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Zimbabwe returns to begin after removal ban is lifted

Up to 10,000 failed asylum seekers face being returned to Zimbabwe after the
Home Office last night lifted a near five-year ban on removals.

By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor 6:25PM GMT 14 Mar 2011

The country’s most senior immigration judge yesterday ruled it was now safe
to return people to the majority of the country.

Mr Justice Blake, president of the Upper Tribunal for immigration and
asylum, sitting with two other judges, revised formal guidance for sending
to Zimbabwe paving the way for removals to start immediately.

Forced removals to Zimbabwe were suspended in September 2006 because of
growing concerns over human rights abuses by the Robert Mugabe regime.

But the country is considered safe following the formation of an 'inclusive'
government, led by the former opposition leader and now Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, in 2009.

Damian Green, the immigration minister, signalled in October that the
suspension was to be lifted but the Home Office had to wait for the outcome
of the Upper Tribunal ruling before acting.

There are an estimated 10,000 failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the UK, of
which around 3,000 have exhausted all appeals and challenges.

The court stressed it may still be too dangerous to send people back to some
rural villages or other pockets where they may still face a serious risk of

Among those who now faces the prospect of being returned is former X Factor
contestant Gamu Nhengu, who has been refused a visa to stay in the UK and
has not claimed asylum.

Matthew Coats, head of immigration at the UK Border Agency, said "We welcome
the court's findings. The UK Border Agency will continue to consider all
asylum applications from Zimbabwe on their individual merits and with
enormous care.

"We prefer people who are here illegally to leave voluntarily and we offer
an assistance package to help them reintegrate into their home country. For
those who choose not to do so, it becomes necessary to enforce their

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Tsvangirai to embark on new regional diplomatic offensive

By Tichaona Sibanda
14 March 2011

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is to embark on a diplomatic offensive to
seek greater support from the SADC regional bloc, following an intense blitz
on his party officials and activists by ZANU PF.

In recent weeks MDC legislators and supporters, plus human rights and
pro-democracy activists, have been on the receiving end of an escalating
crackdown by Robert Mugabe’ ZANU-PF party, which is destabilizing the unity

An MDC insider told us Tsvangirai believes that success in the shaky
inclusive government requires the positive support of the SADC regional
bloc. Since the crackdown began in January SADC has been completely silent.

During his week long foray, the MDC leader is expected to try to push SADC
to convene the long delayed Troika summit on Zimbabwe. The summit, which has
been postponed several times, is set to deal with the outstanding
non-compliance of the Global Political Agreement, something that continues
to impede the transitional government.

Both SADC and the AU are guarantors to the GPA and it is believed the Prime
Minister will also brief the regional leaders on the latest crackdown on
many of his officials and party supporters.

The latest political crisis was triggered by the arrest of Elton Mangoma,
the Energy and Power Development Minister, who is a key ally of Tsvangirai.
Also creating this crisis was the Supreme Court judgement that nullified the
election of the MDC-T’s Lovemore Moyo, the first non ZANU PF speaker of
Parliament since independence in 1980.

On Monday Tsvangirai met Mugabe for their usual weekly meetings and it was
the first time the two met since last week’s volatile events. Tsvangirai’s
spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed the meeting, but would give no

The Prime Minister’s first port of call in the region is expected to be
Lusaka, Zambia, where he will meet with the Troika chairman, President
Rupiah Banda.

In November 2010, a SADC Troika failed to meet in Gaborone, Botswana because
Banda and President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique did not bother to show.
Analysts roundly condemned SADC for treating the Zimbabwe crisis lightly and
blamed some of the leaders for treating Mugabe with kid gloves.

The MDC is calling upon SADC to take a leading role in drawing up a roadmap
to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai has been
advocating for this roadmap to ensure a credible poll.

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Crisis Coalition director & more MDC members arrested

by Irene Madongo
13 March 2011

The head of a civic organisation and more MDC members were arrested over the
weekend, as the attacks on activists by police worsened.

The director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, McDonald Lewanika, was
arrested on Saturday. Police said the 300 blank t-shirts and stencils he was
carrying were going to be used by young people at a music concert to print
and wear anti-government messages. The concert was held at the Aquatic
Complex in Chitungwiza and organised by a local organisation, Uhuru Vibes.

Lewanika said he was going to the concert to distribute t-shirts to young
people, but not for anti-government purposes. But he was arrested in Zengeza
around 4pm and taken to the police station.

“The idea was to give people t-shirts and spray paint and allow them to
write their own messages. It was part of a creative exercise. The police did
not believe that. They started accusing me of wanting to hi-jack a musical
concert and turn it into a political gathering,” Lewanika explained. “They
were alleging I was going to instruct the young people who were at the venue
to write very political messages, possibly against the government.”

Lewanika said he did have some t-shirts and wristbands in his car, which had
the slogan ‘Abasha Posa’ (‘Down with POSA’) printed on them. However the
bulk of the t-shirts were blank. POSA (Public Order and Security Act) is a
widely despised law, which the police have been using to ban public meetings
or rallies by those opposed to Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF.

Lewanika was released about seven hours later, on condition that he
surrendered his car and the t-shirts. On Monday he was told he has being
charged with ‘behaving in a way that can disrupt peace,’ under the Criminal
Law Codification Act.

Lewanika’s arrest is part of a heightened attack by the police on civic
groups and political activists opposed to ZANU PF.

On Sunday there was another attack on the MDC. The party reports that 30
police officers besieged its headquarters at Harvest House in Harare at
night, and arrested three staff members. Desmond Ncube, the MDC youth
assembly national coordinator, and two security officers, Trust Phiri and
Hebert Murori, are still in custody and they have not been charged yet.

Sunday’s arrests follow a dramatic week for the party. On Thursday the MDC-T
was dealt two heavy blows. Firstly, MDC-T MP and Energy Minister Elton
Mangoma was arrested on charges of criminal abuse of office, based on
allegations that he awarded a contract to a South African company without
going through the tender process. Mangoma has denied any wrongdoing and has
pointed out that as Energy Minister he has sweeping powers in an emergency
to acquire fuel for the country without going to tender.

On the same day the MDC-T’s Lovemore Moyo was deposed as Speaker of
Parliament, after the Supreme Court ruled that his election was irregular.

Following Mangoma’s arrest, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced that
the parties in the coalition government should have a clean divorce, saying
elections were now the only way forward.

The many arrests have netted members of other political parties too. Three
leaders of Mthwakazi Liberation Front were arrested over a week ago and
formally charged with treason, which attracts the death penalty. Paul
Siwela, John Gazi and Charles Thomas are being accused of distributing
flyers urging people to stage anti-government revolts like in Egypt and
Tunisia. They are accused of holding a meeting where they allegedly
discussed overthrowing the government. On Friday they were remanded in
custody until March 25.

Others still locked up include International Socialist Organisation
coordinator, Munyaradzi Gwisai, and five activists who have also been
charged with treason, after watching a video of the Egypt uprising. The six
were denied bail despite local and global outrage at their arrest and severe
torture while in prison. They were further remanded to March 21.

Meanwhile in Bulawayo, three men, Mphumelelo Donga, Kevin Ncube and Gift
Mlalazi, appeared in court on Thursday on allegations of laughing at a
cartoon of Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace and the Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono.

According to SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme, the men picked
up the cartoons on a street in Bulawayo and were arrested, for laughing.
They were charged under the Criminal Law Codification Act and have been
remanded out of custody. They will return to court on 30 March.

However, Ncube has since been sentenced to 22 months in prison for another
charge, which Saungweme says is believed to have been trumped-up as the
complainant has written an affidavit confirming that Ncube is not at all
connected with the case. “It would look like the state just wanted to punish
him to prove a point that if you are found in possession of a note
ridiculing the president, you will be arrested, whether you are innocent or
not.” The cartoons are printed on fake bank notes.

Saungweme said the lawyer dealing with the case, Mr Jamela of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, has a number of cases in Plumtree involving the
cartoon notes and told him that members of the CIO have approached him.

The police and CIOs are understood to be hunting the cartoon notes down.
“The attitude and mood of the police regarding the cartoons is really
serious. They are in a harsh mood,” Saungweme explained, “CIOs are really
hunting for people in possession of this. They really want to know where
they are coming from.”

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Police Raid MDC Headquarters

14/03/2011 16:25:00

Harare, March 14, 2011 - Zimbabwe police raided Harvest House, the
headquarters of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) arresting five people whose charges are yet known.

The MDC  said 30 police officers besieged Harvest House at around 7pm on
Sunday night and arrested officials and youths who were at the headquarters.
The party said the five arrested are still in police custody.

"About 30 police officers besieged the MDC National Headquarters, Harvest
House at around 7pm last night and arrested three staff members – Desmond
Ncube, the MDC Youth Assembly National Coordinator, two security officers,
Trust Phiri and Hebert Murori – who were at the office. They remain in
custody though no charge has been levelled against them," the MDC said.

Tsvangirai last week blasted the police and the courts for leading the
arresting and persecution of their officials and supporters since the
formation of the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Meanwhile, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has said police have charged their
director, Mcdonald Lewanika who was arrested and released over the weekend.
Lewanika was arrested and briefly detained over the weekend at makoni police
station without charge.

"Mcdonald Lewanika has been charged with contravening Sect 46.2 of Criminal
Law and Codification Act. Police to proceed by way of summons and will
remain ceased material," CiCZ said in an alert.

