May 23 2012 at 05:12pm
UN rights chief Navi Pillay told veteran Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe in
talks on Wednesday to ensure fair and violence-free elections when the
country finally votes to pick a new leader.
Pillay is in Zimbabwe for a five-day visit at the invitation of Mugabe's
“I also urged him to ensure that the future elections will be free and fair,
and free from violence,” Pillay said after the 90-minute meeting with Mugabe
at State House, in the capital Harare.
Deadly violence engulfed the last presidential election four years ago.
In a speech marking the country's 32nd independence anniversary last month
Mugabe urged Zimbabweans to shun violence ahead of polls whose date is not
year set, but which he insists be held this year.
“I commended the president for making a call that there should be no
violence in the future elections and urged him to continue to make such
calls,” Pillay said Wednesday.
Mugabe did not speak to reporters after the talks.
But Pillay said their meeting was “very important”, adding that the
88-year-old leader had recounted “the past history of Zimbabwe and
attributed some of the current problems to the past.”
Pillay also met earlier in the week with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
who joined the long-ruling Mugabe in a unity government formed in 2009 to
halt the election-linked bloodshed that killed more than 200 of the
Mugabe, 88, has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.
The unity government is meant to clear the way to new elections, but
preparations are lagging years behind and no date has been set. – Sapa-AFP
By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 May, 2012
Robert Mugabe has reportedly blamed Zimbabwe’s current problems on
historical influences, in a meeting Wednesday with the visiting United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.
The UN Human Rights chief met with Mugabe at his state house offices and
told reporters the ZANU PF leader had admitted the country currently faces
problems. But he blamed historical influences for the ongoing political and
economic crisis .
Pillay was invited by government for a week-long mission to assess the human
rights situation in the country. She had already met with civil society
groups and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvngirai on Tuesday.
Mugabe’s explanation follows total denial by Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, who told Navi Pillay on Monday that there was no state-sponsored
violence in the Zimbabwe. The Mugabe regime has tried to paint a rosy
picture of the situation in the country, ahead of elections expected in the
Thabani Nyoni, spokesperson for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, described
Mugabe’s explanation as a “desperate act” from the leader of a party that
has found itself cornered. Nyoni told SW Radio Africa that Mugabe and ZANU
PF have had 30 years since independence to re-define
Pillay is quite aware of the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, as she was
once part of the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights, which made
recommendations to improve the situation in Zimbabwe, that were rejected by
“It’s clerar she is aware. We presented to her concrete and comprehensive
evidence of cases of human rights violations that have taken place since
independence,” Nyoni explained. He said the visit the UN rights chief is
important because it brings the issues of rightsd violations into the
spotlight and focuses global attention on Zimbabwe.
By Tichaona Sibanda
23 May 2012
The drafting of a new constitution was said to be ‘back on track’ after
COPAC reached ‘common ground’ on contentious issues during a meeting in
Harare on Wednesday.
All parties to the GPA attended the meeting, the first in two weeks after a
period blighted by a ZANU PF boycott of the process. Senior figures from
ZANU PF, including COPAC co-chairperson Paul Mangwana, were present when
COPAC took a step torwards finalising the drafting of a new charter.
The breakthrough comes as the SADC regional bloc was putting pressure on all
parties in the GPA to work together to end the current impasse, amid reports
that Zimbabweans are fed up of waiting for a new constitution while the
process dragged on indefinitely.
SW Radio Africa is reliably informed the SADC chairman, Namibian president
Hifikepunye Pohamba has been pushing for all sides to put aside partisan
differences so they can resume work to serve the people, and restore
confidence in the process.
Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC-T co-chairman in COPAC told us ‘ZANU PF is back in
the fold, cooperating and beginning to sound reasonable. He explained that
the party had tried to derail the process by introducing some completely new
and unacceptable issues in their “position paper”.
‘We completely rejected that 29-page document and said that we should work
on the draft the way we’ve always done. We are happy to say that we reached
common ground today and that we will try to finalize this process by the end
of next week,’ Mwonzora said on Wednesday.
He further explained that they made it clear they were not going to agree to
new issues being brought by ZANU PF. He said anything they are going to do
by way of revision of the process was going to be confined to documents they
‘all agreed to and signed’.
Copac representatives from the former ruling party disengaged from the
exercise following immense pressure from Paul Mangwana, the ZANU-PF’s
negotiator in the constitution-making process and party heavyweights. The
heavyweights, mostly politburo members have rallied against the new draft
constitution, which they see as being aimed at bringing regime change.
The contentious issues in the draft constitution, which was endorsed by the
two MDC formations, include a proposal for reducing the powers of the
president and delegating some of them to parliament.
The draft was drawn by COPAC after collecting views from Zimbabweans on what
they wanted in the document. The proposal has, however, been rejected by
some in ZANU PF, especially those allied to Defence Minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa who cannot tolerate the idea of a weakened presidency.
The proposal has caused a crack in ZANU PF with two factions battling to
succeed Robert Mugabe wrangling over the draft. An analyst told us there is
confusion in ZANU PF because the interests of the warring political elites
or factions are not secure in the draft constitution.
22 May 2012
Blessing Zulu | Washington
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe expressed frustration in cabinet Tuesday
with the slow pace of the new constitution making process and demanded that
the incomplete draft be handed over to the principals at the end of the
Cabinet sources told VOA that Mr Mugabe made the remarks after parliamentary
and constitutional affairs minister Eric Matinenga presented his report to
cabinet on the state of the new constitution.
The new constitutional effort started three years ago and has stalled
several times due to disagreements among the three political parties in the
The parliamentary select committee and the management committee were
supposed to meet this week to discuss a 29 page document tabled by Zanu PF
that analysts say would have altered the draft as the party backtracks on a
number of issues such as the powers of the president and the attorney
general that had been agreed by the parties.
The meeting has been postponed to next week. But sources say it hangs in the
balance as it remains unclear whether Mr Mugabe now wants the principals to
take charge of the process.
Hardliners in Mr Mugabe's former ruling Zany-PF party and senior army
officials backing him are said to be demanding that Mr Mugabe take charge as
Copac is delaying the process to frustrate calls for elections this year.
Matinenga told VOA that Mr Mugabe's demands are unrealistic.
22 May 2012
Thomas Chiripasi & Tatenda Gumbo | Harare/Washington
The visiting United Nations human rights chief, Navi Pillay, in Harare to
assess the rights situation, called on authorities Tuesday to ensure the
Human Rights Commission is activated before the next elections.
Addressing journalists after meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
Pillay said the commission should be up and running before the nation’s next
polls that President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party want held this
"This commission is very important and is needed to play a role during the
election, and I do appreciate the prime minister's interest in addressing
that particular issue," she said.
The commission, which was appointed some time last year, has yet to start
operating because parliament is still discussing the Human Rights Commission
Bill, which will give it powers to investigate rights violations in the
The bill, however, says the new organization cannot deal with past abuses.
Pillay, who also met with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the
parliamentary thematic committee on human rights, said her meeting with Mr.
Tsvangirai also focused on rights violations that occurred in the run-up to
the June 2008 presidential run-off.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tsvangirai said the unity government is doing all it can to
ensure that human rights are promoted and protected, especially during
"I must say we raised a number of issues, we explained the situation in the
country, before the formation of the GNU and after the formation of the
GNU," said Tsvangirai. "There is nothing to hide but also need to highlight
there has been progress since the formation of the GNU."
NGO groups that boycotted the parliament meeting, charging that they were
not safe at the August house following the violence that ensued last year
during the Human Rights Bill public hearings, also met Pillay separately.
Director Abel Chikomo of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, said the
organizations that included the National Constitutional Assembly and the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, managed to present their case to the UN
But before Pillay could even complete her mission, police besieged the
offices of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in central Harare looking for
Chikomo who was not present at the time.
VOA could not independently verify why the police were looking for the
Elsewhere, youth organizations have come out against what they say is lack
of transparency in commissioner Pillay’s visit, alleging the government is
micro-managing her activities in the country.
The organizations say government officials should have given them the
opportunity to meet with the rights chief to discuss the situation in the
country, as they see it.
Practical Empowerment and Networking Youth Association director Hillary
Musarurwa says youths in Zimbabwe have continuously been exploited and not
given a proper chance to air their views.
"Its sad that youth have been sidelined once again, yet when politicians
want to carry out their acts of violence they put the youth on the
forefront," said Musarurwa,
"Its unfortunate when we talk of human rights people look at the political
perspective, but we forget the socio-economic rights which are very
fundamental in the development of young people."
