The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Parliament unanimously approves new constitution

By Tichaona Sibanda
9 May 2013

Parliament on Thursday unanimously approved the new constitution, ending
four years of acrimonious drafting and debate.

Innocent Gonese, the MDC-T chief whip, said the constitutional Bill passed
parliament’s two thirds majority threshold when 156 MPs voted in favour and
none against.

Gonese told SW Radio Africa the Bill will now be transmitted to the Senate
where it is expected to sail through on Tuesday next week.
Then President Robert Mugabe will sign it into law. It is expected the
constitution will be in place before the end of May.

Gonese termed the event ‘one of the most historic events in the history of
the country’ saying it was a ‘truly amazing event for the future of this

‘We have gone through a very difficult time and I’m quite sure this is the
greatest step we have taken so far. This is a landmark position for this
country. It is the single most advanced framework of the Constitution ever
imagined. We have all issues that are so important for the future of this
country,’ Gonese said.

Analysts have said the new document provides for greater checks on
presidential powers. The current constitution is criticized for
concentrating too much power in the hands of the president.

Gonese explained that once Mugabe signs it into law, certain chapters of the
constitution will automatically become operational.

‘Once signed into law chapters on Citizenship, Bill of Rights, and elections
will become operational while the rest of the constitution will come into
force when a new President of the country is elected this year,’ the MP

Political analyst Hopewell Gumbo said he was happy the charter limits a
president’s tenure to two five-year terms, although he warned the document
would not necessarily stop the rogue elements in power from human rights

But the National Constitutional Assembly representative in South Africa,
Munjonzi Mutandiri, said the new constitution was undemocratic and had been
imposed on the people by politicians.

‘There were serious compromises on the draft and the nature it was drafted
was not people driven or democratic. It is sad that MPs had not made any
changes to the draft and as such they have failed Zimbabweans because they
did not capture their aspirations and wishes. It is a big shame,’ Mutandiri

The new constitution allows the President to keep most of his powers. The
President will be the head of state, head of government, commander-in-chief
of the armed forces and chairperson of the National Security Council. But he
is only allowed to serve for two five-year terms.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe lawmakers vote unanimously for new constitution, senators still to endorse it

By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, May 10, 3:18 AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe lawmakers have voted unanimously in the lower
house to approve a new draft constitution that will enshrine democratic

All 156 legislators present verbally voted “yes” Thursday. A new
constitution was accepted by 95 percent of the vote in a referendum March 16
to replace the first constitution adopted after independence in 1980.

The draft now goes to the 90-member Senate for debate and a final vote
Tuesday. President Robert Mugabe then needs to sign it into law before
elections scheduled around September.

The upper house is also expected to pass the draft with unanimity, which is
rare in Zimbabwe’s legislature.

The new constitution limits the presidency to two five-year terms but is not
retroactive, allowing the 89-year-old Mugabe to compete in the next polls.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwean police raid prime minister's office

Sapa | 09 May, 2013 14:43

Zimbabwean police raided the office of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
party in the southern district of Gwanda and seized motorcycles meant to be
used for election campaigns, a party spokesman said.

"Police have confiscated 10 motorbikes following a raid on our Gwanda
office," Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Douglas Mwonzora
told AFP.

"These are ordinary motorbikes which were regularly procured and we wonder
why the police are resorting to this heavy-handedness."

Mwonzora said the police did not explain the reason for the seizure of the
motorcycles, which were meant to be used by party officials to travel long
distances during campaigns ahead of elections planned for later this year.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

The seizure came days after police arrested journalists from a popular
weekly in the capital Harare.

They were charged with writing false information in a story about meetings
between security chiefs loyal to veteran President Robert Mugabe and
officials from Tsvangirai's party.

Early this year police raided the offices of rights groups in Harare and
took away radios and various documents, in what analysts said was a ploy to
intimidate rights groups ahead of a referendum on a new constitution in

Zimbabwe is expected to hold elections this year to vote for a successor to
the shaky power-sharing government formed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai four
years ago.

Mugabe and his allies want the elections as early as June but Tsvangirai
says the elections should be preceded by reforms concerning the media and
electoral laws.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Police confiscate 10 motorbikes during MDC office raid

By Violet Gonda
09 May 2013

Police in Matebeleland South seized 10 motorbikes meant for election
campaigning, during a raid on the MDC-T party office in Gwanda Thursday.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa that police said the
vehicles were smuggled or brought into Zimbabwe illegally, an allegation the
MDC-T deny. “They said that there was no paper work accompanying these
motorbikes yet these motorbikes were brought in regularly and there is
enough paperwork which shows that all things that need to be paid to the
State have been paid and that this is a genuine acquisition.

“This is the second time that the police have confiscated our motorbikes
which are genuine tools to be used in the election campaign. We know that
this is part of a general panic that has gripped ZANU PF as we are on a roll
and on the offensive and ZANU PF is abusing the state apparatus to simply
cripple the MDC,” Mwonzora said.

The MDC-T spokesman claims that in recent weeks the police have confiscated
campaign material across the country, including shortwave radios and his
personal vehicle, which was being used to mobilise people for the voter
registration in his Nyanya constituency.

Mwonzora said the police are still holding Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangira’s
campaign bus that was confiscated in the last election, in 2008.

He said the problem is that his party does not control the courts and does
not control the police so “there is very little room for lawful maneuver for
the MDC.”

However the party said it has compiled a report and will be giving this
information to the Southern African Development Community – the guarantors
of the Global Political Agreement.

We could not get a comment from Gwanda police but ZANU PF deputy director of
information, Psychology Maziwisa, said the MDC-T is “making noise out of
nothing,” accusing the former opposition party of playing politics.

“Political matters will be dealt with at the right forum (elections). The
laws of this country must be followed and it’s obviously a way of trying to
tarnish the image of ZANU PF so that the international community will have
pre-determined perceptions about the environment obtaining in this country.
But we have a very peaceful environment here.”

The raid and seizure of the MDC-T motorbikes comes just days after police
arrested journalists from the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, who wrote an
article about the MDC-T engaging in discussion with some of the country’s
military chiefs. MDC-T Youth Assembly President Solomon Madzore was also
arrested last Thursday on allegations he referred to President Robert Mugabe
as “a limping donkey. Two weeks ago 19 MDC-T activists were arrested and
charged with allegedly impersonating government officials during a voter
registration campaign. Their bail hearing Wednesday was cancelled as the
state failed to provide a prosecutor.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Elections in danger

By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:39
HARARE - Zimbabwe's forthcoming elections are on the ropes, with revelations
that cash shortages are threatening a key voter registration exercise which
has become the subject of fresh wrangling.

Apart from the cash woes announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(Zec) yesterday, an MP from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC on the
same day tabled a motion in Parliament to force a fresh start to mobile
voter registration.

The MP, Settlement Chikwinya, also wants Finance minister Tendai Biti to be
forced to release adequate money for voter registration. He also wants
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai “not to
proclaim any date for elections before they agree to a voters’ roll that has
to be compiled to the satisfaction of all citizens eligible”.

Both the MDC and Mugabe’s Zanu PF view voter registration as the most
critical electoral process.

Zanu PF’s United Nations (UN) election funding snub is now haunting Zec, as
the broke Treasury has failed to inject adequate funding to the mobile voter
registration process that is shrouded by controversy.

Out of an expected $8 million required to carry out the three week long
voter registration blitz — the government has only injected $500 000 — a
pittance that has left Zec with a serious headache.

The UN assistance was expected to be about $132 million, but Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is Mugabe’s election point-man, said the UN
wanted to interfere in local politics by attaching conditions to poll

After slamming the door on the UN, Mugabe and his Zanu PF have been saying
the country would finance the cumbersome process from internal sources, such
as the Chiadzwa diamonds, but facts on the ground are proving otherwise.

Addressing journalists yesterday, Zec chairperson Rita Makarau admitted that
the electoral body is cash-strapped and this could affect the credibility of
the electoral process.

A lack of publicity and also some bottlenecks have resulted in a low turnout
of people registering as voters and Makarau yesterday said they will
continue monitoring the progress of the blitz with the possibility of an

“Zec admits that the deployment of two voter educators per district is far
from adequate and may not cover all eligible voters. This is because the
voter education exercise has, to date, only received $500 000 from Treasury,
against a budget of $8 601,712.

“Against this background, the voter educators deployed will, unless more
funds are allocated to Zec in the next few days, have no efficient transport
to move throughout the districts allocated them.

“Most, if not all, (of the voter educators) have to walk the entire length
and breadth of their respective wards, some of which are fairly large,” she

After Zanu PF’s UN snub, Biti proposed to introduce a cocktail of measures
that included flouting bonds and an increase in excise duty on fuel to
bankroll the process.

This comes as a local civil body that monitors elections, the Election
Resource Centre (ERC), says there are anomalies in the on-going mobile voter
registration process.

“Whilst the process is continuing in some of the areas, the outreach is
evidently yet to be witnessed in most electoral districts.

“In places which the mobile registration teams have visited, a number of
potential voters remain disenfranchised due to a myriad of challenges
ranging from lack of publicity, inadequate time allocation, the cost of
registration, limited civil registration services and difficulties in
acquiring necessary documents like proof of residence,” reads part of ERC’s
report released yesterday.

Makarau told reporters that if a potential voter fails to produce required
documents such as rental cards, lease agreements, credit store statements,
hospital bills, telephone bills or a sworn statement from the employer, then
the person should depose a sworn affidavit.

“Where the citizen seeking registration as a voter in unable to produce any
of the above documents, they can and must depose to an affidavit swearing
that they are resident at a place located within the ward.

“No one should, therefore, be turned away or be denied the right to be
registered as a voter on account of inadequate or lack of documents proving
residence,” said Makarau.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Dorothy Mabika: I Turned Down Mutasa's Sexual Advances

Loirdham Moyo

MUTARE — The livestock theft case which has divided Zanu PF officials in
Manicaland Province took a new twist today with attorneys representing the
party’s suspended provincial acting women’s chairperson, Dorothy Mabika,
alleging that she is being persecuted because she spurned sexual advances
from Presidential Affairs Minister and Zanu PF secretary for administration,
Didymus Mutasa.

Tinofara Hove of TK Hove and Associates made the startling allegations
before Mutare magistrate Sekesai Chiwundura that his client was being
persecuted for having turned down Mutasa’s sexual advances.

Mabika is facing one count of stock-theft involving six dairy bull calves
and another of obstructing the course of justice. She has pleaded not

The state alleges that Mabika received the six calves from Chipinge
commercial dairy farmer, David Hercules Jourbert, as a donation for Zanu PF
in September 2011.

Prosecutor Christine Nyamaropa is alleging that Mabika converted the calves
to her own use and later claimed they had died of starvation due to lack of
milk and supplementary feeding.

On the second count of obstruction of justice, the state alleges that in
February this year when the case was under police investigation, Mabika
tampered with minutes at the party’s offices to cover up the alleged crime.

Hove, while cross examining Mutasa, often referred to by his “Nyati” totem,
challenged the Zanu PF secretary for administration’s threats to deal with
Mabika if she continued to spurn his alleged advances.

Hove read in Shona a remark said to have been made by Mr. Mutasa to Mabika
at a party meeting at Mutare Polytechnic College.

Mutasa is alleged to have said: “Mbizi nenyati zvinofura pamwechete, kana
mbizi ikaramba kufura nenyati inotungwa nenyati (Zebra and buffalo graze
together and if the zebra refuses then the buffalo will gore it)”.

Hove told the court the words were inappropriate and of a sexual nature, an
assertion Mutasa disputed.

Hove said the accused refused Mutasa’s sexual advances and to be in his
political corner, hence she was now being politically persecuted as power
struggles mount in Zanu PF.

Mutasa denied ever proposing love to Mabika insisting he said the words to a
friend as a joke and that if she took them as a proposition then that was
Hove also said Mabika was being used as a pawn in Zanu PF’s power struggles
in Manicaland.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Broke ZEC urged to rope in NGOs for voter education

By Nomalanga Moyo
09 May 2013

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on Wednesday revealed that a serious
shortage of funding is hampering the voter education exercise which is part
of preparations for the forthcoming general elections.

Briefing journalists in Harare, ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau said that the
electoral body had deployed only two voter educators per district, raising
fears that these will not be able to cover most areas by the time the
exercise ends. On average, a district has about 25 wards.

Makarau said out of a budget of $8 million submitted to treasury for the
voter education exercise, the commission had so far only received $500,000.

She raised concern that if the balance was not released soon the civic
education programme, which started a week later than the registration
exercise, will be seriously hampered.

Ideally, voter educators should have preceded voter registration teams to
inform citizens of the required documentation as well as the whole
registration process.

Makarau said: “ZEC admits that the deployment of only two educators per
district is far from adequate, and may not cover all eligible voters. Unless
more funds are allocated to ZEC in the next few days, the voter educators
will have no efficient transport to move throughout the districts allocated
to them.

The voter registration exercise started on May 2nd and is expected to run
for 20 days, with concern raised that more time is needed if the exercise is
to be credible.

There have been complaints throughout the country that registration points
were too far apart, with many people in rural areas forced to travel more
than 20km to the centres.

Elections expert Jack Zaba on Thursday said that it was not enough for ZEC
to just complain about lack of funds. He said the commission should be
exploring other avenues of ensuring that the electorate is not deprived of
its democratic right to vote.

Zaba told SW Radio Africa: “ZEC can easily approach the many NGOs and
stakeholders that work in the field of civic education to help raise
awareness of the electoral process. So far ZEC has not done this, we haven’t
seen space being given to civic society organisations to do their part.

