The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwe's economy begins to recover: minister

Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:26pm GMT

By Luke Baker

LONDON (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's economy has turned around in the past four
months, with employment and industrial capacity use doubling and once
record-breaking inflation under control, the minister for economic planning
said on Tuesday.

The recovery follows an effective dollarisation of the economy, which has
helped spur foreign investment and prompted the large Zimbabwean exile
community to send more remittances home, planning and investment minister
Elton Mangoma said.

"When we came into office in February, we had employment of six percent and
capacity utilisation of less than 10 percent," he told Reuters during a
mining conference in London.

"Our production capacity has now gone up to between 20 and 30 percent and
employment is now around 15 percent, and those who are employed are a lot
more secure because they can see that the companies are a lot more steady,"
he said.

Since the new unity government under Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai took
office in mid-February, inflation has fallen rapidly from its once
astronomical 200 million percent, while growth has begun to pick up.

"This year we are looking at growth rates of anything between three and five
percent," said Mangoma, a businessman before joining the government after a
power-sharing agreement was struck between Tsvangirai and President Robert

"From next year onwards, we are looking at double digit growth from a very
low base. At least for the next 10 years, we can look at double digit GDP
growth rates."

The country would stabilise with an inflation rate of "no more than three
percent" by December. "That will be a sustained rate," he said.

Interest rates have come down, with the highest rate at 15 percent and broad
borrowing costs at around 8 percent.

"As the risk factor goes down, the interest rates will come down with it. So
in fact, I don't expect there to be any pressure on inflation because of
interest rates," said Mangoma.


There are between three and four million Zimbabweans living outside the
country, mostly in South Africa and Britain. The diaspora helped prop up the
economy during the worst of the economic crisis under Mugabe and is helping
out again now, with remittances rising.

Mangoma said it was hard to quantify the amounts exiles send home, but put
it at between $600 million and $1 billion a year.

The swearing-in of a unity government after a disputed election in March
2008, together with the dollarisation, has helped shore up Zimbabwe's credit
lines, allowing money to flow in and inject life into an economy that
remains deeply damaged.

Mangoma said Zimbabwe now had credit facilities of around $2 billion, money
that was being poured into retail for restocking of shelves with goods, into
production for raw materials and to an extent into capital equipment.

"There are people who were sitting on the fence who are now coming in," said
Mangoma. The stock market in particular has shown rapid growth, with mining
stocks up more than 240 percent since February, he said.

Foreign investors are also looking anew at mining opportunities in the
mineral rich country, especially deposits of platinum, gold and diamonds.
While some have ventured back, others are waiting for the legal framework to
be strengthened.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai claims Zimbabwe inflation 'under control'

Zimbabwe prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai has claimed the country's
hyper-inflation has been brought under control since he came to office.

Mr Tsvangirai was sworn in as the country's prime minister in February
bringing to an end a long-fought and bitter political battle with Zimbabwe's
president Robert Mugabe.

He told an audience at the Royal Society of Arts in London today that since
he had been in office conditions in the country had improved "significantly"
with children back in schools and hospitals re-opened.

Appearing to reference Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, the leader of the Movement
for Democratic change said that to move forward as a country "you need peace
and stability and that is only able to arise when former enemies are able to
embrace each other".

Mr Tsvangirai has come in for strong criticism in recent weeks for agreeing
to former a power-sharing government with Mr Mugabe and was booed during a
speech at Southwark cathedral during the weekend when he called on all his
fellow countrymen to return to Zimbabwe.

The prime minister was in defiant mood on Tuesday though, claiming: "I
promise never to rest until Zimbabwe has been purged of acts of violence.

"We will build Zimbabwe around democracy free elections [and] universal and
generic freedoms."

Zimbabwe has suffered from hyper-inflation and mass unemployment in recent
years and claims it still needs around $8 billion (£4.9 billion) in aid to
help revive its failing economy.

On Monday, British prime minister Gordon Brown pledged an extra £5 million
in aid for the country.
© Adfero Ltd
23 June 2009 15:10 GMT

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe local currency won't be revived: minister

Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:00pm GMT

LONDON (Reuters) - Zimbabwe does not plan to revive its local currency
because it believes continued use of the U.S. dollar will help revive
investor trust, a minister said on Tuesday.

The country is unlikely to move away from the U.S. unit until a regional
currency is adopted, Economic Planning and Development Minister Elton
Mangoma told a mining conference in London.

"We feel that we need to gain the confidence of the international community
and therefore... the Zimbabwe dollar is not coming back," he said.

Zimbabwe has allowed the use of multiple foreign currencies since January to
stem hyperinflation which had rocketed to over 230 million percent and left
the Zimbabwe dollar almost worthless.

One reason for not returning to the Zimbabwe dollar is because the regional
Southern African Development Community (SADC) has pledged to launch its own
common currency, he said.

"We are in the SADC region and one of the things that we signed is to go for
a unitary currency. That unitary currency, we don't know what it's supposed
to be."

Some people have suggested that Zimbabwe adopt the rand currency of its
biggest trading partner, South Africa, but Mangoma rejected that idea.

"If we actually say we are going to the rand today, it means we have sold
that process of whether the unitary currency is going to be the rand or
something else and we just want to keep this something else alive," he said.

"The rand itself has got its own other issues so... at least there is some
certainty about how the U.S. dollar is going to behave in the future."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe output, employment grow rapidly -minister

Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:45am GMT

LONDON, June 23 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's economy has begun to turn around in
the past four months, with employment and industrial capacity use more than
doubling and inflation under control, the minister for economic planning
said on Tuesday.

Elton Mangoma, who took office with the new unity government in February,
said employment now stood at 15 percent, up from six percent, and industrial
capacity utilisation had risen to between 20 and 30 percent from less than
10 percent.

"This year we are looking at growth rates of anything between three and five
percent," he told Reuters on the sidelines of an mining conference in

"From next year onwards, we are looking at double digit growth from a very
low base. At least for the next ten years, we can look at double digit GDP
growth rates," he said. (Reporting by Luke Baker; Editing by Keith Weir)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Raises More Than $180 Million: Biti

HARARE, June 23 2009 - Zimbabwe's government has raised more than $180
million from donors in Europe to help pull the southern African nation out
of a decade-long recession, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said.

The money was raised during a trip by government officials to
countries including Sweden and Belgium, Biti told reporters in Helsinki,
Finland Tuesday.

Biti is a member of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change, which
earlier this year formed a coalition with President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe
African National Union- Patriotic Front to end a political crisis after a
series of disputed elections. The European Union and the U.S. have imposed
travel bans on Mugabe and his allies and frozen their assets abroad, slowing
aid flows.

"There is hesitation. Can you trust this government, can you trust
Mugabe?" Biti said. "We are at pains to point out the people of Zimbabwe
must be given a chance."

Mugabe's reappointment of Gideon Gono as central bank governor and
Johannes Tomana as attorney general, against the objections of the MDC, has
damaged the credibility of the new government, Biti said.

"These appointments have to be revisited," Biti said. "I hope the
issue will be dealt with as soon as possible. It's affecting the credibility
of this experiment."

Consumer prices in Zimbabwe, which last year rose at the fastest pace
in the world, have fallen by an average of 2 percent so far this year, Biti
said. (Bloomberg)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Amnesty to closely monitor Zim human rights crisis for next 100 days

By Alex Bell
23 June 2009

Human rights organisation Amnesty International says it will closely monitor
the human rights situation in Zimbabwe for the next 100 days, to test the
commitment of the unity government to real reforms in the country.

Amnesty's Secretary General, Irene Khan, met with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai in the UK on Monday, after wrapping up a six-day visit to
Zimbabwe last Thursday. She reported back last week that the unity
government had made too little progress in tackling human rights violations
in the country where, among other things, political activists continue to
face persecution by the courts. She also reported that ZANU PF and the
security forces still regarded the use of violence as "a legitimate tool to
crush political opponents."

"The government must give as much attention to securing human rights reforms
as they are to seeking economic resources," Khan said in a press statement,
released while Tsvangirai was continuing with his cross-continental tour to
re-engage with the West.

Khan also emphasised that the human rights situation remained grim despite
promises of reform from the unity government, laid out in the agreement that
formed the basis of the government's formation. Minutes after Khan spoke,
her testimony became self-evident, when police used extreme force to clamp
down on peaceful protesters from pressure group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA). Four badly beaten WOZA women were arrested and detained overnight,
while three journalists were also arrested for documenting the police

The Prime Minister told the Amnesty chief during their meeting on Monday
that the direction for reform in Zimbabwe 'had been set'. He also said that
he and the unity government were committed to ensuring the implementation of
the human rights provisions included in the Global Political Agreement,
saying this was a priority.

Amnesty's Africa Researcher, Simeon Mawanza, who was part of the delegation
that toured Zimbabwe last week, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that the
organisation still has grave concerns about the ongoing rights abuses in
Zimbabwe. He explained that the 100-day monitoring period will establish
whether the Prime Minister's commitments to reforms will be translated into

Meanwhile, deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara last week lashed out at
the Amnesty International Secretary General, saying the findings of her trip
were a result of 'hallucinations'. His comments have drawn criticism from
observers, who say his attack on Amnesty is alarmingly Mugabe-esque. In the
past, Mugabe barred independent human rights monitors from visiting the
country and Khan's visit was regarded as significant, despite the fact that
she did not get to meet Mugabe in person. Mugabe has also frequently called
the organisation 'Amnesty Lies International'.

The state's traditional mouthpiece, the Herald newspaper, last Friday also
criticised the Amnesty report as 'one-sided' and state radio said it was
"not worth the paper it is written on." ZANU PF unsurprisingly also rejected
Amnesty International's report about continuing human rights violations in
Zimbabwe. The Herald newspaper quoted Vice President Joyce Mujuru as saying
that national reconciliation was going ahead in Zimbabwe and there was no
need for outside interference.

"Some of us have already started talking to our people," the Herald quoted
Mujuru as saying. "We love our people to be together. Being Zimbabweans, our
culture does not allow noisy people."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SADC summit has ignored MDC unity government complaints

By Lance Guma
23 June 2009

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) held an extraordinary
summit in South Africa on Saturday at which the outstanding issues in
Zimbabwe's unity government were ignored. Despite the MDC saying they
referred the remaining disputes over the appointment of Central Bank
governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana to the group, SADC
met and only dealt with the political crisis in Madagascar.

Swaziland's King Mswati III, a recent visitor to Gono's farm, claimed things
were fine in Zimbabwe and that the grouping had received no 'official'
complaints that required intervention. Confusing matters SADC Secretary
General Tomaz Salomao announced before the summit that Zimbabwe might be
discussed, since SADC Chairman and South African President Jacob Zuma had
received a letter from Tsvangirai and Mutambara about the outstanding

Responding to questions from journalists Zuma however muddied the waters by
claiming Zimbabwe was not on the agenda of the summit. 'If we start
discussing Zimbabwe now, we will end up with headlines tomorrow as though
this was what the summit was about.' Salomao later made an apparent u-turn
from his earlier statement on the letter and claimed the Joint
Implementation and Monitoring Committee (JOMIC) in Zimbabwe had to decide
first if it was not able to deal with the dispute, before bringing the
matter to SADC.

Commenting further on the situation in Zimbabwe Mswati said; 'We dealt with
that a long time ago and things are going well so far. I went there for a
visit not long ago and I saw good progress, so it's moving on the right

As he was feted at Gono's farm, in the company of Mugabe, it's unlikely he
saw anything like the true face of suffering in Zimbabwe.

Newsreel sought comment from MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa and he told us
they were not bothered by Mswati's comments. He said as far as they are
concerned they referred the matter to SADC and all they await is
confirmation of when the matter will be dealt with. He refused to be drawn
into a timescale saying they would not 'dictate time to SADC' but expected
an urgent resolution of the issues outstanding. Chamisa said the MDC
National Executive met Tuesday and one of their resolutions was that they
pursue SADC for a response on the matter.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mines Minister Obert Mpofu denied UK visa

By Lance Guma
23 June 2009

The British Embassy in Harare has refused to grant a travel visa to Mines
Minister Obert Mpofu, who wanted to attend an investment conference in
London this week. The ZANU PF MP is one of a number of senior party
officials under targeted financial and travel restrictions by mostly western
countries, who slapped the measures on in response to gross human rights
violations by Mugabe's regime.

The embassy in Harare does not traditionally comment on visa issues and it
was left to the state owned media to run the story. Commenting on the denial
of the visa a ZANU PF official told the Reuters news agency; 'The minister
did not get a visa and in our view all this does not make sense, except to
confirm that some people in London are pursuing their fight against ZANU-PF.
They are trying to undermine the inclusive government with this sort of
Mpofu confirmed he was denied a visa saying; "Yes, the visa was denied. We
are not excited at all. It's the kind of attitude that we get from these
people,' But he referred all questions to Acting Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara, who it's reported was tasked by Robert Mugabe to deal with the
travel ban issue. It's not clear how Mutambara is meant to deal with the
issue when its neither him nor his party who imposed the travel bans.
Since the formation of the coalition government in February ZANU PF has been
waging a concerted campaign to have the targeted sanctions removed. But in
the absence of fundamental political reforms the United States, European
Union and others, have insisted the measures will remain in place, for the
time being. Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi, who is also from ZANU PF and
accompanied Tsvangirai to the United States, was barred from meeting
President Barack Obama at the White House. The move infuriated Mugabe's
party who accused the US of bias towards the MDC.

Another row later erupted after Industry and Trade Minister Welshman Ncube
threatened to pull out of the European 're-engagement' tour last week if
ZANU PF ministers were not given travel visas. The European Union had
refused to give visas to Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, both from ZANU PF. The EU later agreed
to a temporary visa waiver for the two saying; 'The decision is meant to
promote human rights and good governance in Zimbabwe and to re-engage
Zimbabwe with the EU.'

The state-owned media has tried to portray Tsvangirai's overseas trip as an
assignment from Mugabe to get targeted sanctions removed.
Stung by this negative publicity Tsvangirai's office last week published 40
000 copies of a four-page glossy newsletter setting out exactly what the
Prime Minister is doing on his tour.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC DG case referred to Supreme Court

By Violet Gonda
23 June 2009

A Harare magistrate on Tuesday ruled that MDC Director General Toendepi
Shonhe, could challenge his incarceration in the Supreme Court. The MDC DG
is challenging the constitutionality of Section 121 subsection (3) of the
Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which he says is repeatedly abused by
State prosecutors who use it to block bail granted to accused persons.

His lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, said the Supreme Court challenge is likely to
be heard sometime in the next two months. In the meantime the Attorney
General's office has until Thursday to file an appeal against Shonhe's bail.
The MDC official was arrested on alleged perjury charges last Tuesday and
granted bail on Thursday, but remains in prison after the State blocked his

He is accused of lying under oath when he swore in an affidavit that three
members of the MDC had been re-abducted by State security agents. He denies
lying before the courts.

The latest ruling comes a day after four other MDC activists were also
granted an application to challenge their case in the Supreme Court, by a
High Court judge. They say their prosecution was illegal. The four -
including Jestina Mukoko - are among a group of MDC and civic activists
challenging their abduction and torture at the hands of state security
agents. They are all accused of acts of terrorism and sabotage and planning
to overthrow the former Mugabe government.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said the abductees want the Constitutional
Court to determine whether or not their abduction 'constituted unlawful
deprivation of liberty, and whether their right to protection from torture,
protection of the law and their right to a fair trial had violated the
Constitution of Zimbabwe'.

The lawyer also said a complete record of the activists' case in the High
Court so far, will have to be transcribed and this will take a long time. As
in Shonhe's case this means their constitutional challenge will probably
only be heard sometime in the next couple of months.

Legal experts say these constitutional challenges will be a crucial test for
Zimbabwe's judiciary. The South African publication, Legalbrief Today, said
the Supreme Court would either decide to uphold the individuals rights under
the constitution of Zimbabwe or "permit the executive to act

Legalbrief added that if the State's case was upheld this would 'condone'
the view of the attorney- general who told the court that he is not subject
to court orders. They said 'it will be argued before the court that the
state has not only failed to investigate and prosecute those who so
fundamentally violated Mukoko's rights, but the state is in fact the very
authority which authorised the violations in the first place."
Lawyers say the facts are so 'stark' that the court will have no option but
to make a very clear choice, that will show whether Zimbabwe can indeed move
out of the crisis that it is in.
Muchadehama added: "In view of the Executive's excesses and arbitrariness in
which they act, the only avenue to escape is to go to the courts and get the
courts' protection to pronounce beyond doubt that the Executive cannot treat
human beings in the manner that they have done and protect people in the

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe PM says has working relationship with Mugabe

Reuters, Tuesday June 23 2009

* Tsvangirai sees scope for Mugabe to make dignified exit
* Zimbabwe society brought "back to life"
* Tour has raised sufficient money to support basic services
By Keith Weir
LONDON, June 23 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said
on Tuesday he had formed a working relationship with Robert Mugabe and saw
scope for the long-serving president eventually to make a dignified exit
from power.
Tsvangirai joined a unity government with rival Mugabe in February to end a
political and economic crisis. Mugabe has ruled the southern African country
since independence from Britain in 1980 and critics say he has ruined a once
prosperous nation.
"It's too early to say I trust him wholly, but where we differ, we differ
respectfully," Tsvangirai told an audience after a speech in London.
"I'm prepared to work with him for the good of the country," added
Tsvangirai, who said in 2007 he had been beaten at a police station after he
was arrested at an anti-Mugabe rally.
Asked whether Mugabe might make a "dignified exit", Tsvangirai said the
transition process provided a platform for him to go quietly, adding that
Mugabe had the chance to restore his legacy as a founding father of
Mugabe and Tsvangirai have agreed on an 18-month timetable for political
reforms, with a referendum on a new constitution to be held in little over a
Tsvangirai is on the final leg of a tour to Europe and the United States to
drum up cash from Western donors, but the trip has yielded only small
contributions towards the $10 billion Zimbabwe says it needs to rebuild its
shattered economy.
Most donors are choosing to channel money through charities or U.N. agencies
rather than give it to a government where Mugabe still wields influence.
Tsvangirai said the money received was sufficient to support basic services
like health, education and food production.
"I think it's quite substantial," he told reporters.
Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe had made huge strides since the unity government
was formed in February.
"Zimbabwe has become a totally different place, a significantly better
place, in the past four months," he said.
"As a society, we were near death, and we have come back to life."
That echoed comments from the minister for economic planning who told
Reuters on Tuesday that Zimbabwe's economy had turned around, with
employment and industrial capacity use doubling and once record-breaking
inflation under control.
But back at home, Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party said
police were arresting its legislators and senior party members, while public
media had increased hostile reporting to discredit and undermine the prime
Senior MDC official Tapiwa Mashakada said Southern African leaders could
meet next month to mediate in what the party says are continued violations
by Mugabe's ZANU-PF of a political pact signed last year.
Zimbabwe remains subject to Western sanctions. Britain denied Zimbabwe's
mines minister a visa for a mining investment conference in London, angering
Tsvangirai said he hoped sanctions could be removed if Zimbabwe proved it
was committed to political reform.
"Eventually sanctions must be removed. It would be counter-productive to
punish progress," he said. (Additional reporting by Cris Chinaka, editing by
Elizabeth Fullerton)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe PM sees local ownership level being cut

Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:28am GMT

LONDON (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is reviewing its indiginisation law and will
likely lower the 51 percent requirement for local ownership of foreign firms
investing in the country, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Tuesday.

"We are reviewing it," he told a mining conference in London. "Fifty-one
percent is far, far too high."

The new coalition government hopes to agree a new local ownership level that
is "comfortable" for investors, but still beneficial to the mineral-rich
nation, he said.

Tsvangirai said he supported the concept of encouraging local businessmen,
but the law also had to fair to overseas investors.

"There's nothing wrong with indiginisation, for allowing local Zimbabweans
... to participate in the economy of the country," he said. "What is wrong
is to expect someone to bring money into the country and say we will take 51
percent of that."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare seeks to lure mining investors

By William MacNamara in London

Published: June 23 2009 18:56 | Last updated: June 23 2009 18:56

Zimbabwe’s government of national unity plans to scrap indigenisation laws
introduced by President Robert Mugabe, in an effort to attract foreign
investment and rebuild the stricken economy, Morgan Tsvangirai, prime
minister, said on Tuesday.

Mr Tsvangirai was speaking in London at the end of a three-week tour of
western capitals, in which he has attempted, with limited success, to win
financial backing for the coalition government formed earlier this year.

During the trip – in which he has met Barack Obama, US president, and other
world leaders – the former trade union leader has repeatedly evoked the
lesson of Nelson Mandela’s first post-apartheid government in South Africa
as a model for Zimbabwe.
However, western governments remain wary of Mr Mugabe’s continuing influence
in the country, which has spiralled into political and economic crises. Mr
Tsvangirai has raised an estimated $150m (€106m, £91m) in fresh aid during
the trip, but this will be channelled through non-government organisations,
leaving the government with a substantial funding gap.

Addressing a conference of mining investors on Tuesday, Mr Tsvangirai, who
shares executive power with Mr Mugabe, a man who he called “at one time a
sworn enemy”, appealed for foreign investment in Zimbabwe’s mining industry
as the best means of restarting the economy. Smaller companies such as
Impala Platinum and Mwana Africa are already investing there, but political
risk has kept away big mining investment.

Mr Tsvangirai said Mr Mugabe’s indigenisation laws, introduced more than a
year ago and intended to enforce 51 per cent Zimbabwean ownership of
enterprises, had scared off investors. In the year leading up to last year’s
disputed presidential elections, the law was held up by investors as one
reason why foreign capital was not developing Zimbabwe’s rich gold, nickel,
platinum and diamond deposits.

Changing the laws was now “an urgent matter that needed to be dealt with”,
Mr Tsvangirai said, outlining a series of incentives that included
 “rational” royalty and corporate tax levels in the local mining industry.
“We need to find a level of [local ownership] that you find comfortable and
we find beneficial,” he said.

Mr Tsvangirai, who as an opposition leader was beaten up by government
backers and whose supporters have over the last decade faced brutal
intimidation from state agents, insisted that the coalition government was
workable and committed to progress. In his interview with the Financial
Times he said Mr Mugabe and factions of Zanu-PF, the dominant party, would
not deter the moderate, investor-friendly reforms the government launched
when the economy was dollarised in February.

“The historic mistrust is there,” he said. “But in spite of this we are
telling you that this process is irreversible. President Mugabe cannot stop
the irreversible gains we have already made.”

Zimbabweans now use mostly US dollars and South African rand for
transactions. The move is credited with rejuvenating trade and restoring
goods to shop shelves, although the industrial sector remains moribund.

The “ideal” political solution for Zimbabwe, Mr Tsvangirai said, would be
for Mr Mugabe to leave office after elections in two years. “But he is also
part of the solution,” he said, as no progress would be made while the two
men were at cross purposes.

The government would not seek an active role in a recovery led by the
private sector, he added. “We have lost skills and we have lost money. What
little there is should be spent on the education of our children and the
health delivery system and not on enterprises in which other entities are
better suited. The partnership we seek is one in which the state enables the
private sector to thrive.”

A minister from Mr Tsvangirai’s delegation said the Zimbabwean currency, in
which citizens had no confidence, would not be reintroduced.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Diamond industry still struggling to bar "blood diamonds"

Business News
Jun 23, 2009, 16:28 GMT

Windhoek - Representatives from the diamond industry converged on the
Namibian capital Windhoek on Tuesday for a three-day conference on
preventing the trade in so-called conflict or blood diamonds, amid specific
concerns about gems mined in Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

The meeting of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), takes
place as pressure mounts on the body to effectively act on its mission to
combat the trade.

The KP, which was implemented in 2003, requires diamond-producing countries
to have controls in place certifying shipments of rough diamonds as

Civil society organizations have raised questions about its ability to deal
with the smuggling of diamonds in countries like Brazil, Ivory Coast,
Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Guinea.

'The clock is running out on the Kimberley Process credibility ... it would
be scandalous if uncooperative governments succeeded in hobbling it into
ineffectiveness,' Global Witness, a London-based organization that monitors
how countries use their natural resources, said in a statement.

Namibia currently chairs the KPCS, which has 49 members representing 75

In a speech to the opening of the meeting, deputy minister of Mines,
Bernhard Esau said available data suggested that 'the majority of the
international trade in rough diamonds is now carried within the KPCS.'

Illicit diamonds were however still being illegally exported from Zimbabwe,
Esau said.

The Process visited Zimbabwe in March this year to investigate the diamond
trade and said it was currently monitoring the situation.

The Marange diamond fields in the east of Zimbabwe has seen a influx of
traders and small-scale diggers recently, to which the state responded with
a brutal crackdown last year, in which several people were reportedly

Esau said a review mission to Zimbabwe would be carried out soon.

After halting its reporting of its production and exports in 2005, Venezuela
agreed to suspend its diamond trade in late 2008 until new controls could be
put in place.

Esau said the Kimberley Process was supporting the South American country in
developing a plan of action to curb any illicit trade in the precious

'We are hopeful that by joining forces Venezuela will be able to resume
their import and export of rough diamonds,' he said.

Esau also alluded to fake Kimberley Process certificates, which he said were
a growing concern.

'With the recent fake guinean and Namibian certificates in the trade this
goes to show that more approaches to deal with this specific issue is
needed,' he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Charamba crafting two new media laws

June 23, 2009

By Our Correspondent

THE Zimbabwean government plans to replace the controversial Access to
Information and Privacy Act (AIPPA) with two new pieces of legislation that
are likely to face stiff resistance from the media sector.

The controversial and draconian AIPPA, which was introduced by the former
Minister of Information and Publicity, Prof Jonathan Moyo in 2003, will be
replaced by the Freedom of Information Act and the Media Practitioners Act.

Sources told The Zimbabwe Times that the all inclusive government partners
were currently busy crafting the two new laws before placing them before
Parliament for adoption.

It was agreed at an all stakeholders media conference held in Kariba last
month that the laws will be in place by end of the month. Several media
representative organisations boycotted the conference which was widely
viewed as a "coming together of the country's media hangman".

"The laws have already been prepared, they are contained in a report that is
being prepared by the Ministry of Information and Publicity," said a source
in the Ministry of Information who asked for anonymity.

The two Bills are said to be the brain child of the Permanent Secretary in
the Ministry of Information and Publicity, George Charamba, who is seen as
one of the many hardcore Zanu-PF functionaries who are averse to
implementing a raft of reforms as agreed under the Global Political
Agreement (GPA).

According to the sources the Media Practitioners Act will outline procedures
for regulation of journalists while the Freedom of Information Act will
regulate access to information and privacy issues.

The chairperson of a parliamentary portfolio Committee on Media, Information
and Communication Technologies, Gift Chimanikire, confirmed to The Zimbabwe
Times the two Bills are in the pipeline.

He said once they become law they will do away with the requirements for
journalists and media houses to register in order to operate.

"I have already been assured by Ministry of Information and Publicity,
George Charamba that AIPPA will be repealed. What we are working on is not
the ideal situation but it is a compromise," said Chimanikire.

"This process should be a simple and informal exercise meant to address
issues of discipline under a self regulatory regime. The Sunday Mail
reported over the weekend that a report from the Kariba all-stakeholders
media conference was yet to be released. The report is expected to
officially announce government's intentions.

The newspaper said the report was being prepared by the chief coordinator to
the conference, Deputy Information and Publicity Minister, Jameson Timba.

According to the newspaper report, Timba is supposed to get the seal of
approval from other chairpersons to the conference for onward presentation
to the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu.

Zimbabwe is regarded as one of the most media repressive nations in the
world. The country's media landscape is replete with media repressive pieces
of legislation such as the AIPPA, the Public Order and the Security Act and
Broadcasting Services Act.

These laws have led to the closure of newspapers such as the Daily News,
Daily News on Sunday, Tribune and the Weekly Times. Several foreign
journalists have been expelled from the country while organisations such as
the Cable News Network (CNN), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and
South African based eTV are barred from reporting inside Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Report Urges Zimbabwe To Overhaul Domestic Grain Market, Boost Imports

By Jonga Kandemiiri
23 June 2009

A new multilateral food security report has urged the Zimbabwean government
to take steps to make the domestic grain market more efficient while
stepping up cereal imports.

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee said poor harvests in
2009-2010 could leave 1.4 million rural dwellers short of their minimum
cereal requirements. The report urged Harare to increase cereal imports to
make up for the projected shortfall.

The food assessment is carried out three times a year by the government in
cooperation with non-governmental organizations and international donors.

Renson Gasela, agriculture secretary for the Movement for Democratic Change
formation of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, told reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that grain redistribution won't
help because production has fallen short.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Pope appoints Bulawayo Archbishop

From Vatican Radio, 20 June

On Saturday the Holy Father appointed Indian Divine Word Missionary Alex
Thomas Kaliyanil Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Bulawayo Zimbabwe. The
Archdiocese has been without a pastoral leader since the resignation of
Archbishop Pius Ncube in 2007. Archbishop-elect Alex Thomas Kaliyanil was
born in 1960 in Vallamchira in the archdiocese of Changanacherry, India.
Following elementary school, he entered the minor seminary of the Divine
word missionaries in Changanacherry and made his final profession in 1987.
On 7 May, 1988 he was ordained a priest. He has served as a missionary in
Zimbabwe since 1989 holding various posts in the national church including
that of regional superior to the Society of the Divine Word Missionaries in
Zimbabwe. In addition to his missionary experience, Archbishop Kaliyanil has
a background in economics, having studied it at a University level. Since
2001, he has been the Caritas ex-offico advisor to the Catholic Development
Commission, and in the past has served as diocesan economist. Bulawayo is
the second largest city in Zimbabwe, after the capital Harare, with a
population of now estimated as 707,000. It is located in Matabeleland,
south-west of Harare, and is now treated as a separate provincial area from
Matabeleland. In recent years, Bulawayo has experienced a sharp fall in
living standards coinciding with the severe economic crisis affecting the
country. The main problems include poor investment and widespread
unemployment. Water shortages due to lack of expansion in facilities and
supplies have become steadily more acute since 1992. Cholera broke out in
2008. The archdiocese of Bulawayo was established on January 1, 1955. It
currently comprised 14 civil districts and is home to some 116, 000
Catholics, 40 parishes, 87 priests, and 11 religious orders.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Special permit for Zimbabweans on hold

Photo: Guy Oliver/IRIN
Zimbabwean migrants
JOHANNESBURG, 23 June 2009 (IRIN) - The special permit for Zimbabwean migrants, announced by the South African government, is being put on hold pending a review of the decision by cabinet.

The outgoing home affairs minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced in April 2009 that Zimbabwean migrants would be eligible for a special permit allowing them to stay legally in South Africa for six months.

NGOs concerned with migration and human rights greeted the move as a progressive and necessary step to effectively manage the estimated more than three million Zimbabweans who have travelled to South Africa to escape their country's economic collapse.

Chairperson of the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA), Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh, told IRIN: "The special permits have never been available. Home affairs issued some kind of document indicating they would be available, but they have not been."

Home Affairs Deputy Minister Malusi Gigaba said at the time, "We have taken an important decision, which acknowledges that migration patterns between South Africa and Zimbabwe have probably changed permanently."

Home Affairs director-general of Immigration Services, Jackie MacKay, told local media: "The permit confers on them [Zimbabwean migrants] the right to stay in South Africa for a period of six months, it confers on them the right to schooling or education, it confers on them the right to work and access to basic health care."

But after South Africa's general election on 22 April, the new president, Jacob Zuma, appointed former foreign affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to the home affairs portfolio and the much heralded special permit system for Zimbabweans came under review.

Home Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa told IRIN: "The [home affairs] minister wanted cabinet to be briefed about the matter, about the scope and implications of that decision [to grant special permits to Zimbabweans], and we'll take it from there."

CoRMSA's Ramjathan-Keogh commented that regardless of whether the special permit was approved or not, Zimbabweans would continue to come to South Africa and work, "legally or illegally".

An international aid worker based in the South African border town of Musina, told IRIN that around 350 Zimbabweans a day were applying for an asylum seeker's permit, and adequate shelter for the migrants was an ongoing problem.

''Substantively restricting migration is neither possible nor is it a solution. Migration is not a threat to South Africans' economic or physical security; managed properly, it can lead to investment, job creation, and a more productive economy''
The aid worker said "there was not a firm 'no' yet" [from Home Affairs on issuing special permits to Zimbabwe migrants]. More than 90 percent of applications for asylum seeker permits were turned down, and all they did was "clog" the system and delay "genuine" applications.

Most Zimbabweans are seen as economic migrants; in line with the Southern African Development Community's immigration policies, South Africa has granted Zimbabweans a free 90-day visa on demand. However, Zimbabwean travel documents are difficult to obtain and very expensive.

"We will find no answers to South Africa’s problems by halting migration," CoRMSA said in a report released in June 2009: Protecting Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigrants in South Africa.

"Substantively restricting migration is neither possible nor is it a solution. Migration is not a threat to South Africans' economic or physical security; managed properly, it can lead to investment, job creation, and a more productive economy."

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Written Ministerial Statement on Zimbabwe


Foreign Secretary David Miliband has issued a Written Ministerial Statement
23 June 2009 on the visit to London by Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of

Read the statement

The House will have seen reporting of the visit to London by Morgan
Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, on 19-24 June 2009.  My right hon
Friend the Prime Minister and I met Mr Tsvangirai yesterday and made clear
our determination to support him in bringing to Zimbabwe the change demanded
by ordinary Zimbabweans.

My right hon Friend the Prime Minister announced that the UK's assistance
for Zimbabwe will increase to £60m this year, including an additional £4m
for food security and £1m for textbooks for Zimbabwean school children.  My
right hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Development
(Douglas Alexander) also met Mr Tsvangirai and set out how that pledge will
include support for improvements to Zimbabwe's water and sanitation
infrastructure to reduce the likelihood of further cholera outbreaks, as
well as resources to help work to tackle HIV and rebuild the health sector,
livelihood support and food aid.

We want the inclusive government to succeed, and to help it meet its
commitments to reform outlined in the Global Political Agreement.  As my
right hon Friend the Prime Minister made clear, we are prepared to provide
further support to help rebuild Zimbabwe should there be further progress by
the Zimbabwean government in meeting its commitments to deliver political
and economic reform.  The Zimbabwean government has made some progress in
delivering reform, notably on the economic front, but much more needs to be
done to deliver improved services and security to ordinary people.   This
includes work to implement IMF recommendations and reform the Central Bank;
to reform the constitution as a prelude to new elections; to promote respect
for human rights, freedom of the media and the repeal of repressive
legislation; and to stop land seizures.

The southern African region has a key role to play in supporting reform in
Zimbabwe. My right hon Friend the Prime Minister signalled yesterday our
wish to work closely with South Africa, and I look forward to working with
the new South African administration. My noble Friend Lord Malloch-Brown is
in regular touch with ministers from the Southern African Development
Community, a number of whom he met this month in Cape Town.

We will continue to do what we can to support Zimbabwe and its neighbours in
seizing this historic opportunity for reform in Zimbabwe, and to build on
the positive momentum generated by Morgan Tsvangirai's visit to work with
reformers to make progress on key issues.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Human Rights and Policing: the Mandizha and Bvudzijena way

I read with shock and horror the article in the Herald regarding the banning
of recording of police trainings because they undermine discipline within
the force. I have no problem with the ban, but I have a problem if the ban
is meant to cover up gross human rights violations such as the ones we saw
on the video. I worked with Mrs. Mandizha when developing Zimbabwe Republic
Police modules on Human Rights and Policing. She impressed me, at that time,
as one of the few senior police officers who are dedicated to the cause of
up holding human rights. It was shocking to hear her condoning human rights
abuses within the police force in the name of discipline. I expected her to
be calling for a body of enquiry in to human rights abuses during training,
and in particular the kind we saw on the video. She is of the view that
abusing police officers' rights during training is toughing them and
instilling discipline. Far from it, the fact that there were officers who
filmed the horror and sent it out for the world to see meant that someone
was acknowledging the fact that what was happening was wrong. Her approach
and view in this regard is that respect of human rights in enforcing
discipline within the police organization is an impediment to effective
management and control of police discipline. On the contrary she should view
it as part of good police management practice.

For the past eight years I have worked with police officers on human rights
and policing in most of the southern Africa countries and one of the
frequently asked questions by junior officers after training was "what about
our rights as police officers"? When working with ZRP on the human rights
and policing module, I remember there was debate on whether a module on
human rights and police command is included in the training module. The
focus of the module was to discuss human rights of police officers. Most of
the junior officers insisted that the module should be included whilst most
of the senior police officers felt that this will undermine discipline among
the rank and file. This mentality is wrong, it builds a police officer who
in turn will not respect the rights of those he is arresting. In order for
police officers to uphold the rights of those they are handling human rights
ought to start among the police themselves, if their rights are not
protected and respected within their own organization, they can not be
expected to respect the rights of others especially of those they arrest.
The culture of human rights should start within the organization, ZRP,
charity starts at home.

The rights of police officers should not be deprived or denied at any cost.
Mrs. Mandizha and her team should ensure that their subordinates exercise
their disciplinary power without violation of police officers' rights as
provided for by the different international, regional and national standards
relating to human rights and policing. Members of the force who are facing
disciplinary charges should be dealt with due respect for their rights in
accordance with the principles of natural justice and justice which should
not only done but seen to be done.

It was equally shocking to hear one of the officers in the video shouting
that the syllabus has changed. The ZRP was among the first police
organization in the region to integrate human rights within their training
curriculum from recruit to in service training. In fact the request to the
organization I was working for to develop a module on human rights and
policing for ZRP came from the Police Commissioner himself in response to
the increase in the number suits the police were facing resulting from
police torture. Judging from the video the curriculum has certainly changed
and not changed for the better.

Its time police officers start appreciating the fact that torture is
unacceptable. Seeking to invoke obedience to superior orders to justify
torture is unacceptable. What Mrs. Mandizha has done by failing to condemn
what we saw in the video was to condone torture within police training. She
has in reality ordered the trainers to continue torturing the juniors in the
name of discipline.  Her statement can be interpreted as an order to her
junior officers to carry on with their mode of training which enforces
strict discipline whilst trumping on the rights of the recruits. This
instills within the junior officers the misconception that because the order
is coming from a higher authority then it is legitimate.  Obedience to
superior orders shall be no defense if police officers, worse in this case
police trainers, knew that their actions will lead to serious human rights
violations. The beatings we saw on the video were unlawful and assuming that
the trainers were responding to a superior order they had reasonable
opportunity to refuse to follow it. In any case, responsibility also rests
on the superior who gave the orders. If Mrs. Mandizha condones such acts of
torture we saw on the video then she should be held responsible for acts of
human rights violations committed by officers under her authority in the
name of instilling discipline within the force. She has a reasonable
opportunity to prevent such acts. By not condoning these violations she has
tacitly ordered the police trainers to continue with these gross human
rights violations in the name of discipline.

I strongly recommend that a body of enquiry should be instituted to
investigate the violation of human rights especially at recruit level. This
body should be outside the police. Whilst this is a temporary measure in the
long run there is need create an independent body such as the Police
Complaints Authority. Not only should this body receive complaints from
members of the public but also from police officers themselves. Often enough
cases involving violations of human rights within the police are dealt with
internally in violation of the nemo judex in sua causa rule (no one should
be a judge in his own case rule). ZRP should develop and issue clear and
binding standing orders on respect for human rights in all areas of police
work. This should be enforced by establishing and announcing an appropriate
range of penalties for police human rights violations within the force, from
suspension, pay docking and termination, to criminal prosecution for serious
violations such as the once we witnessed.

I salute the brave police officers who captured it all on video for the
world to see. Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena should be calling for
investigations in to the conduct of the police trainers instead of the
authenticity of the video. This is all too familiar line we have had before,
denial, from the prisons to the beatings of political opponents. It's an old
song and it's no longer playing well. ZRP should start sprucing its image
and start behaving professionally. It has the human resource capacity. In
fact in all the years that I have worked with police organizations in the
region I have come to the conclusion that ZRP has the most highly educated
police officers. Its time we put these to good use and its time that the ZRP
move from being a police force to being a police service, serving the

Taona Ernest Mwanyisa is a Human Rights and Policing expect. The views in
this article are his and do not represent the organization he works for or
has worked for. He can be contacted on

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Aid pledges provide little comfort for Zimbabwe PM

By Tony Hawkins in Harare

Published: June 23 2009 16:26 | Last updated: June 23 2009 16:26

Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's power sharing prime minister, returns home
this week from a three-week tour of western capitals having raised an
estimated US$150m in fresh aid.

Expectations of the visit were low in Harare the amount raised is therefore
seen by some as a minor triumph, although the precise figure is unclear
because of the habit of donors to double-count their assistance.

The state media, however, which supports President Robert Mugabe and misses
few opportunities to deride the prime minister has delighted in reporting
that the bulk of the money will not go to the government but for
disbursement by NGOs.
Mr Tsvangirai has been warned by western donors that there will be no more
financial aid without substantial political reforms. He is likely to face
more pressure at home to confront the hardliners backing the president,
while his finance minister, Tendai Biti, struggles to avert
potentially-damaging industrial action by civil servants over pay.

Most of the promised funding falls into the categories of humanitarian
assistance, mostly education and health, or 'humanitarian-plus' aid: seed
packs for small-scale farmers, salary top-ups for health workers, and funds
for clean water schemes.

Regardless of whether it is completely new, or just repackaged assistance,
the promised aid falls way short of the government's $8.5bn target over a
five-year period.

This target, which has never been properly costed, is dismissed by some
donors as "pie-in-the-sky" while others, such as the country's commercial
farmers who are seeking more than this amount in compensation for
expropriated farms insist that the country will need much larger inflows
than those currently being mooted.

There are no accurate figures for aid inflows but the IMF puts private
transfers - mostly disbursements by NGOs and remittances from the diaspora -
at $630m last year rising to $970m in 2009.

In addition, the Fund has forecast official aid transfers at some $90m this

While these amounts will help Mr Biti to close a budget gap projected at
10.5 per cent of GDP in 2009, the government faces a growing financing
problem, given the pressure from public sector employees for a return to
"proper salaries" to replace the existing $100 a month allowance being paid
to all civil servants.

These allowances absorb almost a third of projected revenue of $880m. In
May, revenue was estimated at $60m and it is estimated that by the end of
this month the Treasury will have raised less than 35 per cent of its
revenue target for the whole year.

Because consumer prices have fallen some ten per cent so far this year, the
real take-home pay of civil servants has increased 11 per cent. But it still
falls far short of the $425 a month that consumer association estimates say
is needed to meet the bare necessities of a family of six people.

The situation is exacerbated by wage awards in the private sector, such as
banking, where workers are being paid more than double their public service
counterparts, backdated to February. This will ratchet up the pressure on Mr
Biti to increase public sector pay when he presents his mid-term budget
review next month.

Dollarisation of the economy since the end of last year means that the
Treasury cannot fall back on either "quantitative easing" or domestic
borrowing to finance the budget deficit. Mr Biti must cut spending, which is
virtually impossible given the deep reductions made in his March budget, or
raise taxes.

Because formal employment has shrunk by at least 60 per cent and many of
those in jobs are being paid less than the income tax threshold of $150 a
month, there is very little scope to raise additional revenue other than by
a higher VAT rate or increased customs and excise duties, all of which would
be highly unpopular.

Mr Tsvangirai is also under fire from Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, his
coalition partner in the national unity government, for failing to secure
the lifting of so-called "illegal" personal sanctions. He was sharply
criticised by the state media on Tuesday because of Britain's refusal to
grant a visa to Obert Mofu, Zanu-PF mines minister to participate in a
London conference next week.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bill Watch 21 of 22nd June 2009 [Parliament adjournsuntil mid-July]

BILL WATCH 21/2009

[22nd June 2009]

The House of Assembly has adjourned until Tuesday 14th July,

and the Senate until Tuesday 21st July


Provincial consultative meetings for input into the agenda of and selection of delegates to the First All-Stakeholders Conference

24th June at 10 am – in Harare, Marondera, Bindura, Mutare and Chinhoyi

27th June at 10 am – in Bulawayo, Lupane, Gweru, Masvingo and Gwanda

[For venues see Constitution Watch 3 of 15th June.]

Update on Appointments to Constitutional Commissions

Friday 19th June was the last day for submission of applications from persons wishing to be considered by Parliament's Committee on Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO] for membership of the four constitutional commissions – Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, Zimbabwe Media Commission and Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.  A large number of applications have been received.  These will now be scrutinised and suitable candidates short-listed by the CSRO's Legal and Procedures sub-committee.  The short-lists will be published.  Short-listed candidates will be interviewed by an appointed panel.  Interviews will be open to public observation [not participation].   Dates and venues for these interviews have not yet been announced. 

Update on Parliament

1.  House of Assembly

Motion passed:  the House passed the motion introduced by Douglas Mwonzora [MDC-T], seconded by Shuwa Mudiwa  [MDC-T], calling for inputs for the 2009/10 agricultural system to be distributed to disadvantaged rural farmers by the end of July and for a completely transparent system of distribution to be put in place.  [Note: This resolution is more in the nature of an airing of views – it does not legally obligate the government to act.  Failure to comply could at most result in the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture hauling the Minister over the coals, but that would probabl only be after the end of July.]

New motion:  On Wednesday Settlement Chikwinya [MDC-T], seconded by Douglas Mwonzora [MDC-T], moved a motion calling for the Government to bring up for amendment or repeal all legislation curtailing media freedom.  The motion also calls for balanced and fair coverage from the public media [especially The Herald and ZBC]; for the immediate setting-up of the Broadcasting Authority board so that broadcasting licences can be issued to new players; and for hastening the establishment of the new Zimbabwe Media Commission.  Debate will continue when the House resumes in July.

Portfolio Committee Meetings:  Portfolio committees will not meet this week because MPs will be involved in the Select Committee’s provincial consultative meeting programme.  The committees will resume meetings next week, completing work plans and also holding some oral evidence hearings that will be open to the public.

Members Question Time:  On Wednesday Ministers spent two hours fielding questions from members.  Deputy Minister of Justice Jessie Majome was asked about magistrates being threatened by CIO agents; she asked for details, and stressed the Ministry’s commitment to independence of the judiciary and the early implementation of the Judicial Service Act.  Deputy Minster of Local Government Sesel Zvidzai committed the Ministry to putting an end to politically biased actions by chiefs; and also said that the appointments of “special interest” councillors to local authority councils were being reviewed and could be reversed.

2.  Senate

Senate Thematic Committees:  Instead of Portfolio Committees shadowing Ministries [as in the House of Assembly], six thematic committees have been set up: [1] HIV/AIDS;  [2] Gender and Development;  [3] Millennium Development Goals [MDGs];  [4]  Peace and Security;  [5] Indigenisation and Empowerment;  [6] Human Rights. 

SADC Protocol on Science, Technology and Innovation approved:  The Senate approved this protocol in terms of section 111B of the Constitution.  The protocol has already been approved by the House of Assembly.

Motion:  Senator Gutu moved a motion calling upon the government to formulate a well defined and strategic policy aimed at identifying, nurturing and developing the artistic, cultural and sporting talents of Zimbabweans living within and outside the country, linking this to employment creation and economic empowerment.

3.  General

Parliamentary Legal Committee: The committee has still not met, in spite of the backlog of statutory instruments requiring its attention. 

Update on Legislative Reform

The Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme [STERP] outlined an ambitious legislative agenda with 17 Bills [some to amend existing Acts, others to bring in entirely new Acts].  The press have reported that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill [to tighten Ministry of Finance oversight of the Bank] has been cleared by Cabinet and that the Information Communication Technology Bill is at an advanced stage – so these two Bills may be expected to reach Parliament first.  At present, however, no Bills are in the Parliamentary pipeline, which makes it unlikely that any Bills will be ready to table when the House of Assembly resumes on 14th July.

Inclusive Government – Ministerial Responsibilities Still Not Gazetted

Although it is now more than four months since the formation of the inclusive government, the President’s office has still not gazetted the customary statutory instruments listing Ministerial responsibilities for administering Zimbabwe’s 350-odd Acts of Parliament.  This is not a mere technical legal quibble.  To take a practical example, the Electoral Act confers functions and powers on “the Minister”, a term defined as meaning “the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs or any other Minister to whom the President may, from time to time, assign the administration of this Act”.  As there is no longer a Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, it is important to know to which other Minister the administration of the Act has been assigned – and this should be a matter of official record, published in the Government Gazette.  Otherwise, for instance, how does one identify the Minister with whom to take up the question why by-elections have not been called [see below]? 

Electoral Matters

Overdue By-elections – Government inaction and silence on this issue has continued.  No proclamations calling by-elections were gazetted this week.  [See Bill Watch 20 of 13th June for a detailed discussion.] 

2 New Senate Vacancies – the deaths have occurred of Senator Chief Bidi [Matabeleland South] and Senator Patrick Kombayi, Senator for the Gweru-Chirumanzu constituency in Midlands province.  This brings to 5 the number of vacant seats in the Senate.  Chief Bidi’s successor in the Senate must be elected by the Matabeleland South provincial assembly of chiefs, Senator Kombayi’s by voters in his constituency.  The notice/s calling the two by-elections should be gazetted within 14 days of Parliament's notification of the vacancies to the President’s Office [Electoral Act, section 39]

Election Petition Appeals to the Supreme Court – all election petitions resulting from the 2008 elections, whether brought by ZANU-PF or MDC-T, were dismissed by the Electoral Court on procedural grounds.  The dismissals were appealed to the Supreme Court but the appeals have not come up for hearing, in spite of the Electoral Act's stipulation that the Supreme Court must finalise such cases within 6 months – and the 6-month period has long since expired.  The delay has been attributed to the responsible department’s failure to supply the records of the Electoral Court proceedings.  In such a serious matter as election appeals affecting the whole country this seems a spurious excuse.

Application to Set Aside Presidential Election – Mr Chiota’s application to the Supreme Court to set aside last year’s presidential election [on the basis of nomination court irregularities] was postponed to allow him to engage counsel.  He has not yet applied for a fresh hearing date.

MDC-T Parliamentary Seats Under Threat

An MP or Senator convicted of an offence and sentenced to six months or more imprisonment is immediately suspended from Parliament and will eventually lose his or her seat unless the sentence is reduced or set aside on appeal [Constitution, section 42]. Consequently, the seat of any legislator accused of a serious offence must be regarded as under threat.  There are 6 MDC-T seats currently in this category:  

Mathias Mlambo, MP for Chipinge East – sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment for obstructing the course of justice.  He has been granted bail pending the hearing of his appeal.  His suspension as an MP continues despite his release on bail [Constitution, section 42].

Shuwa Mudiwa, MP for Mutare West – in prison awaiting sentencing on 27th June on a charge of kidnapping.  His lawyers have already said the conviction will be challenged in the High Court, claiming the charge is unfounded and politically motivated.  As the maximum sentence for kidnapping is imprisonment for life, so a sentence of more than 6 months is conceivable – which would mean suspension and, depending on the result of the appeal, possible loss of seat for Mr Mudiwa.

Meki Makuyana, MP for Chipinge South – on trial for kidnapping.

Blessing Chebundo, MP for Kwekwe Central – arrested on a charge of rape and on bail awaiting trial.  [The maximum sentence for rape is imprisonment for life.]

Trevor Saruwaka, MP for Mutasa Central – facing political violence charges.

Senator Roy Bennett – due in court on 1st July on charges of possessing arms of war [which might also attract a heavy sentence in the event of a conviction].

Lynette Karenyi, MP for Chimanimani West’s case is slightly different – her right to the seat is being challenged in a High Court civil case by her March 2008 ZANU-PF opponent, on the basis of her conviction for involvement in the forgery of a nominator’s signature on her nomination paper [the sentence imposed was insufficient to trigger section 42 of the Constitution]. 

Update on Legislation


The Engineering Council Act [No. 3 of 2008] came into force on the 15th June [date fixed by SI 84/2009].

Statutory Instruments

Statutory instruments gazetted on 19th June included:

·         SIs 92 and 93/2009 [specifying in US dollars the amounts payable as compensation to the State or landowners by persons convicted of hunting or trapping wild animals or fish under the Parks and Wild Life Act or the Trapping of Animals (Control) Act]

·         SI 98/2009 [new US dollar motor vehicle licence fees payable to Harare City Council].


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

Back to the Top
Back to Index