22 May 2012
Violet Gonda | Washington
The facilitation team of South African President Jacob Zuma is expected in
Zimbabwe next week to check on progress made by the unity government in
fine-tuning the election roadmap the Southern African Development Community
says is necessary before the country's next polls.
Mr. Zuma is the SADC-appointed mediator in Harare, following the disputed
and bloody 2008 presidential elections.
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party have consistently called for
elections this year, even in the absence of a new constitution.
But the two MDC formations in the coalition government insist critical
democratic reforms are implemented before any fresh polls are called, in
particular the writing of a new constitution.
But analysts say SADC's mediation role in Zimbabwe has reached its full
potential and is losing steam as conflicts over the same issues remain in
the unity government with no solution in sight.
Mr. Zuma’s international affairs adviser, Lindiwe Zulu, told VOA that the
South African team will hold progress meetings with all the parties in
Zimbabwe during the visit.
“The facilitation team is going back to Zimbabwe to do the work that we
normally do as a facilitation team," said Zulu. "We have meetings, and we
are following up as we have been mandated by our principal President Jacob
United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean analyst Nkululeko Sibanda said the South
African facilitation team now needs to re-strategize and begin a new
discussion that involves other key players, who can bring fresh ideas to the
negotiating table to move Zimbabwe forward.
Sibanda said political parties will continue to disagree because “they are
serving other interests that are outside and away from the table.”
“I think we have got to bring other people onto the table and say where do
we go so that it is an all stakeholders conclusion on how we go forward, and
this is the problem we are having with the constitution, and this is why
people continue to complain,” Sibanda added.
Wed May 23, 2012 4:17pm GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's Mimosa Mine expects to lose 75,000 tonnes of
platinum ore when it restarts production next week, it said on Wednesday.
Production was suspended after a fire trapped miners.
The company also said it had sufficient stocks to meet its platinum output
target for the month and quarter.
Around 60 miners at Mimosa's mine in south western Zimbabwe were trapped
underground on Tuesday but were brought back to the surface without injury.
Mimosa's managing director Winston Chitando said in a statement operations
at the mine would resume on Monday and that production would initially
average 70 percent during the first 19 days before hitting full capacity.
"The mining production loss during this period is estimated at 75 000 tonnes
of ore which is more than covered by the current surface stockpile of about
140,000 tonnes of ore," Chitando said.
"As a result production of platinum ounces for the month and the quarter
will not be affected and is expected to be on budget."
Mimosa is a joint venture between South Africa's Impala Platinum (Implats)
and London-listed Aquarius Platinum Ltd.
The platinum miner produced 104,000 ounces of platinum group metals in its
2011 financial year.
By Lance Guma
23 May 2012
Higher Education Minister and ZANU PF MP for Masvingo South, Dr Stan
Mudenge, is being accused of squandering US$80 000 meant for the completion
of construction work at Gurajena Hospital in Masvingo.
The allegations were made by Escort Chawatama an MDC-T councillor for Ward 1
in the Masvingo North constituency. He said the local development committee
sourced the funds from well wishers between 2010 and 2011 but Mudenge
imposed himself on the project before looting the funds.
“The local development committee sourced donations from well-wishers in a
combined fundraising programme that involved traditional leaders and
councillors. It was an operation targeted at fitting window panes,
construction of blair toilets, sinking of boreholes and the setting up of
ablution facilities,” Chawatama said.
The project also “intended to erect two water tanks with a holding capacity
of 10 000 litres each and we also intended to purchase a 600kw generator.
Part of the funds was intended to be channelled towards the construction of
Things however fell apart when “Mudenge came up with a hospital committee
comprising ZANU PF apologists and blew up the funds after the MP had imposed
himself on the project. The noble community project has been turned into a
Mudenge project,” Chawatama claimed.
“The MP and his committee looted funds and are sitting on development
plans,” and the result is that “construction work has been stalled for
years,” Chawatama said. “It is sad to note that a project that is expected
to help thousands of people has been retarded by one individual,” he added.
On Wednesday MDC-T Masvingo provincial spokesman Harrison Mudzuri told SW
Radio Africa that they had enlisted Chief Gurajeni to resolve the matter but
to no avail. They were now considering ‘making it a police matter.”
If the project is ever completed, the hospital, with an admission capacity
of 107 patients, 45 staff quarters, will serve the Zimuto and Mutema
communities in Gutu District as well as Chirumanzu in the Midlands province.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
22 May, 2012
Both the House of Assembly and the Senate resumed sitting for only three
days last week after a lengthy recess, and adjourned again this week without
tackling several critical Bills that were pending.
The Bills included the Human Rights Commission Bill and the Electoral
Amendment Bill, both of which are urgent Bills that need to be completed
before the next elections are held.
Progress on the Human Rights Commission Bill was expected to begin with The
Committee Stage on 17th May, but the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs,
Patrick Chinamasa, did not attend. As a result the amendments he has tabled
could not be debated.
The importance of the Human Rights Commission Bill was conveyed to the
visiting UN Rights Chief Navi Pillay on Tuesday, by the Human Rights
Commission chairperson, who said their work cannot begin until this Bill has
been enacted into law.
The development comes at atime when parliamentarians are being criticised
for not bunking parliamentary sessions while collecting their fees. Some
observers have questioned whether there is any point in continuing with the
current parliament while drafting a roadmap towards fresh elections.
In June last year the Minister for Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs,
Eric Matinenga, admitted that bunking off by ministers was a serious problem
but he said he had no powers to force them to attend.
by Staff Reporter
INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube met with his Mines counterpart
in Harare Tuesday to discuss the stalled US$750 million takeover of
Ziscosteel by Essar Africa Holdings.
The meeting between Ncube and Mines Minister Obert Mpofu came as the company’s
workers appealed to Parliament for help with many saying they had failed to
pay examination fees for their children after Essar suspended the payment of
Essar, which has reportedly been spending about US$1 million on salaries
since the deal was commissioned nearly 10 months ago, told the company’s
1500 workers it could not continue to pay them while there was no production
The takeover deal, which was expected to help revive the collapsed steel
producer now renamed NewZim Steel, has hit the skids over the transfer of
iron ore reserves to Essar with Ncube and Ncube trading blame for the chaos.
But the Mpofu and Ncube confirmed they had met Tuesday as pressure increases
for the deal to be implemented.
“We met and agreed that we will meet again soon and invite Essar Holdings
management to a conversation on how we can ensure that the company operates
smoothly,” Ncube told The Chronicle.
“The issue is we transfer mining claims owned by NewZim Steel. We did not
set any dates because we first need to liaise with Essar Holdings.
“What I can say is that the matter is being treated with urgency, as you
know that the workers have not been paid for nearly a year since the
agreement was signed.
“As the Government, we are doing everything we can to try and bring this
issue to finality.”
Mpofu added: “The most important thing is that we are in consultation with
the Ministry of Industry and Commerce over this issue.
“Cabinet has directed us to look at the outstanding issues with regards to
the agreement with the view of reviewing the matter.
“Essar Holdings will have to engage us on the mineral title or special
grants with a view of addressing some of the concerns that the Ministry of
Mines raised. However, we are hopeful that we will have an amicable
Workers representatives told a Parliamentary committee Monday that hundreds
of students in Redcliff could not register for exams this year after parents
employed by ZISCO failed to pay examination fees.
"Most of the workers' children, who were supposed to write their Ordinary
and Advanced Level examinations, failed to register for the examinations
because we were told that we would not be paid just before the deadline for
registration," Ziscosteel Joint Unions Committee chairman Benedict Moyo told
"As we speak, our children, who are in boarding schools, have started coming
back home after school authorities sent them away for failure to pay school
fees. We have tried all avenues but have been hitting brick walls."
Moyo said the town of Redcliff and surrounding areas had been hit hard by
the Essar’s decision not to pay salaries.
"Zisco used to be the major supplier of water and electricity in some areas
in Redcliff because Kwekwe pumps water into the Zisco system then the water
would be pumped into the residential areas, which is the same scenario with
Zesa and at the moment none of those is there, so you can see the plight
that people are going through," he said.
Essar took over 60 percent a controlling stake in NewZim Steel (Pvt) Ltd and
an 80 percent interest in NewZim Minerals (Pvt) Ltd, formerly Buchwa Iron
Mining Company (Bimco).
But Mpofu has blocked the transfer of mining rights for Bimco’s iron ore
reserves amid fears the government may have sold a multi-billion dollar
asset for a song.
Essar – who took over ZISCO’s multi-million dollar debts including US$12
million in unpaid salaries for the workers – have refused to resume
production until the mineral rights are transferred.
Still, the workers said they should not be made to suffer for mistakes that
may have been made by Ministers.
"We were never involved when this deal was being negotiated and for Essar to
now come to us and say they will not pay us if the deal is not signed is not
fair," said Moyo.
"We don't want to be used as pawns in their (Ministers Ncube and Mpofu)
fight. All we want are bread and butter issues to be addressed."
The case against 29 MDC-T members accused of murdering a police officer in
Glen View in May last year is set to crumble as the State’s evidence is
weak, lawyers representing the activists have said.
by Tapiwa Zivira
The activists, most of whom are still being held in custody a year later,
are expected to appear before the High Court on June 4.
Allegations are that the 29 allegedly took part in the murder of Asst Insp
Petros Mutedza during a confrontation between MDC-T members, who were
holding a meeting in the populous Glen View suburb, and the police, who had
come to disperse the meeting, claiming it was illegally convened.
The activists, it is alleged, attacked the police with stones, resulting in
Mutedza’s death. Immediately after the murder, police launched a massive
crackdown in most southwestern suburbs.
Solomon Madzore, the MDC-T National Youth Chairman, is among the accused –
but was only arrested in September 2011. His repeated attempts to be
remanded out of custody have failed.
“About 25 of them are saying they were not even at the meeting or the scene
of the murder and four are saying they were present but fled when the police
arrived to dismiss the meeting. They have strong alibis,” their lawyer,
Charles Kwaramba, told The Zimbabwean.
He said the autopsy shows that Mutedza could not have been murdered by more
than three people.
“The post mortem shows one blow and a few bruises in the head and this
cannot be said to be a result of the actions of many people,” he said.
“The State’s witnesses are also not claiming to have seen any single
individual taking part in the murder but are just saying they saw a group of
people wearing MDC-T regalia, which does not confirm that our 29 clients are
the ones who took part in the murder,” added Kwaramba.
The case demonstrates a tendency by some politicians to victimise their
clients, he said.
“They (unspecified politicians) are just happy to have MDC-T people in
custody, and they do it carelessly because if the post mortem can show that
the murder was not committed by many people, why keep 29 people in custody?”
Turning to the activists’ treatment in custody, Kwaramba said the accused
were badly treated by prison officials.
“They are not getting medical treatment. We have one who has a broken arm
after being assaulted in police custody and there is another whose private
parts are swollen but no doctor has come to see him,” said Kwaramba.
A year after the Glen View incident, the trial has failed to kick off and no
evidence linking the 29 activists to the murder has been presented in court.
On numerous occasions, the High Court has failed to sit because either the
judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, or the prosecutor have been “not feeling
well”, away doing “other business”, attending a funeral, or “not ready to
In a recent statement, the MDC-T lambasted what it called the State’s and
the Judiciary’s unjustified manoeuvres to continue to “imprison, persecute
and harass innocent and peace-loving Zimbabweans whose only crimes are to be
members of a political party that is fighting to bring about democracy”.
The party has continually expressed concerns that the accused are living in
inhumane conditions, with two of the female inmates, Rebecca Masvikeni and
Yvonne Musarurwa, in solitary confinement in the male section at Chikurubi
By Staff Reporter 6 hours 45 minutes ago
HARARE - Senior army and police officers from Chimanimani district last week
summoned Zanu (PF) ward representatives to a crisis meeting held at Biriwiri
Sources among the representatives of all the 23 wards who attended the
meeting told The Zimbabwean that allegations of voting buying during the
recent Zanu (PF) District Coordinating Committee elections took centre
stage, with some of the delegates accusing aspiring member of parliament and
senior Zanu (PF) youth official, Joshua Sacco of rigging.
Sacco’s faction, believed to be aligned to Emmerson Mnangagwa swept all the
DCC’s posts. His personal body guard, Brighton Muchuwa was elected the DCC
“During the meeting, the army chefs demanded a ward-by-ward report on what
transpired during the elections. Some losing candidates accused Sacco’s
faction of rigging the elections. There were also complaints about why the
party was keeping a white guy in its structures,” said a source who attended
Senior army officers present included officer commanding Harare province,
Senior Assistant Commissioner Clement Munoriarwa, National Railways of
Zimbabwe chief executive officer, retired Air Commodore Michel Karakadzai
and Brigadier-General Mike Sango.
War Veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba, senior official Enoch Porusungazi and
MP, Samuel Undenge also attended. The soldiers promised to come back in the
next few weeks with a decision to either nullify the elections results or
During the meeting the soldiers also made it clear that Zanu (PF) should win
the next elections at all costs. The secretary for commissariat, Webster
Shamu, was last week ordered by the politburo to carry out a thorough audit
of the elections and nullify the results where necessary.
Army commanders and senior police officers, some of whom want to be
candidates in the next elections have taken over Zanu (PF)’s campaign drive.
Sacco’s secretary’s personal secretary, one Manyange, answered his mobile
phone when reached for comment. “I am sorry Mr Sacco is not available for
comment. He has travelled and will only be available next week,” said the
Party spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, said he was not yet ready to comment on
the army’s involvement in the party’s internal politics.
By Professor Matodzi Harare, May 23 May 2012 - The National Social Security
Authority (NSSA) has named and shamed controversial army chief, Major
General, Martin Chedondo among new farmers who had not remitted workers'
pension contributions between December 2009 and June 2010.
Court papers seen by Radio VOP show that Chedondo, the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces (ZDF) Chief of Staff, who owns Dindingwe Farm in Marondera and
employs 56 workers, was recently hauled to the high court by NSSA which is
demanding payment of $5 972.
Chedondo recently issued brazen remarks that the army must interfere in
politics and support President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party and labelled
other political parties as agents of imperialism.
“The defendant has despite demand failed/neglected to plaintiff the total
sum of $5 972 in respect of both outstanding contributions and surcharges,”
reads part of NSSA declaration filed in the High Court.
NSSA has also sued Attorney General Johannes Tomana, Munyaradzi Kereke, the
former advisor to central bank governor Gideon Gono, former Mashonaland West
Governor Nelson Samukange, who owns Rukoba Farm in Banket, Local Government,
Rural and Urban Development Minister, Ignatius Chombo, the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation and its reporter Reuben Barwe, who runs a farm in
Norton and Air Zimbabwe over unpaid pension contributions.
An estimated 250,000 households in rural Manicaland are in need of urgent
food assistance following poor harvests, according to statistics from the
Provincial Administrator’s office.
by Tony Saxon
Manicaland was affected by drought and poor farming preparations in the
2011-12 season, with some farmers failing to harvest anything. A cereal loan
scheme introduced by the government to help food in secure households has
reportedly been hijacked by influential individuals.
Mutare District Administrator Simon Sigauke recently confirmed that grain
meant for the scheme had run out before the intended beneficiaries had
received their monthly allocations.
Under the scheme, each needy household is supposed to receive 50kg of maize
every month, said Sigauke, who added that hungry villagers were inundating
the district offices to inquire about the availability of the grain.
“My office has been besieged by needy people who come to inquire when the
next delivery will be made. Each household is receiving a 50 kg bag of maize
per delivery, but this is not for big families,” he said.
Sigauke urged government to make speedy deliveries of the staple maize in
order to avert hunger. The maize is being distributed through Grain
Marketing Board depots. There is growing concern that Zanu (PF) officials
and Agritex officers are diverting truckloads of food meant for the
villagers to the black market.
They are reportedly selling it at exorbitant prices to ready buyers on the
informal market. A source privy to the scandal said a tonne of maize was
being sold for a minimum price of $250.
Supporters of the MDC have alleged that they are being side-lined in the
distribution process. The Minister of Agriculture, Mechanization and
Irrigation Development, Joseph Made, last week condemned the corruption.
“We are ready to weed out such unscrupulous people. I am aware that the
issue of distributing grain is being politicised. Nobody should be denied
access to grain. At no point should the GMB and Agritex officials distribute
grain. This should be done by the traditional leaders,” said Made.
Meanwhile, The Zimbabwean has learnt that the Manicaland Small Miners
Federation has disbursed a $50 000 credit facility it received from South
African based Nashell Mining Trust last month to help its members produce
Steven Makata, MSMF Chairman, said the funds were disbursed to miners
throughout the seven mining regions in the country.
