Harare, June 23, 2012 - Education, Sports, Arts and Culture Minister David
Coltart has attacked Zimbabwe’s ruling elite for squandering on foreign
travels what he says was three times more than his ministry’s 2012 budgetary
Coltart told guests at a United States Achievers Programme (USAP) graduation
ceremony in Harare on Friday, he was frustrated with the continued lack of
commitment by the country’s government to prioritise education.
“Our priorities are wrong. We are not valuing education sufficiently,”
Coltart said, “I have complained about this last year in the context of the
disproportionate amounts being spent on foreign travel in relation to
education and tragically it continues this year. We have spent three times
more on foreign travels than we have spent this year on non salary education
Coltart did not reveal how much this was.
The MDC-N senator for Bulawayo South lamented what he said was even the
international community’s propensity to spend more on defence as opposed to
Meanwhile, 22 Zimbabwean high school graduates have been awarded
scholarships to go and study in 10 top universities in the USA, courtesy of
the United States government.
The students were drawn from all over the country.
Speaking during the same ceremony, US ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray
told the US bound Zimbabwean students to return home and develop their areas
with the education they would have acquired abroad.
Friday, 22 June 2012 10:26
Tinashe Madava, Senior Reporter
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party is digging in over its new and old
demands in the new constitution being drafted by the Constitutional
Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) amid frantic efforts to finalise the
draft and pave way for elections.
Constitution-making is one of the issues that are supposed to be finalised
under the election roadmap set by the Southern African Development Community
(SADC), in consultation with the Global Political Agreement (GPA) parties,
before the holding of an expected plebiscite.
This week, the COPAC team was huddled in Nyanga trying to find consensus
over the many issues tabled by ZANU-PF.
Two weeks ago, President Mugabe’s party tabled a 29-page document with
shocking new demands to the COPAC team.
Last week, 200 more issues were reported to have been brought forward.
Some of the key demands include executive powers of the presidency ranging
from unilaterally declaring war, appointment of security sector chiefs and
devolution of power to local authorities.
The 29-page document tabled by ZANU-PF two weeks ago came soon after the
SADC summit held in Angola where leaders from the regional grouping flatly
refused to endorse President Mugabe’s bid for an early election: They
insisted on a full implementation of the GPA.
Outstanding issues in the GPA include the constitution, security sector
reform, electoral law reform and media reforms.
But it emerged yesterday that the COPAC team had agreed on more than half
the issues in the draft and was on course to finalise the whole document by
“Progress is very good. We have finalised about half of the constitution and
we are hoping to finish the whole document by tomorrow (today).
“The issue is that we are not discussing party documents. The committee is
dealing with the issues brought by COPAC, not party positions,” said Douglas
Mwonzora, COPAC co-chairperson representing the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) headed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
ZANU-PF co-chairperson Paul Mangwana, however, refused to verify this or
even comment on the matter.
“We are not allowed to speak to the press. I will not comment on anything at
the moment,” said Mangwana yesterday.
ZANU-PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo was singing a different tune when
contacted for comment. He insisted his party is standing by their 29-page
document submitted two weeks ago.
“I am not in the COPAC negotiating team but from the point of view of the
party, we stick by the 29-page document. It is something that our party
caucus agreed on. We think that it is reflective of the people’s wishes,”
“They can’t ignore our document. It is not outside the draft constitution
process. It is not anything new,” Gumbo added.
MDC co-chairperson, Edward Mkhosi’s mobile phone went unanswered before it
was switched off.
Mwonzora said the COPAC meeting in Nyanga limited itself to what the people
of Zimbabwe had expressed during the constitution outreach programmes. He
dismissed the issues raised in ZANU-PF’s 29 page document saying there were
“Those issues are non-issues because the committee took the attitude of
dealing with the report given by COPAC. We limited ourselves to what the
people of Zimbabwe said,” Mwo-nzora said in a telephone interview.
President Mugabe’s party has long been accused of trying to torpedo the
COPAC process. Sources in Nyanga, where the management committee is meeting,
say the former ruling party had hardened its stance as they seek to force
adoption of their views.
Written by Lloyd Mbiba, Staff Writer
Saturday, 23 June 2012 18:54
HARARE - Civic organisations have accused the Constitution Select Committee
(Copac) of gobbling millions of the funds but failing to produce tangible
Copac, a committee of parliamentarians that was mandated to spearhead the
constitution-making process, has so far gobbled $45 million and has produced
a draft constitution that has spawned controversy.
Machinda Marongwe, the deputy director of National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango), told delegates yesterday at a
conference to review the constitution-making process that civic
organisations have failed to get funding from the West, as it was being
channelled to Copac.
He said the failure by civic groups to get funding has hampered their
programmes, while Copac has not justified why they were given funds.
“Copac is now the major recipient of funds from the West,” Marongwe said.
“The initial Copac budget was $24 million then we heard that they had
increased it with about $5 million and I believe they will continue to
increase it, but we are not seeing results on the ground. You will hear that
the money is for the co-chairpersons’ allowances and so on.
“When we the civic organisations approach the West for donor money, we are
told that the money has been given to Copac as they come with a plea for
Marongwe added the political parties involved in the constitution-making
process were deliberately prolonging the process because they wanted more
He said Copac should justify the splurge of donor money and start producing
The constitution-making body comprising of the three political parties in
the unity government, recently organised a retreat to Nyanga where they
tried to narrow differences and find common ground on the draft
The meeting adjourned to Monday next week.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela), which had
organised the conference, said it is compiling environmental issues that are
likely not to be in the draft constitution and approach Copac over them.
University of Zimbabwe lecturer, Dorothy Mushayavanhu said issues like
access to environmental information are likely to be left out of the draft
constitution and urged Zela to immediately approach Copac over the matter.
Friday, 22 June 2012 10:13
Njabulo Ncube, Assistant Editor
BATTLING a potentially damaging political crisis in his own backyard in the
ruling African National Congress (ANC), South African President Jacob Zuma
has to contend with yet another daunting task in Harare as the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) appointed facilitator in the Zimbabwe
Zuma is set to visit Harare early next week to deal with the stubborn
political fall-out in Zimbabwe but critics note that with ANC Youth League
(ANCYL) infant terrible, Julius Malema, breathing down his neck as he
relentlessly pushes for the ouster of Zuma at the next ANC elective
conference in December, the South African leader is surely embattled.
Not only must Zuma deal with internal problems in the ANC, but he also needs
to break the political gridlock north of the Limpopo that has become a spot
of bother for the regional bloc.
On Sunday, Malema ratcheted up pressure on Zuma, vowing he will leave no
stone unturned in ensuring he does not get a second term, labelling the man
he helped secure the ANC presidency a tribalist, dictator and an angry man.
The former ANCYL president who has unsuccessfully appealed against his
expulsion from the 100-year old political party seems to have secured the
backing of a band of ANC young Turks increasingly disenchanted with Zuma’s
“What is the legacy of President Zuma? His legacy is that of not being
interrelate to the youth, is that of expelling those who disagree with him.
Why is President Zuma reshuffling everyday — it is because his choices are
not good. He is exposing himself, nobody else,” charged Malema.
Faced with a tumultuous situation in his backyard, Zuma is seen expending
his energies in whipping into line ANC cadres bent on pulling the rug from
under his feet than venture into Zimbabwe’s murky political waters.