“One of the principles of a voter registration process is that citizens
should be informed. But here we are witnessing a situation whereby certain
officials are not willing to inform the public about the process.”

Zaba said it was worrying that some political circles were pushing for
elections to be held as early as next month, when it was obvious that there
are serious issues that need to be rectified, not least the lack of

He said ZEC should have used the $500,000 for voter campaign material such
as posters and radio announcements, rather than pretending to be carrying
out an exercise that will leave out a lot of would-be voters.

Commissioner Makarau said ZEC was monitoring the situation, and would
consider extending the voter registration exercise or putting more officers
on the ground if it was deemed necessary.

To date, almost 30,000 new voters have registered since the mobile
registration exercise was launched two weeks ago.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Fears raised over coal mining activities in the Hwange area

By Nomalanga Moyo
09 May 2013

Fears have been expressed that planned mining activities in the Hwange-Gwayi
Conservancy will have far-reaching negative implications for the country’s
wildlife and environment.

In the past two years the whole of the Gwayi Conservation area in
Matebeleland North has been parceled out as a coal mining venture, mainly to
the Chinese.

Speaking at the Bulawayo Press Club on Wednesday Langton Masunda, the
chairperson of the Hwange/Gwayi Tourism Association which has been
campaigning against the granting of mining rights in the area, said there
was evidence that there will be serious environmental degradation once
mining activities are in full swing.
The Hwange-Gwayi Conservancy is located on the periphery of Hwange National
Park, the country’s flagship game reserve which is home to an estimated
45,000 elephants and various wildlife species.

He said Zimbabwe also shares wildlife populations with neighbouring Botswana
and mining activities in the Gwayi valley would push the wildlife into
Botswana, which has drier conditions than Zimbabwe.
Masunda said mining activities so close to the national park — the movement
of machinery, the drilling and all the associated noise — will scare the
animals and severely decrease their population, with dire consequences for
future tourism.
Masunda said other mining related problems will affect water delivery to the
Matebeleland region. He told SW Radio: “In terms of relieving the region,
including Bulawayo, it means the much-talked about Matebeleland Zambezi
Water Project, which would require the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani
Dam will remain a pipedream. Other cities such as Gweru which is dependent
on the Shangani River will also be affected.”
Coal mining involves the use of chemicals such as ammonia, tar, benzine and
cammonia, which Masunda said would be released into the ground, leading to
the contamination of underground water streams, while also destroying marine

Although an environmental assessment was carried out by the Environmental
Management Authority (EMA), Masunda said it was clear that the process was
‘rigged’, as it did not involve all the relevant stakeholders, as had been
So far Chinese firm China Africa Sunlight Energy Zimbabwe, which was granted
a licence through a special presidential arrangement, has been mining coal
in the Gwayi valley.

Further downstream, communities which depend on the Gwayi and Shangani
rivers as water sources for personal consumption and for their livestock
also stand to be affected.

“Open cast mining or coal mining brings pollution to the very water source
that the people of Matabeleland are dependent on,” Masunda said.

Hwange-Gwayi Conservancy is a grouping of organization and individuals.
Hwange Dete Conservancy includes membership from Hwange National Park,
Forestry Commission, Consumptive and non-Consumptive tourism operators.
Together, they control about 32 farms in Matabeleland South.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU-PF, MDCs war over reforms intensifies

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 17:31

Tinashe Madava, Senior Reporter

ALL is not well in the inclusive government as a war of words has erupted
over the election roadmap especially security sector and media reforms which
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations want in place before
elections. ZANU-PF has upped the tempo with a sustained campaign to
discredit Prime Minister (PM) Morgan Tsvangirai after he led a diplomatic
offensive that saw him meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma, as
the facilitator to the Zimbabwean political impasse, and Tanzanian President
Jakaya Kikwete who is the chairperson of the Southern African Development
Comm-unity (SADC)’s Troika on Politics, Defence and Security.
In the past two weeks, the state media has been rubbishing PM Tsvangirai’s
regional lobby as a futile attempt to ratchet up undue pressure for reforms
that would never come.
Securocrats, who have been consistently labeled as partisan by the MDCs,
have also defended ZANU-PF’s stance saying security sector reforms were not
necessary in the country.
But PM Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka dismissed the attack on
his boss as mere propaganda that would not stop SADC and the African Union
(AU) from carrying out their mandate as guarantors of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) that birthed the inclusive government.
“The propaganda and misleading information is senseless and will not stop
SADC and the AU from executing their mandate as the guarantors,” said
Tamborinyoka, responding to questions from The Financial Gazette this week.
He said PM Tsvangirai would continue to lobby regional leaders within SADC
and the AU, as guarantors of the GPA, since ZANU-PF had stalled on reforms
yet there is now very little time left before elections are held this year.
Tamborinyoka said; “The PM was clear in the last press conference at Harvest
House (the MDC-T’s headquarters). We are not asking for anything new. We are
asking for the implementation of those reforms that were agreed to under the
auspices of SADC. It’s not about ZANU-PF's position as a party. It’s about
implementing what the parties themselves said they would do. If ZANU-PF
doesn’t want to implement, it then means they were never sincere with the
GPA in the first place but wanted their defeat to be soft-landed. Remember
these guys were defeated in the only legitimate election of 29 March 2008.”
Nhlanhla Dube, spokesperson of the Welshman Ncube led MDC, said ZANU-PF does
not want a transparent election that is free and fair.
“Well, ZANU-PF will not want an election where everyone can see and hear
what everyone else is doing. The myth of secrecy suits them best. The
verbiage of threats, tacit threats and intimidation maneuvers by some in the
leadership of the security sector suits ZANU-PF's use of present and
imagined violence, therefore fear. To this end, they can only be expected to
fight tooth and nail in resisting full implementation of reforms before
elections,” said Dube.
He said his party would insist that soldiers should be restricted to their
barracks and allow citizen activity to proceed without hindrance.
“We will insist that those that have issued political statements retract
them and commit to respecting our national constitution as an institution
and individually. We will reiterate this to the facilitator and guarantors
of the GPA as we have consistently done. At the very minimum, these reforms
are a basic requirement before elections otherwise all that has been gained
in national tranquility can be reversed with a single stroke,” added Dube.
ZANU-PF’s spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo was not immediately available for
comment at the time of going to print while George Charamba, President
Mugabe’s spokesperson was unreachable on his mobile phone.
The two formations of the MDC have said they will not be pushed into
elections before the full implementation of comprehensive reforms that would
level the political playing field and ensure free and fair elections. But
ZANU-PF has come out guns blazing saying no other reforms would be
implemented as they push for elections by June 29.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cracks in new empowerment lobby group

By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:01
HARARE - Cracks have emerged in new empowerment lobby group Zimbabwe
Economic Empowerment Council (ZEEC) over the group’s position on government’s
empowerment drive.

The affirmative action outfit yesterday made a major somersault, denying
reports that Indigenisation minister Savior Kasukuwere’s drive had only
benefited a small elite.

ZEEC chairperson Temba Mliswa did not pitch up for the scheduled press
briefing. Instead his second-in-command Privilege Gwiba blamed private
companies that have entered into empowerment deals with government for
sabotaging the process.

“Companies such as Zimplats have been declaring profits for the past 21
years only to turn around and declare a loss just because they have signed a
deal with communities,” Gwiba said.

“It is sabotage. We are behind minister Kasukuwere and the programme he is
leading. We have never said we are against him and we cannot be against the

However, this was a major climb-down from what his boss, Mliswa said last

“We have not benefitted from the empowerment programme except for a few
people,” Mliswa said.

“These policies and implementation schemes that Kasukuwere (Indigenisation
minister) has stitched and the community trusts with companies are not true
to the spirit of indigenisation.”

Mliswa told war veterans, war collaborators and Zanu PF supporters last week
that his party (Zanu PF) could be headed for an election loss if it fails to
address pressing issues such as empowering youths.

He said Zanu PF would be “doomed” if it ignores call by youths to
meaningfully empower them.

“It’s suicidal, first of all for the party to go for elections when
corruption is rife in the party,” Mliswa said.

“It’s pretty clear some people have amassed wealth from the natural
resources of this country, not only that, the party is being divided because
of these resources especially here in Manicaland Province.”
ZEEC secretary general Tendayi Mautsi said Mliswa wears many hats and
sometimes he speaks for the occasion.

“When he spoke in Mutare, he was addressing Zanu PF activists and his
message was to suit that particular audience when he talked about corruption
hampering the indigenisation policy,” Mautsi said.

Mliswa has also demanded that Kasukuwere “clearly defines what he has done
for youths in the country instead of giving blanket statements”.

“My question, which is very clear, why does the party think that we will win
elections when we have not done much for youths?” queried Mliswa.

Zanu PF’s election manifesto for the upcoming make-or-break elections slated
for sometime this year are premised on the indigenisation policy that has
been blamed for investor flight.

While the party has touted the policy as a monumental success and set to
transform the lives of Zimbabweans, Mliswa insists the policy had benefited
only the elite.

Mliswa also seemed to concur with MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti who has
warned that the tainted indigenisation deals should be reversed saying it
was the only way Zanu PF could win an election.

The fiery former fitness trainer was not available for comment yesterday.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare councillors get land for a song

Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:31
HARARE - A scandal is brewing in Harare City Council after councillors and a
top official acquired commercial pieces of land for a song.

Councillors Girisoti Mandere, Thomas Muzuva and Masiye Kapare and director
of Urban Planning Services Psychology Chiwanga have been allowed to buy the
land in Msasa area for half the price paid by other members of the public.

A heated council meeting recently gave the green light for the deal despite
official admissions that tender procedures were violated.

Harare city’s finance and development committee recently resolved to lease
10 industrial stands situated in Msasa to the four council insiders and six
other firms at 30 cents per square metre per month.

The leases are valid for a decade, a situation viewed in some corridors as
cushioning councillors whose terms are expiring in less than two months.

Eyebrows were raised because land with the same economic value was sold at
60 cents per square metre to members of the public just recently.

This caused a storm in a council meeting last week.

Council chief whip Victor Chifodya protested to council about the committee’s
unfair business practices.

“We need to do business fairly. Last month some people (public) were told to
pay 60 cents but now it is 30 cents. Is it because some officials are
benefitting?” queried Chifodya during the council meeting at Town House.

Another councillor Sasha Jogi demanded that the committee should explain why
the land is being parcelled to officials at such a low price.

“There should be a rationale why you (the committee) did that. Whether it is
because you are giving a discount to officials or it is because of location,
those justifications should be provided to council,” said Jogi.

Annual Trading, Parsof Investments, Elandriff, Rodrig Haulage, Glasglow
Investments and Jacana Investments are companies that also benefitted.

The stands range from 3 266 to 11 887 square metres meaning the smallest
stand is almost 11 times the size of a standard high density suburb stand.

Though mayor Muchadeyi Masunda had initially decided to defer the resolution
until council demands were satisfied, the committee’s chairperson councillor
Friday Muleya pleaded for the deal to be passed.

“The land valuers have done their job and recommended to us what they saw.
As for the reasons, we will provide later but let it pass for now,” said

And it was passed.

The stands, according to council policy, are supposed to be leased through
tender but this was not done.

After the stipulated 10 years of leasing, the beneficiaries will be given an
option to purchase the land on condition that “a principal building is
erected within the initial lease period”.

Costs of surveying, road construction, sewer and reticulation will be paid
by the beneficiaries. - Wendy Muperi

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

EU to resume lending to private sector

Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:44

HARARE - The European Investment Bank has resolved to relaunch development
activities with the private sector in Zimbabwe, after years of shunning the
southern African country.

The relaunch comes at a time the European Union (EU) and Zimbabwe are
engaged in a process to normalise relations.

Speaking at the eve of EU Day celebrations in Harare, the EU delegation
ambassador, Aldo Dell’Ariccia said the bank could not engage in investment
programmes with the government as it is owed 340 million euros.

“Despite the crisis in Europe, the EU is still the first provider of
development aid. The crisis at home has not affected our international
solidarity,” Dell’Ariccia said, referring to the Eurozone crisis.

He said the bank will invest according to the requests which they receive.

The 27-member bloc has to date provided $1,3 billion in development
assistance to Zimbabwe since 2009.

Dell’Ariccia said he will also today be signing $500 000 to the Zimbabwe
Culture Fund to promote local arts and culture.

“Arts and culture is critical for reinforcing mutual understanding and
further building solid partnership between the EU and Zimbabwe,” he said.

The EU has also pledged their support to a general election to be held
sometime this year.

“The EU is ready to financially and technically support Zimbabwe’s elections
if requested, but for the moment there has not been any request. We are also
ready to work with whoever gets into power,” Dell’Ariccia said.

Zimbabwe recently withdrew a request for money from the United Nations to
fund elections expected this year after the international agency sought
meetings with civil society.

The withdrawal came after Finance minister Tendai Biti said Zimbabwe could
not afford to fund the vote.

Zimbabwe needs about $132 million for the poll. - Bridget Mananavire

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Massive milk deficit hits Zim

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 17:30

Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE has experienced a four million litre monthly milk deficit in the
past few years following the depletion of its national dairy herd, which has
declined to 26 000, from 197 000 in the 1990s, Dairibord Holdings Limited
(DHL) chief executive officer (CEO), Anthony Mandiwanza, said last week.
In a trading update distributed to shareholders after the group’s annual
general meeting (AGM) on Thursday last week, Mandiwanza said national milk
demand currently stood at eight million litres per month, against the four
million litres being produced.
“We had a national herd of 197 000 cows in the 1990s with 75 percent being
dairy cows,” Mandiwanza said.
“But now the national heard is 26 000 which is producing four million litres
of milk every month from a national monthly demand of eight million,” noted
the DHL CEO.
DHL has embarked on a programme to beef up its milk output by importing
“We hope that this initiative will contribute nearly 10 percent to our milk
supply in 2013,” he said.
In October last year, DHL imported 250 heifers, which were distributed to 10
farmers across all provinces.
The cows were already in production and expected to produce one million
litres of milk per year.
“We are targeting at least 500 dairy cows this year to add more to the milk
supply side,” he said.
Turning to overall group operations, the DHL CEO projected that production
would increase after completion of an ongoing rationalisation programme.
DHL has shut down its Bulawayo and Mutare plants and moved production to
Harare as part of its cost cutting measures.
It would maintain offices at the closed plants for distribution.
“Another challenge we have been experiencing was increased costs due to the
rationalisation process particularly on staff and equipment relocation,” he
“Erratic water supply and high cost of utilities have also been a challenge
except for areas where we have invested in boreholes,” said Mandiwanza.
DHL would save up to US$1 million annually after the completion of the
rationalisation programme.
During the first quarter of the year, Mandiwanza said there had been limited
product supply due to the relocation of equipment under the rationalisation
He also commented on the liquidity crisis that has affected industries since
“The issue of liquidity…it’s becoming excruciating in the business. In this
quarter, the manufacturing sector in particular has been experiencing the
serious impact..,” Mandiwanza said.
Mandiwanza said revenue during the first quarter was flat at US$24 million
compared to last year.
Milk volumes decreased by one percent from 16,250 million litres in the
first quarter of last year to 16,046 million litres in the first quarter of
this year.
Mandiwanza projected revenue to increase in the second quarter after
completion of the rationalisation programme. — Staff Reporter.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Grain deliveries to GMB drop

Thursday, 09 May 2013 00:00

Herald Reporter

Grain deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board dropped for the 2012/13
marketing season owing to the parastatal’s failure to pay farmers on time.
Since the liberalisation of the grain market in 2009, the GMB has been
competing with other private buyers

for maize and wheat. Despite offering the best prices on the market of
US$295 per tonne, GMB has been failing to attract farmers because it takes
too long to pay them for the deliveries.

In a recent statement, GMB corporate communications manager Mrs Muriel
Zemura said the company only received a total of 81 190 tonnes of maize from
farmers during the 2012/13 marketing season.

This is a decrease from the previous season’s intake of 205 657 tonnes of

The crop assessment report had indicated that nearly a million tonnes of
maize were expected during the 2012/13 season and out of this less than 100
000 tonnes went to the GMB depots.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union second vice president, Mr Berean Mukwende said the
low deliveries to the GMB had a negative impact on the strategic grain
reserve. He said most farmers were selling their maize to stockfeed
manufacturers who were offering a higher price and a better payment method.

“Farmers would rather dispose their grain to buyers offering competitive
prices. GMB should improve the payment system and farmers will be willing to
sell their grain to the parastatal,” he said.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union’s weekly market guide shows that many private buyers
were offering farmers cash while others were offering seven-day transfer.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Generals dig in heels

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 17:32

Tinashe Madava, Senior Reporter
ZIMBABWE’s top police, intelligence and army bosses appear unmoved by the
recent regional diplomatic offensive by the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC-T) to pressurise President Robert Mugabe to accede to security sector
and media reforms prior to holding the harmonised polls.
While Defence Minister Em-merson Mnangagwa, army commander Constantine
Chiwenga and police chief Augustine Chihuri, the main players in the
security sector establishment, could not be reached for comment yesterday,
in the past two weeks they have been adamant that there will be no security
sector reforms in the country, arguing these were not a priority and were
State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi has previously said the security
sector reforms were being pushed by external forces.
“It is not something originating internally but from external forces. It is
an attempt to destabilise the defence and security forces,” he told a local
State-owned daily.
But as the MDC formations ratchet up pressure for the full implementation of
the electoral roadmap before the elections later this year, the assault on
civil liberties by the police has not stopped.
In the past, police have arrested leaders of civil society organisations and
human rights lawyers on what critics viewed as trumped up charges.
On Tuesday, the police arrested the editor of The Zimbabwe Independent
Dumisani Muleya and chief reporter Owen Gagare over a story published two
weeks ago alleging that the MDC-T had met army chiefs to negotiate terms for
a smooth transfer of power in the event that Prime Minister (PM) Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC-T, wins the presidential elections which are
expected to be tightly contested.
This follows a barrage of attacks on the MDC-T by Chihuri and Chiwenga in
the past week.
Chihuri denied that army chiefs had talked to the MDC-T and issued a terse
warning to the media that the police would arrest journalists who publish
He said those political parties seeking to hold political meetings with him
and other security chiefs were “day-dreaming”.
At the weekend, Chiwenga moved the issue a gear up, calling PM Tsvangirai a
“psychiatric patient” in a furious rebuttal by the military boss.
“We have no time to meet a sellout. Clearly Tsvangirai is a psychiatric
patient who needs a competent psychiatrist,” he was quoted as saying.
The country’s top security chiefs have in the past vowed that they will not
salute any president elect without liberation war credentials, in an
apparent reference to PM Tsvangirai.
This has often unnerved the MDCs who see such pronouncements as threats to
the peace and security of the country in the event of a ZANU-PF presidential
candidate’s defeat.
Political commentators have blasted the security chiefs’ statements and the
recent arrests of some journalists who have written on the issue saying it
was strange that even issues which ordinary Zimbabweans would “consider
infinitely positive a development as engagement between a party aspiring to
rule the country and partisan security forces refusing to pull their heads
out of the sand, is shamelessly criminalised by our unrepentant police
Rejoice Ngwenya, an analyst, said even if anyone from the MDC-T met them,
securocrats may not really know the full meaning of reforms as long as they
remain partisan.
Lovemore Fuyane, another analyst, said: “It’s clearly an attempt by Chihuri
and others to distance themselves from allegations about these meetings
having taken place. I wonder though if anyone in ZANU-PF buys such a ruse.”
This week, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists condemned the arrest of Muleya
and Gagare saying the safety and protection of journalists before, during
and after elections needed to be safeguarded by the inclusive government,
different arms of St-ate and political parties.
The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) also condemned the arrests
saying the development was deplorable and not in keeping with the
universally acknowledged principles of media freedom and freedom of
“The occurrence of this arrest in the run up to the 2013 harmonised
elections shows a lack of commitment and sincerity to uphold these same said
principles by the government of Zimbabwe. The VMCZ reiterates that it is
undemocratic for the state to seek and continue to criminalise the work of
professional journalists. This is particularly so where there is the
utilisation of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) to arrest and
charge journalists under criminal law with publishing falsehoods.
“It is important therefore to advise the State, individuals and citizens
that there are other avenues through which redress over stories published in
the media can be sought and achieved. In the case of The Zimbabwe
Independent, the state has a number of options to achieve this redress.
These options include seeking the right of reply, approaching the Alpha
Media Holdings Ombudsman and also approaching the VMCZ Media Complaints
Committee for amicable adjudication in terms of the Media Code of Conduct,”
said the VMCZ.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

GNU could have been better: Ambassador


by Edgar Gweshe

Zimbabwe’s Inclusive Government could have done much better in terms of
economic development had it not been for the policy inconsistencies as a
result of power struggles, Democratic Republic of Congo Ambassador,
Mawampanga Mwana Nanga believes.

“A coalition government is not a perfect government because there are two or
three parties involved. The objective of the parties involved will be to
wrest power,” said Nanga. “The only way to put an end to that is to go to
the people and let them choose. The GNU in Zimbabwe has brought some
economic stability and a peaceful environment but the truth of the matter is
that they could have done a lot better in terms of economic development were
it not for the bickering.”

Nanga said the forthcoming elections were critical for Zimbabwe hence the
need to ensure they are held in the most peaceful, transparent and credible
manner. He said political parties set to contest in the next elections
should be able to show respect for the people’s will.

“The people are going to make their choice and whatever choice they make,
the political parties should respect it. It’s likely that one party will win
and whoever loses should be able to congratulate the winner,” said Nanga.

He said the DRC would be sending its observers to Zimbabwe for the

In terms of Zimbabwe’s preparedness for elections, Nanga said: “No country,
not even the USA or Britain is 100 percent prepared for an election. In
Zimbabwe, the situation is much better than it was in 2008 but the country
can still do better.”

There is contention in Zimbabwe’s GNU with the two MDC formations arguing
that the country is not yet prepared to hold a free and fair poll as
important reforms are yet to be implemented.

He said that although some developments were threatening the peaceful
holding of the elections, parties in the GNU should devote their energy to
creating an environment that allows for “peaceful, free, fair, transparent
and credible elections”.

The run up to Zimbabwe’s watershed elections has seen arrests of several
civic society members as well as staff from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
office. The MDC-T claims that its supporters are being harassed in rural
areas in a development that analysts say will likely stand in the way of a
free and fair poll.

Nanga said it was important for the government to ensure that proceeds from
the country’s mineral wealth benefited the ordinary people.

“This is the policy line followed by the DRC since time immemorial that the
natural resources of the country should first and foremost benefit our
people,” said Nanga.

He said that the lack of a direct flight between the DRC and Zimbabwe was
negatively affecting trade between the two countries.

“Right now, we don’t have a direct flight between Zimbabwe and DRC and that
is not very good. We have free movement of people between our countries but
no direct link,” said Nanga.

Nanga said that Zimbabwe’s involvement in the DRC conflict would greatly aid
efforts to bring peace and stability to the war torn Central African

“The UN deployed a brigade made mostly of SADC forces and if it was the DRC’s
choice as to who should join the brigade, we would have requested Zimbabwe,
Angola and Namibia,” said Nanga.

Zimbabwe deployed troops to the DRC in 1998 to help the government of the
late Laurent-Desire Kabila which was under siege from Rwanda and Uganda
backed rebels.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe: government plans to tighten further its grip on mining

May 9, 2013 4:03pm by Tony Hawkins

Zimbabwe this week started consultations on proposed new mining policies
aimed at increasing the state’s role in the industry in everything from
environmental management to marketing.

The move echoes the controversial indigenisation and empowerment law,
requiring companies to divest 51 percent of their shares to indigenous
(black) investors. The approach is different – with officials intending
transparent in contrast to the secretive methods of the political radicals
who pushed through indigenisation. But there is still much to worry the
mining industry.

The empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, from President Robert Mugabe’s
Zanu-PF wing of the national unity government has dismayed not just the
mining companies, but banks and foreign-owned manufacturing groups, which
are all on the minister’s radar screen.

The indigenisation strategy is overtly party-political aimed at winning
votes for Zanu-PF in presidential and parliamentary elections due later this

The draft minerals policy is much broader in scope. Its impact may be less
drastic – but it could still increase the financial pressures on mining
companies operating in Zimbabwe.

The policy aims to update and streamline existing legislation while adapting
it to the government’s ambitions in increasing state participation and
raising additional revenue.

A recurrent them is increased state involvement in the industry in
marketing, in investment, in environmental management and ownership. It says
the existing “colonial minerals regime based on claims is “inappropriate for
using national mineral assets to underpin wider development and

Perhaps the frequently used words in the draft are “equity” and
“equitable” – terms unlikely to impress hard-nosed mining investors with a
focus on the bottom line.

The policy reflects three realities which mining investors, local as well as
foreign, have to recognise.

First, many countries – not just the emerging markets – are on a resource
nationalism roll. Since the start of the commodities supercycle a decade ago
they have seen mining companies earn handsome windfall profits that have not
been reflected in mining revenues accruing to state coffers.

Next, Zimbabwe is a cash-strapped economy in which at least half economic
activity is in the informal sector which does not pay taxes. Accordingly,
mining – the fastest-growing sector and responsible for two-thirds of
exports – was always going to be prime target.

Third, the indigenisation strategy is not going to go away, even if the
Kasukuwere radicals in Zanu-PF are defeated at the polls.

Whichever party wins the election is bound to revise – almost certainly
dilute – the policy. The mining draft hints at this where it says the
government “Seeks to encourage equitable partnerships between foreign and
local investors … to progressively build local capital, skills and
technological prowess”.

Higher taxes on mining have been in the pipeline for years. In 2010 a
visiting IMF mining expert described Zimbabwe’s fiscal regime for mining as
“extremely generous”. Since then royalties on gold, diamonds and platinum –
the country’s three top mining exports – have been increased along with
higher licence fees.

The policy draft says windfall “rents” (profits) must be shared equitably
between the owner of the mining assets (Zimbabwe) and the mining company. To
that end an equitable Resource Rents Tax will replaced the existing
Additional Profits Tax, while other taxes, such as fees and royalties that
add to mining costs will be reviewed. The implication is for a higher
resource tax, partly offset by reduced royalties and fees.

The policy intent is heavily statist – hardly surprising in the light of the
global trend towards resource nationalism and the fact that a South African
ANC mining expert played a major role in drafting it.

There will be a new Minerals Development Act covering exploitation of
“strategic minerals” including iron and steel, fertilizers, fossil fuels
(where there is enormous potential in coal and methane gas) and cement. It
proposes an enhanced role for the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation, which already plays a dominant role in the alluvial diamond
sector. The government will also tighten controls on precious metals
marketing by requiring that both gold and platinum group metals be marketed
through “an authorised dealer” designated by the Minister of Finance.

Quite how the mining industry will respond is unclear. The industry must
have known that higher taxes were in the pipeline. It will welcome the hint
of reduced royalties and fees but the net impact in terms of the tax take is
certain to increase. The promise to ensure that all mineral sales are
officially controlled will also be unwelcome.

Mining houses are likely to suspend judgment knowing full well from
experience elsewhere that there is a huge gap between official policy
pronouncements and their subsequent implementation. As always the devil will
be in the detail. They won’t be happy that an expert from South Africa,
whose mining sector has underperformed and in 2013 is in serious disarray,
has played so prominent a role.

But perhaps he has learned from South Africa’s mistakes and the new Zimbabwe
minerals code when it is finally agreed really will be state-of-the-art.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

IFJ Calls on Authorities in Zimbabwe to Drop Charges Against Two Journalists

08 May 2013

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today has vigorously
condemned the arrest of two journalists in Zimbabwe. According to Zimbabwe
Union of Journalists (ZUJ) Dumisani Muleya, editor of the private Zimbabwe
Independent and reporter Owen Gagare were arrested on Tuesday 7 May 2013 and
charged with publishing falsehoods. They were released from police custody
but rejected the charges against them.

“We call on authorities in Zimbabwe to drop the charges against the two
colleagues and improve the law so as to ensure full freedom of expression in
the country,” said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director.

According to the Zimbabwe Independent Newspaper some Army Generals loyal to
President Robert Mugabe were reported to have engaged negotiations with
representatives of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) prior to the forthcoming elections this year. The
Newspaper stated that the talks were to prevent political instability in the
country if Tsvangirai wins the elections. The army has publicly denied
speaking to MDC’s officials.

The IFJ is concerned about the safety of journalists in the run up to the
upcoming elections and the political situation in Zimbabwe, and warns
authorities of their responsibility to ensure the security of journalists.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Activist Beatrice Mtetwa faces her date with Zimbabwean justice

The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May. 09 2013, 1:58 AM EDT

On May 27, Zimbabwean lawyer and human-rights activist Beatrice Mtetwa will
enter magistrate’s court in Harare to be tried on charges of obstructing
justice. In March, she was arrested and held for eight days after trying to
prevent an illegal police search of offices of the Movement for Democratic
Change – the country’s principal opposition party. If convicted, she could
go to jail for two years. Ms. Mtetwa, 55, was in Canada last week to meet
with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and to receive an honorary doctorate of
law from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S.

How do you feel about the prospect of going to trial?

I’m surprised it took them this long to trump up charges against me, but I’m
ready for whatever comes my way.

The government recently added more than a dozen new charges to the

Every day the story changes, so I’m curious to know what I’ll be facing when
we get to trial. Of course, it’s a sign of [the charges] being trumped up,
because if I did something [wrong] one day, in a couple of minutes, it’s
amazing that every day there are new charges. It’s distressing, but not
unexpected. The original charges were so laughable that they’re now trying
to find something that will appear to have criminality in it.

Zimbabwe is scheduled to hold national elections this year. What are your
expectations on that front?

The 2008 power-sharing agreement between President Robert Mugabe’s African
National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) and the MDC was to level the
playing field, to build a foundation for free and fair elections. But almost
five years later, a lot of issues have yet to be dealt with: repressive
legislation has yet to be repealed; the political power still lies with
Mugabe; civil society remains marginalized and increasingly clamped down on.
The rights of association, movement, are not recognized. So I don’t believe
the climate today is ripe for a free and fair election. We haven’t even
agreed on what international observers to invite.

What degree of press freedom is there?

The state media is completely beholden to one side – heavily skewed against
freedom, as you understand it in the West. The state media is a mouthpiece.
And independent journalists are arrested for the slightest infractions. So
press freedom in Zimbabwe remains in intensive care. TV is a monopoly, and
though the government did license two new radio stations, it gave ownership
to their cronies.

Robert Mugabe is 89 years old. What does the post-Mugabe future look like?

It will depend on the security-sector reforms envisaged in the 2008
agreement. Because the power behind him is from that sector. In theory, the
security sector will still have the power, whether he is there or not.

Will Zimbabwe’s new constitution, approved in March, change the dynamic?

I have a problem with it. On its own, the constitution changes nothing. The
current constitution has provisions for basic rights. But its the
implementation that’s important. If the new constitution is interpreted by
the same people who have used the old one to deny human rights, we will be
exactly where we were.

What more could Canada and other western nations do to promote human rights
in Zimbabwe?

There needs to be an insistence by the international community to observe
the provisions of the 2008 agreement to the letter, and that insistence has
to be communicated to regional leaders in Africa who guaranteed the

Why hasn’t that happened?

There was a belief that there was goodwill on both sides, that everyone was
on the same page and that reforms would be implemented. But it’s
increasingly clear that isn’t so and that they have no intention of fully
implementing its terms.

Where is Washington in all of this?

In Zimbabwe, there’s a belief that the U.S. is re-engaging, in the
assumption that Mugabe will be re-elected. They don’t want to be left off
the boat, even if the provisions of the agreement have not been complied
with. Business interest trumps political interest. The Rev. Jesse Jackson
was there recently, hot on the heels of Andrew Young, who was given an
unprecedented two-hour audience with the President. Young has always been
against sanctions, backed by the Congressional Black Caucus. So the feeling
is that if sanctions are removed, it won’t be because they have served the
purpose of seeing repressive legislation repealed and human rights abuses
corrected, but because there are business gains to be made. Jackson, for
example, was there as a representative of business interests eager to invest
in the diamond mining sector.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

HOT SEAT: Expert breaks down legal necessities needed before polls

SW Radio Africa journalist Violet Gonda’s guest on the Hot Seat program is lawyerDerek Matyszak, of the Harare-based Research and Advocacy Unit. He gives his opinion on the key reforms that are necessary, as a matter of law, before elections. Why does the legal expert say security sector and media reforms are now not necessary before elections? How will the proportional representation system work and why does Matyszak believe there will be intense infighting in the political parties over these special seats reserved for women?

Broadcast: 03 May 2013

VIOLET GONDA:My guest on the Hot Seat programme is lawyer Derek Matyszak of the Harare-based Research and Advocacy Unit and today he’s going to give us his legal opinion on reforms needed in Zimbabwe before elections. So let’s start with that Derek.

DEREK MATYSZAK:Well you could basically divide the reforms into two types: those that are necessary as a matter of law and those which are politically desirable in order to ensure a free and fair election. So those in the first category include the Electoral Act – it has to be amended to conform to the constitution; the Local Government Act needs to be amended and the Provincial Councils Act require amendment to bring them in line with the constitution. In the second category are probably first and foremost, media reforms and there also needs to be reforms to the way that the security sector operates and the way the criminal justice system operates.

GONDA:I understand that some of the political parties are calling for an extension of parliament to allow reforms to be implemented; so is there any need to delay the life of parliament or even extend the date of elections so that these reforms can be implemented?

MATYSZAK:Well at the very latest the political parties should have been aware that amendments to the Electoral Act and the Provincial Councils Act etcetera were needed the moment they agreed on the COPAC Constitution. So the drafts people should have been working on those amendments right from that date that the COPAC draft was agreed. So it’s simply a question of when parliament reconvenes on the 6thof May, for the proposed Bill to be brought before parliament; the parliament is quite accustomed to fast-tracking these kind of Bills and there’s absolutely no reason why the necessary legislation – those three essential bits of legislation – couldn’t be passed by parliament prior to June 29thwhen parliament will automatically dissolve. So there’s no need to extend it on that basis.

GONDA:What happens if parliament is dissolved without these three amendments?

MATYSZAK:If parliament is dissolved without the amendments there still exists the possibility of the president using the Presidential Powers Temporary Measures Act to push this legislation through; however it’s obviously undesirable for the president to use this legislation when he is in fact a player in the forthcoming election. However those objections could be muted if the legislation that goes through is drawn with the consent of the three main political parties.

GONDA:What key changes are required to the Electoral Act?

MATYSZAK:The main change required to the Electoral Act arises from the fact that the new constitution introduces or reintroduces the system of proportional representation – so the Electoral Act will have to set out the form of the proportional representation and the details of the proportional representation that will be used in the forthcoming election.

GONDA:What are the arguments for proportional representation and what are the arguments against?

MATYSZAK:Well with the “first past the post” system we have the possibility of excluding parties from parliament who might nonetheless enjoy the support of a substantial number of the voters. With the “first past the post” system you just need the 50% plus one or 51% in each constituency. So it’s quite possible, though unlikely but it’s theoretically possible, in every constituency you could have a situation where one party wins with 51% of the votes and another party loses with 49% of the vote; the party that garners 51% of the vote in all constituencies will win every single seat in the house of parliament – that would exclude the constituents who gave 49% of the vote to the other party. So despite having a substantial power base that party would be excluded entirely.

On a proportional representation system, the seats will be allocated in accordance with the number of votes garnered by each party. So on that system, one party would get 51% of the seats in parliament and the other party would get 49% of the seats and would thereby not be excluded from power entirely.

GONDA:Many are saying that with the problems that we have seen with the partners in this unity government, the way they don’t trust each other, it’s not going to be easy to work out who gets what after the vote. Do you agree with this?

MATYSZAK:Yes certainly. First of all just bear in mind that not all of the House of National Assembly seats will be by proportional representation; it’s only the 60 seats reserved for women that will be on the basis of proportional representation and 60 of the seats in the 80 seat Senate will be on proportional representation. So we have a mixed system of both “first past the post” and proportional representation. What is then likely to happen is that you might get current MPs at the moment who are feeling insecure about retaining their seats and they might think a safer way to get back into the parliament is through the proportional representation system,

So what will happen for example in the case of the women’s seats, the seats reserved for women, there will be six seats per province – so each party will be required to submit a list of at least six people per province that they would like to see attaining those reserved seats in the National Assembly. So if for example the MDC has a list of six women for say Midlands province and they win two thirds of the vote – that means the first four people on that list will attain those particular seats. So you can imagine there will be some competition for people not only to get onto the list but the actual place they will have on the list because the person who is at the top of the list has a greater chance of getting into parliament on that basis. So there’s likely to be some rather intense infighting within parties as the jostling for places on the party list is determined.

GONDA:Is this a fair system and are women a special interest group?

MATYSZAK:Well that takes you into the whole debate about affirmative action etcetera which is another path that would require a detailed discussion on some other occasion but proportional representation is favoured in many jurisdictions that I’m talking about – a pure proportional representation system is favoured in numerous countries and it’s certainly better when a country is deeply divided society like Zimbabwe because you avoid the winner takes all kind of scenario.

But there are quite a few different systems of proportional representation, which can yield very different results. You can, for example, have proportional representation system, which requires a party to achieve a minimum number of votes before they can get a seat. So suppose for example in one constituency, the smaller MDC only secures 10% of the votes, should that be sufficient for a seat or should one have a threshold of say 30%? So these different systems will yield very different results and the biggest differences are what happens to the smaller parties and certainly the MDC-N has the biggest interest in negotiating which particular system of proportional representation is eventually included in the Electoral Act.

GONDA:Is proportional representation based on political will or is it legally binding? By this I mean what chances are there that political leaders can make promises but then change their mind on candidate selection for these special seats after the elections?

MATYSZAK:Yes, although it would be very unusual; it has happened before – I think it happened in Guyana that the elections took place without the lists, the proportional representation lists, being published before the election but that’s very anomalous and very unusual. Normally the Electoral Commission requires the political parties to submit the lists of the people who will attain seats by virtue of proportional representation so that the electorate knows who they are actually voting for on the basis of this proportional representation system. So once the parties have submitted their lists to ZEC they will be bound by those lists.

GONDA:But is the electorate really voting for these people who will take these 60 seats?

MATYSZAK:Well no that’s the thing about proportional representation = is that it’s not constituency-based. So whereas on a constituency-based election you know this is your candidate for the constituency, that is the person who represents your interests in the constituency and you vote for her or him accordingly. With the proportional representation system you’re voting for the political party and you can only see indirectly; ‘well if this party gets this percentage of the vote then these people on the list will attain seats in parliament’, so it’s a rather more indirect way of going about it.

GONDA:What about those other two amendments that you said are important – the Local Government Act and the Provincial Councils Act – what exactly is needed to be tweaked?

MATYSZAK:Well there are some minor changes to the way in which Local Government is to be run in the constitution, which I don’t recall offhand but the structure of the Provincial Councils is very different under the new constitution and ten members of the Provincial Council will also be appointed on the basis of proportional representation. And the Provincial Council itself will be electing the chairperson – so the present powers of the president to appoint the provincial governors will be removed by virtue of the new constitution and that’s one of the most significant changes as far as presidential powers is concerned in the new constitution.

GONDA:Can we talk about some of those politically desirable reforms that may not happen before elections and let’s start with security sector reform.

MATYSZAK:Yes, the problems with the security sector – there’s a lot of work to be done on security sector reform and that’s not something that can take place in a matter of months and in fact it requires several years to have effective security sector reform. It would be more correct to be looking at security sector governance and the reason why I say that’s not going to happen is because the opportunities that have presented themselves to try and make sure that it does happen have passed by without being seized.

So for example, in January of last year, all the heads of the security sector came up for reappointment to their offices and they were all reappointed with the acquiescence it seems of the MDC. A lot of the problems with the security sector stem from the very top of those sectors in the way that the security sectors are being governed – that was the opportunity to say well it’s time to revisit these particular posts and the people that occupy them. That opportunity was lost.

The second opportunity to engage in security sector reform came with the changes to the constitution and earlier drafts of the constitution did in fact attend to the issue of security sector governance. Those proposed amendments were taken out in the final COPAC draft and left the situation as it currently is, so there was an opportunity to do security sector or reform the governance of the security sector when drafting the new constitution – that opportunity was also lost no doubt due to Zanu PF obduracy but that obduracy remains so that reform is not likely to take place.

GONDA:Was the security sector reform part of the GPA, part of the Global Political Agreement?


GONDA:The reason I’m asking that is because Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is quoted saying that is was never part of the GPA.

MATYSZAK:Well I think to some extent Mr. Mnangagwa is correct; the MDC is correct in the fact that security sector governance is in fact mentioned: there is a clause which requires or which indicates the security sector should be impartial and does not belong to any particular political party but there are no mechanisms by which it said that must be implemented and those would be the reforming mechanisms.

GONDA:There seems to be a problem with the politicization of the army or the security sector where you have on the one hand army generals have said they will not salute Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai but on the other hand the MDC Minister for Defence, Giles Mutsekwa recently revealed that the MDC has been holding secret talks with the service chiefs. What can you say about this?

MATYSZAK:Well I think Mutsekwa is trying to depoliticize the security sector. Once you have the security chiefs coming out and saying that they will not salute a president who did not take part in the liberation struggle that can be interpreted as a threat to engage in a coup. Of course the reason they phrased it like that is deliberately to leave it ambiguous and that’s not the only interpretation you could put on that. But certainly it is a political statement which essentially is a threat to the electorate and should not be tolerated and SADC should make some very clear statements around that.

GONDA:If indeed the MDC are talking to the army generals, should they be making this public?

MATYSZAK:I don’t see why not. I think too many of the talks take place in secret. I think the MDC should make a clear demand that the security sector should undertake to abide by the results of the election and SADC should also make that demand of the security sector to get them to state clearly that they will abide by the results of the election. That is a requirement of the SADC principles and guidelines on elections, it’s the basic democratic norm and given that the security sector has made or the security sector chiefs have made these ambiguous statements they need to clear the air in this regard.

GONDA:Service chiefs are appointed by the president, the army generals?


GONDA:So if the appointment of these generals or service chiefs is the prerogative of the president, is it not better to leave this problem for now and whoever takes over government after elections can then implement the policies that they want?

MATYSZAK:Yes well first of all although the president appoints the security sector, the appointments, reappointments etcetera, under the GNU those all have to be done with the consent and agreement of the prime minister and that provision has been ignored and the appointments have all been made unconstitutionally. The problem with the new constitution is that a huge amount of power remains vested in the president, including the appointment of the security sector people though there are some very badly worded and ambiguous provisions, which suggest that the people who are currently in those positions shall remain in their position.

There’s also a not ambiguously worded provision which says that the current Attorney General shall continue in his job and shall continue to be in charge of prosecutions – so if Morgan Tsvangirai wins the elections, he wouldn’t be able to change that.

But the problem with the new constitution, that because it vests so much power in the president you have a situation that if you have an authoritarian undemocratic president elected into office, you will have an undemocratic and authoritarian governance in the country. If you have a president who is human rights orientated and subscribes to liberal democratic values then you will have liberal democratic governance in the country. But that is why it is a bad constitution –the governance of the country should not depend on the whims of a particular individual. It should depend on the machinery not the person who operates the machine.

GONDA:So basically you are saying a new government will not necessarily have the powers to change the people in the security sector even if they wanted to?

MATYSZAK:They cannot change the position of the Attorney General, that’s written into the constitution; the provisions relating to the heads of the army etcetera, those provisions are rather ambiguously worded and I wouldn’t say that it’s clear that they can do so. I wouldn’t say that it’s clear that any of the new presidents couldn’t do that. As I say it’s badly worded provisions, which might be ironed out when the provisions come to be passed as an Act.

GONDA:Is this something that can be amended before the new constitution is passed into law?

MATYSZAK:Yes there are certain glitches if you like in the new constitution, there are certain sections which are badly worded and that needs to be sorted out before the provisions are passed into law. There are also a few contradictory sections etcetera – these kinds of errors are normal when one is drafting complicated legislation like a constitution and hopefully they’ll be sorted out before the Bill is presented to parliament.

GONDA:You also mentioned the issue of media reforms. The MDC formations are saying that media reforms are needed before elections can be held but what can be realistically be put in place before elections?

MATYSZAK:To some extent it’s not a legal necessity but the new constitution has good provisions relating to the media which should try and, which should change this ridiculous situation where the electronic media’s dominated by one voice in the country – the voice of Zanu PF. I think we’re the only country in the region which has this ridiculous situation. The new constitution requires that or removes government interference to a large extent over the licencing of radio stations but to try and get a new radio station licenced and a new Broadcasting Services Act in place prior to the elections is a virtual impossibility.

GONDA:The state broadcaster, the ZBC is considered not to be impartial, why can’t there be reforms at this institution before elections?

MATYSZAK:Well you would need to get some agreement from Zanu PF to have a more balanced coverage and of course as far as Zanu PF is concerned they already give balanced coverage. They do not regard News Hour as being Zanu PF Hour, which it quite clearly is – so one gets into subjective territory, which is quite difficult to argue about – what is and what isn’t biased etcetera. There are already provisions in place; there were provisions in place for the 2008 elections for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to make sure that the political parties had equal coverage on ZBC during the electoral period. Those provisions simply weren’t enforced. Whether the new ZEC will be able to do that is a matter for some debate.

GONDA:And Zanu PF says there is only one issue that remains and that is the removal of sanctions. What are your thoughts on this?

MATYSZAK:Well I can never understand this argument of Zanu PF. They keep on saying that Zimbabwe is under sanctions and then we find that Tomana has issued proceedings against the EU to remove sanctions against individuals so I don’t understand what Zanu PF is saying. Is it individuals that are under a regime of sanctions or is it the country? Because if it’s the country then that’s certainly not what the EU and the US state. There’s also no requirement in the GPA for sanctions to be removed. What the GPA says is that both parties shall work together to try and lift what they call sanction and my interpretation of that is that Zanu PF is then obliged to bring about the conditions which will cause sanctions to be removed and Zanu PF has singularly failed to do so.

GONDA:But you know the US government recently removed sanctions on two banks and one of them is AgriBank and the US ambassador told us that the banks hold the greatest opportunity to improve the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans and that they play a vital role in long term investments of the country. So doesn’t this contradict what they have been saying – that the firms under sanctions don’t hurt Zimbabwe?

MATYSZAK:Well nobody’s yet made any link between the measures introduced by the US and the UK and EU; nobody’s made any link between those measures and Zimbabwe’s economic collapse. Nobody has said these measures caused this financial problem, which caused these industries to collapse. That link has never been made and I don’t believe it exists. Certainly what the so-called sanctions regime has done is that it has created or given the impression that Zimbabwe is a pariah state. Well Zimbabwe is a pariah state and until it gets its governance and human rights act together it deserves to be treated as such so that is where sanctions have had an impact and the way to solve that problem is for Zimbabwe not to be a pariah state.

GONDA:Are there any circumstances, which you see, which we might find ourselves having another GNU?

MATYSZAK:Certainly I think it’s quite possible that both Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai would like a GNU II at this juncture. I think both candidates probably think that they are unelectable at this point and they would quite like to remain in office through a GNU II. I don’t see that either of them could sell a GNU to their constituents at this point in time. However if we have a closely fought election which happened in 2008 it would make sense that there’s some sort of power sharing takes place but you would need an election for each party to determine their bargaining strength in that power sharing negotiation. So if there’s a GNU to emerge it needs to emerge probably after an election has taken place.

GONDA:But do they really need to sell a GNU to the constituents if they didn’t do this when they formed the coalition government in the first place?

MATYSZAK:Well they managed to sell the GNU successfully in 2008, in September 2008. I think the constituents now realize they were conned and they’re not likely to be conned so easily a second time round.

GONDA:What will the people really do about this?

MATYSZAK:As I said, I don’t think they could sell the GNU II to their constituents now; after the election the constituents might see the balance of power is such that we have no choice other than to do a GNU II but they would like this GNU II to look very different from GNU I.

GONDA:Thank you very much Derek Matyszak for talking to us on the programme Hot Seat.

MATYSZAK:You’re welcome.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Murambatsvina scars remain

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 17:28

Clemence Manyukwe, Political Editor.

IN 2005, President Robert Mugabe’s niece Patrick Zhuwao rushed to Manyame in
a bid to stop people’s homes from being demolished in his then constituency
during operation Murambatsvina. His pleas fell on deaf ears and in time he
accepted the harsh fact that some people were going to be homeless that
Within hours, people’s lives were in ruins as nothing salvageable was left,
thus worsening their poverty and bankruptcy.
This month, marks eight years since the start of an operation which the
common man on Zimbabwe’s streets ended up calling a tsunami after that
natural phenomenon caused by ominous walls of tidal waters whose destructive
power can be enormous.
Even though a decade is fast approaching since that man-made disaster
unfolded, the passage of time has not healed the scars brought about by an
operation that government said was meant to restore sanity in the country’s
cities and towns.
This week, Kimberly Nyatsanga of Mabvuku told The Financial Gazette that
when Operation Murambatsvina struck, he was operating three tuck shops that
all fell victim to the exercise.
Prior to the demolition, he had entertained the possibility that by 2010 he
would have graduated to a better business venture using his meagre profits,
but that dream is long gone. The blow from that operation was some kind of
double tragedy for him because it also affected his father at whose house he
now lives, as he cannot afford rentals.
“You do a 10-year plan and it’s cut in two years. I had planned that by 2010
I would be somewhere. Now I am unemployed, so ndinongokiya kiya mutown (I
hustle),” said Nyatsanza.
“My father had retired and had invested his entire pension at the home
industry he was running. He had papers from council, but it was also
destroyed so his pension went for nothing.”
The United Nations estimates that operation Murambatsvina affected at least
700 000 people directly through the loss of their homes or livelihoods and
thus could have indirectly affected around 2,4 million people across
Because of its devastating consequences, the exercise was widely condemned
by a then united opposition Movement for Democratic Change, church groups,
Non-Governmental Organisations and the international community who all
viewed it as a campaign to drive out and make homeless large sections of
urban people who were consistently voting against President Robert Mugabe’s
The following year, the State media published an article written by the
Ghanaian editor of the London-based New African magazine, Baffour Ankoma,
confirming that the demolition exercise was driven by a sinister motive.
Ankoma said the operation was the brainchild of the country’s intelligence,
which believed that it was a necessary pre-emptive strike against the
groundswell of public anger targeted at the then ZANU-PF government.
When the security services took over the civic matter, normal civil service
scrutiny was dispensed with, added Ankoma.
“In normal times, as happened during the land reform programme, the civil
services would have been tasked to write papers looking at the pros and cons
of the operation, the relevant local and international laws governing the
area, the provision of alternative accommodation and stalls, the financial
cost, the international repercussions, and so on, before the operation could
get Cabinet approval,” wrote Ankoma.
“In this case, as the security services drove the operation, all elaborately
laid down procedures were short-circuited, and in the process serious errors
were made, leading to international outcry and condemnation.”
The houses the government built for the victims under another programme
named operation Hlalani Kuhle (live well) were a drop in the ocean despite
its promises that everyone affected would be catered for. The pledge became
a second unfulfilled housing promise since independence in 1980 as in the
1990s when the authorities also came up with the failed Housing for All
programme by the year 2000.
By around 1997, government had realised that its promise was unachievable
and the target date was moved to 2020, but now no one in government talks
about the looming self imposed deadline.
Meanwhile, the housing crisis keeps worsening.
At Bulawayo’s Killarney squatter camp nearly all the people who were
uprooted eight years ago have tracked back.
Pastor Albert Chatindo of the Christian Fellowship Church has been working
to help the squatters since the days of the operation, in addition to
ministering to them.
This week, the pastor told The Financial Gazette that during the demolition
exercise he presided over some funerals related to the operation and his
church has records to that effect.
“During Murambatsvina people were not moved to any specially designated area
or place. Some were left by the roadside, some by the mountain side. They
were just left homeless,” said pastor Chatindo.
“Nearly all the 400 families came back, but the other 200 were moved to
Mazwi village. There are 170 left now and we are still taking care of them.
We are feeding them, there is a clinic and we provide other humanitarian
The Killarney informal settlement seats on the edges of a Bulawayo affluent
suburb and a visit to the two areas lays bare the two different worlds
Zimbabweans live in.
On one side, residents have access to possibly all the services they may
want or desire while on the other side, people are housed in shacks. Some
dwellings are made of mud while others are made of corrugated iron sheets.
On windy days dust envelopes the whole area and when the Heavens open up the
shacks become inhabitable as their floors are made up of bare earth.
“Because of winter we have asked council to put some canvas over their
shacks,” added pastor Chatindo.
But it is not only in Bulawayo where people are finding their way back to
settlements they were banished from in 2005.
At Tongogara, near Kuwadzana Extension in Harare, Rungano Benza is among the
old timers that stayed away for only three years after operation
Murambatsvina before coming back.
“2008 was bad, so bad, I decided to come back. They would have killed me to
move me from here,” said Benza.
“I am cut off from my country. I am not registered to vote so I will not be
voting. I just live here in the bush, I have no address.”
In Mabvuku, Nyatsanza is bitter at the double standards of people who
spearheaded operation Murambatsvina.
He came face to face with their duplicity when he decided to lease a stall
at an illegal flea market run by the police in Harare’s Central Business
“The police are operating behind a political party. Someone takes money and
there is no receipt. I was never given a receipt. It’s stealing from the
people, it’s not benefitting the city, it’s not benefitting the country,”
said Nyatsanza.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Hell on Harare’s streets

Thursday, 09 May 2013 00:00

Marshall Bwanya Features Writer

The story of street people has been told and retold for many years yet the
ordinary person in Zimbabwe’s cities continues to turn a blind eye to the
scourge. As the years go by, more and more street children and adults
continue to

pour on to the streets. There are many classes of street people traversing
our streets as the scourge continues unabated. These are the people whom we
see on the streets guarding our cars, washing the cars and soliciting for a
few coins or spare change. However, there is a new scourge on the streets as
we encounter, on numerous occasions, children who solicit for money and

The children have also turned nasty as they target hapless women grabbing
food and other stuff from the unsuspecting women. On numerous occasions some
have been apprehended for shoplifting in supermarkets. Some of them target
women’s handbags, phones, jewellery and other personal belongings. The
police have also been forced to come hard on the street people as they try
to deal decisively with the problem.

While the raids have brought temporary relief to the problem, no lasting
solution has been found as the street people emerge shortly after their
release. The issue, however, is to understand the source of the problem. It
has also become evident that the people who end up living on the streets are
not all delinquents as some are forced to seek refuge on the streets by
abusive parents or relatives.

Sixteen-year-old Tonderai (not his real name) is a rugged boy with twisted
hair, dirty torn clothes while his presence is accompanied by a bad odour
emanating from years without a bath. He opened up to The Herald giving his
riveting story leading to his life on the streets of Harare. Smoking an
obviously scavenged cigarette, Tonderai reveals the horrific realities of
living in the streets.

“I was forced to go live on the streets as a result of unfortunate
circumstances. After my father passed away, my stepmother treated me with
extreme hostility and prejudice while she treated her own children with love
and compassion.”

He has also encountered unscrupulous people that take advantage of their
current state and sexually exploiting them.

“Some men with big nice cars approach us and promise to give us money for
sexual favours.”

Most of the children on the streets tell tales of long lost happy childhood.
Girls on the streets are exposed to rape and prostitution and are
susceptible to HIV and Aids and other sexually transmitted infections.
Statistics are not readily available as some cases of sexual abuse go
unreported because of the conditions of living on the streets continue to be

“My friends were taken by men driving a red Toyota Hilux who pretended to be
generous people offering us food and money when all they wanted was sex.
There was a time when I was forced to sleep with several boys living on the
streets. These people move in groups. It’s by God’s grace that I did not
fall pregnant from the abuse,” 17-year-old Emily said.

The abuse of children is in direct contravention of the Child Protection
Some of the children are recruited by their relatives to beg for money and
food. The children are denied the right to education while pursuing the
monetary interests of their handicapped parents especially the blind.

Jacob Majoni of Mbare in Harare called Zimbabweans to desist from giving
financial aid to children who are forced by parents to beg for money. He
argues that this promotes a begging culture that literally pushes the
parents to use their children to beg for money on the streets.

“Such unwarranted actions have a long- term psychological effect that
negatively impacts on the unfortunate children who are exposed to the
begging syndrome in adult life,” he said.

Childline Zimbabwe spokesperson Mrs Patience Chiyangwa called for
authorities to address the problem. She encouraged people to avoid giving
the street people money.

“It is important that members of the public desist from giving cash as this
encourages them to stay on the streets. Preferably, if they can have more
sustainable solutions to the problem that would be welcome. The more there
is a feeling of begging as a lucrative exercise, the more we prolong this

“There is need for strategic reintegration and reasonable accommodation in
society for the affected people living with disabilities.”

Mrs Chiyangwa also called on the need to have a strong family environment
regardless of current economic challenges.

“Parents that beg should have enough love for themselves and their children
and try to live within their means. Families ought to cover each other’s
backs and look after their underprivileged family members.

“Traditionally, children belong to the community, but some parents are even
neglecting their own children.”

A handicapped woman who identified herself as Mai Dube and has children,
aged 12 and seven respectively, begging in the streets, said the harsh
economic conditions forced her to be on the streets.

“My husband and have been unemployed for a long time. Begging is the only
solution to fend for our family, although I am not proud of the current
state my kids and I are in.”

Justice for Children Trust programmes director Mr Caleb Mutandwa said there
was need to take into cognisance the economic and social factors dictating
the situation. Mr Mutandwa said the children were missing out on education,
morals and the chance of a better future.

“It is unfortunate that these children are exposed to sexual abuse and
diseases on the streets when our organisation only provides legal services.
We only follow the lead from the Government.”

He said the civil society had earlier this year met with the police to curb
child abuse on the streets and launched an operation to apprehend people who
abuse children’s rights. The initiative, however, failed to kick off after
Government and the police failed to effectively co-ordinate and co-operate
with each other.

The initiative also targeted parents who abuse their children and no arrests
were made as authorities also consider circumstances forcing them to beg.

Streets Ahead director Ms Duduzile Sithole said the organisation had
launched designated programmes for a holistic approach to issues affecting
people on the streets.

“These activities include street visits to initiate contact, develop
friendships with and identify new children coming onto the streets. The
children are then referred to the drop-in centre operating from the House of
Smiles where they receive counselling, bathing and laundry facilities, a hot
meal, life skills training as well as recreational activities. All these
activities are geared to persuading the children to leave the streets and
find alternatives to street life.”

The initiative has group discussions where they talk about topical issues on
the streets and possible solutions to them. The children are also referred
for medical attention, family tracing and reunification for those willing to
go back home while others are put in institutions.

Mrs Sithole was not amused by parents who use their children for begging
purposes adding that Streets Ahead would engage the parents appraising them
on children’s rights and breaking the law.

While non-governmental organisations have played a big role in trying to
ease the problem, some of them have faced serious financial constraints
affecting their operations.

This has seen the need for all including Government, NGOs, police, parents
and the society as a whole to find a lasting solution to the problems of
people living on the streets.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The time for hate-mongering is over


by Obert Gutu

The future has arrived. Tomorrow is now here. This is a call for action. The
time for hate-mongering and mud-slinging is over. A New Zimbabwe is
beckoning and this is our generational challenge to rise and shine.

The politics of confrontation should be discarded to the dustbin of history
where it now rightfully belongs. We are sick and tired of hurling insults at
each other. We would like to engage a new developmental trajectory.

The past is gone. Gone forever. We are the NOW generation and we refuse to
be intoxicated by the gospel of hatred, malice and retribution. We would
like to move Zimbabwe forward.

With 80 percent of our population living on less than US$2 per day, we are
classified as a poor nation by United Nations standards. But then, Zimbabwe
is too rich to be poor.

We are well-endowed with abundant natural resources, from the alluvial
diamonds of Chiadzwa to just about every mineral known to mankind; from the
mighty Zambezi and Limpopo rivers to the awesome and breathtaking natural
wonder called the Mosi-a-Tunya, we have it all here in Zimbabwe.

The time has now come for us to pull up our socks and to engage a gear up.
We should completely refuse to be poor, because we don’t deserve to live in

That there will be a brand new government in Zimbabwe before Christmas 2013
is as sure as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. That the
new government will be led by Morgan Tsvangirai is as certain as the fact
that a day has 24 hours. We have a date with history; an appointment with
destiny. What God has ordained, no one made of flesh and blood can change.

They may shout their voices hoarse and claim that they will never salute
Tsvangirai, but then we shouldn’t be bothered one iota. This is a people’s
project. The people will always emerge victorious.

Ian Smith had deadly sub-machine guns and a lethal air force but he was
still brought down to earth by a rag tag guerrilla force that had the
support of the majority of the people on its side; and a few thousand AK 47
assault rifles.

Thus, we shouldn’t be surprised simply because the darkest hour is just
before dawn. They have the guns but we have the people on our side. That is
what really matters at the end of the day. Victory is guaranteed. Indeed,
victory is certain.

The new government has a formidable task before it. We have a battered
economy with a staggering 85 percent unemployment rate. But then, we shouldn’t
feel discouraged. This is our generational challenge to rise and shine.

This is an opportunity for us to build Brand Zimbabwe and to showcase our
unique talents to the entire world. We should not consider this a problem
but a challenge because it is a brilliant opportunity for us to mark a break
with the past and to engage the future.

We should draw a line in the sand and tell ourselves that never again are we
going to permit a few greedy and corrupt men and women to hold the whole
nation to ransom and to drive the majority of the people into endemic
poverty whilst a few fat cats line their pockets with looted public wealth.

Put bluntly, going forward, we should refuse to be misgoverned.

Our new government should love the people. And of course, the government has
to be lean and efficient without a bloated cabinet. A number of ministries
will have to be combined and collapsed into single entities.

For instance, the Ministry of Justice & Legal Affairs and the Ministry
of Constitutional & Parliamentary Affairs can easily be combined into a
single ministry. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Lands can
be collapsed into one ministry.

The Ministry of Regional Integration can be collapsed into the Ministry of
Economic Planning & Regional Integration etc.

We should immediately adopt a new socio-political and economic paradigm
where the concept of “jobs for the boys” is abolished forthwith. We want to
build a culture of meritocracy as opposed to obscurantism and clientelism.
We should not expect a cabinet of anything in excess of 20 ministers.

Whether or not Yours Truly is part of that cabinet is not an issue! What
Zimbabwe needs, and needs very urgently, is a lean and fully functional and
efficient cabinet.

Uhuru Kenyatta recently cut the size of the Kenyan cabinet from 44 ministers
to only 18. We can learn from the Kenyan experience. It is not quantity that
matters. What really matters is quality. As it is often stated, it is not
the size of the dog that matters in a fight, but the fight in the dog.

Zimbabwe is at the crossroads. Failure is not an option. Surrendering is
simply not on the agenda. Success is guaranteed. We know that only 18
percent of the country’s 88,000 km road network is tarred.

We know that less than 25 percent of the country’s 14 million inhabitants
have access to safe and piped water as well as electricity. This might sound
formidable but then with the correct focus and determination, we can achieve
a remarkable turnaround in record time. It can be done. And it should be

When some of our political leaders talk of achieving a US$100 billion
economy by 2040, we shouldn’t think that they have taken leave of their
senses. We have to dream; and to dream big.

It is a complete embarrassment for a great nation like Zimbabwe to be run on
a shoe-string budget of a mere US$3 billion a year. We are too big to be run
like a tuck shop. We should refuse to be poor. We deserve better and as I
have already stated, the time for playing a blame game is over.

We deserve to be the new emerging tiger of Africa. We are a sleeping giant
waiting to wake up from a deep slumber.

Countries with very limited natural resources such as Japan, South Korea,
Singapore and Hong Kong have managed to transform their economies into
highly developed nation states in record time. We can also do it; we have
both the natural and human resources.

Lake Kariba was commissioned by the Queen Mother in 1960 and today, more
than 50 years afterwards, we still have a limited electricity generation
capacity of 1200 megawatts at Kariba. We have failed to improve upon what
the colonialists had done for us.

We should wake up and smell the coffee. And now we hear stories that the
Kariba dam wall has to be reinforced or else it may collapse with
devastating consequences for the entire sub-region. We should not wait to
take action because a major disaster might be happening soon.

We have to be pro-active, we have to plan in advance.

I was in Kariba during the Easter holidays in March 2013 where I noticed a
major environmental disaster that is slowly taking place. The deadly water
hyacinth weed is slowly covering the water surface in Lake Kariba. If we are
not careful, the whole of the lake will soon be covered under this deadly
weed. The time for action is now.

It is not impossible to emerge victorious from trying times. Fifty years
ago, South Korea was a peasant economy whose gross domestic product (GDP)
was less than the GDP of Ghana. But where is South Korea now?

Who doesn’t know about the global brand called Samsumg? Samsung has taken
the world by storm in a relatively short period of time. It has overtaken
major brands such as Sony and Panasonic. Today, everyone is talking about
the Samsung smart phones.

Zimbabwe can also design its own unique products that can capture global
appeal. That is the way to go. We have highly qualified personnel both
locally and in the Diaspora who should be able to take this great nation to
the next level.

Our agenda for action should take us away from a life of deprivation,
servitude and penury. We should unlock value from all the opportunities that
abound in this blessed country. It shouldn’t be impossible to create one
million new jobs within the next five years.

The idea is to build an industrialised modern nation state where poverty is
eliminated. We cannot continue to have a flea market economy when our
country is endowed with so much natural resources. Looking ahead, exciting
times are about to happen in Zimbabwe. Truly, a New Zimbabwe beckons.

Obert Gutu is the Senator for Chisipite in Harare. He is the MDC Harare
provincial spokesperson and also the Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal
Affairs in the coalition government.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe's Will to Power

How has Mugabe retained power for so long and what are the chances of
ZANU-PF peacefully giving it up in the event that they lose the upcoming

The recent arbitrary arrests of prominent human rights lawyer, Beatrice
Mtetwa and senior officials of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
coupled with sporadic state attacks on civilians and the civil society, have
been interpreted by some - including the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai - as
the last kicks of a dying horse.

Lovemore Madhuku, who heads the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), an
omnipotent civic organisation when it comes to constitutional and democracy
matters in Zimbabwe, echoed the same sentiment, explaining that the moves
were borne out of ZANU-PF’s fear that they may lose the upcoming elections.

However, lost amongst all this ridiculing are two unmistakable facts. First,
ZANU-PF’s election preparation is already well underway, and intimidation of
civilians and violence, are simply part of its unconventional strategy.
Second, this is not the first time that predictions have been made
anticipating the stark decline of ZANU-PF. Indeed, in the run–up to the 2002
and 2008 elections, with mounting national debt, food shortages, disease
outbreaks, rampant unemployment, and high levels of inflation, many were
sceptical about their chances. But ZANU–PF has proved to be a survivor, and
is the dominant actor in a shaky coalition government with two MDC

Why has ZANU-PF stayed in power for so long?
There is no doubt that ZANU–PF has relied on its underhand approach to
retain power. Alongside the manipulation of votes, intimidation and violence
have also been at the heart of ZANU–PF tactics. Indeed, even a cursory look
at post-independence elections will reveal that they have been characterised
by violence.

In the run–up to the 1985 parliamentary elections, ZANU–PF government
unleashed the infamous Gukurahundi policy against the supporters of Zimbabwe
African People’s Union – Patriotic Front (ZAPU-PF), resulting in thousands
of deaths.

In 1990, Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM), a party that provided a formidable
challenge to ZANU–PF, was also met with violence; and in the 1996 elections,
the two main opposition parties, Abel Muzorewa’s United Parties (UP) and
Ndabaningi Sithole’s Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU-Ndonga), withdrew
from the elections due to ‘irregularities’ and intimidation of their
supporters. When the MDC emerged in 1999, it seemed to have a genuine chance
of unseating ZANU-PF. But President Mugabe’s party again resorted to
physical force. And so today, it should not come as a surprise if this year’s
elections are similarly brutal.

These obvious forms of repression have been complemented by more subtle
ones. The party has created a vastly unequal political playing field, which
has always given it an upper hand in past electoral contests.

For example, the media in Zimbabwe has always been muzzled. There are very
few privately–owned newspapers and radio stations. Public information
remains under the firm grip of ZANU–PF, which uses state–owned media to skew
public opinion in its favour and employs hate speech against opposition
parties. Repressive laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act, the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), and the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act have been used to severely curtail basic
rights through vague defamation clauses and draconian penalties.

To date, ZANU-PF have showed total disregard to calls by the opposition,
civil society, regional bodies such as the African Union (AU) and the
international community to allow other political players the room to

ZANU–PF has had an overwhelming share of Zimbabwe’s most talented
politicians. Amongst others, contemporaries include Patrick Chinamasa,
Jonathan Moyo, and Herbert Murerwa. This vanguard of elite politicians, who
have masterminded ZANU–PF’s stranglehold on Zimbabwean politics since the
1980s, are not only street smart and academic, they are also ruthless.

This personnel has created an ideology that appears to resonate with a
staunchly anti-Western and nationalistic section of Zimbabwean society. It
could be argued that ZANU–PF has a ‘permanent’ support base of mostly rural
peasants that have more or less consistently voted for them since
independence. Though the MDC has started to make some inroads into this,
historically, it has been difficult for the opposition to claim significant
support from this group.

Another ZANU-PF tool has been propaganda. For example, it has repeatedly
played the fear card of a return of ‘white rule’ through the MDC, portraying
the opposition as conniving with foreigners to steal Zimbabwe’s riches and
do harm to the country.

President Mugabe’s party also understands the application of history as
propaganda, and as a social and political organising force that can help
shape national identity. The party has manufactured and popularised many
different versions of history in order to justify both its policies - such
as land reform, indigenisation and repression. History has been used to
reinforce the centrality of ZANU–PF in Zimbabwean politics and the eternal
nature of the ‘revolutionary party’ versus the ephemeral nature of other
parties that have come and gone.

Elite cohesion: enforced loyalty
Despite all of these measures, the cohesion amongst its elite has been
ZANU – PF’s greatest source of survival. There might be genuine grounds for
the opposition’s optimism if President Mugabe’s party were split down in the
middle, or a significant number of party stalwarts were to leave.

What explains this high level of cohesion? First, one might look at what has
been termed ‘corrupt law practice’. This system is simple - in return for
the loyalty of this elite, the ZANU–PF government tolerates corrupt
activities by its party officials. At the same time, the government closely
documents this corruption, building evidence that can be used to control
these elite officials, particularly those that the party cannot afford to
leave or join other parties. If any of these members undermine party
cohesion by, for example, threatening to form a breakaway political party or
join a rival party, compromising information is passed to a partisan
attorney general, who then pursues them. The disobedient party member either
faces prospect of jail or full–scale seizure of their wealth, or both.

This strategy against a number of elite members: James Makamba, Chris
Kuruneri, Philip Chiyangwa to name a few. These party stalwarts were jailed,
or threatened with jail, and also faced the possibility of being stripped of
their wealth. Action against these men has acted as a warning to others in
the party: keep in line or face devastating legal consequences.

The very nature of ZANU – PF’s corrupt political culture has ensured its
survival. The party is dominated by wealthy individuals who have mines, vast
tracts of land and control local banks. Together, these individuals practise
a distinctive form of patronage politics that they have used to maintain the
party’s unity. Public offices are often used by ZANU–PF elites to gain
access to state resources, which are then shared amongst party elites in
order to retain their loyalty to the party. The resources are used to lure
talented members of the intelligentsia and powerful civil society leaders to
the party.

The West has aided ZANU–PF survival
Western powers have publicly backed the opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change. However, their pronouncements may undermine the very
democratic ideals that they seek to uphold. They played into the hands of
President Mugabe as he rallies his core supporters’ against these perceived
attempts of external interference in Zimbabwean politics. Calls from
Washington and Brussels have afforded ZANU–PF the perfect opportunity to
frame the MDC as a front for neo–imperialism.

ZANU–PF’s Succession Problems
This may seem like an unshakeable hold on the political landscape, however,
once Mugabe leaves, all bets on ZANU–PF’s political future are off. The 89
year old’s presence has so far prevented any potential split in the party.

But even if he does win the elections, the octogenarian leader’s health is
poor: he may soon pass away or will surely resign before the end of the next
period of tenure. This is evidenced by the fact that ZANU–PF fought so hard
for an inclusion of a provision in the sixth schedule of the new
constitution, which says that should a president retire or fail to continue
in office for any reason, there will be no new elections and the ruling
political party can select a successor. This is the clearest indication yet
that President Mugabe intends to hand over power to one of the party
members. Rumours suggest power wrangling has already started within the
party. But who are the contenders, and what are their chances?

The choice of successor, if left to Mugabe, will certainly be someone who
commands enough authority to preserve party unity, and who is determined to
carry forward his policies (especially land reform and economic
indigenisation). The man who appears to fit the bill is Emerson Mnangagwa,
who has long been regarded as the President’s blue eyed boy. Having been
minister of Justice and Security amongst many, he is not only an experienced
administrator, but he probably more than anyone else, he has helped build
and maintain Mugabe’s post–independence political order.

However, Mnangagwa lacks the charisma of his mentor and combines the worst
instincts of patronage politics with a ruthlessly authoritarian temperament.
He is rumoured to be one of the richest Zimbabweans, and has been accused as
the man behind the Gukurahundi atrocities committed against civilians in the
Matabeleland region in the early 1980s. Having been in the cabinet since
1980, Mnangagwa is of a similar generation to Mugabe and exudes an
atmosphere of elderly exhaustion.

The other contender is current Vice President, Joice Mujuru. However,
following the death of her husband, who was known as a “Kingmaker” in
ZANU–PF’s internal circles, Mujuru’s faction has been gravely weakened, and
support has since flowed away from her camp. She will need to attract some
party stalwarts to stem this flow. However, the choice of Vice President
Mujuru would be a disheartening one given after frequently being implicated
in corrupt deals.

A surprise entry in the succession battle has been the emergence of the
appropriately-name Saviour Kasukuwere - the young and energetic minister of
Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment, who has been a chief coordinator in
President Mugabe’s drive to ‘indigenise’ foreign-owned companies. The burly,
former intelligence officer is by far the underdog. Kasukuwere’s faction,
made mainly of young apparatchiks languishes in the wilderness, and emerging
on the national scene might prove a step too far. This is mainly because his
camp lacks the elaborate and well–organised patronage networks that the
traditional factions of Mnangagwa and Mujuru enjoy. This has long been the
primary difference in ZANU–PF’s ruthless factional politics. However, the
young contender is not necessarily out of the game if he can muster some
patrimonial linkages.

Some believe that if President Mugabe were to lose the election, the
security chiefs, who have a symbiotic relationship with ZANU–PF, will take
over. This is unlikely for two reasons. First, the army is very much aware
that its public image is extremely poor amongst ordinary Zimbabweans.
Despite making explicit threats, it is doubtful whether they would want to
experiment with actual governance. Second, the army will also struggle to
project legitimacy across Africa. Diplomatic pressure by international
leaders - particularly from SADC and South Africa, will certainly not be
keen to see the first military rule in this region of Africa - will be too
much for them to withstand.

Will ZANU–PF handover power if they were to lose the elections?
Having been encouraged by a peaceful referendum vote, many are beginning to
see a scenario where ZANU–PF might voluntarily hand over power in the event
of being defeated. This may be a reckless assumption. Past elections have
shown that the party is so distinctly hostile to competitive politics, that
it would be naive to think that ZANU–PF is conducting elections in good

The Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who is considered one of the brains
behind ZANU-PF, was recently asked if ZANU – PF were prepared to surrender
power peacefully if they lose the upcoming elections. Chinamasa’s response
was brazen and evasive: he claimed he would campaign for ZANU–PF to win and
did not see his party losing. This reflects ZANU – PF’s resolve to not give
up power and to retain it at all costs.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

“I Would Rather Have My Land Back”
LDPI Working Paper 20. “I Would Rather Have My Land Back.” Subaltern Voices and Corporate/State Land Grab in the Save Valley
Working Paper
Open / Free access
Makombe, E.K.
Makombe, E.K.LDPI Working Paper 20. “I Would Rather Have My Land Back.” Subaltern Voices and Corporate/State Land Grab in the Save Valley.The Land Deal Politics Initiative, (2013) 23 pp.
Eastern Africa
The history of the Save Valley in south-eastern Manicaland, Zimbabwe, provides an intriguing account of peasant encounters with the state apparatus dating back to the 1920s. However, the process currently underway, where an obscure 20-year deal involving a public-private partnership between the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) and Macdom and Rating Investments for 50,000 hectares of land represents what is perhaps the highest level of the state’s coercive apparatus at work; as many as 250,000 communal farmers stand to lose or have already lost their lands and livelihoods. The case shows many features demonstrated in the wider literature on ‘land grabs’ and as with many cases of other ‘grabs’, this case centres on state land which has been also used by local people. It highlights the way the politics of relationships between the state, investors and local communities are played out. This paper seeks to capture and historicise the subjective subaltern voices in light of the current corporate and state-centric landgrabbing being experienced in the Save Valley. It captures the experiences arising out of the land deal which has curtailed the community’s access to land and other livelihood alternatives. Contests over land, and ambiguous claims over land rights, as well as arguments that the land is underutilized, are central to this case. This paper in particular delves into the historical origins of these competing claims of rights of use and ownership of land at the centre of land disputes thrown up by new land deals, and points to the importance of understanding the long-term claim-making process, and its contested and ambiguous nature. Neat legal documents associated with investment contracts always have to encounter this layered and disputed history, and need to take more cognisance of such histories of land use and rights claims by different actors, if the sort of disputes and conflicts that arise, as in this case, are to be avoided.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare arts festival offers upbeat image of a country in turmoil

Musicians mingle with poets and authors in Zimbabwe's capital for event dubbed the 'Glastonbury of southern Africa'

Noisettes Perform At KOKO In London
Shingai Shoniwa of the Noisettes was among the performers at the Harare International Festival of the Arts. Photograph: Annabel Staff/Getty Images

Nigerian guitaristKunle Ayojumped down from the stage and gyrated within touching distance of the audience, igniting a chain reaction of gushing smiles. An American spectator leapt to her feet and danced like a human rubber band, eliciting whoops and cheers. The tent was boisterous, joyful and effortlessly multiracial.

An hour later, a short walk away, thousands of people would gather on blankets and deck chairs for a night of Mozart, Verdi and Wagner under the starry African sky. An aftershow party in a pristine white marquee featured candelabra, chandeliers, "platinum club" badges and a stack of Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

These were two among scores of shows staged last week in the heart of Harare, the capital ofZimbabwe, a country that the world has more frequently come to associate with social and cultural collapse.

The annualHarare International Festival of the Arts(HIFA) was born in the comparative golden era of 1999 and weathered the nation's stormy decade of farm invasions, hyperinflation and political bloodshed to gain repute as "the Glastonbury of southernAfrica". This year's version took place in a steadier climate but amid awareness that more potentially explosive elections are just around the corner.

"HIFA shows a Zimbabwe that works," said Petina Gappah, an author who could be heard reading from her work alongside Indonesian poets in a tent that doubled as poetry cafe and fashion catwalk. "In the Harare Gardens [the main venue], you see a Zimbabwe that's functional, except the toilets."

Every day queues could be seen at the box office where a white board listed sold-out shows ranging from Chinese acrobats to the stories of Charles Dickens. The generally scruffy Harare Gardens were spruced up with fairy lights, sponsors' logos, food stalls, an arts and crafts market, a children's zone and performance venues. The mood was buzzy, cosmopolitan and genuinely festive.

Wendy Prosser, 39, the woman who danced with such elasticity to Kunle Ayo, had travelled from the Seattle to be here for the eighth time. "HIFA is the coolest thing you will see in Africa," she insisted. "In 2008 the entire country was collapsing and HIFA was still going on. It is hands down the best thing ever."

Baaba MaalBaaba Maal was among headline acts at this year's Harare arts festival. Photograph: C Brandon/Redferns

This year's festival was the biggest to date, featuring about 130 local and 70 international performances (the latter drawn from about 30 countries) at a dozen venues over six days. Headline acts included Senegal'sBaaba Maaland Britain'sNoisettes,whose singer Shingai Shoniwa, born in London to Zimbabwean parents, was given a mid-performance piggyback ride through an ecstatic crowd.

Last year 62,000 tickets were sold and a further 4,000 given away. HIFA employs about 1,500 people, a third of whom are jobless or homeless, and helps about 300 orphans or vulnerable children. With no government funding, it relies on corporate sponsors, donors, small companies and foreign embassies.

Butfive yearsago it faced the charge of fiddling while Rome burned: Zimbabwe's hyperinflation reached an estimated 6.5 sextillion per cent, supermarket shelves were bare and cholera claimed thousands of lives. Manuel Bagorro, 48, the festival's founder, recalled: "People were starving a stone's throw from the gates of a glossy and sparkly festival.

"But the money we'd sourced was not going to be available for anything else. Either we do nothing or we do something we can, which is putting on a wonderful arts festival and developing a new audience. We felt we could provide something hopeful and aware of the context of the time. When somebody stands on a stage, it's a statement about human rights and the capacity of the arts to reach people in new ways."

ButHIFA rarely goes in for explicit political statements in a country where opposition members, activists, artists, journalists and idle gossipers are routinely arrested for insulting President Robert Mugabe. Bagorro, 48, explained: "It's about keeping a balance and not damaging the festival and throwing the baby out with the bath water in an attempt to be right on. I didn't want us to say: 'Look how brave we are.'"

HIFA sailed close to the wind with a 2011 opening show that featured the song Diamonds are Forever, Chinese aeroplanes and diamonds being stolen from children. Bagorro and colleagues were taken to Harare central police station for questioning that involved "a lot of shouting and accusations but also a realisation that there was nothing to be done". As it has been for centuries under repressive regimes, metaphor remains a potent weapon, but not always by design. "In plays now if an old man with glasses walks on stage everyone assumes it's the president," Bagorro added. "Someone reads political meanings into something that wasn't the intention."

Neither Mugabe nor the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has attended the festival, he added, but various ministers slip in without fanfare.

Years of strife in Zimbabwe and the attendant media coverage mean that HIFA is still a hard sell to the outside world. This year's artistic director, Gavin Peter, admitted: "It's almost impossible. Even in Johannesburg people don't believe it when I show them pictures. I do think it would blow people's minds. It blows our minds.

"Some artists are nervous. In a lot of places it's a red-listed country still, especially in an election year. The only way to combat it is a lot of positive communication. You can't guarantee that something won't happen but we will do our best to make sure it doesn't. A lot of people support it for that reason: positive reinforcement is nice."

Peter, 40, added: "Of course there's plenty of fear. It is a scary place, a foreign country in the middle of Africa. Perhaps that's the charm: you have to rough it a bit, but not too much."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Constitution Watch 26/2013 of 8th May 2013 [Bringing the New Constitution into Operation]


[8th May 2013]

Bringing the New Constitution into Operation


The COPAC draft constitution was approved in a Referendum in March, and is likely to be passed into law by mid-May. Now it has to be brought into operation. How will this be done? In this Constitution Watch we shall concentrate on the legal processes mandated by the new constitution itself, rather than on the processes laid down in the “Electoral Road-map” agreed on by the principals to the GPA and endorsed by SADC. [Those processes are vitally important, in that if implemented they will ensure the forthcoming elections are peaceful and fair; but they arise out of the GPA rather than directly from the new constitution.]

Implementation of the New Constitution

1. Enactment of the constitution

The “yes” vote in the referendum did not bring the new constitution into force. Zimbabwe will continue to be governed by the current much-amended 1980 constitution until the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 20) Act [see Constitution Watch 25 /2013 of 4th April 2013] is passed by Parliament and signed by the President. It is this enactment that will declare the new constitution to be the Constitution of Zimbabwe and repeal the current constitution. [Note: the repeal of the current constitution will be subject to the Sixth Schedule of the new constitution which provides that the current constitution will be replaced in stages]. The Act must be passed in accordance with section 52 of the 1980 constitution, so:

The Bill for the Act had to be published in the Gazette for at least 30 days before it is introduced into Parliament. The Bill was in fact published on the 29th March, and it was introduced in Parliament when it resumed on the 7th May.

At its third reading in the Senate and the House of Assembly, the Bill must be passed by at least two-thirds of the total membership of each House as stipulated by the Constitution – House of Assembly [215] and Senate [99], which means that vacancies are disregarded when calculating the two-thirds majority. So the Bill will need at least 142 votes in the House and 66 in the Senate. This should be no problem as the parties have all been campaigning for a “yes” vote.

Parliament does not have to pass an identical Bill to the one that was approved at the referendum; the GPA does not require it, and members of Parliament have a right to move amendments to any Bill. On the other hand, by approving the COPAC draft at the referendum voters sent a clear political message that that was what they wanted as the new constitution, and in any event Parliament cannot make substantial changes to a constitutional Bill that was published in the Gazette.

2. Parts of the new constitution that will come into operation immediately

Even after Parliament has passed the new constitution and the President has given his assent to it and had it published, the Sixth Schedule to the new constitution provides that only certain parts of it will come into operation immediately [as indicated above, the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act bringing in the new constitution will provide for the current constitution to be replaced in stages]. The following are the parts of the new constitution which will come into effect immediately and will override the equivalent provisions of the 1980 constitution:

The provisions relating to citizenship.

The Declaration of Rights.

The provisions relating to elections, in particular those dealing with the election and assumption of office of a new President, the election and summoning of Parliament, and the functions and powers of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC].

Provisions relating to public administration and leadership and the conduct of members of the security services.

Provisions relating to provincial and local government.

3. Provisions that will come into operation later

Once the first election has been held and the first President elected under the new constitution is sworn in and assumes office, the remainder of the new constitution will come into operation and the present constitution will be wholly repealed.

4. Time-scale for implementation of the new constitution

The five-year life of the current Parliament comes to an end on midnight of the 28th June. After that, there will be no Parliament and all Bills which have not been passed will lapse. So the Bill enacting the new constitution will have to be passed by both Houses of Parliament and assented to by the President before that date. In fact it will have to be done well before then because a great deal of complex additional legislation will be needed to bring in the provisions of the new constitution that come into force immediately, and this is necessary before elections can be held.

Legislation Needed Before This Parliament Ends

There are two reasons why immediate legislation will be needed. The first is that the next general election will be held in accordance with the new constitution, and the Electoral Act will have to be amended to enable that election to be held. The second reason is that the provisions of the new constitution which come into operation immediately, will require changes to several other statutes if they are to be fully effective. [Note When the provisions which come in after the first election has been held and the first President elected under the new constitution is sworn in and assumes office, there will then be a great deal of other new legislation required, but that will be the work of the next Parliament].

Changes to the Electoral Act

The next election, which will elect the first President and Parliament under the new constitution, will have to be held in accordance with the new constitution. The Electoral Act will have to be amended to make provision for the following:

Proportional Representation: Under the new constitution, 60 Senators, 60 members of the National Assembly and 80 members of provincial councils will be elected by a system of proportional representation based on the votes cast for constituency members of the National Assembly. The Electoral Act makes no provision for proportional representation and will have to be amended extensively to allow these elections to take place. We shall deal with these amendments in a separate Constitution Watch.

Election of Senators to represent persons with disabilities: The new Senate will have two senators specially elected to represent persons with disabilities. How they will be elected, and even the definition of “persons with disabilities”, will have to be set out in the Electoral Act.

New time-limits: Clause 157(3) of the new constitution requires nomination day in every election to be at least 14 days after the election was called, and at least 30 days before polling day. These time-limits will have to be incorporated into section 38 of the Electoral Act.

Transfer of results between centres: The Electoral Act is vague and inconsistent about how and when election results must be transferred between electoral centres from ward to constituency, provincial and national level. The vagueness must be clarified and the inconsistencies removed.

Transparency: Transparency as a component of good governance is one of the founding principles on which the new constitution is based. It is vitally important in elections, to avoid suspicion that the results have been manipulated. In particular, there should be complete transparency in the process whereby votes are counted and tallied and the results transferred from polling stations to ward centres and then to constituency centres, to provincial centres and finally to the national centre. There must be immediate disclosure of all results received at every centre and of all results transmitted from every centre.

These amendments will have to be drafted and put into operation quickly so that political parties and candidates who want to contest the forthcoming elections can familiarise themselves with the changes to the law. In particular, parties need to know well in advance of the election what system of proportional representation will be put in place and what the rules will be for contesting party-list seats. Ideally, the parties should be involved in drafting the amendments.

Challenges to the Validity of the First Presidential Election

Whilst other electoral challenges remain the province of the Electoral Court provided for by the Electoral Act, under para 7 of the Sixth Schedule to the new constitution challenges to the election of the first President will have to be decided by the new Constitutional Court [see below]. It will be a policy decision whether the changes needed to specify the procedure for bringing such challenges before the Constitutional Court are done by legislation through Parliament, or by amending the Rules of the Supreme Court which can be done by the Chief Justice in consultation with a committee appointed by himself after which the new Rules will have to be approved by the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs.

Establishment of Provincial and Metropolitan Councils

The provisions of the new constitution relating to provincial and local government will come into operation as soon as the new constitution is published, i.e. before the first election. In order for the provincial and metropolitan councils to be become operational, legislation will have to be passed before then providing for the functions, powers and procedures of provincial councils — in effect, establishing the councils.

Amendment of local government legislation

The Urban Councils Act and the Rural District Councils Act must be amended before the election to remove the power of the Minister of Local Government to appoint councillors [because under the new constitution all councillors will have to be elected]. For the same reason, the Ministerial notices laying down the number of councillors in each council will also have to be amended.

Conduct of members of the security services

Clause 208 of the new constitution prohibits members of the security services — the Defence Forces, the Police and the Prison Service — from being active members of political parties. In fact it may not be necessary to enact legislation to enforce this clause, because police officers are already prohibited from participating in politics [section 9 as read with para 48(2) of the Schedule to the Police Act] and if members of the Defence Forces and Prison Service involve themselves in politics after the new constitution is published it will presumably amount to a breach of their conditions of service.

Legislation needed to give effect to the new Declaration of Rights

A great many statutes will have to be amended to give effect to the Declaration of Rights contained in the new constitution. For example, under clause 48 of the new constitution the death penalty can be imposed only on men convicted of aggravated murder, so the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act will need to reflect this. Such amendments, however, can be left until after the first election has been held, because decisions in cases involving many of these changes must be made by the courts under the new constitution.

There are, however, some changes that must be made immediately. These amendments are:

Amendments to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act: Clauses 50 and 70 of the new constitution confer rights on persons who have been arrested or are up for trial, and many of these rights are not yet recognised under our law. For instance, arrested persons will have a right not to answer questions, and will have to be informed of their right not to do so, and will have to be brought before a court within 48 hours or else released; and accused persons in criminal trials will have to be informed of their right to legal representation and, like arrested persons, will be entitled to remain silent. These rights will become effective as soon as the Declaration of Rights becomes operative, and trials held under our current law, which ignores or severely limits these rights, may be rendered invalid.

Establishment of a Constitutional Court: As soon as the new Declaration of Rights comes into operation, the rights conferred by it will become enforceable. Any appeals involving violations of the new Declaration of Rights will then go the Constitutional Court [rather than the Supreme Court as at present]. The Rules of the Supreme Court will therefore need to be amended in terms of para 18(4) of the Sixth Schedule to the new constitution so that constitutional cases can be brought before the Constitutional Court, which, by virtue of para 18(2), will consist of the current judges of the Supreme Court. [Note: after seven years there will be the appointment of special constitutional court judges to the Constitutional Court.]

Establishment of the National Prosecuting Authority

When the new President is sworn in and the new constitution comes fully into operation, responsibility for prosecuting criminal cases on behalf of the State will be transferred from the Attorney-General to a National Prosecuting Authority under the control of a Prosecutor-General [the present Attorney-General, incidentally, will become Prosecutor-General]. In order for the transition to proceed without disrupting the whole criminal justice system, the necessary legislative changes will need to be in place before the current Parliament ends. The Attorney-General’s Office Act must therefore be replaced by a new National Prosecuting Authority Act conferring the necessary powers on the Authority and its officers, and extensive amendments will also have to be made to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act changing responsibility for prosecution, etc.


Preparing all this legislation which is necessary before the elections, and getting it through Parliament before Parliament ends on 28th June, will be a major undertaking to complete in under two months. Regrettably, the politicians concerned seem to have embarked on election campaigning and are showing few signs of urgency about the necessary legislative agenda.

Note on Citizenship

The new constitution’s provisions on citizenship [Chapter 3] could be implemented without any amendments being made to the Citizenship Act. So a Citizenship Amendment Bill is not essential at this stage, but in view of the confusion that reigns about our citizenship law, which has been altered so frequently over the years, it would be desirable to amend the Act to clarify it and, most importantly, to ensure that administrative instructions about citizenship and consequential voter registration are standardised and made widely known to the public.

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