By: CATHERINE SASMAN
THE attendance of South African President Jacob Zuma at the extraordinary
Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit remained in doubt by
late yesterday afternoon, while confusion also reigned over the actual date
of the event.
The South African High Commission in Windhoek could not confirm Zuma’s
attendance yesterday and attempts to get comments from the SA Presidency’s
Office and the country’s Department of International Relations and
Cooperation proved futile.
However, Namibia’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, as the focal point of the
Government’s organisation of the summit, said the event would continue as
planned at the end of this week, despite an impression among some regional
bodies that the event was moved until the middle of June.
Concerns were also raised that discussions on the crisis in Zimbabwe might
be deferred to a later date – on June 10 or 11 - should the matter be
scrapped from the summit agenda due to Zuma’s possible no-show in Windhoek
this week as a result of the municipal elections in South Africa today.
Zuma is the SADC mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis.
The SW Radio Africa, a Zimbabwean civil-society-led media outfit, reported
that SADC was apparently “jumping at the chance to delay” discussions on
the Zimbabwean situation, and it was not the first time that discussions on
this matter have been delayed.
It further reported that the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said it would push
SADC to put on record its minimum conditions for Zimbabwe for the creation
of a conducive environment for a free and fair election, for constitutional
reform, and for reforms in the security sector.
A meeting between a special envoy of President Robert Mugabe, Patrick
Chinamasa, with President Hifikepunye Pohamba as the chairperson of SADC,
slated for today, has in the meantime been postponed, reportedly because of
Pohamba’s busy schedule.
The Namibian understands that coup leader and head of the High Transitional
Authority (HAT) in Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, met with Zuma in South
Africa on Monday.
Rajoelina has reportedly been seeking council with Zuma for some time to
lobby support for the current SADC roadmap that is said to pave the way for
a peace election and transition in Madagascar.
The roadmap was criticised by three major political movements in Madagascar
as not inclusive enough and for giving inordinate powers to the Rajoelina,
who is managing an unelected caretaker government.
It is not clear what the outcome of the meeting between Zuma and Rajoelina
was, but it is speculated that it might have some bearing on SADC’s position
on the Madagascar roadmap.
By Alex Bell
18 May 2011
There was still no confirmation on Wednesday that Zimbabwe will be on the
agenda of the upcoming Summit of leaders in the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), with growing speculation that the issue will be deferred.
Speculation is rife that the hotly anticipated meeting will now only take
place in June, because South African President Jacob Zuma looks unlikely to
attend the Summit taking place this weekend. Zuma, the regional mediator in
the Zimbabwe crisis and a key figure in talks on Zimbabwe’s future, is said
to have conflicting commitments.
Dewa Mavhinga from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Collation, which is attending the
SADC Summit this weekend, told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that there is
still no official confirmation about the Zim meeting. He said that ‘a
proposal has been voiced’ for a special meeting to take place on the 10th or
11th June, possibly in Johannesburg.
The delay will give ZANU PF more time to conclude its regional offensive,
with envoys being sent by Robert Mugabe across the region to get support.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba, has also written in the state
media that the newly adopted tougher stance by SADC is a result of
‘misinformation’ and ‘interference’ by the UK and the United States.
He further stated that the government’s position regarding the Namibia
summit on Friday is to defend the solidarity and unity of SADC, which “is
now under attack.” Charamba said that the views given by the MDC, that
Mugabe is now too incapacitated to run the country and that there has been a
silent coup marked by widespread violence, were a fallacy.
The Crisis Coalition’s Mavhinga said ZANU PF’s attempts to garner support
are ‘fruitless’, insisting that “SADC by now knows that kind of rhetoric
ZANU PF uses.” He continued, that the Crisis Coalition remains confident
that SADC is on the right track, and will do the right thing regarding
“We are positive about SADC’s position, and we are mindful of the delay,”
Mavhinga said. “But we are confident that ZANU PF will not be able to dilute
what SADC has committed to doing in Zimbabwe.”
Meanwhile the Crisis Coalition, together with a group of other civil society
organisations, will continue lobbying SADC to remain firm on Zimbabwe. The
groups will present a position paper to SADC leaders on Thursday, calling
for the regional body to publicly state its commitment to free, fair,
credible elections in Zimbabwe.
The groups said in a statement that there are two critical options for
Zimbabwe; either to proceed with holding elections in the current
circumstances, or to implement an agreed roadmap to a credible poll that
would produce uncontested results.
The coalition urged SADC to abide by its own Guidelines and Principles
governing democratic elections, as “the regional yardstick on the freeness
and fairness of elections.” The group also warned that any failure by the
region to ensure that Zimbabwe adheres to these guidelines, would see other
member states sliding down the same path as North Africa, where there have
been unprecedented public uprisings.
“The organisation stresses the critical role of SADC and of individual
member states in ensuring that democracy, peace and human security prevail,
noting the political developments in North and West Africa. Unless these
issues are addressed there is bound to be instability which usually results
in the deaths of many people,” the civil society groups said.
Written by Munyaradzi Dube
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 14:45
HARARE - Zanu (PF) has sponsored the militant Upfumi Kuvadiki empowerment
group to demonstrate at tomorrow’s SADC summit against putting the land
issue on the agenda.
According to well-placed sources, the group’s youthful members will be
loitering on the sidelines of the summit and will cause a commotion if there
is any attempt to raise the issue of the SADC Tribunal’s ruling in favour of
dispossessed commercial farmers.
An independent review of the Tribunal found last month that SADC law should
be supreme over domestic laws, and all decisions made by the court should be
binding and enforceable within all member states. The Tribunal has ruled
that President Robert Mugabe’s land grab policy was unlawful and
discriminatory, and Zimbabwe will be forced to abide by the ruling if the
recommendations are adopted by the summit.
Upfumi Kuvadiki is one of several Zanu (PF) projects designed to prop up the
sagging fortunes of the former ruling party.
Flying on the coattails of Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, the
group has already covertly secured lucrative business deals and now Zanu
(PF) intends to use them to further its interests on the regional stage.
A member of Upfumi Kuvadiki told The Zimbabwean that his group would be at
the meeting “with the approval of the government of Zimbabwe”.
"We are going in large numbers to the summit and we would like our presence
to be felt there. Our primary objective is that Zimbabwe should not made an
issue at the summit and the empowerment drive, this also includes the land
issue (sic)," said the source.
The group’s spokesperson, Alson Darikai, declined to comment on the matter,
but insiders said that the group, which has already ruffled feathers in the
country, left for Namibia on Tuesday.
Analysts say the move by Zanu (PF) to bus its supporters to the summit is an
attempt by a cornered Mugabe, who historically relies on populist support,
to parry the MDC’s diplomatic offensive, which resulted in the Zimbabwean
crisis being put firmly on the summit’s agenda, as well as the recent
finding by a research group that the Tribunal’s rulings are binding on all
Zanu (PF) wing in the coalition government is eager to ensure that the land
issue is not discussed at the summit therefore they have invited the
militant youths,” said a source.
Zimbabwe has in the past disregarded the Tribunal’s decisions on the land
issue, and sources at the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs said on
Tuesday that Harare’s disregard for the ruling would also come under the
By Reagan Mashavave, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 17:06
HARARE - The Sadc extra-ordinary summit provisionally set for Friday in
Windhoek, Namibia, must push for the full implementation of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) including reforms of the security sector, the two
MDC parties said yesterday.
The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said in a
statement, it would like to see the full implementation of the GPA, an end
to the “selective application” of the law by the police and an end to
politically motivated violence.
“At the very least we want to see a clear roadmap to the holding of free and
fair elections in the country. New security sector reforms must also be put
in place before the holding of free and fair elections,” Douglas Mwonzora,
the party’s spokesperson said in a statement.
“We demand an end to the selective application of the law by the police and
other law enforcement agents. This also includes the immediate removal of
soldiers and militia in the countryside and arrest of all known political
Nhlanhla Dube, the spokesperson of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube said his
party wants the regional body to further push for the full implementation of
“We expect the Sadc summit will make sure that the GPA is fully implemented
and that a fair environment can result in an election. We expect that Sadc
will push for the reforms in media and the security sector. The security
sector reforms are part of the GPA and they have never been introduced in
the GPA negotiations in the past years,” Dube said.
He added that the GPA should reflect that the current realities that the
country is now run by a coalition government.
“Change will occur in the country through careful and systematic pressure on
Zanu PF. There is movement towards that direction, I think you have heard
Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF top official) saying that he does not foresee
elections being held this year.
“That is a reality, the environment is not yet conducive for holding
elections in the country at the moment,” said Dube.
Media reports recently quoted Chinamasa saying elections might be held in
2013 but his Zanu PF party last week said elections will go ahead this year.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he could not comment on the Sadc
“I don’t want to comment at the moment. We will talk about it later,” said
Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salamao said he was busy when contacted for
comment. Political analyst Takavafira Zhou said if the regional body is
likely to be divided in taking a “harder” stance on the country.
He said governments run by liberation movements are likely to support
President Robert Mugabe Zanu PF position.
“We are likely to see a divided Sadc on the Zimbabwe political crisis. They
are likely to fail to reach a consensus on Zimbabwe or it is going to be an
extension of the Livingstone summit where a hard stance was made on
resolving the country’s problems,” Zhou said.
“The Zimbabwe issue will set a dangerous precedence to all the other
liberation movements on the region. There will be a possibility that if a
free and fair election is held in the country that will see the fall of
other liberation movements in Angola, Mozambique and South Africa.”
He said the Sadc leaders also fear that if the Zimbabwe problems are left
unattended they will result in the “Orange revolution” mass uprisings that
have been experienced in north African countries like in Egypt, Tunisia and
currently in Libya.
“The Sadc leaders agree that the Zimbabwe issue is an urgent issue, but they
may buy time and the most convenient issue is to protect fellow liberation
movements. I don’t foresee a mere summit resolving all the issues that are
affecting the country. It is a problem that I think will be with us until
next year,” Zhou said.
Posted Wednesday, May 18 2011 at 13:43
Embattled flag carrier Air Zimbabwe has cancelled all of its regional
flights after a creditor took back a leased plane over a $460,000 unpaid
debt, the airline's boss said Wednesday.
The move leaves the airline flying only one route between Harare and London,
in addition to its two domestic routes, chief executive Innocent Mavhunga
The national carrier was leasing a Boeing 737-500 from Zambia-based Zambezi
Airlines, but the lessor has withdrawn its plane, resulting in the
cancellation of all of Air Zimbabwe's regional flights.
"Yes, there have been problems with Zambezi Airlines, but we are negotiating
with our partners," Mavhunga told AFP. "Only regional regional flights have
Last month, Air Zimbabwe retired three obsolete Boeing 737-300 planes after
entering a deal with Zambezi Airlines to ply the regional routes.
The latest crisis to affect the national carrier comes days after it was
suspended by International Air Transport Association (IATA) over a $280,000
IATA spokesman Chris Goater said Air Zimbabwe would not be able to sell
tickets through local or foreign travel agents until the debt is settled.
"We hope that it will clear its financial obligations to return to
participation in IATA's financial systems in short order," he said.
Air Zimbabwe, which once flew 25 routes, is saddled with a $100-million
debt, an ageing fleet and high staff turnover.
The airline's problems have opened way for others such as South African
Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways to take over routes that Air
Zimbabwe used to ply.
By Thelma Chikwanha and Kumbirai Mafunda
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 14:13
HARARE - Crisis-ridden Air Zimbabwe plumbed new depths yesterday when
damaging allegations surfaced that a cabinet minister was behind the
controversial move by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) to
ground Air Zimbabwe planes.
Air Zimbabwe officials, who requested anonymity for security reasons, told
the Daily News last night that a “greedy and corrupt cabinet minister” (name
supplied) was behind the grounding of some of the beleaguered airline’s
planes, in his bid to force through the acquisition of new planes by the
Air Zimbabwe’s three Boeing 737 planes were grounded by CAAZ yesterday, with
the aviation authority claiming that they were now too old and should not be
in service any more.
But the Air Zimbabwe officials insisted that CAAZ had grounded the planes to
allow the senior government and Zanu PF official to ram through the supply
of new planes, where he expects, or has organised massive kick backs.
The supply of brand new planes around the world is often accompanied by
controversies and the payment of huge bribes.
CAAZ officials were not available for comment yesterday, with chief
executive David Chawota’s number not available, together with that of
spokesperson Annajulia Hungwe.
Air Zimbabwe board chairman Jonathan Kadzura said he had heard about the
grounding of the planes but said he could not comment as he was out of town.
However, Kadzura is said to be so disgruntled with Air Zimbabwe – where
ministry officials sideline him and deal directly with management – that he
is reportedly contemplating resigning.
When reached for comment, Air Zimbabwe acting chief executive officer Peter
Mavhunga said: “I have no comment to make.”
But one of our sources at Air Zimbabwe said as a result of the controversial
grounding, the airline was now likely to suffer losses, with disastrous
consequences for the carrier, tourism and the Zimbabwean economy.
“It’s a disaster at Air Zimbabwe because after the grounding of the Boeing
737 planes, we were forced to cancel all our flights. The South Africa route
was the most affected because the flights were full. This is a clear case of
sabotage and the top leadership in the country must investigate this.
“We have been speaking to Boeing officials and they told us that our planes
are still fine and better than similar planes even run by some South African
carriers. We have been told that someone in government instructed them to
ground the planes so that they create opportunities when new planes are
“CAAZ said the planes had reached the limit of 34 000 cycles but Boeing
officials say the planes can reach up to 66 000 cycles. The officials from
Boeing are so concerned they will be travelling to Zimbabwe to make
assessments. Talk to Boeing in the United States and they will confirm the
same. This senior government official is destroying Air Zimbabwe,” the
To make matters worse for Air Zimbabwe, the sub standard Chinese made MA 60
plane which was due to fly to Victoria Falls yesterday developed a technical
fault and failed to take off. The grounding of the planes comes soon after
pilots went on a paralysing strike recently, where they were demanding
Saddled with a huge US$100 million debt, Air Zimbabwe’s problems are said to
have worsened in recent weeks as a result of the fallout between the
Minister of Transport Nicholas Goche and the Kadzura board.
The grounding of the planes however, did not affect the long haul Boeing 767
planes which fly to London and the Far East.
Goche was not available to shed light on the developments at the national
airline yesterday, although senior ministry officials confirmed the standoff
between CAAZ and Air Zimbabwe.
Once one of the best airlines in Africa, Air Zimbabwe has been run down due
to successive years of mismanagement, corruption, political interference and
Air Zimbabwe took to the skies on Monday, despite its suspension from the
International Air Transit Association (IATA), which means its tickets were
not available through the IATA’s 60 000 accredited travel agents.
Written by Zwanai Sithole
Tuesday, 17 May 2011 15:54
BULAWAYO - The Zanu (PF) politburo’s recent decision to defy Sadc and push
for an early poll has ignited a fresh wave of harassment of the few
remaining white commercial farmers still on their land.
According to the Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance (SACFA) Zanu
(PF) supporters and war veterans have been moving from one farm to another
in Mashonaland and the Midlands provinces intimidating and harassing farmers
who are still in their homesteads operating on fractions of their
“Two elderly farmers were forcibly driven from their homes in Somabhula
recently by Zanu (PF) members of parliament. In both instances no use was
made of the courts by government to evict the farmers. Instead police stood
idly by and allowed the violent expulsions to be carried out by MPs
themselves and their thugs,” said Christopher Jarrett, Zimbabwe SACFA
Jarrett also cited the recent case of a High Court judge whom he said tried
to extort a homestead, livestock and the remaining portion of a farm that
was still held by its owner.
He said some owners, who have formally remained in place as A2 settlers
having been allocated portions of their own properties, had not been spared
the harassment and abuse.
“Some farmers made agreements with the government to stay on their
properties. These arrangements were confirmed by orders of the
Administrative Court to the effect that they could remain on a particular
part of their farm on condition that they parted with the rest of their
property. All of these undertakings by government are now not being honoured
and farmers are charged under the Gazetted Lands (Consequential Provisions)
Act for occupying state land without an offer letter, permit or lease,” said
by James Mombe Wednesday 18 May 2011
JOHANNESBURG -- President Jacob Zuma’s office has failed to back with
evidence claims that it could not release a report on neighbouring Zimbabwe’s
violence marred presidential election in 2002, South Africa’s Constitutional
Court was told on Tuesday.
Lawyers for the Johannesburg-based Mail & Guardian newspaper that wants Zuma’s
office compelled to release the report said affidavits submitted by the
presidency showed a clear “evidential void” and appeared motivated only by a
desire to provide justification for refusing to release the report.
The M&G -- owned by Zimbabwean newspaper mogul Trevor Ncube -- wants the
report that was compiled by two senior South African judges on behalf of
former President Thabo Mbeki made public, saying it was in the public
interest because it would show whether President Robert Mugabe legitimately
won the vote.
"[There] is an attempt to paper over the evidential void, and it is simply
not enough," the newspaper’s lawyer, Jeremy Gauntlett, told the court. "Our
case is unequivocally that the appellants are not over the hump of
establishing any basis," he said.
Zuma’s office told the court that the report contains information supplied
in confidence by or on behalf of another state and therefore could not be
The presidency’s lawyer said the judges dispatched by Mbeki to Harare went
there as special envoys whose duty was to gather information pertaining to
the constitutional and legal challenges in Zimbabwe. The information was for
use by Mbeki in formulating policy, the presidency’s lawyer Marumo Moerane
told the court.
“The disclosure of the record would reveal information supplied in
confidence by or on behalf of another state,” said Moerane, while also
rejecting the possibility of releasing some portions of the report saying
that would be impractical.
However Gauntlett, in rebuttal, said: "They went as judges, they are judges.
They could never stop for a moment to be judges."
The court reserved judgment on the matter.
The newspaper first requested the report in June 2008, but the president
refused to release it on the grounds that it would reveal information
supplied by Harare officials in confidence. ?
Section 44 of South Africa’s Promotion of Access to Information Act allows
access to a record to be refused if it contains information related to
formulating policy or taking a decision in the exercise of a power, or
performance of a duty, imposed by law.
But the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal have both ruled in favour of
the M&G’s application to have the report made public, forcing Zuma’s office
to approach the Constitutional Court – South Africa’s highest court.
Judges Dikgang Moseneke and Sisi Khampepe -- acting as special envoys to
Zimbabwe -- for Mbeki visited the Harare following the presidential poll in
which Mugabe narrowly defeated then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The run-up to the poll had been marred by political violence and gross human
rights abuses including the murder of Tsvangirai’s supporters, while there
were massive irregularities on voting day in Harare and major cities were
the opposition enjoyed the most support.
However the bloodshed and chaos did not stop Mbeki’s government and the
Southern African Development Community from declaring the Zimbabwe polls
free and fair. -- ZimOnline
Bulawayo, May 18,2011 - There was chaos in Bulawayo on Tuesday as riot
police engaged in running battles with Zanu (PF) youths who invaded yet
another building in the second capital.
The Zanu (PF) youths invaded Victoria House block of flats along Hebert
Chitepo Street owned by Essats family of Indian origin. On Tuesday police
brought a messenger of court who was armed with a High Court order to evict
them, but the more than 70 Zanu (PF) youths at this building refused to
vacate claiming the building was now theirs, resulting in clashes with
“We are not going anywhere Victoria House is now ours. Yourself you can’t
go to India today and own buildings. There should go away we are not going
to listen to that, Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans,” said Andrew Manjoro the
Zanu (PF) secretary for economic affairs in youth league in Bulawayo
district. Manjoro added that the Essats family was wasting time and money by
trying to evict them.
When Radio VOP visited Victoria House on Tuesday night the Zanu (PF) youths
were back in the building claiming that they had engaged senior police
officers in the province and they won't be evicted from the building.
In June last year Zanu (PF) youths in Bulawayo seized three buildings
located in the central business district owned by Indian and Italian
The buildings that have been invaded so far include Zambesia and Canberra
Flats located between Leopold Takawira and Sixth Avenue and owned by Laloo
family, also of Indian origin. The militant youths have also grabbed the
Capri which houses the Pizzaghetti owned by Di Palma family who are of
The youths last month blocked businessman Khalil Gaibie from evicting
tenants from his Elons Court between 3rd Avenue and Main Street over late
payment of rentals, adding that they had taken over the building
The takeover of the buildings in Bulawayo has caused divisions between the
party’s provincial executive and the youths. Isaac Dakamela, the Zanu (PF)
chairman for Bulawayo Province, had on numerous occasions voiced his concern
at the takeover of city buildings by the party youths who have also hit back
and threatened to topple him on charges of being a stumbling block to the
black empowerment programme.
Chimanimani, May 18, 2011 Zanu (PF) officials in Chimanimani are baying for
the blood of chief Mwareka Satiya of Chimanimani after the chief failed to
account for more than 500 anti –sanction petition forms which the chief was
allocated by the party to distribute to his subjects.
Well placed sources in Chimanimani told a Radio VOP reporter here on Tuesday
that the party had launched investigations into the issue.
“Chief Satiya was among several chiefs and headmen who were assigned to
distribute the anti-sanction forms to the people in the area. Satiya could
not account for some of the forms which he given,” said a Zanu (PF) source
in the area that refused to be named for fear of victimisation.
The source said a Zanu (PF) delegation led by Jane Knight, the Zanu (PF)
Chimanimani district coordinator, recently visited the chief’s homestead and
threatened him with unspecified action if the chief did not account for the
forms by the end of this month
“The chief’s explanation to the Zanu (PF) officials that the forms were
soaked and destroyed by rains did not convince the Zanu (PF) officials."
It was being suspected that the chief deliberately destroyed the forms, said
When contacted for comment the chief confirmed the incident but declined
“Nhau yamurikureketa inhau iri kuzivikanwa nevakuru vakuru kumahofisi kuti
chii chakaitika. (The issue which you are asking about is already known in
higher offices,” he said.
Zanu (PF) claims it has garnered more than two million signatures for its
anti-sanctions petition which was launched when the campaign was launched in
Harare by President Robert Mugabe a few months ago. Mugabe and Zanu (PF)
want the West and the European Union to remove sanctions targeted at Mugabe
and his cronies.
HARARE, May 18, 2011 – POLICE on Tuesday cancelled a proposed peaceful
solidarity demonstration by bank workers over a salary dispute pitting
Stanbic Bank management and junior staff that are up in arms over low wages
and poor working conditions.
Despite the police on Friday last week allowing the Zimbabwe Banks and
Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) to proceed with the peaceful
demonstration, Garikai Gwangwava, the officer commanding Harare Central
District, wrote to ZIBAWU on Tuesday morning advising them that the
demonstration had been cancelled.
“Security information reveals that certain political parties would want to
take advantage of your lawful gathering at Stanbic Bank to
engage into political violence. Your location is also strategic and any such
violence would have grave consequences to the security of the
State,” said Gwangwava, in his letter to ZIBAWU President Peter Mutasa.
“My office therefore regrets to advise you to shelf your demonstration for
now until further notice,” he added.
But banking industry sources said employees were seething with anger as the
police were seen to be conspiring with management not to allow
employees to protest against low salaries at Stanbic Bank, which is owned by
South Africa’s Johannesburg listed Standard Bank.
The banks’ workers union was allegedly planning to challenge the police
cancellation of the peaceful demonstration at the High Court.
“”An urgent High application challenging the new and unfortunate development
is one of the actions that can be taken,” said Mutasa, the
Since the eruption of violent protests in the Arab world, Zimbabwe security
forces are understood to have banned public protests and gathering serve
those organised by ZANU-PF.
by Irene Madongo
17 May 2011
Mziwandile Ndlovu, a journalist with the Bulawayo-based Weekly Agenda, has
described how he was smacked and threatened by police while in custody last
week. Ndlovu was charged with writing a fictitious story under the notorious
Section 31 of the Criminal Law Codification Act.
Ndlovu’s ordeal started last week Monday when he was told to report to
Lupane police station for questioning regarding a story he had written in
April. His story was in connection with a National Healing meeting in
Victoria Falls, which had to be cancelled after speakers Vice-President John
Nkomo and Sekai Holland, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office,
failed to turn up and National Healing Minister Moses
Mzila-Ndlovu was arrested in Hwange on his way to the meeting.
When Mziwandile arrived at the police station, he was held overnight and
then transferred to Hwange, where he was grilled by the police there.
“I was told they were deliberately keeping me in Hwange so that my lawyers
would not have access to me. And should my lawyers know that I am in Hwange,
they would further transfer me to another police station until I’d be taken
to court,” he explained.
“I was pushed from one officer to another. I was interrogated by some people
there. They tried to force me to sign a warned and cautioned statement, and
I was also threatened with being harassed at night,” Ndlovu said, “but my
lawyers had informed me I should not sign that in the absence of a lawyer
and I refused. I was then assaulted.”
He eventually saw his lawyers on Wednesday and was released on bail the same
He says the ill-treatment by the police shows ZANU PF is in fear and panic,
and knows it’s on its way out. “These are the last days of a dying horse,”
Bikita, May 18, 2011 – Bikita resident magistrate Nyasha Vhitorini has
acquitted Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) legislator for Bikita South
Jani Vharendini on Tuesday.
Vharendini was arrested and detained in October last year after Zanu (PF)
youths from Mazungunye area who disrupted a Parents Day meeting at
Mazungunye High School where the MP was supposed to be the guest of honour
made a police report that he had given them death threats.
Since last year, Makuku was being summoned to the courts over the case.
However, magistrate Vhitoriti said Makuku had no case to answer since the
state failed to provide enough evidence to show that the MP committed the
In delivering his judgment, the magistrate said the report by Zanu (PF)
youths were falsehoods fuelled by political differences. He said it was
clear that one MP cannot suddenly start to insult a group of party youths
from a different political party.
“The circumstances brought before me shows that either the youths had
provoked the MP or they are just making false report fuelled by differences
in their political affiliations,” said Vhitorini.
The defence council was led by Martin Mureri of Matutu Kwirira and
Richard Nyamuhomba appeared for the state.
17 May 2011
The Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) is threatening to go ahead
and bury its dead members at a provincial heroes acre without seeking
permission, as it says it is fed up with ZANU PF refusing to grant hero
status to its members who fought in the liberation struggle.
Although the conferring of hero status should be a national issue, ZANU PF
has over the years made Heroes Acre a place where only its members are
buried, much to the anger of many Zimbabweans. In addition to ZIPRA, the MDC
and ZAPU have also attacked Robert Mugabe’s party over the issue.
ZIPRA says four of its members who died in recent weeks have been denied
hero status, despite fighting in the struggle. In the past few weeks it lost
four members - Themba Khanye, Sikhethabahle Mahlangu, Robert Mlalazi and
Stanley Donga - who all participated in the liberation war but the
government refused to declare them heroes.
The organisation says next time they will simply bury the deceased at the
Nkulumane Provincial Heroes’ Acre, without seeking government consent.
On Monday ZIPRA’s Andrew Ndlovu told NewsDay; “As a Zimbabwean patriot who
has rights, I feel next time one of us dies, we will go ahead and dig a
grave for them at the Nkulumane Heroes’ Acre. We deserve to be there.
“We cannot beg to be there. We want to see who will arrest us for burying
each other,” he said.
Another ZIPRA official said that in the case of Khanye, they went to the war
vets provincial offices in Entumbane and were referred to Nkulumane, where
his heroism was rejected. They then ended up burying him in Luveve.
18 May 2011
The 17-year old son of Strover Mutonhori has spoken exclusively to SW Radio Africa about the 1999 murder of his father - a high profile case in which co-Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi was implicated.
Ian Tatenda Mutonhori got in touch with us following the expose in our ongoing series every Tuesday, where we look at some of Zimbabwe’s unsolved and deliberately ignored cases of political violence, torture and murder.
Mutonhori snr, an employee of the Lutheran World Federation, disappeared from the Omadu Hotel in Kezi and his remains were later found in Mzingwane outside Bulawayo. Allegations at the time were that he had had an affair with Mohadi’s wife Tambudzani and the then Deputy Minister of Local Government ordered a hit on him.
On Wednesday Ian Muntonhori told us ever since the murder of his father the family has been struggling to make ends meet. Mutonhori left behind a wife and three children, Ian who is 17 and two girls now aged 20 and 26.
“My mother is unemployed and can’t get work,’ Ian explained. An added challenge to finding work is that they keep having to move house, because Mohadi allegedly keeps track of where they are staying and they are afraid of being in one place for too long.
“My dad used to earn a good salary working for an NGO, the Lutheran World Federation, but now things have changed and life is hard for us.” For example Ian told us he needs to register to write ten “O” level subjects but does not have the money to do so and the deadline is this Friday.
Although police have in the past interviewed Mohadi in connection with Mutonhori’s murder, he was later promoted to Home Affairs Minister in 2002. Ian told us “ever since Mohadi was made Home Affairs Minister, nothing has moved,” in terms of the investigation and a possible prosecution.
Those willing to assist the Mutonhori family can contact Ian Tatenda Mutonhori on firstname.lastname@example.org
Please see previous article of Mutonhori murder on this link
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
The State today admitted to inserting wrong evidence papers in charging the MDC Deputy Treasurer General and Energy and Power Development Minister, Hon Elton Mangoma.
Hon. Mangoma is facing trumped up charges of abusing public office as minister when he averted a national crisis by assisting in the sourcing of five million litres of fuel last December.
Chris Mutangadura, a law officer in the Attorney General’s Office (AG) today sought to substitute Annexure A that was brought as evidence in court during today’s trial. Mutangadura admitted that Annexure A had been wrongly inserted and sought to have new evidence which lists approved foreign importers of fuel into Zimbabwe.
Before Mutangadura’s admission of using incorrect documents to prosecute Hon. Mangoma, High Court Judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu had granted the State a chance to re-cross examine the Energy and Power Development Secretary, Justin Mupamhanga after it had made an appeal.
Mutangadura’s appeal was brought about after the State was left limping during the cross examination process, where Mupamhanga absolved Hon. Mangoma of any wrong doing.
However, Mutangadura asked the High Court for the deletion of the first list before submitting a new list for cross examination.
The trial continues tomorrow.
Hon. Mangoma was arrested early this year and was remanded in custody for two weeks at the Harare Remand Prison before he was granted a US$5 000 bail.
Together, united, winning, voting for real change!!
MDC Information & Publicity Department
By Tichaona Sibanda
18 May 2011
The majority of Zimbabweans are in favour of media diversity and plurality,
so that the public can have access to a wide variety of sources of
Information from data recorded during the outreach program of the
constitution making process reveals that in most districts of the country,
participants advocated for the freedom and independence of the media.
There was also a demand for media practitioners and institutions to be
protected against any form of interference, censorship or control. But in
many rural areas, especially ZANU PF strongholds, villagers were forced to
toe the party line and said that they resisted changes to the current set up
and wanted no independent broadcasters.
‘Most districts in Mashonaland West province were against the privatization
of the broadcasting sector. Villagers in Zvimba and Hurungwe were unanimous
that Zimbabwe should not free the airwaves and said no to foreign based
stations like SW Radio Africa and Studio 7.
‘But everywhere else people want a law that allows Zimbabweans with the
resources to be allowed to operate radio and television stations whose
content should be objective and stories balanced,’ a source who has seen the
In provinces where the MDC has a majority of parliamentary seats in
comparison to ZANU PF, there was agreement around proposals to have self
regulation within the media industry. There were also strong views that
freedom and plurality bring about competition and that ensures quality in
the end product.
‘The quality of some of the contributions was quite amazing for a country
that is limited in terms of information. Most participants also underlined
serious concerns about professional standards and ethics by the state media.
They said the state media under the clutches of ZANU PF intentionally
spreads prejudice, intolerance and hatred, which has largely contributed to
the polarization of the country,’
An analyst told us that the new government that will emerge after the next
poll should champion freedom of speech and help foster an environment
conducive to a free media.
2011 May 18 17:51:00 | 519 Views
WIVES of men employed by the National Railways of Zimbabwe have imposed
bedroom sanctions on their husbands saying they are too hungry to enjoy
pleasures of the flesh after the parastatal failed to pay their spouses for
the past three months.
The stunning revelations of the sex embargo were made early this week during
a demonstration by the disgruntled wives over NRZ's failure to pay salaries
to their husbands since March. "Lathi sifuna ukulala sikholise lamadoda ethu
ngoba yikho okwenziwa ngabantu abatshadileyo. Asisenelisi ukukwenza ngoba
siyabe singelamandla ngenxa yendlala. Ngubani sibili ongafuniyo
ukuzikholisela into le sayiphiwa ngu Nkulunkulu (We also want to have sex
with our husbands but we can not do so on an empty stomach. There is no
motivation there,) said Mrs. Nyathi, the women's representative.
Mrs Nyathi said they last had sex in February and everyone in the crowd
concurred. "Sacina ukupha amadoda ethu ngo February lapho abahola khona
njalo imali engakwananga. Njengaye wonke umuntu silemizwa kodwa kunzima
ukuba silandele imizwa impilo isimele kubi kangaka. (We last had sex in
February when they were paid. We are human and as such we have feelings but
we are forced to suppress them because the motivation is not there because
of the difficulties that we are facing). The representative said that the
parastatal's management should be charged for infringing their conjugal
"Every married person is entitled to conjugal rights but the failure by NRZ
administration to pay our husbands is tantamount to infringing those
rights," said Mrs Nyathi. She revealed that some of them were demonstrating
without underwear. "Let me tell you one thing my child some of the women
here are not even putting on underwear because they cannot afford to buy
"How can an old woman like me walk around the streets without underwear?
Those wearing panties bought those funny Chinese ones which are going for $1
for three," she said drawing raucous applause from other demonstrators. Mrs
Nyathi also said life was becoming unbearable.
"The situation is dire especially for widows and pensioners who are being
paid between US$10 and US$14 per month and to make matters worse, they are
not even given that paltry amount." Another woman interjected and said: "My
husband passed on two years ago and I am getting US$10 per month, look at
me, I am putting on torn clothes, I have no shoes, is that fair ?" asked the
Some women said they were on Anti-retroviral therapy and a balanced diet was
a must to them but they were failing to buy themselves descent food yet
their husbands were going to work everyday.
Efforts to meet the parastatal management by the demonstrators were
fruitless as they were denied entry into the NRZ building along Fife Street
and 9th Avenue by security personnel.
As if that was not enough, riot police were called in to quash the
demonstration which only fuelled the protesters' burning zeal. They left
momentarily vowing they would return with reinforcements and force their way
"Nxa becabanga ukuba singamagwala manje abalibonanga ngoba sizaphenduka,"
(if they think we are cowards they are in for a rude shock. We'll be back!)
declared Mrs Nyathi sounding ominously like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the
movie Terminator .
by Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT plans to open the country’s railways sector to private investors
in order to bring in new capital as well as help modernise dilapidated
infrastructure and improve service delivery.
Vice President Joyce Mujuru told a recent infrastructure development forum
in the resort town of Victoria Falls that the National Railways of Zimbabwe’s
(NRZ) virtual monopoly over the sector was under review.
"The Government is currently reviewing the regulatory framework governing
rail transport with a view to establish a regulatory authority for the
sub-sector,” Mujuru said.
"The rail transport system will be opened for strategic partnerships in rail
construction, while rail services will be opened to the private sector."
The country’s railways infrastructure is virtually inoperable due to lack of
investment over the years with the World Bank recently advising the NRZ to
shut down some 75 percent of the rail network because it had become
Nine of the parastatal’s ten electric locomotives are understood to be
parked at its Dabuka marshalling yards just outside Gweru as the company,
which is reportedly sitting on a huge debt pile, cannot raise the funds to
repair them. At least $274 million is required to re-capitalise NRZ.
The government recently announced that it had acquired new locomotives from
China but these have not been delivered over payment issues.
Meanwhile Mujuru said private sector capital would be brought into the
sector through private-public sector partnerships (PPPs).
"The Government adopted Private Public Sector Partnerships (PPPs). Such
partnerships have brought a revolution to infrastructure development,” she
"Concepts such as Build, Operate and Transfer, Build, Own and Operate, as
well as Rehabilitate, Operate and Transfer are now common language in
A similar arrangement was done with the Beitbridge Bulawayo Railway (BBR)
company in 1995.
The US$65 million project involved the building and rehabilitation of 317 km
of line between Beitbridge, the busiest cargo border crossing point in the
region, and Bulawayo, ensuring providing quicker and more efficient access
to South Africa and its ports.
The line provided a more direct route for freight giving transporters – who
previously had to go through Botswana -- significant savings in time and
money for transporters.
BBR, whose backers included South African companies, Nedcor Investment Bank,
New Limpopo Project Investments and Old Mutual, was also awarded a US$270.5
million contract in 1999 to build the planned Harare--Chitungwiza line
although government later cancelled the deal.
by Staff Reporter
TEN people died on Wednesday morning after a minibus ferrying early morning
commuters was involved in a collision with a haulage truck in downtown
Four of the dead were residents of Kuwadzana suburb, according to the MP for
the area, Nelson Chamisa.
Police were called after the minibus travelling from Kuwadzana along Samora
Machel Avenue ploughed into the truck driving across along Bishop Gaul
Avenue. Witnesses claimed the traffic lights were not working at the time,
although they appeared functional when our correspondent arrived at the
Ten people died on the spot, including the minibus’ driver who has been
named as Jack Ndeketeya, 29. Only one passenger in the minibus survived the
Police released three more names of the dead passengers as Evas Kanoyangwa,
Idanai Alvin Kawanza, and Simbarashe Mwedzeka – all of Kuwadzana.
Chamisa, who visited the accident scene, had by late Wednesday also met the
families of his dead constituents.
“It’s tragic. It’s probably true to say right now that there is a greater
chance of dying in a car accident than from HIV/Aids. If that’s not a
national crisis, I don’t know what is,” Chamisa said.
Chamisa called for a government-backed national programme to reduce
accidents, while urging the police to “work tirelessly in removing
unroadworthy vehicles on the road and providing manpower to direct traffic
to ease congestion when traffic lights are down as these instances have been
singled out as the major contributors of the carnage on our roads.”
He added: “I would also urge local authorities to repair damaged roads,
clearly mark them and install road demarcating reflectors to aid night
Over the Easter Holiday weekend in April, police said 72 people died and 450
others were injured in 500 road accidents. Harare had the highest number of
accidents with more than 195 crashes recorded.
Written by Chief Reporter
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 14:07
HARARE - Shell-shocked by the tough stance against him taken at the SADC
Troika meeting in March, President Robert Mugabe has launched all-out
diplomatic offensive ahead of tomorrow’s summit.
In a desperate attempt to avoid SADC torpedoing his election plans for this
year, Mugabe last week dispatched his trusted lieutenants to spin a yarn to
regional leaders and hoodwink them into believing that all is well in the
Defence minister Emmerson Munangagwa called on Jose Eduardo Dos Santos of
Angola, Minister in charge of CIO Sydney Sekeremayi saw Armando Guebuza of
Mozambique (see story P5), and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono went to
Malawi to see Bingu Wa Mutharika. In addition, SADC ambassadors in Harare
were summoned to a briefing by Zanu (PF).
The message conveyed was carefully orchestrated: the government is working
well, there is hardly any violence and the little that there is should be
blamed equally on all political parties. The emissaries quoted a report
produced by Zanu (PF)-card-carrying Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri in
which all violence is blamed on the MDC, with Zanu (PF) militia and war
veterans claiming to be the victims.
Lies and deception, aided and abetted by the police, constitute the strategy
to advance the elections-in-2011 agenda
Mugabe knows he can count on Joseph Kabila of the DRC, Hifikepunye Mohamba
of Namibia and King Mswati of Swaziland to side with him and avoid consensus
at a full SADC summit.
The trouble is that SADC has always functioned on the basis of consensus –
it is an upper-class regional club where quiet diplomacy is preferred to any
robust show of disapproval.
For the first time in its dealings with Zimbabwe, the Troika got tough last
month. In general, SADC communiqués have always been woolly, but this time
around they issued harsh words and laid the blame squarely at Mugabe’s door.
This unexpected criticism caused a panic, and the initial response was a
vicious attack on Zuma personally and SADC generally in the state-controlled
media. However, it appears Mugabe and his henchmen have realised that they
cannot afford to antagonise the region.
Analysts say it is vital that the regional body stands firm on its Troika’s
decisions, and emphasise to Mugabe that there will be a price to pay for
defying the regional bloc and forging ahead with an election that no one
Even legislators in his own party have said they are not prepared for new
Political commentator Ronald Shumba says the future of SADC could be in
"great danger" if the 15-nation group panders once again to the whims of a
dictator so ambivalent about democracy.
Zenzele Ndebele, an activist and filmmaker, said Mugabe knows the cost of
defying SADC and rejecting the roadmap the regional bloc has proposed.
"If they defy SADC that means serious isolation for Zimbabwe regionally and
internationally and I don't think they would want to take that route," he
Political analyst Hopewell Gumbo believes Zanu (PF) is rushing to hold an
election while Mugabe can still walk.
"Zanu (PF) is watching its leaders declining with age, as ill health takes
its toll on some of the key figures - hence the need to rush this election,"
Mugabe alone blows an estimated $3million of scarce state funds every time
he goes abroad for health reasons – once a month so far this year.
Critics blame his "power obsessed wife" Grace, who is also ailing, for
refusing to let him step down so that she can continue to enjoy the
influence and ostentatious lifestyle of a president's wife.
Analysts say Mugabe is committing "political suicide" by calling a snap
election this year. “The people of Zimbabwe have, since the referendum in
2000, displayed a resilience of spirit which has shocked Mugabe and his
party of violence. There is little doubt that, despite the huge odds against
them, they will still make their choice known emphatically - even if
elections are held this year,” said one observer.
MDC Senator Obert Gutu says he is flabbergasted by Zanu (PF)'s "enthusiasm"
for an early election.
"It boggles the mind why a party that is in terminal decline such as Zanu
(PF) would want to have elections held this year,” he said. Meanwhile, the
MDC-T's new Youth Assembly has already fired warning shots that it will
resist any attempt to steal the election, and grimly warned that it will not
be a stroll in the park. The Youth Assembly has said things have changed and
the "dictator" needs to look at events in North Africa.
ZINASU, the students union, has also threatened to unleash rolling street
protests if Mugabe tries to force an early election. Its president Tafadzwa
Mugwadi said: "We are mobilising against an early election, all ZINASU
structures and our allies. Our position is very clear; the talk of elections
this year is utter nonsense. It will be vigorously opposed."
Written by Tony Saxon
Tuesday, 17 May 2011 14:40
MUTARE – The incessant power cuts in farming areas of Manicaland have forced
some farmers to abandon winter wheat, while others have scaled down the
Only a paltry 243 hectares out of the projected 5000 hectares have been
planted. Wheat farmers said winter wheat farming was an irrigation intensive
crop that required more electricity to power irrigation machines.
“The power cuts have adversely affected us. This has compromised our
planting and harvesting projections,” said Festers Muchirahondo, a wheat
farmer in Mutare.
The Manicaland Provincial Agricultural Extension Officer, Godfrey Mamhare,
said although he anticipated that the farmers were going to beat the 5000 ha
target, it had become difficult because of the incessant power cuts.
“Winter wheat entirely depends on irrigation and the on going power outages
are unfriendly to winter wheat production. Many of the farmers have stopped
venturing into it because of this,” he commented.
“Both the availability and cost of electricity are of major concern. The
cost is a limiting factor and at the end, it will chew the gains leaving the
farmers with nothing,” added Mamhare.
The President of Commercial Farmers Union, Deron Theron, last week said
winter wheat farming was an impending disaster.
“The winter wheat production is likely to be disaster owing to lack of
assurance from Zesa. Apart from power shortages, lines of credit from banks
and shortage of inputs is also going to impact heavily,” said Theron.
In response the acting general manager at Zimbabwe Electricity and
Transmission Distribution Company, Julian Chinembiri, said: “We have had a
series of meetings with the farmers and we have resolved that farmers need
at least three days a week of power supplies to be able to irrigate.”
Bulawayo, May 18, 2011 - Elephants have invaded and destroyed about five
hectares of planted maize crop that was awaiting harvest at a police owned
farm in Inyathi, Matabeleland North province of Zimbabwe.
The stray elephants, according to police officials, invaded the police owned
Eland Farm in Matabeleland North on Sunday evening, and destroyed all
Acting Matabeleland North police spokesperson, Sergeant Eglon Nkala said
seven stray elephants destroyed the boundary fence to gain entrance into the
farm and ruined planted crops.
“The crops were under irrigation and were all ruined by the stray elephants.
The elephants destroyed an extensive hectarage of crops, most of which was
maize,” Sergeant Nkala said.
Sergeant Nkala - who appealed to the Wildlife Parks and Management Authority
to drive off the elephants - said stray elephants were a ‘nuisance’ in
Inyathi as they continue to destroy villagers planted crops.
Parks and Wildlife management Authority spokesperson, Caroline Washaya-Moyo
could not be reached for comment on the statistics of stray elephants and
the current elephant population inn the country.
Zimbabwe’s elephant population continues to balloon but independent
conservationist groups accuse government officials of inflating the figures
so as to benefit from ivory trade.
Johnny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwean Conservation Taskforce has said the
elephant population had fallen to 60,000 at the most, yet the government
puts the figure at more than 100,000.
Rodrigues has said corrupt officials wanted to dupe the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) into allowing Zimbabwe to
continue trading in ivory, alleging that corrupt government officials are
believed to have stockpiled ivory from animals shot in national parks and
private game parks seized from their white owners.
Harare, May 18, 2011 - The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) has warned
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Mines and Mining Development Minister
Obert Mpofu against politicising the profession of journalism.
Last week Tsvangirai who was addressing a public meeting organised by
Southern Africa Political Economy Series in Harare described journalists
from the public media as shallow minded. Mines and Mining Development
Minister Obert Mpofu last week also directly attacked a Daily news
reporter, Chengetai Zvauya, saying he was acting as a mouth piece of
In a statement to it members on Tuesday ZUJ said these developments were
exposing journalists to attacks by political parties’ supporters.
“We are concerned that some of the public officials implicated in the use of
intolerant language with potential to undermine or demean journalists are
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, whose statements implied that colleagues
working in the public media are ‘shallow’.
ZUJ acknowledged that journalists needed to improve on professional and
ethical conduct because for several years the profession had been in the
However the use of terms such as ‘shallow’ in reference to practitioners
cannot be tolerated especially in a volatile political environment such as
This is particularly so, when such statements are attributed to the Prime
Minister, who for many years fought for the rights of workers,” ZUJ said.
ZUJ also condemned Mines and Mining minister for his continued
traumatisation of the Daily News reporters.
“ZUJ is equally appalled by statements attributed to Mines Minister, Obert
Mpofu who singled out the Daily News while appearing before the
Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Mines and Energy."
"Allegations that colleagues working at the Daily News were working with the
country’s detractors are unacceptable and only serve to put journalists at
risk. The trauma that has been visited upon journalists at the Daily News
through bombings and closure is known to many."
ZUJ said the minister should choose his words carefully as they have serious
implications on the safety of journalists in an environment where there is
heightened talk of a referendum and elections in the near future.
ZUJ also noted with concern and condemned reports that journalists, Xolisani
Ncube of the Daily News was allegedly told by Harare Town Clerk, Tendai
Mahachi that “I will deal with you,” and Daily News Entertainment editor,
Maxwell Sibanda who was recently threatened with death by musician, Andy
Brown in full view of other journalists.
“While all this was going on, journalist, Mzwandile Ndlovu was arrested in
Hwange. These developments are happening after ZUJ President Dumisani
Sibanda was arrested late in 2010 with another, journalist, Nqobani Ndlovu
and Nevanji Madanhire being persecuted. News Day has also been a victim of
targeted attacks through interrogations and a suspicious violation.
Meanwhile Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) has opposed the move to form a
statutory media council by the ZMC to recognise the Voluntary Media Council
of Zimbabwe (VMCZ), a body that promotes a professional and free media
environment through voluntary self-regulation of the media.
Partners in MAZ include ZUJ, the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of
Southern Africa, the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe, the VMCZ, among
others media stakeholders.
This follows an invitation by the ZMC to Media Alliance of Zimbabwe partners
to a meeting held on Tuesday to consult on the formation of a statutory
media council, according to provisions in the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
“MAZ cannot be part of this engagement that creates a media council
according to terms of AIPPA. The law allows the council to jail journalists,
ban and close down media operations, as has happened in the past,” MAZ said
in a statement distributed by its coordinator,” Patience Zirima.
MAZ urged the Commission instead, to campaign for the repeal of AIPPA as
envisaged by resolutions of the government’s media stakeholders’ conference
held in Kariba in May 2009.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
18 May, 2011
An alliance of independent media groups this week turned down an invitation
by the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), to consult on the formation of yet
another media body. Alliance partners declined the invitation, saying they
believe in self-regulation of the media and the proposed statutory council
would have power to control journalists and media practitioners.
The ZMC had invited partners in the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) to take
part in consultations on Tuesday, as required by provisions in the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). But Alliance partners
refused to participate and wrote to the ZMC, criticizing AIPPA as oppressive
legislation that abuses the rights of media players in Zimbabwe.
“MAZ cannot be part of this engagement that creates a media council
according to terms of AIPPA. The law allows the council to jail journalists,
ban and close down media operations, as has happened in the past,” the MAZ
The letter went further and called on the ZMC to campaign for the repeal of
AIPPA in its entirety, according to resolutions that were laid out at a
government media stakeholders’ conference held in May, 2009.
But in response the ZMC held a press conference on Wednesday and announced
that they would move ahead with formation of the media council, without any
consultations. Patience Zirima, coordinator for the Alliance, said this must
have been the plan anyway, since it came the day after the so-called
consultations were to have taken place.
“We believe that as a profession the media should regulate itself just like
any other industry,” Zirima said. “AIPPA has previously been used to target
journalists and the media and this may continue in the future under this
statutory council,” she added.
The Alliance also called on the Commission to recognise the Voluntary Media
Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ), saying the group “promotes a professional and
free media environment through voluntary self-regulation of the media”.
Alliance partners that signed the letter to the ZMC include the Media
Institute of Southern Africa, Media Monitoring Project, National Editors’
Forum, Union of Journalists, Federation of African Media Women and African
Community Publishing Development Trust.
The ZMC appears to be resisting the development of a truly independent media
in the country. Even though several newspapers are now available after
government licensed them, there are still no independent broadcasters in the
Written by SW Radio Africa
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 06:34
Nelson Chamisa, the new MDC-T National Organising Secretary, joins SW Radio
Africa journalist Lance Guma on Question Time to answer questions sent in by
listeners. Chamisa explains why he decided to put himself forward for the
post. He reacts to state media reports that Elias Mudzuri, who he defeated
for the new post, will be quitting the party. He responds to questions on
alleged tribalism in the party and the violence seen in the run-up to the
congress and how they will deal with it.
Lance Guma: The guest on Question Time is the new MDC national organising
secretary Nelson Chamisa. We asked listeners to send in their questions in
advance using Facebook, Twitter, Skype, email and text messages. Mr Chamisa
joins us to answer those questions. First of all thank you for joining us on
the programme and congratulations on the new post.
Nelson Chamisa: Thank you, thank you very much Mr Guma, thank you so much.
Guma: Right our first question comes from Antoinette in Beitbridge who says,
and I quote: it was a bold move to leave the more glamorous post of party
spokesman to want to become the national organising secretary – why did you
take this decision?
Chamisa: Well thank you very much, two things there. First of all, the
deployment of cadres to various positions is not a matter of glamour or
honour, it is a matter of responsibility (inaudible) to protect our
So I must say that it’s not a question of choosing things that attract
glitter and glamour for one but things that actually would make sure that we
reach our destination, that is a new Zimbabwe and that we achieve our goal
and our purpose that is to realise real change in Zimbabwe.
But more importantly, which is my second point, in MDC, leaders are not
there to ask for positions, they are given positions by the people whom they
lead. We get deployed, we get assigned to various stations of duty by our
members, in fact people are nominated from the provinces to pick and choose
from those nominations which position they are supposed to then contest.
In fact I only accepted the nomination that came from the provinces to say I
should take up the position of organising, mobilising, educating, training,
conscientising and making sure that the party itself is driven in terms of
membership, in terms of structures and that position is not an easy one but
who am to abscond the duty when duty calls?
Guma: Now at the congress in Bulawayo you said you were like a horn of a cow
with a defunct engine and you needed to be the engine of the party. You went
further to say: it’s better to have a functional engine and a dead horn than
to have a functional horn and a dead engine. Do you believe party structures
were or are dead?
Chamisa: Look, MDC is such a giant organisation, it’s such a big, big
organisation. The party has grown ever since the split of the party, the
party has even grown stronger, bigger and the membership is so huge that we
have to make sure that the leadership capacity is commensurate with the
demands and dictates of the base that is growing
As it is we need to step up to the plate in terms of making sure that we
enhance our structures, we mobilise our structures, we educate our
structures, we also build on discipline, we build on protocol and those
issues, in my view, have not been quite good.
A case in point is our performance during the COPAC programme. A case in
point is our performance during the Congress itself. Some of the challenges
that we had are as a result of a clear and naked deficit of good protocol,
good communication, good camaraderie and comradeship within the party,
building that cadre who is round and polished.
That is the kind of direction we must take so that at least when we are
talking of a party of excellence it’s not a party of excellence on paper but
in practise. When we are talking of a party of excellence we are not talking
of a party of excellence in slogans or on rally posters, it is the party of
excellence in reality, in deed and in action and that is what we are trying
You may also know that we have gained so much ground as a party yet there is
still yet some more ground to cover. We are on the journey to the promised
land, we can see, we can point to it but we are not all yet there and the
only reason we are going to give Zimbabweans a country they deserve, a
better Zimbabwe and a new Zimbabwe where governance, where vision, where
leadership is not in short supply is when we build a strong movement.
And this is why it is important that we build those forces for change
through our leadership, through our membership, making sure that we
galvanise the entire country. Have a proper membership database, have proper
structures that are functional, that are able to debate issues, that are
very dynamic and robust. Have a radical youth wing, have a visible women’s
Those are the issues that I’m supposed to deal with and I feel that the task
before us is that task that is not going to surpass our capacity. We are
going to be able to deal with each issue and that is why I think it’s a
great moment for the party, it’s an exciting opportunity for the party to
make sure that we organise and mobilise, we communicate and perform so that
indeed we become a party of excellence.
Guma: The run-up to the third MDC Congress was marred by several incidents
of violence where youths aligned to rival party candidates turned on each
other, several elections had to be re-done after they were disrupted. Now
most of our listeners sent in questions centred on this: Trymore texting us
from Murewa for instance wants to know why all these disturbances took place
and what the party or you as the new national organising secretary will do
Chamisa: Well I’ll answer those questions in two parts. The first part is in
three sections: first of all you must understand in terms of what caused the
issues. The issues were caused by exogenous and extrinsic forces or factors
and in this case, we point our finger at ZANU PF. They are the ones who were
trying to disrupt and destabilise our structures from the branch level.
Fortunately they’ve not succeeded. They try to contaminate our basket of
good apples. You know that in any basket of good apples you always have
those that are affected by the virus of ZANU PF. We actually are happy that
those have been flushed out, those have been guarded against to the extent
that we had to deal with them and we have to expose them, particularly in
Bulawayo and also in some cases in Manicaland and partly in Harare.
But I also want to emphasise the second point that there’s been
over-dramatisation of the disturbances in the party. This has not been an
ubiquitous phenomenon, these are issues, that is the cases of disturbance
that were not quite pervasive, they were in isolated areas and the reason
why they were there is because of what I have already referred to as
exogenous factors, obviously ZANU PF being the point there.
But then the third issue which is also important is the fact that we still
have cultural issues to deal with, the character of our movement, the
character of a people’s party of excellence should be such that you don’t
have people who use violence or anarchy or chaos as a way of organising or
as a way of transacting political business.
It’s a culture alien to the MDC but it is a culture that has been imported
from ZANU PF by certain elements. So this is (inaudible) within the
organising department to make sure we build distinct and unique character as
a party that is premised on value of peace, tranquillity, values of
cross-pollination of ideas, values of not being disciples of personalities
but disciples of issues. Values of looking at principles and not the
This is what we have to deal with in terms of debunking and expulsion from
the people’s minds certain notions that belong to the politics of darkness,
politics of deification and worshipping individuals – that is the character
of ZANU PF. The character of the MDC is quite opposed to that and this is
part of the reason why I feel that I have a duty, the pastoral duty to go
and lecture, to go and preach that message.
That message of making sure that we move away from just personality cult but
to the cult of issues so we are just not looking at people who are
soft-liners or hardliners but people who are ‘logic-liners’, people who
follow the logic of the values and principles of the movement. And that is
the reason why you found that most of the people who had problems they are
actually victims of this old culture, of this mentality.
These are people we are trying to deal with and we want to make sure that in
all circumstances, this demon of ZANU PF is exorcised from the structures of
the party and the people of the party.
The second part of my response is that in terms of what we are going to be
doing as we move forward, you must also realise that part of the reason why
people were so energetic in their issues is because the party is (inaudible)
the party is almost going to win the next election hands down and everybody
is seeing that we have a train that is about to get to the destination so
they would want to be part of either the drivers or the passengers and those
who will fail to do so would do so using even uncouth mechanisms to cling
onto this moving train.
Some people will even cling onto the tail (inaudible) the table and the MDC
is certainly going to win an election. It is the only dominant and existing
political song in Zimbabwe and that has caused a lot of pressure; people
feel that they want to be part of the winning team, they want to be part of
this team that is almost succeeding.
But what I want to emphasise Mr Guma is that in terms of resolving our
issues, we have resolved as a national council, resolved as the Congress
that all those people who were personally or impersonally, directly or
indirectly involved in disturbances, vicariously or otherwise are going to
be dealt with in very swift circumstances.
In fact that precision of a butcher’s cleaver slicing meat and bone is what
is going to be the case and the fate of whoever is going to be found to have
been involved in problems. Like I said before, ZANU PF had a hand to play,
there are stakeholders in MDC because they would want to destabilise our
They know that it’s the only hope for the people of Zimbabwe, to frustrate
the hope of the people of Zimbabwe. So whoever was involved in this thing
are dealt with and we have said we are going to do two things: the
organising department (inaudible) the issues thoroughly, investigate what
happened but we are also going to have an independent enquiry to ascertain
who were the role players, the main actors in these issues within the party
and also outside the party because you must also realise that there were
agents that were then used or people who became willing players and willing
tools to ZANU PF’s shenanigans and machinations.
Those people we are going to flush out, not out of vindictive politics
because our diktat in organising is that to add is to strengthen and to
subtract is to weaken. We are not going to throw away members, we make sure
that we add as many members as possible, including those in ZANU PF.
Those who voted for us in parliament, yes those who are disgruntled by ZANU
PF politics of darkness, yes those who feel that they have been let down by
other smaller political parties we want to make sure that we open our arms,
we open our doors, we make sure they have appropriate seats in this
democratic train. So that is what we are going to do.
The second point is also going to be an educational programme so that people
are clear in terms of the new genre of politics we are trying to introduce
in this country. You know it is just not politics of hatred, politics of
acrimony, it has to be politics of harmony, politics of cross-pollination of
ideas. You differ, there’s diversity but in magnanimity you differ but with
happiness so that you have happy differences, you have convivial and jovial
differences. That is the kind of direction we are taking.
Guma: Several questions have come from people in the MDC structures in South
Africa, the UK and the United States and the question is why were MDC
external assemblies blocked from nominating candidates to the congress?
Chamisa: Well they were not blocked at all. It was only because I think
there was a communication breakdown, they waited until it was too late, only
to see their complaints in the newspaper. We have since communicated to the
structures to say that in the future we don’t take lightly communication
that is done through the press.
The party has clear communication protocol, the protocols, the party has
very clear internal structures to deal with any kind of discomfort by or to
any member and that was not followed. So it’s not as if they were stopped
from nominating, in fact there was active and visible participation of
external structures here in Bulawayo at the Congress.
South Africa was represented, the UK represented and the external assembly
in the US, quite represented. In fact there was very active through
resolutions we took, through the constitutional debates we had and even the
Congress itself. It was quite a happy affair so I don’t know where the
continued complaints have come from because the thing has since been
Guma: The state owned media have been running stories suggesting Elias
Mudzuri, the man you replaced as national organising secretary will be
making an announcement in the near future that he is quitting the MDC. Have
you been told anything remotely close to this?
Chamisa: Well look – we have just had a very successful congress; a congress
that emphasised the health and richness of our internal party democracy. A
congress that defined the excellence that we continue to brag about and to
beat about our chests.
We have had a congress that has defined that in MDC it is possible for
brothers to contest and have a winner and also have the one who assists the
winner, accepting that there is indeed a winner and that has the been the
character we are also, show the character we are trying to build as a
Like I said, we belong to alternative politics, we belong to alternative
approaches in politics. Ours is politics of peaceful co-existence. I have no
reason to believe that my brother Engineer Mudzuri would have any reason to
behave in a manner that is not consistent with the tradition of the
When people get re-deployed in positions, it’s not out of lack of
confidence, it’s just out of re-arrangement of the deck in order to make
sure that we strengthen our forces, we also put our ducks in a row and we
are on all fours in terms of the thrust and momentum we would want to build
for our struggle.
Engineer Mudzuri is going to be very useful as a member, he’s experienced as
a mayor, he’s experienced as the organising secretary. His knowledge as a
graduate, he’s one of our very profound and strong intellectuals in the
party whom we feel are going to be very useful to this movement.
You know this movement is not going to be strengthened by an individual
character, it’s going to be out of our collective strength, out of our
collective wisdom and our collective experience that we will be able to move
this party forward.
So yes, that would be the wish of ZANU PF but I don’t feel and I don’t think
that Engineer Mudzuri would want to give credit or accolades to ZANU PF for
free, whatever makes ZANU PF go mad is what is good for us as a party and I
know that Engineer Mudzuri understands that and would not have any reason to
behave in a manner that would make ZANU PF smile.
Guma: Funny you should talk about Mudzuri being re-deployed by the party –
the next email is from a guy called Wiseman – he says are there any plans to
appoint Mudzuri to any position within the party than leaving him as an
ordinary card carrying member?
Wiseman goes on to say his CV is too strong to just let him go and he cites
the fact that he’s a former mayor, former Energy Minister and a former
organising secretary – so what’s your answer for Wiseman there?
Chamisa: Wiseman seems to have read my mind before I even answered. It’s
quite clear that we believe in horses for courses in the MDC. We believe
that there’s no human being worth throwing away. All human beings are born
for a reason, this is why we are created in our millions if not billions
because we have unique and distinct competencies.
We hope that we are going to create a feeling and a chemistry of those
competencies for the common good of the party. Engineer Mudzuri has so many
distinct advantages that some of us may not possess or that some of us may
not even carry. We want to make sure that we leverage on those advantages,
we leverage on those points of strength and merit so that we move forward.
As you may know, in MDC we believe in servant leadership, we believe in
meritocratic leadership. Leadership is supposed to be on the basis of merit,
leadership is on the basis of capacity and also on the basis of serving the
people so this is nothing personal. It’s just like what I said in the Labour
party where you had Ed and Dave competing for the leadership of the Labour
That is the kind of culture we would want to cultivate in the MDC. Who
knows, next time perhaps Chamisa gets there with the energy, I get too tired
too quickly, I would then leave it to my brother Engineer Mudzuri to take
over and complete the journey. It is all about team spirit, it is all about
camaraderie, it’s all about comradeship and cadre-ship.
As we move forward we are going to be complimenting one another in terms of
the path we are taking. So nobody has been thrown out of the boat. We are
not so stupid as to donate any single body to the sharks of ZANU PF. We are
not so stupid as to just donate any single body to the crocodiles in ZANU
PF. We are quite clear as to why we should remain united because unity is
going to be the winning formula for the party.
Guma: We have received a statement from Dr Simba Makoni’s Mavambo Kusile
Dawn party claiming the MDC Congress was all about an advancement of the
Shona over the Ndebele. They are claiming that the party is run along tribal
lines. What’s your reaction to those accusations?
Chamisa: Oh I feel sorry for Mr Makoni. Mr Makoni has not been focussing on
issues; he’s clearly shown that he is out of depth on issues; he is out of
focus in terms of the expectations of the people of Zimbabwe. He has clearly
been rejected by the people of Zimbabwe because his politics is
contaminated, his politics is not quite different to the politics of ZANU PF
and I think he should not then try to locate his mischief or his misfortunes
in the politics of the MDC.
Our party stands above the politics of tribe; we are detribalised in our
approach, we believe that leaders should be voted in on the basis of both
merit and also the balance of all the four corners of Zimbabwe and this is
why we have made sure that meritocratically and also geographically we are a
And I must say that this is why you find leaders like Honourable Thokozani
Khupe our vice president and also Honourable (Lovemore) Moyo our national
chairman who were overwhelmingly voted by our delegates.
Probably the highest number of votes not on the basis of tribe but on the
basis of their merit and also on the basis that we would want to see a
leadership that has a reflection of that rainbowness of our nation. The
mosaic character of our being and that has been reflected.
You come here in Zimbabwe, you chat with each and every individual I think
Mr Simba Makoni is the only person who is not comfortable with this
Congress. There are celebrations on the streets, there are celebrations in
the bars, in the churches celebrating the MDC Congress for the internal
party democracy, for the secrecy of the ballot, for the way these elections
have been managed and also the way we have managed our campaign and we would
say to Mr Simba Makoni – please learn from the MDC and earn your respect
rather than to try and attack the MDC without full facts.
That would simply ensure that he is distanced further away from the wishes
and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe. So these are just remarks by Mr
Makoni I think as a way of trying to seek relevance but it’s unfortunate
that he’s trying to raise a tribal card which he cannot obviously
competently raise considering the character of his movement if there’s any
movement to talk about.
Guma: That’s the new MDC national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa
joining us on Question Time to take your questions. Mr Chamisa thank you
very much for joining us.
Chamisa: Thank you.
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CONTENT SERIES 3/2011
[17th May 2011]
Executive Powers [Part II]
In the first Part of this Constitution Watch we set out the powers that can be exercised by the Executive and explained the need for restraints to be imposed on those powers. In this Part we shall go on to examine the restraints that may be imposed on some of the powers to prevent their use for partisan political purposes, and shall suggest that some of the powers should be abolished altogether.
Restrictions on the Nature and Extent of Executive Powers
1. Power over the Legislature
Under this heading fall the President’s power to appoint members of the Senate and to summon, adjourn and dismiss Parliament.
(a) Power to appoint Senators
The President appoints five Senators directly and an additional 28 indirectly through his power to appoint Provincial Governors and chiefs (section 34 of the Constitution). Under article 20.1.9 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) he can appoint an additional six Senators nominated by the MDC formations. Quite clearly this power violates the doctrine of separation of powers, which envisages an independent legislature. Under the new constitution all Senators (assuming there is a Senate) should be elected directly by the people or elected or appointed by interest groups who are not themselves part of the Executive.
(b) Power to summon, adjourn or dissolve Parliament
Under the present Constitution the President can summon, prorogue [i.e. stop Parliament sitting until he re-summons it], and dissolve Parliament [in which case there has to be a new election] at any time, though he must now get the Prime Minister’s consent before dissolving Parliament (sections 62 & 63 as read with article 20.1.3(q) of the GPA). The only limit which the Constitution places on these powers is to require Parliament to sit at least once every six months (section 62(2)).
We should give careful consideration to abolishing or severely restricting this power in the new Constitution. It limits Parliament’s independence, and has a chilling effect on freedom of debate because members may fear that if they discuss sensitive matters the Executive will respond by proroguing or dissolving Parliament.
In many countries, for example the United States and South Africa, the legislature is elected for a fixed term, and during its term can decide when and how often it sits. Even the United Kingdom, where our President’s current power originates, is reconsidering the right of the Executive to dissolve Parliament before its term has expired. We should reconsider it too.
2. Legislative power, namely the power to enact legislation
In Zimbabwe, the President and his Ministers have extensive legislative powers conferred on them by various Acts of Parliament. The most notorious of these Acts is the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act, which allows the President to make regulations on virtually any subject, if he thinks urgent action is needed in the general public interest. The only limits on his power are, firstly, that he must revoke his regulations if Parliament requires him to do so [it has never done this]; and, secondly, that the regulations expire after six months [though they can be replaced by similar ones].
The Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act is not the only Act that gives extensive legislative powers to the President: some old statutes, particularly those inherited from the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, are almost as broad. The Control of Goods Act, for example, empowers the President to make regulations controlling the import, export, distribution, rationing, disposal, purchase and sale of goods, as well as the prices of goods and the charges for services relating to goods. So wide is the Act, that the President could, if he were so minded, use it to make regulations controlling the entire economy. Other statutes giving the President similarly broad powers are the Exchange Control Act, the Animal Health Act and the Plant Pests and Diseases Act.
Many Acts give Ministers wide powers to make regulations and statutory instruments. Perhaps the most notorious, because it is so far-reaching and vague, is the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, but there are others almost as wide.
All these statutes should be repealed or amended to reduce the Executive’s legislative powers, and the new Constitution should try so far as possible to prevent Parliament from delegating its legislative powers to members of the Executive. Any such delegation should extend no further than allowing Ministers to fill in details in Acts of Parliament, for example specifying forms to be used in applications, etc. In addition, the new constitution should require the President and Ministers to have wide consultation with interested parties before enacting regulations; at the very least this may improve the efficacy of their regulations.
3. Power over the Judiciary
(a) Power to appoint judicial officers
Appointment of judges - under section 84 of the present Constitution, the President appoints judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission; he does not have to take the Commission’s advice, but if he goes against it the Senate must be informed [though the Senate cannot compel him to revoke appointments made contrary to the Commission’s recommendation]. Under section 92 of the Constitution judicial officers presiding over specialised courts such as the Administrative Court and the Labour Court are similarly appointed by the President after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission — though there is no provision for the Senate to be informed if the President goes against the Commission’s advice. Since the inception of the GPA, the President has, at least in theory, had to get the Prime Minister to agree to judicial appointments (article 20.1.3(p) of Schedule 8 to the Constitution). For all practical purposes the obligation to consult or agree is impossible to enforce.
Appointment of magistrates – magistrates, the workhorses of the judicial system, are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission under section 7 of the Magistrates Court Act.
The Judicial Service Commission itself is composed entirely of presidential appointees (see section 90 of the Constitution), though again, since the GPA came into force the President has had to get, again in theory, the Prime Minister’s approval for appointments to the Commission (article 20.1.3(n) of Schedule 8 to the Constitution).
It is therefore fair to say that all judicial officers in Zimbabwe owe their appointment, directly or indirectly, to the President. In view of this it is no surprise that the judiciary has been regarded as unduly submissive towards the Executive; the only surprise is that it ever showed any independence.
This is a most unsatisfactory position because an independent judiciary is one of the pillars of a free and democratic State. To ensure judicial independence, the new constitution must remove or dilute presidential involvement in the appointment of judicial officers and members of the Judicial Service Commission. This could be done by:
· requiring judges to be selected by the Judicial Service Commission through an open process involving the publication of clear guidelines for the selection of candidates and the ratification of appointments by Parliament;
· making an all-party committee of Parliament responsible for selecting all or most of the members of the Judicial Service Commission, again through an open process involving the publication of clear guidelines for selection.
And the current judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court should be required to go through the new selection process if they are to retain their posts after the new Constitution comes into force.
(b) Power to control judicial conduct
The present Constitution goes some way towards ensuring judicial independence, that is limiting the Executive’s influence over the way in which judicial officers decide cases. Section 79B states that members of the judiciary are not subject to anyone’s direction or control when exercising their judicial authority; section 86(3) states that a judge’s office cannot be abolished while he or she holds that office; and section 88(2) prohibits any reduction in judges’ salaries and allowances. While all these provisions should be repeated in the new Constitution, something more is needed, for the following reasons:
· Sections 79B, 86 and 88 apply only to judges, not to magistrates or to the judicial officers who preside over specialised courts such as the Administrative Court. The provisions should apply to all judicial officers.
· The provisions have not prevented the Executive from providing judges with farms expropriated from commercial farmers and with houses and television sets obtained through the Reserve Bank’s “quasi-fiscal activities”. Judges who have accepted these gifts cannot be expected to rule impartially on the Government’s land redistribution programme or the legality of the Reserve Bank’s “quasi-fiscal activities”. The new constitution should mandate Parliament or the Judicial Service Commission to prepare a code of conduct for judges and all other judicial officers, and to ensure that it is strictly enforced.
· There is nothing in the present Constitution that specifically requires the Executive to respect or enforce judgments and orders issued by the courts. As a result, the Executive has frequently ignored judgments given against it. The new constitution should contain provisions for Parliament to censure public officers who fail or refuse to comply with judgments, and perhaps should disqualify them from holding further public office.
4. Power to appoint Ministers, administrative officers and other members of the Executive
Under sections 31C and 31D of the present Constitution, the President appoints Vice-Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers. His discretion in doing so has been recently limited by the GPA: vice-presidential appointments must be made from nominees of his own party, and ministerial and deputy ministerial posts are allocated between the parties to the GPA in accordance with Article 20.1.6 of that Agreement.
There is nothing wrong in principle with vesting the power to make these appointments in the President or whoever else is head of government under the new Constitution. The person in charge of the government must be able to appoint people to share political responsibility for running the country’s affairs. His or her discretion in making these appointments will always be limited or at least affected by political considerations, and it is debatable to what extent the Constitution should impose further limits. Under section 31E(2) of the present Constitution, Ministers must be Members of Parliament, and if they are not members when they are appointed they must somehow obtain a parliamentary seat within three months, so the President’s choice of Ministers is restricted to people who are or can become members of the Legislature and are answerable to the Legislature. The same position prevails in most of our neighbouring countries, though South Africa allows two Ministers to be appointed from outside Parliament, Botswana four. If our new constitution were to allow any Ministers to be appointed from outside the Legislature then it would be desirable for their appointment to be subject to approval by the Legislature. All Ministers even if they are not members of the legislature must have the right to speak in Parliament and must be available to answer questions in Parliament to ensure their accountability.
Under the present Constitution, administrative officers — i.e., members of the Public Service — are indirectly appointed by the President as their appointments are governed by an Act of Parliament, namely the Public Service Act, which confers the power of appointment on the Public Service Commission, which is itself appointed by the President [see below]. The Attorney-General and Permanent Secretaries, are appointed directly by the President after consultation with the Commission (sections 76 and 77 of the Constitution), though since the GPA, when appointing them the President is supposed to get the agreement of the Vice-Presidents, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers (Article 20.1.7 of Schedule 8 to the Constitution).
While there can be no objection to the President appointing politicians as Ministers to assist him in running the government, appointing members of the civil service is a very different matter. They are supposed to form the permanent administration of the country, and if the political head of government chooses them either directly or indirectly then political considerations will inevitably influence their appointment. Although suggestions have been made for provision of parliamentary oversight of senior appointments by requiring them to be ratified by Parliament, that also might introduce an undesirable political element into what should be a non-partisan process. Under the new constitution, the appointment of at least senior members of the civil service and in particular the Attorney-General and Permanent Secretaries should be made by an independent commission.
5. Power to appoint members of constitutional commissions
Under the present Constitution, the President appoints the members of all constitutional commissions. In appointing members to the service commissions — the commissions responsible for the security forces and the Public Service — he must act on the advice of his Cabinet and with the approval of the Prime Minister. When appointing members of the so-called independent commissions, namely the Electoral Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Media Commission and the Human Rights Commission, he is limited in his selection to nominees chosen by the parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee — and now in theory he must also get the consent of the Cabinet and the Prime Minister to these appointments (Article 20.1.3(n), (o) & (p) of Schedule 8 to the Constitution).
Obviously, the new constitution must ensure that the members of all constitutional commissions are appointed through a process that enables the commissions to exercise their functions even-handedly and without partisan interference. The procedure currently applicable to the independent commissions should be extended to the service commissions. It could also be improved by involving the public more closely in the nomination process, for example by:
· publishing the criteria for selection of candidates for appointment, so that the public know, and can criticise, if necessary, the basis on which candidates will be considered;
· publishing lists of candidates for nomination, and inviting the public to comment on those candidates;
· selecting candidates through interviews conducted in public.
In addition, the selection of candidates should be put in the hands of a special parliamentary appointments committee rather than the Standing Rules and Orders Committee, as suggested in the NCA draft constitution and the model constitution produced by the Law Society.
6. Power to appoint ambassadors
Under section 78 of the present Constitution the President appoints ambassadors acting on the advice of his Cabinet, while under Article 20.1.7 of Schedule 8 to the Constitution he must get the agreement of his Vice-Presidents, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers to all such appointments.
Ambassadorial appointments fall somewhere between Ministerial appointments, which are essentially a political matter, and appointments to the civil service, which should be non-partisan. Ambassadors are supposed to represent the country as a whole, but must also be able to communicate the views of the government currently in power. Under the new Constitution, therefore, the head of government should continue to choose ambassadors, acting on the advice of his or her Cabinet, but the appointments should be subject to parliamentary approval.
7. Power over the Defence Forces and the Police Force
Under the present Constitution the President has considerable personal control over the security forces. He is the supreme commander of the Defence Forces (section 96(2)) and appoints their operational commanders after consultation with the Minister of Defence (section 96(4) of the Constitution as read with section 7 of the Defence Act). He appoints the Commissioner-General of Police after consultation with a board consisting of the chairperson of the Public Service Commission, the retiring Commissioner-General, and one permanent secretary (section 93(2) of the Constitution as read with section 5 of the Police Act). These powers of appointment have been reduced somewhat by the GPA: under Article 20.1.3(p) of Schedule 8 to the Constitution, the President must, again in theory, get the Prime Minister’s consent to “key appointments … under and in terms of the Constitution”, while under Article 20.1.7 he must get the consent, not only of the Prime Minister, but also of his Vice-Presidents and Deputy Prime Ministers when appointing people to “senior government positions”. It is not clear which of these two articles applies to appointments of members of the security forces, but either of them would, if put into practice, curtail the President’s discretion in making such appointments.
It is obviously undesirable for the head of government to have unrestricted control over the coercive forces of the State, whether through his power of appointment or though a power to deploy those forces. The new Constitution must ensure that:
· the commanders of the Defence Forces and the Police Force are appointed by an independent, impartial process similar to that outlined above for members of the civil service;
· there is civilian oversight over the deployment of the Defence Forces either inside or outside the country. This can be ensured by:
· prohibiting any deployment of the Defence Forces without the consent of the Cabinet as a whole, and
· requiring parliamentary ratification as soon as possible after the Defence Forces have been deployed.
· the conduct of the Police Force is likewise subject to civilian control, which can be ensured by:
· creating a Police Authority composed of members of Parliament and civil society, to give policy directives to the Commissioner-General of Police, and
· creating a Police Complaints Commission, to investigate complaints against the Police.
[The Constitution should at least mandate the establishment of these two bodies while leaving details of their composition and functions to be regulated by an Act of Parliament.]
And like the judges, senior officers of the security forces should be required to go through a new selection process if they are to retain their posts after the new constitution comes into force.
8. Miscellaneous powers
(a) The power to declare war and make peace
This power is specifically mentioned in the present Constitution (section 31(2)) and again in the GPA (Article 20.1.3(d)). It should not be mentioned in the new constitution because, as a member State of the United Nations, Zimbabwe has renounced the use of force. The South African constitution does not mention such a power, nor do the constitutions of Zambia or Botswana.
(b) Prerogative of mercy
Under section 31I of the present Constitution the President exercises the prerogative of mercy [i.e. the power to grant amnesties and pardons and to reduce sentences imposed by courts] and is supposed to do so on the advice of Cabinet. This means that political motives can influence its exercise — as undoubtedly they have done in the past. The new Constitution should limit the exercise of the prerogative of mercy to cases where an independent body has recommended it. Provisions for this independent body should be made in the Constitution with provision for an enabling Act to lay down guidelines for the exercise of the prerogative.
(c) Power to confer honours and precedence
As with the prerogative of mercy, this power should be exercised only on the recommendation of an independent body, again making provision for this body and for an enabling Act to lay down guidelines. Otherwise honours such as the conferring of National Hero status will continue to be awarded on a partisan basis.
Finally: one strong check on excesses by the executive is to oblige all public officers without exception to make a full, regular and public disclosure of their assets. This point will be reiterated in further Constitution Watches discussing the powers of the Legislature and the Judiciary.
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