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Statement regarding the voter registration exercise and the timing of the general election
Press Statement byDavid Coltart: The Herald today has an article entitled “voter registration ends amid concerns”. In it there are two interesting statements: firstly it states that “a new 30 day voter registration exercise has already been planned for”, and secondly, it states that “for the harmonised elections expected next month ZEC requires US $106 million”.
From these statements it appears as if the Herald is still labouring under two misconceptions which have been brought about by ZANU PF propaganda.
Firstly it has been implied that somehow the voter registration exercise is discretionary. Section 6 (3) of the Sixth Schedule of the new constitution states that “the Registrar General of voters, under the supervision of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, must conduct a special and intensive voter registration and voters roll inspection exercise for at least 30 days after the publication day.”
The “publication date” is the day on which the new constitution is published in the Gazette after of course it has been signed by the President. As of this morning it does not appear as if the President has yet signed the new constitution because one would have thought that the Herald would have publicised that fact. I am sure that he will sign shortly but whatever the case the clock only begins ticking from when the new constitution has been published in the Gazette.
Today is 20 May and accordingly even if the constitution is published today the special and intensive voter registration and voters roll inspection exercise will have to run for at least 30 days, namely until at least 20 June. At the risk of labouring the point myself it needs to be emphasised that this is not discretionary but mandatory. It is also mandatory that it has to be intensive; that means that it needs to be a widespread voter registration exercise which will enable every prospective eligible voter to be registered, not the arbitrary and patchy exercise we have seen over the last few weeks.
Secondly the Herald persists with the increasingly ridiculous proposition that the election can somehow be held “next month”, namely in June. Aside from the fact that the new constitution mandates the above-mentioned 30 day voter registration and inspection exercise (which is stated above at best can only end on 20th June), and therefore would only give Zimbabwe a 10 day election campaign (to have an election before the end of June), the Herald conveniently ignores the dictates of the current Electoral Act.
Whilst the current Electoral Act is going to be amended it is trite that it can only be amended with the consent of a majority of the current Members of Parliament. In other words no matter what ZANU PF’s plans may be, if they cannot get the agreement of those who control the majority of the House of Assembly and if they wish to push ahead with unilateral plans to have an election in June, they are stuck with the current Electoral Act.
In terms of section 38(1)(a)(i) of the current Electoral Act the President is obliged to allow a period of at least 14 days between the date of publication of the proclamation of an election and the date on which a nomination court shall sit for the purpose of receiving nominations of candidates. In terms of section 38 (1) (a) (ii) the President is then obliged to allow a period of at least 28 days from the date of the nomination day to the date on which the poll will be held. In other words there has to be a minimum period of at least 42 days between the end of the voter registration/ inspection exercise and the date of the election itself. If the new constitution is gazetted today that means that the election cannot under any circumstances be held before 31st July. I should stress that this is the absolute minimum period allowed by law and it will be exceptionally difficult for the Zimbabwe Election Commission and all those involved in the electoral process to get everything in place to meet that minimum period.
There is one other major complicating factor that relates to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly which is scheduled to be held in Victoria Falls from August 24-29. In this contect the point needs to be made that it is possible, some would say probable, that there will be a presidential run-off because it may well be that no individual presidential candidate secures an outright majority.
Section 110 (3)of the Electoral Act states:
“Where two or more candidates for President are nominated, and after a poll taken in terms of subsection (2) no candidate receives a majority of the total number of valid votes cast, a second election shall be held within twenty-one days after the previous election in accordance with this Act.”
In other words if we press for an election by the 31st July there is a real danger that a Presidential run-off election will be held slap-bang in the middle of the UNTWO Assembly. This is a very serious matter because our national pride is at stake and it is hardly in our national interest to gamble on there not being a Presidential run-off election because if there is one it will seriously disrupt the UNTWO Assembly.
In all the circumstances it will be clear that it is legally impossible to have an election before the end of July and our national interest dictates that because of this impossibility it would be better to have the election after the UNTWO Assembly has concluded.
In any event given the chaos surrounding the current registration exercise if we are to honour the constitutional right given to every Zimbabwe citizen to vote then we must do everything in our power to ensure that all those who are eligible to vote are able to register. Given the huge numbers of people turned away during the current exercise and the funding limitations it seems highly unlikely that this fundamental constitutional right can be honoured within this minimum period of 30 days set out in the new constitution. It makes far more sense to extend that period to ensure that all people eligible to vote are registered. This can be done if we take all the pressure off the current process by reaching a consensus to hold the election after the UNWTO Assembly has been concluded.
Certain ZANU PF functionaries will no doubt argue that the suggestion that the election be held later is a sign of weakness or fear to contest an election. Nothing could be further from the truth-the suggestion is motivated entirely by our need to comply with our own Constitution and laws and what is in the best of national interests of Zimbabwe and all her people.
Senator David Coltart
Secretary for Legal Affairs

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New Voter registration Requirements

Tuesday 21 May 2013

The MDC applauds the new voter registration requirements and would like to
encourage all eligible Zimbabweans to take advantage of these new

The new regulations were gazetted last Friday and eligible voters can
register at the usual Registrar General’s offices, which are open for the
ongoing voter registration countrywide.

The MDC informs, the people of Zimbabwe that it is also important to note
that the second mobile voter registration process before the coming
elections, will resume for another 30 days as soon as the new draft
Constitution has been signed into law.

Following the just concluded chaotic voter registration exercise, the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has published in the Government Gazette
Extraordinary of May 17 two important Statutory Instruments which seeks to
review the new voters’ roll prices and to layout new voter registration

1. Through Statutory Instrument 168/2013, ZEC has revised the price of the
electronic voters’ roll downward as follows;

The new price for a ward voters’ roll is now pegged at $5.00
The constituency voters’ roll is now pegged at $10.00

2. The Voter Registration Regulations have been reviewed through Statutory
Instrument 168/2013 to provide for a relaxation on requirements for proof of
Identity and Residence;

SI 168/2013 now provides an entirely new VR.8 affidavit form as an
alternative to letters of confirmation from traditional leaders, councillors
and landlords as proof of residence. The new form will ease the problem of
getting confirmation letters from reluctant landlords, councillors or
village, a situation which was obtaining in the just ended voter’s
registration process.

YES – Together we can complete the change!!!

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Civic groups call for decentralised & inclusive electoral process

By Nomalanga Moyo
21 May 2013

Civic groups in Zimbabwe Tuesday called for a new decentralised voter registration exercise, saying the just ended one was fraught with anomalies.

The civil society organisations (CSOs) made the call at press briefings held simultaneously in Harare and Bulawayo, in the first of what are expected to be regular updates conducted at the same time at selected centres across the country.

In a statement read by Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN) chairman Dr Solomon Zwana, 50 CSO’s said the April 29thto May 19thprocess “was inadequate, chaotic, slow, and didn’t capture all those interested in registering.”

The organisations said the inadequate education, inaccessibility of centres, unprofessionalism by the Registrar General’s teams and ZEC’s lack of resources, had eroded the confidence of Zimbabweans that the general poll will be credible.

Speaking to SW Radio Africa Mmeli Dube of the Bulawayo Agenda, co-organisers of the Bulawayo briefing, said it was important that a fresh process be conducted so that Zimbabweans can “exercise their rights to register as voters and to potentially participate in the forthcoming elections.

“We also want adequate publicity for the process so that people know where to go, what to take with them and also for the exercise to be conducted professionally and at every ward.”

The CSOs also want legal instruments guiding the contentious issues of “aliens”, and the use of affidavits as proof of residence to be fully publicised.

Affidavit forms were introduced towards the end of the exercise, but they were never fully utilised, with Mudede’s teams claiming they had not been given an official ‘go-ahead’ to use the forms.

Asked about the continuing harassment of voter awareness campaigners, a ZESN official said civic groups had met ZEC commissioners Monday, when the issue of accreditation for civic groups was raised.

“We also called for unfettered access to the process, in pursuit of our legitimate functions of sensitising and mobilising citizens to participate in the process.

“Moreover, ZEC can’t afford to do it alone, they need civil society to complement their efforts as the foregone exercise has amply demonstrated,” ZESN national director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava said.

Chipfunde said they were hopeful that they will be accredited in time for the anticipated 30-day registration process, in line with the new constitution once it becomes law.

“We hope that this time around ZEC and the RG’s Office will rectify the anomalies observed in the preceding exercise, including ensuring adequate supervision of the process,” Chipfunde added.

See statement

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Voter registration centre closes 2 hours early

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 12:09
HARARE - Scores of people were left out of the voter registration exercise
as officials from the Registrar General is department closed two hours

Instead of closing the mobile voter registration at 7pm as had been advised
in the media, officials from the RG’s office in Southerton closed doors at
4pm, much to the chagrin of people queuing and hoping to register as voters.

The just-ended mobile voter registration exercise was dogged by chaos and
impediments leaving out thousands of people who wanted to register as

Although Cabinet has agreed on a fresh 30-day mobile voter registration
extension which is also provided in the new constitution now awaiting Mugabe’s
assent after sailing through Parliament last week, political parties say the
30 days should be increased.

Welshman Ncube’s MDC yesterday called for the extension of the 30-day period
of intensive mobile voter registration provided for in the new constitution
to make sure every eligible voter is registered.

Ncube’s MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart said to honour the
constitutional right of every Zimbabwean, government should do everything in
its power to make sure every eligible voter is registered.

“It makes far more sense to extend that period to ensure that all people
eligible to vote are registered.

This can be done if we take all the pressure off the current process by
reaching a consensus to hold the elections after the UNWTO Assembly has been
concluded,” he said in a press statement.

The lifespan of the current Parliament lapses on June 29 and Zanu PF is
adamant that polls will be held soon after that date since government cannot
operate without the other tier.

“Given the huge numbers of people turned away during the current exercise
and the funding limitations, it seems highly unlikely that this fundamental
constitutional right can be honoured within this minimum period of 30 days
set out in the new constitution,” Coltart said.

Zanu PF however, said they had done their part in mobilising people to vote
and will continue doing so, saying the voter registration had “gone well.”

“We are still urging people to continue registering to vote at district
offices but the responsibility lies with Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission)
and the RG’s (Registrar General)office to either start a fresh mobile voter
registration or not,” Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said.

Zec last week said they would be commencing a fresh 30-day voter
registration after publication of the new constitution with at least $21
million required. - Bridget Mananavire

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Do We Need Free And Fair Elections In Zimbabwe?

There is a survey at this website which you night like to take.

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Mudede’s office to be overhauled under MDC-T government

By Tichaona Sibanda
21 May 2013

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party has said when it gets into power it
will overhaul the registrar-general’s office, a key government department
long blighted by accusations of inefficiency and corruption.

Led by Tobaiwa Mudede the department is viewed by many as a threat to
democracy. Mudede is a controversial figure who has been criticized for
falsifying voting records to ensure Robert Mugabe maintains power.

But the operations of the department are primed for change should the MDC-T
win the elections, due sometime between June and October this year. In its
policy document launched by Tsvangirai over the weekend, the MDC-T has
promised to maintain an office of the Registrar General in every town and
city that serves a significant population.

‘These offices will be easily identified, accessible, clean, well sign
posted and staffed by well-trained and motivated staff. It will be the
objective of every office to serve clients within 15 minutes and to ensure
that their needs are met as quickly as possible,’ the policy document said.

Target time lines have also been set for different documents. Anyone
applying for a new passport should have it within seven says, while an
Emergency Travel Documents should be made available within 24 hours.
Identity cards, marriage, birth and death certificates should also be
obtained within 24 hours after lodging an application.

Promise Mkawnanzi, the Youth assembly secretary-general told us overhauling
all the inept and corrupt departments was not only necessary, but essential.

‘It is important that public confidence in these departments must be
restored as soon as we get into power because if we do not reform our civil
service, we will be letting down the whole country,’ Mkwananzi said.

It’s expected that the first wave of change under an MDC-T government will
focus on political reforms and national reconciliation, while the second
wave is aimed at helping the country’s economy. The third phase will target

On citizenship, the policy documented stressed an MDC government will allow
dual citizenship for all its citizens, while persons who have lived and
worked in Zimbabwe continuously for five years or more shall be
automatically entitled to citizenship upon application.

‘Such persons shall enjoy the full benefits of citizenship allowed under the
constitution, the document said, adding that a person who was born in
Zimbabwe or has Zimbabwean born parents or is married to a Zimbabwean, shall
be automatically regarded as a Zimbabwean citizen with full citizenship
rights in terms of the Constitution.

‘In the event that such a person loses his or her citizenship at any time
and for any reason, they shall be permitted to resume their citizenship
automatically upon application,’ the MDC said.

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MDC-T primary elections kick off this Saturday

By Tichaona Sibanda
21 May 2013

MDC-T voters will this weekend begin their internal process to choose the
makeup of the team to contest the harmonized elections, the party’s deputy
national organizing secretary Abednico Bhebhe said on Tuesday.