“Regional representatives are giving this money to registered miners who
have been producing gold or any other mineral mined in the region. They are
disbursing the money and we are waiting for feedback from them,” Makata
said. The association is now looking for funds from the Small Enterprises
Development Corporation to assist small-scale miners. “The association would
repay SEDCO the loan using earnings from gold. Out of the 25 000 small-scale
miners whose operations were closed under operation “Chikorokoza Chapera” a
few years back, only 2,000 were issued with environmental impact assessment
certificates,” he added.
A coalition of clergymen from Southern Africa has vowed to observe
forthcoming elections in the region.
by Mxolisi Ncube
The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which includes Zimbabwe,
Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland, announced this week it had joined
forces to observe upcoming elections in several countries, including
The SACBC said that, with the politically charged situation in the region,
much was at stake in some of the countries facing elections, with election
violence, intimidation and reprisals being among issues of most concern.
“We call on the governments planning elections to guarantee conditions that
ensure they are free, fair and peaceful,” said Bishop Nubuasah of
Francistown, who is also the President of Imbisa.
“We have seen how violence and insecurity affect the everyday lives of
ordinary people, denying them much needed development and the ability to
lead fulfilled lives,” he added.
The Bishops also called on the SADC to be active in ensuring that its
principles and guidelines on the conduct of elections are fully respected.
“Election time is challenging time and as witnesses on the ground, our hope
is that our governments will respect these guidelines, so that the lives and
dignity of each and every individual can be respected,” said Bishop
by Phyllis Mbanje
MORE than 60,000 people on ARV therapy could have their treatment cut off by
year-end unless the government plugs the funding gap created by donors who
are withdrawing from the programme.
Addressing the Parliamentary committee on HIV and AIDS Monday Acting
Secretary for the Ministry of Health, Dr Christopher Tapfumaneyi, said the
government must move in to prevent a possible disaster.
The government funds 15 percent of the country’s Anti Retroviral Treatment
(ART) programme with the balance met by donors. But key donors, among them
the Global Fund which finances at least 35 percent of the national
programme, are understood to be withdrawing their support.
Dr. Tapfumaneyi said the development leaves some 66,000 at risk of losing
their treatments by the end of the year. About 420,000 are currently on ART
around the country.
"As a ministry we have already noted that some of our partners are already
not forthcoming with funding for ART in Zimbabwe. We are aware that partners
are mostly on their way out but we have no choice but to rely on the
Ministry of Finance," he said.
"We used to have a situation where we had a 3 year supply for everyone whom
we put on ART but that has been reduced. By year end 66 000 people will not
be able to access their medication.”
An official with the Zimbabwe National Netowrk for People Living with
HIV/AIDS (ZNNP+), Memory Chigunye, said people living with AIDS (PWAs) like
herself were alarmed the development and urged the government to move with
speed to addres address the funding problem.
"We are greatly alarmed when the very people who are in the forefront show
us that there is a crisis that they have no solution to,” she said.
“Where will the Treasury get the money to save the 66 000 lives that are at
risk? Why didn't they put alternative mechanisms in place when the donors
told them they would no longer fund the programme?"
A decision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to increase the CD4 count
level to 350 from 200 is also said to have excluded thousands people in need
of treatment from the programme.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tapfumaneyi also lamented delays by the Ministry of Finance
in releasing funds raised through the AIDS levy.
"Unfortunately, we never get the funding that we believe is adequate. This
year we have not got funding for any of our programmes," he said.
"We continue to rely heavily on the Ministry of Finance because we cannot
collect money from our people because they do not have any."
As he teeters on the brink of the end of his life-long political career,
President Robert Mugabe is still using the tactics of divide-and-rule that
have served him so well in the past.
by Staff Reporter
Despite official denials, political analysts are certain that he is about to
reshuffle his Politburo in a desperate attempt to weaken potential
challengers to his throne. A new Politburo was scheduled to be announced
just after the death of former army commander and Zanu (PF) kingmaker
Solomon Mujuru last year.
He had for a long time been seen as the leading figure in a faction gunning
for the presidency of the party and the country. He died in a mysterious
inferno at the farm he had occupied.
Throughout his tenure as the iron-fisted ruler of Zimbabwe, Mugabe has
encouraged factionalism as a strategy to maintain his grip on power. He has
successfully played one group off against another – thus keeping himself in
an unassailable position as head of both party and state.
This strategy worked fine in the days when Zimbabwe was a de facto one-party
state. But now that there are other political parties in the mix,
factionalism has weakened Zanu (PF) to the point where it appears likely to
The hatred among the various factions of the party is now so strong that
Mugabe is the only person acceptable to all – despite the fact that they all
want him to go. He is the glue that holds the party together – and everybody
For years now Mugabe has offered one excuse after another to maintain his
position. At one time he said he couldn’t go before finishing the land
“reform” programme. Then he said he had to see the indigenization exercise
through – making sure some Zimbabweans were wealthy. Now he says he can’t go
because factionalism would destroy the party.
John Makumbe, a political scientist and University of Zimbabwe lecturer,
said Mugabe was likely to trim the old guard to make way for more Young
‘‘It is clear that he is increasingly seeing the old guard—the likes of
Emmerson Mnangwa, Sydney Sekeramayi and Didymus Mutasa—as problematic. He
knows that they need to be diluted with new blood,” said Makumbe.
‘‘But by moving to get more of the so called Generation 40 into the
Politburo, Mugabe is in a fix. He knows he cannot really trust the Young
Turks - yet they are crucial for the party’s resurgence, if it will ever
come,’’ he added.
He singled out the likes of Saviour Kasukuwere, Walter Mzembi and
Christopher Mutsvangwa as some of the young leaders who are “unguided
missiles”. Kasukuwere, who holds the indigenisation brief in the current
Politburo, was fingered by Wikileaks as having several years ago admitted to
a western diplomat that Mugabe should go.
The Politburo is dominated by the old guard, most of whom participated in
the 1970s war of liberation. Many have been rejected by the electorate and
have had to be appointed by Mugabe as senators in order to take up
Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, once considered Mugabe’s blue-eyed boy,
has failed to win his KweKwe seat since 2000. Despite being dependent upon
Mugabe’s favour for his political position, he recently indicated his wish
to replace him.
Makumbe said Mugabe could afford the luxury of side-lining the old guard.
‘‘His real power at the moment lies with the army and security forces. For
as long as he keeps them on his side, there is not much people like
Mnangagwa can do,’’ he said.
The problem, Makumbe added, was that some members of the army and security
figures Mugabe relied upon to keep him in power were aligned to factions led
by the old guard. There have been reports that Constantine Chiwenga, the
Commander of the Defence Forces, is now leading a ring of hardliners in a
quest to take over as president.
by Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S tourism industry is now the fastest growing in the world after
China, contributing 8.2 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), cabinet
minister has said.
In an interview Tuesday, Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said the latest
figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) show that tourism’s
contribution to Zimbabwe’s GDP would average 8.2 percent for the next
"This makes Zimbabwe the second fastest growing tourism industry in the
world second only to China. It is a favourable rating by any standard but we
have to work hard to maintain those figures as the test of the pudding is in
the eating," said Mzembi.
WTTC is a forum for business leaders in the Travel and Tourism industry who
work to raise awareness of travel and tourism as one of the world's largest
industries, supporting 255 million jobs and generating 9 percent of world
Mzembi was elected President of the African Travel Association (ATA) for the
next two years at the association’s annual conference in Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive, Karikoga Kaseke said used the
conference helped give potential investors a better understanding of
opportunities in the country’s tourism and hospitality sector.
"The hosting of this prestigious congress by Zimbabwe is another great
stride in the right direction as we look to enhance growth and development
in the tourism sector," Kaseke said.
ATA last held its congress in the country in 1988. The meeting is largely
seen as an opportunity to market to
Vendors and informal beer sellers here are doing brisk business, albeit
illegally, selling cigarettes and opaque beer smuggled from neighbouring
by Chris Ncube
Trade in such commodities is commonplace in Berea, Hillbrow and Yeoville,
the populous Johannesburg suburbs where most Zimbabweans in South Africa
live. While cigarettes smuggled from Zimbabwe have been sold on Johannesburg
streets over the years, a survey by The Zimbabwean established that the
traders have also found a viable market for opaque beer.
Investigations established that syndicates, mostly informal transport
operators commonly known as omalayisha, were smuggling the beer through the
porous Beitbridge Border Post. They take advantage of poor security or pay
bribes to corrupt customs officials to facilitate the entry of the goods.