Zuma therefore risks compounding his woes in South Africa should he fail on
his Zimbabwean mission. He has a daunting task when he finally decides to
visit Harare as mandated by the last SADC summit held in the Angolan,
capital Luanda, early this month.
The three political parties signatory to the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) — ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations —
have remained in their respective political trenches over a number of
issues, among them the equitable distribution of power.
Zuma’s mission also comes at a time when Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
has successfully won the right to sue President Robert Mugabe, his bitter
rival in the coalition government, over alleged unilateral appointments of
There are also growing choruses of disapproval over the military’s dabbling
in politics, a development the two MDC parties want addressed before
Zimbabwe goes for fresh polls.
Analysts however, say the South African leader should master the art of
fighting wars from two fronts by shrugging-off his internal squabbles in the
ANC and deal once and for all with the political problems in the region.
With all the parties in the government of national unity (GNU) focussed on
elections either this year or next year, they said it was high time Zuma
concern himself more with the attainment of an election roadmap and
electoral amendments that could help him achieve free and fair polls in
Zimbabwe to bring closure to the acrimonious unity government.
Trevor Maisiri, a political analyst with the International Crisis Group
based in Brussels, Belgium, said Zuma’s domestic politics would not affect
his efforts in Harare adding that the resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis
would actually boost his domestic credentials and put South Africa in good
stead to land the chairpersonship of the African Union Commission.
He said Zuma’s trip was going to be a decider on whether SADC should
continue to leverage on the course of action that it has been pursuing for
some time now or there was need for a change of impetus and strategy.
“If by the time Zuma comes and the Zimbabwean parties are still tussling and
heckling over reforms then that will be an indication of the ineffectiveness
of the Luanda push. If that happens then this should be a glaring
opportunity for SADC to surge ahead to another strategy and course of action
in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Should the Zimbabwe leadership fail to demonstrate progress in the
implementation of the GPA, Maisiri sees them surrendering the destiny of the
political process more to SADC’s influence.
“That will be detrimental more to ZANU-PF, which has shown some variance and
degree of disagreement with how SADC has wanted the process to go. If there
is no progress after Zuma, it only indicates that there is need for more of
SADC’s hand and involvement in the pre-electoral, during the election and in
the post-election processes in Zimbabwe,” he said.
So Zuma’s mission may not necessarily be to prescribe what should happen in
Zimbabwe but to assess the attitude and malleability of the Zimbabwean
parties to meeting the set out SADC guidelines of reforms before-elections.
If he finds that there is no capacity in that direction, Zuma is likely to
go back and try and influence the SADC bloc for a change of action, strategy
and for a more hands-on approach on Zimbabwe: That would take away some
liberties from the Zimbabwean politicians in critically deciding and
determining how the process goes from now on.
Bekithemba Mpofu, a political analyst based in the United Kingdom, said the
challenges faced by Zuma within the ANC may not derail his wishes for an
exemplary mediation process, unless he loses the presidency. In any case, he
draws his mandate from SADC.
by Patience Nyangove
DEPUTY Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe and the Speaker of Parliament Lovemore
Moyo have revealed they are HIV negative as part of a new drive by MPs to
encourage people to undergo voluntary HIV testing in a bid to help curb
stigmatisation and discrimination.
Some 181 Members of Parliament took part in the voluntary public HIV testing
and counseling exercise Friday while another 23 were circumcised.
Circumcision is said to reduce female-to-male transmission of HIV by up to
Khupe said she was initially scared of going for the test when Blessing
Chebundo, who is chairs the Zimbabwe Parliamentarians against HIV and Aids
(ZIPAH), phoned Thursday asking if she would take part in the programme.
“Initially I was afraid of going for HIV testing, but on second thought I
said to myself if I took cancer head on I will manage HIV. When I got to
Parliament, staff from the New Start centre where waiting for me,” she said.
“I was tested and told to come back for my results after 20 minutes. I went
into the Speaker of Parliament’s office; I was so jittery that I said no to
the food he offered me.
“After the 20 minutes I went to get my results and I was told I am HIV
negative. Normally I do not get excited about things but yesterday I was
excited about my test results.”
Moyo said he was lucky to test HIV negative.
“This public VCT and male circumcision exercise which began on Wednesday is
a demonstration by Members of Parliament having heeded calls of HIV and Aids
organisations and activists who called upon the leadership of this country
to lead by example,” he said.
“In response to the calls the MPs have voluntarily submitted themselves to
public testing and circumcision. Indeed this is a demonstration of leading
by example. Yesterday (Thursday) I led from the forefront as head of
“I now know my status. I was lucky to be tested HIV negative and I am happy.
I say I am lucky because all of us do indulge and are also targets of this
MDC-T MPs Gift Dzirutwe and Paul Mazikana were among the 23 lawmakers who
stepped into a mobile clinic set up inside the parliament building to
“The only person I feel sorry for is my wife who for the next six weeks won’t
have sex, however after two weeks I will try to cuddle her and see what
happens,” said Dzirutwe.
Mazikana added: “It was painless, as I was lying on the bed and the team was
cutting my instrument (penis) I was thinking of my wife who went through the
same process while giving birth because she had stitches, so I have done
this for her that she will reduce chances of getting cervical cancer and
also that I am always smart.”
Zimbabwe is targeting to have 1.2 million boys and men circumcised by 2015
but campaigners have warned that the procedure should not be seen as a green
light for people to have unprotected sex.
“Circumcision is not a magic bullet but part of a prevention package. There
is a lot of misconception out there and we are appealing to the media to
help us communicate that circumcision is not a magic bullet,” said Dr Owen
Mugurungi and HIV and TB specialist with the Ministry of Health.
“The media has to educate the community not to move around looking for
circumcised men with the intention of not using protection when they have
“Women are now looking for men who are circumcised and they do not want to
use condoms. We should not be creating false hope.”
Zimbabwe has 1.1 million people living with HIV, including 150,000 children,
according to the National AIDS Council.
22 June 2012
Gibbs Dube | Washington
Civic society activists, economists and political observers say the
inclusive government’s adoption of the Zimbabwe Diamond Policy, aimed at
ensuring the sustainable development of the industry, is a non-event due to
the militarization of the sector.
They said the recent adoption of the policy will not plug loopholes in the
mining of Chiadzwa diamonds, which had been earmarked to contribute $600
million to the nation’s strained fiscus this year.
They suggest the government terminates all diamond contracts and open up the
sector to private entities instead of leaving operations in the hands of top
security officers as is currently the case.
The diamond policy is expected to regulate the lucrative sector through
stringent measures aimed at monitoring the value chain.
Zimbabwe has so far received $30 million this year from diamond proceeds,
instead of the expected $230 million.
Buletsi Nyathi of the Youth in Mining Council of Zimbabwe says it is
impossible to regulate the diamond sector as diamond mining companies in the
country are believed to be dominated by security forces.
Meanwhile, diamond monitoring group Rapaport reports that Zimbabwe will next
month host a diamond summit aimed at promoting and providing an insight into
the nation’s gem industry in a bid to increase investment opportunities in
Written by Wendy Muperi, STaff Writer
Saturday, 23 June 2012 15:04
HARARE - Zimbabwe will continue to face water woes until archaic procurement
laws are repealed, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told parliament this
Tsvangirai was responding to a question from Glen Norah legislator Gift
Dzirutwe who wanted to know if government has a clear policy to address
perennial water woes in the country particularly major cities of Harare and
Tsvangirai castigated the country’s procurement procedures describing them
as archaic and stalling water development progress.
