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UN rights chief to asses Zimbabwe human rights situation

Sapa-AP | 21 May, 2012 07:27

Officials said Pillay's weeklong trip is at the invitation of the three-year
coalition government formed in 2009 after disputed, violent elections
plagued by rights abuses blamed mainly on militants of President Robert
Mugabe's party and loyalist police and troops.

"I am here to assess the human rights situation," Pillay told reporters at
the Harare airport late Sunday.

She will meet with Mugabe, political leaders and rights groups, said
Mugabe's justice minister Patrick Chinamasa.

In 2009, chief UN torture investigator Manfred Nowak was barred entry at the
Harare airport after claims he was not officially cleared for the visit.

In 2005, another special envoy of the UN secretary-general angered Mugabe by
criticising a slum clearance program that left 700 000 people homeless in
urban strongholds of the former opposition led by Morgan Tsvangirai, now the
prime minister in the power-sharing coalition.

Chinamasa, quoted in the state Sunday Mail newspaper controlled by Mugabe
loyalists, said Pillay was first invited to Zimbabwe last year but couldn't
make that trip.

"We showed our commitment by extending another invitation in February and we
are happy she has accepted," he said.

He said he was not concerned by submissions Pillay is expected to receive
from rights activists and non-governmental organizations.

"We are happy we will be able to host her because we have nothing to hide in
terms of human rights issues. We are not worried about what our detractors
will say," he said.

Pillay is scheduled to hold talks with Mugabe, Tsvangirai, defense and
service chiefs, judges, lawmakers and leaders of rights groups. She will
hear reports of alleged human rights abuses at diamond fields in eastern
Zimbabwe where the military has been accused of shootings and torture of
villagers driven from mining areas.

In a decade of political and economic turmoil, Mugabe's party has been
accused of trampling on human and democratic rights, vote rigging and
targeting opponents and independent journalists in assaults and

Independent rights groups say at least 200 people, mostly opposition
supporters, died in violence surrounding the last national polls in 2008
that Tsvangirai's party said it won. Tsvangirai boycotted a presidential
run-off vote against Mugabe, citing spiraling violence against tens of
thousands of voters.

Pillay, who served as a judge in South Africa, has been at the forefront of
the documentation of reported killings in Syria during uprisings against the
government. She was also a former judge at the International Criminal Court
and head of the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

Pillay ends her Zimbabwe visit on Friday.

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Zimbabwe Denies State-Sponsored Violence Claims

May 21, 2012, 3:00 p.m. ET

Associated Press

HARARE, Zimbabwe—Zimbabwe's justice minister rejected allegations that the
country has state-sponsored violence and he vowed not to recognize gay
rights after meeting with the U.N. human-rights chief Monday.

But the nation's main independent civic groups accused President Robert
Mugabe's party of trying to present a "fraudulent" account on human-rights
issues to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who is in
Zimbabwe to assess the situation.

In a joint statement Monday, 36 groups said they will boycott a meeting with
her arranged by Mr. Mugabe's justice ministry at the Harare Parliament
building scheduled Tuesday. The groups said bogus organizations, some even
the perpetrators of injustice, were invited to "ambush" the rights
defenders' talks with Ms. Pillay.

Earlier, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said he told Ms. Pillay that
claims of state-sponsored torture were untrue, and the allegations must be

"There is no state-sponsored violence, these are all lies. We told her that
there are no torture chambers in Zimbabwe," he said.

He said that Zimbabwe will arrest same sex partners found committing illegal
homosexual acts.

"We made it clear that in our law homosexual activities are criminalized and
that any person who commits homosexual activities will be arrested," he told
reporters after meeting with Ms. Pillay in Harare.

Ms. Pillay arrived Sunday in Zimbabwe for a weeklong visit, the first by the
world rights chief, to assess rights violations. Mr. Chinamasa says Ms.
Pillay was invited by the coalition government formed in 2009 after
disputed, violent elections that were plagued by abuses blamed mainly on
militants of Mr. Mugabe's party and loyalist police and troops.

Independent human-rights groups have compiled dossiers from witness accounts
of systematic political violence, assaults, beatings, rape and torture over
the past decade. At least 600 people have died, about 200 of them in
violence during campaigning for the last national elections in 2008.

The 36 groups said Monday that Mr. Chinamasa had insisted there was nothing
to hide from the U.N. envoy, but that he and justice ministry officials then
tried to suppress the activists' views.

Mr. Mugabe's party wanted to stage manage her mission using loyalists to
present "a glorified and sugar coated account" of rights issues, the
statement said.

"They don't take this seriously. They are here to abuse Pillay's visit,"
said Lovemore Mudhuku, an official of organizations that still hope to meet
Ms. Pillay independently.

No response was immediately available from Ms. Pillay's visiting delegation.

Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party routinely denies violence against its opponents.

Ms. Pillay, who served as a judge in her native South Africa, has been at
the forefront of the documentation of reported killings in Syria during
uprisings against the government. She was also a former judge at the
International Criminal Court and head of the International Criminal Tribunal
on Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

In 2009, chief U.N. torture investigator Manfred Nowak was barred entry into
Zimbabwe at the Harare airport after claims he wasn't officially cleared for
the visit.

In 2005, another special envoy of the U.N. secretary-general angered Mr.
Mugabe by criticizing a slum clearance program that left 700,000 people
homeless in urban strongholds of the former opposition led by Morgan
Tsvangirai, now the prime minister in the power-sharing coalition.

Ms. Pillay is scheduled to hold talks with Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Tsvangirai,
defense and service chiefs, judges, lawmakers and rights groups. She will
hear reports of alleged rights abuses at diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe
where the military has been accused of shootings and torture of villagers
and illegal diamond miners driven from mining areas.

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Zanu-PF micro-managing UN Human Rights Chief’s tour‏

By Staff Reporter 1 hour ago

Harare - The government of Zimbabwe through the Permanent Secretary of the
Ministry of Justice David Mangota has reportedly suppressed the interaction
between the visiting UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and the local
civil service organizations a move viewed as intended to stage manage the
High Commissioner’s tour.

Addressing a joint press conference on Monday hosted by the Zimbabwe lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR) endorsed by 37 local CSOs Abel Chikomo who read the
statement on behalf of the NGO Forum claimed Mangota had instead hired some
unknown human rights activists including a top human rights abuser the AAG
and Zanu (PF) activist Goodson Nguni to stand as the CSOs in place of ‘the
genuine ones’.

“The permanent secretary, David Mangota, ……….unilaterally changed the venue
of the meeting, moving it to Parliament building and had invited several
other ‘organisations’ that are not known to be doing any work on human
rights in Zimbabwe,” said chikomo.

The CSOs said the actions of the government were a clear indication that
they are the gross human rights abusers as evidenced by the fact that they
have denied the CSOs just a thirty minute meeting with the High Commissioner
out of her five day visit.

“Minister Chinamasa is already on record saying the government has nothing
to hide – so why are they choosing to suppress interaction between Madam
Pillay and credible and trusted CSOs who have been working on the ground for
decades? We today are here to make it clear that genuine CSOs will not be
commandeered by government to a stage-managed civil society meeting with the
High Commissioner which is organised by the government; neither will we
legitimise a fraudulent exercise meant to give the UN human rights chief a
superficial picture of our country’s human rights situation,” said the NGO

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Director Irene Petras said it was not up
to government to say there were no human rights abuses but rather to the
people who bear the brunt of the government’s abuses and that the actions of
the government spoke volumes.

“It is very clear for every logical Zimbabwean who can read and write that
the government is (or) could be hiding something. So let the people make
their own conclusion on whether there are human rights abuses or not,” said

Outspoken constitutional lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku said the CSOs
that had been invited by government to the meeting where just an extension
of the state which stands accused of the abuses on its own people.

“These are just an extension of the state now pretending to be involved in
Human Rights issues who want to abuse the visit by the High Commissioner;
this is how naïve they are,” said Madhuku.

Meanwhile the NGO Forum indicated their intention to boycott the upcoming
meeting saying it would not endorse and legitimize tomorrow’s meeting
between Pillay and the Zanu (PF)’s purported CSOs by attending it adding
that they would only show up at the originally agreed venue.

The NGO Forum said they had already prepared a report they handed to the
High Commissioner directly. -ZimEye

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Robert Mugabe – I want to retire but I can’t

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s ageing president, would like to retire but fears
his party would be torn apart if he did, a former minister in his government
has claimed.

By Aislinn Laing, Johannesburg

9:43AM BST 21 May 2012

Enos Nkala, who served as Mr Mugabe’s home affairs and defence minister in
the late 1980s before the pair fell out, said the 88-year-old former
liberation leader was “the glue holding this country together”.

His comments come as senior Zanu PF leaders jockey for position behind the
president amid growing speculation about his health. A WikiLeaks cable
claimed that he is dying of prostate cancer, and he has made numerous trips
to Asia for medical treatment in recent years.

“From what we discussed, Mugabe said he is tired and wants to retire but he
cannot do so now because ZANU-PF would die,” Mr Nkala told Zimbabwe’s
Standard Sunday newspaper after the pair met in the second city of Bulawayo
on Friday.

“He cannot leave when the party is in such a state. What is holding him now
is managing and containing ZANU-PF to prevent it from disintegrating.”

Some in Harare dismissed Mr Nkala’s claims as fabrication but Mr Mugabe
himself has recently warned about Zanu PF divisions in the run-up to
district elections which had spilt into violence in some areas.

“We don’t want people who say don’t vote for so and so ... you are
destroying the party, do your work, let the people judge you if they don’t
like you or if they like you,” he said in a speech earlier this month.

“The leadership is transforming and is becoming too materialistic. That is
going to destroy the party.”

Shortly afterwards, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa – who is known to
have been vying with Vice President Joyce Mujuru to take over when Mr Mugabe
dies, reportedly broke with convention by confirming his ambition to succeed
him, saying “I am ready to lead”.

Mr Nkala, 80, said Mr Mugabe’s succession remained a delicate issue that if
not handled carefully might result in “chaos or civil war”.

“It’s easy for people to say Mugabe must go, Mugabe must go, but most don’t
know that he is the glue that has been holding this country together,” he

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Zanu elder backtracks on ‘Mugabe tired’

Enos Nkala, one of Zanu (PF)’s founding fathers, has distanced himself from
media reports that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe told him he was ‘tired
and wanted to retire’
Published: 2012/05/21 06:29:39 AM

ENOS Nkala, one of Zanu (PF)’s founding fathers, has distanced himself from
media reports at the weekend that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe told
him he was "tired and wanted to retire".

Mr Nkala, fired from Zanu (PF) in the late 1980s, held a 45-minute private
talk with Mr Mugabe at the Joshua Mqabuko International Airport in Bulawayo
on Friday.

Quoted in the weekly Standard newspaper yesterday, Mr Nkala said: "From what
we discussed, Mr Mugabe said he was tired and wants to retire, but he cannot
do so now because Zanu (PF) would die. He cannot leave when the party is in
such a state. What is holding him now is managing and containing Zanu (PF)
to prevent it from disintegrating."

But Mr Nkala told Business Day yesterday his "comments" were taken out of
context by journalists itching to get a scoop.

"Inevitably when such things come out in the newspapers, it leads to a
communication breakdown and loss of confidence in each other. Robert and I
are good friends," Mr Nkala said.

Asked to comment on Mr Nkala’s statements, which political observers say
highlight the complexity of Zanu (PF)’s succession dynamics, Simon Khaya
Moyo, the party’s chairman, brushed aside the reports.

"It’s not true. The president is fit as a fiddle; he himself only last month
after his trip to Singapore said so. He is Zanu (PF)’s election candidate
and is raring to go in the elections this year."

Political observers, however, insist Mr Nkala’s statements are a bold
encapsulation of the power struggles that have gripped Zanu (PF) and
threaten to derail its election plans.

In recent weeks the factional clashes at provincial levels have become more
vicious — riot police having been called in to control warring party members
in the Manicaland and Masvingo provinces.

A special politburo meeting convened at the Zanu (PF) headquarters in Harare
last Wednesday, which lasted into the night, failed to find a lasting
solution to the factional clashes that have gripped the provinces, as
Vice-President Joice Mujuru (the leader of one of the Zanu (PF) factions)
took to task opponents aligned with the faction led by Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In the absence of any official position on the details of the secret meeting
between Mr Mugabe and Mr Nkala, speculation is high in political circles
that Mr Mugabe approached Mr Nkala for help on how to slam the brakes on the
factional fights that have exploded.

Highly placed Zanu (PF) sources told this newspaper that Mr Mugabe also
sought to enlist help from the veteran nationalist on how to claw his way
back into the three Matabeleland provinces — which have voted against Mr
Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) in the past 10 years and have become a stronghold for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"Mr Mugabe wanted me to tell him how to win back Matabeleland, because Zanu
(PF) has done badly in Matabeleland in the past decade.

"They are in election mode and want to win against the MDC," said Mr Nkala.

Trevor Maisiri, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, said
Zanu (PF)’s two factions would welcome Mr Nkala’s statements, as he was an
outsider, whereas the two factions ran high risks if they were to speak
openly about the crisis that has gripped the party.

"The succession issue in Zanu (PF) has been left for far too long," Mr
Maisiri said. "Factionalism has gone into the grassroots. Both factions in
Zanu (PF) are likely to welcome Mr Nkala’s statements because more often
than not if the succession issue is raised by someone inside the party, (he)
loses credibility".

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Zimbabwe: Political Temperatures Rising

Last Friday, I wrote about my trip to Cambodia. However, that was not the only ‘frontier economy’ BMI visited recently. One of our analysts went to Zimbabwe for the third time in 18 months. He noted that the political temperature is on the rise. Although there were a multitude of rumours swirling around, the following points seem clear:

  • New elections will be held within the next 10 months.
  • The constitution-making process is nearing finality. Completion of this would be a positive step, as it would provide the best context for reasonably free and fair elections, which would follow shortly thereafter.
  • However, BMI sees growing risks that the ruling ZANU-PF party will scuttle the process at the final hurdle.
  • ZANU-PF is a party in crisis, as a struggle to succeed ageing President Robert Mugabe threatens to tear it apart.
  • BMI sees a growing risk of the military stepping in to take control of ZANU-PF to ‘solve’ the crisis before elections. This would be a worrying development for the country as a whole.
  • The economy continues to struggle as foreign investors give Zimbabwe a wide berth. (A dollarised economy and an essentially bankrupt central bank mean that the country relies on real inflows for liquidity.)
  • That said, there are signs of economic life such, as the proliferation of used car lots, which seem to be doing brisk business.

The full article on BMI’s visit to Zimbabwe is available to subscribers at Business Monitor Online.

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Shamu and Mahoso to appear before Parlimentary committee on Thursday

By Tichaona Sibanda
21 May 2012

Webster Shamu, the Media, Information and Publicity Minister will on
Thursday appear before parliament’s committee on media, information and
communication technology.

Tafataona Mahoso, the chairman of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe
(BAZ) is due to appear before the same committee on the same day, according
to Settlement Chikwinya the MDC-T MP for Mbizvo, who chairs the committee.

Chikwinya told SW Radio Africa said on Monday that he will be part of the
group of MPs who will interrogate Shamu on why he had failed to implement
media reform, as agreed to and directed by the principals of the GPA.

There have been efforts to push Chikwinya not to chair Thursday’s meetin,
due to his well known stance against Shamu’s reluctance to reform the media
sector in Zimbabwe.

The MDC-T MP dismissed reports in the state controlled Sunday Mail that he
would have to recuse himself from the committee to avoid conflict of
interest. The weekly paper claimed that Chikwinya heads the board of a
community radio station run by the Media Institute of Southern Africa, which
makes him ineligible to be part of MPs to question Shamu and Mahoso over
media reforms.

The MDC-T legislator accused the Sunday Mail of ‘deceiving its readers’ and
‘spreading false information’ about him, saying the article was meant to
discredit his name, character and position as chairperson of the committee.

‘It’s a fact that I’m not a member of any board of community radio, neither
do I hold a post in the MISA structures. I only relate to MISA in as far as
they relate to any members of parliament in their capacity building
workshops,’ Chikwinya said.

The Mbizvo MP continued; ‘I saw the story, I have great respect for all
journalists in the media fraternity, the Sunday Mail included. I doubt very
much that story was written by any professional journalist.’

Chikwinya told us he had a strong belief that it was written by a half
boiled graduate from the Robert Mugabe School of intelligence who is
masquerading as a reporter with the Sunday Mail.

MISA-Zimbabwe issued a statement on Monday dismissing as baseless and cheap
propaganda allegations that Chikwinya heads the board of a community radio
station run by the Media Institute of Southern Africa.

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Mugabe and Mutambara absent from peace prayers in Bulawayo

By Tererai Karimakwenda
21 May, 2012

A prayer meeting that all three leaders in the coalition government
committed to in November last year, as part of a campaign to promote peace
between parishioners from different faiths, went ahead without two of the
leaders this weekend.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme reported that only Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai attended the Inter-denominational Prayer Meeting
that was held in Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on Sunday.

The event was organised by church groups in Matabeleland promoting peace,
and attended by top MDC-T officials and gospel musicians. Saungweme said the
theme for the Prime Minister’s address was “A house divided cannot stand”, a
clear reference to divisions between the parties which are blocking progress
towards a new constitution and a fresh poll.

Tsvangirai was also indirectly making reference to the idea of cessation and
devolution, which many in Matabeleland province are beginning to support,
saying they have failed to get development funds from government. They say
all resources are directed at Harare only while Bulawayo, Mutare and other
outlaying cities are ignored.

“When we talk about devolution, we are not talking about cessation and
division of the country. The media must unite the people and not divide the
people,” Tsvangirai is quoted as saying.

According to Saungweme, the police went out of their way to make sure the
event was peaceful, as they have been trying to win over support for ZANU PF
in Matabeleland province, ahead of the next elections.

Police disrupted a prayer meeting organised by the MDC-T in Harare in 2007,
firing into the crowd and killing innocent party member, Gift Tandare. That
event has remained fresh in the minds of MDC supporters whenever they
organise prayer meetings.

“The PM normally packs stadiums when he speaks in public and I think
attendance could have been better at Barbourfields. It was just half full.
Maybe it was that they put out the fliers too late,” Saungweme explained.

As for Mugabe, he was spotted in Bulawayo on Friday. Saungweme said he met
with Former Home Affairs and Defence Minister Enos Nkala for about 45
minutes in the VIP lounge at Nkomo Airport. Those who got a glimpse of
Mugabe said he looked frail and was in bad shape as he was transferred to a

Our correspondent said people on the ground do not believe Mugabe sincerely
wants peaceful elections and a democratic transition that removes ZANU PF
from power. The Mugabe regime has used violence from the very first election
up until now, and Mugabe himself once said he took the country by the gun
and will defend it by the gun. His presence at a prayer meeting would have
made no difference on the ground.

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US, Zim divisions remain: Ray

21/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

OUTGOING US Ambassador, Charles Rays has said although Harare and Washington
do not “see eye to eye” on various key issues, the two countries could still
do business together.

“The Government of Zimbabwe and my government don’t see eye to eye on some
real important issues,” Ray told the 37th Annual Africa Travel Association
Congress in Victoria Falls at the weekend.

“But I still believe that despite these differences Zimbabwe can still
(spruce up) its image. Our ordinary people can do business.’’

Washington maintains sanctions against Zimbabwe will not be lifted until
progress is made in implementing political reforms agreed as part of the
deal leading to the formation of the coalition government.

"The US continues to maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe and will do so until we
believe that substantial and irreversible progress has been made in the
implementation of [reforms agreed under the Global Political Agreement],"
Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson said recently.

The US imposed the sanctions more than a decade ago in protest at
controversial elections and alleged human rights abuses by President Robert
Mugabe's government.

Mugabe denies the allegations and claims the sanctions are aimed at
punishing him for his Zanu PF party’s land reforms and other economic
empowerment programmes.

Meanwhile Ambassador Ray said although Zimbabwe was not yet out of the woods
the situation was not as dire as claimed by the global media.

“What you see on CNN is not true. Journalists package what they think sells.
I am sorry to say this in front of the media, but I have been in the media
before myself,” he said.

“People have a mistaken notion with reality. It is important that
journalists try and report correctly and accurately.
“I have encouraged people not to listen to the international media but (they
should) come and see for themselves.”

“I must testify that when I alighted from the plane at Harare International
Airport the very first time I came here, I was surprised to see the opposite
of what I had known. I met very good people, very happy people and Zimbabwe
is very beautiful and attractive.”

Ray urged US investors to give the country a chance insisting the country
was firmly on the path to economic recovery and growth while political
tensions have also eased...

“The country is coming from political challenges that made leaders fail to
implement certain projects but let us give them a chance because
reconciliation takes quite some time," he said.

“To understand Zimbabwe, I urge you to listen, see and learn. We must build
a better understanding between our people and everyone including the
journalists (who) must come to Zimbabwe and see for themselves.”

Ray – who has often been accused by Zanu PF of pushing a regime change
agenda in the country - leaves Zimbabwe in July after a three-year tour of

He will be replaced by David Bruce Wharton who was the head of the US Public
Affairs Department at the Harare embassy some ten years ago.

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Zimbabwe to review diamond deals

21/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE is not benefiting from diamond mining at Chiadzwa and is looking to
reveal its agreements with companies operating in the area, a government
minister has said.

Deputy mines minister Gift Chimanikire said Zimbabwe should own at least 70
percent of the joint venture companies operating in the area.

Most of the companies presently have 50-50 joint venture deals with the
state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).

“As a ministry we are advocating to some of our colleagues that we need to
re-visit some of the contracts we signed with foreign companies mining
diamonds,” Chimanikire told a meeting of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce in Mutare.

“Diamonds are our own natural resource and Government should review those
contracts and ensure Zimbabwe benefits. We deserve better than the 50/50
nemunhu akauya nefoshoro.

“Government should have at least 70 percent or even 80 percent. Let us
re-look at that policy. We signed those deals when we were poor. We are no
longer poor.”
Marange Resources, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin Investments and Pure Diamonds are
currently operating at Chiadzwa.

Chimanikire’s remarks come after Finance Minister, Tendai Biti said Zimbabwe
would miss its economic targets this year mainly due to under-performing
diamond revenues.

"Diamond revenues have been under performing since January to 2012, with
only $30.4m remittances received for the period January to 21 March 2012,"
Biti said last week. The target was $122.5m.
He particularly blamed Anjin and claimed the company was probably
deliberately diverting funds away from treasury.

"We have not received a single cent from Anjin, yet Anjin is seven times
bigger than some of the other [diamond] companies," Biti said.

"Clearly, we fear as the ministry of finance that there might be a parallel
government somewhere in respect of where these revenues are going, and are
not coming to us.
"There is opaqueness and unaccountability surrounding our diamonds."

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Biti queries Green Fuel’s land deals

21/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Business Reporter

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti has claimed Green Fuel, the company behind the
US$600 million ethanol project at Chisumbanje, did not pay a penny for the
vast tracks of land it now controls which represent up to four percent of
the country.

The project is facing collapse as government resist pressure to introduce
mandatory blending of ethanol with petrol with Ministers demanding answers
on several issues, principally the pricing of the company’s E10 product
which is only marginally lower than unleaded petrol.

Now Biti has also questioned the nature of the deal between Green Fuel and
the state-run agricultural parastatal, ARDA.

Green Fuel maintains they have a transparent Build Own Operate and Transfer
arrangement with ARDA under which the two private investors involved will
develop the project, run it to recoup their investment before handing it
over to the State.

But Biti said described the deal as “murky” claiming Green Fuel had gained
control to vast tracks of land for its sugarcane estates without a paying a

“That estate is now about 4 percent of Zimbabwe. That land was not bought,
it was taken for free," Biti told a privately-owned weekly.

"So the government of Zimbabwe is saying - what is the ownership structure
now because you have taken all this land which you have not paid for. You
have put US$200 million or US$300 million, but that is not equal to 4
percent of Zimbabwe. That must be clarified."

Biti also accused the company of being “greedy” as he backed Energy Minister
Elton Mangoma’s reservations over the pricing of Green Fuel’s E10 product
which is only US$0,10 less than the hydrocarbons currently in use in the
country even before the government adds value added tax and other levies.

“The ethanol is being sold at US$0,10 less than the ongoing price of
hydrocarbons,” he said.

“That is where we are saying, you are being greedy and we will not accept

Green Fuel has since stopped production at Chisumbanje sending up to 600
workers home. The company says it has exhausted storage capacity after
stockpiling 10 million litres of product.

But Mangoma said the government would not introduce mandatory blending until
all the outstanding issues are addressed.

“The viable option is that Green Fuel should be given the opportunity to
export. As long I'm minister, I will protect the interests of the majority,”
he said.

“I don't want to go into the pricing, the facts are so murky, and these
things must be done properly. Green Fuel has been given an opportunity to
work with government."

Promoters of the project says mandatory blending would save the country
millions of dollars in fuel imports adding the money saved could used to
improve the working conditions of civil servants as well as reduce the
country’s massive debts.

Green Fuel has already created some 5000 jobs but these remain at risk
unless the company can convince the government to introduce mandatory

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Pardon looms for gold panners

21/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

MINES Minister Obert Mpofu wants gold panning legalised claiming that the
unregulated miners, who are commonly referred to as makorokoza, have
contributed at least 30 percent of the gold delivered to treasury since
January this year.

Speaking in Gwanda, Mpofu said gold panners were “heroes” adding it was
ridiculous that many were being arrested because legislation inherited from
the colonial era made their activities illegal.

"Since January, three tonnes of gold has been delivered to the treasury,”
Mpofu said, adding that he would push for an amendment of the Mining Act to
legalise panning and free those in jail.

“Omakorokoza contributed one tonne of that gold, yet we arrest and chase
them. It is my wish that even those who have been arrested for panning could
be released from prison.”

Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere added: “We must legalise
omakorokoza. I would like to thank Minister Mpofu for making the statement.
“It is a fact that many of our young people have been imprisoned because of

But President Robert Mugabe counselled caution, saying while panning should
be legalised the government should take care to ensure that the country’s
environment is protected.

Unregulated gold panning, which has increased over the last decade because
of the country’s economic problems, is been blamed for causing extensive
environmental damage across the country.

“Mpofu gave you the right to korokoza but let us do it properly,” Mugabe
said. “This is our country so we should not leave gullies everywhere or kill
our rivers.

“Those interested in mining should come and ask for permission and we shall
grant you a licence or help you by giving you simple instruments to use so
that your mining is done properly.”
Mugabe also backed a review of the country’s mining legislation to help
better regulate small-scale mining.

“We inherited a law from the past that says we should not be found with
gold, based purely on that gold is a national treasure that should be owned
by the State,” he said.

“But for the State to have gold, some people should bring it to the State.
People who bring it to the State should not be harassed, but assisted.”

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Hunger: No excuse for corruption

Monday, 21 May 2012

The MDC believes in creating a nation where the rule of law is respected and
upheld by all citizens, including law enforcement agents without any excuse.

It is regrettable that Home Affairs ministry officials can try to excuse
corrupt officers intimating that it is because they are hungry that they
engage in corrupt activities.

The excuse is totally unacceptable as the very people they will be fleecing
money from are also reeling under the same economic hardships.

A police officer should not throw away his social standing and integrity,
instead he or she should be a woman or man of unquestionable character who
can be relied upon by the public. As it is the police officers have lost
their social standing and are best known for being “toll gates”

The fact that police officers like everyone else need decent salaries is a
given and needs urgent attention. Zanu PF should stop looting money being
made in diamond mining which money should be used to pay civil servants
including the police.

Zanu PF virtually destroyed the economy and the coming into government of
the MDC has seen marked improvement.

Every Zimbabwean has adopted a ‘survival of the fittest’ approach to life
and police officers should not assume that they are the only ones reeling
under poverty brought about by ridiculous Zanu PF policies.

While the MDC has been working tirelessly and diligently to ensure
improvement of peoples’ livelihoods and the expansion of the national cake,
Zanu PF policies like indigenisation have had adverse effects on investment
which in turn has affected the said livelihoods.

Let the people of Zimbabwe defend their integrity, the police included, by
fighting corrupt tendencies.

The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish!!!

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Inter-Parastatal Debt Soars to U.S.$1,5 Billion

By Martin Kadzere, 21 May 2012

THE inter-parastatal debt rose by 69 percent to US$1,5 billion in six months
to March this year, according to latest official figures, as service
delivery by the State-run companies continued to deteriorate. The
inter-parastatal debt rose from US$488 million in September last year, with
Government now working on a strategy to liquidate the debts.

Notable entities owing, and also being owed, include Zesa, TelOne, Civil
Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe Zinwa and the National Railways of Zimbabwe,
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last week.

"An analysis of financial statements and management accounts of some public
enterprises showed that they are owed not only by individuals, but by other
public entities and Government departments.

"The inter-parastatal debt and debts owed by other creditors have crippled
public entities, resulting in them failing to fulfil their mandate in an
efficient manner, leading to a public outcry," he said.

Inter-parastatal debt remains a major challenge, influencing their
performance adversely affecting their ability to effectively contribute to
economic development.

The Government will next month host an inter-parastatal debt all-stakeholder
conference to consult on the development of a comprehensive debt strategy.

The conference will seek to fully appreciate the causes of inter-parastatal
debt and its effect on State enterprises and the economy.

Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals Gorden Moyo said the
Government would come up with strategies to reduce the accumulation of
inter-parastatal debt and come up with strategies to deal with
inter-parastatal debts already incurred.

He said the Government is also seeking strategies to deal with ministries
and Government departments debts to State enterprises.

"Inter-parastatal debt remains one of the most serious challenges affecting
the cash-flows of most of the State enterprises to the detriment of economic
recovery efforts initiated by Government," he said.

The conference is expected to address one of the major challenges faced by
the State enterprises, which has not allowed them to fully contribute to the
development of the country through efficient provision of goods and

Zimbabwe has 78 State enterprises with the capacity to contribute 40 percent
to the Gross Domestic Product, but most of them are underperforming.

Some of them have for long been operating without boards of directors while
others have failed to publish financial accounts and reports.

Their poor performance has resulted in poor service delivery, particularly
in the supply of water, road, air transport and electricity.

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Zimbabwean MPs to be circumcised as part of HIV/Aids campaign

More than 170 Zimbabwean MPs and parliamentary workers will be circumcised
in the coming weeks to set a public example and defend themselves against
catching HIV/Aids.

By Peta Thornycroft and Aislinn Laing in Johannesburg

11:01PM BST 20 May 2012

The politicians will also be tested for the disease and offered counselling
if the results come back positive.

The announcement follows the launch of the Zimbabwe Parliamentarians against
HIV and Aids campaign last week aimed at bringing down the country’s 15 per
cent HIV infection rate.

All 150 male members of the 175-strong group have all committed to being
circumcised, while its female members are encouraging their husbands and
boyfriends to undergo the procedure.

Blessing Chebundo, the group’s chairman, said ZIPAH members will also
disseminate HIV and Aids information in their constituencies.

He said that many MPs had been against the move because if they did not come
forward, it would be speculated that they were infected.

“We are beyond worrying about speculation in Zimbabwe,” he said. “We have
all been living with this for so long now and it is time we MPs showed the

The idea of a mass circumcision of MPs was first floated by the MDC Deputy
Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, who cited evidence that circumcised men are
60 per cent less likely to get infected with HIV.

It followed a government campaign in 2010 to circumcise up to 80 per cent of
the country’s young men — approximately three million people.

At the time, many MPs were unconvinced, describing the idea as “madness” and

Moses Mzila Ndlovu, the Minister of National Healing, told the BBC: “I don’t
see many takers but I’m not stopping anyone.” In neighbouring South Africa,
the Zulu President Jacob Zuma went public about being circumcised in 2010 in
a bid to encourage his countrymen to follow suit.

The president’s announcement followed a call by Zulu king, Goodwill
Zwelithini, for the restoration of the tradition of circumcision – though
performed medically rather than by traditional practitioners.

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Zimbabwe's cattle breeders face tough choices as pasture vanishes

20 May 2012 23:15

Source: alertnet // Madalitso Mwando

In this 2002 file photo, cattle graze in a failed maize field in the Gwanda south area 220 kilometers southeast of Bulawayo. REUTERS/Howard Burditt

By Madalitso Mwando

FILABUSI, Zimbabwe (AlertNet) – Lorraine Mabuza stands outside her cattle pen. She wears a pensive look, and the source of her troubles is not hard to guess.

“I do not know where these beasts are going to get grass today,” says the widowed 53-year-old. “There are no pastures around here anymore. I have to move these cattle to another place where we can get some fodder.”

Mabuza’s cattle pen holds 17 cows. She had 20 in her herd, but has sold three since the beginning of this year.

While her livestock would normally represent enviable wealth in the rural economy of Filabusi, a village about 300 km (188 miles) southeast of Bulawayo, the animals have become something of a headache to her.

Cattle and other livestock formerly grazed freely on the plains here, feeding on the plentiful grass, but poor rainfall, linked by experts to climate change, has caused the vegetation to disappear.

Low-rainfall areas of southern Zimbabwe have long been considered suitable for cattle ranching. Yet experts and the Ministry of Agriculture are alarmed by the loss of fodder as rainfall in the region reduces, and are also worried about the impact on the region’s livestock farmers.


Samson Sibanda, another Filabusi farmer, says he has had to sell beasts to slaughterhouses in Bulawayo for a pittance, as he no longer has a strong bargaining position.

“These people (buyers) know we are in trouble as we cannot afford to feed our cattle and this has lowered prices to ridiculous levels,” Sibanda said.

“A full-grown cow that I could sell for up to $500 now fetches less than half (that amount). But for us it is still better than to let these cows starve to death,” he said.

Sibanda’s story has become a familiar one among poor rural villagers for whom cattle and livestock are the sole source of wealth. Many are becoming impoverished because of the disappearing pastures.

In major cities such as Bulawayo, some women make a living by selling dairy products such as the curdled milk known as amasi. Mabuza says that as women continue selling off their cattle, they are becoming unable to supply their customers.

“This is depriving us of extra income as the fewer cows we have, the (less) milk we get to sell,” she said.

With open water sources drying up, cattle breeders also have been forced to share limited supplies of water with their livestock, creating ideal conditions for the spread of disease.

There also are reports that farmers in border towns such as Beitbridge, the gateway to South Africa, and Plumtree, on the border of Botswana, are breaching border controls as they move their cattle across international borders in search of water.

It is a surprise to many rural communities to learn that such hardships are likely the restul of climate change, says agriculture extension officer Gladys Moyo.

“There is still no understanding how issues such as global warming can be dealt with, let alone how this is having effects on things such as cattle ranching,” Moyo said. “But it does show how climate change is being felt in the most unlikely of places.”

Experts say milk-producing cattle require abundant pasture, yet the absence of rains has meant there is little food available. This is affecting rural livelihoods at a time when the government is touting the growth of rural economies as one of the ways to create wealth for indigenous communities.

The drying conditions and lack of rain “has only led to mass losses of livestock to both starvation and selling at very low prices, said Zorodzayi Mashonganyika, an agricultural economist and consultant working with the ministry of agriculture.

In an effort to assist cattle breeders, the agriculture ministry is moving to set up livestock fodder banks in hopes that owners will have access to sufficient feed for their livestock until the next rainy season, according to Mashonganyika.

The ministry estimates that there are more than half a million head of cattle in Matebeleland, in southern Zimbabwe, and there are growing concerns that this number could fall dramatically if not measures to deal with the problem are put in place.

“We are aware some cattle breeders have moved their cattle to other areas many kilometres from their homesteads in search of pastures,” said Sam Zulu of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union.

“These are desperate times but what can we do?” he asked.

Madalitso Mwando is a journalist based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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Small grains are tough sell
Photo: Obinna Anyadike/IRIN
Convincing farmers to grow drought-resistant small grains in favour of maize is a difficult task
HARARE, 21 May 2012 (IRIN) - Bright Makakai, 41, is constantly advised by a farming programme he listens to on his solar-powered radio to “plant small grains” in the drought-prone area of Shurugwi, about 200km southeast of Gweru, the capital of Midlands Province in Zimbabwe. But he chooses to cultivate mainly maize, even though the crop generally fails because of poor rains.

He allocates less than an acre to rapoko, a small reddish grain also known as finger millet, which can be milled into flour and used for brewing beer, mostly for traditional rituals, or cooked into a thick porridge for meals. The rest of his five-acre plot is dedicated to maize, Zimbabwe’s staple food.

“Most members of my family don't like eating meals prepared using rapoko, preferring the sadza [thick porridge] from maize meal. Every farming season I plant maize because, just like other people in this area, I keep hoping that the rains will be better,'' Makakai, a father of five, told IRIN by phone.

Only two of the about 100 households in his village plant sorghum and millet, he said, although over the years several households have been setting aside small plots for rapoko.

''Many people don't want to plant millet and rapoko because the crops can easily be wiped out by the
[quelea] birds. You need to constantly monitor the fields, but who can afford the manpower to do that when there are so many other chores to do?'' said Makakai.

Erratic weather patterns in recent years and the disruptions caused by the 2000 fast-track land reform programme, which redistributed more than 4,000 white commercial farms to landless blacks, have combined to transform previously food secure Zimbabwe into a food insecure country in the past decade.

Poor rainfall during the 2011/12 season is expected to bring lower yields from the previous year, but the exact extent of any food insecurity is difficult to gauge. UN agencies, including the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which used to assess and report on crops to assist food security, have again been barred - as they were in 2011 - on the grounds of “national security”.

The agricultural ministry said the 2010/11 season recorded a 1,6 million ton harvest, leaving a national cereal deficit of about 70,000 tons.

Small grains are being promoted as a crop better equipped to handle adverse weather conditions and more suitable for long-term storage, but they remain unpopular with most communal farmers in arid areas.

Leornard Unganai, an agro-climatologist coordinating a climate adaptation project in Chiredzi in Masvingo Province, said small grain seeds were generally not available in Zimbabwe.

''There is no comprehensive national policy regarding small grains, despite the fact that some communal farmers have expressed eagerness to venture into them''
“There is no comprehensive national policy regarding small grains,” Unganai told IRIN, “despite the fact that some communal farmers have expressed eagerness to venture into them.”

Agriculture minister Joseph Made said during a field trip with delegates from several African countries in March 2012 that it was “time the country adopts crop diversification and accommodates small grains on a very serious note”, because the government is forced to make up crop shortfalls with cereal imports.

''A lot needs to be done to convince communal farmers to grow small grains. Even in the most arid regions like Matabeleland [in southern Zimbabwe], farmers are still stuck with maize as a staple crop,” Denford Chimbwanda, the former president of the Grain and Cereal Producers Association (GCPA), told IRIN.

''Despite the poor uptake of small grains by smallholder farmers, there have been efforts to promote these drought-resistant crops since the 1950s,” Sam Moyo, an agriculture expert and director of the African Institute of Agrarian Studies (AIAS), told IRIN. ''Calls to convert to small grains are not a new phenomenon - there are complex issues to address, though.”

He said lifestyles, tastes and traditions partly explained the reluctance to adopt small grains, but pointed out that there were also no clearly defined policies and strategies to market small grains to growers or consumers.

Lack of marketing

''There is clearly a lack of infrastructure to market the buying and processing of small grains, especially in dry areas. When you visit the areas, you easily recognize that there are no shops selling small grain seed; neither are there efforts to… [promote] the buying of small grains.”

Read more
 A lean season ahead
 Using food rations to rebuild infrastructure
 Sewage-fed vegetables give pause for thought
Moyo said there was also a need to boost the availability of specialised equipment for processing the harvest in outlying communities as a way of encouraging farmers to plant small grains on a larger scale. The lack of incentives, subsidies, storage facilities and effective transport arrangements also discouraged farmers from adopting these drought-resistant cereal varieties.

''Even if farmers wanted to plant sorghum, for example, for commercial purposes, they lack knowledge of how they can do this, and many are convinced that there is no market for it. There is need to promote awareness around the value that small grains bring, and the private sector should play an increased role,'' Moyo said.

Local commercial beer brewers buy red sorghum as an ingredient, but only from farmers they have contracted as suppliers, leaving smallholder and communal farmers in the cold, an employee at Harare-based Chibuku Breweries, who refused to be named, told IRIN.

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

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My perspective on the on-going preparations for a National Land Audit

May 21st, 2012

Satellite map of Zimbabwe

[Part of the Zimbabwe Land Series]

By Mandivamba Rukuni


In this article I discuss how the land issue has been handled by the GNU as from its formation in 2009. Although progress towards a National Land Audit (NLA) has been very slow, a significant amount of technical and preparatory work has been completed and continues to happen. I will start by taking a historical approach relating what I know has happened so far. That will include an update on ‘preparatory’ activities for the land audit and my views on the technicalities of such an audit if this has to all add up to the rehabilitation of the land sectors. The need to undertake a National Land Audit (NLA) in Zimbabwe is provided for in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) of 2008 calling for a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit, for accountability and eliminating multiple farm ownership. Other objectives include fairness in land allocation; ensuring security of tenure; and crafting ways of financing land compensation, as well as other interventions towards greater productivity of land.

Auditing land in Zimbabwe: While the Fast Track Land Reform Programme was underway, the government commissioned three audits – the Utete Commission and the Buka Audit in 2003 and the SIRDC and Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement (MLRR) audit in 2006. The SIRDC/MLRR audit covered all eight of the country’s provinces and also benefited from the findings of the earlier audits. The audits unearthed a wide range of issues such as the level of farm take up, vacant plots, double allocation of farms, multiple farm ownership, details of beneficiaries, land utilization, farm structures and equipment, improvements made by the new beneficiaries, land disputes, and illegal consolidation of subdivisions. But many issues remained contentious and unclear. The GPA’s National Land Audit is meant to clarify the situation ‘once and for all’ by verifying and authenticating land records in the country. The NLA will therefore review existing records to verify land categories and ownership. It would provide a comprehensive and accurate assessment of the situation on the ground, allowing for proper land administration moving forward.

Summary of progress to date

There is no doubt that the mood and the dialogue on the NLA has changed significantly since 2009. In 2009 the land issue was burning a lot hotter than is the case in 2012. The land issue is still very much politically sensitive, especially given that it is a key component of the GPA. But the nation continues to move on. There is greater presssure to rehabilitate the land for productivity, investment and economic recovery than just fulfil a political process. A significant proportion of dispossessed white farmers are placing greater emphasis on receiving their compensation than on restitution.

Back in 2009 there was hardly an aspect of the land issue that the GNU partners agreed on. Today there is evidence of convergence (not necessarily agreement) on issues such as the need for secure land rights, compensation (at least for improvements), and the need for more intensive land use planning. There is also an openning up of public dialogue on the land issue with, for instance, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Land and Agriculture engaging both the public and the civil service. This was not feasible in 2009 when the only major dialogue was an in-house Ministry of Lands policy and strategy session held in Kariba. The donors interested in supporting the GNU on land organised themselves under the auspices of the Multi-Donor Trust Fund administered by the World Bank. The Donor Land Audit Working Group was quite active in 2009 meeting regularly and commissioning a number of studies. But there was no direct engagement with the Government then.

Things started happening a little faster in 2010 when the European Union (EU) Delegation to Zimbabwe offered the MLRR support through the UNDP for a ‘pilot land audit’ covering the sugar growing sector in the south eastern lowveld. The MLRR reviewed the idea and made a counter proposal that instead of a ‘pilot’ focussing on one sector, UNDP draft a methodology for a NLA. This eventually led to the NLA ‘start-up activities’ programme discussed below. But meanwhile the MLRR in 2010 submitted its own proposal to the GNU Cabinet on a NLA framework. That document is unlikely to go public until Cabinet resolves on a way forward. In 2011, however, Cabinet also requested the MLRR to submit proposals for a Land Audit Commission and the Cabinet has now seen both the NLA framework and a proposal for a Commission. A final decision and the way forward, however, is still to come.

The Start-Up Programme for the National Land Audit

The MLRR implemented the Start-up activities under the financing agreement between the Ministry of Finance, UNDP and the EU. A total of €423,000 EU-STABEX funds were expended for the activities. The agreement provided for a division of labour between the UNDP and the World Bank (WB) in the implementation of the activities. Activities commenced in June 2010 up to the end of March 2011. An additional USD500,000 of donor support towards technical and expert reviews of land reform issues was also provided for in the agreed work plan of the Analytical Multi-Donor Trust Fund (A-MDTF). The start-up had five outputs and progress to date is as follows:

a)      Land category verification: The land registry has been updated after reconciling the land transactions that have occurred since the land reform on all types of land. This was the single most important output of the start-up given that the entire A1 land resettlement data was not centrally captured. Data and information was available only at district and provincial levels were the committees responsible for land distribution had transacted. Teams from the MLRR with technical support form UNDP have taken about 18 months to collect and update the land register. A land audit would have been meaningless without this step.
b)      Development of NLA methodology: A set of data collection instruments were developed and these will need stakeholder input and validation, as well as ground testing before their use (either by the Commssion or the MLRR) when the audit is finally given a go-ahead by Cabinet.
c)      Stakeholder consultations: This aspect is budgeted for in the programme to allow discussion and input by stakeholdes on the methodology and audit strategy. This is now expected to happen under further preparatory activities;
d)      Regional and international best practices on land reform and land audits: Visits to Brazil and Kenya were undertaken by the MLRR with technical guidance from UNDP and it is expected that this has improved understanding of issues around security of tenure and bankability, as well as addressing land reform issues and land administration;
e)      Review of land policies was planned for but has not yet happened. The idea is to prepare status and option papers for review by policy makers and stakeholders specifically to cover: security of tenure, compensation to farmers, and land administration.

What is the relationship between a land audit and comprehensive agrarian reform?

The most significant issue on land that Zimbabwe faces is how to proceed with a comprehensive agrarian restructuring. I am generally an optimist myself and believe that this is feasible in the medium to long term. I, however, differ with most on how to characterise the challenge. It is human nature to wish for past pleasures and scenarios such as rebuilding the agrarian sector to more-or-less what it was before 2000, but this, in my opinion is highly unlikely. At the other extreme are those who see the challenge as simply supplying the new farmers with inputs and finance and then the past glory of being a bread-basket re-emerges. My position is not exactly a middle position, but informed by the very radical transformation of the agrarian sector that took place – from one dominated by large farmers to one where the small to medium-scale farms are predominant. It is not good enough to revive the research, extension, agri-finance, and marketing institutions. These have to undergo a corresponding transformation in line with the new agrarian structure. Providing credit to 200,000 or so new small farmers, as an example, is radically different to providing the same service to 4,000 farmers who had a whole era behind them for integrated support by government and the business sector.  Research, extension, marketing and other services need to learn how to service new and more numerous farmers with a limited business and banking track record.

I know that in the long run systems will adapt, but it is more strategic to recognise these transformational challenges and design them into recovery programmes.

So how will the land audit assist in all this? My opinion is that more progress will be made with the land audit by anticipating the key strategic issues that either need prior thought and positioning before the audit, or that need answers from the audit. It is common knowledge that part of the resistance to the land audit is because some land beneficiaries fear losing their land if, for instance, they are found to be under-utilising it. If there was sufficient dialogue ahead of the audit providing some policy guidance on the issue, this may reduce the perceived risk. Such policy positions are best arrived at by consulting with the affected groups, providing such clarity as a definition of ‘under-utilisation’ and its various manifestations and therefore the implications for each. The issue of multiple farm ownership, the various forms it takes and implications for each is another example. There are several other more strategic issues which need similar engagement ahead of the audit and these include land tenure, land compensation, and land administration structures and systems.

Zimbabwe has historically had a well defined system of land administration, including cadastral survey records, land registries and surveyors. Due to a lack of investment, these systems have decayed and land records are being lost. The nation urgently needs a state of the art land information system as part of Government’s drive for e-Government and e-Citizenry.


It is unlikely that a NLA will happen ahead of the Constitution and elections. It is still important for the MLRR, professional and technical actors to continue preparing for the audit, especially given the need for rehabilitation and upgrading production and productivity levels. In the next article I turn to the issue of compensation as part of the rehabilitation process and discuss how these two are closely related in the current legislation. I will explain developments to date and offer options moving forward. The land sectors—agriculture, forestry, wildlife, and the tree and plantation sectors­—will all have greater prospects for growth and development if the compensation issue is fast tracked and practical solutions put on the table, debated and agreed upon.


Rukuni M, Nyoni J, and Sithole E (2009) Policy Options For Optimization of the Use of Land for Agricultural Productivity and Production in Zimbabwe. A Report prepared for the ASTRG, MDTF. World Bank.

GoZ, 2006. National A2 Land Audit Report, Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Harare.

MLRR, 2009. Land Policy Review and Land Audit: Options and Strategy, A Synthesis of the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement Planning Retreat held Carribbea Bay Hotel, Kariba, 11th – 13th June.

Utete C, 2003. “Report of the Presidential Land Review Committee on the implementation of the fast-track land reform programme 2000- 2002″, Harare. Government Printers.

Buka Report, 2003. A Preliminary Audit Report of Land Reform Programme

Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement (MLLRR) and Scientific Industrial Research Centre (SIRDC), 2008. Consolidated National A2 Audit Report, Harare.

Scoones, I., Marongwe, N., Mavedzenge. B., Mahenehene,J., Murimbarimba. andSukume, C. (2010) Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities, Weaver Press, Harare

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Constitution Watch of 19th May 2012 [Second Draft Halted by Party Differences]


[19th May 2012]

Preparation of Second Draft Halted by Party Differences

Latest Setback

The Co-chairs Forum failed in their preparations for getting the second draft to the lead drafters.  The “Forum”, consisting of the three COPAC co-chairs and six expert advisers, two nominated by each of the three GPA political parties, met on Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th May to examine the comments on the revised first draft received from the political parties.  The plan was that they would then, in the light of the comments, formulate their instructions for the lead drafters to prepare a second draft.   They first had to decide how to set about incorporating the political party comments – but they were unable to agree about how to do so.  By the end of the meeting they had still not resolved this disagreement on “methodology” and the problem has been referred to the Management Committee, which is due to meet on Monday 21st May.  On the same day it will also be considered by the full Select Committee. 

The Problems

·        MDC-T has essentially approved the revised first draft but made suggestions for minor editing and cleaning-up.  It sees no need to re-open issues of substance previously agreed on and embodied in the revised first draft.

·        ZANU-PF has rejected the draft, raising major objections on many substantive issues [including such issues as Parliamentary and presidential powers, the proposed National Prosecuting Authority and appointment of judges and security force personnel] and asserting that the draft does not reflect the views of the people submitted during the outreach process and captured in the COPAC National Report.  It wants substantial changes made. 

·        MDC has recorded its reservations about aspects of the draft and said it is so incomplete that it is impossible to make useful comments.

This is a major new impasse.  It seems to be far more than a difference of opinion over “methodology”, which is how MDC-T co-chair Douglas Mwonzora described it after the deadlock was declared on Thursday.  There is obviously an important question of principle involved in the suggested revisiting or re-opening, at this late stage, of issues of substance which had previously been agreed by ZANU-PF’S representatives on the Select Committee.   

The lead-up to this situation is outlined below.

Request for Feedback from Political Parties

At its 30th April meeting the Management Committee decided that:

·        copies of the revised first draft be given to the GPA political parties for their comments and these comments be submitted to COPAC

·        on receipt of these comments COPAC would prepare instructions for the lead drafters, taking aboard the political parties’ comments and the previously parked issues, such as dual citizenship and the number of Vice-Presidents, which the Management Committee said they had resolved

·        the Management Committee would in the meantime would remain seized with the major unresolved issue – devolution.

On 10th May COPAC announced in a press statement signed by all three co-chairs that the consultations mandated by the Management Committee 30th April had been completed and that the “feedback” from the political parties was now available.  Accordingly the full Select Committee would meet on Monday 14th May to consider this feedback.  Thereafter, a second draft would be completed and submitted to the Management Committee for its review.

Full Select Committee Meeting: Monday 14th May

The full Select Committee met as planned on 14th May.  No official COPAC statement was issued, but the co-chairs spoke to the press after the meeting.  It emerged from what they said that:

·        members of the Select Committee had been supplied with the comments from the political parties, and it had been agreed that the Co-chairs Forum be reconvened to consider the comments from the political parties and decide on the changes that needed to be made to the revised first draft as a result of those comments.

·        thereafter the lead drafters would be called back and given the necessary instructions  for them to produce the second draft.

·        after completion the second draft would be handed to the Management Committee by COPAC.

Comment: There were subsequent State press articles from ZANU-PF apologists levelling fierce criticism against the decision to delegate to the Co-chairs Forum the responsibility of deciding on the alterations needed to the revised first draft as a result of the input from the political parties – clearly believing that the full Select Committee would do a better job of accommodating ZANU-PF objections to the revised first draft and implying a lack of confidence in ZANU-PF co-chair Mangwana and the other ZANU-PF nominees on the Co-chairs Forum.

Lead Drafters Not Called Back

The three lead drafters did not participate in the meetings of the Co-chairs Forum on 16th and 17th May.  They will only called back when – or, should that now be “if”? – COPAC’s review of the revised first draft is completed, something that is unlikely to occur in a matter of days.  One of the drafters will in any event not be available until the 25th May.  With all the new problems – listed above – that were raised during the consultations with the political parties, the lead drafters may not be needed until well after that.

What will be the impact of these new delays

It is becoming increasingly clear that the second draft cannot be completed before the end of May.  ZANU-PF at one point gave the end of May as a major deadline for having the final draft constitution ready for a Referendum.  For months President Mugabe repeatedly insisted that if the Referendum was not held in May he would call elections without waiting for the new constitution.  Recently, however, there have been indications that this stance has been modified.  ZANU-PF party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said that the party’s Politburo meeting of 16th May had decided the constitution must be completed “as soon as possible”.  He avoided saying that this meant by the end of May and, when referring to elections, merely said that they must be held “this year”.  As most of the new problems seem to have been raised by ZANU-PF, it is unclear whether:

·        they are going be accept further delays while the problems get ironed out, or

·        they are deliberately resurrecting contentious issues thought to have been resolved by COPAC, to ensure the process is so bogged down that they will use the ensuing delay as a justification to go for elections under the present constitution. 

Latest COPAC Statement Omitted Crucial Stage

COPAC in their latest press statement of 10th May said that after completion of the Second Draft there will be the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference followed by the Referendum.  There was no mention of the fact that Article 6 of the GPA says: within one month of the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference ‘the draft Constitution and the accompanying Report shall be tabled in Parliament ...and debated in Parliament and the debate concluded within one month”.  This stage must be taken into account when discussing how much longer the constitution-making process is going to last.

[Note:  This pre-Referendum Parliamentary debate is simply to take note of its own Select Committee’s draft constitution and report.  This must be clearly distinguished from Parliament’s other function which will come at the very end of the constitution-making process if there is a YES vote in the Referendum.  Only in that event will Parliament will have the responsibility of passing the new constitution into law.]

Footnote: What Will the New Constitution Cost?

For COPAC to finish its task  According to COPAC co-ordinator Gift Marunda, COPAC needs another $5 million to complete its part in the constitution-making process, made up as follows: $3 million to meet debts already incurred but still unpaid; and $2 million to cover its remaining expenses before the Referendum.  Its total expenditure, including that $5 million, will be $45 million. 

Conduct of the Referendum  Estimates for the conduct of the Referendum come to $30 million, but that amount is required by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, not by COPAC.  [Note: A current Press report suggests, incorrectly, this $30 million will be spent by COPAC.]

Whoever pays for the various stages, the projected total is $75 million to the end of the Referendum stage [this works out at about $1000 per word], although as COPAC budgets have always been exceeded, the total may well be more.  


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