not guilty.  There was a heavy police presence at the High Court, and entry into the court room was restricted to the accused persons’ family members. 

Frequent postponements  The trial did not, as is the ideal and should be the norm for any High Court criminal trial on a charge of this nature, proceed smoothly from Day 1 to the end, without interruption.  The prosecution had said in its written outline of the State case that it would be calling 20 State witnesses.  But progress was slow and proceedings were frequently postponed, usually because of the prosecution’s apparent general lack of preparedness. 

Inspection in loco at crime scene  On 26th June there was an inspection in loco in Glen View to allow the judge and assessors to inspect the scene of the alleged crime. 

Postponement when one accused person hospitalised  In July the trial postponed indefinitely because one of the accused, Nyamadzwo Gapara, needed hospitalisation, first in Harare Central Remand Hospital, where Justice Bhunu visited him, and later in a private hospital after the judge granted a defence application for the move.  The accused remained in custody during this postponement.  In due course Mr Gapara recovered and was sent back to prison, and the trial was set down to resume on 10th September, only to be postponed to 24th September when the prosecutor said he was involved in other cases.

Vulnerable witness  In February 2013 the prosecution applied for State witness Edinah Chihota to be allowed to give her evidence in camera.  According to the State’s case outline she was an eye-witness who would identify individual accused persons as participants in the offence.  Ms Chihota was said to have received threats from unknown people and in consequence to be anxious about giving evidence in open court.  Justice Bhunu granted the application, and special arrangements were made for her to give her evidence using the facilities of the Victim Friendly Court at the Harare Magistrates Court.  This entailed the Chief Justice directing the High Court to sit at the Victim Friendly Court instead of its normal venue at the High Court itself.  The proceedings were in private, with press and members of the public excluded.

Long delay for Cuban medical expert’s evidence  After several postponements the prosecution called its final witness, Cuban pathologist Dr Aguero, who had conducted the post mortem examination of Inspector Mutedza’s body.  It had taken several weeks for the prosecution and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get the Cuban Government’s permission for Dr Aguero to testify in court and to secure an interpreter.  Dr Aguero began giving his evidence on 8th March 2013.  Lead defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa described the report as “unsatisfactory and worthless”.  Dr Aguero nevertheless maintained that the injuries he had observed were not consistent with Inspector Mutedza having fallen from a fast-moving police vehicle he was attempting to board – which was what some State witnesses had said happened. 

Close of State case  On 11th March the prosecutor closed the State case.  The defence immediately gave notice that they wished to make an application for the discharge of all accused. 

Defence application for discharge  An application for discharge at the close of the State case is provided for by section 198(3) of the CPE Act.  This states that if at the close of the State case “the court is of the opinion that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence charged in the indictment” the court must return a verdict of not guilty.  The case was postponed to 25th March, and then again postponed to 2nd April to allow the record to be transcribed.  On 2nd April the defence asked for more time to analyse the voluminous transcript and the case was adjourned again, to 23rd April.

Current Status: Postponed Indefinitely for Hearing of Application for Discharge

On 23rd April the defence was not ready to make its submissions on the application for discharge and requested a postponement to enable it to complete its written submissions on the circumstances of each accused.  The judge then postponed proceedings indefinitely.  The defence lodged its written submissions on 6th May  The prosecution has yet not lodged its response.  A date for the resumption of the proceedings is still awaited.

Comment: the long drawn out nature of this case seems a travesty of justice.

Further arrests for involvement in Mutedza death

October 2012  Tarisai Kusotera and Jackson Mabota were arrested and later remanded in custody charged with the murder of Inspector Mutedza.  They are the MDC-T Youth Assembly chairperson and deputy chairperson, respectively, for Glen View South.  They were released on bail on 7th November 2012, and are awaiting developments.

2nd April 2013  Paul Gorekore, an MDC-T youth leader and former councillor, was arrested and charged with the Mutedza murder.  He was taken to court on 5th April and has since been remanded in custody. On 9th May Mr Gorekore’s lawyer lodged an application for bail in the High Court.  The bail hearing was set down for 17th May but, after two postponements, is now expected on Friday 31st May.

Comment:  These three accused, having been arrested after the start of the “trial of the Glenview 29”, must be tried separately.  Presumably the State is awaiting the outcome of that trial before proceeding against these three accused.

Part II relates the defence battle for bail after the 29 accused were
imprisoned when committed for trial.

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


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Bill Watch 18/2013 of 31st May [Constitutional Court Orders Elections by End of July]

BILL WATCH 18/2013

[31st May 2013]

Constitutional Court Orders Elections by End of July


Election Date Case


Judgment was handed down this afternoon, 31st May by Chief Justice Chidyausiku on behalf of the new Constitutional Court in

the case brought by Jealously Mawarire, a private citizen, a registered voter and a member of the Centre for Election Democracy in Southern Africa.  His complaint was that his constitutional rights to have elections before the 30th June had been violated by the failure to do so by the President.


The judgment ended with the following order:

Accordingly, the first respondent [President Mugabe] is hereby ordered and directed to proclaim as soon as possible a date(s) for the holding of Presidential election, general election and elections for members of governing bodies of local authorities in terms of section 58(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which elections should take place by no later than 31 July 2013.”


Seven judges agreed with the ruling, but there were two dissenting opinions by Justice Bharat Patel and Justice Luke Malaba.


The Judges sitting for the hearing on 24th May were:

Hon Godfrey Chidyausiku, Chief Justice, Hon Luke Malaba, Deputy Chief Justice, and Justices Vernanda Ziyambi, Paddington Garwe, Anne-Marie Gowora, Bharat Patel and Ben Hlatshwayo, Judge-President George Chiweshe and Justice Antonia Guvava [Justices Chiweshe and Guvava are acting judges of the Supreme Court].



Veritas will be making the text of the judgment available shortly.



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

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