They also pay bribes to police officials operating on the highway between
the border town of Musina and Johannesburg to avoid confiscation of the
beer. Once in the capital, where Chibuku Scud and Ingwebu Calabash have
proven popular, the beer is sold discreetly at the termini where omalayishas
Some shebeen operators buy in bulk for resale. The products cost R15 - close
to double the price they fetch back home. “The R15 price enables us to break
even and covers the money lost through bribes to facilitate the entry of the
beer,” said a malayisha who sells opaque beer.
“Business is brisk, particularly among the low-income earners who cannot
afford bottled beer. Business is running so fast that I have to go to
Zimbabwe on a weekly basis to restock,” he said.
Hillbrow Police warned against such practices saying the culprits would be
dealt with. While beer smuggling is taking root, it is the smuggling of
cigarettes that remains one of the biggest headaches South Africa faces.
The South African Revenue Services believes government loses R2 billion in
tax revenue to this practice. SARS spokesperson, Adrian Lackay, recently
told the media that illicit cigarettes were being smuggled into South Africa
mainly from Zimbabwe.
Widespread corruption at entry points and along the porous Zimbabwe-South
Africa border makes it easy for the smuggling of contraband that also
includes minerals, agricultural products, guns, clothes and food items.
22 May 2012
Gibbs Dube | Washington
Some delegates and Zimbabwean government officials who attended the five-day
37th annual congress of the Africa Travel Association which ended Tuesday in
Victoria Falls say the event was a success though there is need to engage
the international community on political issues scaring away tourists.
The delegates said as Zimbabwe assumes the presidency of the association, it
is necessary to now extensively market the country to potential tourists in
Europe and North America.
The congress identified lack of direct airlines to Zimbabwe and tough
barriers of entry into the tourism market as hindrances for promoting the
Ilala Lodge manager Siphambaniso Moyo who attended the event told VOA Studio
7 Zimbabwe also needs to create a conducive business environment for
airlines and other entities.
Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said Zimbabwe hammered a $10 million deal
with Wilderness Safaris for upgrading hotel infrastructure in Victoria
The more than 600 participants who attended the ATA event included tourism
ministers and industry experts representing tourism boards, tour operators
and their product development executives, front-line agents, ground operator
companies, airlines, and hotels.
The Africa Travel Association (ATA) is the leading global trade association
promoting travel and tourism to Africa and strengthening intra-Africa
Established in 1975, ATA serves both the public and private sectors of the
international travel and tourism industry. It partners with the African
Union Commission (AU) to promote the
sustainable development of tourism across Africa.
22 May 2012
Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has put to rest speculation about
his love life after customarily marrying Elizabeth Macheka, daughter of Zanu
PF Central Committee member Joseph Macheka.
Mr. Tsvangirai’s spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka, told VOA the Prime Minister
paid lobola a few weeks ago and a ceremony to welcome Elizabeth into the
Tsvangirai family was held over the weekend in Buhera, his rural home in
On Monday the Prime Minister officially introduced Elizabeth to his ruling
partner President Robert Mugabe and his deputy Joice Mujuru.
Mr. Tsvangirai was in a marriage muddle last year when he paid some dowry to
businesswoman Locadia Karimatsenga-Tembo's family.
Just 12 days after marrying Karimatsenga-Tembo, Mr. Tsvangirai split with
her saying he suspected it was sting intended to damage him politically.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper reported at the time that Mr.
Tsvangirai paid $36,000 and five cattle lobola but no details have been
released of the new marriage.
In splitting from Karimatsenga-Tembo, Mr. Tsvangirai said: "My genuine
intention has been betrayed, and hearts have had to search long and hard for
the true meaning of this well-choreographed drama that has now been hijacked
to cause political damage to my person and character."
Tamborinyoka told VOA's Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that many now
hope Elizabeth will assume the motherly role that Susan, the Prime
Minister's late wife, played in her husband’s MDC formation and the country
Both Mr. Tsvangirai and Macheka lost their spouses in car crashes.
Reverend Levy Kadenge of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe said Mr.
Tsvangirai’s new status will bring more respect.
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
The new democratic people driven constitution is one of the deliverables of
the Global Political agreement. For over three years Parliament through the
Parliamentary Select committee has been working on this programme.
The Government of Zimbabwe as well as the development partners have invested
millions of dollars into this process. Just a few weeks ago, Copac produced
its first draft constitution and everyone was happy that the long awaited
constitution was slowly becoming a reality. Unfortunately Zanu PF and its
military junta have started making determined efforts to derail this
Methods employed by Zanu PF to derail the program include massive propaganda
against the process channelled through the state media, unwarranted attacks
on the donor community and the intimidation of the Parliamentary Select
Committee members by some sections of the military.
Recently Zanu PF brought to Copac what it termed its position paper in a bid
to drastically change not only agreed positions but the views of the people.
Zanu PF pretends as if it was not part and parcel of this first draft
It is common knowledge that Copac embarked on a comprehensive outreach
program in which it sought to solicit the views of the people of Zimbabwe.
At the end of that program Copac had national data comprising data gathered
at outreach meetings, views from all Zimbabweans at home and abroad.
Views from the outreach program were compiled by an inter party technical
team and that marked the drafting stage. The constitutional draft which
today, Zanu PF tries to disown is a product of the three GNU political
Below is a summary of the outrageous demands by Zanu PF:
That the military should be allowed to play an active part in national
That the president should appoint commissions without parliamentary
That there should not be a constitutional court as demanded by the people.
That there should not be devolution of power to the provinces.
That executive authority must only vest in the president as opposed to the
president and cabinet.
That there shall be no proscription of violence in elections.
That the president shall not be answerable to parliament on deploying troops
within and without Zimbabwe.
That there should not be any constitutional limit to the number of
ministerial posts a president can appoint.
These demands run contrary to the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe.
The MDC applauds the management committee’s resolve to tackle this problem
The consequences of Zanu PF’s actions as follows:
Zanu PF is clear that the people of Zimbabwe will overwhelmingly vote for
the draft constitution.
Continued use of the current Lancester House constitution that has a bias
towards Mugabe and Zanu PF.
More political chaos as the people will reject the heavily patched
As a people’s party, the MDC calls for the respect and fulfillment of the
people’s aspirations as far as the constitution making process is concerned.
The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish!!!
Zimbabwe is probably the most exciting country to live in at this point in
time. There is no end to the fun and games, especially on the political
front. Never before have we seen Zanu (PF), the former liberation movement,
so disunited, disparaged and desperate than we see it now.
by John Makumbe
The fights that used to take place within that party behind closed doors are
now coming out in the open. The push has finally come to the shove; it is
not a nice picture. Media reports indicate that the succession dilemma has
now been openly discussed in the politburo, complete with naming and
shaming. This is a clear sign that the once formidable political party has
now reached such a level of disintegration that even President Mugabe is
shocked and frightened.
The cut-throat competition pertaining to the elections of district
coordinating committee officials is a case in point, as the two major
factions in Zanu (PF) compete/fight for grassroots support. Naturally, the
national political commissar has been asked to clean up the mess as soon as
possible. This, as we all know, is the time when the job of the national
commissar becomes a high-risk undertaking.
We sincerely hope that these squabbles will be resolved amicably for the
sake of our nation. I do not hold any brief for the reeling party, but I
know very well that an unstable Zanu (PF) will impact negatively on the
whole political system. Take, for example, the sudden preference for the
Kariba draft constitution and the threat to reject the Copac draft, as
expressed by Mugabe recently; what is the rationale for this?
It is obvious that Zanu (PF) is disappointed that Copac has managed to draw
up one of the most democratic constitution drafts in the world. They are
fully aware that going for elections under the Copac draft is like tying a
noose around their own necks. They will have less than half a chance of
winning even a quarter of the seats in Parliament. That is why some of them
are calling the Copac draft constitution “a regime change” document.
Spin doctors working for the Commander in Chief and his disappearing party
are doing their best to discredit the Copac draft. They probably forget that
their own political party has an equal number of representatives on the
Select Committee as the MDC. Speaking on the ZBC weekly programme covering
Copac work, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, right at the end of the show aptly
cautioned Zimbabweans not to listen to “…messengers of evil,” a clear
reference to some of these paid spin doctors. So what is the best way
forward? My suggestion is that the nation should be allowed to go for a
referendum when the Copac draft is ready. On the ballot should be the two
contending drafts – Copac draft, and the Kariba draft.
The voters should vote for the draft they prefer. Whichever draft commands
the majority of the votes should be adopted as the foundation law for this
I am certain that, if the plebiscite is free and fair, the Copac draft will
be the people’s choice by a large margin, even if Zanu (PF) campaigns
against it. The people of this country have reached the stage where they
regard anything and everything shunned by Zanu (PF) as good for them.
Chabvondoka. - email@example.com
What is it that they find disagreeable about the proposed Constitution? COPAC last week announced a deadlock in the constitution-making process.
The impasse apparently emerged after ZANU PF came back from their inter-party consultation process with substantive amendments that would change the draft constitution in a significant way. This comes after months of negotiations in which all parties, including ZANU PF, participated and agreed the substance of the draft constitution.
A key area of contestation is the President’s Office. The problem is a circumstance of our recent history. Save for the first seven years of the ceremonial Presidency, when the office was occupied by Reverend Banana, the office of the Executive President has been occupied by one man: Robert Mugabe. It’s fair to say his name has almost become synonymous with the Zimbabwean Presidency.
When therefore, reforms are suggested in the Office of the President, some see it not as reform of a national institution but rather as an attack on President Mugabe the man. When suggestions are made to make the Office of the President more accountable to the people through Parliament, it is seen as a direct attack on President Mugabe.
There is no separation between the institution of the Presidency and the individual holding that office. Forgotten in all this is that President Mugabe is not going to occupy the President’s Office forever; that someone – another person will one day sit in that office. The focus must therefore be on the institution rather than the individual. When discussing the Presidency, we must be asking ourselves: What kind of President do we want? Do we want a President with extensive powers, unlimited by Parliament or do we aspire for a Presidency that is accountable to the people through their representatives in Parliament?
I believe that we must make a constitution to save ourselves from ourselves. This is because history has proven that humankind cannot be trusted with unlimited power. We have to put in place checks and balances to save ourselves from our own excesses.
To identify the differences, I have worked through the COPAC Draft Constitution and compared it with the present Constitution in regard to the Office of the President. My assessment is that there are significant differences and further, that the Draft Constitution makes important improvements to the Office of the President, making it more accountable to the people.
I had drawn a table so that the comparative assessment would be easy on the eye. But the blog space did not accommodate the table well – it became an eyesore – so I decided to change format. Instead of presenting all the issues, I will start with the first seven to be followed by more tomorrow.
|Issue 1||Executive Authority|
|Current Constitution||There is no specific clause stating the source of Executive authority|
|Draft Constitution||Clause 6.1 (1) states that “Executive authority derives from the people of Zimbabwe …”|
|Change||The difference is that the
new Constitution specifies the source of executive authority as deriving from
the people of Zimbabwe whereas the current Constitution does not. This is an
important constitutional statement which makes it clear that whoever exercises
executive authority is ultimately accountable to the people because it is from
them that such authority is derived. It means that whoever is vested with
executive authority by the Constitution is exercising authority delegated by the
people of Zimbabwe. He or she exercises such authority at their pleasure. The
people from whom executive authority derives have the right to withdraw it from
whomsoever it is delegated in terms of the Constitution. It reaffirms the
principle of people power.
|What they don’t want:||The firm and clear constitutional restatement that executive authority derives from the people.|
|Issue 2||Sharing Executive Authority|
|Current Constitution||Section 31H states that the executive authority of Zimbabwe shall vest in the President which he may exercise directly or through the Cabinet, a Vice-President, a Minister or a Deputy Minister.|
|Draft Constitution||Clause 6.1 (2) states that the national executive authority of Zimbabwe vests in the President and the Cabinet.|
|Change||The difference is that
whereas the current Constitution vests executive authority exclusively in the
President, the new Constitution would vest executive authority in both the
President and his Cabinet.The new Constitution specifically and directly vests
Cabinet with executive authority whereas the current Constitution makes it
exclusive to the President, delegating it to Cabinet as he or she wishes. The
new Constitution means Cabinet will be directly accountable to the people, from
whom, as we have seen, executive authority is derived. It also means Cabinet
will have to take their responsibility more seriously and the President will
also have to take the Cabinet more seriously.
Opponents of this clause feel it dilutes the President’s executive authority which in their view should be held exclusively.
|What they don’t want:||That executive authority is shared between the President and Cabinet and that Cabinet is accountable directly to the people from whom authority is derived.|
|Section 27 states that the President takesprecedence over all other persons in Zimbabwe.|
|Draft Constitution||Clause 6.2 simply states that the President is the Head of State and Government and the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces but omits the clause that he shall take precedence over everyone else.|
|Change||The difference is that
whereas the current Constitution gives precedence to the President over all
other persons which suggests superiority of one person over others, the new
Constitution omits this anachronistic clause consistent with equality and
non-discrimination provision in Clause 4.7 of the Bill of Rights which states
that “Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and
benefit of the law”.There is no need for a provision that gives the impression
that the President is superior to those who elect him or her into office. The
idea that one has precedence over others derives from ancient monarchical
systems and modern democracies ought to be moving away from that archaic system.
|What they don’t want:||That the President is at law equal to all other persons.|
|Issue 4||Presidential Duties|
|Current Constitution||Clause 31H simply provides for a general duty to be observed by the President.|
|New Constitution||Clause 6.3 provides for specific duties to be observed by the President.|
|Change||The difference is that whereas the current Constitution makes provision for specific duties that the President must observe, the current Constitution only provides for a general duty. Not only does the new Constitution require the President to uphold the Constitution and the laws of Zimbabwe but it also goes further to specify that the must respect,o specifiy that he must e Constitution and the laws of Zimbabwevision for specific duties that the President must observe, the obey and defend the Constitution and ensure that it is faithfully observed. Therefore the new constitution creates positive obligations on the President to take positive steps to ensure respect for the Constitution. If others disobey or violate the Constitution he must defend and ensure that it is respected. Also different from the current constitution is the positive duty stated in the new Constitution that the President must promote the observance and fulfilment of fundamental human rights. This statement places specific obligations on the President in the protection of human rights.|
|What they don’t want:||The specific duties that the President must observe, including the duty to promote the enjoyment of human rights.|
|Issue 5||Legislative Authority|
|Current Constitution||Section 32 states that the legislative authority of Zimbabwe vests in the Legislature which shall consist of the President and Parliament.|
|Draft Constitution||Clause 7.1 the national legislative authority of Zimbabwe is derived from the people and is vested in and exercised by Parliament.|
|Change||There are two
differences:First, that unlike the current Constitution, the new Constitution
specifies that legislative authority derives from the people of Zimbabwe.
Second, and more importantly, unlike the current Constitution, the new
Constitution omits the President from the legislature. This means that the
President does not have the authority to make laws unless, of course, Parliament
delegates that power.
It keeps the President away from the law-making domain of Parliament which is now given this exclusive power, consistent with the principle of Separation of Powers.
|What they don’t want||The removal of the President from the legislature and confining the office to executive functions.|
|Issue 6||Power of Mercy|
|Current Constitution||In terms of Section 31I the President has a wide discretion to grant pardons, amnesties, reprieves, etc, to criminal offenders.|
|Draft Constitution||Clause 6.23 allows the President to exercise the power of mercy but in exercising the power he or she must consult an Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy created under the Constitution.|
|Change||The difference is that
whereas under the current Constitution the President acts alone in exercising
the prerogative of mercy, under the new Constitution he would have to consult an
independent committee when exercising this power. This acts as an important
check to minimise the abuse of the power of mercy which might be used to grant
pardons to political allies who would have committed offences in expectation of
getting reprieves. This would otherwise encourage a culture of
impunity.Secondly, by substituting the terminology of “prerogative of mercy”
with the new formulation of the “power of mercy”, the new Constitution moves
progressively away from the language and culture of prerogatives deriving from
ancient monarchical systems. It also opens the door for the judicial review of
the exercise of such powers. Judicial review is a known important check on the
exercise of executive power.
|What they don’t want:||Subjecting the President’s exercise of the power of mercy to checks and balances and modernising the language and concepts in the Constitution.|
|Issue 7||Presidential Terms of Office|
|Current Constitution||No term limits.|
|Draft Constitution||Clauses 6.4 and 6.8
provide that a President will serve a maximum of two terms of five years
each.The Constitution also provides that a person who has served at least three
years will be deemed to have served a full term
|Change||The difference is that whereas the new Constitution would provide for maximum term limits for the President, the current Constitution provides for unlimited terms.|
|What they don’t want:||Presidential term limits allowing for life presidency.|
Part 2 will be published tomorrow.
Most of the world regards the 88-year-old president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, as a doddering sadist, the man who once had a servant kneel at his feet in front of foreign dignitaries after bringing him a bowl of water to wash his hands.
It’s no wonder Mugabe was one of the inspirations for Sacha Baron Cohen’s new film, The Dictator.
But in an exclusive interview, one of Zimbabwe’s most renowned human-rights lawyers, a longtime foe of Mugabe, said the dictator has his charms.
In the 1980s, David Coltart, who is white, represented dozens of families of people who the regime had “disappeared.” He drafted a devastating report in the 1990s accusing the government of overseeing a genocide.
Coltart’s activism earned him the enmity of Mugabe’s regime. The dictator denounced him on state television in 1998, and in 2003 a group of armed thugs camped out at his home and then chased him when he got in his car in what Coltart considers to have been an attempt on his life.
Today, though, Coltart finds himself in a different position as the education minister for a power-sharing government in Harare attempting to make the transition to democracy. The government, formed in 2009, includes Mugabe but also the longtime opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. From this new perspective, Coltart has had an upfront view of Zimbabwe’s tyrant in his sunset years.
“He is 88 years old, he is old and frail, but he is not doddering,” Coltart, who also serves as a senator in the government, told The Daily Beast in an interview. “He chairs cabinet meetings weekly between 9 a.m. and 12, and he is alert. He has difficulty getting up stairs. But when I compare him to other 88-year-olds, he is not doddering.”
“I don’t think he is a sadist,” said Coltart. “I think he is an ideologue. I think he believes very firmly in his role of ending white minority rule and to use any means to achieve that goal. He has done terrible things, but it is always with a political intent and objective. He has done very cruel things, but not for the sake of cruelty.”
While Mugabe has presided over massacres, the expropriation of white-owned land, hyperinflation and famine in a country renowned for its farmland, Coltart said he has seen the leader’s human side. In 2010 Coltart’s daughter, Bethany, was attacked by a lioness at a game preserve and nearly lost her arm. “In that instance, Mugabe called me aside wanted to know what medical treatment she was receiving and showed incredible compassion,” he said. “When my mother died, he expressed sympathy and was supportive. I could tell it was not put on.”
Coltart also recalled a political moment of decency by the Zimbabwean president. When he became minister of education in 2009, Coltart said, “We were in danger of seeing a lost generation.” The previous year, there had been only 26 days when students actually attended school. And yet in 2010, the U.N. Development Programme ranked Zimbabwe as the country with the highest literacy rate in Africa. The ranking was meaningless, Coltart said, but members of Mugabe’s party touted the figure to claim their education policies were effective.
“Mugabe came in and actually backed me up on this,” Coltart said, as the president told members of his own political party, “We cannot afford to rest on our laurels.”
“He has done terrible things, but it is always with a political intent and objective. He has done very cruel things, but not for the sake of cruelty.”
Despite such moments of civility, Coltart said he has never really confronted Mugabe over the attempts on his own life, or the abduction of one of his aides more than 10 years ago.
“The closest I came to discussing this was in February 2009 when I had a one-to-one meeting,” Coltart said. “I told him a lot of water had flowed under the bridge, but it was now time to move the country forward.” Coltart added that had he addressed the incidents, he thought Mugabe would have just denied his actions.
“I am a human-rights lawyer, I know crimes against humanity have been committed in our country; they have been perpetrated by people I have to meet with every week,” Coltart said. “The way I rationalize this is that in 2008 Zimbabwe was lurching towards being a failed state ... I believed in the interest of saving lives, of preventing the country from being utterly destroyed, it was necessary to compromise.”
Yesterday, I had the chance to speak with David Coltart, Zimbabwe's Minister of Education, Sport, and Culture. A human rights lawyer who campaigned against the regimes of Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe, Coltart was a founding member of the Zimbabwe's main opposition party -- the Movement for a Democratic Change. He was among the MDC politicians, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who entered government in an uneasy coalition with Mugabe's Zanu-PF following the disputed election of 2008.
We discussed why he opposeses economic sanctions, why it would be dangerous for Mugabe to exit the scene too quickly, and an unlikely role model for democratic transition:
Robert Mugabe has called for elections to be held this year. Is the MDC preparing for them?
The call for elections comes from hardliners within Zanu-PF. It doesn't enjoy support from moderates within Zanu-PF, SADC [the Southern African Development Community], or South Africa. If Robert Mugabe decides to align himself with the hardliners, there's going to be a very high political cost to pay in terms of his support in the region.
There's also a financial cost they haven't confronted. The country's on a shoestring budget because we've adopted the U.S. dollar -- we can't print our own money. So they're going to have to find money from somewhere. What the region, all of us in the MDC, and even moderates within Zanu-PF are saying, is that the process of constitutional reform must be completed, the reform of electoral processes must be completed. Once that's happened, then fresh elections must take place.
If they do go ahead with these elections, they will be on the basis of the old laws. We may not even contest those elections. So one will be left with just another crisis. It won't resolve the political situation.
Robert Mugabe's health has been the subject of a lot of speculation lately. Does that factor into your political planning?
The bottom line is that he's 88. He's old and he's clearly tiring. But from what I've seen, he's in remarkably good health. So I don't think it helps to plan around Robert Mugabe. I think one should make the assumption that he's going to be part of the short-to-medium term political environment.
One of the ironies is that Mugabe is necessary in the short term. If he went suddenly, the divisions between Zanu-PF would come out in the open and cause a lot of turmoil. I think that there are many within Zanu that recognize that he's the glue that holds the party together.
Some might say, "great, let Zanu fall apart." But there's a danger that it would fall apart in such a way that there would be a lot of strife and the military would use unscrupulous means to stay in power.
It seems to me that certainly within the cabinet there's a fairly strong moderate wing forming under Vice President [Joice] Mujuru. Whilst I don't agree with many of the policies, on some of the basic issues they clearly are committed to seeing this reform process through and are even prepared to contemplate the loss of power.
It's been over three years since you entered into this unusual power-sharing government. Do you think it's possible to say now whether it's been a success?
One needs to go back to where we were in 2008. Zimbabwe was lurching towards becoming a failed state. There was hyperinflation, people flooding out the country, thousands losing their lives to cholera, the prospect of virtually a lost generation. In that context, despite all the problems, we've achieved a great deal. We've stopped the cholera epidemic, we've reopened hospitals and clinics, we're dealing with sewerage issues in cities, we're getting clean water to people in cities.
Take education. When I took over I had 8,000 schools closed and 90,000 teachers on strike. Education was facing total collapse. We've got every single school open we've progressively increased the salary of teachers, we've got the textbook-to-pupil ratio down to one-to-one.
The same with the economy. We had hyperinflation in 2008. This year's it's down to four percent. Bank deposits are growing. Don't get me wrong. The economy is still in extreme crisis. I liken the country to a jumbo jet that was in free-fall and we've leveled it out about 200 meters above the ground. We could stall again but we are gradually gaining altitude.
What are you looking for from the international community?
First, sanctions should go. They've outlived their purpose. They were always symbolic in many respects and their primary purpose was to stigmatize those responsible for human rights abuses. That stigma will not be removed with the removal of sanctions. Ironically, sanctions are being used by hardliners as an excuse for ongoing economic woes. Of course, it's a lie. But for a country that' starved of information, it's a lie that people sometimes believe.
The second thing is that the international community needs to support the social ministries within the country and civic organizations -- not political parties -- that are working to get a new constitution and get better electoral laws. Take education. The United States in the last three years has put in a million U.S. dollars. In relation to other countries, that's minimal. Germany has put in $18 million. Finland has put in over 10 million euro. The contribution of the Germans and the Finns has had a profound impact. Not just an educational impact but a kind of peace dividend that shows people something can be gained through a fragile but slow process of democratization.
If there's improved health, and sanitation, and education, Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF are not going to get credit for that.
What are your main priorities right now on education?
Our primary goal this year is to make conditions for learning safe. We're looking at the provision of water and sorting out sanitary conditions for children. We've had two decades of neglect. So the physical buildings are collapsing. We need to get toilets working, provide clean water, and repair roofs and windows. Nothing grand, just stabilization.
We've just pushed through a medium-term plan that has been approved by cabinet. A key component is keeping teachers on board. We lost 20,000 teachers in 2007 and 2008. We've attracted a lot of them back but we need to do a lot more.
How would you assess America's role in Zimbabwe's democratization?
I thinks its important to emphasize consistency in foreign policy. America's attitude toward apartheid was to support the process [of reform.] People have very short memories. We've forget about Magnus Malan and the military leaders in South Africa, but the process succeeded because the international community embraced it. We haven't seen this process [in Zimbabwe] being embraced by the United States in the same way.
Even currently, there's an inconsistency. We see the U.S and Great Britain opening up with Myanmar. The military is still in effective control there -- more overtly in Burma than in Zimbabwe. At least in Zimbabwe we have the fig leaf of a civilian government. In Burma you don't even have that. Despite that, there's encouragement for the process. I don't see that happening in Zimbabwe. All we ask for is consistency.
Do you think that the kind reform from within we've seen in Myanmar over the past two years could be a possible future trajectory for Zimbabwe?
The great fear about Zimbabwe is that we could revert to what Burma was prior to this period of relative enlightenment -- that the military will exercise their power directly. Having said that, I think we're far further down the road than Burma in terms of a new constitution. Morgan Tsvangirai has had a lot more effective power than Aung San Suu Kyi. We've got actual control of whole ministries. So I think if the international community supported that process more proactively, one could argue we have an even greater chance of getting to effective democracy.
BILL WATCH 22/2012
[23nd May 2012]
The House of Assembly has adjourned until Tuesday 5th June
The Senate has adjourned until Tuesday 12th June
Private Member’s Bills
Speaker’s Sub Judice Decision
Private Member’s Bill to amend Urban Councils Act suspended pending Supreme Court decision
On Tuesday 15th May – the first sitting of the Parliamentary week – before any other business, the Speaker informed the House that debate on the Private Member’s Bill to amend the Urban Councils Act was suspended. His announcement read “following the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development’s decision to approach the Supreme Court regarding the proposed amendment of the Urban Councils Act, debate stands suspended in terms of Standing Order 62(d) until a judicial decision on the matter has been made.” There was no discussion. The Bill is now listed at the very end of the House of Assembly’s Order Paper, where it will remain until there are further developments. It is impossible to predict how long this suspension will continue. The Minister’s application seeks a Supreme Court order stopping further consideration of the Bill; he claims that during the subsistence of the GPA it is unconstitutional for private members to introduce Bills. [For comments on the Minister’s application, the sub judice rule and the implications for the principle of separation of powers and Parliament’s legislative efficiency and efficacy, see Bill Watches 20 and 21/2012 of 15th May.]
Possible effect on other Private Member’s Bills
There are other Private Member’s Bills before Parliament, neither of which was discussed last week:
· POSA Amendment Bill The Senate is part of the way through a debate on Mr Gonese’s motion to restore this Bill to the Senate Order Paper. The Bill – passed by the House of Assembly over a year ago – lapsed at the end of the last Parliamentary session in September 2011.
· Proposed Private Member’s Bill to repeal section 121(3) of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act The House of Assembly is part of the way through its debate on Mr Gonese’s motion requesting leave to introduce this Bill.
It remains to be seen whether the two presiding officers of Parliament – the Speaker and the President of the Senate – will apply the sub judice rule to suspend discussion of these Bills also on account of Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development’s pending application in the Supreme Court. [Note: Although the Minister’s application specifically refers only to the Urban Councils Amendment Bill, a court ruling in favour of his main argument would stop all Private Member’s Bills as long as the GPA lasts. If these Bills too are affected, important reforms will be considerably delayed as finalisation of applications to the Supreme Court often takes a long time.]
No Movement on Key Government Bills
There was no discussion of the two key Government Bills on the House of Assembly Order Paper:
· Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill The Committee Stage of this Bill was expected to start on 17th May, but the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, who is the responsible Minister, did not attend. The Minister has already tabled amendments he intends to propose for adoption during the Committee Stage; these include changes to meet objections from the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] [for details see Bill Watch 14/2012 of 28th March]. This is an urgent Bill – as the Human Rights Commission chairperson told the visiting UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay during their meeting yesterday. He said the Commission cannot start work until this Bill has been enacted into law.
· Electoral Amendment Bill The PLC’s adverse report on this Bill, announced by the Speaker on 27th March, means that the House cannot proceed to the next stage [Second Reading] of the Bill until it has considered the adverse report and decided whether or not to adopt it. The fact that there is an adverse report has been announced in the House, but the report was not tabled for discussion. If the House adopts the adverse report, any clause found to be inconsistent with the Constitution will have to be dropped from the Bill or amended so as to remove the inconsistency. [Note: The official text of the PLC report is not available until PLC chairman has tabled it in the House.] In the past it has sometimes been the practice for the Minister responsible for a Bill to hold discussions with the PLC and agree to introduce amendments himself which will obviate the need to table an adverse report. This happened with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill [see above].
Last Week in the House of Assembly
The House sat on three afternoons last week, on the 15th, 16th and 17th May
Bills The two other Government Bills on the House of Assembly Order Paper did not come up for discussion:
· National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill This is waiting for the introductory speech from the Minister of Industry and Commerce Welshman Ncube. The Bill was introduced during the last Parliamentary session, which ended in September 2011. This Bill has been on the Order Paper for many months without any move from the Minister.
· Older Persons Bill This Bill still awaits the PLC’s report. It was referred to the PLC on 20th March.
International Agreements Approved
The House approved two agreements in terms of section 111B of the Constitution:
· International Plant Protection Convention of November 1997
· Convention for the Establishment of the African Centre for Fertilizer Development of 1985. [Zimbabwe hosts this centre. It has been operational since 1991.]
Motions on Portfolio Committee reports took up most the House’s week:
Willowvale Flats The committee chairperson wound up the debate and the motion was adopted.
Vocational Training Centres The Portfolio Committee’s report, based on visits to 14 centres countrywide, was introduced by its chairperson and was debated at length. Underfunding, lack of resources and loss of land to the land reform programme were noted, as well as previous misuse of VTCs for partisan political purposes during election campaigns. MPs of all parties supported the VTC concept as long as that misuse was avoided.
Local authority service delivery in Gutu and Chiredzi The committee’s report was presented by its chairperson. Debate will follow when the House resumes.
ZIMRA operations at border posts The committee’s report was presented and sparked lively debate from MP of all parties. Debate will continue when the House resumes.
[All these reports available from firstname.lastname@example.org – please specify which is/are required.]
Question Time [Wednesday] This took up the first two hours of the sitting, with Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara fielding many of the questions in the absence of other Ministers. Of interest was his response to a question on the election road map [this will be covered in detail in the next Bill Watch]. He read out a reply from the Minister of Transport explaining the “new” motor vehicle registration number system, but not the current innovations affecting vehicle licensing. The DPM also talked about the need for a proper valuation of mining rights, relating this to the problems over ZISCO and ESSAR’s iron ore mining rights. Minister of Energy and Power Development Elton Mangoma responded on power shortages and related issues, citing failure to maintain and development infrastructure for decades, and revealing that the Batoka Gorge hydro-electric power project could proceed soon. On the Chipinge ethanol project he referred to the confusion prompted by the involvement of several Ministries.
Last Week in the Senate
The Senate also sat on three afternoons last week, the 15th [for 23 minutes only],16th and 17th May.
POSA Amendment Bill This agenda item was adjourned without discussion [see above in Private Member’s Bills].
Other Bills There were no other Bills on the Order Paper. The Senate is waiting for Bills from the House of Assembly.
International Agreements On the 17th May the Senate approved the two agreements approved by the House of Assembly earlier in the week [see above].
Motions Debate continued on motions on Thematic Committee reports on (1) the provision of education in resettled areas and (2) the ARV therapy roll-out programme, and on Senator Mohadi’s motion calling for assistance to farmers in drought-stricken agricultural region 5.
Question Time [Thursday] Questions without notice took up an hour of the sitting on 17th May, with Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara providing the answers. On electricity supply problems he said the long-term solution lay in hydro-electric power, e.g., the Batoka Gorge project with Zambia [7 years to complete once agreed], and the Inga Dam project in the DRC [which would have the capacity to supply not just Southern Africa but the entire continent and therefore needed regional and continental co-operation]. On resuscitating industry in Bulawayo, he mentioned the slow draw-down from the $40 million Distressed and Marginalised Industries Fund on account of stringent conditions set by banks.
Government Gazette 18th May
Acts and Bills None
Statutory Instruments [electronic copies NOT available from Veritas]
Collective bargaining agreement Grain Marketing Board undertaking [SI 89/2012]
Local authority rents and charges by-laws Chinhoyi Municipal Council [SI 90/2012]
Other local authority by-laws Bindura [clamping and tow-away by-laws – SI 87/2012]. Bindura [hairdressers shops – SU 88/2012]; Chinhoyi [cemeteries charges – SI 91/2012]; Gokwe [cemeteries – SI 86/2012]
Government financial statements GN 165/2012 notifies the publication as supplements to the Gazette of the Government’s consolidated statements of financial performance for the month and quarter ending 31st March 2012.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied