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Breaking news - Security chiefs won't meet Tsvangirai: Chihuri

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 18:33

Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter

Security chiefs will never meet or engage MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai
to discuss the so-called security sector reforms and those who are peddling
false information that they will meet over the issue face arrest. Responding
to media reports that Mr Tsvangirai

met with security chiefs to initiate post-election discussions to secure
their positions, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri today said
the security forces would never meet "malcontents".

He was speaking during the official opening of the Commissioner-General of
Police sports gala in Harare.

"Before saying too much, I wish to take this opportunity to warn liars and
peddlers of falsehoods who dream talking to us, to this general and to that
general, in their sleep that the law will visit them harshly," he said.

"Some of us have no business talking to individuals of no substance whose
sole purpose and agenda is to create confusion within the rank and file of
the defence and security forces.

"We are too busy to engage confused malcontents who do not know their
identity and have a propensity to destroy what others, dead and alive,
fought for. They must stop abusing the freedom and democracy that so many
Zimbabweans died for. I advise the journalists to stop being used in this

Comm General Chihuri described calls by the MDC formations to press for the
so-called security sector reforms as a "non issue" that sought to create
confusion within the country's defence forces.

"This is a hollow political gimmick in a futile attempt to try and bring on
board the so-called security sector reform, a non-issue in terms of the
current constitutional amendment number 19 that legalised the Global
Political Agreement."

Last week, a local weekly claimed that Mr Tsvangirai had initiated
discussions with the security chiefs through Mr Giles Mutsekwa, who is MDC-T
defence and security secretary and a former major in the Rhodesian army.

According to the weekly, MDC-T claimed that Mr Mutsekwa met the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces Commander, General Constantine Chiwenga, Comm-Gen Chihuri;
Zimbabwe National Army Chief of Staff (general staff) Major-General Martin
Chedondo and Chief of Staff (Quartermaster) Major-General Douglas

But Comm General Chihuri said the force's binding and guiding philosophy was
team work.

"It is team work that generates unity of purpose Indeed, it is equally true
that as Zimbabweans we need unity of purpose in the fight against crime and
in upholding and protecting the peace which has been synonymous with our
country," he said.

State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi last week warned that the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces security chiefs were not in office by favour, but competence
and any party that wins this year’s polls should not tamper with the

The MDC-T plans to revamp the sector if it, by any chance, wins the crucial
harmonised elections this year.

Minister Sekeramayi said the MDC formations were being sponsored by the
country’s former coloniser, Britain, to press for security sector reforms as
part of an array of election conditions.

"That is nonsense. Our security sector, comprising the Zimbabwe National
Army, the Air Force of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, to some
extent the Zimbabwe Prison Services and the intelligence services, are
professional bodies whose performance is acknowledged even outside
 Zimbabwe,” said Cde Sekeramayi.

Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa recently said that the so-called
security sector reforms were not part of the Global Political Agreement and
parties pushing the agenda were driven by the illegal regime change motive
as they sought to weaken the country’s security services.

Minister Mnangagwa said the major outstanding matters in the GPA were the
removal of the illegal economic sanctions and dismantling of the pirate
radio stations broadcasting hate messages into Zimbabwe from other

But Mr Tsvangirai claimed recently while addressing his supporters in
Chiredzi that his party was ready for the polls as long as there were
"fundamental" reforms among them the security sector and media reforms.

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More problems during second day of voter registration

By Tichaona Sibanda
30 April 2013

The voter registration exercise that began on Monday amid complaints about
shoddy preparation by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), entered its
second day on Tuesday.

However complaints kept trickling in over the campaign, which has yet to be
rolled out to all the wards in nationwide. Reports suggest many of the areas
facing problems are believed to be MDC-T strongholds.

Analysts fear this could be a deliberate plot by the Registrar-General’s
office to register as few people as possible from MDC-T strongholds, while
in ZANU PF areas the system has been engineered to allow a rapid voter
registration for a large number of people.

The date of the poll has not been announced yet, for an election seen as a
crucial test to both President Robert Mugabe and his main challenger, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Our correspondents in Harare and Bulawayo told us officials from the
Registrar-General’s office told them registration is facing teething
problems in the early stages of a massive 20-day operation to enfranchise
the country’s millions of voters.

The major complaint about the registration exercise nationwide has been lack
of publicity and information on the whereabouts of the centers where people
can go and register.

In Manicaland the MDC-T provincial chairman, Julius Magarangoma, said there
have been reports that some centres for registration have not opened at all.

In the Midlands South province, many people have failed to register after
being asked by officials from the RG’s office to pay $10 to replace
identification documents.

‘They are asking people to pay $10 when co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa
Makone said it was going to be free of charge. Those without birth
certificates are being asked to travel long distances to acquire them,
something that is in contrast with the mobile registration exercise,’
Lillian Timvious, the MDC-T provincial chair said.

Simon Muchemwa in Harare told us registration has been slow in the capital
and many people seem to be unaware the exercise has started.

‘There is little information on the exercise being disseminated by the state
media. The Ministry of Home Affairs held a press conference last week at
which they announced the removal of bottlenecks to allow the exercise to
sail smoothly.

‘But it appears that directive has not been transmitted to staff in
(Registrar-General) Tobaiwa Mudede’s office as they appear to be charging
people for lost ID’s and making it extremely impossible for new voters to
register,’ Muchemwa said.

In Bulawayo Lionel Saungweme said there is a deliberate attempt to
disenfranchise some people for political reasons. He said while the RG’s
office was more than happy to register members of the armed forces and ZANU
PF supporters without any problems, it is proving difficult for those from
the MDC-T to do the same.

‘Some would-be voters were reported to have given up waiting for the chance
to register because they were being asked to produce documents that are
difficult to get. Some residents in Bulawayo are accusing ZEC for poor
planning or poor organization,’ Saungweme added.

Despite these initial challenges, the MDC-T hopes many people will heed
their calls to visit the centres and register. Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s
foreign policy advisor, Jameson Timba, took to Facebook to urge people to

‘No army can stop an idea whose time has come. The winds of change are
blowing with increased ferocity in Zimbabwe. Register and vote for change in
2013,’ said Timba on his Facebook page.

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Voter Registration Teams Fail to Turn up in Mashonaland East

Thomas Chiripasi

HARARE — The mobile voter registration exercise entered its second day
Tuesday with officials from the Registrar General’s Office and the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) failing to turn up at several centers in most
parts of Mashonaland East province.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai says this is a deliberate ploy to block supporters in its
strongholds from registering as voters.

Several residents of Marondera East said they have not been able to register
or inspect the voters’ roll because officers from the RG’s Office and the
ZEC were not present all day at most designated centers.

One of those affected is former Zanu PF Deputy Minister of Labor Tracy
Mutinhiri, who now wants to contest for a parliamentary seat in Marondera
East under the MDC formation of Mr. Tsvangirai.

Mutinhiri suspects there is politicking in the on-going mobile voter
registration exercise.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora maintains Zanu-PF has a plan to
disenfranchise his party’s supporters ahead of elections expected to be
called sometime this year.

Meanwhile, 19 MDC-T supporters, arrested last week while on a door-to-door
voter education campaign in Hatcliffe, Harare, were Tuesday denied bail by a
Harare magistrate, Donald Ndirowei.

Attorney Denford Halimani said the magistrate erred in his ruling, adding an
appeal will be launched Thursday in the High Court.

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Zim ‘voter lists being inflated’

April 30 2013 at 06:10pm

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwean state election officials are dramatically
inflating the numbers of electors on new voters' lists months ahead of
crucial polls, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party alleged Tuesday.

It said lists in some voting districts swelled by more than 10 000 names in
a 48-hour period, or the addition of about 150 voters a second.

“This is just impossible,” said party official Douglas Mwonzora. He said a
copy of one Harare district list was obtained on a Monday earlier this
month. Two days later, a revised copy showed an additional 11 890 voters on
the list.

In other districts the names of active party members were missing or
misspelled, making them ineligible to vote, raising fears of voting fraud
being planned by officials loyal to President Robert Mugabe's party, he

The official voters' registry has denied tampering with the lists and
insists it is just collating data in batches.

A new drive to register voters began Monday, following weeks of campaigning
by all political groups for eligible voters not yet listed to have their
details added to the nationwide roll containing 5.7 million names in a
population of 13 million, slightly less than half of whom are under the
voting age of 18.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party, in a shaky coalition with
Mugabe brokered by regional leaders after the last violent and disputed
elections in 2008, said even Theresa Makone, its co-minister of Home Affairs
in charge of voter registration, saw her name was missing in her area.

Under the coalition agreement, Tsvangirai's party shares control of that
ministry that is also responsible for the nation's police dominated by
Mugabe loyalists. Makone has had little influence over police commanders and
senior government officials who have repeatedly vowed their allegiance to

Makone has told her district supporters that irregularities in their voters'
list were “a tip of the iceberg” in what she suspected was happening
countrywide to skew voting. Past elections since 2000 have been marred by
allegations of vote rigging.

Tsvangirai on Sunday began a diplomatic offensive to garner the backing of
regional leaders to ensure fair conditions are in place for elections
planned between July and September that include large scale corrections to
the voters' lists. Last month, the state Electoral Commission said in a
continuing clean-up exercise it had removed the names of 350,000 dead voters
who had appeared on previous lists.

Tsvangirai's party also accuses Mugabe of resisting reforms to sweeping
media sweeping media and security laws demanded by regional mediators in the
run-up to polling.

It says “hate speech” against Tsvangirai and his colleagues in the former
opposition by the state broadcast monopoly and the main newspapers loyal to
Mugabe has not been reined in and the party has been denied fair access to
the state broadcaster, the only source of information to many impoverished,
rural voters.

Tsvangirai met with South African President Jacob Zuma, the chief Zimbabwe
mediator, on Sunday before heading to Tanzania to meet with President Jakaya
Kikwete, current chair of a three nation Southern African Development
Community (SADC) “troika” on regional disputes.

Tsvangirai's office said he has called for an urgent regional summit on long
delayed democratic reforms in Zimbabwe.

Zuma told Tsvangairia that SADC and the continent-wide African Union
organization “will do everything in their power to ensure a free and fair
poll in Zimbabwe,” said Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai's spokesman. - Sapa-AP

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MDC-T door-to-door campaign activists denied bail

By Tichaona Sibanda
30 April 2013

Nineteen MDC-T activists, who were arrested in Hatcliffe last week while on
a door-to-door voter registration campaign, were on Tuesday denied bail and
remanded in custody to May 14th.

The state appeared not ready to proceed with the case after the police
indicated to the magistrate that they were still hunting down one of the
activists who they claim was instrumental in organising the campaign team.

The decision by the magistrate to deny the activists bail was roundly
condemned by the MDC-T Harare province, who described it as ‘distressing.’

Spokesman for the province and the MDC-T deputy Minister of Justice Obert
Gutu used the social media site Facebook to vent his anger towards the
justice system in the country.

He explained that the activists did nothing wrong and the criminal charges
they are facing are ‘spurious, vexatious and frivolous.’

‘Once again, the MDC Harare Province would like to thoroughly and expressly
condemn the notorious and neo-fascist actions of the absolutely discredited
Zimbabwe Republic Police which is now effectively operating as an armed
militia of the moribund and terminally ill political grouping, ZANU PF,’
Gutu said.

He said the province called for the immediate and unconditional release of
their cadres who are being persecuted instead of being prosecuted, ‘by a
Stalinist and brutal dictatorship which is facing a humiliating and crushing
electoral annihilation at the forthcoming harmonized elections.’

Last week co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone, the MP for Harare North,
launched a blistering attack on the police after they arrested the group
branding the actions as ‘stupid and shameful.’

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Zuma acts on Zim crisis

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:25

HARARE - South African leader Jacob Zuma is due in Harare after meeting
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday night, where the
latter pushed for the convening of a mini-regional summit to speed up all
outstanding reforms ahead of a crucial election.

Tsvangirai has embarked on a fresh diplomatic offensive in southern Africa
to drum up support for his party’s position.

Sadc, the regional political and trading bloc, is the architect and
guarantor of the power-sharing Global Political Agreement (GPA), which
committed long-time rivals Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe to
implement reforms ahead of a free poll and to equitably share power.

On Sunday evening, Tsvangirai met Zuma in Pretoria before proceeding to the
Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam to meet Sadc Troika chair, president Jakaya
Kikwete last night.

The leaders of the Sadc Troika on politics, defence and security
co-operation — Zuma, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, Armando Emilio Guebuza
of Mozambique and Kikwete — have been leading efforts to nudge Zimbabwe’s
leaders to try and iron out their differences.

“The PM is keen on convening a Troika summit and a full Sadc summit to
discuss the conditions under which the next elections must be held,”
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said in a statement.

The statement said Sunday’s 40-minute meeting with Zuma deliberated on the
environment in Zimbabwe ahead of the next election.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a unity government in 2009 to end a stalemate
over disputed elections, which has managed to stabilise the economy after a
decade of economic meltdown.

But constant bickering within the fragile alliance over policy and the slow
pace of reforms have held back progress, and have also stood in the way of
fresh elections.

Zuma, appointed to mediate in the crisis by regional grouping Sadc, met
Tsvangirai, and was heading to Harare to hold a joint meeting later to
discuss problems between the rival parties — Mugabe’s Zanu PF and Tsvangirai’s
MDC ahead of the key polls.

“President Zuma is expected in the country soon to engage with the
principals of the GPA,” Tamborinyoka said.

Lindiwe Zulu, Zuma’s international advisor, could not immediately confirm
Zuma’s trip to Zimbabwe, saying she has not been briefed as she was not in
Pretoria yesterday. But Tamborinyoka said Zuma urged all political leaders
to stick to a power-sharing agreement meant to prepare for a fresh poll and
haul the country back from the brink of collapse.

“President Zuma told Tsvangirai Sadc and the AU (African Union), as the
guarantors of the GPA, will do everything in their power to ensure a free
and fair poll in Zimbabwe,” Tamborinyoka said.

Tsvangirai’s MDC is demanding security and media reforms which have been
stonewalled by Mugabe’s Zanu PF, escalating a dispute over the
implementation of the deal.

“The meeting with President Zuma was the first during the premier’s regional
tour, as well as other countries in Africa, to sensitise heads of State on
developments in Zimbabwe where the guarantors, Sadc and the African Union,
should ensure the environment is conducive to the holding of a free and fair
election,” Tamborinyoka said.

“In particular the need to implement all outstanding reforms under the GPA,
chief among which are public media reforms, security sector realignment, a
clean and credible voters’ roll and the alignment of laws to the new

The party is particularly unhappy about issues the principals had agreed on
but which Zanu PF continues to refuse to implement, including the reform of
ZBC and State-controlled newspapers.

The principals have agreed to allow entry of private broadcasters, restrain
ZBC from churning out Zanu PF propaganda bordering on hate language,
pointedly jingles, and blacking out of MDC activities.

George Charamba, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Media,
Information and Publicity has told the Media, Information and Communication
Technology parliamentary portfolio committee that government has no
intention of issuing broadcasting licences to private players ahead of

Article 19.1(e) of the GPA stipulates that the public and private media
should refrain from using abusive language that may incite political
intolerance or that unfairly undermines political parties and other
organisations, and the GPA advocates that the public media should provide
balanced and fair coverage to all political parties for their legitimate
political activities.

Tsvangirai claims Zanu PF is trying to prop-up its declining grip through
the airwaves ahead of elections.

Despite an agreement on security sector reforms, Tsvangirai fears Mugabe is
banking on security commanders to fight the forthcoming elections and is
demanding wide sweeping reforms.

The heads of the army and security forces, the vital cog in an elaborate
strategy that has kept Mugabe, 89, in power after Tsvangirai, 60, handed the
former guerrilla leader his biggest defeat five years ago, have been assured
their services will not be terminated if Tsvangirai wins, and the change in
the regime will only be in the State’s superstructure not the bureaucracy
and the securocracy, according to the MDC.

Tsvangirai has reiterated that there was no reason for the security
commanders to fear change in guard at Munhumutapa Building, the citadel of
executive power in government.

Mugabe enjoys and commands enough respect and loyalty to be able to count on
the security commanders, who have been staunchly resisting security sector
reforms citing sovereignty arguments.

State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Defence minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa, Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa and Zanu PF
spokesperson Rugare Gumbo have all vowed there will be no security sector
reforms, even though Zuma said in his report to the Sadc Troika meeting held
in Pretoria on March 9, that “security sector realignment” will have to be
done before the election.

“Security sector realignment cannot be postponed any longer,” Zuma said in
his report to the Troika. - Gift Phiri, Political Editor

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Politicians in the spotlight of new accountability project

The ‘We are Zimbabwe’ project logo

By Alex Bell
30 April 2013

Zimbabwe’s politicians will soon be able to grasp some understanding of how the public really view their performance, with the launch of a simple, online, people driven project that seeks to promote accountability.

The ‘We are Zimbabwe’  project, launched by the activism group Sokwanele, encourages members of the public to rate the performance of Zimbabwe’s leaders, including politicians and public servants.

According to Sokwanele, the project is so titled “because it is true: WE are Zimbabwe – we the people, all of us – not those who drive the fancy cars and live in the mansions and wield disproportionate amounts of power. Not those who promise us the world then make our lives utterly miserable. Not those who make us fear that our children will have to leave the country if they are ever to have a decent life.”

The group says they hope the project, “will encourage good governance and remind those in power of where the power really lies: in our votes and our right to choose our own leaders. And we hope it will remind them that they were elected to do a specific job, and that if they don’t deliver, that we notice their bad work and may withdraw our support.”

The project is in the form of an interactive website, which allows disgruntled Zimbabweans to anonymously submit examples of their frustrations and anger with any facet of Zim life, including injustice, corruption, malpractice and more. These examples are logged online as polls that fellow Zimbabweans can vote on, whether they agree with your frustrations or not. From this data, graphs and charts are formed by Sokwanele to provide a visual representation of how the government, public servants and others are performing.

This ‘name and shame’ process is completely anonymous, and is aimed at trying to help Zimbabweans reclaim their right to hold their leaders to account. Sokwanele also encourages the individuals named in the polls to respond, using either Facebook or Twitter, to set the record straight if needs be.

Phillip Pasirayi, the head of the Centre for Community Development, said such projects are an important tool, because public accountability mechanism are critically lacking in Zimbabwe at the moment.

“Public officials in Zimbabwe by and large serve their personal interests, above the public interest and they are never held accountable to this,” Pasirayi told SW Radio Africa.

He said that this was not the fault of the public, saying “they have been denied a voice for so long.”

He added: “What we need in Zimbabwe now is a proper mechanism to hold our leaders and public servants to account. In advanced democracies, if people do not perform their publicly granted mandate they are removed from their positions. We need this in Zimbabwe.”


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Former legislator’s ‘hate speech’ trial postponed again

By Nomalanga Moyo
30 April 2013

The trial of former Bulilima West legislator Norman Mpofu failed to take
place again Tuesday, as there was no magistrate available to preside over
the case.

Mpofu was scheduled to appear at the Plumtree Magistrates’ Court facing
‘hate speech’ charges brought against him by ZANU PF activists, but the
court postponed the case to May 28th.

Mpofu’s lawyer, Nontokozo Dube-Tachiona, said the trial could not proceed
because the magistrate, who was recently assigned to the Plumtree courts,
will only officially begin hearing cases Monday.

This was the second time the case could not be heard in one week, following
an April 23rd postponement on the same grounds.

Mpofu was arrested in November last year, accused of calling ZANU PF
supporters thieves and murderers during a speech at Sindile Napa’s funeral
wake in Thekwane, in Matebeleland South, on October 20th.

His accusers claimed that Mpofu (a member of the MDC-T and contestant in the
party’s primaries) distributed party regalia, chanted MDC-T slogans, and
denounced the country’s secret service at the funeral.

The main complainant, Walter Moyo, however withdrew the charges in November,
but Mpofu was shocked to be summoned to appear in court on April 23th, after
the charges were re-instated.

The state claims Mpofu’s utterances contravened the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act, and constituted ‘disorderly conduct in a
public place’.

The former legislator, who is denying the charges, said his funeral speech
was taken out of context, and that his opponents latched on to incidents he
was using as examples to craft charges against him.

Mpofu told SW Radio Africa: “At the funeral I simply outlined some
outstanding things that Sindile had done: including his fight for democracy,
bravery and his intelligence.

“I mentioned his displeasure at the manner in which people in Matebeleland
tend to be push-overs, sometimes being forced to do things they are not
happy about.

“I gave an example of the bullying of Dingumuzi teachers where central
intelligence operatives forced the school authorities to sing the national
anthem in front of pupils in a bid to humiliate them,” Mpofu explained.

The former MP said he suspects that the accusations are part of ZANU PF’s
machinations to cow political opponents in the region.

He explained that the case was revived to coincide with another case in
which he was challenging President Robert Mugabe to call for by-elections in
three constituencies that fell vacant when he and two others were fired from
the Welshman Ncube-led MDC.

Mpofu, Njabuliso Mguni and Abednigo Bhebhe, former MPs for Bulilima, Lupane
and Nkayi, are engaged in a Supreme Court tussle over by-elections which
Mugabe argues will be a waste of resources given the time left before
harmonised elections are held.

According to Mpofu, the postponements were simply aimed at frustrating his
preparations for the MDC-T’s primary elections, which are expected to
commence May 3rd.

“This is all about persecution and trying to push ZANU PF’s agenda using the
court system,” Mpofu said.

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Zim steel industry facing collapse amid worsening investment climate

By Alex Bell
30 April 2013

Zimbabwe’s steel industry has been dealt a serious blow after the closure of
17 companies in the last year, with the worsening investment climate said to
be further straining the situation.

According to Engineering Iron and Steel Association President, Callisto
Jokonya, companies are forced to import steel from neighbouring countries.
He was quoted by the Sunday Mail as saying that “conditions are very
difficult as 17 companies have closed shop, which is a cause for concern,
but government has failed to give attention.”

“We are operating at below 10 percent capacity and more companies are likely
to close operations in the next few months,” he said.

Jokonya reportedly also urged the government to explain the current state of
the ZISCO/Essar deal, which is yet to be finalised.

“The failure to resuscitate ZISCO has negatively impacted the sector
considering that it used to employ 50,000 workers who are currently out of
employment and government continues to dilly-dally with the lives of
citizens,” he said.

A failure to promote new investment in the industry is also being blamed for
the situation, which has added to Zimbabwe’s estimated 90% unemployment

The investment climate meanwhile continues to suffer as a result of the
indigenisation drive, which is blamed for driving potential investors away.
The campaign requires foreign-owned companies to cede 51% of their
shareholding to Zimbabweans, and it is likely they will not be compensated
for this if the Empowerment Ministry successfully changes the current

New figures supplied by the Zimbabwe Investment Authority unsurprisingly
show that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has dropped by more than 70% this
year, compared to the same period in 2012.

This drop, from more than US$130 million to just US$33milion, also comes as
the government continues to target some firms in the form of plans to seize
their land. Last Friday the government restated its intention to seize
almost half the land owned by mining firm Zimplats, despite that group
filing an objection to plans.

The government is also planning to seize over 1,000 hectares of land that
belongs to the CFI Holdings owned Crest Breeders International chicken
group, which will be acquired for “urban development.” The government
earlier this year has also successfully seized almost 1,600 hectares of land
from the Mazoe Citrus Estate, owned by the agro-producer Interfresh.

Political analyst Clifford Mashiri told SW Radio Africa said these
developments means investors are running scared of Zimbabwe “because there
is no guarantee that their investments will secure.”

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Olympian Kirsty Coventry is victim of robbery

By Violet Gonda
30 April 2013

Zimbabwe’s swimming sensation and Olympic Gold medalist Kirsty Coventry was
the victim of a robbery in Harare that has left her taking anti-retroviral
drugs as a precaution after she was hurt during the attack.

The swimmer said she had arrived back at Harare airport after a trip and got
into a vehicle to go home. But about five men smashed the back window of the
vehicle she was travelling in with her fiancé, her sister, brother-in-law
and her young niece and nephew.

Narrating her ordeal on her Facebook page, the 29 year old former world
record holder said: “My sister and I were sitting behind my fiancé and her
husband who was driving. My sister grabbed my two year old niece and five
year old nephew and I threw myself into the back of the vehicle to try hold
onto our bags. Whilst wrestling with one of the men over our suitcases, I
cut myself on the shattered glass. Unfortunately, so did one of the thieves.

“I now have to take antiretroviral medication. The ARVs may be unnecessary,
but HIV is a serious problem in Africa and you can never be too careful. I
understand how desperate these men must be to do this, but that does not
make it right.”

One of the thieves was caught after Coventry’s fiancé and brother-in-law
chased after the robbers. She said the others got away with one bag.

Coventry said the experience was “scary” but is thankful that she and her
family members survived the robbery. She received hundreds of messages of
support on her Facebook page.

The swimmer said: “So many people are struggling in their daily lives and
instead of stealing from each other and creating terror for others, we
should be working together to create jobs and helping each other.”

One of her fans wrote:” People who are employed also steal, so creating jobs
won’t solve crime. We should unleash heavy and painful sentences for those
convicted of crime…they will definitely think twice before they snatch a

Social commentator and popular cartoonist Tony Namate said what happened to
Coventry is worrying, but sadly there are many other victims in Zimbabwe who
are attacked on a regular basis and are not fortunate enough to have
immediate access to ARVs as a preventative measure.

Namate said what is needed in Zimbabwe right now is the political will to
deal with the escalating levels of crime.

In other news, a notorious cattle rustler was this week sentenced to 52
years in prison for stealing seven cows in Mashonaland East. The state
broadcaster said Elson Chimutunga Mutamba, who was arrested last month
following a spate of stock-theft cases in the Chihota communal areas, was
convicted of stealing the cattle from different people since December last

The Financial Gazette also reported recently that a 22 year old Mbare man
received four strokes of a cane for raping and impregnating a 14 year old
deaf and mute girl, while in Mvuma four men got community service for gang
raping a 12 year old girl.

Zimbabwe has seen many similar cases where rapists are given lenient
sentences while cattle rustlers are given lengthy jail terms.

Namate told SW Radio Africa that this is why people don’t have faith in the
justice system in Zimbabwe, which seems to value cows more than victims of
violent attacks.

He said it’s very painful to see that authorities continue to put so much
value on animals. Namate added: “Cattle are easily replaced but it is very
difficult to replace the life of a 12 year old who has been raped. It does
not make sense.”

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Mugabe 'insult' soldier freed

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:25

HARARE - A former soldier who spent the last two years fighting false
accusations of calling President Robert Mugabe a foreigner and a thief has
walked free in a case that appears to expose that the system seems to
fabricate charges to fix human rights defenders.

Magistrate Sekesai Chiundura acquitted Naison Chivandire last week after the
State, whose witnesses were inconsistent in court, failed to prove a prima
facie case.

Crucially, the case exposed disturbing conduct as well as the lengths to
which the system can go to concoct charges in order to fix members of the
public who stand up for human rights.

All witnesses against Chivandire were police officers.

One of them ended up being declared hostile by the State after he deviated
from his statement to the police and told the court that what he termed was
“the truth” was that the ex-military man never insulted Mugabe.

Instead, a fellow police officer instructed him to copy a statement nailing

After the conclusion of the State case, Chivandire’s lawyer Peggy
Tavagadza-Mapfumo expressed concern that police officers would go as far as
concocting statements grossly abusive of  Mugabe and attribute them to
accused persons.

In Chivandire’s case, the insult crafted by the police would make Mugabe or
those who support him quiver with anger.

Some of the alleged insulting words are unprintable in a respected
newsletter such as The Legal Monitor.

But, below we quote part of the police officers’ statements which they
concocted in a bid to nail Chivandire.

“I am a former soldier in the ZNA (Zimbabwe National Army) and I resigned
because of injustices caused by Mugabe. You have been sent by Mugabe who is
a thief, he lost the 2008 elections. Mugabe ... (unprintable words),
muforeigner akabva kuMalawi tichamuuraya (and a foreigner who comes from
Malawi. We will kill him).

“Mugabe is a… (unprintable words) and he spoiled you, he is an… (unprintable
words) and he uses you, the police,” police alleged Chivandire to have said.

But after the acquittal and the confession by one of the witnesses that
Chivandire never uttered such words, questions now remain on what was the
motive of the police officers when they crafted such insult charges.

“This is the extent to which police officers can go just to fix an accused
person whose only crime was to question the manner in which they were
effecting an arrest which was inhumane and degrading,” said
Tavagadza-Mapfumo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Police arrested the 30-year-old Chivandire in April 2011 at one of Mutare’s
premier nightclubs, Sports Café.

He was subsequently charged for allegedly contravening Section 33 of the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for insulting and undermining the
authority of Mugabe.

Chivandire said he never uttered such words but police were out to fix him
after he tried to protect a woman suffering human rights abuses at the hands
of the same officers.

As a former member of the ZNA trained in human rights, Chivandire advised
the police, who were assaulting a lady accused of loitering, that they were
violating her rights.

Said Tavagadza-Mapfumo: “He was arrested so as to fix him and was surprised
as to why the police would go to the extent of alleging that he insulted
Mugabe so as to fix him.

Chivandire is a human rights defender who was arrested for challenging
police officer’s treatment of a suspect.”  — The Legal Monitor

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Nieeb threatens Daily News with $10m lawsuit

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:13
HARARE - Lawyers for the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment
Board (Nieeb) plan to launch a $10 million defamation claim against the
Daily News, alleging that the organisation has been falsely accused of using
gun-wielding security personnel to stop the Anti-Corruption Commission from
probing the body.

Investigators from Zimbabwe’s anti-corruption watchdog claimed two months
agothat they were barred by gun-toting men from entering the Nieeb head
office in central Harare, to investigate dodgy indigenisation deals.

Armed with a search warrant from the High Court, the Zimbabwe
Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) officers said on three occasions they were
denied entry by armed men into the Nieeb offices at the high-rise National
Social Security Centre.

Nieeb legal representatives Titan Law Chambers wrote to the Daily News,
Zimbabwe’s leading paper yesterday confirming they were in the process of
preparing statements of claim against the paper if it did not retract the
claims contained in its March 13 and March 14 reports titled ‘Nieebgate
probe team flees gunmen’ and ‘All eyes on High Court’, respectively.

The Daily News yesterday said it would defend the action.

The suit comes more than one and half months after publication of the
articles, and a few days after the Daily News singled out the Nieebgate
scandal as the story of the year in its 2nd anniversary supplement published
last Thursday.

“These publications were scandalous, wrongful, fictitious and highly
defamatory of Nieeb as they were intended and understood by the readers of
the newspaper that Nieeb is a violent, corrupt body which conducts its
mandate unlawfully in a ‘mafia style’ to the extent of using gun men to
protect the alleged unethical businesses,” said the statement.

Nieeb claimed it had been unfairly portrayed and said the impression created
by the articles “severely tarnished the image of Nieeb by diminishing its
standing in the eyes of the general public thereby jeopardising its national
mandate to spearhead the indigenisation and empowerment objectives of

“In that regard, we are instructed to demand a retraction of these malicious
articles by the publication of an unconditional apology in the Daily News,”
Nieeb’s lawyers said.

“The retraction should be on the front page of the paper under a prominent

“Should a retraction not be published in the above manner by the 7th of May,
2013, we have instructions to immediately and without further notice to you,
take the necessary civil action to sue for defamation damages to the tune of
$10 million.

“You will also become liable for all legal costs accrued as a result.”

The Daily News reported that Zacc officers were barred entry by gun-toting
men despite being in possession of a search warrant to seize documents at
the Nieeb offices that were meant to assist them in their investigations.

Zacc had reasonable grounds to suspect there was abuse of duty by public
officers who handled the indigenisation transactions in contravention of
Section 174 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23.

Particularly, the probe team wanted a register of all mining companies that
have complied with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, copies
of all agreements entered into between the mining companies and the
government of Zimbabwe and communities.

The anti-corruption watchdog also wanted contract documents concerning the
engagement of Top Harvest, the first private equity investment firm that
stitched the first Zimplats indigenisation deal before Brainworks Capital
(Private) Limited was engaged.

The Zacc officers also wanted contract documents concerning the engagement
of Brainworks to render consultancy services on indigenisation to the

From the Zimplats deal alone, Brianworks stood to pocket up to $45 million
after successfully completing the deal, with an initial payout of $17
million in consultancy fees. Zimplats has refused to pick that tab, meaning
taxpayers will probably be forced to fork out millions to George Manyere’s

The anti-corruption officials  were also looking for Community Ownership
Trust documents concerning Zimplats, Unki Mine, Mimosa Mine, and Murowa
Diamonds, but say they were barred from accessing the offices by the
gunmen. - Gift Phiri, Political Editor

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$32 Million USAID Program Boosts Zimbabwe Agriculture, Traders

Gibbs Dube

WASHINGTON DC — In 2010, the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) launched the Zimbabwe Agricultural Income and Employment
Development programme (ZIM-AIED) aimed at increasing the incomes of rural
households in Zimbabwe through commercialization of small-scale farming.

The program was also designed to generate new employment in agriculture and
increasing the production of both food and cash crops.

Three years later, more than 90,000 rural households have so far benefited
under the five-year program which ends in 2015. In this first edition of a
three-part series, VOA Studio 7’s Gibbs Dube highlights the achievements and
challenges of the program.

USAID’s ZIM-AIED program, which is being implemented by Fintrac, a U.S
contractor that offers agricultural solutions to end hunger and poverty, is
expected to increase incomes and food security for 180,000 rural families by

Thirty-two million dollars has been set aside for the program. The program
works in cooperation with government departments, non-governmental
organizations, private and public companies to increase smallholder

Kudakwashe Ndoro, deputy director of ZIM-AIED, says the program is helping
increase the productivity and profitability of smallholder producers engaged
in the production of target crops and products.

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Marange develops ‘cold feet’

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:10
HARARE - The ongoing dispute between Core Mining and Marange Resources has
taken a new twist with Marange developing “cold feet” in its High Court
urgent chamber application filed to block the commencement of an arbitration

Marange Resources and Core Mining were due to appear before retired judge
Moses Chinhengo, who was appointed by the Law Society of Zimbabwe to handle
the matter and ensure an amicable solution that would see both parties’
investments being protected. But Marange rushed to the High Court seeking an
order to stop the mediation process.

Core Mining was hounded out of Canadile, a joint venture company formed by
the two companies, and all its investment vanished into thin air.

The Lovemore Kurotwi-led company approached an arbitrator to have its
investments protected but Marange Resources is opposed to that route and
rushed to the High Court seeking an urgent order to trash the arbitration

Marange says the arbitrator has no jurisdiction to deal with the dispute as
the deal between the two companies was “null and void” due to the
“termination and collapse of Canadile Miners”.

Canadile collapsed when its directors, who include Kurotwi, were arrested on
allegations of fraud.

However, when they appeared before High Court judge Mary Dube yesterday,
Marange Resources requested more time to consult their parent company,
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, before proceeding with their
“urgent chamber application for an interdict”.

Core Mining, represented by Kurotwi, opposed the application to block the
arbitration process saying Marange was “buying time and seeking to avoid
submitting itself before an arbitrator”.

“The application is not urgent as the applicant (Marange) will have this
honourable court to believe. I submit that applicant seems to be suffering
from serious misconception,” said Kurotwi in his affidavit filed with the
High Court.

Through his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, Kurotwi wants an arbitrator who has
since been appointed to intervene and ensure that his interests and
investment in mining of Chiadzwa diamonds is protected.

According to the joint venture agreement signed between Core Mining and
Marange resources, any dispute that would have arisen between the two should
be resolved through arbitration.

“Any dispute which may arise as a result of the interpretation or
application of this agreement which cannot be resolved within a period of
(30) thirty days shall be referred to arbitration.

“The arbitration takes place under the auspices of the commercial
arbitration centre in Harare,” reads the signed agreement. - Xolisani Ncube

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Zimbabwe to Take Impala Platinum Unit Land Even as Talks Proceed

By Godfrey Marawanyika - Apr 29, 2013 6:57 PM GMT+1000

Zimbabwe has no intention of stopping the acquisition of land from Zimplats
Ltd. even as the appeal by the country’s biggest platinum producer against
the plan is discussed, Mines Secretary Prince Mupazviriho said.

“It’s an issue that’s under discussion,” he said by phone today. “This is a
procedural issue, that’s why we gazetted the issue to say if anyone has
concerns or an objection it can be raised, but this doesn’t mean we will
stop the acquisition of the land.”

The southern African nation’s government on March 1 gave Zimplats 30 days to
appeal a decree that the country would seize 27,498 hectares (67,949 acres)
of the company’s land. In the April 26 edition of the gazette, published
today, the government said the nation “intends to acquire compulsorily” part
of the land held by Zimplats, which is 87 percent owned by Impala Platinum
Holdings Ltd. (IMP), the world’s biggest producer of the metal after Anglo
American Platinum Ltd. (AMS)

Zimplats is in talks with the government, Chief Executive Officer Alex
Mhembere said by e-mail today.

Zimbabwe, which has the world’s biggest platinum reserves after South
Africa, is preparing a law allowing it to seize controlling stakes in
companies without compensation, according to a draft of the legislation
obtained by Bloomberg News.

The law would be an amendment to a 2007 act that compels foreign and
white-owned companies such as Rio Tinto Group, Sinosteel Corp. and Impala to
sell or cede 51 percent of their shares to black nationals or state-approved

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Crackdown on Zimplats ‘electioneering tactic’ - Analysts

by Tawanda Karombo 9 hours 12 minutes ago

HARARE — Impala Platinum’s unit in Zimbabwe, Zimplats, may have to claim
compensation for the nearly 28,000ha of land the government intends to take
over should its appeal against this fail, a government gazette published on
Friday said.

Independent economist Moses Moyo said the crackdown on Zimplats, and other
international companies, was not surprising.

"We are in an election period and there is this tendency to advance populist
policies, however illogical or radical, against such companies."

Legal experts in Zimbabwe said Zimplats had appealed against the decision,
saying that if the appeal was unsuccessful, the next move would be to claim
compensation for the land, as spelt out in the government gazette. "But the
government has to be challenged on this; there is clearly an issue with
these sudden policy shifts," one of the experts said.

Officials at Zimplats said on Monday the company was in talks with the
government over the issue.

Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest platinum reserves after South
Africa. Implats is the second-biggest platinum producer in the world, after
Anglo American Platinum, which owns the Unki platinum mine in Zimbabwe.

"In terms of section 5 of the Land Acquisition Act … any person having an
interest or right in the land who wishes … to claim compensation in terms of
part V for the acquisition of the land, should submit a claim in terms of
section 22 with the minister of mines and mining development," reads a part
of the government gazette published on April 26, a copy of which was seen by
Business Day.

It describes the land — which is in Kadoma along the mineral-rich Great Dyke
region — as "owned by the state" and says that the acquisition will be for
the benefit of the public. The government has since invited interested
parties to come and inspect the map of the land at the mines ministry

Mines Minister Obert Mpofu previously said the platinum claims would be
given to new investors. "The president intends to acquire compulsorily part
of the land owned by Zimplats Holdings Limited under Special Mining Lease
Number 1."

Zimplats CEO Alex Mhembere said on March 27 that Zimplats "lodged an
objection on 27 March 2013 to the preliminary notice published in general
notice 123 of 2013 in the Zimbabwean government gazette extraordinary of 1
March 2013 with regard to the president’s intention to acquire compulsorily
27,948 hectares of land" held by the company in Zimbabwe.

Miners have been hit with fresh volatility in Zimbabwe, with officials
saying reported amendments to the 2007 Indigenisation Act would be amended
to rule out compensation for foreign-owned mining companies. However,
Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said amendments were still
proposals, which are "work in progress".

This latest development is in addition to existing demands by the government
that foreign firms cede 51% to black Zimbabwean groups. -BDLIVE

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Hifa euphoria engulf Harare

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Zimbabwe Election – Not Just For Art’s Sake

By our correspondent:

The 14th Harare International Festival of the Arts, Zimbabwe’s biggest cultural event, opens today promising six days of local, regional and international arts and culture with an impressive line-up of music, theatre,  circus and street performance, as well as art and photographic exhibitions.

The theme of this year’s festival is “What’s Next” — capturing the colloquial essence of Zimbabwean conversation as well as the nation’s anticipation for the future, according to HIFA executive director Maria Wilson.

HIFA logo“‘What’s next?’ is one of the most common expressions currently being used by Zimbabweans,” she told News Day. “It addresses our feelings of excitement, confusion and anxiety over the issues that surround us.”

In an election year, the festival is looking towards a positive future for Zimbabwe, she said, and seizing on the opportunity to use the arts to build social and cultural cohesion. It is a chance to bring disparate social and cultural groups together to spectate, participate in, and most of all, to celebrate Zimbabwean culture.

The opening show, “What’s Next: Looking Back/Looking Forward” directed by Asa Jogi, takes a historic look at Zimbabwean music  and aims to conjure up fond childhood memories for participants as well as dare them to look at what lies ahead.

The veteran Bulawayo Kwela Kings will bring their brand of township jazz reminiscent of the Sixties and Seventies, providing a fine contrast to the modern, urban efforts of performers such as Rockford Josphat, or Roki as fans of his choreographed urban groove and dancehall style know him.

New York’s Songs of Solomon (SOS) gospel choir will feature in collaboration with a Zimbabwean ensemble. SOS have worked across the United States with Earth, Wind and Fire, Carol King, Elton John, Kelly Clarkson and Aretha Franklin. The choir’s 70 singers will be joined by 50 Zimbabwean singers, led by Kundisai Mtero and Billy St John, for a combined performance on Sunday.

“In the current socio-economic situation, HIFA has come to be seen as an important symbol of something positive about Zimbabwe,” said South Africa’s Sunday Independent newspaper.

Throughout the years the festival has celebrated positive progress on all levels, whether this be the expansion of the festival itself, cultural unity in the city of Harare or indeed throughout Zimbabwe,

The theme ‘What’s Next’ hopes to build on this sense of inclusiveness. It expresses the spectator’s anticipation in the face of vibrant new shows, and a packed programme, and equally the anticipation of the entire country looking to what is next politically after the elections this summer.


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Clampdown on CSOs Worldwide
Jenni Williams (in white cap) addresses Women of Zimbabwe Arise members at Zimbabwe’s parliament building in Harare with the police looking on. The clampdown on civil society spreads far beyond Zimbabwe according to a recent CIVICUS report. Credit: Misheck Rusere/IPS

Jenni Williams (in white cap) addresses Women of Zimbabwe Arise members at Zimbabwe’s parliament building in Harare with the police looking on. The clampdown on civil society spreads far beyond Zimbabwe according to a recent CIVICUS report. Credit: Misheck Rusere/IPS

JOHANNESBURG, Apr 29 2013 (IPS) - As Zimbabwe is expected to head to the polls in a little less than two months, clampdowns on civil society in that southern African nation have increased, according to Godwin Phiri, western region chairperson of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe.

Phiri tells IPS that it was very difficult to disseminate information to rural communities about their rights as voters as they were not allowed to hold public gatherings.

“The battle is in the rural communities where, according to the Public Order and Security Act, we need to inform the police four days before if we want to have a meeting. But the police say that you need to seek their permission, and what we have seen over time is that they decide what meetings can be held,” Phiri says.

He adds that as the elections draw nearer, the police have begun prohibiting meetings by civil society organisations in rural areas.

“Ahead of the elections the main thing we are trying to activate is our local structures to use as points of disseminating voter information. But a lot of communities are living in a context where there is a lot of violence and their movements are curtailed by the fear that anything can happen and can be interpreted as anti-government. So they are afraid to talk about issues,” he says.

And Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), an all-female social justice pressure group, has been no exception in the crackdown on civil society organisations, including arrests, over the past year, strongly believed to be a measure by the coalition government to thwart dissent.

Jenni Williams, founder and national coordinator of the group, tells IPS that she and her co-founder Magodonga Mahlangu have been arrested more than 50 times during the past 10 years that their organisation has been in existence. In April, WOZA laid a complaint with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) at the African Union body’s 53rd session.

However, media and democracy campaigner Pedzisai Ruhanya, who is the director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, says nothing will come of it as President Robert Mugabe’s defiant government has ignored other rulings from the ACHPR.

“They have done that before and they will do it again. Actually there is a precedent; they have done it and what has happened to them? They are still there. What happened to them when they…defied other rulings that came from the Banjul court in the Gambia where the ACHPR is based.

“They will continue to do business as usual because that court (the ACHPR) has no teeth, it is a toothless bulldog and cannot enforce its decisions, hence it’s an appendage of the state parties, including Zimbabwe,” Ruhanya says.

But the experiences of civil society in Zimbabwe are not unique to that country. A new report released by CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, states that despite the expectation that the Arab Spring, Spain’s “indignados “and the global Occupy movements could bring radical change, this has not happened.

The report titled “The State of Civil Society 2013”, released on Apr. 29, says the great people’s movements of 2012 were followed by “a range of negative events that make the work of civil society even harder.”

“The ever-growing diffusion of social media and mobile technology, and the mushrooming of digital platforms for self-expression, might suggest that never before has civil society had so many venues to voice its claims and visions,” Mario Lubetkin, director of Inter Press Service (IPS), says in a chapter of the report co-written with Citizen Lab fellow Stefania Milan.

Milan and Lubetkin state, however, that this is not truly the case and note that “the news agenda is today largely dominated by stories from the global North.

“The mediascape is still characterised by growing media concentration, the predominance of ‘infotainment’ and ‘sensationalism’ over information and analysis, and the prevalence of Western voices at the expense of a silenced global South.”

They recommend that “familiarisation with the journalism world, its needs and practices, is essential for CSOs (Civil Society Organisations), and even more so for those people whose task is to reach out to journalists.”

In his introduction to the report, Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, secretary general and chief executive of CIVICUS, concurs with Milan and Lubetkin.

“New technologies are making it easier to access information, connect with other like-minded people, and mobilise large numbers of people. But restrictions on websites and social media are increasingly being used as tools to keep citizens in the dark and prevent them from scrutinising corruption.”

The report notes that a number of governments have recently introduced or plan to introduce laws that regulate the formation and operation of CSOs. “Laws in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, for example, give the state the power to declare a CSO unlawful or withdraw its registration.”

However, the report states that CSOs are finding innovating ways of tackling social problems. For example, in Kyrgyzstan, “Public Watch Councils have increased accountability and transparency of central governmental agencies. One of the ways in which they have done so is through several TV discussions and public hearings involving the participation of state officials, CSOs and private sector representatives.”

*Additional reporting by Misheck Rusere in Harare.

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Zimbabwe: a new beginning beckons

29/04/2013 00:00:00
     by Senator Obert Gutu

THE end is nigh. This is the beginning of the end. Indeed, this is the

They had built their own Tower of Babel since independence in April, 1980.
Over the years, they convinced themselves that only them, and them alone,
had the right to rule Zimbabwe and to enjoy the fruits of our hard won

This is a selfish bunch of men and women. They are cruel, kleptocratic and
corrupt to the core. As long as they continue to live in a paradise
surrounded by a sea of debilitating poverty, they don’t give a hoot what
happens to this great nation when they meet their Maker.

But of late, they are in panic mode. They are running scared. They realise
that it’s time up and also that brute force, naked propaganda and overt
intimidation will not buy them another tenure in office. Now they are
cannibalising themselves; literally tearing each other apart in the restive
provinces of Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland West. They are in deep

These cruel and pitiful little men and women have to be sordidly reminded of
some Biblical undertones. Genesis 9 verse 6 states that “whoever sheds the
blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own

There will be no impunity. Thieves will have their ill-gotten wealth
re-possessed by the people. Rapists and murderers will find free state
accommodation at our correctional facilities. The people of Zimbabwe have
been long suffering. They have been systematically trashed and abused by a
ruthless neo-fascist system that has run down an otherwise mighty nation
into a hopeless basket case.

The people never bought the sanctions mantra. It has no takers. We are not
going to be hoodwinked by a political system that has perfected the art of
kleptocracy, Stalinism, thuggery and obscurantism. The regime is crumbling
and the centre can no longer hold. Factionalism now defines the very
existence of the former ruling party. It is now dog eat dog. Really, this is
a sad sight. But then, they should have seen it coming.

Instead of becoming nation builders, our colleagues on the other side of the
political divide, chose to personalise our nationhood. To them, Zimbabwe
became their own little, personal estate where they did whatever they wanted
with reckless abandon. They looted State resources like men possessed. Most
of these comrades, besides decades of looting, having absolutely nothing
behind their names.

The farms that they grabbed have mostly been turned into deserts with no
meaningful commercial agriculture taking place. This is a hopeless bunch of
failures. They cannot even run a tuck shop. They have absolutely no business
acumen. But they are solely driven by greed and avarice. They have grown fat
through naked personal aggrandisement. They have no conscience. Indeed, they
thrive on the ordinary people’s suffering. They are thieves and plunderers
who should never again be entrusted to run the levers of State power.

At independence in April 1980, Zimbabwe was the second largest economy in
Southern Africa; second only to South Africa. We had a very sophisticated
rail infrastructure and our manufacturing sector was exporting clothes to
leading departmental stores such as Harrods of London as well as Marks &

Julie Whyte, a clothing manufacturer in the Graniteside area of Harare,
employed no less than 8,000 full-time employees in 1980.They ran three
shifts daily; simply meaning that they were working 24 hours seven days a
week. This was before the comrades took over. The comrades had an insatiable
appetite for personal aggrandisement. In no time, they were cutting corrupt
deals in order to line their pockets. We are all too familiar with the
corruption saga involving Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries in the early
1980s. Who doesn’t recall the Samson Bernard Mashata Paweni scandal
involving the importation of grain during the severe drought of 1982?

The problem with our comrades is that they, somehow, think that the people
have short memories. We know these guys. You can only trust them at your own
peril. To them, corruption, sleaze and graft have become a way of life. When
you decide to settle amongst them, you simply have to join them in their
avaricious lifestyle or else you won’t last. They have no shame.

As we prepare to hold make or break elections, we should tell ourselves that
never again should we give State power to crooks and dealers masquerading as
nationalists and exponents of indigenisation and empowerment. The people
have suffered enough at the hands of these pretenders. Zimbabwe desperately
needs a break. We want a complete disconnect from the politics of personal
aggrandisement, chicanery and maladministration. We have to draw a line in
the sand. Our politics simply has to be sanitised across the political
divide. We should never accommodate thieves and plunderers in our political
trajectory. Men and women who have proved to be selfish, lazy and corrupt
should be shown the exit door; no matter who they are.

Zimbabwe needs a strategic national paradigm shift where politicians, first
and foremost, are supposed to serve the people before serving themselves.
Indeed, politics should not be considered as a source of living as is the
case currently. Politics should not be treated as a profession.

Our public media should also adopt a broad-based nation-building agenda.
This hate language that is daily churned out on national television and
radio stations is not good for anyone. We should strive to build tolerance
instead of fanning hatred and division amongst the people.

The public broadcaster should immediately assume the role of a nation
builder. And these self-serving so-called political “analysts” who routinely
appear on national television spreading hate, alarm and despondency should
not be allowed anywhere near a television camera and/or radio studio. We
know these fake analysts even by their totems. Most if not all of them are
hopeless failures in their personal, professional and business lives. They
are desperate little men and women who are singing for their supper. They
don’t believe in what they say and they also never say what they believe in.

Opportunists and later day “revolutionaries” should not be allowed to
sabotage the people’s agenda. This is not about personalities. No. It’s not.
We would like to build strong institutions and not strong personalities. The
tragedy in our politics has always been to focus on personalities rather
than on issues and institutions. We should empower and strengthen our
national institutions that enhance the people’s freedoms such as the
Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Human Rights

If our politicians have no skeletons in their cupboards, then they simply
shouldn’t be scared of strong national institutions. We should also sanitise
and reform our security sector. The security sector should be there to serve
the people first and foremost. Thus, their primary allegiance should be to
the people of Zimbabwe as a whole and not to a particular political party.
And of course, the national Police force should not conduct itself as if it
is an appendage of a particular political party.  Serving officers in our
security services should not be allowed to actively participate in politics.

Surely, Zimbabwe does not deserve to have a sloganeering top policeman! No
matter who wins the elections, there are certain ethos that have to be
preserved and protected. We will continue to honour the role of our genuine
freedom fighters who fought the brutal colonial system until we won our
independence in 1980. Our traditional leaders should not be active political
players. We respect them but then, we certainly do not fear them. Should
they continue to be used as political condoms, we will condemn them without
fear or favour.

In the same vein, we should strive to flush out the fake war veterans in our
midst. These pretenders make a lot of unnecessary noises and some of us
doubt whether these miserable pretenders can even fire a pistol!

A New Zimbabwe is beckoning. A New President is also beckoning. We want to
have a fresh start. We are sick and tired of sterile hate-filled propaganda.
We want a New Beginning. We want to be free. The days of a personality cult
will soon be over. Trust me, change is inevitable and change is coming.

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

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Zimbabwe Election – Zimbabwe has discovered the joy of economic stability: Biti

30/04/2013 By zimbabweelection

If there is a continent that is on the rise, it is Africa, according to
Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

“If you look at how we have managed our economies, how we have discovered
the joy, the pleasure of macro-economic stability, since 2000, and how those
economies have grown,  it has been a wonderful story,” he said in a speech
in London.

With average annual economic growth of 5 per cent, Africa generally, and
Zimbabwe specifically, were gradually shaking off the legacy of lost decades
in the years immediately after independence. Zimbabwe celebrated 33 years of
independence on April 18, still with deep financial problems but in the
knowledge that the worse was now behind it, he said.

Mr Biti was in London last week, on his way back to Zimbabwe after attending
the spring meetings in Washington of international finance institutions
including the IMF and the World Bank. In a presentation to think tank
Chatham House, he outlined his vision for the financial services industry,
in the context of the problems it has faced in the 33 years since Zimbabwe
gained independence.

“The first decades of independence were a total waste because for those who
liberated us — and we’re very grateful for that, the struggle for
decolonisation was a very important thing — there was a fundamental thing,
the misunderstanding of growing economies, of sustainable development, of
freeing up economics. And a lot of our leaders spent a lot of time, seeking
the “political kingdom”. But since 2000 we suddenly discovered the
importance and centrality of well-managed economies.

“Since then the continent has been growing at an average of 5 per cent,
which is only exceeded by the Asian Tigers, by Southeast Asia. By 2020, the
population with disposable incomes on the African continent will be 128
million, up from 90 million. That’s people with per capita income of $2,000
and above, those who can afford to buy flat-screen televisions, send their
children to private schools, take their families on holiday in Durban,
Mauritius. Fantastic figures that speak to the rise of the middle class.”

In that environment, he said, the potential of Zimbabwe’s financial services
sector to become a key driver of growth was “immeasurable”.

“When we dollarised in 2009, our dollarisation was not proper dollarisation
in the technical sense, where the new currency buys the old currency. What
we did was a kind of appropriation — thank God no one took us to court; I’m
a lawyer so I can say this now the three years of prescription has expired.
People just woke up one morning and found their Zimbabwe dollar balances
valueless. This was not dollarisation in the technical sense.

“The financial services sector, in February 2009 when we dollarised, had
assets of US$359 million. That essentially means that the assets that they
had were just the computers, software, the buildings, their vehicles and
other physical assets. But they built their reserves on their own, so that
by the end of 2009, the banking sector had assets worth $1.2 billion. Now
the money in circulation, broad money supply, or M3 as economists call it,
is $4 billion.

“At any given time the amount of money sitting in the bank in closing
balances is anywhere between $700 million and $1 billion. So this is a
fantastic sector, which is why some of us say it’s a sector we can’t touch.
It’s a sector that has played a great role in Zimbabwe.

“The current account is widening, so with the balance of payments crisis
back, our ratio of exports to imports is 1:3, closer to 1:4. In 2012, we had
imports of around $7 billion, exports of around $3 billion. In the first
quarter of the year, January to March 2013, we had total imports of $1.7
billion, a 14 percent increase from this time last year.

“Exports are around $600 million, a 10 percent drop from this time last
year. So imports are on the increase, by 14 per cent; exports are on the
decrease by 10 percent — that’s the extent of the current account deficit.
And with little investment, the capital account situation is also in a
disastrous situation.

“The question is — who has been financing this gap of $7 billion to $3
billion. Fine, there have been diaspora remittances. But the key financier
of our current account has been our banking sector — the banking sector has
been the epicentre of the stability that we have seen in recent years. I see
that with many instruments — equity capital, hedge funds, growth of the
stock exchange – I see the growth of the financial sector as a major driver
of the growth of the economy.

“Another challenge — another key thing we have to deal with, which I’m
dealing with right now, is Zimbabwe’s sovereign debt. We have got an
unverified balance of $10.7 billion right now. In the Ministry of Finance we
have established Zimbabwe’s Debt and Management Office, run by a very
competent man called Andrew Bvumbe. So we are at 96 percent in terms of
actual of verification of what we owe, including talking with the creditors.

“I have constructed a home-grown debt resolution programme called Zimbabwe
Economic Development Strategy (ZEDS). And the reason why I’ve called it
‘development’ is that it’s really not about our debt, because we defaulted
as far back as 1999. But as far as we have this debt overhang, and the
arrears with the IMF and the World Bank, number one, we can liberate
Zimbabwe’s balance sheet. It’s a huge balance sheet, but it’s clouded by
this debt.

“Number two — the risk profile remains very, very high.  Those who have
rated us, we are on D-minus Even with our friends, the Chinese, the rating
is D-minus. The net effect is that we cannot go on the international markets
to borrow money.

“The President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, has been a
very good friend of Zimbabwe and it pains him that he has not been able to
have a proper programme with Zimbabwe. Each time we meet him and we have
dinners, I always sit on the top table with him. So I said to him one day,
why do you always seat me on your right side? And he said to me, ‘Tendai,
that’s my way of penance because you are the only country that I’m not
giving money to.’

“It is important that we deal with debt resolution.”

In coming days, will post a number of excerpts from
Biti’s Chatham House presentation.

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Zimbabwe’s Politics – Out with the Old, in with the New

By Ignatius Banda

BULAWAYO , Apr 30 2013 (IPS) - As Zimbabwe’s young politicians increase
their demands to be allowed to play a greater role in the running of the
country, analysts say that this could signal a change in youth voter apathy
in the upcoming elections.

“Young people are beginning to see politics differently,” Tinaye Juru, a
political analyst working in Bulawayo, told IPS.

“We are seeing a shift from accepting being called tomorrow’s leaders to
(having the youth) ask ‘Why wait till tomorrow, when we can do this today?’”
Juru said.

Elections in this southern African nation are expected sometime after Jun.
29 when the parliament’s term ends.

And many feel this election could be an opportunity for young people to
enter active politics as legislators – that is if their political parties
yield to growing demands to include them more actively.

Historically, young politicians here have been confined to campaigning for
senior party officials.

Youth participation in Zimbabwe’s elections is low, according to the
international rights and democracy NGO Freedom House. A June 2012 report by
the organisation, titled “Change and ‘New’ Politics in Zimbabwe”, noted that
there are “disproportionately low levels of voter registration in the two
age categories of 18 to 25 years and 26 to 35 years old.”

In a country where, according to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, up
to 60 percent of the population is under 35, this is a matter of great

There has already been an outcry within the Movement for Democratic Change
led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) against senior party
officials who have not performed well. The party’s Youth Assembly, its youth
wing, has demanded that the MDC-T hold its own primary elections to select
candidates to contest seats for parliament in the upcoming elections.

Previously, sitting candidates within the party did not face any internal
contest for their seats in the legislature and simply sought re-election.
But the MDC-T Youth Assembly has said that the youth could do a better job
for the party and their country and suggested a youth quota for parliament.

Clifford Hlatshwayo, the MDC-T Youth Assembly national secretary for
information, told IPS: “We want seats set aside for youths. This is the only
way this will prepare us (young people) for the future if we are to rule
this country.”

The same situation exists within the MDC led by Welshman Ncube, a breakaway
faction of the original MDC. Aspiring candidates in its youth league ranks
are being frustrated by officials who have dismissed them as “nuisances”,
one youth wing member told IPS on the condition of anonymity.

“We were asked, along with other aspiring candidates, by the party to submit
our nomination papers for the primaries. But, curiously, our submission
papers went missing,” he said.

While on the other hand, President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National
Union – Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), has been accused of suppressing the
younger generation and preventing them from rising within the party’s ranks.

A senior Zanu-PF youth league official in Bulawayo, who spoke on the
condition of anonymity, told IPS that it was tough to break through the
party’s glass ceiling as those who did not fight in the war of liberation
were not highly rated by the party’s senior members. Between 1964 and 1979
Zimbabweans fought for independent rule from the then Rhodesian government
of Ian Smith.

“There are still old people in the party who think that if you challenge
them in the primary elections, you are undermining them,” he said.

“In the end, we just sit back and do our best to campaign for the party.
Even the younger MPs in the party do not take kindly to criticism and are
quick to claim we are (acting on behalf of) one faction or another (when we
oppose them), and it’s become something that we do not discuss.”

Philemon Ncube, a priest and political analyst in Bulawayo, told IPS that
political parties needed to do more to ensure that the youth were able to
lead. “No mechanisms have been put in place by all political parties to
encourage leadership renewal and this will make it difficult for youths to
break into the ranks.”

But not all young people have welcomed the idea of being governed by their

“Young people have seen the benefits of public office from parliamentarians
who are always demanding ridiculous perks from the (treasury),” Nathan
Molife, a 22-year-old student at the National University of Science and
Technology, told IPS.

“Their motives have become marred by our politics where many believe no
politician should be poor, never mind the level of poverty the people live
in. Maybe I will vote for a younger MP, maybe I won’t. I don’t know,” Molife
said, showing mistrust in politicians in general.

According to a 2012 survey by Afrobarometer, an African research
organisation, over the years a suspicion for politicians has become the
major reason for voter apathy in Zimbabwe.

According to the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a mere 18 percent of
young people of voting age have completed the registration process.

And only an estimated 43 percent of registered young people voted in the
disputed March 2008 election. According to international rights groups,
including Human Rights Watch, Mugabe had perpetrated widespread violence
against political opponents in the run-up to and after the country’s 2008
presidential elections. Mugabe was declared winner.

Analysts said, however, that if young voters remained apathetic this year,
it could set back attempts to actively engage the youth in the democratic
process as candidates.

“It would be fairly easy for young people to vote for one of their own, but
if these same people do not register to exercise their (right to vote), it
is difficult to see how the ambitions of creating a new breed of legislators
will be realised,” Juru said.

Tymon Ndlovu of the National Youth Development Trust, an NGO based in
Bulawayo, told IPS that it was of concern that in the excitement to take up
positions as legislators, female faces are missing.

“Local politics remains male-dominated despite all the talk about equal
representation. But I believe these elections would be an opportunity to see
aspiring young female politicians coming out. But it’s obvious this is not
happening,” he said.

*This story was produced in conjunction with the Heinrich Böll Foundation
and appears in their Perspectives report.

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Tendai Biti: Zimbabwe Must Stage “A Legitimate And Credible Election” For Economic Recovery

– By Magnus Taylor

April 29, 2013

Back in 2009 when he took the job as Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance, Tendai
Biti had one of the most challenging jobs in African politics. The country
had just experienced a traumatic and almost certainly fixed election, which
eventually saw the formation of a coalition government between ZANU-PF and
Biti’s party, the Movement for Democratic Change. This was brokered by South
African President Thabo Mbeki and termed the Global Political Agreement.

2008 was the nadir of Zimbabwe’s fortunes with hyperinflation running at an
eye-watering 6.5 sextillion percent in mid-November 2008. The Zimbabwean
rand became virtually worthless. One of the first things Biti did when he
assumed occupation of the Ministry of Finance was to dollarize the economy.

Biti, a lawyer by profession, is clearly a tough and highly intelligent
character. The former quality he shares with his party leader,  Zimbabwe’s
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai – somewhat diminished of late following the
MDC’s poor pre-election polling stats and his own personal ‘issues’.
Concerning the latter quality, few would argue that he exceeds Tsvangirai,
and must be seen as a credible alternative should the MDC lose the upcoming

In person Biti is bullish about the Zimbabwean economy. He has just been in
Washington at meetings with the IMF and World Bank. Apparently Africa is ‘on
the rise’ and “Zimbabwe can and will be part of this story”. What the
country needs for this to become a reality is, first, “a legitimate credible
election” which ensures both security of the voter and the vote. Clearing
some of the estimated 4 million deceased ‘ghost’ voters off the electoral
roll would also help.

Following the election there will be need for a massive agenda of
reconstruction. An estimated $14.5 billion is required for infrastructure
alone. $5 billion is also needed to inject life back in to the country’s
manufacturing sector and $7 billion for the mining industry.

Mining is a sector of the economy with much potential – Zimbabwe has the
largest deposits of iron ore in the region and platinum is also abundant.
According to Biti, keen to attract investment, platinum can be found nearer
the surface than that which is available in South Africa and made the rock
drillers (who went on strike prior to the Marikana massacre) so important to
the process. Biti stated that by 2018 mining should comprise 35% of the
country’s GDP.

Biti’s biggest achievement to date seems to be the stabilisation of the
economy, rather than its growth. His team at the Ministry have clearly got a
handle on where the economy and public debt stands right now ($10.7
billion). They are putting in place a “home grown debt resolution programme”,
but the risk profile for Zimbabwean debt remains prohibitively high. This is
a serious problem as it prevents Zimbabwe from being able to start a
programme with, for example, the African Development Bank.

It will be interesting to see whether the next stage of Zimbabwe’s tentative
‘recovery’ can be realised. This will, however, inevitably depend a great
deal on what happens after the next election and whether a political
settlement can be reached where more technocratic tough guys like Biti can
be brought into government.

Magnus Taylor is Editor of African Arguments.

Tendai Biti was speaking at a Chatham House event on 24th April.

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