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

SADC summit blocks Mugabe’s push for elections

By Tichaona Sibanda
01 June 2012

A SADC summit on Friday blocked Robert Mugabe’s push for elections without
reforms, putting an end to ZANU PF’s ‘kamikaze plot’ to hold elections in

Jameson Timba, the minister of state in the Prime Minister’s office used an
online social network to update the public on the day’s events. He tweeted:
“SADC: No elections without constitution and reforms. So no elections in
2012, ZANU PF position had no takers. History is on our side, Aluta

The ZANU PF leader has been calling for elections before implementing GPA
reforms. Regional leaders meeting in Luanda Friday took the opportunity to
discuss heightening tensions in Zimbabwe. They also focused on the next
steps Zimbabwe will take before elections can be held.

Zimbabwe had been on the agenda of the SADC troika on Politics, Defence and
Security which started on Friday morning. Priscila Misihairabwi-Mushonga,
the Regional Integration and International Cooperation Minister and
secretary-general of the MDC formation led by Welshman Ncube, took to
Facebook in the morning to signal the start of the Troika meeting.

“We are now in the meeting will update,” she wrote on her Facebook wall.

Earlier, Timba, who is also Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s foreign
policy had tweeted that “two crunch SADC meetings will decide the fate of
Zimbabwe’s transition to democracy today (Friday).”

“History is on the right side,” Timba added.

A full SADC summit is set to endorse the Troika findings when they get a
briefing from South African President, Jacob Zuma, who chairs the tripartite
grouping. That summit got underway Friday afternoon.

The regional bloc had found itself in the middle of a political tug-of-war
between ZANU PF and the two MDC formations on the timing of the next
election in Zimbabwe.

Analysts had long feared that any election without reforms will see a repeat
of the 2008 violence that the MDC-T claims killed over 500 of their
supporters and displaced thousands.

Tsvangirai, who flew to Luanda from China, is accompanied by his deputy
Thokozani Khupe, Finance minister Tendai Biti, Energy minister Elton Mangoma
and Timba.

Ncube is accompanied by Mushonga and National Healing minister Moses
Mzila-Ndlovu. Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is also in Luanda, as
one of the three principals.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mutambara hints at March 2013 election

By Lance Guma
01 June 2012

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has hinted that elections in Zimbabwe
will have to be conducted by March 2013 when according to him parliament and
Robert Mugabe’s presidency will expire.

According to the transcript of a Parliamentary Question and Answer session
featuring Mutambara, the Deputy Premier listed seven reform processes that
must be completed before elections. These included constitutional, media,
political, economic, electoral, national healing, and ‘security sector
alignment’ reforms.

“What we want to do next time around is to make sure that when we go into
elections, those elections will be respected by the winners and losers. The
winners will be able to form a legitimate democratic Government and the
losers are able to congratulate the winners. For us to do that, we must go
through these reforms very carefully,” Mutambara is quoted as saying.

“We cannot go beyond March 2013. In March 2013 this Parliament expires, in
March 2013 Mugabe’s presidency expires. Consequently, this current Cabinet
expires in March 2013.  So, if you ask me about the ultimate deadline, the
ultimate deadline is March 2013 … we cannot possibly go beyond March 2013.
March 2013 is the end of the road,” he added.

Veritas, who monitor legal and parliamentary issues in Zimbabwe, disagreed
with Mutambara’s submission arguing that “March 2013 is not the use-by-date
of this Government – the correct position under the present constitutional
provisions is that unless earlier dissolved by the President, Parliament
will expire on 28th June 2013, at midnight.”

Veritas said: “Any reform legislation would have to be passed by the 28th
June. We can only be four months without a Parliament, so elections would
have to be by 28th October 2013 at the latest. President Mugabe’s current
term could continue until election results come in, early November 2013.”

The group however acknowledged that Mutambara might have been talking about
the inclusive government, since “Questions Without Notice” in Parliament is
reserved for Ministers to explain Government policy to MPs.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Canada withdraws from UN tourism body over Mugabe honour

By Alex Bell
01 June 2012

The decision by the United Nations World Tourism Office (UNWTO) to select
Robert Mugabe as an ambassador for tourism continues to be criticised, with
Canada now withdrawing from the body in protest.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Thursday the ‘appointment’
of Mugabe as an international tourism ambassador was what led to the
withdrawal. Baird said it was the “last straw” for Canada’s participation in
the UNWTO.

Canada had already signalled a year ago that it intended to withdraw from
the UNWTO. But an Order in Council is required to formalise any such notice

“After (minister Baird) heard that (Mugabe) was honoured at an event, after
he was invited to join this global leaders group, he signed the Order in
Council almost immediately,” said Baird’s spokesman Joseph Lavoie.

“They were legitimising him by enlisting Mugabe to promote tourism,” Lavoie
said, adding: “In our view that makes him a small ‘a’ ambassador.”

The UN body has insisted that Mugabe has not been an awarded an official
title, saying it does not run an ‘ambassadorial’ programme. But critics
continue to view the decision to choose Zimbabwe as the co-host country for
the UNWTO’s 2013 General Assembly as an indirect endorsement of the Mugabe

Political analyst and former Zimbabwean diplomat Clifford Mashiri said the
UN’s credibility is in doubt over this move, adding that ZANU PF “likely
feels endorsed and that it hasn’t done anything wrong in terms of human

“In this way it is a direct endorsement of the party,” Mashiri warned.

He applauded Canada’s decision, saying it is a sign that the UN as a whole
should refocus its efforts if it wants to remain credible as a global human
rights defender.

“The UN must be reawakened to human rights abuses and it cannot hide behind
time or anything else,” Mashiri said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Four MDC-T members acquitted in ‘public violence’ case

By Alex Bell
01 June 2012

Four out of 12 MDC-T members, who were arrested early this year in Harare
and charged with ‘public violence’, were acquitted on Friday.

The 12 were arrested after a raid by armed police at the MDC-T headquarters,
Harvest House, in January. According to the MDC-T the police ‘looted’ party
regalia including DVDs and CDs.

The 12 were seriously assaulted by the police while in custody at the Harare
Central Police Station, with one of the group being hospitalised with a
broken arm and leg. The whole group was charged with ‘public violence’ and
‘assaulting police officers’.

Those acquitted are; Leonard Dendera, Patson Murimoga, Paul Majarira and
Jefias Moyo.

Those still standing trial are: Barnabas Mwanaka, Taurai Nherera, Simbarashe
Makaha, Muchineripi Muzengeza, Murambiwa Dzwenge and Kudakwashe Usai.

A ruling on their case will be made on 21 June.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mines Minister's U.S. Travel Ban Lifted for Kimberley Meeting

31 May 2012

Sandra Nyaira | Washington

The United States has temporarily lifted travel bans against Zimbabwean
Mines Minister, Obert Mpofu and officials from the state-run Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation, allowing them to travel to Washington for a crucial
Kimberley Process intersessional meeting.

The U.S. is hosting the meeting where participants will focus on proposals
to change the definition of blood diamonds, among other issues. The U.S.
holds the Kimberley Process chairmanship through 2012.

Mpofu told VOA his delegation is not interested in debating human rights.

He accused nations like the U.S. of trying to frustrate Zimbabwe by blocking
its diamonds from the Marange fields in Manicaland, from reaching lucrative
international markets.

"We are not going to be party to those discussions at all," said Mpofu. "Our
message is clear that Zimbabwe is a founding member of the Kimberley Process
and those who want to get rid of us can do so at the peril of the

Recently, Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic, the Kimberley Process chair, said
there was an urgent need to modernize the functions of the diamond watchdog,
adding the term conflict diamonds must accurately reflect today’s concerns
where governments and not rebels, are abusing people's rights.

"We cannot be everything to everyone and our role is to cover the rough
distribution process," she said. "The term conflict diamonds must accurately
reflect today’s concerns as it did in 2002 when the Kimberley Process was
being formed."

But countries like Zimbabwe, which have been accused of abusing the rights
of individuals and illegal miners in Marange, are opposing the move to
change the definition.

Mpofu says the new proposals are meant to stop countries like Zimbabwe from
benefiting from their resources.

Kimberley Process local focal point person Shamiso Mtisi says his team will
push for changes and transparency within the diamond watchdog group.

"There's lack of transparency in the Kimberley Process and we want this to
change," said Mtisi.

"But more importantly for us as Zimbabweans, we want the definition of blood
diamond to be changed to reflect the times that we are living in. I know
there are many people against it but it has to be done."

The three-day meeting in Washington starts June 4. Participants will discuss
a range of topics related to the mining and trading of conflict-free rough

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF Invades Epworth

Friday, 01 June 2012

More than 500 Zanu PF supporters invaded Epworth’s ward 1 in the wee hours
of Wednesday displacing over 500 households whom they claim to be members of
the MDC party.

Zanu PF land grabbers were lead by one Kadumba, Epworth DCC chairperson and
Tawanda Mutizwa the ward chairperson, whose political violence history dates
back to 2000.
The mob, armed hoes and axes, raised the national flag, chanted Zanu PF
slogans and sang revolutionary songs as they partitioned the already
occupied land. They dug up and shared sweet potatoes in full view of the
crop owners.

On Wednesday, Domboramwari Police managed to disperse the land grabbers who
came back on Thursday in large numbers. The police did not intervene as they
claimed that the incident was political. Instead they called in The JOMIC
area team.

However, JOMIC was booed at and told that all Epworth land belongs to Mugabe
and that they have been sent to neutralise MDC dominance in the area. “The
situation in Epworth is very tense, remember we are victims of Murambatsvina
and now Zanu PF is forcefully taking what is ours,” said Thandiwe Ncube one
of the affected MDC member.

She narrated how the Zanu PF looters are demarcating their land leaving
space of a meter from their houses adding that if the police were failing to
protect them, then where will they turn to.

Zanu PF violence comes barely a week after the departure of U N Human rights
commissioner left the country and during Sadc talks in Angola. Last week
Chinamasa told Madam Pillay that there was no violence in Zimbabwe.

The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish!!!

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe equity laws should benefit poor: bank chief

(AFP) – 4 hours ago

HARARE — Laws forcing foreign companies to sell majority stakes to black
Zimbabweans should be used to benefit the country's poor and not just the
rich elite, the country's central bank chief said Friday.

And he warned that the so-called indigenisation process should exclude

"The indigenisation programme should benefit the majority of the people of
this country," Gideon Gono, governor of the central bank, told a conference
on black empowerment.

"The programme must be transparent," he said.

"Indigenisation shouldn't be used for indiscipline, for economic banditry or
for the cake going to the same people who benefited yesterday," he said.

Zimbabwe passed laws two years ago requiring foreign companies to cede 51
percent of their shares to "indigenous Zimbabweans."

These include Unki, owned by the biggest producer of platinum in the world,
the British-South African combine Anglo American; and Zimplats, the local
unit of the world's second-biggest platinum miner, South African's Impala

But some fear only a privileged few will profit from these measures, in the
same way just a few benefited from laws that expropriated white-owned farms
a decade ago.

"Those who have already benefited must give others a chance," Gono argued,
adding that the banks should not be subject to the indigenisation process.

"The money that is in the banks does not belong to Gono, or (George)
Guvamatanga (Managing Director) of Barclays Bank here," he said. "It belongs
to shareholders.

"It would be a great act of irresponsibility not to respect shareholders'

The indigenisation programme is at the centre of a dispute between President
Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who formed a coalition
government three years ago after disputed polls.

Tsvangirai has said the indigenisation drive will drive away foreign
investment, just as the country is recovering from a decade-long economic

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF crime and Zimbabwe Police complicity in Mudzi, Zimbabwe

26 May 2012

David Chawora 60 yrs attacked by ZANU PF in Mudzi 25 May 2012The MDC T had a
planned rally at Chimukoko in Ward 3 in Mudzi on 26 May 2012. According to
one of the organisers who narrated the events, the rally was sanctioned by
the police. On the day of the rally the organisers began to ferry party
members to the venue in a truck at about 0900hrs. The first load consisted
of women and children. On the way to the venue, at Nyamhondoro Primary
School. the MDC members found the road barricaded and blocked with logs by
ZanuPF supporters who wanted to attack them. The MDC supporters were let
through when it was realised that there were women and children. The
organisers of the rally informed the police of this incident. The second
load of passengers again found the same barricades and removed them and
proceeded to the venue.

On arrival at the venue the MDC supporters began singing and setting up for
the rally. The MDC supporters noticed a second group gathering nearby. They
identified this new group as ZanuPF supporters who were chanting anti MDC T
President Tsvangirai slogans and singing. The group started at about 20 to
30 individuals but gradually swelled to about 300 as opposed to the about 70
MDC supporters. Police officers from the Police Internal Security and
Intelligence section were in attendance. The MDC organisers approached the
officers about the ZanuPF behaviour who called one of the ZanuPF leaders,
David Chimukoko. When the police told him that he was disturbing a legal
gathering sanctioned by them he replied that the police should also have
told him about the planned gathering and vowed to continue with his own

Apparently powerless, the police withdrew.

Clr Cephas Magura attacked by ZANU PF thugs in Mudzi Zimbabwe - 25th May
2012Soon after the ZanuPF crowd brought out drums and the din from their
gathering increased as their numbers swelled more. The MDC leaders decided
that they could not proceed with their rally and to evacuate the women,
children and elderly from the site for fear that the situation would
deteriorate. They proceeded to do this. As they left with women and children
and some of the elderly the remaining group was attacked by the ZanuPF
supporters. Most of the able MDC supporter fled but some, especially the
older ones could not run and were beaten severely by the ZanuPF supporters.

