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Zimbabwe's Anti-Graft Commission Decries Government Meddling

14 May 2012

Irwin Chifera & Tatenda Gumbo | Harare/Washington

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 homes affairs.

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 constitution."

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 against corruption.

The commission requires a staff compliment of 204, but currently only has 57

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.

Home 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 uniforms.

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

Developers of 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 Forensics.

He told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo that Zimbabwe cases are unique.

"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 Marais,

"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."

Economist John 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 auditors.

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Zimbabwean deal struck on constitution

Posted  Tuesday, May 15  2012 at  20:21

HARARE, Tuesday

Zimbabwe’s two main political parties have ironed out issues stalling the
crafting a new constitution.

“We are now at the final, last lap of the drafting process,” Jessie Majome,
a lawmaker from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party told AFP.

Mr Paul 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 charter.

“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.”

Ms 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.
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Completing the draft would mark a crucial milestone toward elections to
replace a shaky unity government between President Robert Mugabe and

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.

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SA urged to deal with ‘chaos’ at Zim border

By Alex Bell
15 May 2012

South Africa has been urged to deal with the situation at its border with
Zimbabwe, which an activist has described as ‘chaos’.

There are 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 back home.

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 illegal crossings.

Gabriel Shumba from the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum told SW Radio Africa on
Tuesday that the situation is chaotic.

“We continue 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.

Shumba 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.

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Deputy Minister Gutu denies praising COPAC for UNDP cash

By Tererai Karimakwenda
15 May 2012

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 process.

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
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 slanderous.”

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.

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CIO bars journalists from covering ZANU PF meeting

By Tichaona Sibanda
15 May 2012

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 Shamu.

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.

The 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 Chiefs hall.

“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

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.

That meeting 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.

It’s reported 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.

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Devolution Of Power Rejected – State Media

Harare, May 15, 2012 – Devolution of power has been rejected, the state
media reported on Tuesday.

The two 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 the provinces.

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 Manicaland.

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.

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Zimbabwe Won't Import Extra Coins

    By Richard Giedroyc, World Coin News
May 15, 2012

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
Chronicle newspaper.

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.

“We 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 Chronicle.

Mushayavanhu said as a country the banking industry was now moving towards
increased use of debit cards to alleviate coins shortages.

“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.

The 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

Meanwhile, 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 said.

The bank has also collaborated with MasterCard International in championing
the return of MasterCard in a multi-currency economy.

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Fresh evictions feared as Chombo stokes up persecution and displacement of villagers

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”.

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
Mabhikwa Khumalo.

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 signatory.

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

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 rural dwellers.

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 displacement.

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Ministers trade blame as ZISCO deal threatened

14/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

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 Steel Ltd.

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

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 production.

“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 newspaper.

“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 ZISCO’s

“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.

He 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.”

An Essar 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

“We will 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.

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Lives of HIV Positive Zimbabweans In Jeopardy As Donor Funds Dry Up

14 May 2012

Chris Gande | Washington

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 fatigue.

He said the problem would be further compounded by the withdrawal of the
Global Fund, which has been funding 35 percent of the country’s needs.

“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

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 drugs.

“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.

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Poor salaries blamed for police sleaze

15/05/2012 00:00:00
    by NewZiana

POLICE corruption will be difficult to stamp out in Zimbabwe as long as
salaries remain poor, a senior government official said Monday.

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.

Matshiya said 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 equipment.

Due to inadequate legal framework and a culture of corruption in Zimbabwe,
efforts to deal with the vice have achieved little.

In 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 International.

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 themselves.

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

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Congress Aims To Woo Tourists

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..." Kaseke said.

Vice President Joice Mujuru is expected to officially open the conference,
with five Cabinet ministers due to address the various sectors of the

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 economy.

"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," said

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 destination.

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 opportunities.

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Minister urges eviction of people who support gays

By Lance Guma
15 May 2012

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 Thursday.

“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

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

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.”

In 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 services.

“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 group said.

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US Wants Genocide Fugitive Arrested

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.

Zimbabwe’s 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 that.”

Rwanda has since appealed for United Nations intervention accusing Harare of
dragging its feet on arresting the fugitive.

Mpiranya was 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.

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Zimbabwe rules out mining fee review

15/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Business Reporter

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.

The government 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 mineral claims.

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.

"It's estimated that 60 percent of every dollar earned in revenue goes to
the government, making Zimbabwe one of the most expensive countries to

But Mpofu ruled out a review Monday, telling a Parliamentary committee that
the government was already benefitting from the increases.

“Since we 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 said.

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 claims.

“We have been tracking the listing of companies and we realised most of them
are registered and listed in foreign countries,” he said.

“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.”

The 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 exchange earnings.

Mpofu said the levy hike would not undermine the strong performance,
insisting a growth projection of 15,8 percent for the sector was still

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South Sudan Seeks Zimbabwe Support Over Conflict With Khartoum

15 May 2012

Irwin Chifera and Blessing Zulu | Harare and Washington

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 Khartoum.

This despite Sudan resuming its aerial bombardment of South Sudan Monday,
rejecting international calls for a cessation of hostilities between the two

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.

Zimbabwe's unity government is a product of a settlement reached after
grueling negotiations led by the regional Southern African Development

But the 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.

Meanwhile, 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 powers.

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.

Parliamentary 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

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Hoogstraten gave me US$25 million: Buyanga

14/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

HAMILTON boss Frank Buyanga has revealed that he received US$25 million from
the controversial British property tycoon, Nicholas van Hoogstraten, in

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

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

# His legal troubles in the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe

# 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 Mahachi.

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.

Three years 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

“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.

Buyanga abruptly 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 properties.

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 illegal activities.

“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 money.

“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
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 understand that.”

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 charges scrapped.

Buyanga also spoke about his connections with African leaders including
Muluzi and Obiang, whom he was photographed meeting in Equatorial Guinea.

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

Buyanga recently received three awards from a South African organisation for
assisting in “human development”.

He recently donated R1 million to a youth development programme in South

“It’s important to add value to the youth in terms of youth development
programmes by way of education,” he said.

“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 education.”

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Mugabe Holding Adultery Evidence Against Catholic Bishops

Harare, May 15, 2012 - President Robert Mugabe is holding evidence of
adultery against two unnamed Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe, according to Wiki

A 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 member.”

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 veteran

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 issue.

Mugabe complained that his cabinet was the worst ever and was constantly
speaking out without co-ordinating with him.”

The cable was wired to Washington in July 2007.

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Hilarious ZBC spoof now filming

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 below.

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 News

parodies the 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.

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A Landmark Ruling in South Africa

Published: May 14, 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.

The 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 Courts.

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 investigate.

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 Town.

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

The most 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 twice.

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 media.

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.

Peter Godwin is the president of the PEN American Center and author, most
recently of “The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe.”

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South Africa shrinks from investigating Zimbabwe torture allegations

New post on UK Human Rights Blog
South Africa shrinks from investigating Zimbabwe torture allegationsby Rosalind English
South African Litigation Centre and Zimbabwe Exiles Forum v. National Director of Public Prosecutions and other governmental units - read judgment 
South 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.
South 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 citizen.
Of 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 Milošević.
As 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 -
One 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 colonies.
Now the tables are turning, and this universal jurisdiction is not being universally welcomed.

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Using good judgment

May 15 2012 at 08:42am
By Peter Fabricius

South African President Jacob Zuma and President Robert Mugabe, right, shake
hands after holding discussions in Harare, Thursday, March, 18, 2010.
Picture: AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

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

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

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 charges.

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 premature.

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

Some legal 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 judgment implied.

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 Zimbabwe.

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

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?

Not necessarily. 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

Yet 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 interests.

Unless the South African government introduces some stick into the game, it
is hard to see why Zanu-PF would play ball.

Perhaps, 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

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ZESN takes The ‘Bridge Course’ to Matebeleland

‘Enlightening, refreshing, 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.

Ms 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 democracy”.

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 to.

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 professional disciplines.

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.

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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 Bill

This case, brought by the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development to stop Parliament debating the Urban Councils Amendment Bill, raises complex issues  and will be covered in two Bill Watches:

Part I    The Case:– Background; Minister’s Arguments; Grounds for Rejecting the Minister’s Arguments

Part II   Other 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 Member’s Bills.

Part I

Background to the Challenge

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] 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 Constitution.

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 Bill.

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 Bills

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 as follows:

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.

Grounds for 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 Bills  Article 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 Executives legislative agenda.  And there is nothing in the Article which excludes this now.   2.  Article 20 of the GPA must be read as a whole  The preamble states that its purpose is ‘to establish a framework of working together in an inclusive government”.  The other 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 the GPA.

3.  Article 20 in Schedule 8 must be read in conjunction with the rest of the Constitution  There is a basic rule for interpreting a constitution – that  that 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.

4.  Section 115(3) does not say that Schedule 8 overrides the rest of the Constitution  It merely says that the rest of the Constitution operates “as amended or modified to the extent or 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 8.

5.  The Urban Councils Amendment Bill is not the sort of legislation that is covered by article 20.1.2(c)  Not only does  article 20.1.2(c) not give Cabinet Ministers an exclusive right to introduce legislation in Parliament, but it applies  only 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 Executive”.


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Bill Watch 21/2012 of 15th May [Supreme Court Case to Stop Private Member's Bill Part II]

BILL WATCH 21/2012

[15th May 2012]

Supreme Court Case to Stop Private Member's Bill

Part II

Weakness of Case

Part 1 [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 – that  Article 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.

There are additional aspects of the case – the 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 Member’s Bills.

No Precedent for Courts to Intervene while Parliament Considers a Bill

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 prerogatives.

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 Bill. 

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 infringed. 

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 debated.

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 Bill passed.

Was his motive to delay other 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

Although 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 1], and 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:

·      Bill to amend the Public Order and Security Act [POSA]

·      Bill to repeal section 121(3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

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 for  leave to introduce the Private Member’s Bill to 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 and are an important element of a dynamic parliamentary democracy. 

Impact of the Court Case on Parliamentary Efficiency

The Urban Councils Amendment Bill is on the Order Paper for this week.  If it comes up, it is inevitable that:

The sub judice rule will be raised in an 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 judice rule 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 business.”


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