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Zuma to ‘assess’ Zim situation after plea from Tsvangirai

By Alex Bell
28 March 2011

As the situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate, South Africa’s
President Jacob Zuma has indicated that he will ‘assess’ the situation ‘soon’.

Zuma, who is the regional mediator in Zimbabwe’s political crisis, had a
private meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Saturday, as part
of the MDC leader’s regional offensive. Tsvangirai has been meeting with
other leaders in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), about
the situation in Zimbabwe. After the brief tour, he returned and stated that
there had been a “hostile takeover” in the running of affairs in the
country, with “dark and sinister forces” in control.

Others key members of the MDC have since echoed this, with Priscilla
Misihairambwi-Mushonga saying there had been a ‘coup’. Tsvangirai’s own
co-Minister of Home Affairs, Theresa Makone, has also said that the Global
Political Agreement (GPA), which formed the basis of the unity government,
had proved to be an “atrocious and useless” arrangement. Makone is currently
in hiding, amid threats that she faces arrest for ‘abuse’ of office.

Tsvangirai himself also faces possible arrest for ‘contempt of court’, and
it is widely believed that it was his imminent arrest that prompted the
visit to Zuma on Saturday. Details of the meeting have not been made
available, but according to Zuma’s spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, Tsvangirai was
“bringing him (Zuma) up to speed with all the issues and whether the Global
Political Agreement is being implemented. The meeting was in that context.”
Kodwa also said Zuma would assess the political situation in Zimbabwe “very
soon,” and would communicate the findings in due course.

Zuma’s handling of the Zimbabwe crisis has been strongly criticised, with
the Thabo Mbeki successor being accused of taking too soft a line with
Mugabe. Mbeki was widely condemned for his policy of “quiet diplomacy”
towards Zimbabwe, and observers say Zuma’s approach as been no different.
His attitude towards Tsvangirai is also being skeptically viewed, after
Tsvangirai could only meet Zuma during a party in Durban.

The South African team meant to mediate in the Zimbabwe crisis is also
facing growing criticism for appearing to feel little urgency about the
situation in Zimbabwe. Zuma’s mediation team was meant to travel to Harare
last week, for the latest round of talks about the political stalemate in
the coalition government. But that visit has since been put off until the
first week of April, which some commentators has said shows a very “relaxed”
attitude towards the Zimbabwe crisis.

Political commentator and former Zimbabwean diplomat, Clifford Mashiri, told
SW Radio Africa that the South African response “is in line with the relaxed
agenda of SADC.”

“South Africa’s mediation efforts have become more relaxed and quieter with
the passage of time,” Mashiri said. He added: “After all the years that SADC
has been involved, we no longer expect anything from them.”

Meanwhile a SADC Troika meeting has been scheduled for Thursday in Zambia,
where SADC leaders will again debate what to do about the Zimbabwe
situation. Mashiri said it is unlikely that anything meaningful will come
out of that meeting. He said that Tsvangirai should stop wasting time
appealing to Zuma and SADC, because the regional bloc has proved it cannot
and will not do anything to oppose Robert Mugabe.

“Tsvangirai should now change his direction and approach the United Nations
directly,” Mashiri said.

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Zim taking foreign-owned mines

Mar 28, 2011 1:52 PM | By Sapa-AFP

All foreign-owned mining companies in Zimbabwe will be required to sell
majority stakes to locals within six months, under new regulations.

The controversial Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act issued last
year, required all foreign firms valued at more than $500, 000 to sell 51
percent stakes to locals.

The new rules published without warning on Monday expand the law to include
all mining companies valued at more than one dollar.

"A controlling interest, or the 51 percent of the shares or interest which
in terms of the Act is required to be held by indigenous Zimbabweans in
non-indigenous mining business," the new law said in the government gazette.

Companies are expected to complete their sale plans by May 9 and
transactions must be finalised by September 25, according to the gazette.

"It's very messy and it is a harsher approach to the mining sector,"
economist John Robertson told AFP.

"It is politically inspired. The disposal of 51 percent of the shares in
mining companies to indigenous Zimbabweans will apply to all companies with
a net asset value of more than one US dollar," said Robertson.

The law is strongly supported by President Robert Mugabe and has created
tensions within the unity government, with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
charging that it will discourage investment.

Shares of foreign mining companies, including London-listed Aquarius
Platinum and Australian-listed Zimbabwe Platinum Mines, have plunged due to
uncertainty around the law since its original release one year ago.

Zimbabwe has been working to attract investors after a decade of political
turmoil which has seen the collapse of its economy.

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Platinum miners tumble as Zimbabwe turns up heat

   Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:15am EDT

* Zimbabwe gives miners 6 months to sell majority stakes

* Platinum shares tumble

* Mugabe not backing down on company seizures

By Ed Stoddard

JOHANNESBURG, March 28 (Reuters) - Shares in South Africa-listed platinum
miners tumbled on Monday as neighbouring Zimbabwe turned up the heat on
foreign mining firms and gave them six months to sell majority stakes to
local black investors.

Impala Platinum (IMPJ.J), the world's second-largest producer of the
precious metal which has Zimbabwe operations, fell over 5 percent at one
point to a 10-day low and was trading 3.55 percent lower at 190.56 rand at
1030 GMT.

Foreign mining firms in Zimbabwe must sell a majority stake to local black
investors within six months, according to a release in the Government
Gazette on Monday.

The release also said companies had 45 days in which to submit details of
how they planned to transfer ownership.

London- and Johannesburg-listed Aquarius Platinum (AQP.L)(AQPJ.J) was down
more than 5.5 percent, while Anglo Platinum (AMSJ.J), the world's top
producer, was down 1.90 percent at 666.44 rand.

Platinum XPT= was down just 0.77 percent, highlighting how jittery investors
are about the risks of doing business in the region.

Platinum producers were down far more than the wider counters.
Johannesburg's broader mining index .JMINI eased 1.34 percent while the
bourse's All-share .JALSH was 0.79 percent lower at 31,346.01. "I think this
is because of the Zimbabwean story," said Abri du Plessis, chief investment
officer at Gryphon Asset Management.

"That 51 percent that they want in local hands looks fairly fixed at this
point in time so that's basically driving the platinum down."

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Sunday vowed his party would not back
down from its controversial drive to force foreign-owned companies to sell
majority shareholdings to local blacks.

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Zimbabwe news weighs on S.African stocks, bonds weaken

Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:15pm GMT

* Platinum stocks weigh on blue-chip stocks

* Bonds weaken after attracting buyers last week

* Rand has resistance at 6.85/dollar

By Phumza Macanda and Gugulakhe Lourie

JOHANNESBURG, March 28 (Reuters) - South African resource-heavy bourse fell
on Monday, dragged lower by platinum shares as Zimbabwe turned up the heat
on foreign mining firms.

Impala Platinum (IMPJ.J: Quote), the world's second-largest producer of the
precious metal, was the biggest loser after reports that foreign mining
firms in Zimbabwe must sell a majority stake to local black investors within
six months. [ID:nLDE72R169].

The JSE Top-40 index of blue chips .JTOPI was down 0.8 percent to end
28,264.76 and the broader All-share index .JALSH shed 0.69 percent to

"I think this is because of the Zimbabwean story," said Abri du Plessis,
chief investment officer at Gryphon Asset Management, referring to the share
price falls.

"That 51 percent that they want in local hands looks fairly fixed at this
point in time so that's basically driving the platinum stocks down."

The JSE platinum mining index JPLAT fell 2.58 percent, led by Impala
Platinum dropping 2.82 percent to 192 rand and rival miner Lonmin (LONJ.J:
Quote) losing 2.31 percent to 183.16 rand.

London and Johannesburg-listed Aquarius Platinum (AQPJ.J: Quote), the
world's fourth largest primary platinum producer, lost 8.54 percent to 37.50

Bidvest (BVTJ.J: Quote) lost 2.23 percent to 146.55 rand as shares of the
industrial group trades ex-dividend. Also trading ex-dividend is Africa's
biggest mobile phone operator MTN (MTNJ.J: Quote), which dropped 2.26
percent to 131.19 rand and miner Anglo American (AGLJ.J: Quote) fell 1.69
percent to 349 rand.


Government bonds weakened a bit, reversing some of last week's gains that
were partly driven by strong foreign buying.

The yield on the 2015 bond ZAR157= was down 0.5 basis points to 7.76 percent
and the longer dated 2026 bond ZAR186= yield fell two basis points to 8.935

Foreigners were net buyers of South African bonds last week for the first
time since late February, buying 5.9 billion rand worth of local debt as
investor aversion toward high risk assets subsided. [ID:nLDE72R1NZ]

On the currency front, the rand ZAR=D3 was steady, trading at 6.8660 against
the dollar at 1535 GMT, not far from Friday's New York close of 6.8645.

"It's looking for some direction and I think that direction will come from
the euro. It's not likely to move out of this range unless it goes above
6.92," said Jim Bryson, chief dealer at RMB.

The rand has strong resistance at 6.85, which attempted to break twice last
week. Should it pierce that level decisively it would open up 6.81, its
strongest level in March.

Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Monday the government spent
over 50 billion rand in the past twelve months in its efforts to stabilise
the rand, a heavily traded currency in global markets.

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'Zim crisis goes beyond elections'

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - Mar 28 2011 17:56

The crisis in Zimbabwe goes beyond the disputed elections and is more about
the division of opinions among Zimbabweans themselves, the Zimbabwe
Institute said on Monday.

"Elections in Zimbabwe will not resolve the crisis," said James Muzondidya,
research manager for the Zimbabwe Institute, which is a political advocacy

"The issue about Zimbabwe is much more beyond elections," he said.

"[ The Southern African Development Community's (SADC)] strategy focus on
credible elections is therefore very limited.

"This is more of a political and governance problem," said Muzondidya.

He also criticised the "winner takes all" electoral system, saying it pushed
an incumbent political party to hold on to power for dear life.

He was speaking in Pretoria during a University of South Africa discussion
themed "SADC mediation and the future of democratic transition in Zimbabwe".

This comes just a few days after police cancelled a Movement for Democratic
Change rally as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai made an unscheduled weekend
visit to South Africa for a meeting with President Jacob Zuma who is heading
meditation talks.

Tsvangirai's visit was reportedly intended to brief Zuma on the latest
developments and rise in political temperature in Zimbabwe.

Cease fire agreement
Zimbabwe's Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed two years ago, which
Muzondidya likened to a cease fire agreement, was seen as a significant
achievement in moving towards a successful resolution.

However, this seemed to have been effectively collapsed, he said.

"What you have at moment is an existing framework. SADC and everybody else
need to look beyond the GPA because the protagonists in the Zimbabwe crisis
are looking beyond."

The agreement came into effect after months of dispute over the sharing of
cabinet portfolios. Its enactment saw Zanu-PF leader Robert Mugabe remain
president of the country while Tsvangirai became prime minister.

Muzondidya said that in the last two years, the ability of MDC to influence
change had been very limited in the power sharing government.

"Its bargaining strength has also progressively declined and Zanu-PF
strength has been increased," he said, attributing this to mainly Zanu-PF
resistance to the implementation of some agreed reforms and internal
weaknesses within the MDC itself.

He said Zanu-PF had managed to use loopholes in the agreement to consolidate
its position. This had serious implications on the SADC's mediation efforts.

Muzondidya also spoke of the "post-Mbeki era". He said Zuma's team, which
"has a more edgy and robust approach" compared to former president and
mediator Thabo Mbeki, could find it hard to earn trust.

Transparency had not gone down well with Zanu-PF who would much rather
prefer the "hush-hush approach," Muzondidya said. -- Sapa

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Scores of youths picked up by police

Monday, 28 March 2011

The whereabouts of scores of youths among them MDC activists remain unknown after they were picked up by armed police officers early this morning at Trenance and Richmond in Bulawayo Central.  Eyewitnesses say armed police officers rounded up the youths aged between 15 and 31 years and took them to an unknown area.  All police stations said the youths were not in their custody.

Meanwhile, Vice President, Hon. Thokozani Khupe’s driver, Witness Dube, who was arrested last week on charges of refusing to sign the Zanu PF sanctions petition is still in police custody. He was today transferred to Bulawayo Central Police Station but no charges have been brought against him as the police officers are saying they are still consulting on a charge to lay against him.

Zanu PF youths led by Tendai Gurenje last night axed to death eight cattle belonging to MDC Chimanimani West district treasurer, John Neshiri. A police report was made at Chimanimani Police Station but no arrests have been made. In the same district, Israel Mureyani an MDC activist from Nedziwa Village was on Thursday admitted at Mutambara Mission Hospital after he was attacked by Zanu PF youths the same day.

Gabriel Masize, an MDC and International Society of Poets member was abducted by plain clothes police officers on Saturday at Janganu Junction in Kadoma.  He was taken to Kadoma Central Police Station and charged with undermining the authority of the President.

While in custody, he was severely assaulted under the feet and private parts.  Masize was released after 18 hours but medical staff and Kadoma General Hospital refused to treat him saying he should first get a report from the police detailing how he sustained the injuries.

Say No to violence!! Yes to Peace!!

For more on these and other stories, visit:

Together, united, winning, voting for real change!!!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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Minister Mangoma’s trial kicks off

Monday, 28 March 2011

The trial of Hon. Elton Mangoma, the Minister of Energy and Power Development kicked off at the High Court in Harare today. Hon. Mangoma is facing trumped up charges of abusing the public office as the Energy Minister.

The trial is being heard before Justice Chinembiri Bhunu and it started with the State calling its first witness, Justin Mupamhanga, the Permanent Secretary in the Energy Ministry. 
Hon. Mangoma was arrested two weeks ago and granted a US$5 000 at the High Court.  However, today he appeared at the High Court from Harare Remand Prison in leg irons after he was arrested on a separate charge on Friday and charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.

He was indicted to 18 July for trial for the new charge.  It was only after the intervention of Hon. Mangoma’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa that led to Justice Bhunu ordering prison officers to remove the leg irons.  Hon. Mangoma is facing allegations of corruption arising from a fuel deal with a South African company without going to tender.  He is denying the charges.

The minister will be back at the High Court tomorrow for his bail hearing on fresh charges that he abused public office by irregularly awarding a multi-million tender to purchase electricity meters by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a subsidiary of Zesa.

Last week, Mtetwa lashed out at the police and prosecutors for preferring to prosecute the minister in instalments. “We believe that the latest arrest is meant to deliberately subvert the High Court order with regards to bail and that the arrest is clearly politically motivated to ensure that the accused person is unavailable for political processes that are going on in Parliament,” said Mtetwa in reference to the pending elections for the Speakership in the House of Assembly.

Hon. Mangoma is the MP for Makoni North.

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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Zimbabwe churches condemn escalating violence

By ANGUS SHAW, Associated Press – Mon Mar 28, 8:25 am ET

HARARE, Zimbabwe – Church leaders in Zimbabwe called Monday for an end to
escalating political violence and "hate language" fueling it as elections
approach and the nation slides deeper into a political crisis.

In a pastoral statement, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches urged political
leaders to "reflect deeply" and work to resolve outstanding issues before
holding elections.

President Robert Mugabe has called for elections this year to end a troubled
two-year coalition with the former opposition that was formed after
violence-plagued elections in 2008.

Clergy across the country reported a lack of impartiality by police and
security forces, a surge in threats and intimidation and a revival of the
deployment of militias and other groups that perpetrated the 2008 violence.

Roman Catholic bishops and heads of other Christian denominations criticized
politicians for what they described as "occasional denunciation" of

"We believe it must become more regular and translated into reality," they

Inflammatory language widely reported in the state media has spurred
violence and undermined efforts toward national healing after years of
political and economic turmoil.

The churches said they were ready to help promote dialogue within the
coalition. They also called for more intervention by regional leaders of the
Southern African Development community to resolve outstanding disputes over
power-sharing before any election can be held.

They said churches also will hold prayer vigils for peace and proposed the
eventual formation of an independent truth, justice and reconciliation
commission to deal with "truth telling, acknowledgment of past wrongs and
restorative and transitional justice issues."

Police have banned three recent "peace rallies" proposed by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party, alleging they
clashed with Mugabe party meetings nearby and raised security concerns.

Police have also raided and searched Tsvangirai's party headquarters twice
this month.

A close Tsvangirai ally, Energy Minister Elton Mangoma, was arrested for a
second time on Friday on allegations of abuse of office involving the
purchase of equipment for the state electricity utility and gasoline. He
denies any wrongdoing.

The state media controlled by Mugabe loyalists reported Sunday that state
law officers were preparing an arrest warrant for the former parliament
speaker Lovemore Moyo, Tsvangirai's party chairman, on contempt of court

The state media has also reported that Tsvangirai is under investigation for
remarks attributed to him in U.S. diplomatic cables revealed by WikiLeaks
that could lead to criminal charges.

A vote for a new speaker is scheduled Tuesday in the Harare parliament.
Tsvangirai's party say two of its other lawmakers have been threatened with
arrest and nine in all are under police investigation on various allegations
they deny.

The party has announced it will boycott Tuesday's vote if police action
turns out to be a deliberate ploy to disqualify its lawmakers from casting
their ballots and help Mugabe's party to capture the speaker's post.

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EU urged to penalise SADC over Zim crisis

By Alex Bell
28 March 2011

Governments in Europe are again been urged to penalise countries in the
Southern African Development Community (SADC), over the regional bloc’s
failure to protect Zimbabweans.

A petition by the London based protest group, The Zimbabwe Vigil, has been
relaunched, calling for financial penalties against SADC. Vigil coordinator
Rose Benton told SW Radio Africa on Monday that they are calling on EU
governments to suspend direct financial assistance to SADC governments
“until SADC meets its obligations over Zimbabwe.”

“We don’t see why countries that don’t honour their obligations should
receive such huge financial help,” Benton said. “Surely this money can be
better spent?”

Benton described how, for example, the UK government gives £80 million a
year to Malawi’s government, despite President Bingu wa Mutharika being a
known Robert Mugabe ally. She said that in light of budget cuts in the UK
there is even more reason for the UK to consider suspending aid to countries
“that are allowing human rights abuses to continue in Zimbabwe.”

“We obviously don’t want humanitarian aid to be suspended. We would suggest
that this kind of government-to-government aid could be used to feed very
desperate people in Zimbabwe instead,” Benton added.

The Vigil has added its voice to growing international concern about the
situation in Zimbabwe, which is steadily deteriorating with widespread
intimidation and arrests of MDC supporters. Benton warned that the
increasing violence by ZANU PF was a sign of a “behind the scenes coup,” a
sentiment already expressed by key figures in the MDC.

SADC governments are meant to be the guarantors of the unity government in
Zimbabwe, a coalition that observers have said provided Mugabe and ZANU PF
with a political life line. But as Benton explained, SADC has failed to “do
what they are obligated to do with regards to protecting human rights in
“They are clearly more on the side of ZANU PF than they are on the MDC’s
side,” Benton said.

The Vigil is a protest group that has been staging weekly demonstrations
outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in London every Saturday, since 2002. The
group has vowed to keep protesting until internationally - monitored, free
and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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Ncube MDC to back MDC-T candidate for parliament speaker

By Lance Guma
28 March 2011

The smaller faction of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube delivered the
proverbial ‘sucker-punch’ to ZANU PF Monday, after announcing it would now
support the MDC-T candidate Lovemore Moyo for Speaker of Parliament, instead
of boycotting the election.

Addressing the media at their offices in Harare’s Hillside suburb, Secretary
General Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga said they were concerned with the
timing of Energy Minister Elton Mangoma's arrest, as well as threats to
arrest more MPs. Five MDC-T MPs, including co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa
Makone and the former Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo, are said to be
already in hiding.

Last week the National Standing Committee of the Ncube MDC had resolved to
boycott the election, but on Monday Misihairambwi said that they could not
sit by and watch while ZANU PF tried to rig the poll by reducing the number
of MDC-T MP’s eligible to vote.

"In principle we cannot watch such injustices take place. Whilst our view
remains that morally the MDC-T does not deserve our vote, we have now
decided that due to our belief in the fundamental values of justice, freedom
and democracy, we will urge our MPs to vote for the MDC-T candidate,"
Misihairambwi said.

The election will be held on Tuesday after Clerk of Court Austin Zvoma
unilaterally cancelled the first scheduled vote last week. On Monday he was
reported to have convened a press conference where he outlined the
procedures for the vote and confirmed it will be held at 3pm and that ballot
papers had been printed.

Last week the MDC-T accused Zvoma of pandering to the whims of ZANU PF by
cancelling the first scheduled vote. They said ZANU PF was not only stricken
by factionalism, but knew they did not have the parliamentary numbers to win
the vote.

Lovemore Moyo, the MDC-T candidate and former speaker, is up against ZANU PF’s
national chairman and former ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo.

The vacancy for Speaker of the House arose after a recent controversial
Supreme Court ruling that the August 2008 election of Lovemore Moyo was not
done by secret ballot. The court based its decision on the claim that 6
MDC-T MP’s waved their ballot papers in the air, something legal experts say
could not have affected the validity of the vote.

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French President Honours Mukoko, Holland

28/03/2011 13:21:00

Harare, March 28, 2011 - Prominent human rights defender and director for
the Zimbabwe Peace Project, Jestina Mukoko, recently received the French
National Order of the Legion of Honour award together with the Organ on
National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration co-minister Sekai Holland
for their sterling work in the defence for human rights.

French Ambassador to Zimbabwe Francois Ponge said following proposals from
France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy
decided to “welcome” Mukoko and Holland into the “first of our national
orders – The National Order of the Legion of Honour”.

“This is an award given to women and men bestowed with outstanding civil and
military virtues and whose purpose is to serve – serve their country, serve
their values and serve others: those who fight for freedom and equality,
values that unite all mankind,” said Ambassador Ponge at the award ceremony
hosted at his official residence in Harare recently.

He said the Legion of Honour, or Légion d'honneur, is France’s highest
order, or decoration, that recognises military and civilians alike for their
bravery or honourable service to their countries.

The award was established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte as a way to
distinguish civilians and soldiers in a way that had nothing to do with
loyalty but the award recognises anyone who exhibited merit.

“The hope that you give to an entire nation, by your action in favour of
human rights and democracy, the hope you give to the people around the world
to see the core values of humanity, beyond cultural differences, defended
everywhere on this planet. It is the action of a lifetime, as you continue
at the head of the institutions you manage,” said the Ambassador in
reference to Mukoko’s work as director of ZPP and Holland as co-minister of
the Organ on National Healing.

Ambassador Ponge said he felt honoured to hand over the medals to the two
distinguished Zimbabwean women “because by honouring you, France remains
faithful to its most noble message since its revolution in 1789, to address
the world in terms of freedom and progress”.

In her emotional acceptance speech Mukoko said she felt honoured and humbled
by the award and thanked God for her life as she might have been part of the
victims’ statistics following her abduction and detention in December 2008.

“I always have this feeling that December 3 (2008) will be coming again for
me,” said Mukoko in reference to the day she was abducted by state security

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The Daily News is back - and taking no prisoners

28 March, 2011 07:35:00    By VLADIMIR MZACA

Back in 2003 Robert Mugabe's regime closed down The Daily News. But last
year the newspaper was granted a licence by the Zimbabwean Media Commission,
and now it's returned with a vengeance.
The newspaper boasts the tag line “telling it like it is” and its writers
haven't been shy to speak the truth to power, with both Mugabe and Zanu-PF's
prodigal son, Jonathan Moyo, already coming in for some stinging criticism.

As calls for elections by President Robert Mugabe are becoming a Zanu-PF
chorus, the party’s nemesis in the media – The Daily News – is back on the
streets after more than seven years in the wilderness. The newspaper was
shut down by the Zanu-PF government in 2003 for its critical reporting on
bad governance, and the abuse of democratic and human-rights principles.

At its peak, under the editorship of Geoffrey Nyarota, The Daily News was
regarded as an enemy of the state. Efforts to silence it began in 2003 when
its printing press was bombed. In addition, owing to the government's
unhappiness with the paper's editorial policy, its reporters were arrested,
beaten up and threatened with unspecified action. Some journalists were
forced into hiding, fearing for their lives. The newspaper was finally
closed under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act – a
controversial piece of legislation masterminded by then minister of
information Jonathan Moyo.

The closure of the paper meant a dead end for reporters. Rookies and
seasoned journalists alike were forced into unemployment. Some, fearing for
their lives, fled to exile – including the editor Geoffrey Nyarota, who went
to the US. In the diaspora the bulk of the former reporters took menial jobs
to earn a living, but only a handful managed to make it as journalists

The likes of Mduduzi Mathuthu opened online publications that became a
source of employment for some of the former Daily News reporters. The paper’s
managing editor Wilf Mbanga came up with a newspaper called The Zimbabwean,
which relies on Zimbabwe-based correspondents. Its slant became similar to
that of The Daily News, fast earning it the “enemy of the state” tag.

More than seven years later The Daily News celebrated its reincarnation with
a promotional edition on 18 March. This edition was tinged with nostalgia,
with many of the journalists who were at the paper when it closed
reminiscing about the past.

In its editorial comment The Daily News stated: “We un-apologetically
declare that we will take a critical stand against bad governance and expose
it for the entire nation to see….” The edition led with a news feature
story – an unusual style in Zimbabwean daily newspapers. The feature
questioned Mugabe’s health at 87 years, as well as his political ambitions.
The promotional copy sold like hot cakes countrywide; people were clearly
eager to read the paper, which has the tag line “telling it like it is” –
similar to that of Johannesburg’s redoubtable The Star.

The newspaper started publishing daily on 25 March, and the first edition
continued where the promotional edition left off – again leading with a
story linked to Mugabe’s family. While other newspapers in the market focus
on parliamentary issues, intra-political party fights and human rights, The
Daily News' headline screamed “Grace Mugabe in $1m swindle”. The front page
also ran a rider story headlined “First Lady sick” – the publication so far
seems to have an obsession with Mugabe.

Another key feature is The Daily News seems to be out to settle scores with
its enemies, particularly Moyo, the man behind its closure. The promotional
copy carried an opinion piece by Moyo that he penned when he left Zanu-PF in
2005. At that time Moyo was a bitter critic of Mugabe and Zanu-PF. However,
he has since returned to the party and now the articles that he wrote at
that time are resurfacing in the media to remind Mugabe what Moyo once
thought about his leadership.

The 25 March edition carries a story about Moyo betraying his parliamentary
constituency by rejoining Zanu-PF when he had won his seat as an
independent. There is also feature by Ray Matikinye called “Jonathan Moyo’s
lust for lost glory”, as well as an opinion piece written by Moyo himself in
2009 entitled “Why Mugabe should go now”.

The Daily News, which is still owned by Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe,
hopes to regain its place as a bestseller. “We are going to relive our glory
days as the newspaper of choice in Zimbabwe,” managing editor John Gambanga
told Free African Media.

The Zimbabwean print media is largely dominated by the state media with The
Herald, and the Sunday Mail in Harare and the Chronicle and the Sunday News
in Bulawayo getting the most advertising revenue – largely because
government departments and most banks flight tenders and adverts in those

These newspapers have been around for close to a century. There is also a
year-old daily, NewsDay, and weekly papers The Zimbabwe Independent and The
Standard, owned by Alfa Media Holdings. Other newspapers in the market are
The Financial Gazette, and South African newspapers The Sunday Times and the
Mail & Guardian. Thus the entry of The Daily News brings the number of
newspapers in the market to 11.

The Media Institute for Southern Africa’s Zimbabwe chapter and the Zimbabwe
Union of Journalists welcomed the relaunch of The Daily News. They also
called for the opening up of the broadcasting sector, which is still
dominated by the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. FAM

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Theatre in the Park to re-open after HIFA 2011

Written by Tafadzwa Muzondo
Monday, 28 March 2011 14:42

Theatre in the Park will take an early break for HIFA as the regional
production that was earmarked to follow after “365” did not come  through
owing to some technical challenges. This means the first  season, which
opened with an explosive fusion of theatre and  acrobatics from Malawi
entitled “Ganyu”, has hosted two productions  instead of the planned three
The venue, which was meant  to close on the 16th of April to pave way for
HIFA, will re-open on  the 10th of May 2011.
“We had promised our fans two regional productions this season so as  to
revive the regional quota that we had stopped owing to economic  challenges
of yesteryears.  When we realized that we could not bring  “My friend and
 Me” from South Africa to close our season, we did not  have adequate time
to fill the slot with a local production from the  scripts we have as we
needed time for that production to go into  rehearsal and this meant the
production would only be ready when HIFA
> is starting so we decided to close with this one.
We even tried to  identify a ready production but could not secure a perfect
replacement  for what we had promised our fans.”, says Daves Guzha the
founder and  Producer of Rooftop Promotions.
The two productions we have hosted so far have been well received
particularly “365” which opened on international women’s day (8 March  2011)
and closed on Saturday 26th February. The curtain came down on a  high note
to this production which managed to stimulate open and  objective discussion
on gender based violence throughout its run.  For  those who saw Ganyu, they
would agree that it was a first at Theatre  in the park which was directed
by a physical theatre artist, Stanley  Mambo, a Malawian who once worked in
Zimbabwe directing plays like  “All Systems Out Of  Order”  and “Heaven’s
Diary which were staged at  Theatre in the Park as well as featuring in the
local TV soap, “Studio
“As we apologise and regret any inconviniences caused by this abrupt
closureI, we would like to thank all our fans who supported these two
productions, in particular US Embassy Public Affairs section for  buying 100
tickets, the Spanish Embassy for buying 150 tickets, Dzikwe  Trust for
buying 20 tickets and ta fan who prefers anonymity for  buying 100 tickets
which enabled different target groups of women,  civic activists, school
going and college youths from High density
suburbs to see “365” and participate in the inspiring post-discussions  on
gender based violence.
New audiences have started coming to our theatre since we began our  block
tickets selling thrust and we hope to intensify this next season  as we
fight to keep the culture of live theatre alive. It which is our  hope that
we will be able to take this production to other grassroots  venues in high
density suburbs, colleges, schools, rural and mining  centers so as to reach
and entertain as we educate those who do not  have the preveledge to come to
our theatre because of its location in  Harare,” says Rooftop Promotions’

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Book Launch in Cape Town and Johannesburg

When a State Turns Against Its Citizens

Institutionalized Violence and Political Culture

Lloyd Sachikonye

31 March 2011 – 6 Spin Street Cape Town 17:30 for 18:00


1 April 2011, 17:30 for 18:00

Constitution Hill, 1 Kotze Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg


Please join us at the launch of this exciting book with guest speaker in Johannesburg

Judge Azhar Cachalia, post '94 Secretary for Safety and Security and who has been monitoring human rights cases in Zimbabwe for the International Commission of Jurists


The author is available for interviews at the event, or beforehand.

Please RSVP and contact Emily Wellman on 072 236 2712 or on for further information


'Zimbabwean politics are embedded in a tradition and practice of violence that

began more than half a century ago.'

Lloyd Sachikonye traces the roots of Zimbabwe's contemporary violence to the actions of the Rhodesian armed forces, and the inter-party conflicts that occurred during the liberation war. His focus, however, is the period since 2000, which has seen state-sponsored violence erupting in election campaigns and throughout the programme of fast-track land reform.

The consequences of this violence run wide and deep. Aside from inflicting trauma and fear on its victims, the impunity enjoyed by its perpetrators has helped to mould a culture within which personal freedoms and dreams are strangled.

At a broader social level, it is responsible - both directly and indirectly - for millions of Zimbabweans voting with their feet and heading for the diaspora. Such a migration 'cannot simply be explained in terms of the search for greener economic pastures. Escape from authoritarianism, violence, trauma and fear is a large factor behind the exodus.'

Sachikonye concludes that any future quest for justice and reconciliation will depend on the country facing up to the truth about the violence and hatred that have infected its past and present.


Lloyd Sachikonye (1954) was born and educated in Zimbabwe. After attending Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria where he did his M.Sc. in Political Science, he acquired a Ph.D. from Leeds University in the UK. He is now Associated Professor at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Zimbabwe where he has worked as a researcher and lecturer since 1983.


On the Board of five professional international journals, he had also been widely published within his research field of the politics of labour movements, democracy, and civic society. (A complete list of his publications will be found at the back of the book.)


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BILL WATCH 11/2011 of 28th March [Election of New Speaker}

BILL WATCH 11/2011

[28th March 2011]

When Will the Election of the New Speaker Take Place

First thing this morning, Monday 28th March, the Clerk of Parliament told Veritas he did not know when the election would be held.  Rumour, however, has it that it will take place tomorrow morning.  Less than a day’s notice would be unreasonable.  As the parties will want all their MPs to attend, reasonable notice should be given.

The Role of the President

Neither the Constitution nor House of Assembly Standing Orders require the date for the new election of Speaker to be fixed by the President.  The Clerk in his press conference last Tuesday, contrary to a press report, did not say that the date would be fixed by the President.  Subsequently the Clerk said he had written to the President to officially inform him, as part of the legislature, of developments.


MDC-T: announced soon after the Supreme Court decision that its candidate would be the unseated Speaker Lovemore Moyo.

ZANU-PF: the Politburo met on Wednesday 23rd March and decided that party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo would be its candidate.  This decision was conveyed to and adopted by the party’s parliamentary caucus.

MDC: the Welshman Ncube-led MDC has said it will not be putting forward a candidate.

Eligibility:  Both Moyos are eligible for election as Speaker – both are former MPs.

Conduct of Election

In terms of the Standing Orders of the House the election must be conducted by the Clerk of Parliament.  As there are two or more candidates, the election must be conducted by “a secret ballot”.  Only members of the House of Assembly can vote and the election will be decided by a simple majority of the members present and voting.

Will Lovemore Moyo be allowed to Vote?

Within a few days of the Supreme Court’s decision nullifying the Speaker’s election, Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma made a statement that Mr Lovemore Moyo could not revert to his pre-Speaker position as MP for Matobo North.  Mr Zvoma said his decision was on the grounds that when an MP is voted in as Speaker the seat automatically becomes available for a by-election and that the President had been informed of the vacancy.  [In fact the President had ignored the constitutional imperative to call such a by-election.]  There have been queries whether it was within the powers of the Clerk to make such a ruling, and it was made despite advice to the contrary from both the Attorney-General’s Office, and also constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku [electronic version of Professor Madhuku’s opinion available].  Lawyers for Lovemore Moyo lodged an urgent application in the High Court for an order declaring him to be the MP for Matobo North on the basis that if he had never been the lawfully elected Speaker, he had never ceased to be the holder of the seat he had won in the 2008 election.  As an MP he would be able to vote in the election for a new Speaker.  They withdrew the application as, in spite of an request for a urgent hearing, it became clear that the case would not be heard before the scheduled sitting of the House on Tuesday 22nd March, when the vote for Speaker was expected. 

The current position is that on Friday 25th March Mr Moyo’s lawyers wrote to the Clerk of Parliament requesting a formal statement of his position vis-ą-vis Mr Moyo’s right to the Matobo North seat and to vote in the forthcoming election.  The Clerk’s response is awaited. 

New MPs appointed by ZANU-PF

An extra vote for ZANU-PF?  The ZANU-PF Politburo on 23rd March decided that the party would fill the seat, vacant since February 2009 when an extra non-constituency seat in the House of Assembly became available to it under GPA Article 20.1.7.  This seat has been allocated to Mrs Oppah Muchinguri.  She will have to be sworn in as an MP before she can vote.  [Note – ZANU-PF will also be filling a vacant Senate seat but this will not affect the election for Speaker.]

Currrent Voting Strengths in the House of Assembly [NB these may Change]

Voting Strengths  Current party strengths are 96 each for ZANU-PF and MDC-T and 8 for MDC.  These figures exclude Lovemore Moyo, as his exclusion is still being challenged, and Oppah Muchinguri, as she has not yet been sworn in.  The actual numbers present for the vote may be affected by MPs being unavoidably absent through illness or official travel commitments or, in the case of MDC-T MPs, detention in police cells or remand prison, although obviously the parties will do their best to get all available members to attend.  The MDC party executive has instructed its seven MPs not to participate in the election. 

Vacant Constituency Seats

There are 11 vacant constituency seats in the House, affecting all three parties.  By-elections to fill the seats are in some cases several years overdue.  There is nothing that can be done about this situation before a new election for a Speaker, but it is tough on the constituencies concerned to have had their constitutional rights to representation violated while Parliament dealt with its ordinary workload, and now they will be unrepresented in the crucial vote to choose Parliament’s most senior officer.

Sequence of Events Leading to New Election of Speaker

25th August 2008 – election of Lovemore Moyo as Speaker – during the election six exuberant MDC-T MPs show their marked ballot papers to colleagues before depositing them in the ballot box.

September 2008 –application to High Court to set aside election – Jonathan Moyo, then Independent MP, and three MDC-M MPs bring court case against Clerk of Parliament for not ensuring a secret ballot [as specified in the Constitution and Standing Orders] and against Mr Lovemore Moyo as declared winner.

July 2009 – case argued in High Court before Justice Patel

26th January 2010  High Court upholds the validity of the election [Electronic version of judgment available]The applicants promptly appeal to the Supreme Court.

21st September 2010case argued in Supreme Court – judgment reserved. 

Thursday 10th March 2011 - Supreme Court ruling sets aside election of Lovemore Moyo as Speaker [Electronic version available]

Tuesday 22nd March 2011 – House of Assembly due to resume, but Clerk indefinitely postpones sitting – the House was due to reconvene at 2.15 [it had been adjourned to this date at its last sitting on 9th March] and it was expected that the new Speaker would be elected, as the Constitution states no other business can be conducted until there is a new Speaker.  But, at midday on Tuesday Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma held a press conference announcing there would be no sitting of the House of Assembly that afternoon as the House’s resolution of 8th March adjourning to Tuesday afternoon had been “superseded” by the Supreme Court’s judgment setting aside Mr Lovemore Moyo’s election as Speaker.  The Clerk also said that the election of a new Speaker would take place on a future date to be announced by him in due course.  [Electronic version of Clerk’s statement available.] [Note –this assisted one party who were not yet ready – later it was announced that the ZANU-PF Politburo would meet on the next day [Wednesday] to choose their candidate, and they then would have to instruct their Parliamentary caucus accordingly.]

MPs gathered in the House of Assembly chamber at 2.15 pm but no formal sitting of the House ensued, and they eventually dispersed.  When Mr Lovemore Moyo entered the chamber, ZANU-PF and MDC MPs walked out.  MDC-T MPs first sang and danced in protest and as they left their Secretary-General, Tendai Biti, citing Standing Order 16, told reporters that the Clerk had no power to call off the sitting of the House, and that  MDC-T would consider taking legal action to compel the Clerk to recall MPs promptly and go ahead with the election of a new Speaker.

Wednesday 23rd MarchMDC-T lodged a High Court application for an order overruling the Clerk’s action and ordering him to conduct the election of a new Speaker on the next Parliamentary sitting day.  The case has been set down for hearing on Wednesday 30th March.   

Friday 25th March – a further announcement by the Clerk expected but not made. 


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

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BILL WATCH 12/2001 of 28th March [Legal Implications of Nullification of Speaker's Election]

BILL WATCH 12/2011

[28th March 2011]

Nullification of the Election of the Speaker: the Consequences

On 10th March the Supreme Court set aside the 2008 election of Mr Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of the House of Assembly on the ground that the election had not been conducted by a secret ballot as required by Standing Orders.  Since then several lawyers have put forward their views on the consequences of the Supreme Court's decision.  In this Bill Watch we shall attempt to clarify the consequences.

The Supreme Court's decision:

·      has important constitutional effects:  does the decision invalidate everything done by the House since Mr Moyo's election?

·      affects Mr Moyo personally:  does he revert to being Member of Parliament for Matobo North, and must he return the pay and benefits he received as Speaker?

We shall deal with each in turn.

Wider Significance of the Decision

Does the Supreme Court's decision mean that everything Mr Moyo did while in office as Speaker must be regarded as invalid?  Does it mean that Acts of Parliament passed while he held the office of Speaker must now be treated as null and void - including Constitution Amendment No. 19 setting up the Inclusive Government and the Budget legislation for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011?

Fortunately, the answer is:  No:

·      The Supreme Court's decision was expressed in the following simple words:  "the election of the second respondent [Mr Lovemore Moyo] as Speaker is hereby set aside".  As the order was not backdated to August 2008 it must be presumed to operate prospectively from the 10th March 2011, the date it was handed down by the Supreme Court.

·      The Chief Justice said in his judgment that the decision would have "no draconian consequences", something he would not have said if he thought he was undoing all Parliament's work over the last two and a half years and bringing the Inclusive Government to an end.

·      There is ample legal precedent, mainly in the United States but also in Commonwealth jurisdictions, for accepting as valid the acts of a public officer whose appointment or election is later found to have been invalid.  This doctrine, which is known as the "de facto public officer doctrine” and is based on public policy and justice, protects the State from the chaos and uncertainty that would ensue if actions taken by a person apparently occupying an official position could later be invalidated if it turned out that the person was not lawfully appointed to that position.

There would undoubtedly be chaos and uncertainty in Zimbabwe if this Parliament's Constitution Amendment No. 19 and other Acts were to be regarded as invalid.  For example:

·      acts of the inclusive government and its ministers would be null and void.

·      the constitution-making process would have no legal basis and might have to be scrapped.

·      changes to the citizenship law by Constitution Amendment No. 19 would be nullified.

·      many payments made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, in reliance on Appropriation Acts, including the salaries and allowances of Ministers and MPs, would be invalid because made without the authority of Parliament.

·      changes to the tax laws by Budget legislation over three years would be reversed to the prejudice of taxpayers [e.g. increases in the income tax threshold and the tax-free amount for bonuses].

[Note: The Clerk’s statement of 22nd March expresses the opinion that decisions made by Mr Moyo while he was de facto Speaker “remain valid for legal and other consequences.”]

Personal Consequences of the Decision

The Matobo North Seat  Mr Moyo was a Member of the House of Assembly representing Matobo North when he was purportedly elected Speaker.  In terms of section 41(1)(g) of the Constitution a member's seat "shall become vacant ... if he becomes Speaker".  If, therefore, Mr Moyo had been validly elected as Speaker he would have ceased automatically to be a member of the House.  But according to the Supreme Court his election was not valid, so he cannot be said to have vacated his seat in terms of section 41(1)(g).  It might have been different had he formally resigned his seat, but there is no suggestion that he ever did so.  Things might also have been different had there been a by-election in Matobo North to fill the purported vacancy, but there has been no such by-election.  Mr Moyo is therefore a member of the House of Assembly.  [Note: So far the Clerk of Parliament has stuck to his initial view that Mr Moyo has not reverted to his pre-Speaker position as MP for Matobo North – notwithstanding advice to the contrary given to him by the Attorney-General, with a supporting opinion from Professor Lovemore Madhuku.]

Remuneration Received by Mr Moyo as Speaker  As to the remuneration paid to Mr Moyo, it was paid in good faith and, apparently, accepted in good faith.  In return for the remuneration Mr Moyo performed the duties of Speaker even though he was not entitled to do so.  If the remuneration was paid in error it was an error of law and not of fact, and probably cannot be recovered from Mr Moyo.  Different considerations apply to the benefits enjoyed by Mr Moyo as Speaker: his official residence and the vehicles with which he was supplied.  Since he is not the Speaker he no longer has a right to them. 


Election of a New Speaker and the Role of the Clerk of Parliament

Under section 39(1) of the Constitution, whenever the office of Speaker is vacant the House of Assembly must not transact any business until someone has been elected to fill the office.  The election is presided over by the Clerk of Parliament in terms of the Standing Orders of the House.

Press reports suggest that the Clerk of Parliament has arrogated the power to decide whether or not Mr Moyo is a member of the House of Assembly and entitled to vote in the election of a new Speaker.  Legally he has no power to decide the question, but since he will preside over the electoral process he will have to give a ruling on Mr Moyo's eligibility to vote, if the question is raised.  

More questionable is his decision to defer the sitting of the House, which was to resume on 22nd March.  He had no power whatever to do that.  Also, his deferral of the Speaker's election to a later date "to be announced" leaves it unclear who is going to fix that date and recall the House.  The Clerk has no power to do so.  Perhaps the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders can: under section 57(8)(c) of the Constitution it is responsible for "considering and deciding all matters concerning Parliament".  This is affirmed by House of Assembly Standing Order 14(1), which states that “There shall be, for the life of Parliament, a Committee to be designated the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders which shall consider and decide all such matters concerning Parliament as it shall deem fit.”


Should the Courts Have Interfered?

The whole contretemps might have been avoided if the courts had taken the same line adopted in previous cases involving parliamentary privilege:  that the power of Parliament to regulate its own practices and procedures is accepted and sustained by all enlightened countries, and the courts should not interfere in them.  The election of a Speaker seems pre-eminently to be one of the procedures of Parliament that is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts.  Justice Patel however considered that because the Speaker’s election is regulated by section 39 of the Constitution the courts were able to scrutinise it to ensure that it had been constitutionally carried out.  Whether he should have gone on to do so, however, is questionable.  It might have been better if he had heeded the wise words of South African Constitutional Court judge Ngcobo in a 2006 case:

“Parliament has a very special role to play in our constitutional democracy — it is the principal legislative organ of the State.  With due regard to that role it must be free to carry out its functions without interference......Indeed the parliamentary process would be paralysed if Parliament were to spend its time defending its legislative process in the courts.  This would undermine one of the essential features of our democracy:  the separation of powers.  The constitutional principle of separation of powers requires that other branches of government refrain from interfering in parliamentary proceedings......Courts must be conscious of the vital limits on judicial authority and the Constitution’s design to leave certain matters to other branches of government.  They too must observe the constitutional limits of their authority.”

This is however immaterial now because the courts have ruled on the question of the Speaker’s tenure and the consequences arising from that decision have now to be faced. 


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

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