The MDC leaders then went to the police station at Mudzi where they
approached Constable Kachidza who was openly hostile and uncooperative when
they pleaded with him to dispatch uniformed and possibly armed police
officers to protect the victims. For an hour they tried to get him to help
but the constable refused even when offered transport to ferry the officers
to the scene. The MDC leaders returned to the venue. On the way they met the
rest of their members who had been injured at the venue and were informed
that 5 people were still unaccounted for and that there were fears for the
condition of Cephas Magura the Ward 1 MDC chairperson who may have been
severely injured. Eventually the 4 were recovered but it was learnt that Mr.
Magura  (67) had died in the attack.

Wilfred Mugadzaweta 21 yrs attaked by ZANU PF thugs in Mudzi Zimbabwe - 25
May 2012The MDC leaders went back to the police station and as they
approached the station they saw Newton Kachepa, the ZanuPF MP for the area
leaving the post.

They reported the death and offered transport to the scene for the police
and suddenly police transport was available where it was not before and
police were willing to take up the transport offer.

Survivors examined and treated in Harare narrated how MP Kachepa had been
seen a few metres from the scene of the attack apparently giving
instructions and coordinating the ZanuPF activities. He was later seen
transporting the youthful attackers from the scene. The attackers were
identified by the victims as youth from Vhombozi and Banganya areas and not

Other named perpetrators include Arthur Mutodi, Sizler Kwenda, Amos Rwafa
and one Tawanda. The above named perpetrators drove Kachepa's vehicle on
Saturday to Mudzi when they heard that the MDC meeting was going to be held.
Amos Rwafa is based at 1 Commando Cranborne and is from the same village as
Newton Kachepa.

7 victims were treated in Harare. 3 were admitted in hospital under
specialist care and 4 are convalescing under observations at the treatment

One victim died at the scene. He was Cephas Magura  (67) from Mudzi

Post Mortem results reflect multiple blows with blunt object to body and
head, with intra-cranial hemorrhage.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Youths of Zimbabwe PM's Party Apply for Controversial Empowerment Funds

31 May 2012

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party youths say they have
started applying for funds meant to give locals a head-start in business
under the government's controversial indigenization program.

According to the MDC, youths from President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF have
largely benefited from the program, resulting in the MDC youths taking the
collective decision not to boycott the scheme.

Deputy Youth and Indigenisation Minister Tongai Matutu, from the Tsvangirai
MDC, told VOA his party was not against the government's indigenization
drive but the way the Zanu PF arm of the government has been implementing

He says Mr. Mugabe's Zanu PF hijacked the program in a bid to lure voters
ahead of possible polls that President Mugabe wants held this year.

Matutu said the youths are not seeking to cut corners but will follow all
laid down steps required to access the funds.

He said the scheme should also benefit other youths who have nothing to do
with politics.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chiredzi cholera alert

Thursday, 31 May 2012 00:00

GOVERNMENT has declared the cholera outbreak reported in Chiredzi a national
priority. This comes amid growing fears of a repeat of the 2008 epidemic,
which killed over 4 000 people countrywide. The

Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare, Dr Portia Manangazira, said a national response team was
currently on the ground in Chiredzi.

“The permanent secretary urgently sent the national rapid response team and
the provincial health executive of Masvingo to support the district health
team on the ground since the outbreak has been declared a national priority.
“The outbreak has gone beyond the World Health Organisation benchmark of
control due to the quality of water available to households, few functional
toilets, and limited numbers of health workers to do both outbreak response
and community health education,” she said.

Government had not identified the source of the outbreak but attributed the
spread to poor hygienic standards.
“Sanitation coverage is at 24,5 percent, leaving the community with very
poor hygiene practices that render them at risk of cholera and other
diarrhoeal diseases,” she said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

COPAC spokesperson Jessie Majome on Question Time

Lance Guma talks to Jessie Majome in Question TIme

With so much misinformation around the constitution making process SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma speaks to lawyer Jessie Majome, who is the chairperson of the sub committee on Information and Publicity in COPAC. Majome, who is also the Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs answers questions sent in by SW Radio Africa listeners. Will the final constitution reflect the wishes of the people as expressed in the outreach process?

Interview broadcast 16 May 2012

Lance Guma: With so much misinformation around the constitution making process SW Radio Africa have invited lawyer Jessie Majome, who is the chairperson of the subcommittee on Information and Publicity in COPAC. Majome is also the Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs and joins me tonight on Question Time to answer questions sent in by SW Radio Africa listeners. Thank you for joining us Jessie.

Jessie Majome: You are welcome Lance.

Guma: Now before we get to the listeners questions, can you give us a brief summary of where the constitution making process is right now and what is left to be done?

Majome: We are now at the final stages of what has turned out to be a protracted drafting phase of the constitution. You’ll recall that the Select Committee of parliament was appointed on the 13th of April 2009 to facilitate a process where Zimbabweans make a constitution for themselves.

We held our first all stakeholders’ conference on the 14th of July 2009 to bring aboard members of civil society, that is broader stakeholders beyond the political parties and beyond the politicians, and we so did so and we devised thematic areas under which the constitution would be written and also devised the questions.

Then we went for outreach, a massive public outreach exercise whereby we held at least one meeting in each of Zimbabwe’s 1,957 wards and that is a total of about 4,700 meetings where we had about 1.6 million Zimbabweans attending.

We also received submissions through our web site and we also received submissions from institutions and held special outreach meetings with parliamentarians and with representatives of people living with disability.

And so from the beginning of last year, from the end of last year in December, we started drafting and our drafters usually did a first run of four chapters, then eight and now they have actually completed a first run of the draft except for initially there were just four issues:

One, the issue of the death penalty; that of dual citizenship; that of whether we should have two vice presidents and the last one, that of devolution of power but I’m happy to say that those sticking four issues have to a large extent, been resolved. There’s consensus now, we’ve narrowed our differences and what remains is now just the detail and the editing, the continuous editing and re-editing of the constitution, the draft constitution.

Guma: Now when you talk about reaching consensus, it’s been reported widely that you’ve agreed on most of the issues but the issues pertaining to things like dual citizenship, Diaspora voting rights and others, have been ‘parked’; that’s the technical term that has been used and referred to parliament. Is that progress or you in essence as the MDC have just simply conceded to Zanu PF?

Majome: You see, that when I, I’m a member of MDC but my party has its very firm views but I’m a member of the Select Committee of parliament that is representative of Zanu PF and from the Movement for Democratic Change led by Professor Ncube and there’s also a Chief in that .

So when we sit as a Select Committee we are not sitting as political parties; you agree that if you have four let’s say we have four different people sitting together and they don’t agree and they have even in terms of numbers if somebody is insisting that seven is the right answer, another one insists that it is one, another one insists that it is three, another one insists that it’s a hundred, you’ll not get, you know the answer is neither; you’ll have to average it out, the average is neither a hundred, nor seven, nor one or three. It is an average of all those four positions so this is what happens in a process like this…

Guma: But can you call it an agreement? It’s not essentially an agreement, you’ve simply agreed not to deal with the issues.

Majome: No, no, no Lance I’m sorry to say you are, that is not what in fact happened. It is not correct that the issues were referred to parliament. No they were actually resolved, there was common ground that was struck and then in terms of what actually gets encapsulated in the constitution, because there are different styles of how you write constitutions

You can have a constitution with a thousand pages that spells out the details of each and every thing or you can have one that spells out the principle and the position and you leave it to parliament to flesh out the details of what happens.

So this is what has happened to the issue of dual citizenship for example, as well as the issue of the devolution of power and I think I need to underline this: as far as dual citizenship is concerned, the resolution has been that it has been agreed that clearly there’s no way that you can deprive Zimbabwean citizens by birth, citizens by birth, of their citizenship even if they decide to acquire additional citizenship of other countries, they cannot be forced to renounce their Zimbabwean citizenship and that’s that.

However, parliament shall be at liberty to legislate if it so wishes to prohibit dual citizenship if it so wants to prohibit it, that’s one; and then two on devolution of power, it has been resolved that there shall be devolution of power to political and economic power to the provinces in the sense that there will be created what are called Provincial Councils who are responsible for their respective provinces but however, these Provincial Councils are representative also of national leadership elected from the provinces.

But however an Act of parliament as it should rightly do must spell out exactly what matters, how the Provincial Council operates…

Guma: You talk about an Act of parliament as presently constituted, Zanu PF controls the Senate, so whatever the two MDCs can pass through parliament using their majority, Zanu PF can always block that using the Senate so essentially what they’re not comfortable with will not get passed.

Majome:  Lance you are forgetting the very important fact that a constitution is the supreme law of the land; we are writing a brand new constitution and it being the supreme law of the land that also determines how governance is going to be ordered; it means that there will have to be an alignment, a re-alignment if the constitution is passed.

It totally reconfigures how power comes from the people and how it is distributed. It means that there should there be elections to align the structures and the systems of government to the new constitution dispensation. That is why it will certainly become necessary to hold elections, to ask, to hold elections under the new constitution and in any event, so there will be definitely be elections and I mean who can predict who will be in power?

There might even be totally new parties – who knows? And also in any event, look, clearly the term of the seventh parliament is ending in 2013 and a constitution is not, we’re not writing a constitution for the next two months, it’s a constitution for posterity. It is usually the most difficult piece of legislation to ever amend. So it’s a constitution going now into the future beyond our present circumstances.

Guma: There was a lot of initial talk about COPAC writing a people driven constitution; Takudzwa Leonard Mathende on FaceBook sends in a question for you saying people spoke during the outreach process but now Zanu PF have hi-jacked the process and are now arm-twisting the views of the people.

Majome: Ah well look I can, I don’t hold any brief from Zanu PF, I can never say they are doing so or they are or they’re not but I think it’s important to note that there is contestation going on; it’s an arena where different political viewpoints are being pushed, political parties are doing that, civil society is doing that, different lobby groups are doing this.

This is a constitution making process that involves the views of people, is essentially a contest of ideas and thankfully, we usually will say may the best contestant win but hopefully in our particular case the best ideas, the best value for Zimbabwe will win and not from any particular person or any particular party.

And I say this because this process has come up with a list, distilled constitutional principles that guide this particular process and there are very lofty principles that are very good that should if the constitution adheres to the route it should do, it will result in a constitution that is good for Zimbabweans.

Guma: Pick out some of the highlights of this new draft constitution for us – what does it say for example on key issues like a Prime Minister, President, Attorney General, death penalty – can you just summarise the key highlights for our listeners.

Majome: Hmm you know I have difficulty in doing that Lance because it’s a work under construction, it’s a work that is isolated and going over and over and so at COPAC we are going to release this when we are done with it…

Guma: But as it stands currently, what are the proposals?

Majome: You see that is the difficulty Lance because it’s a draft, it’s a very long, it’s a very, very long document that is still also more or less under construction, that has agreed principles and you know, and what I can say broadly because while this draft there have been certain elements of the press have stolen in this draft and published; even the Herald were claiming that there is something called a final draft there is nothing like that at the moment.

You know we are really hard at work to try and finalise it so we can print it and publish it and release it so that everybody can have a copy and actually read it for themselves. But I can guarantee you that it will observe the principles of you know of good governance, of the rule of law, of human rights, of peace and the security of citizens and the good management of Zimbabwe because it’s a whole draft.

But what I’m saying the draft is not yet out, it’s not yet ready, it isn’t finished so that we can release it out into the, but I can tell you that there are ideas such as creating a National Prosecution Authority that is responsible let’s say for prosecution because it would be new, there is nothing so far in Zimbabwe, an independent body that deals with prosecution, separate from the Attorney General’s Office.

I can tell you that it proposes to introduce economic, social and cultural rights actually not there before in our constitution, even a 50% quota for women in decision making as well as even this issue of devolution of power which will include for the first time a enshrining of local government in the constitution.

It will also create provincial councils and having governors elected and issues, it proposes to do a lot of, already a lot of things and proposes to create commissions, independent commissions that are really independent such as the Human Rights Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission, Gender Commission, you know and Land Commission. It also even proposes to, it proposes to do very many things, it is very difficult to actually to say the entirety of it because it is still under construction.

It proposes to recognize children’s rights which is something that has never been known about in Zimbabwe’s constitutional history and it also proposes to really strengthen parliament to oversee the executive decisions, proposes to appoint even a parliamentary public accounts you know like committee that parliamentary appointments committee and also generally give parliament a very strong hand in supervising the way the executive runs issues and also to, even in the manner of appointments to key public institutions, parliament will have a say that it didn’t have before.

Those are more or less some of the principles that are being enshrined in the constitution but as I indicated to you, it’s in a state of flux, it’s still a work under construction and it’s what is called a iterative process that goes back and forth, it comes from the drafters, they put a draft, the select committee looks at it and then where there is deadlock, it goes to the management committee to try and resolve them.

And if there is fail and I must repeat this is resolving issues not what is coming from political parties here in the Select Committee but from the views that actually came, the data that was received at COPAC. Agreement because some of the views are different like on the death penalty say for example – some want it, some didn’t want it and even dual citizenship, some didn’t want it, some wanted it. So the Select Committee try to use those principles and international best practices as well to try and reach like a common point.

But where it failed, we have done what we call parking issues; when we have parked issues, the Management Committee has then helped to try and resolve the parked issues and as I indicated we have actually done very well. We are more or less done so we are now in the final phases of polishing up the draft.

Guma: But it seems rather odd to park issues when the process had an outreach exercise where people made their views clear. Why don’t you go with what the majority views were?

Majome: Lance this was not a majority kind of exercise; it was both a qualitative and a quantitative exercise. It’s not possible, it’s actually very, like it would be misleading and wrong to use the majority view because for starters we were not counting, you know we were not making people vote at meetings to say how many of you want dual citizenship for example.

It’s not workable because like I said we had about 4,700 meetings, I mean meetings that we had countrywide. One meeting would have 200 people at that meeting, another one would have 2,000 so would we be able to say, and so it’s not possible to weigh the 200 and the 2,000 they are very different.

The people who were 2,000 were not more important that the 200 and even and at a meeting in any event one person, few people, not everybody will speak at a meeting so each and every view that we were getting was important. And also if you consider that in certain instances certain people failed to come to meetings because there were reports of intimidation in certain areas.

So if you are going to count the number of people at a meeting and say because this view was said at a meeting where there were a thousand, two thousand people and when there was intimidation in certain instances, I’m not saying in all, then you’d be really missing the point.

Guma: Now a common criticism, or one major criticism pointed out by people for example like Dr Lovemore Madhuku from the National Constitutional Assembly is that the current draft is not very different from the current constitution because the presidential powers have not been reduced much and Madhuku’s position is that it should be the two MDCs which must be complaining about the defects and not Zanu PF.

Majome: Again, look you know it’s very interesting that Dr Madhuku holds that view but maybe you, also you could be interested and really amused if you read the other criticisms that are coming also to the Select Committee that they are saying that in the leaked drafts that they saw there’s been too much whittling down of the president’s powers because parliament is now, like I said to you, it’s creating a very strong parliament.

There are criticisms, I think it is interesting to hear different things said about it. Professor Lovemore Madhuku says so, other people think differently and so on and so I think that when you get different views on the same subject it means you know you are on a controversial subject. It means there is something there. What the Kenyans, well usually say that in the making of a constitution, there is something for everyone.

You can’t, like I said to you, it’s an averaging process, you cannot, it’s an exercise in political compromise, that’s what it can only be. A massive exercise in that. No one party, no one party or one stakeholder can have their total say. There’ll be something that you like that I don’t like, something that I like that you don’t like, there will be something that Zanu PF like and the MDCs don’t like, there’ll be something that the MDCs like and vice versa.

This is not going to be an MDC-T document, it’s not going to be an MDC led by Professor Ncube’s draft, it’s not going to be a Zanu PF draft. You know it can’t be let’s say a like a human rights NGO draft alone. It’s going to be, I think we need to really start understanding that we cannot have an absolute in this particular exercise otherwise we’ll have twelve million different versions of the constitution and we only need one so there’s going to be averaging out and compromise here and there and that’s inevitable but I can assure you it will have something for everybody.

Guma: Now Butholezwe Nyathi on FaceBook sent in his question saying when roughly are we likely to have a referendum. We’ve had so many probable dates being announced, we are now confused.

Majome: I would say, it’s for the draft, who is it?

Guma: A referendum. When are we likely to have a referendum? It’s Butholezwe Nyathi

Majome: Okay, I would say to Butholezwe Nyathi please don’t listen to any date that announces that a referendum will be on Saturday because it’s not possible to give, to forecast a date with precision. This process is dependent on, it’s always dependent on how long a stage takes so it’s not helpful to try and say on this date because nobody really knows, it will be a guessing exercise and it’s not really helpful.

But what I would urge him to, you know we are, what I can say we are at the final stages of the drafting process and when we then finish, we are going to conduct like update meetings, hopefully in the provinces, initially in the provinces we will get back to Zimbabweans and report to them what we have done and we will have treated the draft in Shona, English, Ndebele, in Venda, Tonga and in all the other languages that we use in outreach and Braille as well.

And then we’ll hold the second All Stakeholders Conference and so that representatives of civil, civic groups can come and as well as whoever is interested in the constitution be represented there and come and air their views so that possibly they can influence changes to the draft as it will be then.

And that process takes time, you know you can’t organize something like that like in a week or two weeks. It’s a massive conference where maybe up to possibly 4,500 people will converge from all over Zimbabwe and then after that you see, the process after the Second All Stakeholders conference, it needs, the draft will then need to be reworked to incorporate any changes.

After that happens it will go to parliament for debate and Article Six of the GPA says parliament must debate it within a month and then after that it must be gazetted in the government gazette and gazetting is six months as well and after that it comes to a referendum.

Guma: Now of course Jessie, all this might come to nothing because we are hearing reports that Zanu PF wants to dump this process and in fact the Zanu PF controlled media has already launched a crusade to have COPAC disbanded and have the draft constitution thrown into the dustbin.

Is this what’s happening? What are you hearing?

Majome: Yah if you read in there, there are a lot of talk and a lot of opinions in the media, in the private and the public media. There are some who think and some who don’t think so. But I think Lance, you and I know that this country is not ruled in the Herald or in the Sunday Mail or in the Daily News or whatever paper.

You can’t run you know a country or a process is not run in the press and in the media. So media reports are, you know look people have the democratic right to say what they think about the process, I can assure you this process is definitely, it’s working very well, it’s well on course and it is working very well.

I don’t, I cannot speak for Zanu PF and say they are going to pull out of the process. They can, only they can speak for themselves, it’s their democratic right to do so but as far as right now, they are in the process, they haven’t come out of it, they haven’t, you know, it’s not a Zanu PF, like I said, MDC, MDC_T process, it’s a tri-partite arrangement this and it’s going on, and it’s going on.

And that’s why what you are doing Lance is very important, to speak in the media, to increase more outlets for discussing this information so that all the different voices can be heard; those who don’t want it can continue to be heard, it’s their democratic right. Those who don’t want it can also speak and those who want to make up their minds and get information, this is exactly what we should do.

This is a peoples’ process, it is not a, like I said, like a journalist or a columnist process, it’s carrying on, it’s being done in terms of the standing rules and orders of parliament and we are going to present our report to parliament including the draft.

Guma: Well Zimbabwe, that’s lawyer Jessie Majome, who is the chairperson of the sub committee on Information and Publicity in COPAC. She is also the Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs and she joined us tonight on Question Time to answer questions sent in by SW Radio Africa listeners.

Jessie, thank you so much for your time.

Majome: You are welcome. Please continue to be interested in the process and participate in the referendum.

To listen to the programme:


Feedback can be sent to or

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Charles Taylor

June 1, 2012, 1:32 pm

Charles Taylor’s appearance at the International Criminal Court, immaculate
in a grey business suit with scholarly-looking gold-rimmed specs, certainly
did not resemble the image of a mass murderer – but then people often don’t
look the way we expect them to. Appearances can be deceptive, I remember
reading somewhere that Adolph Hitler could look absolutely charming with
children, smiling tenderly down at little blonde haired boys and girls - as
long as they had good Aryan blood of course.

Towards those with Jewish blood he had a very different attitude as the Nazi
death camps proved.

    Taylor was the first former Head of State to be tried since the
Nuremberg War Trials in 1946. He was charged with eleven counts of war
crimes, crimes against humanity and aiding and abetting Sierra Leone’s
rebels, the RUF. In some UK news outlets much was made of the fact that
Taylor was tried before a European court comprising all white men. It is a
regrettable fact that the African Union has not seen fit – for whatever
reason - to set up its own court to hear human rights cases. The important
point, as I see it, is that Charles Taylor and other transgressors against
human rights are tried publicly for their misdeeds; justice must be seen to
be done. During the trial, it was emphasised that while Taylor may not have
blood on his hands, may not even have been present when the crimes were
committed, he is morally responsible. The message coming out of Taylor’s
trial, for Africa and the world, is that no matter how long it takes, eleven
years in Taylor’s case, in the end human rights violators will be brought to

    Just over twenty-four hours after the UN’s Navi Pillay had left Zimbabwe
an MDC activist was stoned to death in Mudzi. In her last public lecture
before she left the country, Pillay had strongly reminded the Zimbabwean
authorities that Zimbabwe had agreed at the Conference of Human Rights held
in Vienna in 1993 that all human rights are universal, they cannot flourish
in isolation. Mudzi is certainly isolated and remote but the killers of the
MDC man are well-known to the police, a group of Zanu PF thugs, led if I
understand it correctly by the son of a notorious woman who was responsible
for the tsunami of violence that deluged the area in the 2008 elections.
Human rights have little meaning for the thugs who perpetrate hideous
crimes, often in remote rural areas, that go unpunished because of their
allegiance to Zanu PF.  The MDC activist was killed after a
police-sanctioned MDC rally and on Wednesday it was reported that six Zanu
PF activists had been arrested for the murder; only time will tell if the
men are brought to trial.

    Glenys Kinnock, a former MEP, asked this week why the British government
is not pushing for Robert Mugabe’s arrest for ‘crimes against humanity’ but
it seems that Britain, the EU and Africa are turning a near-blind eye to the
Mugabe regime’s human rights violations. The BBC presenter who has got
caught up in the nightmare of greed and petty jealousies that dominate Zanu
PF politics will no doubt have much to tell the British authorities about
conditions inside Zimbabwe when he finally returns to the UK. Despite a High
Court ruling that his passport should be returned and he should be allowed
to leave the country, the Immigration authorities alleged that the BBC man
had lied on his visa application. He is now free to leave, apparently, but
it was hardly good publicity for Zimbabwe as a tourist destination, despite
the agreements Mugabe signed about hosting the World Tourism General
Assembly in August.

    Meanwhile Charles Taylor has two weeks to appeal against his sentence of
fifty years in a British prison. Zimbabweans may wonder if we will ever see
Mugabe, as the former Head of State, stand trial?  His own determination not
to leave centre stage combined with Russian and Chinese support may ensure
Mugabe feels his position is secure – providing he wins the next election,
of course. It is worth noting that Zimbabwe has still not passed the Human
Rights Bill; in the feverish atmosphere that often precedes elections, we
will see just how committed Zanu PF politicians and police are to human

Yours in the (continuing) struggle, Pauline Henson.

Back to the Top
Back to Index