“Our biggest problem is not water; it is procurement — whose procedures of
purchase supply have decayed.
“We cannot continue to stick to archaic laws that do not benefit us,” said
Zimbabwe has faced water problems because of infrastructure breakdown which
has not been maintained for the past 12 years as a result of economic
Health officials are on high alert fearing an acceleration of typhoid
outbreaks which affected at least 4 000 people since October last year.
Tsvangirai said an example is the failure by the State Procurement Board to
buy pumps for the Mtshabezi pipeline that is supposed to supply water to
“A good example is the Mtshabezi pipeline, up to now it is still not
supplying Bulawayo with water.
“It has taken us long to procure pumps for the pipeline and there is no
explanation for that,” he said.
The premier said cabinet would soon receive proposals set to improve
government procurement procedures.
“There are proposals coming to cabinet soon that will look at improving
these procedures,” said the premier.
Kunzvi, Tokwe-Mukosi and Gwai-Shaghani are some of the derailed major
projects government has been constructing with the help of international
Recently, finance minister Tendai Biti said Treasury was effecting changes
to the Procurement Act following complaints by Cabinet ministers over its
He said the amendments will provide for the creation of a board to oversee
the activities and decisions of the State Procurement Board.
22 June 2012
Blessing Zulu | Washington
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met Friday with executive mayors
and council chairpersons who complained the coalition government is
frustrating their efforts to improve service delivery.
Local authorities say central government is excessively interfering in their
activities and in most cases also failing to pay for services rendered.
Mr. Tsvangirai was accompanied by Finance Minister Tendai Biti to the
meeting where 32 local authorities were represented. Executive mayors and
council chairpersons from both rural and urban areas were also present.
The local authorities also accused the army and police of threatening
council employees at military cantonment areas when they seek passage to
record or collect revenues for services rendered.
They also blasted the police for allegedly failing to reign in Chipangano,
the Zanu PF-aligned youth militia group in Harare which has seized council
properties in the city.
The local authority representatives also accused some government ministers
They also complained the government, which owes the local authorities about
US $42 million, was the major result residents are experiencing erratic
The councils themselves have come under fire from residents for lack poor
service delivery, especially in the refuse, water and sanitation area
resulting in recurring cholera cases being recorded from time to time.
Harare was castigated for the outbreak of cholera that claimed more than
4,000 lives throughout the country in 2008.
Sangria spokesman Luke Tambourines told VOA the Prime Minister was concerned
by the alleged threats being directed at council employees by army officers
at the barracks, promising to forward grievances brought to his attention
Massing Mayor Fe mus Shakable, also president of the Urban Councils
Association of Zimbabwe, said local authorities hope cabinet will address
Written by Staff Writer
Saturday, 23 June 2012 11:01
HARARE - Sixteen women mobilised by Highfield Residents’ Committee (HRC)
from Western Triangle recently gathered at a focus group discussion on
service delivery issues.
The meeting was facilitated by Juliet Masiyambiri, the Chairperson of Glen
Norah Residents’ Committee (GRC).
The women deliberated on a number of issues and noted quite a lot of
challenges. Among the concerns were daily experiences of women, including
water bills which are an inaccurate reflection of the consumption at
household level as meters are not functioning.
Supplies are unevenly distributed with some houses going for many days
If one is to fetch water they have to wake up at odd hours such as 2 am.
This has affected the family unit.
The water has a brownish colour, increasing residents’ vulnerability to
Unlike other communities which have boreholes as a substitute to council
water, there are no boreholes in the area and residents have dug a deep well
in an open space called Muzerere in order to augment their water supplies.
The state of refuse in the area is disturbing. Almost every road has heaps
of dumped waste, which have not been collected in a very long time.
Despite the clean-up campaign facilitated by the local residents committee
in April 2012, the heaps have re-emerged.
On education, Kudzanai Primary School is charging parents $40 per term for
From the resident’s view, the fee is unaffordable given the high
unemployment level and the dire socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe.
Parents mostly manage to pay half of the fees with the expectation that
their children may attend lessons at least half the term then make the other
“Surprisingly our children are turned away on the first day regardless of
the amount paid.”
A resident said, arguing that “Paying half down of the fees is being seen by
school authorities as having the capacity to pay the fees in full and high
interests are being charged on overdue fees”.
The City of Harare has made it clear that due to capacity constraints, it
can only collect refuse once every two weeks, but they are still failing to
Vending is the key source of income for most residents in the community.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is notorious for their continued harassment
There is a road way that has now been called “Speed” because when ZRP police
conduct their raids, vendors run away along the road as they try to protect
their wares from the corrupt police officers who solicit bribes from those
Friday, 22 June 2012 10:28
Njabulo Ncube, Assistant Editor
ANOTHER explosive situation is looming in the fractious unity government
over austerity measures adopted to arrest the collapse of government
operations with ZANU-PF and the two formations of the Movement for
Democratic (MDC) not agreeing on how they should be implemented.
At last week’s special Cabinet session, Finance Minister Tendai Biti
presented a catalogue of measures he wants implemented in the wake of a cash
crunch choking government ministries.
While Cabinet approved the proposals, ZANU-PF hardliners are girding their
loins to forestall their implementation.
Immediately after the Cabinet meeting, the party’s spin-doctors swung into
action, attributing some of the draconian measures meant to rescue the
situation to the MDC-T headed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, an
indication that there is no longer collective responsibility in government.
While on paper ZANU-PF adopted market-oriented policies when it took steps
to deregulate the economy in February 2009, the highlight being the
introduction of multi-currencies, in practice the party still favours a
populist approach, particularly as the country prepares for make-or-break
The MDC-T now finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place as the
proponent and executor of the austerity measures, Biti, cannot go back on
his word without suffering a credibility crisis while at the same time there
are roadblocks mounted ahead of him.
President Robert Mugabe has also fired a salvo at Biti. He told his party’s
Women League that he was not happy with the manner in which Biti was
presiding over the country’s economic matters.
The ZANU-PF leader cited the loss-making Grain Marketing Board which he said
was struggling to feed the nation because it was no longer allowed to borrow
money to finance its operations as it used to do in the past.
To show the magnitude of the differences, while Biti blamed illegal
recruitments by the police and army for bleeding State coffers, the ZANU-PF
leader left half way through to preside over a police pass-out parade
following recruitments the Finance Minister had said were not sanctioned. In
an interview with The Financial Gazette this week, Biti remained hopeful
that, if fully implemented, the mea-sures would arrest the haemorrhaging
suffered by the country’s economy.
Biti has proposed drastic cuts in foreign travel, which as of the end of
May, 2012 gobbled US$46 million.
Both President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai have been accused of
having a penchant of travelling outside the country with huge delegations at
a time government is battling to fund operations.
Biti is also proposing the disposal of loss-making entities and freezing
civil servants salaries, which has not gone down well with the public
workers who earn well below the breadline.
Presently, most civil servants take home about US$250 per month, against a
poverty datum line of about US$500.
ZANU-PF has capitalised on the discontentment in the public service over the
salary freeze and the fact that the Finance Ministry falls directly under
the MDC-T’s portfolio of ministries to project its main rival as insensitive
to the plight of the civil servants.