The elections have attracted huge interest on the political front as cabinet
ministers and senior parliamentarians could be among the casualties of the
internal selection process.

The process, which was due to have began three weeks ago, was postponed to
allow sitting MP’s to complete debate on the new constitution that passed
through both houses of parliament last week.

Bhebhe told SW Radio Africa it would have been unfair to ask legislators to
go through an election when they still had unfinished business in

‘That would have created an uncomfortable situation where a losing MP would
have gone to parliament for debate not in the right frame of mind. Now that
the crucial parliamentary business is out of the way, we decided as a party
that this was the right time to do our primaries,’ Bhebhe said.

At stake are 210 parliamentary, 60 senatorial and 1,968 council seats for
over 4,000 candidates who were approved by the party to contest the primary

Bhebhe explained that they will be deploying 30 teams to conduct the
primaries across the 210 constituencies in the country. It is expected the
primaries will run for a week. Each team is expected to be responsible for
primaries in seven constituencies.

Sitting MP’s, senators and councillors will be part of these teams that will
run the elections, although individuals will be deployed to provinces they
do not belong to.

‘The process will start with the confirmation of sitting MPs. If any of the
MPs fail to garner 50 percent of the votes, the electoral teams will proceed
to have primaries in the constituencies affected,’ Bhebhe said.

Political analyst Dr Maxwell Shumba said democratic primary elections are
always a significant step forward as it should allow party members to choose
anyone they want to.

He warned however that the process had to be carefully managed or it risked
leaving the party deeply divided before the crucial harmonized elections.

‘If it is not carefully managed, it may result in infighting which will
produce permanent scars, whose wounds might not heal in time for the
elections,’ Shumba said.

He added: ‘In carefully managing the primaries the party leadership should
clearly send a strong word that improper campaign and voting behavior among
its candidates or rank and file would not be tolerated.

‘In addition, the party leadership should let the best candidate win by
avoiding any act which might be interpreted as process manipulation to
favour one candidate over the other,’ emphasized Shumba.

On Wednesday, the Politburo of the former ruling ZANU PF will meet in Harare
to finalize the rules and regulations for their primary elections.

Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo is quoted by the state controlled Herald
saying: ‘We are most likely going to discuss the rules and regulations and
the election manifesto. The documentation has been done and it is a question
of the Politburo endorsing it. We are almost through with the process.”

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SA, ZANU PF relations ‘strained’ ahead of poll

By Alex Bell
21 May 2013

Relations between the South African government and Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF
are said to be under severe strain, with the former ruling party in Zimbabwe
intensifying its anti-SA rhetoric.

This historically loyal relationship has been steadily souring in recent
months, to the point that ZANU PF loyalists have been calling for the SADC
bloc to revisit Zuma’s facilitation role in Zimbabwe, after what they said
were breaches of diplomatic protocol.

This came in the wake of comments by South Africa’s Deputy International
relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim, who last week described ZANU PF’s call
for June elections as politicking, insisting that Zimbabwe should first
implement key reforms before going ahead with polls.

The comments set temperatures soaring in ZANU PF who voiced acid criticism
of Ebrahim through the state media. The Herald newspaper turned to notorious
ZANU PF apologist Jonathan Moyo to back their criticism of Ebrahim, quoting
the MP as saying that the elections in Zimbabwe are “none of his (Ebrahim’s)
business. The paper also quoted party spokesman Rugare Gumbo as questioning
South Africa’s facilitation role and policies.

This was closely followed with criticism from ZANU PF loyalist and advisor
Dr Charity Manyeruke, who said such utterances by South Africa’s minister
should not be taken lightly, calling it clear interference in the affairs of
a fellow sovereign state. Dr Manyeruke suggested “extreme diplomatic
actions” with the South African government.

The Zimbabwe Mail then quoted senior ZANU PF officials who said the latest
revelations by the South African deputy minister should be condemned “and
the whole SADC bloc should be taken to task to revisit the role of South
Africa’s facilitation role in Zimbabwe.” A source quoted by the news service
said some hardliners are demanding a complete disengagement with Zuma’s

Zuma’s team meanwhile has over the past few months faced snub after snub
from ZANU PF, which has been barring the South Africans access to key
political meetings. ZANU PF negotiators in the political process have also
repeatedly ignored requests from the South Africans, and accused the team of

South African based political analyst Professor David Moore said the
relationship between ZANU PF and the South African government is moving to a
critical point, with South Africa wanting changes, and ZANU PF refusing to

“ZANU PF doesn’t want anyone meddling in their affairs. They want the
elections done as soon as possible so the reforms can’t take place. SA and
the facilitation team have been fairly adamant that this process needs to be
diplomatic…and this could take a long time. And ZANU PF wants this done as
soon as possible,” Moore said.

He agreed this is a change from the previous Thabo Mbeki led facilitation
South Africa played, which was criticized for allowing Mugabe and his regime
to steal previous elections. He said South Africa does not want or need
another potentially embarrassing situation playing out over the border.

“South Africa doesn’t want a violent mess on their doorsteps during the next
elections in Zimbabwe, so they want to gradually work towards security
sector form etc. So they want to see how this pans out and there are rumors
of possibly negotiating another GNU. But ZANU PF wants it over with,” Moore

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79 ditch Zanu PF, Ncube’s MDC for Tsvangirai

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 12:35

BULAWAYO - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC on Sunday unveiled scores
of Zanu PF and smaller MDC faction card-carrying members who dumped their
parties in Bulawayo, in a move the party says confirms the first yields of
the door-to-door (D2D) campaign.

The campaign was launched recently by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at
the Large City Hall.

A total of 79 members from Cowdray Park’s Luveve Constituency abandoned
their political parties citing insincerity and uncertainty among other

The Daily News witnessed 16 members from Welshman Ncube’s MDC Cowdray Park
party structures led by ward chairperson Joel Jambwa surrendering their
cards and green T-shits bearing Ncube’s face and symbol to the MDC
provincial organising secretary Albert Mhlanga at a brief gathering held at
the party’s Bulawayo offices.

On the other hand, at least 63 Zanu PF members mostly youths were also
welcomed by MDC Ward 28 councillor Collet Ndlovu at a gathering held at his
Cowdray Park house soon after welcoming the 16 MDC members.

The members led by district Zanu PF Youth League chairperson William Munatsi
also handed over their party cards, T-shirts and bandanas bearing Mugabe’s
face saying they were parting ways with the ex-majority party.

“I have been a chairperson for Zanu PF in this area for a very long time and
tell you what, all these people have done to me and my comrades is to
promise us things that have up to date not happened and today I say
goodbye,” said Munatsi to a round of applause.

Speaking during the reception Mhlanga, who is also Member of Parliament for
Pumula, extolled the move by the defectors which he described as a bold

“I would like to say you are most welcome; this is your home this is where
you belong. The decision you have taken is a timeous, crucial gigantic step
towards freeing Zimbabwe,” Mhlanga said.

Mhlanga said the party’s top executive led by Tsvangirai was due to give
them a befitting welcome in less than a fortnight in the city.

“We have always had people joining us from other parties but it is not in
our culture to parade people but considering how special you are and how
each one of you mean to our president, he (Tsvangirai) has just informed us
that you deserve a special reception which will take place in a week or
two,” Mhlanga said.

Speaking at the same function Bulawayo East legislator Tabitha Khumalo
described the move as the “return of the prodigal sons and daughters of the
leading party in Zimbabwe.”

She also said the huge defection particularly from Zanu PF was a clear
pointer that the D2D campaign was beginning to yield the desired results
ahead of the watershed elections.

Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF chairperson Calistus Ndlovu were
fruitless, but the MDC Bulawayo spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu denied any
defections from his party: “I have checked with our security and structures
in Luveve district and ward 28, they all deny there is something like that
but as we are in election season we will witness such dreams and
hallucinations. In fact no one at this juncture can commit suicide by
jumping to the fires, MDC-T is a burning house.”

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Female presidential challenger enters race

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 12:21
HARARE - Female challenger Irene Bete, has entered a sizzling presidential
race comprising 29 men.

The 66-year-old becomes the only independent woman candidate in the hot

She becomes the 30th candidate out to win the hearts and minds of

She is squaring off with political heavyweights like President Robert Mugabe
and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in an election set to become a game
changer in the country’s politics.

Only two women in the history of Zimbabwe have expressed interest in running
for top office before Bete.

Zimbabwe Union of Democrats founder Margaret Dongo threw her name in the
ring but did not contest in the 90s election after she failed to meet the
presidential age limit and the late Isabel Madangure.

Madangure formed her People’s Democratic Party (ZPDP) in the mid ’90s and
contested in the 2002 presidential election. She was described by Tsvangirai
as the woman who put a new meaning to opposition.

Bete, an entrepreneur and mother of six, says it is time for an overhaul in
the way Zimbabwean minds operated and the way they regarded themselves.

“We have a lot of potential that need to be unleashed in Zimbabwe,” she

“Our children do not need to migrate to other countries to be regarded as
achievers, they can make it here, but they have been misled to limit success
to land.

“We need new innovations because the world is evolving and not be
single-minded by only concentrating on land,” she said, stressing that
technological innovations were one major way in which Zimbabweans could make
their mark.

She said it was time for Zimbabweans to look ahead and not waste energy
concentrating on the wrongs of the past.

“We cannot always be told we fought for the country and be fed with the
paranoia that there are people always after our country, vanotora nyika
vachienda nayo kupi? (where will they take the country to?)” she asked.

Bete, who said her plastic manufacturing company was the first to introduce
20-litre plastic containers in Zimbabwe, said she has the wisdom to lead the

“I do not have a degree, but you do not need a degree to run this country
and I applaud the constitution for providing any Zimbabwean with the
opportunity to run for presidency.

“Wisdom is a crucial element, I am also a farmer who acquired land on my own
not because of land reform,” she said. - Bridget Mananavire

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EU Avails $17 Million to Revamp Zimbabwe Education

Irwin Chifera

HARARE — The Global Partnership for Education, a multilateral partnership
devoted to ensuring more children enroll in schools the world over, will
Wednesday decide on Zimbabwe’s $23 million application for
teacher-retraining as the country continues to revamp the education sector
which suffered greatly at the height of the country’s economic and political

Education Minister David Coltart revealed Tuesday that Harare had applied
for money from the Global Partnership for Education to help re-train the
country’s teachers.

He was speaking at a function where the European Union announced its $17
million grant to the Education Transition Fund. The EU also donated $640,000
towards nutrition projects in Zimbabwe.

Senator Coltart said he was optimistic that the application, which was made
with assistance from Education Transition Fund partners, would succeed.

He said while enough books have been secured for primary and secondary
schools under the education transition fund, there was need for a nationwide
teacher re-training exercise.

Meanwhile, the EU ambassador Zimbabwe, Aldo dell’Ariccia, said Harare’s
failure to adequately fund education is hampering the recovery of the

He said this why the EU and other partners were supporting the education
ministry, to ensure, among other things, that Zimbabwean boys and girls
complete primary education by 2015 as set in Millennium Development Goal
Number 2 by the United Nations.

The United Nations Children’s Fund acting head in Zimbabwe, Gianfranco
Rotigliano, whose organisation is administering the funds, said the money
would be used to improve the country’s educational infrastructure and the
purchase of essential teaching and learning materials, among other things.

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Electoral Body and Gov’t Owe State Vehicle Firm Millions

Irwin Chifera

WASHINGTON — The government and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission owe the
Central Mechanical and Engineering Department (CMED) more than $13 million,
a situation the state-owned company said is untenable, especially as the
country heads for national elections.

Managing director Davision Mhaka says the government and ZEC should pay up
if the CMED is to provide transport services for the elections that are
expected to be called sometime this year.

Speaking Monday before Parliament's portfolio committee on transport and
infrastructure, Mr. Mhaka said ZEC owes $1.6 million for cars hired in the
March constitutional referendum. So far, ZEC has paid only $3,000 for the
vehicles it hired during the referendum. Altogether, ZEC and other
government bodies owe CMED a total of $13 million.

The CMED, Mhaka said, had planned to buy 100 new vehicles for use during the
anticipated elections but has only been able to purchase 20 so far.

Mhaka said only three ministries - justice, health and public service –
reliably pay for CMED services. The others pay infrequently, at best. This,
he said, not only affects the operations of many government departments,
ministries and lawmakers, it also has let many of CMED's fuel stations run

Mhaka, however, assured the committee that fuel shortages should soon be a
thing of the past as the CMED has secured its own fuel import license so
will now compete with private companies on the open market, buying and
selling fuel to the public.

The CMED, a government parastatal, has a varied mission, but is best known
for buying vehicles and maintaining them for government ministries and

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Zimbabwe’s plea for poll cash must go to Sadc - South Africa

Staff Reporter 7 hours 34 minutes ago

ANY request for assistance on financing the forthcoming elections in
Zimbabwe would have to be directed to the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) for it to determine how best this request should be
addressed, South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Tuesday.

The minister said this in reply to a question in Parliament by Congress of
the People MP Smuts Ngonyama, who wanted to know whether the recent
Zimbabwean request for a R920m loan would be granted despite the reports
from pro-democracy movements about the increasing degrees of violence
leading up to the elections.

However, Mr Gordhan said discussions on a possible extension of a R500m
credit line were ongoing.

This would be used to stimulate the extension of longer-term loans to small
and medium-sized enterprises in Zimbabwe and would be made available at the
level of the central banks of South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Mr Gordhan said discussions about possible financial assistance to Zimbabwe
followed a resolution of the extraordinary summit of the Sadc heads of state
and government in Swaziland in March 2009.

The summit resolved to provide support to Zimbabwe’s short-term economic
recovery programme.

At the summit, South Africa and other countries pledged to explore a number
of possible support measures for Zimbabwe, including budget support grants,
a line of credit and export credit facilities.

"In September 2012, the South African finance minister met his Zimbabwean
counterpart, Tendai Biti, to discuss the type of support South Africa could
offer to help alleviate Zimbabwe’s fiscal challenges and to stimulate
increased liquidity in the domestic financial market," Mr Gordhan said.

"These discussions included the possibility of the extension of the R500m
credit line, which will be used to stimulate the extension of longer term
loans to small and medium-size enterprises in Zimbabwe.

"The facility will be made available at the level of central banks, with the
necessary guarantees and underwriting by the respective governments. These
discussions have not been concluded."

According to a Zanu (PF) official spokesman South Africa’s offer to help
fund Zimbabwe’s coming elections is intrusive and offensive and risks
undermining President Jacob Zuma’s role as the facilitator of the Southern
African region’s engagement in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe needs $132m to run parliamentary and presidential elections.

International Relations and Co-operation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim has
said South Africa and the region were prepared to help the cash-strapped
country finance and run its elections.

The vote is expected to end the shaky unity government formed between
President Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party, his rival Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) and Welshman Ncube’s
MDC, after disputed polls in March 2008.

"There is the question of Zimbabwe having enough funding to hold a
successful election. If South Africa is requested to assist in whatever way,
we will definitely assist," Mr Ebrahim said.

"(We will assist) either through funding part of the election or through
some logistical assistance."

Mr Ebrahim said a regional election monitoring group should be deployed
before the elections. His remarks, while welcomed by the opposition, have
irked the ruling party. The Zimbabwe government has also snubbed the United
Nations offer to help finance the election.

Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe’s ruling party’s top strategist, said that Mr
Ebrahim’s comments were intrusive, outrageous and offensive.

The date of the elections is still subject to a wrangle between all the
parties in the unity government, with President Robert Mugabe saying they
should be held soon after the current parliament’s term expires on June 29.

The opposition parties want a delayed date to allow for the levelling of the
political playing field. - BDLIVE

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China vice-premier in Zimbabwe for start of trade and development trip before Africa summit

By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, May 22, 2:44 AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Chinese vice-premier Wang Yang has arrived in Zimbabwe at
the start of an official trip to view his nation’s burgeoning trade and
development ties in Africa.

Officials at the Harare airport said Tuesday that the third ranking of China’s
four vice-premiers in President Xi Jinping’s communist party is scheduled to
meet with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday.

Mugabe’s party, facing travel, banking and trade bans in the West to protest
its human rights record in the past decade, has promoted a “Look East”
policy toward China and Asian nations for new investment in the southern
African country’s troubled economy.

Critics accuse Chinese enterprises of receiving preferential commercial and
mining rights that discriminate against local businesses.

Wang Yang travels on to a continent-wide African summit in Ethiopia later
this week.

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Death In Zimbabwe Results In Unusual Us Charge

May 21, 10:15 AM EDT


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- The facts laid out by prosecutors are plain: In
2008, a U.S. government employee on assignment in Zimbabwe drove through the
capital of Harare in his government-issued Toyota Land Cruiser and struck
and killed a 34-year-old Zimbabwe man.

Prosecutors say the driver, Andrew Pastirik of Woodbridge, Va., was drunk
when he struck and killed the man, Alois Pedzisai Matyoramhinga. Pastirik
denies being drunk, but does not dispute that he struck the man.

Five years later, Pastirik is facing criminal charges. Yet the indictment
against Pastirik mentions Matyoramhinga only in passing, and Pastirik is not
charged with murder or manslaughter, or even drunken driving. Rather, he is
charged with vandalism - or "malicious mischief" as it is called in the
criminal code - for causing more than $1,000 in damage to the Toyota Land

If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.

Legal arguments are under way to determine whether Matyoramhinga's death can
even be mentioned to a jury when his trial begins July 29.

Much of the case is shrouded in secrecy. Prosecutors, Pastirik's lawyer and
Pastirik himself, who worked in the State Department's Diplomatic Security
Service but is not currently employed there, won't comment.

Pretrial hearings were held behind closed doors "for national security
reasons" under a law more typically used for terrorism and espionage cases.
And court records don't say exactly why the case was brought nearly five
years after the death, though in one filing, prosecutors attribute part of
the delay to research on whether more severe charges could be brought.

The charge prosecutors ultimately settled on is an unusual one.

Michael Scharf, a law professor with Case Western Reserve University
specializing in international law, said prosecutors are playing the hand
that's been dealt to them.

"Although we do have a law on the books that allows the U.S. government to
prosecute U.S. citizens who commit murder abroad, that does not apply to
vehicular manslaughter. So the best the U.S. can do is charge the individual
with destroying U.S. government property," Scharf said.

While the case is technically about the damage to the Land Cruiser,
prosecutors argue they should be allowed to tell the jury that the damage
occurred when Pastirik struck and killed Matyoramhinga.

"That the defendant, while intoxicated, struck a pedestrian with such force
as to discharge bodily fluids onto the car, misremembered the location where
the collision occurred, and offered conflicting explanations as to these
events all tend to show that the defendant acted knowingly or carelessly in
disregard of law," prosecutors Pragna Soni and Andrew Peterson wrote.

Pastirik's lawyer, meanwhile, argues Matyoramhinga is irrelevant to the case
and should not even be mentioned in a vandalism case.

Allowing "evidence of the (death) injects a level of moral culpability that
will confuse, agitate and confound the jury into thinking they are asked to
decide whether the defendant took life, rather than destroyed a vehicle,"
wrote defense lawyer Joseph McCarthy.

Photos in the court file show Matyoramhinga's body lying face down in a
field, his shoes knocked clear from his body.

The defense lawyer argues the damage to the government car was an
unfortunate accident on a dark road, when Pastirik swerved to avoid an
oncoming car. He says it lacks the willfulness necessary to prove vandalism.

The government said after Pastirik first reported the accident to a security
officer at the U.S. embassy in Harare, he repeated, "This is bad" over and
over. Pastirik told the security officer he knew it was bad because he had
hit pedestrians before, when stationed in Afghanistan as an officer with the
State Department's Diplomatic Security Service, which provides protection to
ambassadors and other diplomats. In defense motions, Pastirik disputed he
said that and disputed that he struck pedestrians in Afghanistan.

Court records said in the Zimbabwe death, Pastirik was drinking at Marine
House where the Marines who guard the embassy in Zimbabwe are stationed. A
Marine Corps spokeswoman said Pastirik was not a Marine.

Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United States, Machivenyika Mapuranga, said he
hadn't heard of the case until he was contacted by an Associated Press
reporter. He said he assumed Pastirik's case was properly handled in
Zimbabwe, but added that if the U.S. asserted diplomatic immunity on
Pastirik's behalf, Zimbabwe would not have been able to put him on trial for
Matyoramhinga's death.

He said he understands the rationale for putting Pastirik on trial in the
U.S. for vandalism.

"It's within their right to do so," he said of the U.S. government.

State Department spokeswoman Laura Seal declined to comment on whether the
U.S. asserted diplomatic immunity on Pastirik's behalf.

While governments can claim immunity on behalf of their diplomats, they can
also waive a diplomat's immunity.

In a high-profile case, the U.S. pressured the government of Georgia to
waive immunity for diplomat Gueorgui Makharadze, who in 1997 slammed his
Ford Taurus at high speed into a line of cars stopped for a traffic light in
Washington, killing a 16-year-old Maryland girl. He was convicted of
involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault and spent more than three
years in a U.S. prison before being returned to Georgia to serve the
remainder of his sentence.

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Mutasa coup plot exposed


by Marcus Tawona

ZANU (PF) secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa is reported to have
convened a `secret meeting` at his home in Headlands on February 10, 2013
with provincial secretary for administration Kenneth Saruchera,provincial
party political commissar Tendai Samanga and secretary for Finance Supa
Mandiwanzira in a bid to stage a coup against the suspended acting
chairperson Dorothy Mabika.

The claims were made yesterday(Monday) by Mabika`s lawyer Tinofara Hove of
TK Hove and Associates in the Mutare magistrates courts, where the deposed
party official is jointly charged with former provincial chairman Mike
Madiro on stock theft charges involving 10 beasts donated toward President
Mugabe birthday in 2011.

Hove, told magistrate Lucy- Anne Mungwari, during cross examination of
Kenneth Saruchera that he (Saruchera) was not a credible witness since he
was amongst the party members who were politically persecuting the accused.

He said Saruchera together with Mandiwanzira and Samanga attended a secret
meeting at Mutasa homestead where they plotted a coup against Mabika.

"Saruchera you are a lier and not a credible witness because you are of the
politicians who are playing ball to dislodge the accussed.You attended a
secret meeting at Mutasa homestead with an intention to dislodge the accused
from her position. After the meeting, you moved around the province
masquerading as the new chairperson," said Hove.

Hove said Saruchera even went further to attend a chairperson`s meeting in
Harare party headquarters, adding that this was ploy to perpetuate a
political agenda to discredit the accused.

However, Saruchera denied he was involved in shoddy deals to undermine and
dislodge the accused. Although, Saruchera agreed that he meet Mutasa on
several occasions, he said they were discussing purely party business.

He said he had no personal vendetta against the accused since even after
suspension he took instructions from her (Mabika) and still has respect for
her as a party colleague.

Saruchera also confirmed that he attended a party meeting in Harare but
defended his decision, saying he was invited in his personal capacity.

He denied that he had any knowledge about the stolen beasts, saying he was
in court only to explain party procedures as the secretary for

On the political persecution, Saruchera said the party could not persecute
its members but it wanted justice to be done.

Mungwari had to caution Hove to tone down after Saruchera complained that
the defense counsel was intimidating him. Jane Rose Matsikidze appeared for
the state.

The trial continues today (Tuesday) at 14:30 when one witnes will be called
to the stand.

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Mudede denies Mawere citizenship

20/05/2013 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu

REGISTRAR General Tobaiwa Mudede last week blocked South Africa-based
businessman Mutumwa Mawere’s application for a new national identity card,
telling him that dual citizenship remains illegal even under the new

Mawere, who is said to be involved with a new political party but denies the
reports, holds South African citizenship.

He plans to challenge Mudede's decision at the courts as soon as the
country's new Constitution becomes law.

The new charter was recently approved by the legislature and now awaits
President Robert Mugabe’s assent.
Mawere told the RG in a letter on Monday: “You will appreciate that I also
want to participate in the forthcoming general elections that will be held
in terms of the new Constitution that clearly confers on persons like me the
right to citizenship and consequently the right to participate in the
elections as a voter."

The former SMM Holdings owner said he was surprised when told Mudede wanted
to see him as he was processing his application for a new national identity
card at the RG’s Harare offices last Friday.

“I was surprised when she informed me that you wanted to see me before the
application could be processed,” Mawere said in his letter to Mudede.

“At the meeting with you that was also attended by a Mrs Chirove, you
informed me that I was not eligible for Zimbabwean ID document as I was no
longer a citizen of the country based solely on the fact that I had
voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state.

“You (insisted) that dual citizenship is not permissible and the new
Constitution will not change this. On this basis, you then denied me the
right to obtain the ID that I had applied for in the ordinary course of

“You suggested that I first needed to renounce South African citizenship
prior to applying for Zimbabwean citizenship. You also pointed out that even
Zimbabwean born person will be subjected to residency requirements prior to
citizenship being restored.”

Ulterior motives
He said the RG's involvement in the case hinted at an “ulterior motive”
adding he was also surprised by Mudede's suggestion that he could seek
further clarification from Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

“Your involvement in my matter suggests an ulterior motive. I should like to
believe that other persons that were born in Zimbabwe of Zimbabwean heritage
are not subjected to the same redlining treatment,” he said.

“Such treatment of targeting certain persons because of their profile is not
only discriminatory but is contrary to the provisions of both the old and
new constitution. You indicated that should I require clarifications, I
should direct all my questions to (the) Minister of Justice and Legal
Affairs (Patrick Chinamasa).

“I asked you why it was necessary to direct such queries to Chinamasa when
the questions at hand were outside the scope of his mandate. You could not
provide any logical answer other than exposing the fact that my issue had
been a subject of discussion with (the Minister).

Mawere has had numerous run-ins with Chinamasa over the seizure by the
government of his businesses in the country.
The businessman is still fighting to reclaim the Zvishavane-based asbestos
miner SMM Holdings which was taken over by government because the group was
heavily indebted to various State entities which Mawere disputes.

He said Mudede’s suggestion that he should first renounce his South African
citizenship was impracticable.

“Renunciation of (South African) citizenship is not permissible unless the
person concerned has another citizenship lest the person is rendered
stateless which is not allowable in terms of the country’s constitution,” he

Court challenge

“I, therefore, pointed out to you the absurdity of your construction that I
needed to renounce South African citizenship prior to my right to
citizenship by birth being considered by your office.”

Mawere insisted that under the new Constitution “a person born in Zimbabwe
of two Zimbabwean parents is automatically entitled to Zimbabwean

“The fact that such a person may be a holder of a foreign citizenship is
irrelevant otherwise exception would have been provided in the new
Constitution,” he said.

“To allow me to approach the court as soon as the new Constitution is signed
into law, I would be grateful if you could kindly give me a letter
confirming that the provisions of the new Constitution in terms of Sections
36 and 43(2) cannot be enforced on account of the operation of the Zimbabwe
Citizenship Act.”

Dual citizenship proved to be one of the major sticking points in
negotiations between Zanu PF and the MDC parties over the country’s new

Said lawyer and political advisor to the Prime Minister , Alex Magaisa in a
recent interview with SW Radio Africa: “This (dual citizenship) was one of
the very contentious issues from the very beginning because there was
controversy as to whether dual citizenship should be allowed.

“There were a number of clauses that came up but I think that in the end it
was felt that it was not necessary to put in clauses relating specifically
to dual citizenship in the constitution except for citizens by registration.

“So what this means essentially is that every person who is born in Zimbabwe
is a citizen by birth and a person who is born outside Zimbabwe to a citizen
by birth is a citizen by descent … which effectively does away with the
debate over dual citizenship.”

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Playwright seeks legal intervention over banning of peace play

By Alex Bell
21 May 2013

An award winning playwright in Zimbabwe is seeking legal intervention after
his play, whose central theme is peace, was banned last year.

33 year old Tafadzwa Muzondo has been fighting for almost a year to try and
have his production unbarred. The play, ‘No Voice No Choice’ is about two
youth leaders from different political parties who both own up to their
roles in violence, and form an organisation aimed at promoting peace and
tolerance in their communities.

The play was first performed for private audiences in September 2011 but
quickly gained recognition and respect, going on to win a National Arts
Council award last year.

But when Muzondo planned to take the play public and spread his peaceful
message, he was informed that the play was barred.

In July 2012, Muzondo approached the Board of Censors seeking a censorship
certificate that would allow him to have the play performed to public
audiences. Assessors at the Board assured him that his play would not be
prohibited. The National Arts Council also wrote a supporting letter for the
play’s planned national tour and the letter was copied to the Censorship
Board, who approved the performance of the play.

This approval was by way of a stamp on the supporting letter from the
National Arts Council by the Secretary of the Board of Censors identified as
Mr. Chiranganyika.

But on 28th August 2012, when he went to the Board to collect the
certificate, Muzondo was instead issued with a notice that the play had been
banned in Zimbabwe.

Muzondo has now sought the assistance of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR) to try and fight the decision. But according to lawyer Tawanda
Zhuwarara, this has been a frustrating process. He told SW Radio Africa that
their first port of call was to have the matter heard before a Censorship
Board of Appeal, but they discovered this appeals process was not available.

“That appeal board does not actually exist although the law states there
should be one. Now we are contemplating going to the High Court to direct
the appeal board to sit so they can correct the error in which the
censorship board had made. Or alternatively approaching the Constitutional
Court and arguing that his constitutional rights have been violated,”
Zhuwarara explained.

The ZLHR on Muzondo’s behalf are planning on seeking a High Court order,
called a ‘mandamus’ that will direct the Co-Ministers of Home Affairs to
convene the appeal board. Zhuwarara explained that numerous attempts through
letters to have the matter resolved outside of court have been in vain.

Zhuwarara said the matter is still ongoing, and that this is a clear breach
of Muzondo’s rights to freedom of expression.

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Factionalism undermining labour unions: Tsvangirai

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 12:13
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has told labour unions in Zimbabwe
to organise themselves so that they can be taken seriously by their

Addressing thousands of MDC supporters in Harare over the weekend, the
former trade unionist, said the labour movement was losing steam due to
factionalism and divisions.

“I know that you might have read stories to the effect that the MDC has
ditched workers, never,” said Tsvangirai.

“I am the first worker in politics. The problem we have is with the current
trade unions in the country. Please bring back vibrancy in trade unionism.
It is very weak. Unite so that when you go to the negotiating table you are
a united front and speak with one voice.”

Tsvangirai was speaking in response to a critical analysis given by Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) secretary general, Japhet Moyo, who lashed at
some MDC ministers in government for ditching workers issues and fronting
capitalistic agendas. Moyo was giving a solidarity message during the
just-ended party policy conference.

He took a dig at Finance minister, Tendai Biti, Energy minister, Elton
Mangoma and Public Service minister, Lucia Matibenga whom he accused of
being anti-labour.

But Tsvangirai said trade unions were their own devil as they are divided
and no-longer forceful as they used to be during his reign.

“We must not allow foreigners to come and tell us how we treat each other,
you workers you must stand guard and make your positions clear whenever you
are at the negotiating table. Don’t expect much from government to come
freely but you have to be strong whenever negotiating and this can be done
when you are united,” Tsvangirai said.

Before the former opposition leader joined mainstream politics, massive
strikes, stay-ways and demonstrations were regularly staged, forcing
government to reconsider some of its policies that had a direct effect on
workers welfare.

Currently, ZCTU is divided in two factions. - Xolisani Ncube

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Mugabe stutters on poll dates

By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 21 May 2013 12:35

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has failed to announce dates for the
much-awaited harmonised elections as he promised two weeks ago.

Mugabe, 89, has been clamouring for polls since 2009, but upped the ante a
fortnight ago when he threatened to make a proclamation by last Saturday.

Three days after his deadline passed, his opponents say he is bluffing and
has no intention of holding a fresh poll since his party is in disarray.

There is chaos in Zanu PF over primary elections, whose criteria has divided
the former ruling party.

Zanu PF has created a restructuring team that is hopping from one province
to another, reading the riot act to party officials who are divided along
factional lines, some backing Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and others
Vice President Joice Mujuru to take over from Mugabe.

Observers say with Zanu PF in such a precarious state, Mugabe will not
declare elections anytime soon contrary to his public posturing and bravado.

Rugare Gumbo, Zanu PF’s spokesperson, dismissed allegations that the
liberation war movement was faction-torn and not ready for polls.

“There is nothing like we fear elections,” Gumbo told the Daily News

“The teams that have been dispatched to provinces are establishing the state
of preparedness for the forthcoming elections and we are prepared for the
elections anytime.”

But the MDC formations in the unity government say provisions in the draft
constitution which now await Mugabe’s assent make it impossible for an
election by June 29 as the country needs at least 44 days to prepare for the
watershed plebiscite.

Mugabe, who is in an uneasy coalition with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
two weeks ago threatened to unilaterally declare poll dates soon after the
Constitution sails through Parliament.

Although Parliament passed the draft constitution last Wednesday, the
89-year-old strongman is yet to act.

Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba promised to respond to inquiries on
the poll date declaration after 12pm yesterday, but was later unreachable
amid reports he was locked in meetings.

The octogenarian leader’s opponents say the former guerrilla leader, in
power since independence from Britain in 1980, is receiving poor legal and
political advice.

Douglas Mwonzora, the co-chairperson of the Constitutional Parliamentary
Committee (Copac) that led the drafting of the new constitution, said Mugabe
is trying to move mountains and knows the futility of his actions.

“June 29 is now a legal impossibility,” Mwonzora said.

“There must a period of 44 days between the declaration and the actual
polling. In terms of the new constitution, the calling of a Nomination Court
must be done within a period of 14 days.

After Nomination Court, there must a period of at least 30 days to the
actual polling. This makes a total of 44 days.

“Mugabe knew this was impossible since he started posturing and this also
shows that he is receiving very poor quality legal advice and we feel sorry
for him.”.

Industry and Commerce minister, Welshman Ncube, who heads the smaller MDC
formation in the coalition government, told his supporters in Chikomba last
week that although there is an appetite for elections to end the tenuous
unity government, there is no legal outlet to allow for a June 29 election.

“We might need elections as soon as possible, but the law does not allow it.
The earliest date is August 14 and the latest is October 31. Even Mugabe
knows about this. He has been proclaiming election dates since 2009, but
nothing happened which means the law takes its course,” he said.

Zanu PF has been forced to restructure its Manicaland and Bulawayo provinces
due to infighting. Despite claims that Mugabe’s house is now in order in the
two provinces, those knocked off their posts are said to be seething with

Zimbabwe’s road towards polls has thus far been thorny with the country
presently unable to finance the poll which requires at least $120 million.

Tsvangirai, who acts as the spokesperson of the GPA principals, said the
last time they met, it was agreed that a committee comprising of minister of
Justice Patrick Chinamasa and minister of Constitutional Affairs, Eric
Matinenga would spearhead poll preparations.

“It always makes sense to follow what is logical,” Tsvangirai’s spokesperson
Luke Tamborinyoka said.

“The president knows better that he cannot decide alone dates for elections
but it has to be agreed by the principals. The last time the principals met,
it was agreed that minister Chinamasa and minister Matinenga would consult
all the parties including minister Ncube and then agree on a roadmap to

“While that two member committee is yet to come back to the principals, the
president cannot declare dates for elections (alone).”

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Zanu PF causes chaos in UZ SRC polls

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 11:59
HARARE - The recent interference of Zanu PF in the students’ fraternity has
not only disenfranchised their brand but also symbolised unimaginable
desperation of a party that lacks ideological and mobilisation

It is appalling that the party resorts to the use of money in act of blatant
vote-buying. But the battle is not of the pockets but brains.

To begin with, universities since time-immemorial are havens of intellectual
and able-minded beings who can scan all political, social and economic
activities to expose the pros and cons. Therefore, the interference of Zanu
PF in sponsoring the Zicosu campaign at the University of Zimbabwe using
food stuffs, T-shirts and handing out of cash is a vain activity which can
be equalised to throwing coins in a bottomless pit.

The so-called revolutionary party should take time to wear political
spectacles before blindly indulging in suicidal political machinations.

Students have not forgotten the people and political parties that bred the
current problems bedevilling them. It is sad and disheartening to imagine
that students have lost all the value and significance they had in the early
years of independence.

The UZ students’ fraternity has produced leaders like Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara, Learnmore Jongwe, Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti, Martin
Dinha and Munyaradzi Gwisai.

The students of Zimbabwe used to be the pride of their parents and the
nation as a whole as it is known that a healthy student is a sign of a
healthy nation.

But today all these good memories have been washed away by a regime that is
not sympathetic. In essence, the people that have presided over the problems
will continue coming to solicit for votes without showing any remorse.

Any normal person must know that those who have failed cannot be voted
again. What is it that Zanu PF has for students that they failed to do for
the past 33 years?

Presently the higher education system is fast going deteriorating just like
under the Ian Smith regime where only those with much money could afford to
attend school.

Loans and grants have been scrapped, cadetship has been scrapped, our
parents are getting salaries far below poverty datum line, unemployment is
sky- rocketing.

Given the above and taking into consideration the fact that nearly 90
percent of students in Zimbabwe are sons and daughters of peasants and
domestic workers, it is shocking as to how the Mugabe regime would want to
see the country flourishing.

After all this, that same regime has guts to wade in to support particular
party sycophants who will promise in return to maintain gains of the
liberation at a university.

Many questions than answers should be asked as to how an individual can
maintain liberation gains at a university filled with books and pens.

Its time all students unite and recognise the regime that prioritises its
own families at our expense.

We should register to vote to oust perennial incompetent leaders. - Francis

*Francis Mufambi is the UZ SRC presidential candidate writing in his own
capacity. He can be contacted on

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In Rural Communities Children Living with HIV Lack Access to Treatment

Sylvia Manika

HARARE, ZIMBABWE — Most children living with the HIV virus in Zimbabwe’s
rural communities do not access life-saving anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs)
early because new technology that can detect the virus six weeks from birth
is only available at hospitals in the cities, preventing the country from
attaining its goal of universal access for minors living with the killer

The national co-ordinator of the HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis Unit in the
health ministry, Dr. Owen Mugurungi, says the number of children receiving
anti-retroviral drugs in the country is still very low, especially when
compared to the number of adults accessing treatment.

About 580,000 adults out of at least 690,000 in need of treatment access
ARVs while only 42,000 children living with the virus are under treatment.

