Zimbabwe's Anti-Corruption Commission, currently
investigating a number of government officials for alleged graft, says it is
not as independent as it ought to be, blaming meddling by the ministry of
Commission chairman Danford Chirindo told a parliamentary
committee on defense and home affairs that his panel will soon approach the
House of Assembly seeking clarity on its mandate.
Chirindo said for
his commission to be effective, it should be allowed to operate
independently of the home affairs ministry.
"We will be recommending a
review of the status and operations of the state department in the ministry
of home affairs, he said, adding the move was aimed at avoiding "conflict
and guarantee the independence of ZAC which is already enshrined in the
He urged government to harmonize some of the country’s
anti-graft laws so his commission can deal effectively with corruption. He
added however, that severe budgetary constraints were hampering the fight
The commission requires a staff compliment of 204,
but currently only has 57 workers.
Collaborating with the police, the
commission recently arrested a number of lawmakers for abusing constituency
development funds. It however, withdrew some of the cases before plea,
allegedly under pressure from the attorney general's office.
Affairs Permanent Secretary Melusi Mtshiya, meanwhile, told the same
committee that the Zimbabwe Republic Police was also failing to operate
effectively due to lack of resources, including money, gadgets and
Elsewhere, fraud cases were said to be soaring in Zimbabwe,
according to a Africa Fraud Barometer survey.
The report, released by
top auditing firms KPMG and Ernst & Young Africa, found Zimbabwe
accounting for 32 percent of Africa’s fraud cases reported last year from
July to December, landing slightly behind South Africa at 35 percent, and
ahead of Nigeria at 22 percent.
Overall 520 fraud cases involving $3.7
billion were recorded in the second half of last year, down from $7.2
billion from the first half of the year.
Hardest hit by fraudulent
activity is government and the public sector, with 39 percent of all cases,
five percent lower than in the first half of the year.
the barometer said their intention was to form a bigger picture on the
prevalence of fraud in Africa.
"At the same time, we are still dealing
with an often negative perception of Africa, we therefore, see ourselves as
risk analysts and would like to provide information that allows potential
investors to assess and conceptualize risk on the African continent,” said
Petrus Marais developer of the barometer and KPMG Global Leader for
He told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo that Zimbabwe cases are
"Timing is everything, particularly as it relates to Zimbabwe and
the calculation of a dollar value and the perpetration and reporting of this
particular incident is from hyperinflation to dollarization," said
"While we were compelled for objective reasons to do a straight
calculation, I think that in reality because of the timing difference, the
amount was substantially less than is appears to be."
Robertson said prior to the dollarization, fraudulent practices, mainly in
the public sector, were undetectable.
He observed that it’s far more
complicated now for fraudsters to continue to steal from the government, and
would expect to see cases of fraud lessen in future reports detailed by the
Zimbabwe’s two main political parties have
ironed out issues stalling the crafting a new constitution.
now at the final, last lap of the drafting process,” Jessie Majome, a
lawmaker from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party told AFP.
Mangwana, co-chair of the committee, sais his committee had agreed on most
of the controversial issues that had delayed the completion of the draft
“We have struck common ground on most of the issues that include
the issue of having two vice presidents and the issue of dual citizenship,”
Mr Mangwana told The Herald newspaper.
The main political parties
have been haggling over issues including the devolution of power, dual
citizenship and gay rights.
But Mr Mangwana was categorical that “there
will be no devolution of power as some people were advocating.”
Majome said a conference was to review the draft to take place in the coming
months. “So in one month or two we must be done,” she said. Share This
Completing the draft would mark a crucial milestone toward
elections to replace a shaky unity government between President Robert
Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
The coalition was formed three years ago in to
avoid a full-fledged conflict in the wake of a bloody presidential run-off
election. Once the document is out, it will be translated into major local
languages before being taken to a public conference for discussion.
(AFP) Parliament would then debate it before it is put to a referendum. If
approved, elections would be organised soon after. Mugabe has vowed that
elections will be held this year with or without the new constitution while
Tsvangirai insists on reforms agreed to under the power-sharing deal, before
new elections are held.
South Africa has been urged to deal with the situation at its border
with Zimbabwe, which an activist has described as ‘chaos’.
ongoing reports of victimisation and violence at the border where thousands
of Zimbabweans cross between the two countries every week. While many of the
crossings are legal, others continue to be done illegally, with Zimbabweans
still risking jumping the border into South Africa to flee the situation
The border is a notoriously dangerous place for a border
jumper, who fall prey to violence and corruption mostly led by the ‘guma
guma’ gang. The gang operates along the border, targeting illegal crossers,
and are thought to be responsible for thousands of gang rapes, murders,
assaults and thefts.
Police officials on both sides of the border have
also been accused of intimidation and corruption, with reports that some
officers from Zimbabwe and South Africa demand bribes to help facilitate
Gabriel Shumba from the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum told SW
Radio Africa on Tuesday that the situation is chaotic.
to hear of rape, demands for bribes…it is the complete breakdown of the rule
of law at the borders,” Shumba explained.
He urged the South African
authorities to honour its international commitments to human rights and the
protection of asylum seekers by ensuring the border was safe.
warned that the country’s credibility was already being brought into
question amid reports that the country’s police and crime fighting unit, the
Hawks, are involved in illegal ‘renditions’ with their Zimbabwean
The renditions, which are illegal transfers of suspects
between the two countries, are said to have resulted in the deaths of
Zimbabwean nationals, who have been apprehended in South Africa, handed over
to Zim authorities, tortured and killed.
The reported involvement of
the South African authorities has led to a preliminary probe by the
country’s police. Shumba said that an independent inquiry will be more
credible, especially if the security forces in South Africa are working in
cahoots with Zimbabwe.
“I believe there are rogue and over zealous
elements acting in cahoots with Zimbabwe security forces. I shudder to think
what it means for Zimbabweans in South Africa if the South African
government is not reining in these rogue elements,” Shumba said.
The state run Sunday Mail newspaper is being
sued by the Deputy Minister for Justice, Obert Gutu, after the paper accused
him of receiving payment from the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) to write positive reports about the ongoing constitutional review
Last week’s edition of the paper claimed that the UNDP was
“clandestinely” recruiting writers and paying $200 each for stories which
portray COPAC and the new draft charter in a positive light. The report also
alleged that the MDC-T, through Gutu, had taken the lead in praising the
COPAC draft. Minister Gutu, who is also MDC-T Harare Province Secretary,
denied the allegations, calling them “false, wrongful and malicious”. He
described the report as a “smear campaign” against the COPAC process in
general and the MDC-T in particular.
“I feel grossly insulted. I’ve
been practicing law for nearly a quarter century now. I earn my living
through law and for them to insinuate that I can be bought for $200 to write
an article for the UNDP is ridiculous,” Gutu said. He added: “They have
targeted people like myself because they know that I write frequently.
Writing is my hobby and I think they found it easy to use my name as one of
the people who’s been commissioned by the UNDP, which is false and
The Deputy Minister said he has been submitting articles for
at least 15 years and has “never charged a single penny” to any of the
publications to which he sends his articles.
“For The Sunday Mail to
baldly declare I was hired, I felt very insulted . I had my reputation
lowered,” Gutu explained.
Gutu is suing for nearly $1, 3 million. He said
it is not the amount of money but the principle, which is at stake.
An overzealous senior CIO operative based in
Masvingo on Sunday barred two independent journalists from covering a ZANU
PF meeting convened by the party’s political commissar Webster
The meeting was called to discuss events that led to ZANU PF
groups engaging in open warfare, following the hotly disputed District
Coordinating Committee (DCC) elections in the province.
intelligence officer, identified as Huni and based at the district offices
of the spooks in the town, instructed the two journalists, Tatenda Chitagu
from NewsDay and Godfrey Mutimba from the Daily News not to enter the Chiefs
Hall in Mucheke, the venue of the meeting.
SW Radio Africa is reliably
informed Huni told the two scribes that they were not welcome to cover
‘their meeting’ implying he was part of the ZANU PF gathering. The senior
spy, a well known figure in Masvingo asked a group of war vets to keep an
eye on the two journalists, who were told to stand outside the gates to the
“The two scribes obliged and went and waited by the gate but
Huni wanted them to move further from the premises at which the journalists
remonstrated that he had no powers to control their movements on a street,”
a source said.
While the meeting took place inside the hall, a group
of war vets kept monitoring the movements of the two journalists, who had to
wait 10 hours before the acrimonious meeting ended.
resulted in Shamu ordering the rerun of district polls in Chiredzi. But he
reportedly upheld results from three other districts as the party battles to
bring order in its structures riddled with factionalism.
that Masvingo has a faction sympathetic to Defence minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa in a decade long battle to outflank the other faction aligned to
Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Harare, May 15, 2012 – Devolution of
power has been rejected, the state media reported on Tuesday.
formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have been pushing for
the devolution of power to provinces to be enshrined in a new constitution
but the state-controlled Herald Newspaper said a full Parliament
Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) meeting on Monday successfully shot
down the issue.
Instead, according to The Herald, the 25-member COPAC
committee agreed to have provincial governors elected by an electoral
college that includes legislators and local authority representatives from
President Robert Mugabe has spoken out against devolution
of power saying it was driven by tribal considerations likely to create
divisions in Zimbabwe. But the MDCs and proponents of devolution of power
argued it was necessary to address skewed economic development and
marginalisation of provinces such as Matabeleland and
Welshman Ncube’s faction of the MDC has vowed to take the
issue to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the guarantors
of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), if it is rejected.
The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe has suspended plans to import
coins from the United States because the initiative is costly to implement,
BAZ President John Mushayavanhu said April 29 as reported in Zimbabwe’s
BAZ has considered importing $5 million worth of
coins in various denominations to ease change challenges businesses were
facing since the adoption of a multi-currency system in 2009.
have shelved plans to import coins from the United States because it has
been noted that the initiative is expensive to implement as the importation
of the coins is charged on weight.
“For example, if we are to import
$5 million worth of coins in various denominations, we would need another $5
million to pay for them,” he said as reported in the
Mushayavanhu said as a country the banking industry was now
moving towards increased use of debit cards to alleviate coins
“The local banks will now be increasing the use of debit cards
on their clients. Obviously the system has to be accepted, and to do this,
the financial institutions are introducing more Point Of Sale (POS)
terminals in supermarkets,” he said, according to the Chronicle.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has in the past expressed concern over
the failure of businesses to issue change to consumers.
In most cases,
due to coin shortages, the consumer would be asked to buy a product with a
value equivalent to the supposed change.
This way, CCZ said, the
consumers were being fleeced as they made impulse buying.
Mushayavanhu, who is the group chief executive of FBC Holdings, said despite
the challenges that characterised Zimbabwe’s financial services sector in
2011, FBC remained resilient.
“We have achieved a commendable performance
since the introduction of the multi-currency system in 2009. The past year
alone saw us posting a lucrative $15.7 million group profit before tax,” he
The bank has also collaborated with MasterCard International in
championing the return of MasterCard in a multi-currency economy.
Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights (ZLHR) condemns in the
strongest possible terms utterances attributed to the minister of Local
Government, Rural and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo as reported in an
article published in the State-run Chronicle newspaper on Friday 11 May
2012, entitled “Kick out gays: Minister”. 15.05.1202:56pm by
In the article, minister Chombo is alleged to have urged chiefs to
banish “people who support homosexuality” from their communities and take
away their land.According to the newspaper article, Chombo made the remarks
when he addressed hundreds of villagers during the installation of Vusumuzi
Nicodmus Mabhikwa in Jotsholo, Lupane, Matabeleland North province as Chief
ZLHR is concerned that such utterances will give
rise to an increase in incidents of harassment, persecution, as well as
unlawful arbitrary evictions and seizure of property, which evictions and
deprivations are a violation of our national laws, as well as the African
Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to which Zimbabwe is a
Chombo’s appetite for forced evictions, especially in the
month of May,is reminiscent of the scorched earth programme of Operation
Murambatsvina which had far-reaching consequences on a large portion of the
Such political grandstanding serves only to
highlight the blatant disrespect for the rule of law and to underline the
lack of sincerity by a minister from apolitical party which pretends to
support economic and social justice – particularly land rights - for the
majority poor of Zimbabwe.
Instead, Chombo should be ashamed of his, and
the government’s failure to provide adequate alternative accommodation
and/or compensation to those people who were left homeless and jobless
almost 7 years ago.
By inciting villagers and chiefs to target “people
who support homosexuality”, and linking the debate to the purported support
of homosexuality and same-sex marriages by other political parties in
Zimbabwe, it is clear that Chombo is seeking to mislead people, and to
initiate a witch-hunt within peace-loving communities.
It is clear
that this will then be used as a pretext to clamp down on political
opponents as the country moves towards a fresh election, drive out perceived
supporters of alternative political parties on the basis that they “support
homosexuality”, and increase internal displacement so that people will find
it difficult to vote during the polls.
It is the greatest scandal that
seven years on, victims of Operation Murambatsvina are still left to survive
in plastic shacks without basic services. Because these victim’s voices have
for long been consistently ignored, ZLHR fears that their needs are at risk
of being totally forgotten.
It is also shameful that instead of ensuring
due process and respect for human rights by speeding up the provision of
alternative and adequate accommodation to those whom the government made
homeless, Chombo finds it appropriate to threaten another Murambatsvina on
The minister, and others who have been and continue to
speak on public platforms in similar vein, should refrain from such
irresponsible utterances that have the effect of impacting arbitrarily on
the peoples’ constitutionally protected rights to property, protection of
the law, and protection from arbitrary or forced evictions and internal
INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube has blamed his
Mines counterpart as it emerged Ziscosteel’s US$750 million takeover by
Essar Africa teeters on the brink of collapse with the Indian company being
forced to suspend the payment of salaries.
Essar Africa acquired a 60
percent interest in the Redcliff-based steelmaker and about 80 percent of
its mining subsidiary, Bimco, last year. The company was renamed NewZim
The takeover was expected lead to the revival of the steel
giant which had been virtually comatose since 2009 when production stopped
due to a combination of massive debts, mismanagement as well as moribund
plant and equipment.
But nearly a year later, Essar has yet to resume
operations as it awaits the finalisation of the deal which appears to have
stalled over the transfer of BIMCO’s iron ore claims.
The hold-up has
now forced NewZim Steel to stop paying salaries for its 1,500 employees –
which it had done since January last year – because of the lack of
“Essar are saying the government is yet to conclude the deal
it entered with the Indian company and they have pumped a lot of money so
far in salaries at a time when there is no production,” a representative of
the workers was quoted as saying in the state-run Herald
“A delegation of workers went to Harare last week and met
Minister Ncube and the Essar board chairman. They wanted to know the reasons
for the suspension of salaries and the delay in the conclusion of the
deal.” Ncube confirmed delays in the transfer of mineral rights was stalling
“I did meet the employees. Essar is saying we have
been paying salaries since March last year and we (the government) are
failing to sign a document transferring mining rights,” he said.
also warned that the deal could collapse unless his Mines Minister Obert
Mpofu facilitated the transfer of the iron ore reserves to Essar insisting:
“We are taking 14 months to sign a document which in a normal country should
take a week.” But Mpofu said the delays had nothing to do with him: “That
issue does not fall under my ministry. Talk to Ncube.”
official said last month that the company was ready to start operations once
the transfer of assets was completed.
“We are already on the ground and
hope to start work in the next few weeks,” Firdhose Coovadia, Essar’s
director for the Middle East and Africa said, adding the company was
prepared to invest up to US$4 billion in the revival of Zisco as well as
development of other mining and beneficiation activities.
invest $1 billion in a steel plant to achieve annual production of 1,2
million tonnes, $100 million on ore reserves that have not previously [been]
explored and $3 billion to create a world-class beneficiation plant and a
separate power plant,” he said.
The National Aids Council has
raised concern that if no alternative funding is found for the procurement
of HIV/Aids drugs, the lives of some 350 000 Zimbabweans receiving the
life-saving medication may be jeopardized.
NAC Financial Director Albert
Manenji told state media the anticipated shortages were a result of donor
He said the problem would be further compounded by the
withdrawal of the Global Fund, which has been funding 35 percent of the
“We have to come up with a number of strategies to deal
with the issue, and one of them is to efficiently and effectively use the
funds that we have,” he said.
The Global Fund, which has been
supporting HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria programs in the past 10 years,
may suspend support in 2014 owing to financial constraints faced by donor
countries as a result of the global recession.
Aids activist Obert
Banda told VOA the impending shortages of ARVs is likely to have a
devastating impact because not many people can afford the life-saving
“We cannot imagine the impact that this would have on those living
with HIV because already some people who just found out their HIV status
will not want to start the ARV program,” said Banda.
POLICE corruption will be difficult to stamp out in Zimbabwe
as long as salaries remain poor, a senior government official said
Permanent secretary Melusi Matshiya was presenting oral evidence
before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs
chaired by Mt Darwin North legislator Dickson Mafios.
officers from the police traffic section who man roadblocks were tempted to
accept bribes from motorists because they were not well
"They (police officers) are not well paid. They do not
even have appropriate dressing and tools of the trade. It is good to prevent
corruption by paying them well," he said.
Traffic police officers
have been accused of gross corruption with some being alleged to stage
roadblocks as a way of raising money to support their
Matshiya said the traffic section has always operated on a
shoe-string budget hence the failure to purchase critical
Due to inadequate legal framework and a culture of corruption
in Zimbabwe, efforts to deal with the vice have achieved little.
2011, Zimbabwe ranked 154 out of 182 countries in terms of corruption
The ZRP has been considered the most corrupt institution in
the country, a point which was recently cemented by the Transparency
Many police officers in Zimbabwe have acquired riches way
beyond their salaries could possibly afford and it is common knowledge that
police had resorted to accepting bribes from citizens to enrich
Anti Corruption Commission chairman Denford Chirindo echoed
Matshiya's sentiments, saying officers from the commission were also tempted
to accept bribes due to poor remuneration.
The coalition government
has sturggled to improve the working conditions of state employees blaming
poor tax revenues and the lack of support from donors.
Simon Moyo Victoria Falls, May 15, 2012 - There
is been an overwhelming interest to attend the 37th edition of the Africa
Travel Association (ATA) congress, scheduled for Victoria Falls on Thursday
with 400 delegates and 16 government ministers having confirmed their
participation so far.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Chief Executive
offier, Karikoga Kaseke, described the congress as a precursor of the 20 th
session of the United Nations World Travel Organisation General Assembly,
which is going to be co-hosted with Zambia next year.
"The hosting of
this prestigious congress by Zimbabwe under the theme "Africa: Partnering
for the Fture" is another great stride in the right direction as we amplify
efforts to consolidate the sectorial gains and spurring further growth..."
Vice President Joice Mujuru is expected to officially open
the conference, with five Cabinet ministers due to address the various
sectors of the conference.
The last time the ATA congress was held in
Zimbabwe was in 1988. It is largely seen as an opportunity to market tourism
to mainly the American market, which remains the world's biggest
"We hope to interface with regional and international delegates,
some of whom are potential investors, with a view to give them insight into
specific investment opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector,"
ATA was formed in 1975 with the sole aim of promoting
travel into Africa. It is assumed by the experts that it is critical for
Zimbabwe, which has identified tourism among the four pillars of its
economic recovery plan to market and promote itself as a safe and attractive
Zimbabwe has made history by attracting ministers of tourism
from Senegal, Gambia, Zambia, Ghana, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon,
Ethiopia, Seychelles, Chad, Kenya and Namibia, among others. Diplomatic
missions accredited to Zimbabwe, among them the embassies of the United
States of America, Zambia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, India and South
Africa, have also confirmed participation.
Kaseke said $450 000 was
spent in preparations for the congress to be a success, adding that the
returns will depend on how the tourism industry responds to the
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo has urged traditional
chiefs to banish “people who support homosexuality” from their communities
and take away their land. The ZANU PF MP was addressing villagers in Lupane
who had come to witness the installation of Chief Mabhikwa Khumalo last
“The chiefs are there to protect and promote our cultural
values and those who support same sex marriages must be banished from the
communities and be dispossessed of their land. What kind of madness is this
that when we have beautiful women in our country some people want to marry
other men,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
condemned the remarks saying: “Such utterances will give rise to an increase
in incidents of harassment, persecution, as well as unlawful arbitrary
evictions and seizure of property,” all of which violate national, regional
and international human rights.
The lawyers said: “Chombo’s appetite
for forced evictions, especially in the month of May, is reminiscent of the
scorched earth programme of Operation Murambatsvina which had far-reaching
consequences on a large portion of the Zimbabwean population.”
2005 Mugabe’s regime sanctioned a large scale campaign to forcibly clear
so-called slum areas and ‘illegally’ built structures across the country.
According to United Nations estimates over 700,000 people were affected
directly through loss of their homes or livelihoods, while a another 2,4
million were affected indirectly.
The ZLHR say the latest remarks by
Chombo underline the blatant disrespect for the rule of law and “the lack of
sincerity by a minister from a political party which pretends to support
economic and social justice.” Almost 7 years after Operation Murambatsvina
some victims still live in plastic shacks without basic
“Chombo should be ashamed of his, and the government’s failure
to provide adequate alternative accommodation and/or compensation to those
people who were left homeless and jobless almost 7 years ago,” the lawyers
Harare, May 15, 2012 - The US has called
on countries harbouring fugitives of the 1994 Rwandan genocide to
immediately arrest the suspects and hand them over for trial. In a
statement, the US State Department called upon countries that still
harboured suspects of genocide, which claimed the lives of close to one
million Rwandans of Tutsi origin. Politically moderate Rwandans from the
majority Hutu ethnic group were also targeted in the mass
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR),
which is winding up its business, has also demanded the immediate arrest of
fugitives of the genocide. The United Nations tribunal based in Arusha,
Tanzania, winds up its business at the end of 2014 and wants all fugitives
brought to book before then.
Zimbabwe is accused of harbouring
Potrais Mpiranya, one of the most wanted fugitives, believed to be staying
in Norton, just outside the capital. The United States government placed a
$5 million bounty for information leading to his arrest. Zimbabwe has
distanced itself from claims of harbouring Mpiranya.
Immigration Principal Director Clemence Masango recently told the
Parliamentary portfolio committee for Defence and Home Affairs: “Yes this
has been topical in the local and international media. All efforts have been
made to check on this allegation. We have no record within our systems of
this person whether on a permit or refugee. The only refugee camp we have is
Tongogara and everyone there is documented."
"Interpol has written to
us and enquired officially through local police structures. Investigations
have been carried out and this person has not been found and police are on
record saying they have not been able to find that person in Zimbabwe but
their investigations are still underway. That is what I can say on
Rwanda has since appealed for United Nations intervention accusing
Harare of dragging its feet on arresting the fugitive.
indicted by the ICTR on 25 September 2002 on charges of participating in the
planning, preparation and execution of a plan to exterminate the Tutsi
population of Rwanda.
He was placed under the US Reward for Justice
List introduced by the State Department with the aim of accelerating the
arrest of some of the most dangerous criminals in the world.
MINES Minister Obert Mpofu has ruled out a review of the
recent 5000 percent hike in mining fees and related levies which the
industry has warned could cripple their operations.
increased registration charges for platinum and diamond claims to $2.5
million and $5 million, respectively in January, arguing the review was
needed to increase state revenues as well as curb speculative holding of
Miners immediately called for to review with Chamber of
Mines vice president Allan Mashingaidze warning that: "The fee structure is
unworkable. The industry is already overburdened by the totality of
statutory charges, royalties, levies and commissions.
that 60 percent of every dollar earned in revenue goes to the government,
making Zimbabwe one of the most expensive countries to mine."
Mpofu ruled out a review Monday, telling a Parliamentary committee that the
government was already benefitting from the increases.
increased the fees we have so far collected US$10 million because now we
have serious miners who are mining than the scenario we had before, where
people would hoard mining claims for speculative purposes,” he
Parliament’s legal committee also warned last month that the
increases could be unconstitutional. Mpofu however, insisted the
increases were needed to curb speculative holding of mining
“We have been tracking the listing of companies and we realised
most of them are registered and listed in foreign countries,” he
“On the ground they won’t be doing anything but just use the mines
to count them as their assets. We thought if we could come up with these
fees it would be a deterrent measure for those who hoard claims for
speculative purposes and I must say it has started paying off.”
mining sector has been credited with helping drive the Zimbabwe’s recovery
from a decade-long recession and last year alone contributed US$2,1 billion
to national exports, representing 50 percent of the country's total foreign
Mpofu said the levy hike would not undermine the
strong performance, insisting a growth projection of 15,8 percent for the
sector was still achievable.
Irwin Chifera and Blessing Zulu | Harare and
A South Sudanese parliamentary delegation was in Harare,
Zimbabwe, Tuesday seeking assistance in efforts to resolve outstanding
issues with Sudan.
The South seceded from Sudan last year after years of
a bitter conflict, but still has unresolved issues with the North over
sharing of oil revenues and a border dispute.
Head of delegation
Bangout Amin Akech told journalists in Harare after meeting with Speaker of
Parliament Lovemore Moyo, that her country wants a peaceful resolution with
This despite Sudan resuming its aerial bombardment of South
Sudan Monday, rejecting international calls for a cessation of hostilities
between the two countries.
Akech said her country can not go to war
with Sudan over resources, adding they are ready to share, and would want
more African countries to in invest their country.
Speaker Moyo said
Harare had a lot of experience in crafting political solutions and stands
ready to assist their South Sudanese counterparts.
government is a product of a settlement reached after grueling negotiations
led by the regional Southern African Development Community.
accord is far from perfect and has not been able to resolve all differences
between Zanu PF and the MDC. It was unclear if Harare would indeed get
involved, and if it did, what form its involvement would take.
the Zimbabwe parliament resumed sitting Tuesday after adjourning in March
with Moyo telling the members they can not debate the motion on the Urban
Councils Amendment Bills as Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo is
challenging the bill in the Supreme Court.
The private members bill
brought by Buhera Central legislator, Tangwara Matimba of the MDC formation
led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, seeks to clip the minister’s
Among other bills and motions the House of Assembly is expected
to pass is the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill, which will
operationalize the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.
sources say Zanu PF and the Tsvangirai MDC are set to clash again over the
role of parliament in debating bills in the current session.
The Zanu PF
parliamentary caucus resolved that lawmakers must not bring private member’s
bills or debate specific bills they say are in breach of the Global
Political Agreement, the foundation of the all-inclusive
Zanu PF is also trying to block attempts to amend the
Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Urban Councils Act brought
through private member’s bills.
But Tsvangirai MDC parliamentary whip
Innocent Gonese said his party will press ahead to ensure the bills are read
and debated in both Houses.
Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa,
parliamentary sources say, has been tasked by his party to approach Moyo to
negotiate the shelving of MDC-sponsored private members bills, a move many
see as an attempt to block key reforms.
Human rights lawyer Andrew
Makoni told VOA that Zanu PF's attempts are unconstitutional.
HAMILTON boss Frank Buyanga has revealed that he received
US$25 million from the controversial British property tycoon, Nicholas van
Hoogstraten, in 2008.
Buyanga, wanted by police in Zimbabwe on fraud
charges, told South African television over the weekend that the allegations
and purported charges against him were “hot air”, while also denying that he
was on the run.
Dubbed a “loan shark” by Finance Minister Tendai Biti,
Buyanga also launched a defiant defence of the business practices of three
of his Zimbabwean companies – Hamilton Finance, Hamilton Property Holdings
and Hamilton Insurance.
In a rare television interview for the Click
Africa programme on DSTV’s Africa Magic channel aired Sunday, Buyanga spoke
openly about: # His extraordinary relationship with the British businessman
Nicholas van Hoogstraten
# His legal troubles in the United Kingdom
# How Hamilton Finance became the “lender of last resort”
during the liquidity crisis between 2007 and 2009
# And his
relationship with African leaders including Malawi’s former President Bakili
Muluzi and Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Until Sunday’s interview,
Buyanga had only previously said of Hoogstraten that he was his friend,
mentor and advisor.
“He gave me money, US$25 million. One of my property
companies received US$25 million as a facility, and out of that I think we
used US$10 million and that’s it,” Buyanga told interviewer, Josey
In 2002, Van Hoogstraten – estimated to be worth US$800 million
– was jailed in the UK for 10 years for ordering the murder of a business
rival, but the conviction was overturned on appeal.
later, he was ordered to pay the victim’s family £6 million in a civil case
but he vowed they would “never get a penny".
Hoogstraten is believed to
have donated money to President Robert Mugabe’s campaign in the past. Asked
why he had not exploited such a political connection to end the police
pursuit of him, Buyanga bristled with indignation.
“Why should he
[Hoogstraten] speak to the President about my problems? I told you these
problems are not from high-up, there are all these little Mickey Mouse
people. The President has bigger issues to deal with. Besides, he is a
senior citizen and should be left alone,” he said.
stepped down as a director of Hamilton Property Holdings in 2010 to avoid a
gathering storm over the company’s activities which were attracting police
and Reserve Bank attention.
Dozens of people came forward to say that
they had borrowed money from Hamilton and surrendered collateral in the form
of houses, vehicles and household goods. They claimed that before their
borrowing period was over, Hamilton had disposed of their property. But
Buyanga said “none of these people have any money”, insisting if they did he
would be happy to give them back their houses.
The Attorney General has
filed an application in the High Court seeking to interdict Hamilton from
selling 45 properties.
But the company is fighting the application,
insisting that it has not sold or tried to sell the said
Most of the petitioners had sold their properties, the
company argues, but with a “buy-back option... subject to parties agreeing
on a buy-back price and the terms of the buy-back.”
“Hamilton in all
sale transactions has made available to all the complainants the following
documents for the purpose of completing the sale transaction: agreement of
sale, power of attorney to pass transfer, declaration by seller, notice to
vacate property and acknowledgement of receipt of funds,” the company says
in court papers.
But police are also charging Buyanga individually under
laws that impose liability on directors where a company is involved in
“We all know that the police are not always concise,
are not always precise. You cannot say that police are always right,”
Buyanga said in the interview on Sunday.
“We have extended funding to
more than 4,000 people but we are talking about 45 people who are using
elements in the system and state organs to create something out of it.
Nothing will come out of it,” he added.
When asked who was running his
businesses in Zimbabwe in his absence, he replied that “these things run
themselves”. His business interests extended beyond Zimbabwe, he
emphasised. Africa Magic showed interviews with some individuals who borrowed
money from Hamilton and successfully paid back.
One man, who was
unnamed, said: “There are people who did benefit, perhaps in their desire to
do business they failed in various projects and they had challenges in
repaying the money., The ended up finding excuses in terms of repaying the
“What I would have thought is that people who are accountable,
people with integrity... the best thing would have been to go back to the
drawing board and renegotiate the loans. It’s just unfortunate that some
people who were really greedy thought the best way to move this agenda was
to push Frank out of that industry, in the hope that those debts would be
written off.” Buyanga says he has no intentions of writing off the debt.
“It’s about principle, not forgiveness.”
It has been reported that
Buyanga’s troubles began when the brother of a senior cabinet minister's
girlfriend borrowed over US$50,000 using her sister’s house – with her
permission – as collateral. After his investment bombed, he committed suicide
when realising that his sister’s property would be sold.
It has since
emerged that Transport Minister Nicholas Goche also borrowed US$70,000 and
had neglected to pay, forcing the company to take him to court. Buyanga
says he saw nothing wrong with giving loans to ministers, describing them as
“just civil servants”.
“There is nothing wrong with extending funding to
a government minister. In Zimbabwe, at the time I was extending funds,
no-one else was. Even the banks didn’t have any money. So none of these
people had anywhere to run, so they could only run to me,” he said. He
admitted that “a lot of people haven’t paid me back”.
He said he had
friends who were ministers, but he did not expect them to stand up for him
and fight what he sees as a miscarriage of justice.
“I would not want
them to stand up for me,” Buyanga said. “The minute that minister lifts up
his hand and mentions my name, then he is in trouble. They are gonna jump on
him. You can’t have anyone standing up for me right now, can you? I
Buyanga – charged with conspiracy to defraud in the
United Kingdom before failing to make an appearance in court in 2005 – says
he recorded all transactions on video because he had a premonition some
clients would default and use corrupt police officers to intimidate him into
writing off the debts.
He says his lawyers in the United Kingdom are
engaged in discussions with the Crown Prosecution Service to have the fraud
Buyanga also spoke about his connections with African
leaders including Muluzi and Obiang, whom he was photographed meeting in
On Muluzi, he said: “He is like a father figure. We
have known each other for a while. My dad is late now and I need someone who
can advise me on the way forward in life.” He only knew President Obiang
as a man who has “achieved a lot for his country”.
received three awards from a South African organisation for assisting in
He recently donated R1 million to a youth
development programme in South Africa.
“It’s important to add value
to the youth in terms of youth development programmes by way of education,”
“I personally feel we can improve the situation, and move away
from the situation of forfeiture of people’s assets by means that I don’t
agree with. You can only develop the human being by financial literacy, by
Harare, May 15,
2012 - President Robert Mugabe is holding evidence of adultery against two
unnamed Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe, according to Wiki leaks.
recent cable by the whistle blowing website revealed that Evangelical Bishop
Trevor Manhanga indicated that Mugabe was holding the adultery evidence
against the Bishops during discussions with United States diplomats based in
Harare. He was commenting after Archbishop Pius Ncube’s alleged sexual
escapades were exposed on national television.
“Evangelical Bishop Trevor
Manhanga told United States embassy officials that although Archbishop Pius
Ncube was set up, the charges of adultery that were being levelled against
him were undoubtedly true and would do considerable harm to the opposition,”
read the cable.
“Ncube also said the GOZ is holding evidence against two
other Catholic bishops. This will be a severe blow to the Catholic Church
and to the Save Zimbabwe Coalition of which Ncube was a prominent
After the expose Ncube took a back seat from political activity
and retreated to Hwange where he is believed to be operating from. He had
become a thorn in Mugabe’s flesh, often praying for the demise of the
According to the cable, Manhanga and Bishop Sebastian
Bakare of Mutare, met with Mugabe to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe and
Mugabe's future, including plans for retirement.
“He (Manhanga) told
us he emphasised to Mugabe the urgency of dealing with the Zimbabwean crisis
and that a resolution was dependent upon Mugabe's retirement and plan for
succession,” read the cable.
“According to Manhanga, Mugabe was
noncommittal, but left the clear impression he intended to run for election
and, after being re-elected, to then deal with the succession
Mugabe complained that his cabinet was the worst ever and was
constantly speaking out without co-ordinating with him.”
This week Magamba Cultural Activist Network will be
filming the pilot season of the highly anticipated news comedy sketch "Zambezi
News" that will be distributed regionally, from satellite television channels
and also available locally on DVD. See link provided
Zambezi News is
the breakthrough new comedy series that has had audiences in Zimbabwe and abroad
in stitches since its launch in late 2011. Irreverent, sarcastic and downright
hilarious this is the news as never seen before.
Created by two of
the country’s pioneering creative minds, Comrade Fatso and Outspoken, Zambezi
relentless propaganda and astounding journalistic ineptitude on state TV through
its comical news presenters. The presenters humorously delve into a plethora of
issues such as democracy, elections, race, land reform, corruption, sexism,
gender issues, arts and sport – generally all aspects of life in Africa
including all its contradictions and ironies.
Magamba is now
producing the pilot season of Zambezi News which will be launched in Zimbabwe
and internationally in July 2012.
For the past decade, South Africa has been the preferred
vacation spot, shopping destination and international transit hub for
members of the tyrannical and murderous government ruling its northern
neighbor, Zimbabwe — a government that has rigged elections, beaten and
killed opposition activists and ruined a once thriving economy. All of this
could now change because of a landmark legal decision.
Last week, the
High Court in Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital, handed down a
historic judgment. It ordered South African authorities to investigate and
prosecute members of Robert Mugabe’s government who had tortured their
political opponents. Under South African law, the police are obliged to
investigate evidence of a crime against humanity, wherever it occurs, if the
rule of law does not exist there, as is the case in Zimbabwe.
ruling has profound implications. It could cement South Africa’s commitment
to protecting human rights and broaden the application of universal
jurisdiction, which is the ability of countries to prosecute people who
committed certain egregious crimes outside its borders. Unfortunately, the
South African authorities want to sidestep it and are reportedly preparing
an appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which oversees the High
Overturning the ruling would be a disastrous setback, and all
those who care about human rights in Africa should pressure President Jacob
Zuma of South Africa to let the decision stand.
The case began in
early 2008, when lawyers gave South African government prosecutors a dossier
containing evidence that 17 Zimbabweans, some of whom now live in South
Africa, had been tortured. They had been seized by Mr. Mugabe’s police in
Zimbabwe during a raid of the main opposition party’s headquarters. The
police then tortured them with electric shocks, mock executions and
simulated drowning. Inside the dossier were the victims’ sworn statements,
corroborating affidavits from witnesses and doctors and the identities of
the alleged perpetrators.
Yet the South African government prosecutors
have so far refused to investigate these allegations, overruling the
recommendations of the prosecutor in charge of the case. They tried to argue
that such an investigation was impractical, and that it would complicate
diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe at a time when President Zuma was
supposed to be mediating between Mr. Mugabe and the opposition. The Pretoria
High Court threw out all these objections, and said that the South African
police and prosecutors had acted unconstitutionally by letting political
considerations stop them, and that they were obliged to
Although South African prosecutors cannot try the
perpetrators in absentia, the case will still have a galvanizing effect on
the situation in Zimbabwe. Anyone there who is under investigation will now
risk arrest by coming to South Africa, a country frequented by the
Zimbabwean elite for shopping, medical treatment, catching international
flights or visiting their vacation homes in Johannesburg or Cape
Already there is speculation about who is on the confidential
suspect list. It is believed to include midranking and senior police
officers, and members of the military council that essentially runs Zimbabwe
for Mr. Mugabe. But future cases may reach higher, as South Africa’s laws
could trump diplomatic and sovereign immunity, which means sitting heads of
state could be potentially vulnerable, too — although they would have to be
on South African soil to face arrest.
This ruling would have a far
greater impact than the current American and European Union sanctions, which
impose a travel ban and asset freeze on Mr. Mugabe and his inner circle, who
still routinely manage to travel to United Nations gatherings in the United
States and Europe by exploiting diplomatic exemptions.
immediate effect would be on the behavior of Mr. Mugabe’s enforcers in the
run-up to the next elections, which are due to take place sometime in the
next year. During the 2008 elections, hundreds of opposition supporters were
killed and thousands tortured, a period Zimbabweans refer to as “The Fear.”
There are already signs of an uptick in political violence as the next
election approaches. But the fact that the perpetrators of violence can no
longer act with complete impunity should make many of them think
All efforts should now be brought to bear on Mr. Zuma and the
South African government to dissuade them from appealing the verdict. South
Africa’s powerful trade union movement, Cosatu, which is allied with the
ruling African National Congress, should strenuously lobby Mr. Zuma for this
law to be honored, as should the lively South African
Likewise, all nations that care about countering crimes against
humanity should pressure South Africa to accept the court’s decision. By
letting this judgment stand, Mr. Zuma’s government has a historic
opportunity to show its critics that it has a genuine commitment to human
rights. If, however, South Africa seeks to reverse the ruling, it will be a
tragedy for Zimbabwe’s many torture victims, past and future.
Godwin is the president of the PEN American Center and author, most recently
of “The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe.”
African Litigation Centre and Zimbabwe Exiles Forum v. National Director of
Public Prosecutions and other governmental units - read judgment
Africa’s North Gauteng High Court has just ruled that South African prosecutors
and police illegally refused to proceed with an investigation of systematic
torture in Zimbabwe.
Africa, like many countries, has adopted the international crime prosecution Treaty ("the Rome Statute").
This means that under ordinary domestic law (the ICC Act) the South African investigative authorities have
the power to prosecute anyone who has committed torture, or a crime against
humanity anywhere in the world, if the perpetrator is in the country (at any
time when investigation is contemplated). Jurisdiction is also vested
irrespective of the perpetrator's whereabouts if the victim is a South African
course this burden of responsibility teems with diplomatic difficulties, but
generally it has been discharged with the convenient prosecutions of has-beens
like Charles Taylor and Slobodan
Naomi Roht-Arriaza points out in her fascinating post on the subject, this particular
case of South Africa v Zimbabwe illustrates the strain put on governments by the
principle of complementarity under the 1998 Rome Statute, which puts pressure on implicated states to
investigate these major crimes on their threshold, too close to home. It should
come as no surprise that South African prosecutors are reluctant to investigate
allegations of torture committed in Zimbabwe -
of the critiques of transnational prosecutions based on universal jurisdiction
is that they are a new brand of neo-colonialism, with former colonial powers
seeking to bring into court disgraced leaders of their former
the tables are turning, and this universal jurisdiction is not being universally
African President Jacob Zuma and President Robert Mugabe, right, shake hands
after holding discussions in Harare, Thursday, March, 18, 2010. Picture: AP
Last week’s judgment by the North Gauteng High
Court ordering South African authorities to investigate alleged torture by
18 high-ranking Zimbabwean officials was groundbreaking.
It was the
first time a court had ordered the executive to implement South Africa’s
pioneering International Criminal Court Act of 2002, which authorises South
Africa to prosecute the gravest crimes even beyond South Africa and when no
South Africans are involved.
In March 2008, two Johannesburg-based NGOs –
the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum – had
asked the South African authorities to investigate the Zimbabwean officials
for alleged complicity in the torture of members of the opposition Movement
for Democratic change (MDC).
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)
and police declined. They said they had no real chance of successfully
prosecuting the case because they would get none of the necessary help from
the Zimbabwean authorities.
And they said investigating high-ranking
Zimbabwean officials would wreck South Africa’s efforts to mediate a
resolution of that country’s political crisis.
In the High Court last
week, Judge Hans Fabricius rejected these arguments, telling the South
African authorities that they had misunderstood what was being asked of
them; they were being asked to conduct an investigation to discover whether
there was a basis for further action, such as arrests or laying
They were not being asked – not yet – to lay charges or
prosecute. Judge Fabricius said considerations about what impact any legal
actions might have on South Africa’s diplomacy in Zimbabwe were
Zimbabwean officials – clearly from Zanu-PF – have been quoted
in the Zimbabwean media as saying the judgment would remain “largely
symbolic” as any investigation of the officials would certainly end South
African mediation efforts.
That is possibly wishful thinking by them.
If the NPA and SAPS do not appeal the judgment, or if they appeal and lose,
they will be obliged to conduct an investigation.
watchdogs suspect that might just be a half-hearted
But if they are to avoid further censure and another
order by Judge Fabricius, they will surely have to do more than that, his
That would include making a good faith effort to get
further evidence from the alleged victims – and to secure the co-operation
of the Zimbabwean authorities to conduct investigations inside
That request for co-operation will no doubt be rejected and it
will almost certainly annoy the relevant Zimbabwean authorities (all
Zanu-PF) and probably raise doubts in their minds about the South African
government’s own position on this issue.
Remember that, based on its
own experience, Zanu-PF may not be capable of distinguishing the executive
arm of government from the judiciary very clearly.
But would that –
or an actual prosecution if it comes to that – indeed upset South Africa’s
mediation as the government would have us believe?
Zanu-PF is not taking President Jacob Zuma’s mediation very seriously. It
continues to violate most of its commitments under the 2008 agreement among
Zanu-PF and the two MDC parties, which set the rules for the current, very
shaky, government of national unity among the three.
The alleged torture
by Zanu-PF officials of MDC members and others occurred before the unity
government was created.
Yet even inside that government, the security
agencies and the judiciary, which Zanu-PF kept securely under its own
control, have continued to persecute the MDC.
This recalcitrance is
causing immense frustration to South Africa’s Zimbabwe mediators.
it is surely no surprise. Zanu-PF understands all too clearly that the kind
of deal South Africa requires of it, to create a really level political
playing field for the next elections, is simply not in its
Unless the South African government introduces some stick into
the game, it is hard to see why Zanu-PF would play ball.
therefore, it might be useful to Zuma and his mediators if the courts began
to introduce the notion into the negotiations that there might actually be
consequences to Zanu-PF for its actions. – Daily News Foreign Service
unique’, are just some of the words that participants have used to describe
the just ended two-part, five day Building Resources in Democracy,
Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) training workshop organised by Zimbabwe
Election Support Network (ZESN) in Bulawayo, from 7 to 11 May 2012. 35
participants from over 30 civic society organisations committed their time
and experience to the courses that were designed to help professionals in
the human rights and governance sector to craft programmes that are
effective in voter registration and civic education campaigns.
Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, ZESN Director and co-facilitator introduced
participants to the programme explained that, “BRIDGE stands for Building
Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections. It is a 23 module course
that covers all aspects needed for the training of practitioners involved in
democracy, governance and election processes, which civic education is also
a component. For this training two modules voter registration and civic
education were selected specifically for practitioners in civil society. It
was specifically designed to equip Zimbabwean CSOs with advocacy skills and
also to identify and design projects that can benefit communities that they
work with to understand and fully involved in participatory
Despite the varying experiences that facilitators, Tomsie
Dlamini from South Africa, Taona Mwanyisa based in Zambia and Rindai Vava
from Zimbabwe had, they managed to shape the programme to apply to the
Zimbabwean context in a way that participants were able to relate
The course covered a number of aspects including voter registration
types and processes and the challenges faced in Zimbabwe, crafting of
election messages and how to involve marginalised groups such as women,
youths and people living with disabilities.
Speaking on the course
content one of the participants remarked, “I have found the workshop very
useful especially at this time when there are many speculations about when
and how elections in Zimbabwe will be conducted. Looking at the past
election experience of 2008, I would like to see a great change in the way
the next election is going to be carried out. This training has equipped me
with relevant information on how to mobilise young people in my constituency
to take part fully in the elections”.
The teaching methodologies utilised
varied from presentations, debates, group activities, and energisers. These
were very effective for the mixed group of young and older human rights
practitioners who were coming from different regions, cultures and
Participants were drawn from Matabeleland
North, Matabeleland South, Midlands, Masvingo and Bulawayo. Most of them
expressed interest in taking up the full BRIDGE course which would enable
them to become facilitators of the same course to others. They called on
ZESN to make it possible for the group to do the remainder of the modules so
that they can be fully equipped to implement governance and democracy
programmes in their different areas.
Bill Watch 20/2012 of 15th May [Supreme Court Case to Stop Private Member's Bill: Part I]
BILL WATCH 20/2012
[15th May 2012]
Supreme Court Case to Stop Private Member's
This case, brought by the Minister of Local Government, Rural and
Urban Development to stop Parliament debating the Urban Councils Amendment Bill,
raises complex issuesand will be
covered in two Bill Watches:
Part IThe Case:– Background; Minister’s Arguments; Grounds for Rejecting the Minister’s Arguments
Part IIOther Aspects of the Case –
undesirability of bringing a case to court while a Bill is being considered by
Parliament;and the possible effect on other legislation including other Private
Background to the
On 25th October last year the House of Assembly passed a resolution
giving Hon Tangwara Matimba [MDC-T MP for Buhera
Central] permission to introduce a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Urban
Councils Act. The Bill [available from firstname.lastname@example.org]was subsequently gazetted and introduced in the House by Hon Matimba
on 28th February.Its main purpose, as
outlined in its explanatory memorandum, is to reduce the powers of central
government over municipal and town councils, thereby encouraging democracy at
local levels.Following its introduction
the Bill received a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal
Committee.This indicated that in the
Committee’s opinion the Bill did not contravene any provision of the
The ZANU-PF caucus, however, held a different view.Following a caucus meeting, Hon Chombo, the
ZANU-PF Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development wrote to the
Speaker and the Clerk of Parliament stating that Article 20.1.2(c) of the GPA,
which is enshrined in Schedule 8 to the Constitution, allows only Government
Ministers to introduce Bills in Parliament, and takes away the right of private
members to do so.While the GPA
subsists, he contended, Hon Matimba had no power to introduce the Urban Councils
Amendment Bill into the House of Assembly and the House had no power to consider
it.The Clerk of Parliament replied in a
letter that explained, with full reasons, that Parliament disagreed with the
Minister’s contention.Parliament has
since proceeded with the Bill, Hon Matimba has made his speech explaining it,
and it is on the Order Paper for continuation of the Second Reading debate when
Parliament resumes this week.
Note:Minister Chombo, who
has been Minister responsible for local government since 2000, has clashed
repeatedly with local councils over his exercise of the powers conferred on him
by the Urban Councils Act.It is powers
of this sort that will be drastically curtailed by the
Minister Chombo has now applied to the Supreme Court in terms of
section 24(1) of the Constitution for an interdict prohibiting Parliament from
considering the Bill any further.He has
brought the application in a threefold capacity: as a Minister, as a member of
Parliament and as a citizen.Notice of
opposition has been filed on behalf of Parliament.
In two earlier Bill Watches [10/2012 of 19th March and 15/2012 of 2nd
April] we referred to the argument as it had been put forward after the ZANU-PF
caucus meeting.We said it was
incorrect, i.e, that Article 20.1.2(c) of Schedule 8
to the Constitution does not override the constitutional right of a
private member to introduce a Bill.
Now that Minister Chombo has taken the matter to court, we shall
consider the Minister’s argument in more detail.
Ministers Argument that the GPA excludes Private Members
The Minister’s argument is based on an idiosyncratic interpretation
of the impact of the constitutional provisions enacted by Constitution Amendment
No. 19 to give effect to the GPA.It is
Although there is a provision in the Constitution allowing Private
Member’s Bills [paragraph 1(3)(b) of
Schedule 4], this has been superseded by Article 20.1.2(c) of the GPA
[incorporated into the Constitution as Schedule 8 by Constitution Amendment No.
19] which states that Cabinet “shall have
the responsibility to prepare and present to Parliament, all such legislation
and other instruments as may be necessary to implement the policies and
programmes of the National Executive”.
He argues that this latter provision overrides paragraph 1 of
Schedule 4.He bases this on another
provision of the Constitution [Section
115(3] also introduced by Constitution Amendment No. 19, which states that
while the GPA is in force the provisions of the Constitution “operate as amended or modified to the
extent or in the manner specified in Schedule 8”.Therefore, he argues, while the as the GPA is
still in force, the right of private members to prepare legislation and present
it to Parliament is in abeyance.
Rejecting the Minister’s Argument
There are strong
grounds for rejecting the Minister’s argument that Article 20.1.2(c) as incorporated in Schedule
8 of the Constitution overrides private members’ right to introduce
Bills: 1.Article 20.1.2(c) does
not give Cabinet an exclusive right to introduce BillsArticle
20.1.2(c) states that the Cabinet shall
have the responsibility to prepare and present legislation to Parliament that
the Executive deems necessary to fulfil its policies. Cabinet has always had
this right, but it has not meant that private members cannot introduce Bills
that are not on the Executive’s legislative agenda.And there is nothing in the Article which excludes this now.2.Article 20 of the GPA must
be read as a wholeThe preamble states that its purpose is ‘to establish a framework of working
together in an inclusive government”.Theother clauses in
20.1.2 emphasise that Cabinet in all its duties, not just that of preparing
legislation, shall “take decisions by
consensus” and “take collective
responsibility”.The GPA negotiators
obviously considered it is necessary to emphasise the collective duty of Cabinet
in an inclusive government having Ministers coming from oppositional parties, a
situation very different from that of a Cabinet selected by the party that has
won an election.This clarifies that the words in Article 20.1.2(c) which states that the Cabinet “shall have the responsibility to prepare
and presenting to Parliament“all
such legislation”...“as may be
necessary to implement the policies and programmes of the National
Executive.” merely emphasises the duty of the
Cabinet as a whole to put in place whatever legislation is needed to implement
3.Article 20 in Schedule 8 must be read in
conjunction with the rest of the ConstitutionThere is a
basic rule for interpreting a constitution – thatthat all its provisions must be read together
and one provision should not be regarded as overriding another unless the
intention to override is expressly stated or clearly implied.In this case paragraph 1(3)(b) of Schedule 4
to the Constitution gives private members of Parliament the right to introduce
any Bills, other than money Bills, while Article 20.1.2(c) gives Cabinet the
“responsibility” for introducing legislation to implement government
policies.The two provisions are
perfectly consistent with one another, unless article 20.1.2(c) is construed as
meaning that Cabinet has the sole right to introduce legislation — which is not
what it says.There is therefore no
ground for saying that Article 20.1.2(c) overrides paragraph 1(3)(b) of Schedule
4.Section 115(3) does not say that Schedule 8
overrides the rest of the ConstitutionIt merely says
that the rest of the Constitution operates “as amended or modified to the extentor in the manner specified in Schedule
8.”Therefore, only if Schedule 8
specifies an amendment or modification to another constitutional provision will
that other provision be overridden by the Schedule.Article 20.1.2(c) does not specify any
amendment or modification to paragraph 1(3) of Schedule 4, so it cannot be
regarded as overriding it.Hence the
right of private members to introduce legislation remains unaffected by Schedule
5.The Urban Councils
Amendment Bill is not the sort of legislation that is covered by article
20.1.2(c)Not only doesarticle 20.1.2(c) not give Cabinet Ministers an exclusive right to
introduce legislation in Parliament, but it appliesonly to “such legislation … as may be necessary to
implement the policies and programmes of the National Executive.”The Urban Councils Amendment Bill [and
incidentally other Private Members Bills that are in the pipeline] do not fall
into this category as they cannot be said to “implement the policies … of the National
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot
take legal responsibility for information
Bill Watch 21/2012 of 15th May [Supreme Court Case to Stop Private Member's Bill Part II]
Court Case to Stop Private Member's Bill
Watch 20/2012 of 15th May]
covered the background to the case the Minister of Local Government, Rural and
Urban Development has taken to the Supreme Court to stop the Urban Councils
Amendment Bill.The Minister’s argument
in his submission to the court – thatArticle 20.1.2(c) of the GPA as incorporated into the Constitution by
Amendment 19 prohibits Private Member’s Bills – was outlined and
counter-arguments were put forward to show the weakness of the Minister’s case.
are additional aspects of the case – the undesirability of bringing a case to
court while a Bill is being considered by Parliamentand
the possible effect on other legislation including other Private Member’s Bills.
No Precedent for Courts to Intervene while Parliament Considers a
To avoid infringing the principle of separation of powers, and to
avoid unnecessary and
undesirable conflict between Legislature and Judiciary, the courts should not interfere in the workings of Parliament.There used to be strict adherence by the
courts to the principle that Parliament has absolute control over its internal
proceedings which cannot be interfered with by the courts.More recently there have been several cases
challenging Parliamentary decisions post hoc:as in the Mutasa and Bennett contempt of Parliament cases
where the outcome was appealed not during the process [the Supreme Court did not
overrule Parliament’s decision]; and in the General Laws Amendment Act of 2002
case [when the Supreme Court did nullify the Act, but this was not the same as
interfering while the Bill was going through Parliament].The recent Zvoma case, in which a High Court judge
issued an order provisionally nullifying a House of Assembly resolution,
concerned an employee’s [the Clerk of Parliament] right to due process and did
not interfere with Parliament’s core functions and
Political Debate Belongs in
Parliament not the Courts
Judicial intervention in the passage of Bills through Parliament
would open the door to
political manoeuvring through the courts rather than political debate in
Parliament where it belongs.It would be
a sad day if Parliamentarians opposed to any particular Bill could go to court for
orders directing Parliament on whether or how to proceed on the
Why has the
Minister gone to Court?
The Minister must be aware
of the weakness of his argument on the constitutional provisions [outlined in
Part I] and the lack of precedent for judicial intervention to nullify a Bill
before it has been passed and gazetted as an Act.Why, then go to court?
Were his constitutional
rights violated?In his submission to the Supreme Court the
Minister claimed his fundamental human right to a fair hearing had been violated
and this entitled him to approach the Supreme Court for relief under section 24
of the Constitution.He said he was
denied the opportunity to put his views to the House when, after he and other
Parliamentarians objected to the introduction of the Bill to no avail, he wrote
to Parliament on 13th March setting out his objections.Because Parliament’s reply rejected his
objections he claimed his rights to protection of the law and due process under
section 18(1) and (1a) of the Declaration of Rights had been
As Parliament considered the Minister’s objection before rejecting it
with carefully formulated reasons, the claim that due process has been denied is
weak.Moreover, until the Bill is passed
by Parliament,the Minister and his
political colleagues will be free to express their views when the Bill is
Was his motive to delay the
Urban Councils Amendment Bill?This would seem a reasonable conjecture if
the Minister is
banking on the argument that the House
of Assembly should not take the Bill further because its right to do so is sub judice.If he were to win the sub judice argument, it would take some
time before the Supreme Court gets round to considering the case, and if, after
hearing the parties, the Supreme Court postpones its judgment, which it usually
does in constitutional cases, the Bill will be delayed even longer.As this Bill, if passed, would considerably
curb the Minister’s powers over urban local authorities, most of which are
controlled by MDC-T-dominated councils.There would be political benefits for the
Minister and his party, bearing in mind up-coming elections, not to have such a
Was his motive to delay
Private Member’s Bills coming before Parliament?If he were to win the sub judice argument while the case is
with the court, it would also benefit his party not to have the other Private
Member’s Bills in the pipeline go through Parliament.
Implications of this Case for Other
Private Member’s Bills
Minister Chombo’s application asks the Supreme Court for an interdict stopping
further Parliamentary consideration of the Urban Councils Amendment Bill only,
the argument he has put forward is applicable to Private Member’s Bills
generally [see Part
the court’s final ruling will serve as a precedent for other Private
Member’s Bills.So too
would a sub judice prohibition of further debate, although it is hoped this will not
happen [see below].Private Member’s Bills already tabled are:
amend the Public Order and Security Act [POSA]
to repeal section 121(3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence
Note:When Hon Gonese, the MDC-T Chief Whip,
got leave from the House of
Assembly to introduce his Bill to amend the Public Law and Order Act [POSA] in
November 2009, it was well after Schedule 8 to the Constitution was enacted by
Constitution Amendment No. 19 of 13th February 2009.There was no attempt to raise the
constitutional argument based on Article 20.1.2(c) of Schedule 8 now put forward
by Minister Chombo against the Urban Councils Amendment Bill.Nor was this argument raised when the debate
started on Mr Gonese’ motion forleave
to introduce the Private Member’s Bill
repeal section 121(3) of the Criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act.
Any ruling in Minister Chombo’s case would have implications for
other envisaged Private Member’s Bills, for example, Bills to replace or amend
Media and Access to Information laws.
Importance of these Private Member’s Bills
These Bills, if enacted, would fill the gap created by the
Government’s delay in producing Bills to achieve the changes called for in the
GPA and Government policy documents such as STERP and contribute to meeting the
requirements of the SADC Guidelines for Elections and ensuring acceptance of the
result of the next elections as free and fair.They would enhance democracy and even before being passed they serve to
draw attention to laws needing reform.As a general principle, Private Members Bills enhance democracy
andare an important element of a dynamic parliamentary democracy.
Impact of the Court Case on Parliamentary Efficiency
Urban Councils Amendment Bill is on the Order Paper for this week.If it comes up, it is inevitable
The sub judice rule will be
attempt to stop further debate on the Bill on the ground that Standing Order 61
prohibits members from referring to “any matter on which a judicial decision is pending”.
The Speaker will have to give a ruling– when
he gave a ruling on a sub judice
objection in the Zvoma case in
December 2011, the Speaker said that the Standing Order prohibition only comes
into operation after a case has been heard and the judge is considering his or
her ruling – but is not brought into operation by the mere lodging of a court
application.He pointed out convincingly
that otherwise it would possible to disrupt the work of Parliament merely by
lodging an application, no matter how frivolous or vexatious.[It is true
that Justice Bere in his later judgment disagreed with that ruling, but he did
so in remarks that were not essential to his decision.So the judge’s view is not binding on the
Speaker – or for that matter on the Supreme Court or any other judge.Which means the Speaker can be expected to
follow his previous ruling if
the occasion arises.]
It could affect all Parliamentary work – it would
be most unfortunate if this case results in a precedent for using the sub judicerule to stop debate on a
Parliamentary agenda item every time a dissatisfied MP lodges court papers
challenging Parliament’s handling of the item.That might encourage flimsy applications to court simply to delay
proceedings in Parliament.Parliament’s
legislative work could be disrupted and bogged down.This was the danger to which the Speaker drew
attention in his December ruling: “If
the Speaker were to expunge motions on the Order Paper on the basis of someone
having merely filed a court application, the House would never conduct any
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal
responsibility for information supplied