Before the formation of the coalition government police made several raids
at the Harvest House in a move that was described by the MDC as meant to
intimidate the party. No charges preferred by the police managed to stick in

Last week police arrested Elton Mangoma, Ernegy and Power Development
minister on fraud charges but Tsvangirai dismissed the charges saying the
move was political.

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Ncube wants Mutambara arrested

By Lance Guma
14 March 2011

5 years after Welshman Ncube invited Arthur Mutambara to lead the breakaway
faction of the MDC, the relationship has turned sour, with Ncube now seeking
Mutambara’s arrest for allegedly being in contempt of a court order.

Last month Bulawayo High Court Judge Nicholas Ndou ruled that Mutambara
could not ‘purport’ to be president of the party and was ‘interdicted from
exercising any function vested in the president of the MDC and/or principal
in the inclusive government pending the finalization,’ of the leadership
dispute in court.

Mutambara refused to step down as Deputy Prime Minister, a position Ncube
was eyeing as the newly installed leader of the smaller MDC faction. Despite
the High Court interim order, Mutambara has continued attending the weekly
meetings of the three principals in the coalition government.

Edwin Ndlovu, who is the Bulawayo spokesman for the MDC-N, said they are,
“Filing court contempt charges against Mutambara because he should not be
attending the principals’ meeting since he is not the MDC leader. He is
violating a court order and should be arrested. He can do any other
functions of the DPM, but not any other functions relating to the party that
principals discuss every Monday.”

But on Monday one of Mutambara’s aides told SW Radio Africa that the interim
order granted by Justice Ndou gave Mutambara 10 days in which to file a
notice of opposition, and he said Mutambara’s lawyers did this.

“The meetings between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara are meetings of the
signatories to the GPA, whose duty it is to implement the agreement. That
agreement does not state that there will be a meeting of Presidents of
parties every Monday,’ the aide told us.

The official who declined to be named, arguing the case was sub judice
(before the courts), said; “Are these not the same people who convened a
press conference last month and told the world they had donated Mutambara
and the DPM post to ZANU PF? So why are they objecting to Mutambara
attending the weekly meetings as Deputy Prime Minister?”

Political commentator Dr Bekithemba Mpofu told SW Radio Africa that
Mutambara had lost the chance to exit the political stage gracefully and
would be the main loser from the saga. He said Mutambara had no problems
when he gave up leadership of the party at the January congress but
‘everything started going downhill’ when the party asked him to step down as
the Deputy Prime Minister.

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Ministers awarded ‘baffling’ salary jump

By Alex Bell
14 March 2011

As the country’s civil service wait for a June review of their low monthly
wages, government ministers have reportedly awarded themselves a significant

According to The Standard newspaper, Cabinet Ministers, MPs and Senators
have all had increases, which came into effect in January. Ministers are now
said to be earning an average of US$2000 a month, while their deputies have
had a salary jump from about US$400 a month to an estimated US$1600.
Ministers and deputies are also receiving up to US$300 in allowances on top
of their earnings. MPs wishing to remain anonymous have reported that they
are now taking home up to US$940 a month.

The revelations come as Cabinet has agreed that civil servants must get a
salary review by June and receive loans so that they can buy houses and
cars. The civil service has been fighting a losing battle since last year to
get increases, with the majority of workers taking home less than US$200 a
month. Civil service unions are demanding a minimum salary of about US$500 a
month, but the government has insisted that it does not have the money to
meet these demands.

Public Service Minister, Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, told SW Radio
Africa last month that “we are willing as a government to pay civil servants
a salary that is commensurate with the responsibilities that they face on a
day-to-day basis. A salary that enables them to look after all their general
welfare needs.”

“But it has not proved to be possible because of the meagre resources that
are available and the very low levels of revenue flows into the Treasury,”
the Minister added.

The President of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ),
Takavafira Zhou, told SW Radio Africa on Monday that it was “baffling” that
Ministers and MPs have received increases, despite insisting that there is
no money. Zhou said this was a clear sign of the “non-sincerity in the
government and their claim that there is no money.”

“The political parties just want to use us in their own contestations, and
we are reminded that we are worthless. We are angry and will respond
accordingly,” Zhou said.


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Mugabe, Tsvangirai to discuss crisis

by Patricia Mpofu     Monday 14 March 2011

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are
today expected to discuss a widening crackdown by state security forces
against the premier’s supporters threatening to split the troubled Harare
coalition government.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and controversial Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara
usually hold meetings every Monday to deliberate on issues affecting the
coalition government.

But insiders said over the weekend that today’s meeting would be a no-holds
barred affair in the wake of the ouster of Tsvangirai’s national chairman,
Lovemore Moyo, as Speaker of Parliament, the arrest of his energy minister
Elton Mangoma and several other legislators and officials from the popular
faction of the Movement for Democratic Change.

Moyo was dethroned as Speaker last Thursday after the Supreme Court ruled
that his election was irregular, while Mangoma was arrested on allegations
that he abused his office by awarding a little-known South Africa firm to
supply fuel without going to tender.

The ouster of Moyo and the arrest Mangoma, who spent the weekend at Harare
Remand Prison, has angered Tsvangirai who last Thursday threatened to pull
out of the unity government citing Mugabe’s machinations to frustrate the
MDC in government.

The meeting today also comes in the wake of reports of renewed political
violence amid claims that state security agents are on a drive to arrest
civil society activists who have been at the forefront of exposing political
violence and human rights abuses.

On Saturday police arrested Macdonald Lewanika, the director of Crisis in

Coalition for as yet unknown reasons.

An alert from Crisis circulated on Saturday said Lewanika was detained at
Makoni Police station in Chitungwiza town, about 25km east of Harare.

On Thursday police visited the offices of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Forum where they demanded to see its director Abel Chikomo who, however was
not in the office.

Chikomo is expected report to police today amid fears he could be arrested.

Scores of other leaders and activists of the MDC-T and its civil society
allies are either being held in jail or facing charges that the former
opposition party says are trumped up and an attempt to destroy its
structures ahead of a key constitution referendum later this year and
elections that should follow the plebiscite.

Tsvangirai has said hawks within ZANU PF were behind the harassment of MDC
members describing the actions of the hardliners as causing “pain and

But the former opposition chief, who has partially withdrawn his party from
the unity government before, also showed how limited his options were,
calling last week for a clean divorce with ZANU PF while at the same time
vowing that the MDC-T would stick with the troubled transition process.

He said: “If there is a breakdown in the relationship of the parties in the
GPA, it is important for the parties to agree on a clean divorce. As far as
we are concerned, the roadmap that President Zuma (Jacob) has committed
himself to draw up is the only solution to this madness.”

Zuma is the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s official
mediator between Tsvangirai and Mugabe, two bitter foes who only agreed to
form a unity government under immense pressure from the regional body
following inconclusive elections in 2008.

The South African leader is understood to be drafting a roadmap that should
see Zimbabwe hold free and fair elections. Under Zuma’s roadmap, elections
will follow a referendum on a new constitution and will also set milestones
such as electoral reforms, the role of security forces and how to smoothly
transfer power.

But analysts say escalating political violence perpetrated by hardline
elements in ZANU PF party and the military could render Zuma’s roadmap
meaningless. – ZimOnline.

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Zimbabwe ethanol plant should put fuel on market by June

Written by The Editor Monday, 14 March 2011 13:47

Zimbabwe should see renewable ethanol come to market in June this year.

The news comes as Green Fuels, the company setting up an ethanol plant in
Zimbabwe's Lowveld region, reports delays to construction efforts at the

“The key components of the plant have been sourced from Brazil and this
material has been shipped to the country through Durban port facilities,”
Green Fuel general manager, Graeme Smith, said in a

Unfortunately a strike by South African port authorities means delays of
three months will be experienced.

“The strike action had a ripple effect on the transportation of our parts
for the distillery, boiler section, as well as the mill house. At this stage
it is safe to say our ethanol will be on the market by June this year,” said

Daily News reports that the company said it had now implemented a 24-hour
work schedule to complete the construction of the plant. The project, which
on completion and when fully operational will employ more than 10 000
people, will help reduce the price of fuel in Zimbabwe.

The by-products from the plant will be used to produce electricity, enough
to light up the whole of Manicaland and also produce large quantities of
stock feed.

The community is also benefitting through outgrower projects, while
irrigation schemes in the area have been revived after Green Fuels repaired
the Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) pumps which had not been
working for more than five years.

“Eight hundred Green Fuel technicians have been working around the clock to
ensure that the plant will be operating by June, ready to start processing
over 5,000 hectares of sugarcane into high quality anhydrous ethanol.

“The current phase of the first plant will require 11500ha and will produce
350,000 litres a day of Ethanol for 300 days, which equates to just over a
100 million litres annually.

Phase two will progression to 150 million litres a year and 250 million
litres in phase three,” said Smith.

Green Fuels, using their agricultural company, Macdom and Rating
Investments, is growing cane on vast swathes of land on Chisumbanje and
Middle Sabi estates under a build, operate and transfer arrangement with

ARDA will inherit everything, including state-of-the-art mechanisation at
the end of the agreement whose lifespan is 20 years.

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Zimbabwe threatens to take over Coca Cola

Zimbabwe has threatened to take over Coca Cola for failing to comply with
the country's laws seeking to force them to transfer their majority
shareholding to locals. FILE | AFRICA REVIEW |

Posted Monday, March 14 2011 at 17:05

Giant US beverages manufacturer Coca Cola is one of the close to 800 foreign
companies that face prosecution for failing to comply with Zimbabwean laws
seeking to force them to transfer their majority shareholding to locals.

According to state media reports at the weekend, 795 companies missed last
year’s deadline to submit proposals on how they intended to reconfigure
their shareholding structures to comply with the law.

Zimbabwe last year passed a law that seeks to force foreign companies to
cede 51 per cent of their shareholding to locals.

“We have now reached the process of de-registering defiant companies and any
time from now, some companies will be closed for defying the indigenisation
law,” the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development,
Indigenisation and Empowerment, Prince Mupazviriho told the state owned
Sunday Mail newspaper.

He said government had sent communication to some of the companies urging
them to comply with the controversial law, but still faced some resistance.

The list published by the paper included Coca Cola Central Africa and a
number of conglomerates that sustained Zimbabwe’s economy during one of its
devastating recessions, which ended in 2009.

Human rights activists

“We have a list of about 900 companies that we believe fall within the
legislated threshold and some of them will be closed,” Mr Mupazviriho said.

In addition to seizing majority shareholding in foreign owned companies,
President Robert Mugabe has threatened to take over companies whose owners
come from the European Union and the US.

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Threat to seize foreign firms is 'idle rhetoric'

RAY NDLOVU Mar 14 2011 13:28

President Robert Mugabe's sabre-rattling about the possible seizure of major
companies with "Western links" is an "idle threat, political rhetoric and
mere browbeating by Zanu-PF to coerce foreign companies into speaking out
against sanctions", economist Eric Bloch said this week.

Until now Zanu-PF has been dilly-dallying over the implementation of the
indigenisation and empowerment law enacted in 2007. However, it has been
given new impetus by the party's anti-sanctions crusade launched more than a
week ago, which Mugabe explicitly coupled with threats to seize key foreign

In the spotlight are the country's "big five", Nestlé, Rio Tinto, Old
Mutual, Barclays and Standard Chartered and British American Tobacco.
Saviour Kasukuwere, the indigenisation and empowerment minister said 600
foreign companies have already submitted proposals to his ministry on how
they will meet the indigenisation requirements. The empowerment law targets
foreign companies with a value of more than $500 000, which must cede a 51%
controlling stake to indigenous Zimbabweans.

Nestlé Zimbabwe
Swiss-based food conglomerate Nestlé fell out of favour with Mugabe over its
decision, in response to international pressure, not to buy milk from his
Gushungo dairy farm, but insists it remains "committed" to Zimbabwe. With
more than 50 years of operation, it employs 1 000 Zimbabweans. At his 87th
birthday celebration last month, Mugabe instructed Kasukuwere to go after
Nestlé first.

Rio Tinto
The British-Australian mining company holds a 78% stake in one of only two
known kimberlite diamond mines in Zimbabwe, at its Murowa operation. The
remaining shares are already held by Rio-Zim, an independent, indigenous
outfit that is likely to contest Zanu-PF's ambitions to nationalise the
diamond industry. Rio Tinto recently invested an additional $300-million in
Murowa to increase the production of high-quality gems.

Old Mutual
Old Mutual is the largest investor on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and wholly
owns Central Africa Building Society, the country's largest mortgage lender.
It is highly unlikely that Zanu-PF would go after this cash cow, from which
it nets significant revenue in stock market trading. The Zimbabwe Chamber of
Mines has warned that "picking a fight with Old Mutual would result in a
flight of investment".

Barclays and Standard Chartered banks
Barclays and Standard Chartered jointly employ 2 000 Zimbabweans and operate
almost 60 branches in the country. As giant multinationals of high
international reputation, they are unlikely to be expropriated. However,
tension is running high between Standard Chartered and Zanu-PF over the
bank's alleged blocking of a uranium deal with China, which Zanu-PF has
interpreted as a form of sanctions.

British American Tobacco
BAT is a dominant player in a sector which accounts for 40% of Zimbabwe's
earnings from agricultural production. After years of decline there are
projections of a recovery this year, with nearly 200-million kilograms being
harvested. A Zanu-PF minister said recovery of the agricultural sector was
welcome, but BAT must comply with indigenisation laws and stop moving
profits offshore.

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ZANU PF propped up by controversial Chinese businessman

By Alex Bell
14 March 2011

ZANU PF is reportedly being propped up by a controversial Chinese
businessman, who has been supplying the Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) with the means to keep Robert Mugabe in power.

According to South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper, elusive business magnate
Sam Pa and CIO chief Happyton Bonyongwe have struck a deal, which sees Pa
financing “a covert operation whose purpose is to sustain President Robert
Mugabe's regime.” The newspaper quotes “disillusioned intelligence officers
and party officials,” who are said to be “unhappy” about how Zimbabwe’s
natural resources are being traded for “personal and electoral gain.”

These sources allege that in return for Zimbabwe’s diamonds and other
mineral resources, Pa has provided funds and equipment to the CIO to enable
it to deliver ZANU PF an electoral victory. The money is reportedly being
used to train and deploy militias who are harassing and intimidating
Zimbabweans across the country. It is also understood that Pa has provided
the technology to rig election outcomes in ZANU PF’s favour, a tool the
party has repeatedly used to “win” previous elections.

The Sunday Times reports that Pa is also responsible for personally
providing the CIO with fleets of cars and, in early 2010, he offered to
match the salaries of the entire staff of the CIO, the police and the armed
forces to ensure their loyalty to ZANU PF.

Bonyongwe meanwhile stands accused of keeping this relationship well oiled,
after ‘negotiating’ Pa’s involvement in the Chiadzwa diamond fields. Pa is
said to be behind the creation of the joint-venture Sino Zim Development,
which was recently granted a licence to mine at Chiadzwa. The sources told
the Sunday Times that using different aliases, Pa had flown out of Harare
and military airbases last year with about 60 000 carats of high quality
diamonds and 69kg of the industrial kind. Quoting “renegade CIO sources,”
the Sunday Times said that Pa himself “is part of the grand plan to use
(Chiadzwa) diamonds to prop up the regime.”

The business magnate, described as ‘elusive’ and ‘canny’, is reported to
have made similar arrangements in other African countries. Oil-rich Angola
is described by the Sunday times as “a prime example.” Pa has also invested
heavily in mineral-rich Guinea and Tanzania, while Madagascar has also been
linked to the Hong Kong based businessman.

Political analyst Professor John Makumbe told SW Radio Africa that ZANU PF’s
involvement with such a character is not surprising.

“It is typical of ZANU PF to be linked to the likes of Sam Pa, people who
are involved in shady business deals, people who deliberately avoid
transparency,” Makumbe said.

China’s influence in Zimbabwe is strengthening all the time, and it is
understood that the Development Bank of China is planning US$10-billion
worth of investments in Zimbabwe over the next five years. Last week,
Chinese merchant Sinotex announced a US$500-million cotton production deal,
set to benefit the ZANU PF beneficiaries of Robert Mugabe’s land grab. At
the same time, Zimbabwe’s biggest tobacco buyer is a Chinese firm, Tian Ze,
while the Chinese agribusiness Beidahuang Group is said to be negotiating
for Zimbabwe’s cane and forestry estates. The China National Nuclear
Corporation is also said to be prospecting for uranium in Zimbabwe.

The groups are all set to be exempt from ZANU PF’s indiginisation plans,
with tobacco firm Tian Ze already confirmed to be spared from handing over
51% ownership to Zimbabweans. South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper
recently asked ZANU PF’s Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere how
companies qualify for such exemptions, and he said: "We look at their
disposition towards our people."

Makumbe said that ZANU PF will make every effort to maintain its
relationship with the Chinese, not only because the country is one of Mugabe’s
key supporters on the United Nations Security Council. China has used its
position as a permanent member of the Security Council to block any action
against the ZANU PF regime.

“It is a mutually beneficial arrangement, especially because ZANU PF is
desperate for survival. They won’t win an election without electoral rigging
and they need people like Sam Pa to make that happen,” Makumbe said.

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Zanu PF harassing MDC-T officials

Written by Gift Phiri
Monday, 14 March 2011 05:52

HARARE - Zanu PF has tried very hard, but in vain, to convince a sceptical
world that its campaign of harassment against officials in the the MDC led
by Morgan Tsvangirai  has little to do with the prospect that he could beat
President Mugabe in the presidential election.
Tsvangirai's top aide Elton Mangoma been formally charged with criminal
abuse of office. Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo gave the impression that
there was nothing at all bizarre about the government’s latest attempt to
persecute the MDC minister of Energy and Power Development.

But to many Zimbabweans, the depths to which Zanu PF has now sunk can longer
be considered ordinary. Detaining a minister for two weeks, over a deal that
his permanent secretary as the accounting officer conducted, ought to be
absolutely the limit of their aberration.
"If someone commits a crime, why should he not be arrested?” says Zanu PF
spokesman Rugare Gumbo.

“The MDC always talk about the rule of law. If the police establish that
someone has committed a crime what’s wrong if that person is arrested? We
find it absurd that each time something happens against the MDC, they say it’s
a violation of human rights but if it happens to Zanu PF, they say they must
go to jail. Let’s be balanced.”
Tsvangirai says its suprising that the police's long arm of the law is only
kinetic when it comes only to MDC officials and becomes paralysed when cases
are brough against Zanu PF. "In the past few weeks, Zimbabweans have been
shocked that there have been various concessions granted to companies other
than Mbada and Canadile in Marange diamond
fields," Tsvangirai says. "These include Anjin, which has been mining for
more than 18 months in partnership with the police and the army and has not
remitted any cent to Treasury.

"It is obviously surprising how a State organ such as the ZNA could be
involved in mining activities. It is also surprising how new concessions
could have been granted without the scrutiny of Cabinet committees," said
the MDC president.

The police have been completely disniterested in pursing the minister of
Mines and Mining Development over $313 million which has vanished from
Marange  diamond revenues.

"Indeed, Zanu PF corruption infests and infects every aspect of our economy
and Government," Tsvangirai said. "To take example amongst hundreds, in the
past year, more than three official complaints of corruption have been made
to the police against Minister Ignatius Chombo and yet the police have
refused to investigate these allegations.

"The arrest of minister Mangoma is an attempt to cloud and obscure the
massive corruption in Zimbabwe. It is an attempt to embarrass the people’s
party of excellence. The people of Zimbabwe are not foolish.
The people of Zimbabwe are not   cowards. The people of Zimbabwe will not
accept this," he said.

Meanwhile, Nyanga North MP Douglas Mwonzora and 23 other MDC members have
been freed from remand prison after the High Court granted them US$50 bail
each on alleged political violence charges.

But to then let them free after hours of interrogation and almost a month
jail time smacks of psychological terror tactics.
And its not only Mwonzora. Hon. Shepherd Mushonga of Mazowe Central has also
been granted bail after languishing in jail for almost a month on what the
MDC says are "trumped up" charges. Hon. Mushonga has been granted a US$50
bail by a Bindura magistrate after he was hauled before the courts charged
with digging quarry stones in Chiweshe from
a Zanu PF councillor.  The councillor claimed that the stones were worth
US$700. The MP is building a clinic in his constituency.

Another MDC MP, Costin Muguti of Gokwe Kabuyuni has been in police custody
in Gokwe on allegations of committing violence in Kadoma.  He is detained at
Gokwe Centre Police Station. There are now three MPs from the MDC who are
either in police custody or in remand prison.
In January, Munyaradzi Gwisai and 45 others were arrested for watching a
video of the Arab revolution and six are languishing in solitary confinement
at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. Gwisai is the former MDC MP for
Highfield and a professor of labour law at the University of Zimbabwe. To
compound matters, there has been the unrelenting invocation of section 121
of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which has meant that even where
bail has been granted, people have remained in detention.

The world is expected to believe that, on the basis of a video film
available to anyone with a TV set, the police will to build a
cast-iron case of treason against the six.

The key witness will be policeofficers who busted the meeting where an
alleged plot to overthrow President Mugabe was mooted. This entire case has
been built like a house of cards.

As comic opera, it would probably win some prizes, but as a serious attempt
to punish six citizen who cold-bloodedly planned to overthrow the
87-year-old head of state, dogged by ill-health for years, it would be
laughed out of any court, but not in Zimbabwe.

The Attorney General Johannes Tomana has such a fascinating past of dubious
exploits he would fit in snugly into the essence of the comic opera.

Gwisai and his four coaccused would be the martyrs, activists persecuted for
doing no more than their duty as loyal citizens - trying to give the people
a chance to explore alternatives to Mugabe's stale rule.

The more serious side of this whole caper is that it demonstrates Zanu PF’s

One suspects that even the police detectives instructed to bring this case
to its logical conclusion are a bit bemused: on such rickety evidence, how
do they build a case respectable enough to take to thecourts? But then much
more relevant is the role of the Zanu PF Attorney General Johannes Tomana in
the plot.

By all accounts, Tomana had been working for Mugabe since the inception of
the GNU. And for Mangoma, who has instituted wide sweeping reforms at NOCZIM
and exposed theft of US$35million by regime cronies, he had to be dealt
with. And the NOOA deal was the bonanza, a new client fell into Tomana's

The rest, for a man apparently schooled thoroughly in the cloak-and-dagger
business of bluff and double bluff, was almost
routine. They set up Mangoma.

The State Press has bolstered the government’s shaky case against Mangoma.
It has virtually made itself part of the prosecution team, leaving no room
whatsoever for any doubt as to Mangoma's guilt. In fact, in many respects,
State TV has reported as if it was the plaintiff.

As to how the case will eventually pan out, it would be wise to leave that
to the courts. But legal exerts are already giving a word of warning to the
government: they could tie themselves into so many knots in this wild
attempt to prevent Tsvangirai from challenging Mugabe in the forthcoming
poll. Already government is saddled with massive lawsuits for malicious

"This persecution could convince the fence-sitters which way to vote," says
political commentator Ronald Shumba.

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ACTION ALERT: Activists held in solitary confinement

Sokwanele Action AlertAmnesty International action alert: Thirty-nine of the 45 activists arrested in Harare on 19 February were freed after the treason charges against them were dismissed by a magistrate court. However, six activists remain in custody facing treason charges.

Meanwhile, 24 activists arrested in Mutare, including a parliamentarian, had a hearing of the state’s appeal on bail postponed.

On 7 March, 39 social justice and human rights activists facing treason charges were freed after a magistrate in Harare dismissed the charges against them. They had spent more than two weeks in custody. The activists were part of a group of 45 activists arrested on 19 February after attending a lecture to discuss events in Egypt and Tunisia. However, Munyaradzi Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo, Antonater Choto, Welcome Zimuto, Eddson Chakuma and Tatenda Mombeyarara were remanded in custody to 21 March because they were either directly linked to International Social Organisation which convened the meeting or were speakers at the meeting.

Lawyers representing the activists told the court that the detained activists were being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. The lawyers also told the court that 11 women activists who had been detained at Chikurubi Women’s Prison were forced to work for three hours a day in violation of their rights as pre-trial detainees.
Meanwhile, on 7 March a High Court judge postponed the hearing of an appeal filed by the State in the case of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) parliamentarian Douglas Mwonzora and 23 villagers arrested on allegations of public violence in Nyanga mid February. The case was postponed to 9 March after the judge noted that the record of proceedings was incomplete with some pages missing. The 24 MDC-T members are detained at Mutare Remand Prison.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English or your own language:

* Highlighting your concern over the detention of the 45 activists in solitary confinement for more than two weeks and urging them to ensure the remaining six activists in custody are not subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, including not being detained in solitary confinement.
* Urging them to drop the treason charges against the six activists arrested solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and to immediately and unconditionally release them.


Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs
Hon Patrick Chinamasa
Government of Zimbabwe
New Government Complex
P. Bag 7751, Causeway
Fax: 00 263 4 790901
Salutation: Dear Minister

The Attorney General
Johannes Tomana
Government of Zimbabwe
P. Bag 7714, Causeway
Harare ,
Fax: 00 263 4 777049
Salutation: Dear Attorney General

HE Mr Gabriel Mharadze Machinga
Ambassador of the Republic of Zimbabwe
Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe House,
429 Strand,
London WC2R 0JR,
United Kingdom
Telephone:00 44 207 836 7755
Faxes:00 44 207 379 116

Please check with the section office if sending after 19 April 2011

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Pakistan wins by seven wickets against Zimbabwe

By Ijaz Ahmad

KANDY, (Sri Lanka) (APP): Pakistan moved into the quarter-final after
securing seven wickets victory in the rain-hit group-A World Cup match
against Zimbabwe here at Pallekele Cricket Stadium on Monday.
The rain twice interrupted the match as thick cloud hovered over the skies
during the match, pressing the Pakistan to the wall but they played with
determination in the much important fixture.
Zimbabwe set a 162 runs target in 38 overs on a D/L rules before the match
was reduced to 43 overs a side after an earlier downpour had forced the
players off the field when the Zimbabwe were struggling 96 for five in 27.2
overs.  The rain once again halted the match in 39.4 over with Zimbabwe
reeling at 151 for 7.
This was the second World Cup match which was affected by rain after Sri
Lanka and  Australia tie was washed out in Colombo. The start of the match
was also delayed due to light drizzle.
Pakistan in chase of Zimbabwe’s 162 in 39 overs, raced up to the target for
the loss of three wickets in 34.1 overs with Asad Shafiq anchoring the team
to victory with his unbeaten 78 runs knock off 97 balls with seven
The Zimbabwean skipper Elton Chigumbura won the toss and elected to bat but
their wickets fell regularly and thus they were restricted to 96 for 5 in
27.2 overs when rain came for the second time, stopping the play for 40
minutes as a result the umpire while using D/L rules reduced the match to 43
overs each.
Umar Gul got Chakabva lbw on duck while Razzaq trapped Taylor on 4. Both
Razzaq and Gul shared three wickets in the first six overs.
Besides Umar Gul’s three wickets haul, Razzaq, Wahab Riaz and Shahid Afridi
also bowled well and took quick wickets with Wahab sending T. Taibu for 19
while Shahid got the wicket of Lamb who made 16. Ervine was batting on 48
while Chigumbura was on 3 not out.
When the play resumed, Ervine completed his 50 runs off 77 balls, his second
half century in the World Cup and third of his ODI career enabling Zimbabwe
to reach 101 runs in 28.3 overs. Ervine was bowled by Mohammad Hafeez on 52
runs. He faced 82 balls with five boundaries.
Umar Gul bowled well and forced Utseya to pull his short ball, giving a
lofting catch to Akmal. Utseya made 18 runs off 32 balls thus Zimbabwe
scored 151 for 7 in 39.4.
In reply, as usual Pakistan lost its opener Ahmad Shehzad (8) with only 17
runs on the board. He was stump by Taibu of Price while Hafeez caught Price
off Utseya on 49 runs and Shahid was taken by Price on 3. Hafeez with Asad
Shafiq added an 82 runs second wicket vital partnership with both smashed
some fine boundaries.
Hafeez was unlucky as he missed his half-century by one run and gone for 49
runs off 65 balls with six boundaries. After Hafeez, Afridi gone early for 3
runs and thus Asad and Younis guided Pakistan to victory. Asad scored 78
runs while Younis not out 13 runs.
Pakistan dropped fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and injured batsman Umar Akmal,
with paceman Wahab Riaz and Asad Shafiq named as their replacements.
Zimbabwe made two
changes with Shingirai Masakadza replacing fast bowler Chris Mpofu while
Vusi Sibanda was included into the team instead of Tinashe Panyangara.
BRM Taylor c Kamran b Abdul Razzaq 04
RW Chakabva lbw b Umar Gul 00
T Taibu c Shahid Afridi b Wahab Riaz 19
V Sibanda c Misbah b Umar Gul 05
CR Ervine b Hafeez 52
GA Lamb c & b Afridi 16
E Chigumbura* not out 12
P Utseya c Kamran b Umar Gul 18
Extras   (lb 2, w 2, nb 1) 05
Total: (7 wickets; 39.4 overs) 151 (3.80 runs per over)
Did not bat AG Cremer, SW Masakadza, RW Price
Fall of wickets1-5 (Taylor, 0.5 ov), 2-5 (Chakabva, 1.6 ov), 3-13 (Sibanda,
ov), 4-43 (Taibu, 12.4 ov), 5-84 (Lamb, 23.5 ov), 6-103 (Ervine, 29.3 ov),
(Utseya, 39.4 ov)
Abdul Razzaq   7-1-24-01
Umar Gul 7.4-1-36-03
Wahab Riaz 6- 0-21-01
Shahid Afridi    8-0-33 -01
Abdur Rehman 8-1-24-00
Mohammad Hafeez 3-  0-11-01
Pakistan innings (target: 162 runs from 38 overs)
Mohammad Hafeez      c Price b Utseya 49
Ahmed Shehzad st †Taibu b Price 08
Asad Shafiq not out 78
Shahid Afridi* b Price 03
Younis Khan not out 13
Extras: (w 13) 13
Total    (3 wickets; 34.1 overs) 164
Fall of wickets1-17 (Ahmed Shehzad, 3.4 ov), 2-99 (Mohammad Hafeez, 22.2
3-110 (Shahid Afridi, 23.3 ov)
SW Masakadza 6-1-44-0
RW Price 8-1-21-02
P Utseya 7-1-24 -01
GA Lamb 7 -0 -44-00
AG Cremer 6.1-0 -31-00
Toss Zimbabwe, chose to bat
Points Pakistan 2, Zimbabwe 0
Umpires AL Hill (New Zealand) and NJ Llong (England)
TV umpire M Erasmus (South Africa)
Match referee BC Broad (England)
Reserve umpire REJ Martinesz

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OPINION: Army, police still serving ZANU PF

by Martin Rupiya??     Monday 14 March 2011

THE mandate for the government of national unity (GNU), signed between
Zimbabwe’s rival parties in February 2009, was clear; restore legitimacy to
the country’s political system, foster economic recovery and provide
security for both the transitional state and ensure public safety, all in
preparation for free and fair elections.

Furthermore, given the acknowledged partisan nature of the existing
institutions, the transitional government was also expected to lay the
foundation for a multi-party democratic political system, including a
complementary security system.

?With the GNU’s end being heralded by a cacophony of calls for new
elec­tions, now is the moment to evaluate whether or not the preconditions
for free and fair elections have been met: that is, the delivery of public
and state security, and the undertaking of security sector reform.

?In making this assessment, it is important to distinguish between the
complementary tasks of re-establishing the environment of safety and
security, and attending to the role, tasking and composition of the security
sector. It is also important to reflect on the need for changes to a
legislative framework that has so far encouraged impunity, and the need to
provide judicial recourse to victims, both now and in the future.

?As Joice Mujuru — the second secretary of Zanu PF and the country’s vice
president — recently pointed out, the country does not wish to continue to
be saddled with a partisan police force or security sector, nor does it wish
to be identified as one where harassment and murders by state organs are the
norm, with citizens reduced to “sleeping with one eye open” for fear of
being harassed.

?It should also be noted that the GNU’s inauguration was preceded by a
mendacious approach to the question of command and control of security
ministries and organs by Zanu PF. Even before the Sadc-adjudicated sharing
of ministries had been completed, Zanu PF grabbed all the “hard” ministries,
leaving the MDC-T saddled with the “empty” portfolios: the ministries of
Finance, Education, Labour and Health, among others.

?The then Sadc-appointed arbiter, former President Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa, failed to convince Zanu PF to observe the provisions of the
agreement it had signed. Only one ministry, Home Affairs, was co-designated
to ministers of both Zanu PF and the MDC-T in an unwieldy experiment that
has proved difficult to effect.

As a result, because Zanu PF “appropriated” exclusive command and control of
the security ministries, there is now an even heavier burden on its
shoulders, away from what would have been an even-handed judgment on the
triumvirate principals leading the GNU.

?While the GPA provided for a review of ministries after six months, Zanu PF
has continued to maintain exclusive control of the “hard” security sector

The same is true of the institutions where interaction has remained with the
commanders reporting to the president and commander-in-chief, amid obvious
public stunts designed to belittle the office of the prime minister.

?Hence, despite the requirement that command and control of the security
sector be shared during the transition, these have remained exclusively in
the hands of Zanu PF.

?Secondly, the GPA provided for the establishment of a National Security
Council (NSC) to supersede the Joint Operational Command (Joc), a body that
has been associated with stifling democratic space and the arbitrary arrest
and harassment of members of the political opposition and the public.

?The hope was that this would transfer security policy responsibility to the
jurisdiction of the three principals. However, while the NSC Act was passed
in March 2009, in practice there has been little or no meaningful change in
terms of the president’s exclusive dominance over security issues.

?Furthermore, apart from a reported reluctance to host NSC meetings, it has
also emerged that no substantive security issues have been placed before the
NSC when it meets. Instead, decisions continue to be taken outside the forum
of the three principals and, much more worryingly, the discredited Joc has
continued to operate as a parallel structure.

?Finally, as the country prepares for elections, some senior Zanu PF
officials have publicly adopted warmongering language, calling for the
setting aside by military means of any election result if it were to lose
the poll. These three points set the scene for us to look towards Zanu PF
and not the GNU principals when asking whether or not security has been
provided during the transitional period.

?The first point of departure must be an acknowledgement that the GNU has in
fact delivered on its mandate on the security question.

Certainly more could have been done, but there is evidence of progress in
delivering a secure environment. This has allowed for a political and
economic resurgence since the near-total collapse of the economy and the
illegitimate political system that emerged after June 2008, which was
shunned even by the Sadc and the AU.

?Certainly more can and should be done, but the important foundation has
been delivered. This assessment is not blind to the grabbing of the “hard”
ministries and the passing over of the NSC, which has not exactly served its
primary purpose and exists parallel to the Joc.

?In order to predict the future structure of the security sector in Zimbabwe
beyond the transitional period, it is instructive to look inside the
competing factions within Zanu PF itself.

In this, we note the tension between two competing camps in Zanu PF: one
that is prepared to use force and discount any influence of the ballot box,
and another that is cognisant of faltering political support, not prepared
to use illegal means of holding onto power, and therefore seeking to adopt a
more moderate, conciliatory and democratic approach.

?The analysis could discern which of the factions was on the rise at
different points in the life of the transition as this manifested in the
relationships between the principals.

?Consequently we see a schizophrenic approach to normalising the situation,
and while there remains a willingness to do more at policy level there has
been only minimal change at the institutional level.While we acknowledge
progress, the security institutions cited in the GPA as partisan and working
to influence the political process in favour of Zanu PF are still intact.

They continue to act as spoilers and have surreptitiously deployed members
for political work in preparation for further violence in the upcoming

?Even more significantly, Zanu PF has used the GNU’s transitional period to
continue to deny the mainstreaming of the command and control of the
security sector by the three principals.

?As a result, the sector has remained in the exclusive control of one
faction that may or may not win the next election, provoking yet more
predictions of a return to the pre-GNU levels of violence, insecurity and

?Given the interest of Sadc and the AU in stability and free and fair
elections in Zimbabwe after the transitional period, this finding may well
serve as a clarion call for urgent and direct engagement with the actors in
order to resolve the impasse thorough negotiations.

?There are several issues that, combined, convince us that more urgent
attention should be paid to security sector reform (SSR) in Zimbabwe. The
first, for purposes of consolidating the country’s national ?security, is a
precondition for stable political and economic relations: policymakers must
continue towards establishing the balanced civil-military relations that are
conducive to stability and development.

?Second, there is a need to address the institutional reforms agreed to in
the GPA, including issues around national service, recruitment, civic
education and human rights law training, as well as refocusing the security
sector from a partisan role, embracing a more inclusive and effective
national security council and doing away with the Joc.

?As things stand, there is a lack of confidence and rapport between civil
society and the uniformed forces in their civil-military relations.

?Third, there is a need to bring into line economic resources allocated
towards defence and security, in a country emerging from damaging political
polarisation and economic crisis. Because of the residual nature of the
conflicted relations with the international community, including financial
institutions with sections of the GNU, Zimbabwe is surviving on a cash
budget with no direct foreign budget support.

?As a result, there is need for serious justification of the finite
resources in order to respond to genuine national needs. – Article
reproduced from the Zimbabwe Independent.

·       Dr Martin Rupiya is executive director of The African Policy and
Research Institute. He once worked briefly in Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s office as a security director.

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Have sanctions boosted Mugabe's morale?

14/03/2011 00:00:00
    by John Montagu

The following is a contribution to a debate at the House of Lords by the
Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, on Friday, March 11, 2011:

MY LORDS , it is a great privilege to be the first to congratulate my noble
friend Lord Dannatt on his interesting and compelling maiden speech. We have
all followed his recent career both as a soldier and, for a time, as a party
politician, and I hope and expect that it is with great relief that he has
arrived on the Cross Benches, where he will feel among friends both gallant
and otherwise.

As my noble friend told us, he completed 40 years’ service in the Army. He
held many prominent positions, including Commander, Allied Rapid Reaction
Corps, 2003-05, Commander-in-Chief Land Command, 2005-06, and Chief of the
General Staff, 2006-09.

He also told us very movingly of his personal experience of and service to
Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans. I reassure him that his map-reading in the House
can only improve. In the mean time, we will greatly look forward to his
contributions to our debates.

We are all grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for securing this
debate at a time when we need to be more watchful than ever of events in
Zimbabwe, which, again, are taking an unpleasant turn. It seems that the
violence that we saw three years ago leading up to the elections is
returning in a similar form.

The noble Lord, Lord Avebury—as he does so well—and others have given us
details of this rise in violence and human rights abuse. Inevitably, the MDC
is being targeted, as are the churches, the trade unions and civil
society—in fact, anyone, for whatever trivial reason, who falls foul of the
authorities. The most ludicrous example was the video of the news the other
day, and most recently there have been gruesome attacks on those attending
International Women’s Day and other events in Bulawayo.

There is a new determination by Zanu PF to block constitutional change,
remove or intimidate the opposition, and threaten more violence in
preparation for possible elections later this year, no doubt assisted by the
diamond money which is being pocketed by officials. I strongly support those
who call for a firmer intervention from SADC and the African Union. They
could be selecting observers and getting ready for these elections now.

What can the Minister tell us about the UK’s contribution, including
technical support for the Electoral Commission, the need for voter education
and making better use of civil society organisations, churches and trade
unions in spreading awareness? Some of us have direct experience of the
elections in South Africa, where this was so effective. It seems that
history is repeating itself. It may therefore help to look back at what
happened after the 2008 elections and to examine the EU’s and the UK’s
diplomatic role at that time.

During the summer, when Mr Mugabe had clearly lost all legitimacy and
credibility in the June 2008 elections, could the UK and other EU members
have played a cleverer game? In retrospect, we now see that, three months
later, he got ahead of us by entering this agreement which led to a
coalition the following spring.

Surely, we can now admit that the coalition, which left the opposition with
almost only the junior portfolios, was a considerable coup for the president
and a major deception for the rest of us, as my noble friend Lady Boothroyd
said. It simply became a prop to perpetuate Mr Mugabe’s regime.

Secondly, I wonder whether the sanctions, strengthened in February 2009 and
relaxed since then, have really had any effect on Mr Mugabe, or whether in
some perverse way they have actually boosted his morale. If we look at the
Ivory Coast, we see President Gbagbo grandstanding against the French
colonial power in order to boost his post-election position, echoing Mr
Mugabe's performance three years earlier. Colonel Gaddafi in Libya is
playing a similar game of one-upmanship by baiting foreigners.

Clearly, the Zimbabwe dictator has attracted other African leaders, or
should I say gangsters, to his master class. Interestingly, Jeune Afrique
magazine left him out of its list of contemporary political arch criminals
from Salazar to Saddam last week. Is it possible that we in the UK have
exaggerated the importance of Mr Mugabe and, thereby, contributed to his

Having recently spent two weeks in Africa, I am certain that in both African
and European Union eyes, we in the UK still seem to feel over-responsible
for Zimbabwe and are still his outstanding critics. I am not sure that that
is a good thing. Is it perhaps time for us to lower our profile and join
forces with the European Union in reaching a more convincing EU foreign

I recognise that that is controversial, but in a sense the process is
inexorable and it might be a more effective and pragmatic diplomatic policy.
We already have positive examples of close EU co-operation. At the time of
the coalition—the Minister may confirm this—some EU members were
understandably reluctant to work with the ministries held by Zanu PF but
since then there has been a more general engagement with the government as a
whole which has undoubtedly been a more productive way of working.

Another example has been the success of the EU’s partnership with the NGOs,
which kept many families out of poverty during the harsh times of inflation
and the collapse of social services. We can be very proud of the EU aid
programme, and our own, and of the work of UK aid agencies over the past 10
years, also mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Sheikh.

With the restoration of most services, NGOs, rather than being purely
service providers, are beginning to adapt to a more traditional development
role, albeit under a humanitarian banner. I strongly agree with the noble
Lord, Lord Griffiths, about the need to support skilled Zimbabweans in the
UK and the organisations which are behind them.

With the positive changes in the economy, thanks largely to the excellent
Finance Minister, there is a new investment climate. There has also been an
improvement in food supply and health performance mainly in urban areas and
a decline in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, but some of the figures for
maternal mortality, as my noble friend Lord Crisp will probably say, are
still among the worst in Africa. I could speak of the conditions of farm
workers, but I have spoken about them in these debates before.

In conclusion, I am not suggesting that sanctions should be further relaxed,
but I feel that we are stuck where we are and that we should press much
harder for the rule of law, fairer elections, constitutional change and a
great deal more commitment from SADC, the African Union and Zimbabwe’s
African neighbours.

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Is deposed Speaker still an MP?

14/03/2011 00:00:00
    by Alex T. Magaisa

A NUMBER of issues have been raised in the wake of the Supreme Court of
Zimbabwe’s judgment last week declaring the election of the Speaker of
Parliament in 2008 irregular and invalid. The immediate effect of the
judgement is to make the position of Speaker vacant.

First, it is important that a new election be held as soon as possible
otherwise the business of parliament will be derailed. Section 39 of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe (hereafter, “the Constitution”) which requires the
election of a Speaker of the House of Assembly makes it clear that this
legislative chamber “shall not transact any other business until a person to
fill that office has been elected”.

Parliament is a critical arm of government and it is important to ensure
that it continues to conduct its business. The constitutional reform process
is taking place within the structures of parliament. Constitution-making
therefore, is parliament’s business and it would be unfortunate and wrong if
this were to be derailed on this account.

Second, an issue that has been raised concerns the seat (Matobo South
constituency) held by the erstwhile Speaker, Lovemore Moyo, before he was
elected to the position that he has now lost. What is the legal position in
respect of this seat? Can Moyo reclaim his seat in these circumstances? The
apparent simplicity of the matter is quite deceptive.

In accordance with section 41(1) (g) of the Constitution, a person ceases to
be an MP once he is elected to the position of Speaker. Under normal
circumstances, once a person who is an MP has been elected as Speaker, a
by-election should be held in accordance with the electoral laws. As
presiding officer, the Speaker is required to perform his role free of any
To ensure that the constituency that had elected him retains proper
representation, it is entitled to elect a new MP.

The problem is that Zimbabwe’s circumstances are not quite normal – or at
least they haven’t been for the last few years, hence, there has been no
by-election since the 2008 parliamentary election, although I understand
this is currently being challenged by some former MPs in the MDC led by
Professor Welshman Ncube. They lost their seats after they were expelled by
their party.

The key point for present purposes is that there was no by-election in
Matobo South constituency to replace Moyo after his election to the Speaker’s
seat which the Court has now declared to have been null and void.

Now that Moyo’s election has been declared invalid, the critical question is
whether at this point he would be entitled to revert back to his position as
MP – which would entitle him to also vote for the Speaker in a new election?
We will get back to this question but first let us clarify whether it is
possible, as MP or not, Moyo would still be eligible to contest for the
Speaker’s post again.

In terms of the Constitution, Moyo can still stand as a candidate for the
Speaker’s post even if he is not regarded as an MP. Section 39(2) provides
for the election of a Speaker according to parliamentary Standing Orders of
persons “who are or have been members of the House of Assembly and who are
not members of the Cabinet, Ministers or Deputy Ministers” and where he is
not an MP, must be “qualified according to Schedule 3 for election to the
House of Assembly”.

Moyo has been a member of the House before and there is nothing to indicate
that he is not qualified for election according to Schedule 3 of the
Constitution. Therefore, the MDC-T is perfectly entitled to make him their
candidate again.

But assuming that he does not run for the Speaker’s post, we revert to the
critical question, academic though it might appear, given that the MDC-T has
already indicated that Moyo will remain their candidate for the Speaker’s
post, the question remains: would, having been deposed by virtue of a
judgment declaring the Speaker’s election invalid, a person who was an MP be
able to reclaim his seat?

In other words, did he lose his seat when he became Speaker by virtue of an
invalid election or does he revert to his position as an MP now that the
Supreme Court says he was never properly elected in the first place?

It would be odd if a person in Moyo’s position were to suffer what would in
effect be double-jeopardy on account of a flawed election that was not his
fault. If a court of law finds that the election was irregular and invalid,
it is tantamount to saying there was never an election in the first place.

To my mind, the loss of an MP’s seat that is provided for under section 41
(1) (g) is predicated on the validity of his election to the position of
Speaker. If it is invalid he cannot be lawfully regarded as having been duly

The effect of the Supreme Court’s decision is not only that he is no longer
Speaker but that he never was on account of a flawed election. It would be
unfair and ridiculous in my opinion if a person who obeyed the command of
his fellow MPs were to lose out (on both the Speakership and his
parliamentary seat) simply because the election, which he had no control
over, is later found to have been flawed.

I should point out, of course, that the matter would be more complicated if
a by-election had been held in Matobo South and an MP had been elected to
replace Moyo upon his election as Speaker. The complications would be
greater if in a parliament where numbers are finely balanced that
by-election had produced a winner from a different political party. But that
matter does not arise and so it is not necessary to address it in the
present circumstances.

The fact of the matter is that Matobo South constituency has had no
substantive MP since Moyo’s elevation to the position of Speaker and now
that his election has been found to have been no election at all, then
surely it follows that he reverts to the position that he occupied prior to
the flawed election. It was never an election at all and therefore
requirements under section 41 (1 (g) which would necessitate the loss of his
seat were not fulfilled.

Overall, as this note has shown, this is not a matter that the Constitution
deals with in a manner that is clear and satisfactory. But as the current
events demonstrate, it is one that requires clarification. These are matters
that even last year’s constitutional outreach process might not have
uncovered at all and will therefore need close attention at the drafting
stage of the new constitution. One hopes it’s a matter that will not escape
the attention of the draftspersons.
Magaisa is based at Kent Law School, University of Kent. He can be contacted
on e-mail:

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For Zimbabwean journalist Saize, the absurd is routine

By Shehnilla Mohamed/CPJ Africa Staff

For 37-year-old Zimbabwean freelance journalist Sydney Saize, left, enduring
arrest and assault has become absurdly routine--and the circumstances
routinely absurd. Take his most recent detention, in February. Saize was
reporting on a mundane criminal case in Mutare, capital of the diamond-rich
Manicaland province, when the story suddenly turned dramatic.

"I was at the court covering a story of five suspects accused of armed
robbery when the suspects attempted to escape," he told CPJ. "I started
taking pictures of the attempted escape and managed to get a shot of one of
the suspects being gunned down as he tried to escape." Saize was doing his
job--except that in Zimbabwe, draconian media laws and police repression can
make that nearly impossible. "I was immediately surrounded by officers from
the prison service who seized my camera equipment and my audio recorder,
handcuffed me and took me to Mutare police station for questioning," he

Saize was interrogated for seven hours before he was charged under the
Criminal Nuisance Act, forced to sign an admission of guilt, fined US$20,
and released, according to the Media Institute of Southern Africa. What was
he interrogated about? "Basically everything under the sun--my family
background, where I lived, who I worked for, etcetera, etcetera. And this
went on and on and on," recalled Saize.

Compared to other encounters with law enforcement and ruling party
officials, Saize believed he got off relatively lightly this time. "They
released my camera equipment and audio recorder, but only after I deleted
all the photographs I had taken. It is really absurd." It's hardly the first
time, though, that Zimbabwean authorities have turned criminal justice
coverage upside down. In March 2010, freelance photojournalist Andrison
Shadreck Manyere was arrested for taking footage of prisoners outside a
courthouse in Harare. The prison guards accused Manyere of taking footage
"without the permission of the Commissioner of Zimbabwe's prison service."

Saize himself has been arrested or attacked nearly every year since 2006,
according to CPJ research. He had his first brush with authorities in
January 2006, when he was arrested for "reporting without accreditation"
under Zimbabwe's media licensing law, and for "reporting falsehoods." Saize
spent three nights in police cells before a judge dismissed the charges for
lack of evidence. Then, in 2008, he was beaten by people accusing him of
being a "sell-out" for writing stories critical of the ruling ZANU-PF
government. In 2009, while covering the burial of a ZANU-PF legislator, he
was attacked by assailants who seized his recording equipment. To add insult
to injury, police at Mutare Central detained him for nearly an hour,
questioning him about his activities and whom he worked for, before
releasing him without charge. Finally, in November 2010, while reporting on
a local ZANU-PF-PF fund-raising event, he was assaulted by several men who
accused him of "writing negative stories" about their party.

"Trying to do your work as an accredited journalist in Zimbabwe is a real
challenge because you never really know what to expect from the
authorities," Saize says. "But what can you do? You have to work." Arrests
and assaults, of course, are designed to intimidate the entire press corps.
Saize says he is undeterred and has a duty "to be there for the public dying
for alternative news coverage rather than the daily propaganda from state
papers, TV and radio stations."

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Keeping body and soul together

All I ever dreamt of in my country was to finish school and find a job, but
so elusive has been a job that today I am part of the 90 plus percent of
people in the country who according to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) are not employed.

As I go about my freelance work I meet my fellow Zimbabweans who work extra
hard to get a meal; I am so encouraged by the “never say die attitude” of my
compatriots as though it is written on their faces.

Somehow we always find a plan and, job or no job, we survive.

Some sell tomatoes, while others sell newspapers, the list of what people do
is endless but the motive is one; to keep body and soul together.

This morning I talked to some vendors who said even though they would love
to be formally employed they have to make do with what is available.

The women say from vending they can at least put food on the table and send
their children to school.

Yet somehow the city of Harare regards these hard working women as law
breakers. Scenes of women running away from the police in the streets of
Harare with babies on their backs are as common as they are worrying.

    “There is nothing for us to do yet the police arrest us, this is unfair
because our livelihoods are from selling vegetables.”

As a freelance journalist I also am faced with the same problem. I am scared
that when I carry out my work that like the women vendors I will be
arrested. I can be arrested because I do not have the required
accreditation. Like women vendors I somehow operate without a license.

This entry was posted by Simon Moyo on Monday, March 14th, 2011 at 1:22 pm.

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Constitution Watch 1/2011 of 13th March [Mwonzora Incarceration holds up Constitution-Making]


[13th March 2011]

Constitution-Making Process Update

Select Committee Co-Chair’s Three-Week Incarceration Delays Process

Arrest of COPAC MDC-T Co-Chair Hon Douglas Mwonzora MP:  On Tuesday 15th February Mr Mwonzora was arrested outside Parliament as he was leaving after that afternoon’s sitting. He was detained overnight in police cells at Rhodesville Police Station and removed to Nyanga the following day. There he was taken to the remote Nyamaropa police post and when his lawyers eventually traced him there, they were denied access to him.  He and 22 co-accused were eventually taken before the Nyanga magistrate on Friday 18th February for remand on public violence charges.  These charges were based on clashes between MDC-T and ZANU-PF members in Mr Mwonzora’s Nyanga North constituency the previous weekend, following a meeting addressed by Mr Mwonzora.  Police took action against MDC-T supporters only.  The magistrate granted Mr Mwonzora and all the other accused bail on Monday 21st February, but the State prosecutor immediately invoked the notorious section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, giving notice that the State intended to appeal to the High Court against granting of bail and thereby suspending the magistrate’s bail order for seven days. 

State’s Appeal against Bail Delayed – but Eventually Dismissed:  The State’s appeal was lodged within the prescribed seven-day period, further suspending the bail order.  The appeal hearing was to have been on Monday 7th March but it was postponed to Wednesday 9th March after presiding judge Justice Mavangira discovered defects in the record of proceedings in the magistrate’s court and insisted that they be put right before the hearing continued.  The hearing resumed on Wednesday, continued on Thursday, and on Friday the judge dismissed the State’s appeal, thereby confirming the magistrate’s order granting bail.  But it was not until late Saturday morning that Mr Mwonzora and the others were eventually released from Mutare Remand Prison.  They had been in custody for 24 days in total.

Effect on COPAC Programme of Mr Mwonzora’s Absence

Given the consensus basis on which the co-chairpersons and COPAC have operated since the beginning of the constitution-making process in 2009, and his deep involvement since Day 1, Mr Mwonzora’s absence from COPAC has inevitably had a profound effect on COPAC’s work.  Mr Mwonzora’s deputy, Senator Gladys Dube, stood in for him during his absence, but was necessarily handicapped by not having been involved at co-chair level in certain vital discussions.  The only outward sign of activity during the three weeks of Mr Mwonzora’s absence at the pleasure of the State was a two-day workshop, 28th February and 1st March, to plan the forthcoming work of the thematic committees and insiders reported that the workshop suffered from his absence.  His absence also led to the postponement of the resumption of the exercise to complete the uploading and collating of the data from the outreach process, which was to have started on 7th March but was put off until 10th March in the expectation that by then Mr Mwonzora would be at liberty once again [in the event it went ahead on the 10th without him.]  This has had a knock-on effect, setting back the start of the next phase involving the Thematic Committees [see below]

Yesterday’s Release Allows COPAC Programme to Proceed

Mr Mwonzora’s release means that he can resume his duties as COPAC co-chair, and he did so today, 13th March.  It also avoids a possible crisis in the constitution-making process.  Despite COPAC’s ZANU-PF co-chair Mangwana saying last week that the process could go on without Mr Mwonzora, it is unlikely that MDC-T would have accepted for much longer the position in which its chosen co-chair was prevented from carrying out his assignment by further detention on charges which the party has from the start dismissed as trumped up for political reasons. 

Stage Now Reached

The Public Consultation/Outreach Completed

The last outreach meetings were held at the end of October last year; these were the meetings in Harare, Chitungwiza and Ruwa that had to be re-scheduled because of violence and disruptions during the first attempt.  There was talk of an additional outreach exercise to prisons – but this was abandoned.  It was expected that the next stage – the uploading and collating of the data from the outreach meetings – would start in November, soon after the final meetings but there was a hiatus until January.  This was partly explained by the resumption of Parliament for the Budget sittings and the Christmas holidays.  Also, COPAC claimed shortage of funds – the outreach had cost more than expected.

Data Uploading and Collating Stage Partially done – Now Nearing Completion

During the outreach process, data was captured for each and every meeting in three ways —

·      In written form on computer [this was done by the rapporteurs who produced daily reports, agreed with the outreach team members, on the day’s proceedings]

·      on video recordings

·      on audio recordings.

[Note:  The video and audio recordings were made as back-up, to ensure that the correctness of the written record could be verified if disputes arose as to what had actually been said by the people at a particular outreach meeting.]

Outreach teams visited every ward in the country – there were nearly four thousand meetings.  At each meeting the public’s opinion was invited by putting questions covering the 17 themes which had been decided on to get constitutional content, and the rapporteurs’ reports reflected the responses given, themes by theme.  After the outreach the accumulated data from all the meetings had to be entered onto a giant server and processed into a form in which it could be used by the thematic committees to prepare their reports for the drafters on what the people wanted the constitution to say about each of the thematic areas.  COPAC dubbed this the “data uploading and collating stage”. 

Data uploading and collating eventually got under way from 11th to 25th January, in a central Harare hotel.  UNDP provided the necessary technical assistance.  Those involved included the rapporteurs who had serviced the outreach teams [three rapporteurs to each team] and 70 technicians.  The outreach team leaders were also present to verify that the information being uploaded was the same as that they had agreed on when the reports on the meetings were compiled in the field.  The work was carried out under the supervision of the Select Committee.

Some Re-uploading Necessary  On 27th January COPAC, while rejecting press reports that its system had been tampered with and a substantial amount of data lost, acknowledged that certain data had not been successfully captured on the giant server.  The data, however, was still intact on individual computers.  It was therefore necessary for COPAC to engage an additional technical expert to troubleshoot and rectify the problem.  This was completed by 21st February, leaving the way clear for the completion of the data uploading and collating process – i.e., the re-uploading and collating of the material not captured on the giant server the first time round in January.  It was estimated this task would take 3-5 days.

Re-uploading Started Thursday 10th March  Originally scheduled to start on Monday 7th March, the re-uploading exercise was postponed to 10th March to allow for Mr Mwonzora’s expected return to duty on that day, but went ahead even though he was still in custody.  It is estimated that re-uploading will be completed on Monday 14th March.  Mr Mwonzora managed to rejoin his colleagues today.

Monitoring of Data Uploading

Civil Society Monitors Not Present during the Process  At the beginning of the constitution-making process, civil society stressed to COPAC the need for the whole process to be transparent if the end result was to be acceptable. One of the points made was that the raw data from the outreach process should be made publicly available to enable civil society organisations and other interested parties to carry out independent checks on the data.  [See Constitution Watch 3 of 15th June 2009.]  Allowing civil society observers or monitors to be present during the uploading and collating process would have promoted transparency, but COPAC has not allowed this, thereby losing a good opportunity to demonstrate the reliability of the process. 

If monitoring had been allowed, it might have helped put the public’s mind at rest about the integrity of the outreach data.  During the waiting period between the end of the outreach and the start of data uploading, public unease was caused by press reports that the integrity of the data had been compromised by COPAC’s failure to store it in suitably secure conditions after it reached the COPAC offices.  There were also reports that during the uploading at the hotel in January the system had been hacked into and data lost or changed.  COPAC has rejected all allegations of inadequate security and insisted that no outreach data has been damaged or corrupted or lost.

Next Stage – Thematic Committees

COPAC will meet on 14th March to decide on the starting date for the next stage – the Thematic Committees meetings to analyse the data from the outreach process and prepare their reports for the drafters.  At a press briefing on 11th March COPAC declined to be pinned down on a starting date for the thematic committees, but promised to announce the exact composition of the committees and their working timetable in due course.  As getting the 425 Thematic Committee members and support staff together will obviously call for considerable organisation, it unlikely that the committees will start work before the beginning of April.  As yet COPAC has given no indication how long this stage will last.  Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Matinenga has given an assurance that the Ministry of Finance has provided COPAC with sufficient funds to cover the work of the Thematic Committees.

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


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BILL WATCH 9/2011 of 13th March [New Election for Speaker of House of Assembly]


[13th March 2011]

The House of Assembly has adjourned to Tuesday 22nd March

The Senate has adjourned to Tuesday 29th March

Supreme Court Nullifies Election of Speaker

On 10th March, the Supreme Court set aside the August 2008 election of Mr Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of the House of Assembly.  It has taken the court system an inordinate time to reach a final decision on this case of great public importance.

Background:  Mr Moyo, the MDC-T candidate, was elected Speaker on 25th August 2008.  A case to nullify the election was brought against the Clerk of Parliament, who had conducted the election, and against Mr Moyo, as the person declared elected.  The case was brought in September 2008 by Jonathan Moyo MP, then an Independent and now ZANU-PF, and 3 other MP’s – Moses Mzila Ndlovu [now Minister of State in the Organ for National Healing], Patrick Dube and Siyabonga Ncube – all from the then MDC-M.  Their complaint was that the election had not been conducted by secret ballot, as required by House of Assembly Standing Orders, because some MDC-T MPs had shown their unfolded marked ballot papers to colleagues before depositing them in the ballot box.  The case was heard in the High Court by Justice Patel in July 2009 and he handed down his judgment on 26th January 2010, dismissing the case.  The plaintiffs immediately lodged an appeal to the Supreme Court.  The case was heard in the Supreme Court on 21st September 2010 and judgement was given on 10th March 2011. 

The Judgment:  The Supreme Court upheld the appeal by Jonathan Moyo and the other MPs against Justice Patel’s dismissal of their case.  The judgment has the effect of nullifying Mr Moyo’s election as Speaker.  The five judges of appeal were split 3-2, with the majority accepting the appellants’ argument that the election had not been conducted by secret ballot as required by House Standing Orders. The dissenting opinions were that although electors had a right to keep their vote secret it was also within their rights to tell others if they so wished; besides, the evidence established that a mere 6 out of 208 MPs voting had displayed their unfolded marked ballot papers before depositing them in the ballot box and, as the vote was 110 to 98, these six votes would not have altered the result. [Chief Justice Chidyausiku and Justices of Appeal Ziyambi and Garwe made up the majority; Deputy Chief Justice Malaba and Justice of Appeal Sandura dissented and would have dismissed the appeal.]

Implications for Parliament

Effect of Vacancy  When there is a vacancy in the office of Speaker the House of Assembly must not transact any other business until a new Speaker has been elected [section 39(10); House of Assembly Standing Order 16(1)].

Position of Deputy Speaker not affected  Mrs Nomalanga.Khumalo’s election to the post of Deputy-Speaker took place immediately after the Speaker’s election but has not been the subject of a court case, so she remains in office although she cannot act as Speaker in the House while the position of Speaker is vacant.

Electing a New Speaker  When the House of Assembly returns on Tuesday 22nd March – or earlier, if it is specially recalled – its first order of business must be to elect a new Speaker.  The election will be conducted by the Clerk of Parliament, as was the election the Supreme Court has just upset. 

Eligibility for Election  Those eligible for election are persons who are or have been members of the House of Assembly and are not members of the Cabinet, Ministers or Deputy Ministers.  Mr Lovemore Moyo is free to stand again for re-election and has the support of MDC-T to do so.  The other candidate in August 2008 was Paul Themba Nyathi, a former MP put forward by the then MDC-M, and it has been rumoured he may stand again.  A suggestion has been made that a former Speaker, Mr Cyril Ndebele, who served the House with wisdom, experience and impartiality, should be but forward.

Party Voting Strengths in House of Assembly  On paper party voting strengths in the House are as follows: ZANU-PF 96; MDC-T 96 [plus or minus – see note]; MDC 8. 

Note the ZANU-PF count includes Jonathan Moyo who stood for Parliament as an independent, but rejoined ZANU-PF in late 2009. 

Note the MDC-T count includes two MPs who are at present either in police custody or in remand prison on criminal charges – and this number may go up or down by 22nd March.  It does not include Lovemore Moyo, but logically, if he was not lawfully elected as Speaker, he did not lose his seat in the House and can now reclaim it.  In the 2008 parliamentary elections he was elected MP for Matobo North.  Hansard has continued to list him as the MP for Matobo North and there has been never been a by-election [although the Constitution states that a member’s seat falls vacant “if he becomes Speaker”].  The Clerk of Parliament is currently looking into this question.

Does the minority party hold the balance?  Welshman Ncube is reported as saying his party will field a candidate and believes both MDC-T and ZANU-PF have no choice but to vote with it.  In fact, a minority party only holds an upper hand if there is an equal contest between the two major parties and until other candidates are known it is unclear whether this will be the case.  Also, the 8 MPs include Mr Mutambara and perhaps others who may be influenced by him. 

Correction of Erroneous Press Report

A current report on the Internet seeks to underline the political significance of the Speakership with a claim that if a vacancy occurs in the Presidency the Speaker becomes Acting President until a new President is elected.  This claim is wrong – if the President were to die or stand down, a Vice-President would act until a new President was nominated by ZANU-PF [under the Constitution as modified by Constitution Amendment No. 19, as long as the GPA continues] or elected by a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament [under the Constitution without Amendment No. 19, if the GPA has lapsed].

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