Mugurungi says the number of children accessing treatment falls far short of
numbers needed to achieve universal access to treatment, as it currently
stands at only about 42 percent.

Lack of expertise, even where latest machines are available, is making the
situation worse in some parts of the country.

Provincial and district hospitals still do not have the new early infant
diagnosis technology, which means that rural hospitals must send blood
samples to city hospitals for testing.

Unfortunately, Dr. Mugurungi says, samples are sometimes lost in transit.
Other times, the transport of samples takes so much time that the samples
are invalid by the time they get to the cities.

But even with these challenges, Dr. Mugurungi says, the government is
optimistic that the new testing technology will save more children as they
are put on treatment early.

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Zimbabwe’s Ruling Party Militias Spread Fear of Voting

By Jeffrey Moyo

HARARE, May 21 2013 (IPS) - For the last month Gibson Severe and his wife,
Merjury Severe, known opposition supporters from Hurungwe district in
Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland West Province, have been hiding out in the country’s
capital Harare.

The Movement for Democratic Change – Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC–T) supporters
were forced to flee their rural home in Hurungwe district after Zimbabwe
African National Union – Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) militias threatened them
for encouraging people to participate in the recently-ended mobile voter

“It’s been a month since we left Hurungwe district after the Jochomondo
militia, which has known links to Zanu-PF, besieged our rural home accusing
us of encouraging people to register to vote for the MDC-T,” Gibson Severe
told IPS.

Since last year, the Jochomondo militia has allegedly terrorised residents
in Zimbabwe’s northern Hurungwe district, a Zanu-PF-stronghold, making it
almost impossible for opposition parties to campaign in the region.

Merjury Severe told IPS that elections in this southern African nation have
become associated with threats and violence.

“This is not the first time we have been subjected to intimidation. In the
2008 presidential runoff we were beaten up for being MDC-T sympathisers,”
she said.

Zimbabweans will go to the polls sometime later this year to vote for a new
president. Current President Robert Mugabe, 89, has been in office for 33
years in a reign characterised by corruption, oppression, forced land
seizures and a failing economy.

However, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently told media that the date
for the elections would only be set after voter registration was completed.
Although mobile registration has ended, voters can still register at the
Registrar General’s office.

But as Zimbabwe’s first round of 30-day mobile voter registration ended on
Sunday, May 19, the process was marked by long queues, slow registration and
intimidation by violent gangs with suspected Zanu-PF links.

Pedzisai Ruhanya, director for the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, an
independent public policy think-tank, told IPS that the process had been
fraught with chaos. “The mobile voter registration exercise was not done
properly. It was chaotic and characterised by political gerrymandering.”

Zanu-PF-linked militias who call themselves Al-Shabaab, named after Somalia’s
Islamic terrorist group, are alleged to have threatened the electorate in
Midlands Province.

“The mobile voter registration exercise here irked Zanu-PF stooges who have
directed their anger towards teachers in rural communities, fiercely warning
them against voting for the (two) MDC formations,” a local councilor from
Midlands Province told IPS. The MDC split in 2006 into the MDC-T and the
MDC-Ncube, which is led by Professor Welshman Ncube.

Officials from Marondera, the capital of Mashonaland East Province, situated
some 72 km east of Harare, said villagers were forced by suspected
Zanu-PF-linked militias to participate in the voter registration process.

“People were being abused by Zanu-PF militias, who were singing liberation
war songs and chanting party slogans, and forced into (going to) register to
vote,” a local district official in Marondera told IPS.

Police from Mashonaland Central Province’s Bindura and Mazowe towns, which
are located about 90 km north of Harare, said that people there still live
in fear of a repeat of the violence that ensued during the country’s
previous elections. Many are scared just to publicly support political

“Nobody wears MDC-T shirts here after the 2008 violent elections that left
thousands of people maimed. Zanu-PF is going to use this to win this
election, by reminding people about the June 2008 atrocities,” a top police
official told IPS.

Global rights group Amnesty International reported that the 2008
presidential runoff had been “held against a backdrop of widespread
killings, torture and assault of perceived opposition supporters.”

Human Rights Watch said in its January 2013 report titled “Race Against
Time: The Need for Legal and Institutional Reforms Ahead of Zimbabwe’s
Elections,” that over 200 people died in the 2008 election violence.

So far, no arrests have been made in any of the cases of apparent
intimidation. However, Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo dismissed the

“There is nothing like terror groups linked to our party. Why should we beat
people into submission when it’s well known that the MDCs have lost
supporters to Zanu-PF?” Gumbo told IPS.

However, renowned political commentator Rejoice Ngwenya told IPS that

Zimbabwe’s mobile voter registration process was flawed.

“Mobile voter registration was disjointed and weak, perhaps deliberately.
There is no voter education in Zimbabwe … the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) has neither the capacity nor the political will (to carry out voter

“But civil society organisations and political parties are giving it their
best shot, although they still encounter a very uncooperative legislative
piece – the Public Order and Security Act.”

The act gives untold power to the police, and many have claimed that Mugabe
has used the country’s security forces to intimidate his opposition.

Local rights groups also expressed concern about the mobile voter

“We embrace the exercise. But we are worried by the manner in which it was
being conducted in rural areas, where Zanu-PF members were distributing
membership forms, purporting to carry out voter registration,” David
Chidende, programme manager for Youth Information and Education For
Behaviour Change, a democracy lobby group, told IPS.

It is also alleged that in Zanu-PF strongholds there were large numbers of
voter registration centres, while in MDC-dominated areas there were a
limited few. Ruhanya said: “Perceived anti-Zanu-PF political activists
linked to (both) MDC formations were given limited sites to register to

A Zanu-PF central committee member told IPS on the condition of anonymity:
“Officials were first registering voters in constituencies where Zanu-PF
mobilised supporters to register in their numbers.”

Once Mugabe approves the country’s new constitution, a second round of voter
registration and inspection will take place.

“We still have an additional 30-day voter registration period provided for
by the draft constitution,” ZEC chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, told the
local Financial Gazette newspaper.

Ruhanya urged authorities to conduct the next round of voter registration
exercise differently “in order for Zimbabwe to have free and fair

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Zimbabwe’s Educational Legacy from the 1980s: was it all so rosy?

February 2013 has come and gone, bringing with it yet another set of abysmal O level examination results and another round of national gnashing of teeth, finger-pointing and acrimonious name-calling. Some attempted to score cheap political points at the expense of rational debate, while the Minister was at pains to point out the difficulties faced by children trying to learn over the past chaotic few years. Indeed, the schools have suffered drastically through the decade of economic collapse and political violence, starved of funding, abandoned by teachers, who left children to fend for themselves without much opportunity for learning. The Minister was not wrong in pinpointing the problems of recent years. However, if we step back to take a longer view of the evolution of our education system, we will find that the present dysfunction originates much further back, and is in fact the logical outcome of policies introduced in the immediate post-independence years – those very policies which have been hailed as bringing Zimbabwe the “best education system in Africa”. It is time for us to revisit the developments of those years.

Much glowing rhetoric has been mouthed and printed lauding the miraculous achievements of Zimbabwean education in the post-independence period. But how much has been myth and how much hard fact? Public and private figures talk about restoring our education to “excellence”. Certainly there were excellent aspects and segments, but is it correct to characterise the system as excellent? In comparison to many other African nations, Zimbabwe could certainly boast of both quantity and quality, but is the low standard achieved by others the measuring stick we should be using, or should we be looking at what was done in comparison to what might have been done? Or at least should we not be telling the truth about what was done and the legacy it left?

Post-Independence expansion policy – democratisation means quantity

A major component of both liberation movements’ promises to the Zimbabwean people when independence was achieved in 1980 was to bring expansion and equality in the education system. Education was considered to be a necessary ingredient of economic development, but it would also fulfil the demands and aspirations of the general populace to have their children educated so that they could emerge from poverty into a more comfortable life with modern amenities. Thus everyone expected that the new government would address the racial disparities in educational provision and meet the people’s demands. Few, however, were really expecting the massive expansion which took place in the early 80’s, with the aim of fulfilling the election promise to provide both primary and secondary education to all children.

During the final war years, many schools had been closed, so enrolment numbers had declined from their peak in 1977[i]. But when the schools opened in January 1980 after the signing of the ceasefire, the numbers skyrocketed. The expansion which took place in the ensuing years has been the hallmark of Zimbabwean education, and it was a truly remarkable achievement. The figures tell the story.

During 1980, 1,310,315 children registered for school[ii]. Of these, the vast majority were in primary school – 1,235,994 – with only 74,321 being registered for secondary schools. The total was an increase of 424,514 or 47.9% over the previous year, and of 38.5% over the higher enrolments of 1977 before the war took such a toll. The huge 1980 increase took place primarily because the war had ended and schools which had been closed reopened. Parents rushed to enrol their children in school, now that they could move freely without fear, and the Grade 1 intake more than doubled from 1979 or any earlier year. Returning refugee children also swelled the school population.

But after independence in April of 1980, a much bigger expansion was introduced, to begin taking effect in 1981. The abolition of any primary school tuition fee from Term 3 in 1980 encouraged many to enrol their children the following January. In that next year, the Grade 1 intake increased again by 25%[iii]and the numbers in every grade from 2 to 7 were substantially higher than in 1980, indicating that most children had by this time returned to school, and many who had been unable to enter school during the war registered even though they were now overage. The total primary enrollment for 1981 was nearly half a million more than in 1980. By 1982 the number was over 1.9 million and by 1983, as the huge grade 1 intakes from 80-82 began to make their way through the system, the figure reached over 2 million, never to drop below this again. The essence of this growth was to move from a 70% participation rate of children in primary schools in 1976 to 97% in 1984[iv].

However remarkable that may have been, the far greater expansion took place in secondary schooling. Prior to independence, one of the major grievances of African Rhodesians had been that secondary schooling was harshly restricted by a selection process at grade 7. Thus, in 1976 when 70% of children were able to attend primary school, only 23% of Grade 7 pupils could proceed to secondary. The new government made an early decision and in mid-year announced that from January 1981 every child who finished Grade 7 could automatically proceed to Form 1, regardless of examination results. Places would be made available for all. From 22,201 in 1980 the Form 1 intake nearly quadrupled in 1981 to 83,491. With this policy being continued from year to year, by 1986 the secondary school population surged to over half a million. The combined school enrollments reached just over 3 million for the first time in 1991 – representing 28% of the total Zimbabwean population at the time.[v]

Of course the consequences of such an explosion in numbers were manifold and would have been debilitating for any school system. As the Permanent Secretary wrote in his report “1981 might be described as the year of shortages; shortages, that is of everything but children”[vi]. There were not enough buildings, not enough teachers, not enough teaching materials, not enough ministry staff to conduct supervision, and certainly not enough experienced administrators. Everything became make-do.

Providing Material and Human Resources

The logical consequence of such rapid expansion was the urgent need to provide physical and human resources. Classrooms were of course required, but this issue was more easily solved that the demand for teaching staff. Existing classrooms could be double-sessioned – on occasion triple-sessioned, so that one group used the rooms in the morning and another group used them in the afternoon. Frequently classes were simply held in the open, under trees with pupils sitting on the ground or on stones or logs; other communities in resettlement areas created schools in former farm houses. In rural areas “upper tops” became the norm; these were secondary classes held in primary schools, using the primary classrooms. They were intended to be a stop-gap emergency solution to accommodate numbers while new schools were built. And new schools were indeed built – with the total number of primary schools increasing from 2,401[vii]in 1979 to 4,530 in 1990. Secondary schools increased from 177 to 1,512 in 1990[viii]. But somehow they never managed to keep up with the growing enrolments, especially in urban areas, where hot-seating continues in some schools up to today.

Obviously, these were not ideal learning environments, but probably more critical from the point of view of teaching and learning were the provision of text books and other materials such as science equipment, maps and atlases for Geography, and implements and consumables for practical subjects. Even after classrooms were built it was still common in the 1980’s to find eight to ten pupils jockeying for position around a single text book.

But most critical of all were the human resources – the teachers. Having set out on such an expansionist programme, the Ministry then strained to provide teachers – and not just trained teachers, but anyone who might fill the role. There was bound to be a time lag, because teachers have to be trained; but what if there are not sufficient recruits with the necessary qualifications to be trained, what is to be done then? In 1980, for example, only 12,926 pupils completed Form 4, and of course not all of them were successful in obtaining a certificate which would qualify them for teacher training. Furthermore, with all the opportunities opening up after independence, few might be interested. A 1986 projection showed that with a teacher/pupil ratio of 1:28 and a 70% transition rate to secondary school, a total of 18,750 secondary school teachers would be required as early as 1985[ix]. A teacher generally needed to have completed O Level and then spend three years being trained. To solve the problem of teachers while the additional ones were being trained, there were only two alternatives – either bring teachers from elsewhere or utilise untrained teachers. Zambia, which expanded its education at a far more measured rate and from a much smaller base, chose the former and made extensive use of expatriate teachers, especially at secondary level. ZANU PF, on the other hand, displayed a can-do approach, sharply reducing the requirements to become a teacher. They relied to an astonishing extent on “temporary teachers”. Throughout the 1980’s many of these were Form 4 leavers who had failed most of their subjects. They replaced primary school teachers who were moved up to teach in secondary schools. Many of these, trained before 1980, had not completed secondary school themselves, having been trained after leaving at Form 2 or even at Standard 6 (the former name for Grade 7). They did however, have the benefit of classroom teaching experience. But even they could not fill all the vacancies in the secondary schools, so many who ended up teaching Form 1 and 2 were in fact recent O Level failures.

Meanwhile a massive exercise in teacher training was begun. Programmes were devised which placed student teachers in schools as full-time classroom teachers for most of their training. In the ZINTEC[x]programme, a crash course which trained primary school teachers, students spent one term in lectures, followed by three years in a classroom with minimal supervision, and finished off with another term in college. In the conventional programme, for both primary and secondary school teaching, a whole year out of a three year course was spent full-time in the classroom, where there was often no better qualified person to supervise or mentor them, and college lecturers visited once or twice a term.

In the early years, the situation was drastic. Figures from 1984 show that in rural secondary day schools run by district councils – representing the vast majority of new secondary schools – the number of teachers increased from 2,682 to 6067 between 1982 and 1984[xi]. In 1982 only 128 were trained for secondary teaching, a figure which rose to 281 by 1984; in that year, of the teachers in secondary school classrooms, 24.5% were primary trained, 13.8% were students and 54% were completely untrained. The urban secondary schools fared far better, with 29% in 1984 being trained for secondary school teaching. These figures demonstrate the deep inequalities which rapidly developed between rural and urban schools, especially at secondary level. The Permanent Secretary described the situation in his 1991 report.(see quotation on page 7, below)

The rapid expansion of teacher training colleges and the development of the ZINTEC programme did make a rapid impact, especially on primary school staffing. By 1989 the following had been achieved: out of 58,362[xii]primary school teachers, 5,409 were ZINTEC graduates, 10,060 had O level plus 2, 3 or 4 years of teacher training, 6,027 had junior secondary school plus teacher training, 7,385 had standard 6 (end of primary school) plus teacher training. 4,325 were student teachers, and a full 24,297 were completely untrained. The academic attainments of the untrained teachers are not indicated in the statistics. Thus only 17% had completed secondary school and followed a conventional 3 or 4 year training programme. Another 9% had completed O level and then the ZINTEC programme. 22.9% had never finished secondary school, having been trained before Independence, 7.3% were students taking full teaching responsibilities and 41.6% were untrained.

In secondary schools the percentage untrained was considerably lower by 1989, standing at 34%, however a significant number of those with training were primary school trained (13.7%) and a further 14.3% were students[xiii]. This left only 27.5% trained to teach at secondary level, plus 1,270 or 5% who were untrained university graduates.

The position was to change fairly rapidly in the ensuing years, as by 1995 the balance had shifted towards trained staff. In that year untrained teachers constituted only 25% of the primary school staff, while 75% had some form of training. In secondary schools 25% of the 27,458 teachers were untrained, but nearly half of that 25% were university graduates without certificates. So progress was being made to train teachers, but through more than a decade children were taught primarily by untrained teachers, many of those with very weak academic attainment. Furthermore, the rush to fill the classrooms with bodies placed pressure on teachers’ colleges where the majority were trained, to mass produce. Lecturers were not permitted to fail more than a tiny few, even though others might not have reached a satisfactory standard. Innovative approaches which would have encouraged a shift from the colonial rote-learning methodology towards a stress on analytical and creative thinking could hardly find a place. Very few of the college lecturers had any preparation to become teacher educators, having been selected primarily for their experience in the classroom and occasionally their possession of a higher degree.

Even more rare than a trained and experienced teacher was a trained, experienced and mature individual who could effectively administer a school. Too often a student teacher in a rural school was the most qualified staff member, and was appointed acting head the day he or she arrived for teaching practice. Knowing as we do how important leadership is for the effective running of an institution, we should not be surprised to find there was poor administration and a high degree of absenteeism among teachers and even heads[xiv], and discipline problems, especially in the rural schools.


Having looked at the figures – the quantities of both pupils and teachers – we next need to examine other issues which impinge on both quality and equality – the curriculum content, as well as the learning materials available. One of the reasons for rapidly expanding the school system was to provide equal opportunity for all children, but government was still not satisfied that equality was adequately catered for by mere school attendance. They felt it necessary to ensure further that all children followed the same curriculum. This was a sensitive issue due to the situation which had prevailed pre-independence. While secondary education for white children was free and compulsory, for black children it was not only fee paying, it was selective. But beyond that, it had been decreed that only half of the black children proceeding to secondary education could pursue an academic curriculum; the other half would have to attend specially designed vocational schools where they would learn practical skills such as bricklaying, building, dress making, carpentry, metal working. Aside from the discrimination in regard to numbers, the perception gained traction that African children were being given an inferior secondary education, by being denied the academic. Of course there were non-academic programmes for white children as well, but since these were by and large accommodated in the same schools as the academic streams, they were not as visible. The F2 schools, as the vocational schools for Africans were labelled, thus became hated as a symbol of inequality between the races. The government had taken equality as a guiding principle, so they had to go. The policy of phasing out these schools was implemented and by the end of 1982 they had disappeared and been converted into academic schools. All children in all schools would thus follow the same, academic curriculum, and enter for the Cambridge O Level examinations at the end of four years.

This policy ignored several facts. First, O Level was an English examination designed for the top 20-25% of secondary school pupils in England; the others would follow a less academic curriculum. Second, in Rhodesia, those white children who did academic courses were divided into A and B streams, with the B streams being allowed five years to complete O Level. Third, because only the high achieving African children had gone to academic schools, they were all able to complete in four years. Now, everyone would be given only four years to complete. This was meant to implement the idea that everyone would be given equal opportunity, and since five years would stretch the treasury too far, four years was what could be offered.

It was immediately obvious that the majority of pupils would be severely stressed simply in pursuing academic courses, including pure mathematics which was a compulsory subject. But to expect that all children learn and achieve at the same pace contradicted all knowledge accumulated over years of study of educational practice around the world. It was clear that many children – perhaps the majority – were being set up to fail in secondary schools.

In designing the uniform curriculum for secondary schools, an exception was made only for Science, but this was determined by necessity as the new schools, especially in rural areas, were not provided with laboratories, and the majority did not even have electricity. An extremely interesting “Zimscience” curriculum was developed, along with a kit which could be despatched to the schools so that experiments could still be done in the absence of laboratories. But for the former white schools and the better resourced, missionary and government (as opposed to council) secondary schools, separate sciences – Biology, Physics and Chemistry – were offered, subjects which could form the foundations for A Level sciences, which Zimscience could not. Of course History and Geography needed to have new syllabuses which could reflect the Zimbabwean experience, and these were duly introduced. Practical subjects did form a part of the curriculum, with pupils generally being offered one from a selection, depending on what the school could afford. By and large the rural schools were poorly equipped and offered little choice, where in fact they offered any practical subject at all. A half-hearted attempt to introduce a socialist and Cuban inspired “Education with Production” in the mid 80’s fizzled out after facing resistance from teachers, pupils and parents, as well as problems of conceptualisation and resources. Similarly Political Economy faded out as a subject after barely seeing the drawing board. Government seemed to be unable to develop a truly revolutionary curriculum to suit their proclaimed socialism so rather stuck to a one-size-fits-all academic curriculum sadly inappropriate for the majority of children as well as being out of tune with for the Zimbabwean economy.

Another characteristic of the new curricular arrangements should not be overlooked as it has had far-reaching consequences which affect the entire education system up to today. The progression from Grade 7 to Form 1 had been opened to all from 1981. Although a public examination was taken by all Grade 7 pupils, they did not need to pass in order to proceed. While it is clear from the statistics that a meaningful number did repeat Grade 7 in order to achieve better grades[xv], this was not required, and normally was requested by those parents who understood the importance of achieving a standard before going on to the next level. The vast majority simply went forward. Ministry began to favour this, noting that children must make the best use of their chances as no one could afford to offer them a second chance, which would also affect Ministry planning. The idea of automatic progression took hold then throughout the whole system. While teachers, especially in rural schools, continued to request some children to repeat grades, by and large everyone moved on unless they were extremely weak. This then continued through the secondary years.

This form of automatic progression without passing or reaching a minimum standard had far-reaching consequences which remain up to today. In the first place, the child is constantly being exposed to material and teaching which he cannot absorb because he does not have the prerequisite knowledge or understanding. Each year he falls further behind and becomes more despondent and lacking in confidence. The teachers, too, become depressed, as their pupils fail to grasp the material. Imagine the situation in which a Form 2 teacher of Mathematics teaches a class in which one third did not pass grade 7 Maths. The dedicated one struggles, goes back to teach basic concepts, falls behind in her syllabus, and still most of the pupils do not pass the Form 2 exam. But never fear, she will be rid of them at the end of the year as they go on to Form 3 regardless. The only problem is that she will receive another group with exactly the same problem. This situation is demoralising for both pupils and teachers, as they realise the task is impossible and give up their efforts, simply going through the motions. Automatic promotion and equal curriculum were heralded as features of an education system which gives every child the opportunity to be educated, but in fact, by forcing the pace for a child who is not as capable and needs an alternative curriculum and/or more time, this approach denies the child the opportunity of an appropriate education and produces an adolescent with a low self-esteem and a frustrated teacher who will give up trying. It is an unacceptable waste of resources, as teachers are paid to teach children who cannot learn what they are being taught.

Equality, the burning issue

The main goal of the post-independence government was to achieve equality of educational opportunity for all children, sometimes referred to as democratisation. But in spite of the efforts, neither equality nor equality of opportunity was the result. The huge divide along racial lines which remained as a legacy from the colonial period simply shifted to create an even wider gulf between social classes and between urban and rural children. Those families who moved into former white residential areas now sent their children to former white schools which retained all the facilities for learning and for sports which they had accumulated earlier. Or they attended the mission schools which had taken the cream of black children before Independence. They did not have all the facilities of A schools, but they had well qualified teachers and traditions of high standards of achievement. Government built many new primary and secondary schools to cater for the growing numbers in the sprawling new townships. They did not have all the facilities like swimming pools and tennis courts found in the former white schools (now known as A schools), but they were relatively well built and adequate for learning, as well as being staffed increasingly through the 80’s by qualified teachers. Their main disadvantage was the necessity for hot seating, which A schools by and large managed to avoid.

The widest gap fell between urban and rural schools. This was partly because so many new schools needed to be built, especially for secondary school pupils. Government could not manage and relied on donor assistance, but also required parents to contribute their labour for the building. The schools were run not by government but by rural councils, where administrative skills and experience were lacking. But by far the biggest distinction came in the quality of teaching and learning, as many years passed before these rural schools were fully staffed by qualified teachers, and even when they were, most teachers tried to avoid them and find positions at least in the towns or smaller cities, if not in the major centres.

Add to these disadvantages the inability of many children, not necessarily rural, but in all communities, to cope with an academic curriculum, and the difficulty of achieving any kind of equal opportunity becomes clear. Children in different circumstances will not become equal by being offered the same opportunities; they need to be offered opportunities appropriate to their situation and their capacities. As the Permanent Secretary reported at the end of 1991 : “Most of the old and well established schools continued to maintain satisfactory standards of work while the majority of the newly established schools lagged far behind”[xvi]

The Drop-outs

Before the consequences of expansion and the uniform curriculum on the quality of learning are discussed, it is important to see what happened to the children who entered schools in Grade 1 and Form 1. Did they remain in school? What did they learn, and how were they able to use their education after leaving school?

The ever increasing numbers tell us that the majority did stay in school. Nevertheless, there were a worrying number of drop-outs even before the end of primary school. A look at the figures reveals that of the large 1981 intake, just over 30% did not make it to Grade 7[xvii]. This was perhaps to be expected from a post-war influx that included many overage children, and it was reversed when fewer than 20% of the 1982 intake dropped out before Grade 7. The drop-out figure increased again, however, and remained above 20% throughout the decade.

What is even more disturbing, however, is that the majority of those who did not reach Grade 7 dropped out before they even reached Grade 4. The numbers varied, but generally ranged between 12 and 20% who did not go beyond Grade 3, with the highest being the 1989 intake with 22.9% and the lowest being 13.3% dropping out before Grade 4. It averages out at 17.5%. Even more startling is the drop-out rate after Grade 1, which ranges from a low of 5.8% to a high of 21%, with the average being 10.7%. A child who leaves school after Grade 1 cannot expect to benefit in any lasting way. Grade 4 is significant, because it is generally held that a child who does not have at least 4 years of schooling does not acquire literacy to a level adequate to retain it to adulthood. Thus one can expect that 17.5% of the population was not attaining lasting literacy. It is noteworthy that this level of drop-outs continued through the 90’s and the 2000’s up to the present.

This high drop-out in junior primary school questions the credibility of claims for high levels of literacy in Zimbabwe. Certainly, Zimbabwe’s literacy rates – both youth and adult - rank high amongst African nations, but it is difficult to reconcile Zimbabwe’s claim of 93.9% youth literacy (ages 15-24) in 1990 and 97.6% in 2002 with a drop-out rate of 17.5% before Grade 4. These figures also do not take account of those who never entered school at all[xviii], or who did not acquire literacy while there[xix]. An adult literacy rate of 90% in 2002 also seems highly unlikely, as does even the 80.7% recorded for 1980. Of course, literacy is not a fixed concept and can be measured in different ways[xx], but it is difficult to understand where a figure in the high 90’s could have been sourced with continuing primary school drop-out rates averaging above 15% before Grade 4 and over 20% by Grade 7.

What happened to the approximately 75% who did complete primary school? The Ministry’s announcement of automatic progression to Form 1 without any form of selection or restriction opened the door to all. However, not all ventured through it. In 1981, 85% of Grade 7 leavers proceeded to secondary school, as the excitement of the possibilities open to them took hold. However, it never reached that level again, and by the end of the decade it had dropped below 70% and there it remained. If we consider those children who entered Grade 1 after independence, the percentage of each cohort which transitioned to Form 1 hovered around 50%, for some years going just above, and some just below, but never reaching above 54%. This was, nevertheless, a staggering increase from the less than 20% of pre-independence days.

The drop-out rates of those who did proceed to Form 1 are also worth looking at. The first group who started Form 1 after independence, in 1981, followed through well, with only 15% failing to reach Form 4. The rates improved for the next two years, and then began a steady decline, from 17.9% of the 1984 Form 1 class to 38.9% of the 1987 class, then improving to 30% and finally 22% for the 1992 class. If we look at how many survived from Grade 1 right through to Form 4, the story is similarly grim. Of those entering Grade 1 in 1981, only 32.8% registered for Form 4 eleven years later. However, from there, figures improved slightly over the next few years, rising to 41% for the 1992 Grade 1 cohort.

Ultimately, however, the overall percentages who continued in school until Form 4 took a steady downward trend. Those who entered Grade 1 in 1993 showed a dismal record. Before enrolling in Grade 2, 21.3 % had already dropped out. And by the time that cohort reached Form 4 in 2003, only 38% remained in school.[xxi]

The compelling question of course, is what happened to those who dropped out – at whatever stage along the way. But we will leave the answer until we have considered several other aspects and impacts of the development of the education system through the 1980’s.

Standards of Learning Achievement

For an impressionistic view of how well the children were doing, we have to look at the Grade 7 exam results. Pupils were examined in only two subjects, English and Mathematics, and graded with a score from 1 to 9. Anything up to a 6 was considered a pass. In 1988, the year the 1982 cohort were in Grade 7, 31.5% failed English, obtaining marks of 7, 8 or 9, and 25.2% failed Maths. This is not a very edifying result, but also not too discouraging, given the disruption of these years, with many schools resorting to hot seating, others being constructed, many having secondary classes located within them, and virtually all rural schools, and many urban ones, having large numbers of untrained teachers.

The combination of the relatively poor primary school performance, the desperate staffing situation and the academic curriculum should temper our expectations of success for pupils at O Level. Again, we must turn to examination results for an indicator. In 1984, a mere 21.9% of O level candidates passed 5 subjects at O level. But these pupils had been privileged to be in the first cohort experiencing universal transition to Form 1, when the confusion in the schools had not yet developed as it was to do a few years later, and the post-independence excitement about schooling still permeated the atmosphere. By 1989, however, only 13.4% of pupils writing O levels managed to achieve a pass in five or more subjects.[xxii] In that year, 39.2% passed no subject at all, and another 36.7% passed 1 or 2 subjects. These were pupils who had entered Grade 1 just before independence, had passed through primary schools just ahead of the post-independence bulge, but experienced throughout their primary years the serious problems of adjustment to huge numbers of children and an absence of qualified teachers. They had transitioned to Form 1 in 1986, when there were beginning to be more trained teachers, especially in urban schools, but the majority of teachers were still untrained. Doubtless, if a detailed study were to be done, it would show that most of those passing had attended urban schools, mission schools and private schools, and very few had attended rural day secondary schools. At this stage, the examination offered was still the English Cambridge certificate, although syllabuses had changed to suit Zimbabwean children, and plans were already under way to create a home-grown examinations board. But unfortunately, the 1989 results were to become more or less the standard achieved throughout the 1990’s – sometimes slightly higher, but rarely reaching above 15% of candidates passing five subjects.

It is possible that the low pass rate at O level, particularly in rural schools, influenced the drop-out rate. Children in secondary schools could see the poor success rate of the pupils just ahead of them, and lost hope that they themselves could benefit from continuing to Form 4. Better options for a future life beckoned from South Africa or from the growing practice of illegal gold digging or panning in rivers.

Social Impacts

Prior to Independence, as noted above, few children progressed to secondary education. Segregated schools for Africans existed in the urban townships, but more opportunities were available in the mission schools, primarily located in rural areas. It was the general assumption that attendance at secondary school led to an escape from rural life and integration into the wage earning urban classes. Leaving for boarding school at the age of 14 was the beginning of a new life, away from the village home. Since only the select entered secondary schools, results were usually very good, and those who completed secondary school did obtain permanent employment within a narrow sphere of occupations. Those who did not obtain a place in the secondary school remained at home to help with the field work and the household chores, at least for the next few years until they reached adulthood and perhaps sought employment as wage labourers or lower level clerks.

When secondary education was extended to all, a policy was implemented to provide day schools throughout rural areas. In densely populated areas, this was not a problem, and children might walk 2 or 3 kilometres to their new school. But in areas where the population was more widely distributed, the norm was more likely to be 5 to 10 kilometres. This then occupied a good portion of a child’s day – at least an hour in each direction, often more. And it represented not only time but energy, which took its toll especially when there were drought years and little to eat. The young person of 14 or 15 found himself or herself in a dilemma. Long hours were spent at school and travelling to and fro. Homework assigned was meant to be done, but in the absence of electricity, it had to be done by candle or paraffin light and only after household chores like gathering firewood, cooking, washing or ironing clothes had been completed.

Furthermore, the absence of adolescents from the home during school days deprived the rural economy of much-needed labour in the fields. Many families tried to balance the role of pupil with labour, withdrawing children from school on those days when they were required to take the cattle for dipping, or when help was needed with the ploughing. Children who previously spent days chasing birds from ripening grain were now in school on most days and not available for such chores. Thus a labour shortage was felt, and at the same time, adolescents were torn between their seemingly conflicting roles. Given the long days at school, the ambivalent family roles, and the poor conditions at home for studying or even doing homework, it is hardly surprising that many rural children dropped out of schools and those who did not achieved very low pass rates. There were many rural secondary day schools where no student had ever achieved passes in five subjects at O Level up to the end of the 1990’s.

But there were further problems for some: what about those areas where it was not viable to build a secondary school within walking distance of everyone? A secondary school could not be built for the 100 pupils who might live beyond a 10 km radius. They may have walked 3 kilometres to primary school, but more than 10 or 15 kilometres to the secondary school was not a distance which could be walked to and fro on a daily basis. Still, many refused to be deprived of their chance to continue with their schooling. If the school was 20 kilometres away, they simply camped out near the school during the week, sleeping on shop verandahs, erecting temporary shelters, and in effect creating informal boarding arrangements which were totally unsupervised. It does not take much imagination to conclude that a miniscule number of these pupils could benefit from this type of provision. Girls became pregnant, boys overindulged in alcohol and most dropped out of school before reaching Form 4. Very few of these children made any progress with their education, and yet they had been divorced from their traditional roles in their homes and often became a problem to themselves and their families, seeing themselves as failures, without a new direction to take for their lives.

School Leavers

The statistics on drop-outs given above indicate quite clearly that through the 1980’s, on average more than 60% of the pupils left school before completing Form 4. Of those who did complete Form 4, not more than 15% obtained the five passes required to go on to tertiary education or acquire some form of training or employment. That means that out of all the children who entered schools, only about 6% had a clear road ahead of them when they left, at whatever stage that might be. What happened to the others? A substantial number did not complete Grade 7, more did not transition to Form 1 or dropped out during the high school years, and to these were then added those who failed to make the grade at O level – altogether on average 94% of each cohort.

Those who had reached Form 4 and failed, often repeated subjects until they managed to accumulate 5 passes. Then they could proceed to a course which might secure them employment in the formal economy. Others went back to Form 3, but these were not the majority, especially in rural schools. The rest just disappeared into the community, forever changed by their experience of attending secondary school and raising their hopes of escaping from village life, only to have them dashed. They had for the most part achieved literacy and numeracy but were not prepared for any further training or for anything else. Few had learned skills which they could put to productive use, and furthermore they had adopted the attitude that they should be employed. That was the goal, but few attained it, leading the rest to see themselves as failures. Much research needs to be undertaken to find out the types of adjustments made by these children and their families and what the impact was on rural livelihoods. Surely if the post-independence policy makers had been less concerned with achieving an equality which was unattainable, by providing an academic education for all, we could have made better provision for the hundreds of thousands of young people who left schools unprepared for tertiary education and unequipped to enter anything but a subsistence economy. Surely alternative arrangements for schooling and for appropriate curriculum might have served them and their families and the rural economy more effectively to make the money and energy expended on rural day schools become an investment rather than an expensive consumption component of the national budget.

Economic Impacts

Education is frequently viewed by economic planners as an item of investment rather than consumption. However, it will only be a productive investment if there are future returns to the economy from the vast sums expended to educate all children. In 1991 28% of Zimbabwe’s population were in school. This became an enormous burden on the treasury, and was identified by the IMF as an expense which had to be reduced. This resulted in the reintroduction of school fees for urban primary school children, and the reduction of inputs from government which had supported operating costs. Resentments were widely expressed, but it was indeed a fact that government was spending far beyond its means. Education had become a consumption item, when the economy was not growing fast enough to generate revenues to invest or to create the jobs which would enable those young people to be more productive, adding value to the national economy. In 1982, there were 80,000 school leavers, but only 10,500 jobs were created. This trend continued through the 80’s, with total employment actually dropping in some years.[xxiii] Analyst Brian Raftopolous points out that this lack of jobs for school leavers had begun already in the pre-independence period, but with the numbers escalating so rapidly, the problems produced would become a social and economic time-bomb. As a prominent educator Rungano Zvogbo wrote in 1985 “While free primary education for all is a sound democratic ideal, it is not sound and practical economics, particularly for a developing country.”[xxiv]Aside from the strain put on both the economy and the education system itself, he notes that the expansion raises the “question of the provisions that have to be made for the future employment of such large numbers of students who will leave school each year to seek jobs in an economy that is not growing at a corresponding rate.” And yet the demand for human resources required in the technical and professional areas is unlikely to be met “because so far there has been no radical transformation of the curriculum to facilitate the achievement of national objectives”[xxv]. The education planning falls short, he notes, because it fails to take account of the future of the huge numbers of school leavers.

Reform attempts

By the late 90’s it was clear to all that the education system was in deep crisis. Although nearly 100% of classroom teachers were now trained, schools had been built, and even the examination system localised, there were intractable problems. The mismatch between the economy and education was clear – both in terms of the unaffordable budget inputs and in terms of the large outputs of school leavers with no place in the face of declining production. Examination results were not improving for those at O level[xxvi]and indiscipline in schools, among both teachers and pupils was being noted.

The President appointed a commission to enquire into education and make recommendations for changes. This commission, generally known as the Nzirimasanga Commission, publishing its report in 1999[xxvii], was scathing in its criticism of a system which it deemed to be in a parlous state. Amongst many other suggestions, its major recommendation was the differentiation of the system, introducing separate streams especially after Form 2, which would provide vocational and technical courses for those less suited to purely academic work. The government chose to suppress the report to avoid public discussion, while quietly paying lip service to some of the recommendations. However, no attempts were made to undertake a wholesale revision on the lines recommended. Through the first decade of this century, the system as it was developed in the 1980’s has remained in place, while being severely buffeted by political and economic gales which played havoc with even its better features.


The democratisation of education, making schooling available for all, was a great achievement of Zimbabwe’s post-independence government. However, we do ourselves and Zimbabwe no favour if we simply praise the expansion and make questionable claims for its great success, without examining the legacy of problems which it bequeathed to future generations. It is difficult to deny that the system served the few very well, while failing to provide an adequate preparation for life for the many. The academic curriculum prescribed for all made attainment impossible for the majority who were unable to cope and yet could not be offered anything else and left school in limbo, unable to follow further education or gain any employment. Nearly a third had left school before completing Grade 7, and more than half did not finish four years of secondary school. The rapid expansion produced its own logic in inadequacy of infrastructure, learning materials and especially qualified teachers. Standards plummeted, being reflected in the examination scores, affecting in particular children attending rural day secondary schools. The O Level examination system, never intended by its originators for more than 25% of children, ensured that the vast majority failed. Vast amounts were expended on teaching children who would not be able to succeed. But even for those who did succeed, there were no jobs available, as the democratisation began to produce hundreds of thousands of school leavers every year, while the economy contracted. Equality remained a distant dream as yawning gaps developed between the successful and the rest. Zvobgo wrote with foresight in 1985:

“the overriding objective behind current planning strategies is the provision of school facilities and opportunities to all children. This is, of course, a moral, social and political obligation which the government has to fulfil, given the fact that this is partly what the armed struggle was all about. It was a fight for equal access to education for children of all races. This objective must be carefully planned for and achieved without incurring problems for which there may eventually be no solutions”[xxviii]

The haste of the democratisation, the lack of planning in relation to learners’ realities or economic imperatives ensured that those problems were indeed incurred for which the solutions have remained elusive up to the present. Politics trumped realism, leaving the legacy of failure which we must struggle today to overcome.

Mary Ndlovu is a social justice and human rights activist with a background in education in Zimbabwe and Zambia, particularly teacher education, curriculum, and the relationship between education and development. She has lived in Bulawayo since 1980.

[i]The totals given in the “Monthly Digest of Statistics” CSO Harare, December 1982 are 892,651 for primary enrolments and 73,335 for secondary, together 965,986.

[ii]All enrolment statistics from 1980 to 1995 are from the “Annual report of the secretary for education and culture for the year ended 31stDecember 1995”, 45.

[iii] Ministry also began to allow children to enrol in Grade 1 in the year they would turn 6 instead of 7 as previously.

[iv]The figures are for the gross percentage, which means the total number of all ages enrolled compared to the population of the appropriate age group.

[v]Population figures for 1991 were given as 10.7 million

[vi]“Annual Report of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education for the year 1981” p. 2

[vii]It must be remembered that this number would be low because many schools were closed due to war.

[viii]Kanyenze G. et alBeyond the Enclave: Towards a Pro-Poor and Inclusive Development strategy for Zimbabwe,Weaver Press, Harare, 2011, 304-5

[ix]Zvobgo, R. “Education and the challenge of Independence” inZimbabwe: the Political Economy of transition 1980-1986, Codesria, Harare, 1986 p. 349

[x]Zimbabwe Integrated Teacher Education Course

[xi]Chivore, B.S.R. Teacher Education in Post-Independent Zimbabwe ZIMFEP 1990 p. 122-123 quoting sources from the Ministry of Education Planning Division

[xii]Colclough C et al Education in Zimbabwe: Issues of Quantity and Quality SIDA Education division documents No 50. December 1990 , 49


[xiv]See Secretary’s report for 1990, p. 6

[xv]Generally the number of pupils in Grade 7 is larger than the figure for the same cohort in Grade 6

[xvi]Annual Report of the Permanent Secretary for Education and Culture for the Year ending December 31 1991, p. 4

[xvii] Calculations have been made by the writer, based on figures in the PS Report of 1995

[xviii]The numbers were likely very few – estimated at 2.1% in 1984 and 3.2% in 1986

[xix]Extremely difficult to estimate. Many would have dropped out before Grade 7

[xx]In an article entitled “Monitoring and measuring literacy” in 2005, D.A. Wagner noted on page 5 that “countries... typically rely on a national population census model, which most often determine literacy ability by self-assessment questionnaires and/or by means of a proxy variable utilizing the number of years of primary schooling (i.e. 5 or 6 or 8 years of primary schooling equals a ‘literate’ person”). He further notes that “literacy may be simply inferred from school attendance: those with 4 (or 8 or 12) years of formal schooling are assumed to be literate. Or, in other societies, literacy rates are calculated from the numbers of persons who answer ‘yes’ to the simple question ‘Can you read and write?’ It is now known that such approaches to presumed literacy may be quite misleading, for a host of reasons.” As a result, such methods are increasingly being questioned, and there is a move to estimate literacy only through actual reading and writing performance. Wagner also notes that “it must be recognized that any change in the methodology used for calculating literacy rates in a population might result in uncomfortable political consequences”

[xxi]2003 figures are from the Annual Report of the Secretary for Education, Sport and Culture, 2003.

[xxii]Permanent Secretary’s Reports 1986 and 1989

[xxiii]Raftopolous, B. “Human Resources Development and the Problem of Labour Utilisation” inZimbabwe: the Political Economy of Transition”ed. Mandaza I.Codesria, Harare, 1986 , 298

[xxiv]Zvobgo, R. “Education and the challenge of Independence” inZimbabwe: the Political Economy of Transition,ed Mandaza, I. Codesria, Harare, 1986 p. 341.

[xxv]Ibidp. 345 (both quotations)

[xxvi]Results at A Level were of course much better, considering the stringent selection process which admitted only the best O level candidates to the sixth form

[xxvii]The report was produced under the title “Report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training, August, 1999

[xxviii] Zvobgo, R.Op. cit, p. 345

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Bill Watch 16/2013 of 20th May [Constitution Bill Passed by Parliament & Voters Registration, Voters Roll, Indigenisation SIs gazetted]

BILL WATCH 16/2013

[20th May 2013]

Both Houses of Parliament Sitting Tuesday 21st May

New Constitution Bill Through Parliament on 15th May

On Tuesday afternoon, 14th May, the Senate waived the relevant Standing Orders enabling it to fast track all stages of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Bill, as amended by the House of Assembly a few days before. At the request of the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs the Senate approved a few minor amendments during the Committee Stage, to remove anomalies. The final affirmative vote exceeded the two-thirds majority required by section 52(3) of the Constitution. The Bill was sent back to the House of Assembly for consideration of the Senate’s amendments.

The House of Assembly dealt these amendments on 15th July, and swiftly approved them. The final affirmative vote surpassed the required two-thirds majority, and there were no votes against.

The Bill will now go to the President for his assent as soon as copies including the amendments have been prepared for his signature by the Government Printer.

[Constitution Watch 28/2013 of 20th May gives details of the changes made to the Bill by the Senate.]

New ZEC Regulations for Voter Registration and Voters Roll Prices

A Government Gazette Extraordinary of 17th May contained two important SIs made by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission with the approval of the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs [both available from]:

Voters roll prices

SI 68/2013 specifies reduced prices for electronic copies of voters rolls from the Registrar-General’s Office [ward roll $5.00, constituency roll $10.00]. It also states “for the avoidance of doubt , it is declared that the voters roll can only be provided as a ward voters roll or a constituency voters roll”. [Note: it would be possible to buy rolls for all 210 constituencies for$2100.]

Voters Registration Regulations

SI 69/2013 contains the Electoral (Voter Registration) Regulations, setting out

updated provisions for proof of identity and residence by claimants, and

revised application and other forms, and

an entirely new form VR.8 for the claimant’s affidavit that will from now on by law be accepted in lieu of the other documentation prescribed for the purpose of proof of residence.

Indigenisation – Penalties for Reserved Sector Infringements by the Non-Indigenous

SI 66/2013 [available from] is Amendment No. 5 to the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Regulations [SI 21/2010]. It introduces a new section 9A into the main regulations [SI 21/2010] to penalise businesses that operate without “indigenous compliance certificates” in the fourteen “reserved sectors” of the economy listed in the Third Schedule to SI 21/2010 [for example, retail and wholesale trade, milk processing, transportation and “agriculture, primary production of food and cash crops”]. The deadline for obtaining indigenous compliance certificates is 1st January 2014.

An important point is that his new provision applies only to businesses that commenced operating on or after 17th April 2008.

This SI needs scrutiny by the Parliamentary Legal Committee for constitutionality, legal validity [“ultra vires”] and reasonableness.

Other Parliamentary Business Conducted Last Week

House of Assembly

The House sat on Tues 14th and Wednesday 15th May but not on Thursday 16th.

Bills passed On 14th May the House, having already heard Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s Second Reading speeches on 7th May, took up the afternoon by passing without amendment the following two Bills:

Microfinance Bill [available from]

Securities Amendment Bill [available from].

In each case, there was little debate before the Bill received its Second Reading, in spite of the importance of both Bills. Hon Cross presented reports on both Bills by the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion; the reports identified provisions the Committee felt needed clarifying to reduce the possibility of confusion, but did not recommend holding up the Bill. Winding up the debates, the Minister thanked the Committee for its reports, acknowledged merit in some of the points made and rejected others, and undertook to consider some of the suggestions for possible inclusion in the mid-year Finance Bill that he said he intends to bring up soon. Both Bills went through their Committee and Third Reading Stages without further discussion, and were transmitted to the Senate. It remains to be seen whether the Minister’s much larger Income Tax Bill goes through with similar lack of discussion when it comes up for continuation of the Second Reading debate on 4th June.

International Agreements Approved On 14th May, at the request of the Minister of Labour and Social Services, the House approved [the House does not ratify agreements – see below] two international agreements in terms of section 111B of the current Constitution:

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention [2006] [available from].

African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa [“the Kampala Convention”] [available from]. President Mugabe signed this convention on behalf of Zimbabwe in 2009.

On 15th May the House approved two further agreements:

Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks, at the request of the Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs

Statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency [IRENA], at the request of the Minister of Energy and Power Development.

Once the Senate has also approved these four agreements, Zimbabwe will be in a position to lodge its instruments of ratification or accession, signed by the President, with the UN or the AU.

Motions and other business On 15th May Hon Chikwinya opened debate on his new motion calling for a restart, with proper notice and adequate funding, of the just-ended mobile voter registration exercise and the setting up of a special Parliamentary Committee to go into, and report back to Parliament on, the adequacy of the exercise. [Note: ZEC had already announced they would be repeating the voter registration exercise to conform with paragraph 6 of the Sixth Schedule to the new Constitution – but the Government is responsible for funding.]


Having spent two and a half hours on 14th May dealing with the Constitution Bill [see above], the Senate immediately adjourned until 21st May. No other business was dealt with.

On the Agenda for Parliament this Week

House of Assembly


Government Bills No Government Bills are listed for this week. The already presented Income Tax Bill, is only due to come up again on 4th June, for continuation of the Second Reading debate following Finance Minister Biti’s Second Reading speech of 7th May. No other Government Bills are yet in the Parliamentary pipeline.

Private Member’s Bill Hon Gonese’s motion for leave to bring in his Bill to repeal section 121(3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act is item 12 on the Order Paper and unlikely to be discussed. The Supreme Court has still not delivered its decision on the application by Minister Chombo claiming that such Bills are not permissible during the life of the Inclusive Government.


New motion on voter registration Item 2 on the Order Paper is the adjourned debate on Hon Chikwinya’s motion on the mobile voter registration exercise, which began last week [see below].

Adjourned debates on a large number of motions await completion [see Bill Watch 13;2011 of 14th May for a summary]

Question Time on Wednesday 27 written questions, most carried forward, await responses from Ministers. Two of the newer questions seek: detailed information from the Minister of Mines and Mining Development about the value of the Government’s interest in diamond mines in Marange, the mines’ output from July 2012 to January 2013, gross dividends received by Government, tax revenue from diamond sales, and measures to reduce diamond leakages; a statement from the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment on the criteria used to select beneficiaries of the indigenisation programme and a list of all beneficiaries.


Bills The only items on the Order Paper are the two Bills passed by the House of Assembly last week [see above]:

Microfinance Bill

Securities Amendment Bill.


No motions are listed.

Question Time [Thursday] Only one question is listed, carried forward from previous sittings; it asks the Minister of Mines and Mining Development for reaction to concerns expressed about haphazard mining activities at Benson Mine in Mudzi district.

Court Case to Stop MDC Unseating Five Parliamentarians

The five Parliamentarians the MDC wants unseated following their expulsion from the party [see Bill Watch 13/2013 of 14th May] have gone to the High Court for an interdict prohibiting Parliament from acting on the notices sent by the MDC’s Ncube executive to the Speaker and the President of the Senate in terms of section 41(1)(e) of the current Constitution. The court papers claim that as they were elected under the banner of the MDC when it was led by Professor Mutambara, it is not for the Ncube executive to unseat them while the legal challenge to Welshman Ncube’s assumption of the party leadership is still before the Supreme Court.

Government Gazette and Gazette Extraordiinary of 17th May 2013

Statutory Instruments

ZEC Electoral Regulations [both available from]:

SI 68/2013 and SI 69/2013 – see note at beginning of bulletin.

Indigenisation Amendment Regulations [available from]

SI 66/2013 – see note at beginning of bulletin. The rules provide for approval of central securities depository schemes, who may participate, a guarantee fund, insurance policies to be maintained.

Securities (Central Securities Depositories) Rules

SI 63/2012 contains these rules, made by the Securities Commission under section 118 of the Securities Act with the approval of the Minister of Finance.

Collective bargaining agreements

SIs 64 and 65/2013 affect the Cigarette and Tobacco Manufacturing Industry.

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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