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Roy Bennett acquitted on all charges

Top Tsvangirai aide Bennett acquitted
by Ndodana Sixholo Monday 10 May 2010

HARARE - A Zimbabwean High Court judge on Monday acquitted Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai's top aide Roy Bennett of terrorism charges and his MDC
party has called for his immediate swearing in as deputy agriculture

Judge Chinembiri Bhunu found Bennett, whose trial has strained Harare's
coalition government, not guilty of the two charges - illegal possession of
weapons of war and plotting treason - at the close of the state case and
upheld the MDC treasurer general's application for discharge.

Bhunu said the state had failed to prove a prima facie case against Bennett,
who faced a possible lengthy jail term or death sentenced if convicted.

"Having carefully considered the facts, I come to the conclusion that the
state has failed to prove a prima facie case. The accused is accordingly
found not guilty," said Bhunu, dismissing the state case.

"It is self evident that the state failed to link the accused (Bennett) to
the offences as charged. There is no nexus between the accused and the
commission of the offences. We therefore came to a unanimous decision that
we found him not guilty at the close of the state case."

Attorney General Johannes Tomana said he would not appeal saying: "It's a
High Court decision and it is our understanding of justice it has been done
and it must be binding."

The case against Bennett had stemmed from allegations of a plot to topple
the southern African country's long-time ruler, President Robert Mugabe in

The state alleged that Bennett gave money to gun dealer Peter Michael
Hitschmann for use to buy weapons to be used to assassinate Mugabe.

Prosecutors alleged that Hitschmann implicated Bennett in 2006 when he was
arrested after being found in possession of firearms - claims the gun-dealer
has denied saying he was tortured into making confessions implicating the
MDC politician during interrogation at a military barracks near the eastern
border city of Mutare.

Bennett, Tsvangirai's choice for deputy agriculture minister, was arrested
in February 2009, shortly before he was to be sworn in, over the terror

Bhunu dismissed evidence proffered by the state's witnesses starting from
Hitschmann, who was later impeached after he was declared a hostile witness.
He said that Hitschmann's confessions could not be used in Bennett's trial.
The judge felt there was nothing in Hitschmann's confessions that connected
Bennett to the offences.

Bhunu said the state had put up a brave fight "under very difficult
circumstances" but said just like a sports team, no team could be allowed to
proceed to the next level "if it had not performed well".

Bennett's lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said she was "elated" by the ruling.

"I'm naturally elated. It's a decision that we were not expecting. We're
very happy that he has been acquitted. It has been a long journey for Roy,
so we are naturally very happy that he is now a free man," said Mtetwa.

Bennett, a devout Christian thanked God for the acquittal saying he has
always been innocent.

"We thank God that evil will never triumph over good. I've always been
innocent as the people of Zimbabwe have always been innocent. We stand firm
that we are fortified and stronger to continue our path for a better life
and a new Zimbabwe for the people," said Bennett.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said Bennett must be sworn in "tomorrow".

"We are very happy. We will never use uncouth methods because we are a very
democratic party. We are expecting Hon Bennett to be sworn in tomorrow
because he is an angel and has no case to answer," said Chamisa.

Mugabe's refusal to swear in Bennett until he is cleared of treason is one
of the key issues at the centre of a bitter dispute between the veteran
leader and Tsvangirai, which has held back the Harare coalition
government. - ZimOnline

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Anglican Church Denies Kunonga Has Control Of Church Assets

10/05/2010 08:55:00

Harare, May 10, 2010 - The Supreme Court did not declare Bishop Nolbert
Kunonga and his board of trustees legitimate or grant them control over
properties of the Anglican Diocese of Harare, said the Anglican church
opposed to the Kunonga faction.

Kunonga lost control of the church in 2007 after he withdrew his diocese
from the Anglican Church Province of Central Africa (CPCA), ostensibly in
protest against the tolerance of homosexuality by Anglicans in the United
Kingdom and the United States of America.

Upon establishing his anti-gay independent Anglican church, he was replaced
by the CPCA, who last July appointed a Bishop Chad Gandiya, sparking a
bloody battle for the control of the church, which has sucked in Zanu (PF)
and the main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The state owned Herald reported last week that Deputy Chief Justice Luke
Malaba had ruled that Kunonga should have control of the Anglican church

The CPCA said the Supreme Court granted a chamber application brought by
Kunonga to dismiss the appeal noted by the CPCA on a procedural

"The appeal brought by the Province related to the High Court Order that was
granted by the Honourable Justice Hlatshwayo declaring Dr Kunonga and six
others trustees of the Diocese of Harare," it said in a statement on Monday.

"That order vested the custody and control of diocesan property to Kunonga
and his six 'trustees' who have since left the CPCA and formed their own
organisation known as the Church of the Province of Zimbabwe and made
Kunonga archbishop of that church."

"Since Dr Kunonga and his six 'trustees' are no longer part of the CPCA,
they cannot, and are not part of the church that owns the property to which
they are 'trustees'. It is for this reason that the CPCA appealed against
the order of the Honourable Justice Hlatshwayo.

"The main matter pertaining to the ownership of diocesan property is still
pending in the High Court and has not been disposed of. Since that matter is
still pending in another court, the Supreme Court did not make any finding
on it. It is therefore a misnomer to report that diocesan assets now belong
to Dr Kunonga as the ownership of assets was never an issue in this appeal,"
noted the statement. "The High Court in the not too distant future, will
determine the main property issue."

The CPCA also noted in the statement that Kunonga was alleged to have stated
that all churches in the diocese were now accessible to all Anglicans on
times "to be arranged with clergy from different persuasions of the Church".

"This is indeed the way it ought to have been as set out in the ruling of
the Honourable Justice Makarau were it not for the illegal use of the police
to bar CPCA parishioners from accessing church premises in clear contempt of
the ruling.

The Gandiya faction has in the past expressed concern at the partisanship
and bias of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. The police has ordered that only
the Kunonga faction should worship in the Anglican premises.

An order from the police reads: "Officer-in-charge stations to engage
dialogue with their local church leaders from both factions to ensure that
one church service is done under KUNONGA."

The Gandiya faction wants police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri,
charged with contempt of court, for ignoring a court order which ruled that
both factions share the premises for worship every Sunday.

"The CPCA has always complied, and will continue to comply, with court
orders issued by the courts of Zimbabwe," read the statement.

The CPCA said it wanted to encourage its members to stand firm in their
faith and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and his church.

"First we would like you all to remember that the church is people. You are
the church and not buildings even though they are important.

"We should guard against discussing church business including matters that
are before the courts in the papers. I understand the need both to
disseminate correct information to a wider audience and to counteract
propaganda and lies that are at times peddled through the papers as "gospel
truth" about our situation. This has to be balanced with other prudent
considerations such as the wisdom of refusing to play according to someone's
tune no matter how great the temptation may be."

It also warned against its members not to act on the basis of what they read
in the newspapers without checking with the authorities first.

"Again, we do not conduct our business through the papers. We will inform
you officially about any changes to the status quo. For instance, Dr.
Kunonga has not contacted the province or us as he indicated in the Herald.
If and when he does and the province or diocese has anything to share with
you, we will do so without delay. In the meantime if you are able to use
your churches please go ahead and do as it is in accordance with Makarawu

"If the police prohibit you, please do not resist because it could then end
up in violence."

Scores of people have been injured in the skirmishes which have seen several
parishioners in different Anglican parishes in and around Zimbabwe

Kunonga is a self confessed Zanu (PF) supporter, who is close to President
Robert Mugabe. Mugabe is a well known anti-gay basher. At one-time he
referred to homosexuals as "worse than pigs."

Sources say Kunonga has ably exploited the issue in order to ingratiate
himself with President Mugabe so as to gain full control of the Anglican
diocese in Harare, which has extensive assets, including farms.

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Consumer breadbasket to continue downward trend

Monday, May 10, 2010


THE Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) expects the monthly consumer
breadbasket to continue on a downward trend though the consumer watchdog
reckons cost drivers still pose a challenge.

In an interview with Sunday Business, the council's Matabeleland Regional
Manager, Mr Comfort Muchekeza, said as a result of a change in the attitude
of retailers, prices of goods were likely to continue on a downward trend.
"We expect the bread basket to continue on a downward trend. What retailers
have realised is that they have to push volumes and put a small mark up," he
The consumer watchdog last week reported that the country's cost of living
for the month of April marginally dropped as a result of improved supply of
local products on the market.
CCZ said the month-on-month budget for a family of six decreased by 0,001
percent in April to US$492,34.
"The budget for a family of six shows a marginal decrease from US$493,25 in
March to US$492,34 in April," the consumer watchdog said.
It attributed the decrease to the availability of local products on
supermarket shelves, which has increased competition on the market.
Mr Muchekeza said the Government still had a lot of work to ensure that the
breadbasket still goes down.
"First and foremost, the Government has a responsibility to take care of
consumers. It has to come up with policies that are friendly to consumers
and businesses. We cannot isolate consumers from business.
"Secondly, it must be realised that we have a lot of good policies, but, on
the part of the Government, that should be complemented by a strong culture
of monitoring and implementing the policies," he said.
The CCZ said all basic commodities, which include sugar, tea leaves, mealie
meal, flour, salt and soap were readily available.
The Matabeleland regional manager said in terms of the breadbasket,
challenges remained in the services compared to goods.
"Goods are stabilising because of a broader supply base. Areas where there
is no competition, for example the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(ZESA), local authorities and TelOne, still present us with challenges.
"Government has adopted a point that our rates should match rates in the
region, but the challenge is that civil servants in Zimbabwe get far less
than their counterparts in the region. We should consider, for example, what
percentage of a civil servant's salary in South Africa goes to Eskom, and
ensure that ZESA gets the same percentage here," he said.
The cost of the basket for transport, rent, water and electricity, health,
education, clothing and footwear, however, remained the same at US$344.
The consumer watchdog called on outlets to increase local products as they
were relatively cheaper and helped bring down the cost of living.
"CCZ encourages those outlets that sell in-house brands to increase and
continue this trend as it caters for the lowly paid and allows them to
stretch their monies," said the council.

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Coltart to introduce civic education in the Education curricular

By Gerald Chateta

Published: May 10, 2010

Harare  -  Education Sports and Culture Minister, David Coltart said he was
in a process of introducing civic education in the country's education
curricular which would see children being taught to respect tolerance and
respect for human and property rights. The idea comes after the country had
witnessed a decade of human rights abuses by the former ZANU-PF government.

Coltart said civic education was going to cultivate, nurture and promote the
spirit of tolerance among the Zimbabweans adding that it should start from
the school going pupils.

"In the revision of the country's education curriculum which is undergoing
we are introducing social justice, tolerance and respect for human and
property rights. Under this new curriculum the pupils will be taught on how
to deal with complex situations such as tolerance in difficult in areas and
situations of conflict. We have identified civic organizations which will
help us in that respect, "said Minister Coltart.

Commenting on the move by the government to introduce civic society
education in schools independent political commentator Ms Prisca Chiwara
said the idea was very noble.

"Given that our children are survivors of political violence stress and
trauma the inclusion of civic education is going to reshape their minds. I
my view this part of national healing and reconciliation which is going to
be cemented in the minds of our children who had not by choice exposed to
violence, "she said

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Prime Minister in America to receive human rights award

By Violet Gonda
10 May 2010

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is in Washington DC to accept the Harriman
democracy and human rights award from the National Democratic Institute.

The Prime Minister's spokesperson, James Maridadi, said Tsvangirai will
receive the award jointly with the Network of Chocó Women of Colombia, and
that the award ceremony will coincide with the institute's 25th anniversary

Maridadi said: "The Prime Minister received the prestigious Harriman Award
in recognition of his selfless effort in championing restoration of the rule
of law, democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe and Africa."

"Prime Minister Tsvangirai's dedication to democracy and the rule of law is
there for all to see. He has suffered immensely at a personal level and at
one time in his life, he spent more than a year staring the death sentence
in the eye."

Previous recipients of the award include United Nations Secretary General
Koffi Annan, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Archbishop Desmond
Tutu and US Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

The Prime Minister arrived in DC on Sunday and is expected to return to
Zimbabwe on Tuesday.


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Mtukudzi to release national healing album

By Lance Guma
10 May 2010

National Healing and Reconciliation Minister Sekai Holland has revealed that
her ministry, in collaboration with music legend Oliver Mtukudzi, are
working 'on an album for the national healing cause.' Holland, appointed by
the coalition government alongside Gibson Sibanda and Vice President John
Nkomo to drive the national healing agenda, said they had 'already finalized
the wording for the album and are only waiting for a few logistical issues
to be sorted out.' The album is expected to be ready in June this year.

The announcement however will only confirm growing frustration with the
national healing organ for being nothing more than a 'talk-shop'. Since its
formation critics say it has focused mainly on insignificant issues and has
done nothing more than hold a few workshops. Last week Holland admitted that
government created the national healing organisation without any direction
on how it should function. She told the weekly Zimbabwe Independent
newspaper that, 'When we were appointed we thought that the three principals
had an idea of what they wanted us to do. They didn't. They were relying on
us as elders to advise them."

It would appear that the elders didn't have a clue, either.
Activists say the 'Organ' displays a lack of seriousness in redressing past
atrocities and that there is no act of parliament that empowers them to do
their work. Sanderson Makombe, a victim of ZANU PF violence in the 2000
parliamentary election, pointed out that the organisation did not "have a
specific mandate to investigate past atrocities, to hear and record
testimonies, to compel victims and offenders to own-up, neither do they have
a package of restitution and compensation as required by international law."
Speaking in March at the launch of a damning report on the use of torture by
the Mugabe regime, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said; 'There can be no
national healing without forgiveness and no forgiveness without truth and
justice, as both national healing and forgiveness do not exist in a vacuum'.
This, activists say, is the reason why the efforts of the National Healing
Organ 'will achieve neither reconciliation nor justice.'

The efforts by Mtukudzi to produce a national healing album, though noble,
are not enough to heal the tens of thousands of people still badly affected
by ZANU PF's terror campaign.


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Police harass Masvingo journalist

By Tichaona Sibanda
10 May 2010

The Editor of the Masvingo Mirror, Golden Maunganidze, was on Monday being
interrogated by police in Harare over a story he wrote linking Tourism
Minister Walter Mzembi to the disappearance of gifts meant for Robert

Hundreds of tonnes of sugar donated to Mugabe by party activists in Masvingo
province on his 86th birthday, reportedly went missing and have never been
found. The 'theft' triggered a massive upheaval in the province with certain
top officials accusing each other of the disappearance.
Mzembi was one of those mentioned in a story written by Maunganidze. The
Minister immediately filed charges of criminal defamation against the
editor. This forced Maunganidze to go into hiding after police threatened
him with arrest over the story.

Acting on advice from the media watchdog MISA, Maunganidze travelled to
Harare Monday and presented himself to the police at the Harare central
station. A journalist in Harare told us; 'The information that we have is he's
not under arrest but is being questioned over the story he wrote linking
Mzembi to the alleged theft of gifts meant for Mugabe'.

The government regularly uses the criminal defamation law as a weapon to
silence journalists in the country. Five Harare based journalists were last
week summoned to court to answer charges over a story linking business mogul
Phillip Chiyangwa, and local government Minister Ignatius Chombo, to a
serious land scandal in the capital city.

The five are Vincent Kahiya, Nevanji Madanhire, Jennifer Dube, and Feluna
Muleya from the Standard newspaper and Stanley Gama of the Sunday Times.

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Zim to export power to SA for World Cup

by Own Correspondent Monday 10 May 2010

HARARE - Zimbabweans should brace for another cold winter amid revelations
that the country has entered into agreement with Eskom to export electricity
to South Africa during next month's FIFA World Cup.

Authoritative sources at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)
said the local power utility has agreed to sell 300 megawatts of electricity
to South Africa during the World Cup which runs from June 11 to July 11.

"Obviously that means less power will be available for domestic consumption
and consumers should brace for prolonged periods without power," said a
senior ZESA official, who declined to be named.

ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira could not be reached for comment.

The planned power export is set to worsen an already critical situation that
has seen most of Zimbabwe experiencing rolling blackouts during the past few

The power cuts have seen some areas going for days without electricity, a
development that has severely affected businesses and home owners.

ZESA has attributed the power cuts to routine maintenance at the ageing
Kariba power station.

Zimbabwe's power stations have been dogged by ageing equipment and lack of
funding to buy spares to revamp its units.

Zimbabwe is currently producing 1 100MW against a peak demand of 2 000MW and
imports between 300 and 500MW, mostly from Mozambique and Zambia.

Additional pressure on ZESA's limited generation capacity is also expected
to worsen from next month when demand traditionally rises due to the winter
wheat production and the increased need for heating.

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Air Zimbabwe fails to pay workers

May 10, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Air Zimbabwe has failed to pay 409 of its workers after a bid to
retrench them fell through.

The Labour Court ruled against the national airline's decision to lay its
employees off.

The workers remain on the Air Zimbabwe payroll although they are not
reporting for duty.

Air Zimbabwe chief executive Peter Chikumba said the airline could not pay
them because it was faced with serious financial problems.

"Due to financial constraints, it has not been possible to meet salary
payments as promised and the situation is regrettable and as CEO I take full
responsibility," Chikumba told the workers.  "I want to thank you for your

"At this stage it is necessary and worthwhile to set the record straight -
you are employees of this organization and entitled to remuneration in that
respect. This meeting is not for discussing retrenchment issues because that
has its own platform.

"A number of you have not been able to pay school fees, medical bills and
other things from the money you are owed. While the company is unable to
meet the outstanding arrears, this does not mean it is unsympathetic or
unwilling to assist."

In their urgent chamber application, lawyers representing the National Air
Workers and Air Transport Unions want the award registered for it to be
enforceable in terms of the Labour Act.

"The arbitral award, for it to be enforced in terms of the Labour Act, is
supposed to be registered in this honourable court in terms of Section 98
(14)," reads part of the papers filed by Caleb Mucheche of Matsikidze and
Mucheche law firm.

The High Court is still to set a date for the hearing.

An arbitrator awarded US$1,3 million to the workers, covering November and
December 2009 salaries and benefits after ruling the manner in which Air
Zimbabwe intended to retrench them was flawed.

The Labour Court upheld the award after Air Zimbabwe management sought to
have it set aside on the basis that the national airline did not have the
financial capacity to make the payments.

"We are at an advanced stage in discussions with the shareholders to find
lasting solutions to the viability of Air Zimbabwe," said Chikumba

"In the interim, every employee at Air Zimbabwe will have to make sacrifices
to ensure that the little that is available is shared amongst all

Chikumba said Air Zimbabwe had agreed to maintain consistent payments to all

"In that regard, we are making efforts to secure funds to enable us to make
another payment by May 17, 2010," he said

He said in order to facilitate the continuation of Air Zimbabwe's
operations, it was important that they allow those assigned work, to carry
out their duties without disruptions.

Chikumba requested the retrenched workers to respect the instruction
requiring them to stay away from work until advised otherwise.

"We do not need to increase tension within the organization," said Chikumba.

"The situation is bad enough as it is, but we must manage the situation in
the best interests of the organization and our customers.

"As we receive cash inflows and prioritise our operational obligations, you
will be considered at all times. Should we fail for any reason to maintain
these payments, we will communicate the same in advance.

"I urge that we remain engaged, and avoid confrontation. While emotions may
be running high, I urge all of us to respect each other as we move forward."

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Amnesty International - Zimbabwe: call for end to harassment of opponents after Roy Bennett acquittal

Posted: 10 May 2010

The Zimbabwe authorities must stop harassing political opponents and
government critics, Amnesty International said today, following the
acquittal of a critic of President Robert Mugabe accused of plotting to
overthrow him.

Roy Bennett, a Movement for Democratic Change official, had been charged
with "conspiring to acquire arms with a view to disrupting essential
services", following his arrest in February 2008. He was acquitted by a
Harare court earlier today. Mr Bennett was previously adopted as a prisoner
of conscience by Amnesty in 2004 after he was sentenced to a 15-month jail
term by a parliamentary committee.

Amnesty International Africa Deputy Director Michelle Kagari said:

"While welcoming the acquittal of Roy Bennett, we remain concerned about
persistent abuse of the law against perceived opponents of the former
ZANU-PF government.

"We urge the unity government to immediately end all malicious prosecutions
of people exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and
peaceful assembly."

Despite the creation of the unity government in February 2009, police
continue to arbitrarily arrest and detain human rights activists,
journalists and political activists aligned to the former opposition parties
now sharing power in the inclusive government.

In the last three months human rights activists attempting to facilitate
public debate on past human rights violations have been specifically
targeted and their activities barred by police. Between 26-28 April, police
in Masvingo, Gweru and Chinhoyi stopped exhibitions of photographs depicting
organised violence and torture that followed the March 2008 elections.

The exhibitions were organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
(ZimRights) to facilitate public debate as part of the national healing
process. In Masvingo, ZimRights' regional chairperson Mr Joel Hita was
arrested and detained overnight. He is still facing unspecified charges.


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Judge who kept Mugabe in power to be promoted

May 9, 2010 at 1:58 pm

By Fortune Tazvida

The former chairperson of the discredited Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) which kept Mugabe in power in 2008 by withholding for weeks and later
manipulating presidential election figures is set to be appointed Judge
President in the High Court.

Reliable sources have told us Retired Brigadier General George Chiweshe will
get the top job as President Mugabe moves to stab another knife into the
bleeding heart of the coalition government by making several unilateral
appointments in the judiciary and re-assigning ambassadors without
consulting the two MDC partners.

While the MDC-T maintain that Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney
General Johannes Tomana's appointments were unprocedural and should be
reversed Mugabe is said to be planning another round of appointments to
undermine his colleagues in government and show them who is in charge.

The new round of re-shuffling involves incumbent Judge President Justice
Rita Makarau being re-assigned to the Judicial Services Commission (JSC)
while the country's representatives to the United Nations in New York and
Geneva and the envoy to Angola will also be changed.

A report in the weekly Zimbabwe Standard newspaper quotes Deputy Justice
Minister Jessie Majome saying;

"I was shocked and dismayed about three weeks ago when I received a call
from a journalist at a state-run newspaper who wanted my comment about the
appointment of Justice Chiweshe as Judge President. I was even more
surprised when a colleague (name supplied) from the MDC-T who is also a
minister asked me how we were going about the appointments."

"I am actually in the process of asking the Permanent Secretary (David
Mangota) if there are plans to do that, and the reasons for doing so. I
expect to be briefed and advised on these issues. I need to be given the
correct position by the permanent secretary of the Ministry," she said.

"I am also interested to know how those appointments would be done in line
with the fact that we are in an inclusive government. There would be need
for the GPA parties to address that because it would be an anomaly. These
appointments would also be in the same bad taste as that statutory
instrument that redefined the roles of some ministers. We are in an
inclusive government, and these appointments should also reflect that," she

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Freddie Matonhodze, "We fear there could be a blood bath"

Photo: IRIN
Freddie Matonhodze, a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) official
HARARE, 10 May 2010 (IRIN) - Freddie Matonhodze, an official of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Muzarabani district, in Mashonaland Central Province, a rural stronghold of the ruling ZANU-PF party, lost his wife and relatives to political violence. His home has been razed and his livestock slaughtered, but he refuses to flee.

"I have been an active member of the MDC since 2002. I am a former ZANU-PF supporter, but from 2000 [when the fast-track land reform programme was launched] I did not like the way the party used violence in its [political] campaigns, and it encouraged us to use violence against the then opposition supporters.

"In the March 2008 elections, because of violence and intimidation, the MDC candidate for the parliamentary seat in the harmonised [parliamentary and presidential] elections pulled out of the race at the last minute.

"I remained as the campaign manager for MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai, and the senate and council candidates. When President Robert Mugabe was defeated by Tsvangirai in the first round of voting, I was targeted by the militia and war veterans under the command of the military.

"When ZANU-PF militia laid siege to my homestead, I escaped with my wife, Nyadzisayi. She sustained a broken collar bone and spinal injuries; she died at the end of 2009 as a result of her injuries.

"The mob which attacked my homestead is known, and they are war veterans and traditional leaders - among them, Chief Chagarakasekete.

"I fled to live in relative safety near Harare [the capital] until the signing of the Global Political Agreement [(GPA) signed in September 2008, paving the way for the formation of a unity government in February 2009] and returned home to resume my life. I look after an extended family of 15 and have worked hard to ensure they are catered for.

"When I returned home, I found that my neighbours were hostile to me, and bragged that the GPA only applied in Harare and not in rural areas.

"What crushed me was that they had set my tractor on fire, set my homestead on fire and, even more cruelly, they set my pigs, which were in an enclosure, on fire.

"The ZANU-PF militia slaughtered some of my livestock and consumed it. I lost chickens, guinea fowls, goats and cattle.

"The violence has resumed and we have had to appeal to the JOMIC [the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, which monitors compliance with the GPA] to come and help bring peace after ZANU-PF supporters set a building on fire used by MDC supporters.

"JOMIC says it will visit the area one of these days, but we fear that there could be a bloodbath if nothing is done soon."

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Homosexuality and gender cloud constitution making process

Written by Kubatana
Sunday, 09 May 2010 18:16

According to Arkmore Kori, a Kubatana subscriber, our Constitution making
awareness programme is focusing on unimportant issues. He suggests that
issues such as homosexuality and gender are clouding more major concerns
relating to governance and leadership. (Police use POSA to crush voices of
Zimbabwe is being administered by an undemocratically elected government
largely because of some constitutional challenges that have made elections
worthless. Of course, we already know the election 'winner' if elections are
held under the present constitution. Thus the current constitutional making
process was mainly conceived to allow for free and fair elections so
Zimbabweans would be governed by leaders of their choice.
Despite a lot of resources being channelled towards new constitution making,
it is unfortunate that two issues, homosexuality and gender, which can't
retrieve us from our leadership and governance crisis, have dominated the
constitutional awareness campaigns.
Although most claim homosexuality is alien to Africa, there is evidence it
was practiced in Buganda (now Uganda) in the 19th century particularly by
Kabaka Mwanga who assumed kingship (or Kabakaship) at the age of eighteen in
1884. This is no justification for legalising homosexuality in the new
constitution because who should care what people do behind closed doors? By
and large, homosexuality is a bedroom issue, which does not influence the
leadership and governance in this country.
Similar concerns can also be raised on gender, which is repossessing the
fame it had soon after its invention, although gender sensitive legislation
such as the Domestic Violence Act have been passed. Perhaps gender activists
are justified to complain about gender legislative implementation and of
course, more and more women opportunities, regardless of competence. But
constitutional advocacy for women's rights have been used to shroud
discussions on the main issues as if the new constitution is largely
intended to address gender imbalances.
Among others, the current constitution gives the Executive too much power.
This has stifled democracy, good governance and the rule of law. The
President's power to appoint the Attorney General and the Chief Justice, for
example, has compromised the judiciary's independence and consequently,
election processes and outcomes.
The release of the March 2008 election results, for instance, was unlawfully
and deliberately delayed. Court appeals by the opposition were ignored.
Political activists have been incarcerated and arbitrarily arrested whilst
some have been tortured or murdered by known people who have never been
prosecuted because the judiciary has not yet been given the instruction by
its proprietor.
Similarly, one would expect discussions on the Access to Information and
Privacy Act (AIPPA) to top the constitutional discussion agenda ahead of
gender or homosexuality. The electronic media has been a monopoly of the
ruling party, and has enabled it to spread its election propaganda at the
expense of other political parties. Its polarisation and the extent to which
its owners dislike a new constitution have been shown by the absence of
constitutional awareness information on both radio and television. If
'station identification songs' were composed for Fast Track Land Reform
Programme and bearer cheques awareness raising, why can't the same be done
for the new constitution?
This prejudice is augmented by the Public Order and Security Act (POSA),
which has seen major election meetings of the opposition being indefinitely
postponed or called off. Historically, non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
have been fearless to take up such 'sensitive' issues.
Unfortunately they are receiving binding instructions from the state
controlled community entry points. Permission into communities for
constitutional discussions is given on condition NGOs and communities do not
talk about anything concerning the Executive's dictatorial powers, President's
term of office; the Kariba Draft, AIPPA, and POSA.

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Zimbabwe's roads have become death trips

Written by Fr Oskar Wermter SJ
Sunday, 09 May 2010 17:01

HARARE - During the Easter holidays 44 people died on our roads. Since then
we have heard of more deaths. Twenty five perished in a single bus accident
near Karoi. Many more were badly injured, possibly crippled for life.
When we read such headlines or view gruesome pictures on TV, we say "How
terrible, absolutely awful", we speculate a little on how this might have
happened, shrug our shoulders and carry on as before. We do nothing. There
is no national will to make a change.
Most road disasters involve public transport. Bus companies do not maintain
their vehicles properly. A young girl student died in a mini-bus after a
rear tyre burst and the vehicle with 20 young people on board overturned and
rolled four times. The driver had been consistently over-speeding. Though
warned by the passengers, he continued speeding at far beyond the legal
Often buses race each other, trying to snap passengers away from each other.
Drivers are often overworked and tired out which is the responsibility of
the employer.
Our roads are in an appalling state. The main arteries between north and
south, east and west should all be dual carriage highways. They are not.
Head-on collisions are the result. This is the indirect effect of our ruined
economy which does not produce the revenue needed to build good roads.
Leaders who selfishly look only after themselves and their clients while
neglecting the Common Good are the culprits.
The Right to Life is the most fundamental of all human rights. It must be
written as Number One into our new Constitution.
But words on paper are not enough. If we are serious about the Right to Life
being the Number One of all human rights, we must educate the driving
public, especially professional drivers of public transport vehicles, must
control the highways, and punish bus owners who neglect their vehicles.
The Catholic Church insists on the inviolability of human life "from the
moment of conception until natural death". That does not refer only to
unborn life in the womb and euthanasia. It refers also to the most unnatural
death on our roads. It is not good enough to comment on the latest bad news,
"These things will just happen - there is nothing we can do." There is a lot
we can do and must do. That is why we were given intelligence and a moral
conscience by our Creator.
If the Church is serious about respecting Life and the whole of Creation,
about teaching the Fifth Commandment 'You must not kill', then she must also
rouse the consciences of Christians and all men and women of good will and
ask them: what do you do to stop the slaughter on our roads?

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Ex electoral commission chairman could be appointed Judge President

By Tichaona Sibanda
10 May 2010

There are a number of reports saying that the former chairman of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, George Chiweshe, will soon be appointed Judge
President in the High Court.
If the reports turn out to be correct, this appointment by Robert Mugabe is
likely to exacerbate his already strained relations with Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai.

Chiweshe was at the helm of ZEC in 2008 and is viewed as the man who helped
Mugabe cling to power after the elections that saw ZANU PF lose. ZEC
withheld the presidential election results for weeks, amid reports they used
the period to manipulate figures that denied Tsvangirai an outright victory
against Mugabe.

Media reports suggest that Chiweshe will be appointed to take over from
Justice Rita Makarau, the current Judge President and that Makarau will be
re-assigned to the Judicial Services Commission.
A former member of the judiciary told SW Radio Africa that under Mugabe's
far reaching 'presidential powers' he could make new appointments to the
bench; but under the current unity government set up this would be a serious
breach of the political agreement, because there was no consultation.

With regard to top government jobs, under the GPA the President, his two
deputies and the Prime Minister with his two deputies, are supposed to
consult and agree on such appointments.

Deputy Justice Minister Jessie Majome told the weekly Zimbabwe Standard
newspaper over the weekend that she was shocked and dismayed over reports
that Chiweshe was to be appointed Judge President.
She told the paper; 'I am actually in the process of asking the Permanent
Secretary (David Mangota) if there are plans to do that, and the reasons for
doing so. I expect to be briefed and advised on these issues. I need to be
given the correct position by the permanent secretary of the Ministry.'

As Judge President, Chiweshe would effectively become the supreme head of
all High Court Judges in the country, and some of his duties would involve
assigning them court cases. He would be at the same level as a Supreme Court

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said if it happens that Chiweshe is
appointed Judge President, it would completely undermine any confidence in
the judiciary system.

'Ideally for such a top position you need to have someone who commands
respect in the profession, someone who is independent and apolitical.
Chiweshe is a well known supporter of ZANU PF and Mugabe,' Mavhinga said.

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Legislation on Zimbabwe Must Align U.S. Policy with Democratic and Reconstruction Aspirations


Contact: Michael Stulman (202) 546-7961

March 04, 2010 (Washington, DC) - Today Africa Action applauds three members of the U.S Senate for introducing legislation that confronts many of the challenges facing Zimbabwe today.

U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and John Kerry (D-MA) introduced The Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2010" - bipartisan legislation that aims to address the wide-spread concern growing among activists, civil society and lawmakers that U.S. policy is not flexible enough to adapt to new realities on the ground in Zimbabwe since the formation of the Inclusive Government in 2009.

This Bill aims to help advance the transition to democracy and to promote economic recovery in Zimbabwe.

Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa Action said, "We applaud Senator Feingold and his colleagues for introducing this critical Bill on Zimbabwe. This is an important step forward, however, more needs to be done so that U.S. policy is better aligned to support democracy and economic recovery in Zimbabwe." He adds, "It is our hope that as this Senate Bill goes through the Congressional process, there will be sufficient input from a diverse range of stakeholders, most importantly, Zimbabwean civil society."

The current U.S. legislation on Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Economic and Democracy Recovery Act of 2001 (ZEDERA) and an Executive Order declared by President Bush in 2003 and extended by President Obama until March 2010, specifies more than 200 individuals and business entities slapped with a travel ban and whose assets are frozen.

The new U.S. legislation maintains targeted sanctions, however, it makes a commitment for regularly reviewing and updating the list. In addition, it allows for more support to the forces of democracy and rule of law, not only for civil society, but also the small farmers and small businesses that currently do not have access to loans that would be vital to stimulate employment and the new economy as a whole. For more analysis on sanctions, click here.

Michael Stulman, Associate Director for Policy and Communications said, "I am pleased to see that U.S. policy is beginning to move from the polarized perspectives we have seen in the past, which limited the scope of engagement with Zimbabwe." He adds, "We look forward to working with both the Senate and the House of Representatives to build on this good start and deliver legislation that will meet the needs of those people working towards democracy and human rights."

The new Senate bill includes provisions that Africa Action has long called for, including:

Authorize technical assistance to reformist government ministries and to the Parliament in its efforts to amend or repeal repressive legislation.

Amend the restrictions on assistance for the government of Zimbabwe in the FY10 State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill to make exceptions in the areas of health and education.

Amend the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-99) to provide greater flexibility for the U.S. to engage the International Financial Institutions, outlining new conditions for U.S. support of any proposed assistance based on how it will be targeted and administered.

Begin deliberating on the restructuring, rescheduling, or most preferably, the cancellation of Zimbabwe's debt held by international financial institutions and private financial institutions.

For more information and analysis on Zimbabwe, see Africa Action's monthly Zimbabwe Solidarity Update:

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Comprehensive Economic Recovery in Zimbabwe - Working Paper 11

The pdf is attached: Comprehensive Economic Recovery in Zimbabwe - Working Paper 11

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The great betrayal

Written by Editor
Sunday, 09 May 2010 17:19

The bouncing back of Tafataona Mahoso to the newly created Zimbabwe Media
Commission (ZMC) has come as a shock to the journalistic fraternity. The
persecution that journalists suffered at the hands of this man is still
fresh in their minds. It is not clear how Mahoso got the job but it would be
very interesting to know who else was interviewed for this position and
whether this was the best the ZMC could get from the whole of Zimbabwe.
The culture of recycling same old tired faces is known to be associated with
Zanu (PF), which over the years has brought back to cabinet the same old
people. It is the one which is known to reward unprofessionalism and party
praise singing. It is therefore not easy to see the hand of the party in
this appointment.
For a country that is going through a transitional justice process, is it
not grossly unfair to ask journalists whose careers were destroyed by
Mahoso, to face this man again?  The ZMC has allayed fears of journalists by
saying Mahoso is just a chief executive officer who will not have influence
on policy decision. This is, however, debatable. There is no CEO who does
not wield some form of power. Some CEOs or secretariats are known to be too
powerful for their boards.
Mahoso's appointment is meant to instil fear in journalists, particularly
those who have been brutalised by the oppressive AIPPA. It's like taking a
CV for a job to an abusive employer who has fired you in the past. There can
never be job security in such a situation. Similarly, Mahoso may grant
accreditation to the journalists who were persecuted by him through his
policies, but there is no guarantee for their security because the same law
he used still stands.
His return shows lack of sensitivity to the plight of journalists. While all
may seem rosy now it will be a different story come election time. The
safety of many journalists will be at stake given that Zanu (PF) wants to
regain its power at all cost. Zanu (PF) has clearly shown it is firmly in
charge and that it can do what it pleases.  It is then hard to see how the
ZMC is going to save journalists in times of trouble when their CEO is a
known Zanu (PF) loyalist and propagandist, who probably have direct
communication with President Robert Mugabe.
Mahoso's come back to the new media commission is the greatest betrayal by
the inclusive government. It goes to show how other leaders in the inclusive
government are being overshadowed. His appointment should have been denied
He is better off as a retired pensioner at some farm or plot, possibly
writing Mugabe's memoirs or Zanu (PF) propaganda for use in the party's

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Will terrorism acquittal of MDC's Roy Bennett salvage Zimbabwe unity government?

Roy Bennett, a white commercial farmer and top figure in the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), was acquitted Monday of terrorism charges. He's
offered to lower his profile, but can that boost prospects of Zimbabwe's
unity government?

By Scott Baldauf, Staff writer / May 10, 2010
Johannesburg, South Africa

Roy Bennett, a top figure in Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), was acquitted Monday of terrorism charges and of an alleged plot to
overthrow the government of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

Mr. Bennett, a white commercial farmer who faced possible execution if
convicted, had offered this past weekend to step down from his appointment
as MDC's choice as deputy minister for agriculture. He told The Guardian
that he would not stand in the way of the "restoration and reconstruction"
of Zimbabwe.

"A single post should not stop that process moving forward," he was quoted
saying. "So if it meant [that I should] step aside completely and not be
involved, and that would move the process forward towards a fresh election
and towards democracy, I would be the first person to endorse that."

Bennett's status has long been a stumbling block for the fragile coalition
government of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe.
Since the September 2008 power-sharing agreement, following shady April 2008
elections, Mr. Mugabe has refused to swear in Bennett citing Bennett's
pending criminal case. But analysts also say that Bennett's selection for
the agriculture ministry was sensitive because of the danger of him
reversing Mugabe's land-reform policies and the often violent seizure of
white-owned farms by Mugabe's supporters.

Could Bennett's acquittal and his offer to step aside be part of a
face-saving deal between Mugabe and Tsvangirai to move forward?

That's unlikely, says Judy Smith-Hohn, a Zimbabwe analyst at the Institute
for Security Studies in Pretoria (a city also known as Tshwane).

"I think Roy Bennett's offer to step aside is a major step, a real sign of
willingness on the part of MDC to get this process moving again," says Ms.
Smith-Hohn. "Whether ZANU-PF [Mugabe's party] is going to recognize that
step, or continue to focus on the issue of sanctions, it is too early to
Progress depends on AU, SADC

The only way Zimbabwe will resolve the current political impasse, she says,
is if it is forced to do so by other African states, under the umbrellas of
the African Union and the Southern African Development Community. "The only
time ZANU-PF has compromised is when the [African Union] and [Southern
African Development Community] had the same message, that you need to form a
government of national unity," says Smith-Hohn.

The AU and SADC need to send Mugabe the unified message that he must
cooperate with his coalition partners if he wants sanctions lifted, says

SADC's current mediation process, led by South African President Jacob Zuma,
seems to have stalled, but it has recently been joined by Congolese
President Joseph Kabila, a close friend and supporter of Mugabe.

Whether this new energy by SADC will give a helpful shove to the mediation
remains to be seen, of course, and Smith-Hohn warns that SADC remains deeply
fragmented over whether to start speaking tough to Mugabe.

"[Mr. Kabila] is a longtime associate of Robert Mugabe, and he trained in
Zimbabwe and has personal ties with Mugabe, so whether his involvement in
the mediation is helpful or not is hard to say," says Smith-Hohn. But
removing Bennett as a negotiating point could help move the process forward,
she says. "What is ZANU-PF going to do in return? That, we will see in the
next few hours or days."
Will Bennett stay or go?

There's also some question as to whether Bennett really will agree to step
aside. He appeared to contradict his earlier message this weekend on Monday
by saying: "Mugabe has to swear me in now. My party has made it very clear
that they expect nothing less."

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa affirmed this Monday, indicating that the MDC
wants to test what Mugabe will do before deciding how prominent Bennett's
future role should be.

"We have been vindicated. This was not prosecution but persecution," Mr.
Chamisa said. "We are expecting that the natural thing will happen, that we
will wake up with Bennett as deputy agriculture minister."

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Bennett acquittal could signal next Zimbabwe battle
Monday, 10 May 2010 15:56 UK
By Brian Hungwe

Robert Mugabe (L) and Morgan Tsvangirai shake hands in Harare - 21
 July 2008
Another round in the long Mugabe-Tsvangirai rivalry may be brewing

The acquittal of Roy Bennett, one of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's top allies, has cleared one of the major obstacles dogging Zimbabwe's year-old power-sharing government.

The High Court in Harare threw out charges of terrorism, banditry and sabotage, involving an alleged plot to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.

But it could also signal the beginning of another heated debate.

Mr Bennett was on the verge of taking up a position as deputy agriculture minister when he was arrested in February last year.

Political message

Now Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) hopes he can take up the post immediately.

"We hope that Bennett will be sworn in to his post because all the stumbling blocks have been cleared," said MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa.

Roy Bennett (file image)
2000: Elected MP
2004: Jailed after pushing minister in parliament
2006: Accused of plot to kill President Mugabe
2006: Fled to South Africa
2009: Nominated as deputy agriculture minister; arrested
May 2010: Acquitted of plot charges

"So we are expecting to have tomorrow honourable Bennett, deputy agriculture minister."

Judge Chinembiri Bhunu's scornful attack on the state witnesses, some of whom displayed "amazing ignorance," perhaps gives credence to the MDC view that the charges against Mr Bennett were "trumped up" and a deliberate delay to the implementation of the power-sharing government.

But the political message to be read from the charges is that certain parties in Zimbabwe do not want a former white farmer to hold such a sensitive portfolio.

Mr Bennett's deployment to the agriculture ministry irked the security services and top Zanu-PF officials, many of whom benefited from the land reform programme.

Given allegations that the majority of them, including President Mugabe, are multiple farm-owners, there is likely to be another fight.

Zanu-PF sources say another portfolio should be created for Mr Bennett.

But this flies in the face of assurances given by President Mugabe that he would not hesitate to swear in Mr Bennett if he were cleared.

Moving goalposts

The acquittal does not appear to be the end of the road, however.

Zanu-PF's resistance to a national audit of the chaotic and haphazard land reforms speaks volumes about its attitude to progress in that sector.

The MDC may have another fight on its hands, especially after damaging allegations that Mr Mugabe owns more than five farms were laid bare in the High Court.

More could follow.

It is unlikely that President Mugabe will accommodate Mr Bennett or allow him near controversial files that might expose the rot.

Mr Mugabe has a proven history of moving the goalposts mid-game but idications are that he will negotiate again.

The MDC is in a strong position to demand that Mr Mugabe follow through on his promise but the president has the final say in government matters.

He is unlikely to shift, especially if the matter involves a "controversial" former white farmer who lost his farm under Mr Mugabe's land reforms.

If he wanted to boost confidence that flaws in the farming sector were being addressed, Mr Mugabe would swear in Mr Bennett, and thus also demonstrate his sincerity.

Should Mr Mugabe climb down and swear him in, it would be a huge political statement.

But there is a general expectation Mr Mugabe will dig in and the MDC will again cry foul, leaving the shaky unity government back at square one.

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Bridging the knowledge gap: A fair Africa

by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 10 May 2010

OPINION: What kind of Africa do we want to see? Sudan gained independence in
1956 and so became the first African state to chat its own future. It was
followed by Ghana and this year, 2010, 17 African states will celebrate
their 50th anniversary of independence.

The citizens of the 17 African states that turn 50 this year will no doubt
ask the question whether independence has produced a fair society and the
extent to which the circumstances they find themselves in speak to the
values that were critical in informing the decolonization struggle.

We are all God's children and, therefore, it is not unusual to expect any
society created by human beings to be fair.

I thought of introducing the concept of a fair society and whose
responsibility it is to create such a society in the context of Africa
because I do not believe that it could have been God's intention to create a
civilisation in which in life one human being is superior to another on
account of one's race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual preferences and

After more than 50 years of independence, how far has Africa moved in
creating a fair society? Many Africans in post-colonial Africa have and
continue to vote with their feet in search of a society outside the
continent that guarantees security and personal wealth.

At independence, many Africans looked to the future with hope and
expectation. However, many of us thought that the responsibility to create
the kind of society we want to see was not ours but was that of some other
distance person.

We all wanted and still want to see an Africa in which everyone is treated
with full respect, dignity befitting a human being, and where no one is left

In terms of wealth creation and protection of citizens and property, Africa
still lags behind other societies but what is universal is that no society
has managed to strike the right balance in terms of fairness.

In all societies, citizens do not have the same access to health, justice,
and property relations can be best described as unfair and skewed in favour
of the few.

The pyramidal structured of human societies is universal.  A few are above
the law and play by their own rules.

Most of our societies are stratified and, therefore, it is not unusual for
one to be demonized as a result of exercising his/her right to free speech
particularly when such speech is seen as critical of those in power
notwithstanding the fact that the majority of the people in power in
post-colonial Africa pride themselves of being liberators.

Regrettably after more than 54 years of independence, the majority of
Africans are not proud to be counted among its members not least because the
promises offered by independence have not been realised but because they
feel alienated from the experience.

We want an Africa that is owned by all who believe in it. This ought to be
the starting point to creating a new Africa that can deliver on its promise.

The majority of African citizens are not formally employed leaving only a
small working class to provide the financial backbone to the state.

The post-colonial state's capacity to create wealth and protect citizens is
overwhelmed by the growing numbers of unemployed people that cannot be
absorbed in the formal system.

To the rich, a fair society ought to respect and protect their rights. To
the poor, a fair society has to ensure that wealth is evenly spread
irrespective of how the wealth may have been acquired.

The rich would hold the view that the wealth accumulation process in a
market system is underpinned by an exchange mechanism based on willing
contracting partners.

For anyone to generate profits attributable to shareholders, one must assume
that all dues to the relevant stakeholders including the state will have
been paid leaving the residual income for distribution to risk takers.

In the case of joint stock companies, the profits generated by the business
belong to the business in the first instance and will only be distributed if
the company does not need the money for its own growth and survival.

A company can only communicate through its directors and it is up to
directors to decide how much of the profits generated must be distributed.

Once so distributed, the profits should not be subject to another form of

At the point of distribution, it has been argued that society must not have
any other claim on the income distributed otherwise there would be no point
for any rational human being to participate in commercial ventures.

Would it then be fair for shareholders who stand at the bottom of the ladder
to receive on a discretionary basis income generated by enterprises to then
be ridiculed in the name of social justice? It can be argued that any
progressive society has to be underpinned by values of fairness.

In Africa's case, it is natural that complains are registered regarding the
continued unfairness witnessed in the post-colonial era.

In the face of a global system that has failed to deliver the promise, there
can be no better time to pause and reflect on what kind of society we want
in Africa.

Arguments that seek to manage society through some social engineering in
which the state plays a critical and decisive role in the allocation and
management of resources often ignore the fact that state players are after
all human as well.

Although we are all children of God, the experience of life teaches us that
it would be naive to trust another human being to do what one can do for

If it pays to be unemployed, then rational human beings will gravitate
towards the state of unemployment as a permanent feature in their lives.
Equally, if the rich behaved as if they were poor, then the poor will have
no incentive to climb the opportunity pyramid.

The rich need the poor in as much as the poor need the rich. More
importantly the people with power need the people without power but they
must use their power so that the people who do not have it must notice the
difference and dream of having the same power one day.

A society that has no mobility is not secure and will not capture the human

There is no perfect society but human civilisation has exposed systems that
do and do not inspire hope.

A fair society must have balance and must be rooted with values that spur
human progress.

In our discussions, we must introduce concepts like fairness and to test the
extent to which they speak to the values that are important to us as
Africans recognizing our diversity and plurality.

There are no easy answers to nation building challenges but what we do know
is that in life we all want a better life for not only ourselves but those
that succeed us.

Poverty is a common enemy and it would be naive to assume that the rich have
no knowledge of what it means to be poor.

Many who are on the top of the opportunity pyramid have their own stories
about what it means to climb up in a market system.

We all will benefit when we take time to appreciate the struggles and
triumphs of the few at the top.

The few who assume positions of power and influence must be understood in as
much as the majority in the valley must also be given an opportunity to
advance their cause without let or hindrance. - ZimOnline

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Bill Watch Special of 9th May 2010 [Parliamentary Committee Meetings 10th to 14th May]


[9th May 2010]

House of Assembly Portfolio Committees and Senate Thematic Committees: Open Meetings 10th to 14th May

Note: This bulletin is based on the latest information provided by Parliament late on 7th May.  Last-minute changes are, however, possible.  So, if you wish to attend any of the following meetings, Veritas recommends that you avoid possible disappointment by first checking with the relevant committee clerk that the meeting is still on and open to the public.  Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 or 252936-55.

The following meetings are open to members of the public, as observers only, not as participants.  [See note at the end of this bulletin on public attendance and participation at different types of committee meetings.]

Monday 10th May at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism

Oral evidence from Hotel Association of Zimbabwe

Committee Room No. 311

Chairperson: Hon P. Dube                            Clerk: Mr Munjenge

Portfolio Committee: Mines and Energy

Oral evidence from Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Co

Senate Chamber

Chairperson: Hon Chindori-Chininga             Clerk: Mr Manhivi

Monday 10th May at 2 pm

Portfolio Committee: Budget, Finance, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion

Oral evidence from (i) Cross Border Association, (ii) Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, (iii) Transport Operators Association, (iv) Shipping and Forwarders Association

Committee Room No. 4

Chairperson: Hon Zhanda                             Clerk: Mr Ratsakatika

Tuesday 11th May at 10 am

Portfolio Committee:  Agriculture, Water, Lands and Resettlement

Brief from Zimbabwe Agricultural Technicians Association

Committee Room No. 4

Chairperson: Hon Jiri                                     Clerk: Miss Mudavanhu

Portfolio Committee: Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade

Oral evidence from Ministry of Regional Integration and International Trade on First Quarter Budget Performance Report

Committee Room No. 3

Chairperson: Hon Mukanduri                         Clerk: Ms Macheza

Highlights of Recent Committee Meetings

On Tuesday 4th May the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs heard evidence from the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs and a ZRP Deputy Commissioner on the ZRP’s need for additional resources and funding to provide security to the constitution outreach process [US$ 3 million].  The Deputy Commissioner said “Intelligence that we have is that there might be violence because there are some people opposed to the current constitutional process and others are in support and that is a fertile ground for violence”.

Draft Committee Reports being Considered

Other committees will meet in closed session this week to consider draft reports for presentation to the Senate or the House of Assembly in due course.  Drafts on the following topics are under consideration: access to treatment for HIV/AIDS [Thematic Committee on HIV/AIDS]; operations of informal traders [Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment]; implementation of Ministry of Higher Education cadetship scheme and provision of scholarships [Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology]; operations of NSSA and benefits accruing to workers [Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare]; the justice delivery system [Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs]; the seed and fertiliser industry [Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce]; the state of the public media [Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology]; the state of SMEs in Zimbabwe [Portfolio Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises]; early childhood development [Portfolio Committee on Education, Sport and Culture].

Public Attendance at and Participation in Committee Meetings

·      Portfolio and thematic committee meetings in which the committees are doing private business – e.g. setting workplans, deliberating on reports and findings, or drafting reports for Parliament, or when the committees make field visits – are not open to the public.

·      Portfolio and thematic committee meetings where oral evidence is being heard are open to the public to attend as observers only.  If attending, please use the Kwame Nkrumah Ave entrance to Parliament.  IDs must be produced.  

·      At some committee meetings stakeholders [and those who notify Parliament that they consider themselves stakeholders and are accepted as such] are invited to make oral or written representations and ask questions.  These meetings will be highlighted in these notices.  

·      When committees call for public hearings, members of the public are free to submit oral or written representations, ask questions and generally participate.  Veritas sends out separate notices of these public hearings.

Note:  Zimbabweans in the Diaspora can send in written submissions to stakeholders’ meetings if they consider themselves stakeholders, and to public hearings, by emailing their submissions to 


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


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