Civil servants recently wrote to President Mugabe imploring him to award
them a salary increment after they had earlier met the MDC-T leader.
Treasury is also moving to ring-fence resources accrued from diamonds from
Marange and from other State agencies charged with revenue collection such
as the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA).
There have been choruses of disapproval from Biti and his colleagues in the
MDC factions over the lack of transparency in the distribution of revenue
generated from Marange diamonds amid allegations that ZANU-PF could be
running a parallel government.
There is therefore a strong push from the MDC formation, which is being
resisted by ZANU-PF hardliners, to close perceived loopholes within the
system and funnel all the diamond revenue towards funding government
operations and resuscitating the country’s economy.
Biti is also advocating for the settlement of internal debts between
ministries, departments and other public entities to allow them to function
properly. Between them, government departments and entities owe each other
more than US$200 million. For instance, government departments owe Net*One
US$41 million, CMED (Private) Limited US$9,2 million, ZESA US$22,7 million
and local government authorities US$44,2 million.
The government also owes its foreign missions. As of December 31, 2011 the
diplomatic missions were owed US$24 million.
Local fertiliser and agricultural firms are also owed US$57 million for
“These government institutions are owed so much to the extent that they are
unable to service their own creditors. While they are unable to service
their own creditors, the same creditors are unable to meet their own
financial obligations,” said Biti.
“This creates a vicious circle, which has in turn created a debt gridlock in
the economy,” he said.
Some ministries are said to have gone for more than four months without
getting reimbursements or funding from the Ministry of Finance due to a
severe financial squeeze in government.
While agreeing that the government was technically broke, Biti said money
has to be found to deal with the domestic debt suffocating most ministries
and government departments since a huge inter-parastatal debt would have the
effect of defusing the already severely undercapitalised State-run firms’
capacity to deliver crucial social services to the economy.
ZESA, for instance, has battled to generate enough power to drive
industries, which themselves are warning of a slowdown unless swift
intervention is made to improve electricity generation.
At the same time, giving government the daunting task to settle debts
incurred by State-run firms’ globe-trotting chief executive officers and
officials would be as good as condoning inefficiency and mismanagement of
the public funds that they control.
“The government has to find the money to settle this inter-departmental
indebtedness, which is slowing (down) the economy. It will not be business
as usual. If it means getting money from a stone let it be,” he said.
But to avoid abuse of funds, Biti said his ministry would be directly in
charge of internal debt settlement.
“We don’t want heads of ministries or departments even local authorities to
use this money to buy 4x4 vehicles,” he said.
Biti said it was prudent that the government deal with the rot at ZIMRA and
the other revenue collecting agencies, saying corruption at some border
posts was bleeding the government dry.
For instance, he said, the government was losing US$45 million per annum
through delays at Beitbridge Border Post, the country’s busiest point of
While imports are over US$2 billion annually, the country is only realising
US$150 million in duty.
He is also proposing sweeping reforms at ZIMRA and at the State Procurement
Board, accused of cherry-picking companies for lucrative government
Friday, 22 June 2012 10:16
Nelson Chenga, Staff Reporter
NORTON — The land, tinted by browning vegetation stretches far and wide.
Huge swathes of maize fields are yet to be reaped, two months past harvest
time. Further afield, even more vast expanses of land lie fallow. An odd
green patch here and there breaks the tanned panorama, completing a snapshot
of Zim-babwe’s prime farming area of Norton.
Traditionally, at this time of the year, much of the land in this part of
the country was lush. Watered by sprinklers and pivots, young wheat shoots
should be flourishing as winter sets in. However, the prevailing scenery
tells a different story, a tale which starkly points to the country’s doomed
winter wheat cropping season yet. This, to a large extent, epitomises the
demise of Zim-babwe’s agricultural sector.
Pointers on the ground suggest the southern African nation is firmly on
track to achieving its worst winter wheat crop, as farmers confess to the
looming crop failure, which they largely blame on the country’s relentless
electricity load shedding by power utility, ZESA.
The country’s winter wheat production heavily relies on electricity to power
irrigation pumps: Any other alternatives such as generators will push costs
through the roof, rendering the business unprofitable.
The decline in wheat output this year translates to a massive wheat import
bill for Zim-babwe’s inclusive government whose coffers are already dry.
The government’s target of producing some 75 000 tonnes of wheat on 26 280
hectares, after injecting US$20 million into winter wheat production, is
already completely off the mark with figures on the uptake of the loan
facility being disbursed by CBZ Bank showing that farmers have accessed a
mere US$664 000.
Ironically, the farmers could not access the loan facility last year because
the inputs were released way past the May 15 wheat planting deadline for
most of the regions.
A CBZ official, speaking on condition that he remained unnamed, said: “Most
farmers are afraid of ZESA’s load shedding antics. They are telling us that
if they are not assured of constant power supply then there is no point
taking the risk.”
In April, the Zimba-bwe Farmers Union warned that: “With no electricity
there is no wheat to talk about lest there is a miracle.”
The decline in wheat production comes at a time when the Food and
Agricultural Organisation has projected the crop’s second highest record
global yield of 690 million tonnes for 2012.
Last year, Zimbabwe harvested a paltry 41 000 tonnes on 14 100 hec-tares,
which hardly satiated the country’s 400 000 to 450 000 tonnes requi-rement
for wheat, the nation’s second staple crop after maize.
While farmers blame, among a litany of other reasons, ZESA’s incessant power
outages and poor government funding of agriculture for their failure to
produce enough wheat to feed the nation, a visit to Norton by The Financial
Gazette revealed another overlooked dimension to the ever dwindling winter
Norton is part of Natural Region II, a 58,600 square-kilometre piece of land
occupying the country’s Highveld, which stretches into parts of Mashona-land
East, West and Central provinces.
Classified as an area suitable for intensive crop and livestock production,
this piece of land is Zimbabwe’s key winter wheat producing area. In 1985,
according to the Zimbabwe Statistics Office’s 1985 Government Statistical
Year Book, 74 percent of Natural Region II was occupied by large scale
commercial farms, 22 percent by communal farmers and four percent by small
scale commercial farmers.
But the 2000 land reform programme that led to the occupation of large scale
commercial farms by communal farmers, effectively redefined the agricultural
pattern of the entire Natural Region II.
The land reform programme remapped the area by bringing in more communal
farmers (A1) and more commercial farmers (A2) who, unfortunately, were
under-resourced to continue practicing the intensive crop and livestock
farming the area had become famous for.
Without the necessary financial and material resources, the majority of
beneficiaries of both the A1 and A2 model schemes are currently engaged in
what they know best: subsistence farming, a realm of agriculture that offers
very little options for wheat production, which currently costs an estimated
US$1 800 per hectare.
Friday, 22 June 2012 10:33
Clemence Manyukwe, Political Editor
THE Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Mildred Chiri has rapped the
decision by Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo to pay out huge
allowances to investigating committees, which saw some individuals in the
probe teams taking home more than US$50 000 each.
Since the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) secured dominion of the
majority of the country’s local authorities from ZANU-PF during the 2008
general elections, the Local Government Minister has appointed a number of
committees to probe alleged corruption by councillors aligned to Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party.
But in a report, Chiri said the State was losing a lot of financial
resources through the exorbitant allowances paid to the investigating teams,
adding that the payments should be probed. The government’s top auditor said
the amounts involved were well above the amounts laid down by government.
“The amount paid varied between US$5 000 paid to interpreters to US$52 720
paid to some chairperson of committees. The fees paid were in all cases far
in excess of those authorised by the Treasury circular on fees payable to
members of boards and committees,” reads part of Chiri’s report.
“I was not provided with competent authority for the payment of the fees
outside those authorised as in the instant. Although no budget existed for
this service, the payments were met from the Training and Development
expenses, Domestic Travel and Local Government Board items of the Ministry’s
The report said 25 members of committees that were set up to investigate
allegations of irregularities in Harare, Rusape and Redcliff were paid
amounts totalling US$394 621.
The amounts translates to nearly US$15 784per individual. Recent media
reports indicated that Chitungwiza municipality workers threatened to go on
strike after a five member investigating committee appointed by Chombo
received huge payouts when employees were not receiving salaries.
Manicaland Provincial Administrator, Fungai Mbetsa, who led the team was
said to be receiving US$26 525 in salaries and allowances per month while
his deputy received US$14 500. Committee members received US$13 500 each.
However, Mbetsa claimed he was being paid US$16 000 per month, in addition
to US$2 000 for his accommodation at a local hotel.
Despite the municipality failing to meet essential services, Chombo wrote to
the dormitory town’s council ordering it to foot the bill.
Investigations unearthed rampant corruption at Chitungwiza municipality,
nearly two years after the minister had rejected calls by the MDC-T to fire
the councillors in a move that would have stopped the continued plunder of
the council resources and possible huge pay-outs to the probe team.
“An investigation must be carried out to establish how the allowances were
determined given that they were just paid as cash without indicating the
breakdown,” added the C&AG in response to the hefty payments.
Chiri added that the Local Government Ministry had written off loans for the
purchase of 161 vehicles to traditional leaders under the Traditional
Leaders Vehicle Loan Scheme without Treasury’s approval.
The auditor recommended that beneficiaries should repay the loans so as to
facilitate the continuity of the revolving fund for the benefit of other
traditional leaders. She added that 27 Mitsubishi L200 pick up vehicles were
also purchased for chiefs in November and December 2010, but she could not
form an audit opinion on the efficacy of the scheme as it had not been
regularised through a constitution and accounting instructions.
The top auditor said the Local Government Ministry had deliberately violated
procurement procedures as prescribed in the Procurement Act and statutory
instrument number 171 of 2002 through a number of purchases done for items
exceeding US$500 000.
She said there are possible cases of corruption in the hire of buses to
ferry mourners during state occasions to bury individuals who would have
been declared as national heroes.
“The ministry hired buses during state occasions such as the burial of
declared national heroes and of concern were the acute variations in hire
charges not commensurate with distances covered,” said Chiri.
In one of the noted cases, Munenzva Bus Company was
hired in October 2010 to ferry people from Bindura to Bulawayo and back at a
cost of US$4 500 and the distance was 1 230 km while an AMC bus was also
hire to ferry people from Marondera to Bulawayo and back at a cost of US$2
400, a distance of 1 190. The two journeys differ by 40km which does not
justify the huge variance in pricing.
Meanwhile, the offices of the President and Prime Minister have been nailed
by the C&AG for violating the country’s laws on the management of public
The top auditor said last year the President’s Office failed to comply with
statutory requirements stipulated in the Public Finance Management Act when
it delayed submission of appropriation accounts in a development that
affected progress of the national audit and production of the annual report.
She added that the Sub-Paymaster’s General Account and the appropriation
accounts reflected conflicting payments that differed by US$750 468, which
posed the risk of having the former being charged with unauthorised
Chiri said a number of purchases that were done were never recorded as part
of the assets of the President’s Office, and warned that could result in the
loss of assets through theft.
Registers and debtor ledger accounts were also not being maintained for
travel and subsistence in violation of treasury instructions.
On the other hand, Chiri said the Prime Minister’s Office had incurred an
unauthorised expenditure to the tune of US$776 144, US$193 205 of which were
“Ineffective budgetary control systems resulted in unauthorised excess
expenditure of US$776 144 being incurred in the following items: basic
salaries – US$193 205; Vision Zimbabwe, US$24 349; Public Private
Partnership US$18 407; Construction works US$40 183. Total- US$776 144,”
reads part of Chiri’s report.
She added that the PM’s Office had also violated treasury instructions in
the submission of returns for payments to ministers and Members of
Parliament; travelling and subsistence, statements on donor funded projects
On the overall delays in the submission of accounts, the auditor said the
Consolidated Revenue Fund was not submitted on time making it impossible to
include the findings in her report.
Across ministries, she said there was a problem of some ministries not
disclosing amounts received from donors which may lead to abuse.
“A number of ministries received donations from various donors during the
year without obtaining treasury authority as outlined in treasury
instruction 2012. Further to this, some of the ministries did not disclose
the donations received in the year end returns. Failure to follow proper
procedures for accepting donations and subsequent failure to maintain
adequate records can result in total loss of the items donated,” said Chiri.
Written by Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Saturday, 23 June 2012 18:52
HARARE - Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi has
appealed for political stability to ensure successful hosting of the United
Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly (UNWTO) next year.
Presenting a ministerial statement on the country’s progress in preparation
for co-hosting the event with Zambia to Parliament on Thursday, Mzembi said
President Robert Mugabe wanted elections this year because he feared losing
the rights to host the event.
“My plea and this is to all of us across the political divide is; please let
us maintain the stability, peace and security we have now,” Mzembi told the
House of Assembly. “President Mugabe has called for elections this year
because he wants to keep 2013 clean.
“If we do not do this we might as well kiss any hope of hosting this
prestigious event goodbye.”
The minister said if there was stability and security of visitors he would
guarantee a contribution of $5 billion from tourism to the country’s Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) by 2015.
“Given the right environment and considering our potential I can assure you
that tourism will see up to five million tourist arrivals and contribute up
to $5 billion annually to the country’s GDP three years from now,” he said.
“Imagine that from only one sector of the economy and compare that to our
current budget. Zimbabwe is at present considering bids totalling something
like $1 billion for the construction of legacy projects in and around the
Projects under consideration include two, three, four and five-star hotels,
and a convention centre among others.
Government has reserved 1 200 hectares of land for the projects ranging from
private, built operate and transfer projects and other partnerships.
Mzembi said Zimbabwe needed to create legacy projects that will benefit
future generations as has happened with the former Harare Sheraton now
Rainbow Towers which was built in 1992 before the country hosted the
Commonwealth heads of State and government meeting (Chogm).
Bulawayo, June 23, 2012 - Veteran Journalist and current Reuters News Agency
boss in Zimbabwe, Chris Chinaka has been appointed Deputy Chairperson of the
Zimbabwe Voluntary Media Council (CMCZ) with immediate effect.
Chinaka replaces the late Bornwell Chakaodza former Editor of weekly
Standard and daily, The Herald, newspapers in Zimbabwe.
In a statement the VMCZ said they were happy that the top media practitioner
had finally been recognised for his sterling work within Zimbabwe's media.
Chinaka has worked for the Zimbabwe Inter Africa News Agency (Ziana).
During his days at the news agency it was voted The Best News Agency in
It was led by Wilf Mbanga (Home Editor) and the late Farai Munyuki
(Editor-in-Chief), both prominent media practitioners with a wealth of
The VMCZ Board said the appointment of Chris Chinaka to the position of
Deputy Chairperson was with effect from June 22, 2012.
"Mr Chinaka replaces the late Bornwell Chakaodza who served in that capacity
before his death in February this year," the VMCZ said.
"Mr Chinaka will be in this position until the next VMCZ Annual General
Meeting (AGM) scheduled for later this year."
Before assuming this new position Chinaka was a Committee Member of the VMCZ
Board and sat on the VMCZ Training Committee.
"The VMCZ Board congratulates Mr Chris Chinaka on his appointment and urges
all members to assist him in executing his duties in the new position," the
VMCZ said in its statement.
Harare, June 23, 2012 ---An increasing number of Zimbabwean man and women
are being lured into forced labour overseas and other African countries, a
new United States government report says.
According to the recently released Trafficking in Persons Report 2012
compiled by the State Department, Zimbabwe is one of the countries that have
done nothing to stem human trafficking.
“Zimbabwean women and men are lured into exploitative labour situations in
Angola, Mozambique, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Nigeria and South
Africa with false offers of employment in agriculture, construction,
information technology and hospitality, some subsequently become victims of
forced labour or forced prostitution,” the report says.
“Women and girls are also lured to China, Egypt, the United Kingdom and
Canada under the false pretences where they are subjected to prostitution.”
The report adds that Zimbabwe is also a major destination for trafficked
people from Bangladesh, Somalia, India, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
Some of the human trafficking syndicates use Zimbabwe to transport their
victims to South Africa.
Those that stay in the country especially the Chinese end up being victims
of forced labour
“Chinese nationals reportedly are forced to labour in restaurants and mines
in Zimbabwe,” the report said.
“Women and children from border communities in neighbouring countries are
trafficked to Zimbabwe for forced labour, including domestic servitude and
Friday, 22 June 2012 10:17
Ray Ndlovu, Assistant Bureau Chief
DESPITE a High Court judgement delivered last week that declared Welshman
Ncube the legitimate leader of the splinter Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Arthur Mutambara remains ensconced in the
inclusive government as one of the three principals running the country’s
His political survival is both a result of the defective nature of the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) that gave rise to the inclusive government
in February 2009 and the fact that the leadership dispute in the smaller
faction of the MDC has since been escalated to the Supreme Court.
While Article XX of the GPA specifically mentions ZANU-PF leader, President
Robert Mugabe and MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai by name as President and
Prime Minister of the coalition government respectively, it only says “there
shall be two (2) Deputy Prime Ministers, one (1) from the MDC-T and one (1)
from the MDC-M”, without mentioning them by name.
An appeal in the Supreme Court therefore has the effect of setting aside the
High Court ruling by judge, Justice Bharat Patel, which had cleared the way
for Ncube’s ascendance to the Deputy Premiership of the Republic.
But even without the noting of the appeal, the road to replace Mutambara was
still going to be a daunting one for Ncube.
First, the GPA is silent on what should happen in the event that either of
the parties to the agreement decides to recall a sitting President, Prime
Minister or Deputy Prime Minister.
Second, there is also a clear distinction between government and party
business, with senior government appointees being sworn to the oath of
office by the President: This makes President Mugabe both a player and a
referee in the whole thing, whether or not the Supreme Court upholds Patel’s
President Mugabe appears to have a soft spot for Mutambara and has been
accused of shielding the robotics professor from Ncube’s onslaught.
Mutambara has also made it known that he admires President Mugabe, something
that insulated him from the wrath of ZANU-PF hardliners who hardly miss the
opportunity to get at their enemies although it created a wedge between him
and MDC supporters.
A group aligned to Mutambara has been disputing Ncube’s victory at a party
congress held in Harare last January. Mutambara, hiding behind the group’s
cover, has expertly used the dispute to hang on to the DPM post.
But that has done little to take his political future from the spotlight.
Whether Mutambara and the 13 Members of Parliament aligned to him, among
them the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Nomalanga Khumalo, genuinely believe
they still have a legitimate case and will see a reversal of the High Court
judgement still remains to be seen.
But political observers are agreed that the High Court judgement has dealt a
heavy blow to the DPM and might have pushed him a step closer to the
What is not helping matters for Mutambara is that the life-term of the
Government of National Unity (GNU) could be coming to an end within 12
months as directed by the Southern African Development Community Troika
Summit held in Angola this month.
In the interim, the prospect of elections being held a year away from now
does appear to be more in Mutambara’s interest for the sake of keeping
himself on the political scene but it is what would happen thereafter that
makes his continued career as a politician doubtful.
Mutambara was a noted leader of the student movement in 1988 and 1989,
leading anti-government protests at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), which
led to his arrest and imprisonment.
He was later educated on a Rhodes Scholarship in 1991 at Merton College,
Oxford in the United Kingdom where he obtained a PhD in Robotics and
Mechatronics, and in the United States where he spent time as a visiting
Fellow in the same field, including both California Institute of Technology,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and FSU College of Engineering.
His nemesis, Ncube, worked as a lecturer on business strategy and as a
consultant for McKinsey & Company. Born July 7, 1961, Ncube has, since the
consummation of the inclusive government, been the Minister of Industry and
In 2002, Ncube was one of three MDC MPs to be charged with high treason over
an alleged plot to assassinate President Mugabe, but like the others was
found not guilty.
He is said to have masterminded the MDC split in 2005, which greatly
weakened opposition against President Mugabe’s continued rule. But he was
also instrumental in the talks for the Zimbabwe unity government, which
ended the bitter contestation for power between President Mugabe and the
Political analyst, Dumisani Nkomo, intimated that Mutambara needs the time
to regroup, fight and salvage the little that he can get out of a messy
After all, unlike the other principals in the GNU — President Mugabe and
Prime Minister Tsvangirai — who each lead formidable political parties,
Mutambara does not have a political party behind him — and owes solely his
stay in power to the GNU.
With no political party, Mutambara’s visibility among voters is likely to
slip away and if he is to declare his participation in the next Presidential
elections, his announcement is unlikely to cause a dent on the political
Talk of Mutambara and the post of DPM being “donated” to ZANU-PF emerging
from the ranks of Ncube’s MDC could also be symbolic of the dismissive
attitude that has permeated among his former colleagues.
Perhaps even more telling is that Mutambara has sought legal recourse in his
fight with Ncube and not leaned on the party’s 4 000 supporters, who after
all control the levers of power and makeup the heart and soul of the
splinter MDC party.
However, his stay in the GNU is still guaranteed, as the Attorney General,
Johannes Tomana, last week ruled out the possibility of the DPM making way
for the ascendancy of Ncube as the third principal in the GNU.
Yet other say, after his latest setback, Muta-mbara might pull another robot
of a plan out of his scientific bag.
“My analysis of the professor’s situation is that he will in the not so
distant future form a political party largely composed of a combination of
current political moderates and neutral citizens with no political DNA,”
said Farai Mamina, an independent political analyst based in Namibia.
“In the event of his determination to fight back in the Supreme Court not
yielding desired results, Mutambara who should have cultivated a ‘niche’
from the troubled GNU by now, will likely surprise the nation with a new
political party announcement. That would not be much of a big surprise in
political circles and the spheres that drive it, but will certainly be a
surprise to the average person on the street. There have been clear signs of
Mutambara’s intention to build public confidence and mirror a better
political image of himself than the one he portrayed during his heydays as
the tumultuous UZ student leader from 1988,” he added.
Nhlanhla Dube, spokesperson of Ncube’s MDC this week reiterated his party’s
stance that it would not pursue the post of DPM, which was a diversionary
tactic to stop it from preparing for ele-ctions.
“We have donated Mutambara that post of DPM and all the renegade MP’s to
ZANU-PF, we have no need of them”, he said.
June 22, 2012, 11:57 pm
Just a week ago, Robert Mugabe called an emergency cabinet meeting which he
chaired. It was resolved that the government immediately cut spending on
foreign trips; they also announced their intention to ensure that all monies
generated by ministries should be submitted to the Treasury. It seems that
several ministries have not submitted revenue to the Treasury; in particular
the Ministry of Mines which controls the diamonds has submitted only $30
million instead of the $240 million that was expected.
The reason for these measures is the fact that Zimbabwe’s economy is in
crisis, despite the massive diamond wealth that should be benefiting the
whole country. Announcing stringency measures is one thing but getting Zanu
PF ministers to abide by the strictures is quite another. No sooner had the
cabinet resolved that all diamond revenue must be submitted to the Treasury
than the Minister of Mines himself declared that his ministry would not
subscribe to the resolutions on mining revenue! The Minister of Finance
suspects that diamond revenue is going elsewhere, perhaps to fund a parallel
government? A government minister confirmed this week that the army has a
40% claim in the most lucrative diamond mine, the ZMDC own another 10% and
the Chinese own the rest. Ironically, at the same time that this was
revealed, Robert Mugabe announced that there were to be no mining licences
granted to ‘foreigners’ – as always the definition of ‘foreigners’ does not
apply to ‘our old friends’ – Mugabe’s description - the Chinese. Supposedly,
Morgan Tsvangirai’s visit to China was an indication that he has a shrewd
political eye on China’s future involvement in the Zimbabwean economy. That
may be good for China but whether it’s good for Zimbabwe is a moot point.
Meanwhile, MPs of both parties have been warned by the Minister of
Finance to expect increased austerity in 2012. Apparently, MP.s hotel bills
have already exceeded $70.000. Contrast that with the fact that government
hospitals have run out of ARVs and you see that Zimbabwe is a land of
painful contrasts. HIV/ Aids patients have now been told to buy their own
drugs; a month’s supply will cost them $120; finding that amount for an
unemployed person can’t be easy. For the Minister of Mines who can afford to
spend $22 million buying a bank such a paltry sum is a mere drop in the
ocean. MDC MPs are entitled to wonder how the Minister can afford $22
million on his ministerial salary of $40.000 a year.
Less than a week after the special cabinet meeting on the state of the
economy, Tendayi Biti announced that the two ministries failing to
implement austerity measures, Defence and Home Affairs, are both busy
illegally recruiting soldiers and police personnel – just in time for
elections, no doubt. By fair means or foul, Mugabe is determined to win that
election. He might not have another chance, he will be 89 years old by the
time of the next election. The Summit of Sustainable Development in Brazil
gives him what could be his last opportunity to strut the world stage. It is
reported that he is taking a 92 strong delegation with him at an estimated
cost of $7 million. Grace Mugabe will, of course, go with him, “Zanu PF will
never lose an election.” she said this week and her reward for such
unswerving loyalty is this foreign trip where she can shop to her heart’s
content. When even the war veterans are complaining that the government owes
them money, it is a sure sign that this diamond–rich country is in trouble.
Diplomats from the EU have been invited by Zanu PF to tour the Chiadzwa
diamond fields; “we have nothing to hide” say Zanu PF but cynics say that it’s
all part of a ploy to get sanctions lifted. Even if that happens, it will
make little difference to the majority of Zimbabweans since the sanctions
are targeted at specific members of the regime. With sanctions gone it would
be so much easier for the Zanu PF chefs - and the generals – to deposit
their diamond wealth in foreign banks – no questions asked.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle Pauline Henson.
Dear Family and Friends,
Front page headlines midweek screamed the shocking news that President
Mugabe’s trip to Brazil was costing the country seven million US
dollars. The President had gone to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to attend
a UN summit on Sustainable Development. He was accompanied by a
delegation of ninety two people.
The next day I attended a meeting along with perhaps forty others at
our local Municipality. Called an ‘All Stakeholders’ meeting the
idea was for local council officials to tell us what they were doing
with our money every month and to give residents of the town a chance
to publicly air their views. This was a meeting that had been
requested by residents months ago and was finally happening. Only
about twenty chairs had been provided for members of the public and
for the first hour and a quarter people shuffled in and out. At the
start of the public part of the meeting residents were asked by the
council to ‘keep emotions down’ but when it came our turn to talk
there was an explosion of fireworks .‘You are failing to meet your
obligations’ was the message repeated again and again by residents
to the council officials. Roads are falling apart; litter is piling
up; refuse is everywhere; the street lights haven’t worked for
years; sewage blockages are everywhere; water is only available for a
couple of hours a day, trees are being chopped down in every
direction. Month after month residents pay for services that they
aren’t receiving and this is one angry town. Even the representative
from the War Veterans Association spoke for almost half an hour and
said aid that our beautiful town had become a filthy growth point.
Most dramatic of all, however, was one statement which stuck in my
mind. The Chamber Secretary said he was pleased to announce that the
town’s budget for the year had been approved by Government. The
budget for the whole year is 6.1 million dollars. The contrast between
a towns entire annual budget being less than the cost of the President
and his delegations trip to Brazil is dramatic. Less is more.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy. 23rdd June 2012.
Copyright � Cathy Buckle. http://www.cathybuckle.com
COURT WATCH 10/2012
[21st June 2012]
Prime Minister’s Court Case Against President Not Yet Concluded
This bulletin covers the case brought by Prime Minister Tsvangirai, against President Mugabe and the Provincial Governors, contesting the validity of the Governors’ re-appointments. It is a case with political implications - testing power sharing under the inclusive government and with the potential to affect other key appointments of State officials and also party numbers in Parliament.
Tsvangirai v Mugabe & 10 Provincial Governors
Background to the Case
Mr Tsvangirai is contesting the constitutionality of President Mugabe’s unilateral re-appointment of provincial governors in October 2010. All 10 provincial governors were from the President’s ZANU-PF. The President did not consult Mr Tsvangirai before acting. Mr Tsvangirai argues that the re-appointments are unconstitutional because the President did not consult him before making them, and Article 20.1.3(p) of the Global Political Agreement [GPA], as incorporated into the Constitution by Constitution Amendment No. 19, stipulates that such appointments should be made by the President “in consultation with” the Prime Minister. [Note: in terms of section 115 of the Constitution “in consultation with” means that “the person required to consult before arriving at a decision arrives at the decision after securing the agreement or consent of the person so consulted”. The issue of Provincial Governors was raised during the GPA negotiations under Mbeki and there was an agreement between the parties that the 10 provincial governorships would be shared according to a formula to be negotiated. There were negotiations after the formation of the inclusive government, and a 5-4-1 formula giving MDC-T 5 governorships was widely believed to have been agreed.]
Mr Tsvangirai issued a strong public protest on 7th October 2010 saying that MDC-T would not recognise the appointments. When the Senate resumed early the following month, MDC-T Senators raised loud objections to the presence in the Senate of the “unrecognized” governors; this brought proceedings to a standstill. [Note: Under the Constitution all 10 provincial governors are ex officio Senators.] These protests had no effect. The governors remained in office
On 24th November, 2010 Mr Tsvangirai lodged his application in the High Court, seeking an order declaring the appointments null and void for non-compliance with the provisions of Constitution/GPA Article 20. The effect of such an order would be 10 vacant governorships that the President would be obliged to fill by appointing governors with the agreement of the Prime Minister.
The President’s response The President’s response, through his lawyer Terence Hussein, was to file a preliminary objection to the proceedings, claiming that Mr Tsvangirai had not, as required by the rules of court, first obtained the leave of the High Court to commence the proceedings. Mr Tsvangirai’s lawyer, Selby Hwacha, filed a response stating that the cited rule of court was not applicable to the present context – in other words, that Mr Tsvangirai did not need the High Court’s prior permission to launch this case. [Note: Rule 18 of the High Court Rules lays down in unqualified terms that before legal proceedings are launched against the President – or against a judge – the would-be plaintiff or applicant must first obtain the leave of the High Court to proceed.] This stand-off necessitated a court hearing to decide on the preliminary objection, before the merits or otherwise of Mr Tsvangirai’s main application could be considered.
On 25th May 2012 argument on the preliminary objection was at last heard in the High Court by Judge-President Chiweshe. Mr Hussein argued in support of the objection. For Mr Tsvangirai, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, instructed by Mr Hwacha, argued that rule 18 of the High Court Rules dates from the colonial era, with a very different constitutional set-up in that there was a ceremonial, non-executive head of State, and that the rule cannot be applied in a case involving constitutional issues. Having heard both sides, Justice Chiweshe reserved judgment.
On 11th June the President’s preliminary procedural objection was dismissed by Justice Chiweshe The judge did not give his written reasons for this ruling, saying that they would be included in his judgment on the main application, which would now go ahead. He said he would hear arguments on the main application on Tuesday 10th July.
The President then lodged an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against Justice Chiweshe’s decision. Mr Tsvangirai’s lawyers this week filed papers opposing the application. The application for leave to appeal will be heard by Justice Chiweshe in chambers on a day still to be notified to the parties. [Note: leave to appeal is necessary because the decision is an interlocutory one on a procedural point, rather than a final decision on the merits of the main dispute between the parties.]
On 10th July the case is scheduled to be heard in the High Court To date, Justice Chiweshe’s decision of 11th June is still operative, i.e., with the procedural objection out of the way, it is the merits of Mr Tsvangirai’s application that will be argued in the High Court.
But, if the President succeeds in getting leave to appeal against the decision overruling his procedural objection, and if he then goes ahead and notes an appeal to the Supreme Court, that decision will be suspended, and the hearing of Mr Tsvangirai’s main application will be delayed pending the Supreme Court’s decision. During the waiting period, which may be a lengthy one, the status quo re governors will continue.
Likelihood of delay
· If the President does get leave to appeal at this stage on the procedural objection – there may be a long delay before the appeal is heard in the Supreme Court
· If he does not get leave to appeal on the objection and the main case is heard in the High Court – there is the real possibility that, whichever side wins, the other side will lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Possibility of the case being overtaken by events If there are long delays caused by appeals to the Supreme Court the whole question will be rendered academic if it is not concluded before the GPA and the Inclusive Government end and/or a new constitution comes into force. [Note that appeals to the Supreme Court following Electoral Court decisions against ZANU-PF Parliamentarians after the 2000 elections were delayed so long they fell away when Parliament was dissolved five years later to make way for a new Parliament.]
This case involves only one of many accusations of unconstitutional unilateral action levelled against President Mugabe by the MDC-T. Others were listed by Mr Tsvangirai in the statement of 7th October 2010 that was provoked by the reappointment of the provincial governors, e.g., appointment, without consultation with the Prime Minister, of Supreme Court and High Court judges and ambassadors. And earlier this year there were similar protests about the President’s extension of the terms of office of the Police Commissioner-General and Defence Force commanders. If the Prime Minister wins this case there would be a legal precedent for revisiting these appointments.
It should also be noted that a more equal distribution of the 10 governorships would affect party voting strengths in the Senate, with ZANU-PF losing 6 votes, MDC-T gaining 5 and MDC-M gaining 1. It might also affect voting strengths in the House of Assembly if, as at one time proposed, MDC-T nominees were to be drawn from sitting members of the House; that would also add to the number of vacancies requiring filling by by-elections. All this might be crucial in Parliamentary votes on amending or replacing the present Constitution, where 2/3 majorities are needed in both Houses of Parliament. It would also affect the election for a new President, if the incumbent dies or retires mid term. Under the present Constitution, Parliament would act as an electoral college in a joint sitting of both Houses and the successful candidate has to get a majority of 50% plus at least 1.
Although legally their executive powers are very limited, provincial governors have tended to wield a great deal of influence in their provinces, and having all the governorships in ZANU-PF hands gives the party an advantage in elections.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.
PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES SERIES
[22nd June 2012]
Committee Meetings Open to the Public 18th to 21st June
NB: Members of the public who cannot attend meetings, including Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, can at any time send written submissions to committees by email addressed to to email@example.com
Thematic Committee and Portfolio Committees will meet this week, in both open and closed session. The meetings listed below will be open to the public as observers only, not as participants, i.e. members of the public can listen but not speak. The meetings will be held at Parliament in Harare. If attending, please use the entrance on Kwame Nkrumah Ave between 2nd and 3rd Streets and note that IDs must be produced.
This bulletin is based on the latest information from Parliament. But, as there are sometimes last-minute changes to the schedule, persons wishing to attend a meeting should avoid disappointment by checking with the committee clerk [see below] that the meeting is still on and open to the public. Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 and 252936.
Monday 25th June at 10 am
Portfolio Committee: Transport and Infrastructure Development
Oral evidence from Rural District Councils on tender procedures relating to hiring of contractors responsible for constructing roads that are funded by Zimbabwe National Road Authority [ZINARA]
Committee Room No. 1
Chairperson: Hon Chebundo Clerk: Ms Macheza
Monday 25th June at 2 pm
Portfolio Committee: Public Works and National Housing
Oral evidence from the Ministries of National Housing and Social Amenities and Public Works on the First Quarter Budget Performance Report
Committee Room No. 311
Chairperson: Hon Mupakata Clerk: Mr Mazani
Portfolio Committee: Budget, Finance, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion
Oral evidence from the Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion on the implementation of the Medium Term Plan
Committee Room No. 4
Chairperson: Hon Zhanda Clerk: Mr Ratsakatika
Tuesday 26th June at 10 am
Portfolio Committee: Agriculture, Water, Lands and Resettlement
Oral evidence from the Cotton Producers Association on their challenges in the cotton industry
Committee Room No. 4
Chairperson: Hon Jiri Clerk: Mr Mutyambizi
Thematic Committee: MDGs
Oral evidence from the Ministry of Labour and Social Services on the Older Persons Bill
Government Caucus Room
Chairperson: Hon Chief Mtshane Clerk: Mrs Nyawo
Wednesday 27th June at 9 am
No open meetings
Thursday 28th June at 10 am
No open meetings
Note: All the other Portfolio Committees and Thematic Committees will also be meeting during the week, but in closed session to attend to such matters as deliberating on oral evidence received at previous meetings; considering draft reports; reviewing work plans; and preparing for forthcoming fact-finding visits.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied