By Tichaona Sibanda
8 March 2013
At the end of last year Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri once
again ignited controversy by telling senior cops if they are not going to
support ZANU PF in this year’s elections, ‘they’re not fit to wear the
uniform and its decorated medals.’
Chihuri, a fiercely loyal Robert Mugabe supporter, also ordered the force to
ensure that ZANU PF wins the next elections.
He was speaking to senior officers, from the rank of Assistant Commissioner
to Deputy Commissioner, gathered at a retreat in the Vumba in the Eastern
Highlands, last December.
He told them: ‘The time to leave is now, if you are not going to toe the
line,’ according to a report carried by South Africa’s Mail and Guardian
Chihuri’s address to the police was a major topic of discussion in cabinet
this week where a copy of his speech was read out verbatim for ministers.
Mugabe chaired the meeting but did not contribute anything to the debate.
The release of Chihuri’s speech during Cabinet proceedings was designed to
emphasise how partisan the police force is.
According to the Mail and Guardian the four-day meeting, convened to
strategise for the referendum and elections, ended up as an indoctrination
exercise. Instead of dealing with policy issues, the cops spent most of the
time being told how to deal with political opponents not aligned to ZANU PF.
During the retreat the police officers discussed tactical strategies to
subdue political opponents, disrupt rallies or meetings and target
influential individuals in rural areas. They also discussed how to target
non-governmental organisations as ways to ‘safeguard the revolution.’
Some of the senior officers, who spoke to the paper on condition of
anonymity, said Chihuri issued veiled threats to them, that ‘anyone seen to
be aiding and supporting the enemy should ship out of the force.’
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Director, McDonald Lewanika, told SW Radio
Africa’s Election Watch program on Friday that the latest police crackdown
on civil society is a result of ZANU PF’s resolutions passed during their
Gweru conference in December.
‘Chihuri, being a well known ZANU PF supporter, is simply implementing what
came out of the resolutions in Gweru,’ Lewanika said.
In one of the recent crackdowns on civic groups police targeted Radio
Dialogue, a community radio project in Bulawayo. They briefly detained its
director and confiscated a number of wind up radios.
Lewanika said that one of the resolutions at the end of the ZANU PF
conference was against what the party calls the ‘pirate’ radio stations
broadcasting into Zimbabwe. The resolution said the party was, ‘dismayed by
the continuing violation of international law which has undermined the GPA
through the sponsorship of pirate radio stations by the British, American
and Dutch governments that respectively sponsor SW Africa, Studio Seven and
The former ruling party also resolved to ‘condemn the EU and white
Commonwealth countries for supplying ICT gadgets, such as cellphone,
decoders, radios to communities to create conditions for the broadcast and
spread of falsehoods.
On Friday, Jestina Mukoko from the Zimbabwe Peace Project was charged with
taking part in the running of an unregistered organisation, and possessing
smuggled radios and cellphones.
Lewanika added: ‘You can see that what the police are doing came from the
ZANU PF conference. They’re now criminalising and disrupting CSO’s and NGO’s
and stopping them from doing their work.’ He added that he was certain the
police will attempt to shut down some of these organisations.
By Nomalanga Moyo
8 March 2013
Prominent human rights defender Jestina Mukoko handed herself in to the
police Friday morning, after claims by Zimbabwe’s top cop that she was on
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri issued a nation-wide appeal on state
media saying police wanted to interview Mukoko in connection with operating
an “unregistered” and “unlawful” organisation.
“We want her to give us the mission of her organisation, thus anyone with
information on where she is, help us,” Chihuri appealed Thursday.
Mukoko is the director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project Trust (ZPP) which,
together with other human rights groups, has been a target of recent raids
by security agents in a well-orchestrated campaign of intimidation ahead of
elections set for this year.
Kumbira Mafunda of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said Mukoko went to
the police station with her lawyers and was charged with “running an
unregistered organisation, taking part in the running of an unregistered
organisation, possessing smuggled radios and cellphones, and failing or
refusing to register as a dealer”.
Mukoko was interrogated and released into the custody of her lawyers.
On Thursday Mtetwa told SW Radio Africa that contrary to claims that the ZPP
was unregistered, she had provided its registration papers and Constitution
to the police last month.
She said: “We informed the police that ZPP’s board had resolved that it be
represented by its chairperson, Dr Solomon Zwana, as Mukoko is simply an
employee and does not have board authority to speak or act on behalf of ZPP.
“However, police rejected this and insisted they were interested in no-one
else but Mukoko. They have used her as an example before and have to use her
again as part of election-time intimidation.”
Mtetwa described the latest actions by the police as an unjustified crusade
against Mukoko, who had been targeted by the state campaign against human
rights activists when she was abducted and tortured on spurious treason
charges in 2008.
This latest harassment of Mukoko follows a raid on the ZPP offices on
February 11th, when mobile phones, wind up radios, files with donor
information, political violence reports and DVDs were confiscated.
Civic organisations fear there will be more similar arrests as the country
draws closer to next week’s referendum, that is set to pave way for a
In January, ZimRights head Okay Machisa was arrested and detained on
allegations that his group was involved in an illegal voter registration
Since last year a number of groups, including the Counselling Services Unit
which supports victims of torture and the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network
which observes polls, have been raided and staff detained.
Increased harassment of opposition party supporters has also been reported
across the country, with some observers predicting that the general poll
after the referendum will be bloodier than 2008.
On Thursday Chihuri, a fierce Mugabe loyalist, reiterated the threat issued
last month that the police will crack down on civic groups, seen as “causing
chaos” and a “serious security threat”.
Global human rights organisation Amnesty International said the alert issued
by the Zimbabwe police on state television, implying that a human rights
defender was on the run from the law, was a new low in the recent crackdown
8 March 2013
Zimbabwe: Prominent human rights defender hunted down through the media
The alert issued by Zimbabwe police on state television implying that
prominent human rights defender Jestina Mukoko was on the run from the law
is a new low in the recent crackdown on dissent, Amnesty International said.
On Thursday night, Zimbabwe state-owned television ran two announcements
implying that Mukoko, the director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, was on the
run and the announcements urged members of the public to call the police
with any information about her whereabouts.
Mukoko, who was at her home when the announcements were made, voluntarily
reported to Harare Central Police station Friday morning. She was charged
with several counts then released into the custody of her lawyers.
“It is appalling that at this critical time when Zimbabwe is in the process
of adopting a new constitution which provides a stronger bill of human
rights, human rights defenders are coming under systematic attack,” said
Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s southern Africa director.
“The use of state media to publically portray Mukoko as some kind of
fugitive is a regrettable new low for the government.”
Mukoko was charged with several counts including operating a private
voluntary organisation without registration under the Private Voluntary
Organisations Act. ZPP is registered under a deed of trust with the High
Court like most other human rights groups in Zimbabwe.
Early in February, the ZPP was raided by police who had a warrant to search
for “subversive material and illegal immigrants.” They seized material
including project documents, four smart phones and 80 solar powered/crank
On 19 February the police announced a ban on short wave radios in Zimbabwe.
It is not clear under which law this ban was made and how it will be
However, following the ban, police searched the offices of Radio Dialogue in
Bulawayo and seized 180 radios and charged Zenzele Ndebele, the station
manager, under section 182 of the Customs and Exercise Act.
The ban on short wave radio receivers is seen as an attempt by police to
curb access to alternative sources of news as the country prepares for the
constitutional referendum on 16 March and a possible election in July.
“This pattern of repressive behaviour by Zimbabwe’s security forces, and the
use of underhand tactics to incriminate human rights defenders, must end,”
“The referendum scheduled for next weekend and the elections that follow
must take place in an environment that respects human rights and fundamental
on March 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm
By Lance Guma
HARARE – The co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone has predicted that
Zimbabwe is headed for a bloodbath “unless the regional and international
powers that be stop playing games. I said it before and I will say it
again,” she emphasised.
Makone was responding to a question on social networking site Facebook that
had been posted by SW Radio Africa journalist Tichaona Sibanda who queried
why the police were targeting former ZBC TV presenter Jestina Mukoko who is
now the coordinator of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP).
“Jestina Mukoko is a very good friend of mine, a very lovely woman and a
good mother who loves her son so dearly. One thing she’s not is a criminal.
And certainly she’s not a threat to Zimbabwe’s national security,” Sibanda
“So why do the police make it their job to intimidate, bully and harass a
defenseless human rights defender?” he asked. Sibanda and Mukoko worked
together as journalists at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) over
a decade ago.
In response Makone said “she (Mukoko) is not being persecuted for who she
is, but for what she represents. After our last discussion with Chihuri I
asked her to ensure that her ZPP papers were in order. She and Irene Petras
assured me that ZPP was not a PVO, but a registered TRUST.
“However some mischievous propagandist wants to have her victimized at all
costs even though she has absolutely no case to answer. I am personally
committed to pronounce anywhere any time that she represents a bona fide
“She refused to bow to pressure after her first ordeal when they bundled her
out of her home dressed in nothing more than a flimsy night dress. Now under
a government of national unity, they want to pretend to be applying the rule
of law. She is a principled Human Rights Defender. She will prevail.”
“I said it before and I will say it again. Unless the regional and
international powers that be stop playing games, this time we are in for a
blood bath. Some people believe they have the title deeds to Zimbabwe and
its wealth. Period,” Makone warned.
Police Chief Augustine Chihuri is claiming that Mukoko who is the Zimbabwe
Peace Project coordinator is on the run after police allegedly confiscated
documents and communication devices her organisation was distributing.
Chihuri a self-confessed diehard Zanu PF loyalist is quoted saying “police
are looking for Jestina Mukoko to assist us with investigations and if
anyone sees her, please advise any nearest police station. We want her to
give us the mission of her organisation, thus anyone with information on
where she is, help us.”
The police last month raided the offices of the ZPP and claim to have found
“communication gadgetry that includes Eton Microlink radios and Huawei
Ascend Y100 cellphones fitted with geographical positioning system (GPS)
reportedly to be used in the run-up to the elections and the actual poll.”
Critics of the regime however point out that the police are working as an
extension of Zanu PF by cracking down on NGO’s that are key in exposing
human rights abuses and attempts to rig the next election. The police are
also seizing shortwave radios in a futile effort to stifle the free flow of
In December 2008 Mukoko was abducted from her Norton home in the early hours
of the morning by six men and a woman who did not identify themselves. In
her testimony she said they forced her into a Mazda Familia vehicle and
ordered her to lie low on the seat of the car.
“Immediately a woollen jersey was put across my face, covering my eyes, nose
and mouth (and) as a result I had problems breathing and almost suffocated,”
Once at the torture base Mukoko said they put her in solitary confinement
for 19 days while trying to force her to admit recruiting youths for
military training in Botswana to dislodge Robert Mugabe from power.
“Firstly I was assaulted underneath my feet with a rubber-like object which
was at least one metre long and flexible, while seated on the floor. Later I
was told to raise my feet onto a table and the other people in the room
started to assault me underneath my feet. This assault lasted for at least
five to six minutes. They took a break and then continued again with the
beatings,” she said.
After this period she was able briefly, in the presence of police, to see
her family. Without warning she was brought to court on Christmas Eve,
alongside other detainees who had been abducted and held for 76 days. The
detainees included a 72-year-old man and a two-year-old boy, all facing
The case collapsed and the charges were dropped.
It’s suspected Mukoko was taken to the Goromonzi torture base, so infamous a
report on torture compiled by the Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition was titled
‘Cries from Goromonzi – Inside Zimbabwe’s Torture Chambers’. The report
contained 23 harrowing testimonies from individuals tortured between 2000
March 8 2013 at 03:01pm
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe visited South Africa for talks
with ally Jacob Zuma on Friday, just days before Zimbabweans vote on a new
The veteran leader attended a meeting of former liberation and struggle
movements hosted by South Africa's President Zuma in Pretoria.
Zimbabwe holds a vote on March 16 to adopt or reject a new constitution and
will hold a watershed election due in July.
Both Mugabe and Zuma refused to answer questions on the constitutional
referendum, despite allegations of a mounting crackdown on civic and rights
South Africa has long played a pivotal role in Zimbabwe, but has resisted
pressure to publicly condemn rights abuses in the country.
“We share the same values, we went through the same route,” Zuma said after
the meeting, flanked by Mugabe.
“We believe that our positions as former liberation movements need to be
The talks took place at South Africa's Freedom Park, a monument built on a
hill in Pretoria to honour those killed during all of South Africa's wars
and the struggle against apartheid. - AFP
08 MAR 2013 00:00 - FARAI SHOKO
The increased political violence in Zimbabwe could force the SADC to convene
a special summit ahead of the country’s elections.
Four African Union-accredited diplomats from SADC countries said this week
that the Southern African bloc – the guarantor of the global political
agreement between Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) – was
concerned by the reports of violence and the escalation of the harassment of
civil society organisations ahead of the March 16 referendum and the
elections, which are expected to take place later this year.
The diplomats said President Jacob Zuma, the SADC mediator in the Zimbabwe
crisis, was under pressure to convene a special summit ahead of the polls in
the wake of reports of political violence, but wanted concrete evidence
Zuma’s facilitation spokesperson Lindiwe Zulu said her team was waiting for
a formal report from the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee on
reports concerning the violence. “We are waiting to hear from [the
committee] and then we will take it from there. It has to formally give us
a report on the said violence,” said Zulu.
Last week the MDC-T sent a dossier to the SADC facilitation team describing
120 incidents of politically motivated violence against its supporters,
including the killing of 12-year-old Christpowers Maisiri.
“The problem with the MDC-T is that their reports are not detailed,” said a
member of Zuma’s facilitation team, who asked not to be named.
He said the reports in the MDC-T’s dossier have “loopholes, which makes it
difficult for the facilitation team to pin Zanu-PF as the perpetrators of
“In the latest case of Christpowers, they need to prove without doubt that
he was killed as a result of arson by Zanu-PF people.”
Last Friday the Zimbabwe Republic Police, which has banned radio handsets
capable of accessing short-wave frequencies, raided Radio Dialogue’s offices
in Bulawayo and confiscated 180 solar and kinetic energy-propelled radios.
The raid followed similar actions last week at the offices of the Zimbabwe
Peace Project and the Zimbabwe Election Support Network.
Meanwhile, the European Union said it was ready to provide financial support
to help the country to hold credible polls, despite Zanu-PF’s insistence
that Western observers would not be allowed into the country to monitor the
EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia told the Mail & Guardian that
the 27-member bloc was willing to help the country as the EU has already
been “contributing to enable a positive environment for the holding of
“We are ready to consider further support to the conduct of credible
elections,” he said.
The country, which is reeling from a severe financial squeeze caused by poor
cash flows attributed to low revenue streams, wrote to the United Nations
early last month to ask for for help in bankrolling the referendum and the
But the UN said that funds could not be released immediately as it first had
to carry out a “needs assessment”. It did not say how long this would take.
Zimbabwe is scheduled to hold the referendum on its Constitution on March
16. The government has also been reported in local media to be pressing
local firms to fund the referendum, which has been estimated to cost
Zanu-PF has in the past said the country would not allow foreign countries
that imposed targeted sanctions to observe the elections. The EU imposed
sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle in 2001, citing
electoral fraud and human rights abuses.
Dell’Ariccia could not say whether the EU’s assistance would come with
conditions attached, but indicated that transparency of the electoral
process was key to any EU funding.
“At this stage, the UN has been invited and is developing a support
programme,” he said. “Based on this programme on the general conditions for
a credible process, the EU and other partners will consider their
He said the EU’s latest decision to remove some Zanu-PF members from the
sanctions list was in
recognition of agreements reached between the parties on a draft
Constitution and the announcement of a date for the referendum.
“It also confirms that a peaceful and credible constitutional referendum
would justify the immediate suspension of the majority of remaining EU
measures. The EU council has reiterated its commitment to continue engaging
with the government of Zimbabwe, and to work with any government formed as
the result of a peaceful, transparent and credible electoral process.”
By Tichaona Sibanda
8 March 2013
MDC-T Youth Assembly chairman Solomon Madzore had his passport returned by
the High court on Friday, to enable him to travel to Europe.
Lawyer Gift Mtisi told SW Radio Africa that their application to have
Madzore’s passport released by the registrar of the High Court was granted
by a High Court Judge. Madzore is set to travel to Europe on party business
soon after the referendum on 16th March.
However Mtisi said this was a temporary arrangement as Madzore would return
the passport to the High court on 25th March.
‘Madzore will be travelling between the 16th and 24th of this month and as
soon as he is back he will hand over the passport to the registrar of the
High court,’ Mtisi. The youth leader, who is one of 29 MDC-T members facing
charges of murdering a police officer in 2011, is out of custody on police
The trial, which was supposed to resume on Friday after a one and half week
break, was postponed to Monday. Mtisi explained that the state prosecutor
told them that their last witness to testify will only be available on
The state’s last witness is Cuban pathologist, Dr Alveiro Aguero who carried
out the post-mortem on the late Inspector Petros Mutedza.
AUTHOR:SOKWANELEDATE:MAR 08, 2013
Via NCA Press Release: The Supreme Court yesterday (7 March) granted a
request of appeal of by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) against a
ruling by the High Court on Thursday 28 February 2013.
The NCA has been given Wednesday the 13th of March 2013 as the day for
The NCA is challenging Judge President George Chiweshe’s dismissal of the
constitutional reform body’s application seeking to defer the holding of the
referendum on a new draft constitution. Justice Chiweshe has ruled that the
courts have no jurisdiction to challenge the all-powerful executive
president's decisions and actions.
We remain hopeful that the honorable Court will apply logic and reason to
this case. The case also buttresses the NCA's assertion that the executive
presidency provided for in the Copac draft is an affront to democracy as it
leaves too much power in one individual (Executive President), with the
effect that such an individual can usurp the power that any constitution can
give to the people.
by Staff Reporter
WILDLIFE rangers said Friday they had tracked down and killed three lions
believed to have attacked and killed two people in the lakeside resort of
Kariba this week.
A lioness and two "sub adult" cubs between two and three years old were
baited into traps and given lethal injections, the wildlife department
Sub adults are about three-quarters of the size of a fully grown lioness.
Rangers said the mother was lame from a badly-swollen injured leg and
scarred from wresting itself from an illegal wire trap set by poachers. They
said the wounds accounted for the pride preying so close to Kariba's
The lions devoured the body of one man on Tuesday and a day later attacked a
couple making love in the bush, killing the woman whose male companion
Kariba had been put on full alert after the rogue lions struck. Fliers were
handed out in the town and a loudspeaker was used to caution people on the
dangers of lion attacks on the shores of Lake Kariba, a man-made
hydroelectric dam popular for fishing and tourism.
On Thursday, police confirmed that a ranger had been accidentally shot in
the leg during the hunt for the killer lions.
by Gladys Ncube
Police in Matopo South district in Matabeleland South yesterday Thursday
arrested MDC-T district chairman Alexander Phiri on allegations of holding
an illegal meeting.
“Alexander was picked up by police on allegations of organising and
addressing an illegal meeting which has not been cleared by police. He is
detained at Maphisa police station right now and police have not indicated
when they will take him to court. But we are dispatching our lawyers to deal
with the case,”MDC-T Matabeleland South Secretary for Social Welfare Norman
Mpofu told The Zimbabwean.
Mpofu said Phiri was arrested after he held an internal party district
meeting at Maphisa Growth Point on Thursday. “This is just harassment by
police because we don’t need a clearance to hold our internal meetings”
There has been an upsurge in the number of MDC members and human rights
activists arrested in the past recent weeks as the elections approaches.
Police have also been banning meetings organised by civic society
organisations. Contacted for comment Matabeleland South police spokesperson
Inspector Christopher Ngwenya said: “I have not been briefed about that
On Tuesday MDC-T youth activists Sifiso Ncube was arrested in Emakhandeni
High density in Bulawayo for producing his party’s councillor letter as
proof of residence in order to register to vote.
Last week police raided the Bulawayo home of MDC-T MP Reggie Moyo in Luveve
in Bulawayo in search of military equipment and communications devices
especially SW and AM radios. Moyo blasted police accusing them of being used
by Zanu PF to harass MDC-T members and human rights activists.
Police also banned Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai rally to campaign for
Yes vote in Highfields in Harare this week.
by Staff Reporter
ZANU PF has told its aspiring MPs to abandon their campaigns until at least
after the March 16 referendum.
In a directive on Friday, the party said “focus now... is on the impending
referendum and nothing else” as it sought to put a cap on jostling which is
“No party member should be seen to be pursuing individual interests at this
time or at any other time,” Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said in a
“We work as a collective and our main thrust at the moment is on making sure
the new constitution sails through. That must remain our foremost priority
until March 16.”
Gumbo said Zanu PF was concerned that the party supporters were getting
mixed messages from the political leadership which were blunting its push
for a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum on a new constitution.
“Soon after the referendum,” Gumbo’s statement went on, “the party will
spell out what rules and regulations which will govern the conduct of
primary elections and then full-scale campaigning can begin. But until then,
we expect that every member in every part of Zimbabwe should adhere to this
very simple guideline.”
President Robert Mugabe is expected to announce a date for elections later
this month in line with a court ruling, but the coalition parties are
divided on when to hold polls.
Zanu PF strategists want an election in late May or June, but Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party wants elections in July – a problematic
timetable, should the first round presidential vote not produce an outright
winner. The MDC-T’s rivals say a July election could push the run-off too
close to the United Nations World Tourism Conference being held in August.
08 MAR 2013 00:00 - M&G CORRESPONDENT
Zimbabwe will proceed with a constitutional referendum despite the chaotic
preparations and problems that has plagued its drafting.
There are fears that all the financial, logistical, legal and technical
problems that bedevilled the lead-up to the referendum could jeopardise the
Zimbabwe will go ahead with the referendum on Saturday March 16 2013.
South African President Jacob Zuma, the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) facilitator on dialogue in Zimbabwe, on Tuesday dispatched
his mediation team to Harare to check on the state of preparedness for the
referendum and elections. The team, which include his spokesperson Mac
Maharaj, Charles Nqakula, a political adviser to the presidency, and Lindiwe
Zulu, Zuma's international relations adviser, met negotiators from the three
parties – Zanu-PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change factions – to
get an update on the situation.
One of the negotiators said Zuma's team had expressed concern about the slow
progress on reforms and the recent resurgence of political violence.
"They were gravely concerned about the renewed crackdown on civil society
organisations and political violence."
But the principal members of the unity government – President Robert Mugabe,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara – are determined not to let anything stand in their way. Mugabe
recently confirmed he had rejected attempts by Finance Minister Tendai Biti
to postpone the referendum because of financial and logistical problems.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which must hold the referendum and
polls, wanted a budget of $220-million for both exercises, but the amount
was revised down to $192-million after the scrapping of a proposed plan to
The commission now says at least $85-million is needed for the referendum
and $107-million for the elections.
After the United Nations Development Programme said it would not grant the
funds requested by Zimbabwe, the government wrung $60-million from Econet
Wireless, Mbada Diamonds and Anjin Investments. With $25-million budgeted by
the government, this means the treasury has only $85-million in its coffers
for both the referendum and elections.
Government officials in charge of the electoral processes said the
referendum date was rushed and this presented serious challenges for the ZEC
because of the financial difficulties.
The commission is also in trouble over the recent appointment of Justice
Rita Makarau, a former Zanu-PF non-constituency MP, as its chairperson to
replace retired judge Simpson Mutambanengwe.
"The ZEC was not given sufficient time and, as a result, it is struggling to
organise the referendum. The referendum will be the first countrywide voting
process to be conducted by ZEC since it was set up as a constitutional
commission in early 2010," an official said.
Election credibility at stake
A report by Veritas, a group of lawyers who monitor parliamentary and
constitutional processes, says the ZEC is under immense pressure to perform
properly. "Any mistakes or inadequacies in the referendum process will
affect the ZEC's credibility and reflect adversely on its capacity to handle
its next big test, which will be the coming elections," Veritas says.
"To handicap the ZEC by requiring it to conduct an acceptable referendum
exercise in less than half the time it has said it needs is to run the risk
of a botched process and to imperil the chances of elections that will be
widely accepted later in the year."
Some of the problems the ZEC is facing include the hiring of polling staff,
dealing with the issue of postal votes and complaints by civil society, the
need for clarity on the process, vote counting and the communication of
The National Constitutional Assembly, a civil society group dealing with
constitutional issues and led by Professor Lovemore Madhuku, went to court
to challenge the referendum date, demanding a postponement.
But Justice George Chiweshe, also a former ZEC chairperson, dismissed the
Madhuku has appealed the ruling in the Supreme Court.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a non-governmental
organisation that monitors electoral processes, said the ZEC was not given
sufficient time to prepare a credible referendum.
"The date raises questions about the ZEC having sufficient time to organise
a credible referendum consistent with the laws of Zimbabwe as well as the
SADC and international principles and guidelines governing the conduct of
democratic elections," the ZESN said.
The draft constitution was produced by a select parliamentary constitutional
committee which started its work in 2009 and only finished it this year.
By Nomalanga Moyo
8 March 2013
The hounding of human rights campaigners by the police is nothing new or
surprising in Zimbabwe: since independence, ZANU PF has often used law
enforcement agents to silence those it deems a threat to its existence.
But the arrest of Jestina Mukoko on Friday happened on International Women’s
Day, and Zimbabwe is a signatory to international initiatives whose aim is
to protect and empower women.
Mukoko is a mother, a journalist and a celebrated human rights activist
whose ordeal at the hands of Zimbabwe’s police in 2008 summarises the state’s
brutality and contempt for its citizens and the rule of law.
In December 2008, wearing only a night dress, Mukoko was abducted by masked
security agents in the middle of the night, leaving her terrified son at
She was detained for more than two months, constantly moved from one police
station to another and interrogated until she was disoriented.
During all this time Mukoko was subjected to beatings on the soles of her
feet, in a bid to force her to admit that she was recruiting Zimbabweans for
military training in neighbouring Botswana.
The charges brought against Mukoko collapsed at trial and it is well-known
that her only crime was documenting the human rights abuses committed by the
Mugabe regime against political opponents and critics.
Mukoko is just one of many other women who have been brutalised by state
agents for daring to stand up to repression and abuse.
Since 2003, the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) have mobilised Zimbabwean
women to demonstrate in defence of their political, economic and social
Led by fearless freedom campaigner Jenni Williams and her deputy Magodonga
Mahlangu, WOZA members have experienced numerous arrests and beatings at the
hands of the police.
Williams herself has been abducted and arrested more than 50 times, and over
the years has had to move from one safe house to another, in a country where
Mugabe critics have a tendency of disappearing without trace.
More recently, Williams was part of a group of women who were arrested and
assaulted on Valentine’s Day for participating in an anti-police brutality
The above cases don’t just highlight the repressive environment and culture
of violence that characterises Zimbabwe. They also exemplify the violence
against women in a society where women and girls are raped, battered and
killed on a daily basis.
On Friday, news that a defenceless two-year-old child was brutally raped by
Arnold Tendai Duri, a member of the Zimbabwean army made for shocking
According to NewsDay, Duri this was a “ritual” sexual offence by an HIV
positive Duri who later on callously dumped the badly bruised and bloodied
child in the bush. Duri was sentenced to 20 years in jail, but many
perpetrators of such atrocities go unpunished as most of these crimes go
If Zimbabwe is serious about addressing such crimes, it is important to
start by saying ‘no’ to state-sponsored violence.
08 MAR 2013 00:00 - M&G CORRESPONDENT
Zimbabwe's controversial indigenisation programme, pummelled by increasing
allegations of corruption, has for the first time come under scrutiny.
The Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority have
stepped in to pore over several contentious empowerment transactions
involving foreign-owned mining companies.
Following complaints by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono
that indigenisation deals being signed with the government were shady, the
Anti-Corruption Commission last week moved to investigate the transactions
that have caused an uproar within the government.
Anti-Corruption Commission general manager of investigations Sukai Tongogara
on February 25 applied for a search warrant to be issued to the antigraft
body to facilitate investigations into the allegations.
Court documents seen by the Mail & Guardian show that the Anti-Corruption
Commission wanted permission to raid government and company offices to seize
a register of all mining companies that have complied with the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.
The body also wanted copies of agreements entered into between the mining
companies and/or the government and the communities; contract documents
concerning the engagement of consultancy companies, namely Top Harvest and
Brainworks; community share ownership trust documents concerning Unki Mine,
Mimosa Mine, Zimplats and Murowa Diamonds; and any other documents that may
be relevant to the matter.
However, the Harare Magistrate's Court last week refused to grant the search
warrants, saying that the Anti-Corruption Commission must work with the
The Anti-Corruption Commission Act provides that an officer of the
commission who intends to make any search, entry, or seizure for purposes of
the law should "notify the officer commanding the police district in which
the officer intends to make the search, entry or seizure and be accompanied
by a police officer assigned to him or her".
The Anti-Corruption Commission last week announced it would also investigate
the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board over the
$971-million Zimplats deal that was facilitated by Brainworks Capital
Management, which is expected to get a 1.5% consultation fee out of the
Brainworks, run by George Manyere, who is said to be close to Indigenisation
and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, was involved in other
empowerment transactions, including the $550-million Mimosa deal, Anglo
American's $142-million agreement, Pretoria Portland Cement's $27.8-million
and Caledonia's $30-million. Thanks to the 1.5% consultation fee, Brainworks
is set to rake in $25.8-million from the deals.
Brainworks has rejected allegations of corruption as "untrue and malicious",
but has not explained how it clinched all the deals or how it decided on the
amount for the consultation fee.
Brainworks has not yet received any money, but recently wrote to Zimplats
demanding payment. Zimplats refused to honour the payment, saying that it is
the obligation of the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board
to settle the account.
The government's position under the indigenisation law is that shareholders
must pay for the 51% of the company to be ceded to locals. In this case,
Zimplats' parent, Implats, must bear the cost.
The M&G has also been informed by sources close to the deals that Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority officials visited the offices of Zimplats and Brainworks
on Monday and Tuesday in connection with the transactions. Officials at the
authority who did not want to be named confirmed that the body is
investigating possible tax evasion.
The RBZ last Wednesday and Thursday summoned Zimplats to complain that its
indigenisation deal did not comply with exchange rate rules and regulations.
As clashes between government and Zanu-PF officials intensified last week,
President Robert Mugabe joined the fray, saying Kasukuwere had made a
"The problem is that companies gave us 51%, saying this was a debt which you
are supposed to pay … that is where the difference is," Mugabe said last
"I think that is where our minister made a mistake. He did not quite
understand what was happening and yet theory is that the resources are ours
and that resource is our share. That is where the 51% comes from," he said.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has criticised the policy and said that it was
"illegal" in some respects.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has urged Parliament to investigate the
whole programme, which has now been discredited by allegations of corruption
in the form of extortion, bribery, cronyism and patronage.
Kasukuwere refused to comment on the matter.
WASHINGTON DC — The United Nations Children’s Fund Executive Director,
Antony Lake, is visiting Zimbabwe this week where Thursday he met Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at his Highlands home in Harare.
The two discussed the forthcoming referendum and national elections with Mr.
Lake emphasising the need for the polls, expected in July, to be free of
violence, saying women and children are the first victims of political
Prime Minister Tsvangirai said he agrees on the need to ensure that women
and children are protected at all times as Zimbabwe goes through two
important national votes.
Mr. Tsvangirai said UNICEF has been a major partner of the unity government
as it tries to address pressing issues in the country.
Mr. Lake arrived in Harare on Wednesday for meetings with government
officials and others, giving him the opportunity to tour UNICEF projects
around the country.
The prime minister later addressed Warren Park residents, urging them to
support the draft constitution when it is put before them in the referendum
The MDC leader said Zimbabweans no longer want the Lancaster House document
forged before Zimbabwe’s independence.
Speaking at Magamba Hall in Warren Park, the Mr. Tsvangirai said the draft
charter guarantees people’s rights and free and fair polls.
MDC-T’s spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora, said Mr. Tsvangirai on Wednesday night
also addressed people in the Glen View suburb with the same message, urging
a ‘Yes’ vote on March 16.
By Associated Press, Updated: Saturday, March 9, 2:54 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Two Congolese nationals who claim to be devil worshippers
say they have been unjustly jailed in Zimbabwe for wanting to practice their
cult in the southern African nation.
The men said they have been held in a Harare prison for a year awaiting
deportation after they asked to be allowed to form a “church to worship
Satan” at a refugee camp in southeastern Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is predominantly Christian and Satanism is not recognized as a
legal faith. Prison officials said Thursday they are in a quandary over the
fate of the Satanists who are sowing fear among other prison inmates and
prison staff alike. The two cannot be deported unless the United Nations
revokes their refugee status.
Under U.N. rules, refugees must stay where they are or find a third country
willing to take them if it isn’t safe for them to return home.
Harare constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said despite freedom of
worship guaranteed in the constitution drinking blood and praise-singing
about death and darkness was not an accepted, legal religion in Zimbabwe.
“What they want to do is to bring chaos and provoke people,” Madhuku said.
Their continued presence caused hysteria in some communities and was seen as
in breach of public safety laws. Frightened poor people in one Harare suburb
this week claimed to have seen visions of blood-sucking vampires linked to
Kembo Mohadi, a government minister in charge of policing and the
immigration service, accused the Congolese of “polluting” the nation.
“Satanic practices are immoral, intolerable and evil. We have no room for
them,” he said.
Longange and Bragston told The Associated Press in a rare interview
permitted by prison authorities that they only wanted to engage in rituals
and the symbolic drinking of blood and prostrate themselves before
red-painted coffins to honor Satan.
Longange said that they are not a harm to others. He said the devil
worshippers did not kill or murder living contemporaries.
He said they had not been formally charged with any crime and were not
allowed to perform any rites in the jail.
“They should take us to court to face judgment or let us preach the word of
our master,” he said. “We worship Satan, the prince of darkness and believe
he is our god. Satan is freedom from God’s words,” he said.
Elizabeth Banda, a Zimbabwe prison service official, said the Satanists
scared those who came into contact with them or had even heard about them in
an already highly superstitious nation. She said they should be deported
“for everyone’s good.”
Longange dismissed fears he was seeking converts inside or outside prison in
“No one can be forced to join, it is voluntary. Not everyone can be a
Satanist. You have to be very smart and be able to read and understand our
bible, our law. If you break the code, you die,” he said.
Articulate and well-spoken, Longange said the Harare jail could not hold his
or Bragston’s souls confined to their cells at night. Every night they
“astral traveled” in an out-of-body journey to distant places for rituals.
“It is very impossible to catch a Satanist, everything we do is spiritual,”
he said. They were not permitted to marry and even intimate encounters were
spiritual, he said.
He said Halloween and Walpurgisnacht, the European festival of supernatural
spirits, generally benign events in the West, remained the two biggest
landmarks in the Satanic calendar for blood drinking rituals and devil
Huggins Machingauta, another senior official at the Harare Central Remand
prison, said Zimbabweans found the Satanists’ ”life on the other side”
“We are Christians and we don’t want to go there, we don’t find our own
people there and we don’t want anything to do with it,” he said.
08 MAR 2013 00:00 - INYASHA CHIVARA
Chinese embassy representatives met with Zim officials after the Mail &
Guardian revealed that engineers from a Chinese company evicted inspectors.
Chinese trade attaché, Ni Pingbo, deputy ambassador Han Ping and council
officials attended the meeting with representatives from the Engineering
Council of Zimbabwe two weeks ago to discuss claims the ministry of public
works inspectors had been thrown out.
Ping confirmed the meeting took place. "We are having another meeting next
week to discuss their concerns, that is what we agreed," he said. He would
The M&G was unable to establish the agenda of the next proposed meeting.
Last month, ministry of public works engineers told the M&G that they were
forced to leave the Defence College during a routine inspection after they
indicated that some of the college's buildings were "structurally
Engineers who spoke to the M&G raised concerns about the unprofessional
conduct of the Chinese engineers and the regulatory need to have them
registered by the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe.
It is compulsory for all engineers working in the country to register with
The construction of public buildings is supervised by public works ministry
Before the recent meeting, the council's chairman Martin Manuhwa had written
to the Chinese ambassador Lin Lin, informing him it was "unlawful" for
engineers to work without accreditation.
Sources close to the meeting said the council spoke about the need to
register Chinese engineers, how their qualifications could be assessed and
how they could be registered to maintain professionalism.
BY RASHWEAT MUKUNDU | 08 MARCH 2013
The past few months have seen an upsurge in attacks on civil society and
this includes arrests, detentions, and office raids, confiscation of
equipment and threats of more action. ZANU PF chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo
was on national television making it clear that ZANU PF will not tolerate
what he calls interference in national political affairs by NGOs. Moyo
represents the voice and thinking of ZANU PF that human rights defenders are
a nuisance that must be confronted with force.
While there is a veneer of political unity as the parties to the Inclusive
Government (IC) seem to be singing from the same hymn book on the
constitution, ZANU PF has not dropped its key political strategy, which is
violence and intimidation.
What better way to start than with human rights defenders who will be forced
into a retreat and cow under their desks in fear. The attacks on Zimrights,
Youth organisations, Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), Zimbabwe Electoral
Support Network (ZESN) and Radio Dialogue are all meant to force human
rights defenders to retreat from their monitoring work and so leave the
space wide open for ZANU PF thugs to do their dirty business unhindered in
Anyone with contact with rural communities will tell you that there is an
increased level of fear as communities are forced to attend meetings, have
ID numbers recorded, and forcibly given party positions in ZANU PF.
I know this for certain because my own mother is a victim of such
intimidation in Marondera and my family in Wedza can hardly tend to their
crops as a result of the forced meetings. Direct threats of war and beatings
are made at such meetings. The sinister part is that ZANU PF is preaching a
message of peace at the top political table, while underneath their feet are
trampling on citizens’ rights to freedom of association and expression.
Nothing demonstrates this more than the six months imprisonment of a Gwanda
man for insulting President Mugabe.
This seem to be the 2013 modus operandi that is ZANU PF talking of peace at
the top, while its foot soldiers are beating, threatening and harassing
citizens and the partisan security sector is hounding civil society. Nothing
has changed and nothing is likely to change as we head past the
constitutional referendum and on to elections. ZANU PF sees a danger in the
capacity of human rights defenders to document and reports its excesses in
the run-up to the election that they hope to ‘win’ by using violence and
Slowly but surely the noose is tightening on rural communities even as the
spurious peace messages get louder in Harare.
It is for this reason that civil society need not lose sight of the
intentions of ZANU PF to shut them down, but more importantly that community
protection, violence monitoring and reporting must be intensified through
building community based capacity.
More than, ever civil society needs to put in place sustainable leadership
plans that ensure continuation of activities even as many more are arrested
The role of the two MDC parties in this whole fiasco must be put under more
scrutiny as the parties are expending too much energy on promoting the new
constitution and not nearly enough on monitoring the environment, which is
deteriorating. There is need to remind the MDC factions that they need a 360
degree appreciation of the political situation and should not simply focus
on one issue at a time as is the case now.
At the same time civil society must step up its advocacy pressure on SADC as
well as the international community. We need to know under what conditions
is the UNDP funding the election. Is the UNDP giving ZANU PF and the two
MDCs a blank cheque or is it tying its support to clear conditions that will
enhance the freeness and fairness of the election?
But the reality is that Zimbabwe does not need quick fix solutions that do
not address fundamental democratic problems – more ‘solutions’ that negate
the right of citizens to elect a leadership of their choice in a peaceful
environment and during peaceful polls. As things stand ZANU PF has not
learnt anything and is – on the contrary – strengthening its instruments of
The military and police are clearly demonstrating which side they support by
mobilising their ranks to register and vote for ZANU PF. We also know that
when these agents visit rural areas to campaign they do not use persuasive
language and policies but violence.
Expectations of a peaceful election are fast fading. Action to stop ZANU PF
is needed now.
by Tarisai Jangara
Women have made a first by researching and publishing a book on democracy in
a field that has been dominated by man.
To mark International Women’s Day today, Zimbabwean women, supported by
IDASA, an institute building sustainable democratic societies in
collaboration with Africa and global partners launched a book titled, “
Compromise or Compromised”, an assessment of democracy in transitional
The book analyses the state of democracy in Zimbabwe since the signing of
the Global Political Agreement in 2008. According to the 2013 Democracy
Index, the country is far from achieving the democratic ideal.
Speaking at the launch, Deputy Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption
Commission, Teresa Mugadza, said the book which tackles issues to do with
human dignity, accountability, elections, participation, as well as civil
and political rights was critical in regenerating the women’s movement.
“ Usually our story as women is told by others but I am glad we have the
voices of young women in this book telling our own story. This book is a
proper reflection of what is happening in the country and it is critical in
rejuvenating the women’s movement,” she said.
One of the authors, Barbra Nyangairi said: “ By reading the book one will
know what democracy would be like if discussed by women. As women we feel
that elections have been used as a rubber stamp with little participation
from the citizens,”
The all-female book was authored by Kudakwashe Chitsike, Amy Eaglestone,
Teresa Mugadza, Tsitsi Mhlanga, Rumbidzai Dube, Barbra Nyangaira, Revai
Makanje and Mary Samkele Ncube.
The project was funded by the Embassy of Denmark.
MAR 08, 2013
Originally published on The Zimbabwean: How would you feel if the very
warriors who are supposed to be fighting the enemy turn against each other?
Are there any chances of winning the war when that happens? These are the
questions that top human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, constantly asks
herself. For her, women are aiding the enemy and undermining the struggle to
emancipate them because they are always working to pull each other down.
At the individual level, as a lawyer, Mtetwa is bitter at the manner in
which other women have treated her and says her worst experiences have
always been at the hands of other women.
Often labelled “stubborn” for her assertive stance in court and a robust
disposition against human rights abuses, Mtetwa says she has never found
comfort in female judges on the bench.
“I am expected to behave in a certain manner and I am disliked by the female
judges more than the male ones. Most people look at me as not being feminine
enough,” she said.
“Zimbabwe probably has more women in the legal field than any other country
in the SADC region - but that does not translate to better, more sensitive
judgments. Sometimes you get better gender sensitive judgments from men. But
I think if the female judges really wanted to, they could improve women’s
lives by taking advantage of their positions,” she said.
Women’s organisations had become so poisoned by the politics of the day that
they were failing to celebrate each other’s achievements, said Mtetwa.
“At one time, I was supposed to get an honorary degree from the Women’s
University in Africa, but a day before graduation, the Vice Chancellor - a
woman - called me to say they were withdrawing it on political grounds. If a
Women’s University succumbed to such societal pressure, what hope is there
for an ordinary woman in the street?” she asked.
She is seldom invited to events for women because of her perceived links to
the MDC. Her name is often dropped from guest lists because of the perceived
political tag. “There are several women’s organisations that hold debates
and discussion but I don’t get invited. At times I am told that my name
would have been suggested by the convenors but somehow, pressure is exerted
on them and I get dropped,” Mtetwa said. When Zimbabwe started suffering a
political crisis in the 2000s, she started handling more politically related
cases and lost her corporate clients.
“From a financial perceptive I have taken a knock because most corporates
say they can never give their work to an MDC woman. I find this interesting
because I have never been active in any kind of politics, it just so happens
that the people who get arrested are members of the MDC,” she said.
Though most people regard Mtetwa as an outstanding lawyer because of the
high profile cases she has handled she takes pride in assisting ordinary
“I am proud of the cases that no one ever hears about - like helping an
ordinary person in the street whose story would never make it in the
newspapers,” Mtetwa said.
In 1990 Mtetwa saved the Association of Women Clubs, led by Sekai Holland,
from a government takeover.
“That was the time when it became quite clear that Zanu (PF) wanted to
clampdown on non- governmental organizations and they passed a law that
allowed them to overnight dissolve the body of any NGO and replace it with
their own nominees. One day the Association of Women woke up to find that
their organisation had literally been taken over by Zanu (PF) without any
hearing. I felt very strongly about it and challenged the matter in the
constitutional courts and won,” she said.
She has no kind word for men who regard her as a sex object rather a
“I don’t know what it is with men that they look at women and focus on
sexual perspectives rather than professional matters. But I am a very
assertive person and have not allowed that to affect my work,” she said. “I
am a hands-on practical person and have never been interested in furthering
my studies though I had the opportunities. Even when it became fashionable
to have qualifications in Human Rights, I didn’t think paper qualifications
would make me a better lawyer. I think I have more to learn from the
practical experience than classroom. I do a lot of family law cases and get
a lot of personal satisfaction when I know that a woman has had a fair deal
in a situation she never would otherwise have had,” said Mtetwa.
Mtetwa began her career in 1981 working as a Prosecutor in Swaziland and
moved to Zimbabwe in 1983 to work for the government in the same capacity.
She went into private practice in 1989 before founding Mtetwa and Nyambirai
Legal Practitioners in 2006. She has won several awards in recognition of
her defence of human rights including the Wales Human Rights Lawyer of the
year in 2003, the International Press Freedom Award in 2005,the Censorship
for Free Expression Law Award in 2006, the Trarieux International Human
Rights Prize in 2009, the International Human Rights Award 2010 and the 2011
Inamori Ethics Prize.
by Mkhululi Chimoio
Zimbabwean-born journalist Bekezela Ndlovu has released a book chronicling
President Robert Mugabe’s misuse of power - “How Mugabe Destroyed Zimbabwe”.
He told The Zimbabwean that Mugabe is the “enemy of the state” and said his
book was a wake-up call to anyone who might still be interested in voting
“Citizens must be aware of Mugabe’s gross misrule since he attained power.
We need to chronicle this so that history can’t be distorted in future. This
is a must read book for every Zimbabwean, especially youths. Their future
lies in their hands and I believe it will help them choose a better
candidate to lead us. People must know that their number one enemy is
Mugabe,” said Ndlovu.
He thanked fellow journalist who helped in publishing his book, saying:
“This is a dream come true for me because I have wanted to write the truth
of what I know about Mugabe and my colleagues helped me achieve this dream.”
CONSTITUTION WATCH 15/2013
[8th March 2013]
Veritas’ Zimbabwe Constitution App
The Constitution on your Blackberry and Android Smart Phone or Tablet
The App for downloading the COPAC draft constitution that is being put to the Referendum is now available for Blackberry smart phones and tablets. The Android App has already been offered and an App for Nokia phones will soon be ready.
· wherever you are
· at your convenience
There is an index of Chapters, Parts and Sections and Schedules – just click on what you want to read or study
Use it as a handy reference at discussions and meetings
Express your views about the Draft on the App Forum
The App will link to a Forum on which you can compare and discuss your views on the Constitution with other users
How to Download the App
If you have one of the following
· Blackberry mobile phones running BB OS version 5.0 and later
· Blackberry Playbook running BB OS version 2.0 and later
· An Android mobile phone running Android version 2.2 (Froyo) and later
· An Android tablet running Android version 2.2 (Froyo) and later
The App called Zimbabwe Constitution [Draft] is available from the Blackberry App World as well as the Google Play Store. For more information and download links go to constitution.veritaszim.net
Please pass this information on to your friends and colleagues
Note: An App later for Nokia smart phones will be announced soon.
We regret that because of the rush between the finish of the constitution-making process and proclamation of the Referendum the App is in English only and also that we could not adapt it for use on Apple iphones.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied
CONSTITUTION WATCH 16/2013
[8th March 2013]
The Referendum – Observers and Media Practitioners
Part II – Accreditation Fees Gazetted
A statutory instrument gazetted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] on 6th March [SI 26A/2013] in a Government Gazette Extraordinary sets the fees for accreditation of observers fixed by ZEC [available from email@example.com]. [Note: The statutory instrument is an amendment to the Electoral Regulations, which, like the Electoral Act itself, are made applicable to referendums by section 10 of the Referendums Act.]
A ZEC press notice published on 7th March adds information about accreditation as follows:
· It states that the gazetted ZEC observers accreditation fees apply to journalists as well. This clarifies something not made clear by either the statutory instrument or last week’s new Referendum Regulations. It means that ZEC accreditation for journalists is also necessary and that journalists have to pay ZEC fees as well as the fees required for their accreditation with the Zimbabwe Media Commission [ZMC] under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [AIPPA].
· It sets out where and when ZEC accreditation can be obtained.
For clarity the fees for “ordinary” observers and journalist observers are set out separately in the following paragraphs.
“Ordinary” Observers Accreditation Fees
General exemption from fees
Accreditation is free for observers:
(a) representing any African state
(b) from any inter-governmental organisation in Africa
(c) from any organisation in Africa that exercises functions similar to ZEC
Note: this is an exemption from the fee only; accreditation is still essential.
Tariff of fees for other observers
The fees are as follows:
(a) each local observer representing a civil society organisation or faith-based organisation within Zimbabwe, or a Zimbabwe resident seeking accreditation in his or her personal capacity: $10,00
(b) each observer from any other African country representing a civil society organisation or faith-based organisation or a resident in any other African country seeking accreditation in his or her personal capacity: $20, 00
(c) each observer stationed in Zimbabwe representing a diplomatic mission from any country outside Africa: US$50,00
(d) each observer from any country outside Africa: US$300,00
Previously notified position changed
Constitution Watch 12/2013, relying on the provisions of the new Referendum regulations [SI 26/2013] and information from the ZEC office, stated that media practitioners wishing to cover the Referendum would not need accreditation from ZEC. ZEC’s press notice of 7th March changes this situation by treating journalists in the same way as observers, including their having to pay the same ZEC accreditation fees as other observers
The ZEC secretary has confirmed to Veritas that ZEC accreditation of journalists as observers is in addition to their AIPPA accreditation from the Zimbabwe Media Commission [ZMC] without which they cannot operate as journalists in Zimbabwe.
So ZEC will not accredit journalists as ZEC observers without proof of AIPPA accreditation. Production of an AIPPA accreditation document issued by ZMC is essential.
Tariff of fees for accreditation of journalists by ZEC
These fees are as follows:
(a) local journalist US$10,00
(b) journalist from any African country US$20,00
(c) journalist from outside Africa US$300,00.
This means that a foreign journalist from a country outside Africa who wishes to gain entry to a polling station or counting centre will have to pay an unduly large amount for the privilege, made up as follows: a visa fee to the immigration authorities, plus the $300,00 for ZMC under AIPPA [see Constitution Watch 13/2013 for these ZMC fees], plus the separate $300,00 ZEC observers accreditation fee.
Discretionary Waiver of Fees by ZEC Observers’ Accreditation Committee
The Observers’ Accreditation Committee may, in its discretion, “waive the payment of any fee by any observer or observer group” [SI 26A/2013]. [Comment: As journalists are being treated as observers by ZEC, this discretionary waiver must be available to journalists as well as other categories of observers.]
SI 26A/2013 also provides for the ZEC accreditation period for observers, including journalists. It runs from the date of accreditation until 31st March.
Where and When to Get ZEC Accreditation
ZEC accreditation of local and international observers and journalists can be obtained at the following venues, which will be open daily from now on until 16th March, between 8 am and 5 pm, Saturdays and Sundays included:
Harare Harare International Conference Centre, Rainbow Towers Hotel
Bulawayo Windsor Park Building, 12 Centenary Court, Windsor Park, 16th Avenue, Famona
Masvingo Flamboyant Hotel, Beitbridge Road, Masvingo
ZEC Briefing for Observers
A briefing for observers [including journalists]on ZEC’s state of preparedness for the Referendum will be held on 13th March at the Harare International Conference Centre at 10 am.
ZEC contact details
Delivery: ZEC Headquarters, corner Jason Moyo Avenue and Kaguvi Street, Harare
Postal: Private Bag 7782, Causeway, Harare
Telephone numbers: Harare 759130, 774095 or 781903
Fax: 781903 or 770660
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied