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Opinion Divided Over Africa's Future as AU Turns 50

Sandra Nyaira

WASHINGTON, DC — There is a saying:  “with age comes wisdom.”   As the
African Union (AU) celebrates turning 50 years old on Saturday at its
headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, many are asking whether the
institution is any smarter and more effective as it faces mounting security
and developmental challenges across the continent.

Africa Day

On May 25th 1963, the Organization of African Unity (OAU)—the precursor to
today’s African Union—was born.  Since then May 25th has been a special day
on the African calendar.

Founded by visionary leaders like Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, the Organization of
African Unity started with 32 signatory countries.  Today the African Union
has 54 member countries.  The OAU's main aims were to promote unity and
solidarity among member states and, most importantly, fight colonialism in
all its forms on the continent.  For most that fight was won in 1994 with
the end of apartheid in South Africa.  The OAU drifted for a few years after
that, but leaders like Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi sought to reinvigorate the

By 2002 there was enough support to disband the OAU and reform it as the
African Union under its then-chairperson, South African President Thabo
Mbeki.  With the new name came a reprioritization of the institution’s
goals, including promoting stability, security, good governance, and
economic cohesion and cooperation.  But has the AU been as successful in
addressing these issues as the OAU had been in fighting colonialism and
minority rule?

Vision 2063

Some analysts say significant progress has been made by the AU on the
security and governance fronts, but most agree that major challenges still
remain, particularly in the fight against poverty and economic inequality.

In response to the persistence of these problems, in January this year the
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African
Commission, and the African Development Bank began developing a new
blueprint for Africa called “Vision 2063,” a blueprint modeled largely on
the economic boom that transformed much of East Asia over the decades
following World War II.  UNECA Executive Secretary Carlos Lopes says if East
Asia can so dramatically improve the lives of its people over a few decades,
so can Africa.

“I want an Africa that is going to be among the stars,” he says.  “I do not
think it is a dream to think that, because if you look into the age of the
world population in most developed countries of today and they will not be
able even to survive without the energy, the force that is going to come
from the younger continent and the continent that will be really the last
frontier for development.  There's no reason why Southeast Asia in 30 years
turned around completely their fortunes and that Africa cannot do the same.”

Mr. Lopes says to implement any plan, especially one as ambitious as Vision
2063, the continent needs good governance, but he cautions that sound
leadership alone will not bring progress.

“Make no mistake,” he says, “it's not only about elections. It's much more
sophisticated than that. It's actually about having planning capacity.  It's
about having a vision, a development approach that takes into account the
need for quality information, managerial capacity, and so on and so on.”

Lopes is optimistic about Africa’s future, saying Africans’ self-confidence
is on the rise.  Plus, he says, other countries are coming to realize that
Africa has much more potential than many realized.  Most importantly, he
says, demographic and other changes over the coming 50 years will boost
Africa’s competitiveness globally.

“I see an Africa in 50 years that is completely different from what we have
today.  It's much more urbanized, much more younger with megalopolies that
need to be managed properly with the largest workforce in the world.”

While Lopes might be optimistic about what the AU can deliver to the
continent over the next half century, there are plenty of skeptics.  Among
those who are critical of the AU’s track record is Moeletsi Mbeki—author,
economist, and brother of former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

One reason, Moeletsi Mbeki says, that the AU has largely failed to deliver
the continent from poverty, disease and conflict is that most of its goals
and ambitions were modeled on the European Union.  “The AU has set itself a
bigger ambition,” according to Mbeki, “but a lot of its ambitions in my view
were copied from the European Union, so like all copies, it has not been
easy to achieve since they did not create their own objectives.”

Mbeki says the current crop of African leaders has failed, and blasts
programs touted by the AU and its partners as “wish lists,” not programs
that can be realistically implemented.  “The AU has lots of programs like
NEPAD and all the rest of it,” he said, “but personally I haven't seen much
action in terms of results. At least for the first 50 years I can say I saw
the action which was supplying arms to liberation movements, providing bases
for them, providing training facilities for them and helping defeat

Vision 2063

How do Zimbabweans see the AU legacy and future?  Takura Zhangazha is a
young Zimbabwean pan-Africanist. He applauds the OAU’s founding fathers for
liberating the continent from colonial rule, but says the current leadership
is failing.

“The OAU and the AU are historic organizations, particularly important to
the development of Africa,” Zhangazha said.  “Agreed there have been
mistakes and flaws.  Agreed there were challenges over and about
anti-colonialism and liberation, but the work has been done.  It can only be
improved on and it’s upon Africans and African leaders to ensure that the
values, principles and objectives of the OAU originally and the AU now are
met democratically in a people-centered fashion.  But when you look at the
contemporary leadership, what they have failed to understand is the need to
remain principled and focused on people-centered policies to guard against
the easy co-optation into aggrandizement and leadership by proxy.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, those in leadership are less dismissive.  Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara says the AU needs serious reforms if it is
to realize the dreams of the OAU’s founding fathers, adding that regional
integration within Africa should be the immediate focus for African leaders.

“Africa has got so much potential but we are wallowing in poverty, we are
suffering from under-development,” Mutambara said.  “We need to identify the
strategic bottlenecks we have in Africa so we can deliver Africa’s promise,
emphasizing matters of regional integration, emphasizing matters of
beneficiation, matters of good governance and the need to be masters of our
own destiny. We cannot continue to depend on foreign aid. Why don't we
mobilize our resources—our oil, our diamonds, our manufacturing?  The motive
is what do we have to do to deliver Africa's promise?”

Mr. Mutambara said regional economic alliances can be especially beneficial.
“We are saying let us collectivize our natural resources. Let's have a
diamond cluster involving, for example, Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana and
Namibia, that will be a massive cluster which can then drive beneficiation
and value addition in the diamonds.  And we can do the same for platinum
with Zimbabwe and South Africa.  That would dominate the world because 90
percent of platinum in the world is in these two countries.”  Mutambara
suggested oil-producing countries in Africa could do the same.


Despite all the hope and potential in Africa, at least one outside observer
harbors doubts.  Professor Stephen Chan with the School of Oriental and
African Studies (SOAS) in London says African unity, in particular, is a
distant prospect.

“I don't think, not in our lifetime anyway, that there's going to be African
unity,” according to Mr. Chan.  “There are 54 different countries in Africa
and they all have their own agendas.  There's not even going to be in the
near future what we have got in Europe because there's just not enough to
integrate.  That can only happen at a much, much later stage of development
and even the EU has taken decades to bring its current 27 members, so
bringing together 54 is not going to work overnight.”

Mr. Chan says he doubts whether Africa’s elderly leadership has the energy
and dynamism to bring positive change to the continent.  He also questions
how realistic it is to model African development on what transpired in Asia
in the late 20th century, and says the West is not helping Africa to
industrialize, which was key to Asia’s transformation.

“There's a whole lot of different set of impulses on the Asian side of the
world that has made rapid progress possible,” Chan said.  “Also, the West
very deliberately tries to prevent Africa from getting too industrialized.
They have actually set a limit to modernity.  When you look at the
Millennium Development Goals, for instance, there's actually nothing there
about helping industrialize Africa. Now as long as Africa is just a producer
of raw, unprocessed, unindustrialized materials, as long as Africa can't add
its own manufacturing to its own products, it's never going to be like

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ZLHR challenges govt to advance AU common values



AS Zimbabwe joins the rest of Africa on 25 May 2013 in celebrating Africa
Day, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) calls for reflection by the
Inclusive Government (IG) on its collective responsibility to further the
objectives of the African Union (AU).

The founding fathers of the continent were motivated by the values of unity,
promotion of common values of peace, security, stability and prosperity for
Africans to create the Organisation of African Unity now known as the
African Union 50 years ago. As we celebrate Africa Day, these values must be

However, ZLHR regrettably notes failure by the IG to uphold these common
values. Good governance principles remain alien to most Zimbabweans who have
to grapple with state sponsored repression which continues to erode people’s
freedoms and deepening poverty on a daily basis. Tangible measures still
have to be taken to promote and protect human rights including those of
vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens and groups such as women, children and
those living with disabilities.

With the inevitable occurrence of elections in Zimbabwe later this year and
their link to, and impact on regional and continental peace, security and
economic development, ZLHR notes with sadness the continued failure by the
IG to adopt and implement concrete measures to promote democratic principles
and institutions, popular participation and good governance in accordance
with the minimum standards set within the AU framework.

It is worrying that the IG continues to procrastinate in implementing
recommendations of the AU organs such as the African Commission on Human and
Peoples’ Rights which recently delivered a landmark ruling directing the
Harare administration to allow its citizens in the diaspora to vote in the
March constitutional referendum and forthcoming national elections.

There also continues to be a deafening silence and no significant progress
towards accepting through ratification and domestication of one of the key
instruments that will advance democracy, peace and security in Zimbabwe, the
region, and the continent as a whole, the African Charter on Democracy,
Elections and Good Governance (The African Charter on Democracy) that came
into force on 15 February 2012.

The African Charter on Democracy seeks to promote adherence by African
states to the universal values and principles of democracy and respect for
human rights premised upon the supremacy of the constitution and the respect
for the rule of law. The African Charter on Democracy seeks to usher in a
new era on our continent that establishes a link between free and fair
elections, good governance and the enjoyment of human rights by the
citizens. The African Charter on Democracy further proclaims a new dawn of
democracy rooted in the rule of law and gives further impetus to Africa’s
commitment to the principles of transparency and accountability in
government. It reaffirms the primacy of the rule of law and calls on state
parties to initiate appropriate measures, including legislative, executive
and administrative actions to bring State Parties’ national laws and
regulations into conformity with the African Charter on Democracy.

The IG has after fifteen months of the effective date of this instrument
neither signed nor ratified this landmark instrument.

ZLHR calls for commemoration of the 2013 Africa Day in Zimbabwe with a
purpose. The importance of common values leading to recognition of this day
is greatly undermined and of no effect to the lives of ordinary citizens if
the IG continues to fail to contribute positively and proactively to further
peace and security. Common values enjoin the IG to acknowledge instruments
such as the African Charter on Democracy and respect and abide by
recommendations of institutions such as the African Commission on Human and
Peoples’ Rights that have been set up to advance these common African
values. Inaction by the IG to promote the common values, remains
unacceptable and a dereliction of duty to facilitate peace and security in
the country and broadly on the continent.

As Zimbabwe joins other countries in celebrating the birth of a united
African Continent focused on the promotion of common values of dignity,
peace, stability and prosperity for its people, ZLHR calls upon the
government of Zimbabwe to:

Ratify the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance to
show its commitment towards the values encapsulated in the Charter

Domesticate the African Charter on Democracy framework through initiation of
appropriate measures - including legislative, executive and administrative
actions - to bring the national laws and regulations into conformity with
the African Charter on Democracy

Take measures to implement recommendations of the African Commission on
Human and Peoples’ Rights to facilitate the diaspora vote

Reaffirm the primacy of principles of good governance, democracy and the
rule of law in society in conformity with the African Charter on Democracy

ZLHR further calls upon the government to respect and adhere to the
provisions of the SADC Guidelines on Elections as the country prepares to
hold elections which the rest of the world is watching and to accept the
outcome of the polls held under a free and fair environment.

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Journalists Still Being Harassed As Elections Loom


The new Zimbabwean constitution that President Robert Mugabe promulgated
three days ago guarantees more democracy and freedom of expression, on paper
at least, and Reporters Without Borders hopes that it will reduce the
negative effect of the draconian laws currently in effect.

As a result of Zimbabwe’s repressive legislation, criminal charges are often
brought against journalists just for doing their job. This has been seen yet
again in recent cases of arrests and harassment.

The new constitution also opens the way for elections that have been awaited
for years. President Mugabe wants them held as soon as possible and his
party, Zanu-PF, thinks they could be held on 29 June. But the power-sharing
government’s prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition MDC, wants
several essential reforms adopted first, including media freedom reform.

“Aside from highlighting the disagreements and obstacles that have existed
at the highest level ever since the power-sharing government’s formation
four years ago, the conditions posed by Tsvangirai draw attention to the
urgent need for news providers to be guaranteed the right to work freely and
safely,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“The new constitution is a step forward but no satisfactory, transparent
election is possible if journalists are prevented from working properly. In
both Harare and in the provinces, Zimbabwean journalists, especially those
who work for the privately-owned media, are the victims of harassment
campaigns while journalists with the state-owned media are controlled by the

On World Press Freedom Day, on 3 May, Reporters Without Borders pointed out
that Mugabe is still on its list of 39 “Predators of Freedom of Expression”
and drew up an indictment accusing him of suppressing freedom of expression,
exercising strict control over the state media, constantly harassing the
print media and being the architect of an extremely repressive media
legislation. Read the indictment.

Arrests and harassment

In one of the latest examples of abusive arrests, Dumisani Muleya, the
editor of the Zimbabwe Independent weekly, Owen Gagare, one of his
reporters, and the newspaper’s secretary were arrested on 7 May for
publishing “lies” in a front-page story by Gagare in the 26 April issue.

All three were held for seven hours in a Harare police station before being
released. The two journalists were interrogated about their sources for the
story, which said Tsvangirai had met secretly with senior military officers
ahead of the coming elections.

The police were meanwhile threatening another Zimbabwe Independent reporter,
Dingilizwe Ntuli, with a jail sentence for an article criticizing Harare’s
police chief.

The privately-owned newspaper NewsDay has also been the target of police
harassment. Ropafadzo Mapimhidze, a NewsDay reporter based in Masvingo, 300
km south of Harare, was summoned and questioned by the local police in
February about one of her articles.

Daily News editor Stanley Gama was summoned to Masvingo the following month
and asked to reveal his sources for an article about a resumption of
terrorist activities in the area. Gama is currently accused of libelling a
Zanu-PF representative in a report about the alleged rape of an 11-year-old

Often threatened and interrogated and sometimes prosecuted, independent
media personnel are hounded by the national police, the security forces and
the Central Intelligence Organization, which follow orders from Mugabe and
his aides.

Judicial dangers and repressive legislation

The two Zimbabwe Independent journalists have been formally charged by the
police with “publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the
state,” which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and the
possibility of a heavy fine.

The criminal defamation legislation allows individuals to bring complaints
against media and journalists before the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC),
which monitors the media. Under the 2002 Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the ZMC can close media that act
“imprudently.” This provision is above all used when journalists cover cases
of alleged corruption.

Information minister Webster Shamu reiterated the government’s position on
media freedom and the protection of journalists at a news conference at
Zanu-PF headquarters on 10 May: “I want to repeat that this country came
about through the barrel of a gun. It cannot be taken by a pen, never.”

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Push To Arrest Chinamasa

23 May 2013
Clemence Manyukwe, Political Editor

JUSTICE and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa is under investigations
over possible attempts to defeat the course of justice, The Financial
Gazette can exclusive reveal.
Ironically one of the sharpest legal minds in ZANU-PF, Chinamasa landed
himself in hot water after he requested a docket from police on two party
officials from his home province facing stock theft charges.
Those baying for his blood are alleging that the Justice Minister crossed
the line when he asked police officers investigating suspended Manicaland
provincial chairperson, Mike Madiro and his deputy, Dorothy Mabika to hand
him a docket pertaining to the case.Police and the Attorney General’s Office
have since been roped in to look into the allegations and bring him to book
if need be.
Recently, Chinamasa confirmed perusing the docket for Madiro and Mabika, who
are currently on trial on stock theft charges. The State is alleging that
the suspended ZANU-PF officials stole beasts that were meant for President
Robert Mugabe’s birthday celebrations. Both are denying the allegations.
Sources said Chinamasa’s woes should be seen in the broader context of the
infighting that has erupted in Manicaland ahead of the elections to be held
later this year.
The infighting is linked to President Mugabe’s succession with factions
loyal to some of the top contenders for the high-pressure job using every
trick in the book to smear their perceived competitors.
Contacted for comment yesterday, the party’s secretary for information and
publicity, Rugare Gumbo, referred all questions to the Justice Minister. He
said: “That might be the case, but the best person to ask is Chinamasa
himself. Why don’t you ask him he is around?”
But Chinamasa declined to comment on the matter, saying: “Aiwa izvozvo
handina chokutaura. Bvunza vari kuzvironga (I don’t have anything to say.
Ask those who are plotting that).”
The Justice Minister’s campaign to halt  the prosecution of Madiro and
Mabika has also set him on a collision course with the party’s secretary for
administration, Didymus Mutasa, who wants the suspended ZANU-PF officials to
face the full wrath of the law.
His antics have also not gone down well with Mutasa’s allies.
Up until now, Mutasa was seen as Chinamasa’s godfather and protector to the
extent that the Presidential Affairs Minister got physical at one point in
order to rescue his perceived protégée. In 2004, when Move-ment for
Democratic Change treasurer Roy Bennett floored Chinamasa in Parliament
Mutasa rushed to the scene and kicked Bennett in a bid to rescue the Justice
In the past, Chinamasa has also carried Mutasa’s cross.
Seven years ago, Chinamasa was arraigned before the courts for attempting to
influence witnesses to withdraw their evidence against Mutasa who was being
accused of political violence following attacks on one of the war veterans’
leaders, James Kaunye. Kaunye had sought to stand against Mutasa in the
party’s primary elections ahead of the 2005 general elections.
ZANU-PF insiders said only Chinamasa and Mutasa could explain why they have
fallen out.
But that there is now bad blood between them is quite evident.
For instance, Mutasa is said to be backing former Manicaland provincial
chairperson Basil Nyabadza to stand in Makoni Central and yet he had
previously backed the Justice Minister for the same seat.
Chinamasa has previously blamed his woes on politics.
During his prosecution in the Kaunye case, he argued that he was being made
to answer “politically-motivated charges”. Prosecutors however, rejected his
attempts to cloud  the charges against him by introducing political
dimensions, although in the end he was acquitted.
Chinamasa’s tenure at the Justice Ministry has been punctuated by abuse of
office allegations that saw him in 2004 being accused by former
Administrative Court Judge President Michael Majuru of having attempted to
put him under pressure to rule against The Daily News’ bid to be
re-registered, allegations the minister dismissed.
Between 2000 and 2002, some Supreme Court judges also accused Chinamasa of
pressurising them to quit in a bid to rid the bench of elements perceived to
be hostile to ZANU-PF’s agenda.
The Justice Minister has also been caught up in succession fights.
Last year, he was under the eye of a storm amid suspicions that he had
sought to settle the party’s succession issue during the constitution making
process by agreeing to a running mate clause that was viciously opposed
until it was repudiated from the charter signed into law yesterday by
President Mugabe.
The whittling down of presidential powers in his presence did not help
matters as ZANU-PF hardliners objected that their leader was being reduced
to a clerk.

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ZITF Exposes Byo’s De-Industrialisation

Mandla Tshuma 23 May 2013

BULAWAYO — The de-industrialisation process, which Bulawayo has been
grappling with since the turn of the century, is apparently far from over as
company downsizing, relocation and closures continue in a city that was once
the industrial hub of Zimbabwe.This has been made more glaring by the just
ended 54th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in which
companies in the city accounted for only 35 percent of local exhibitors
while Harare dominated at 57 percent.
Giant companies which have collapsed are in the textile industry and used to
employ thousands of people. They include Merlin, David Whitehead Limited,
Textile Mills, Belmore Manufacturers, Ascot Clothing and many others.
Research has shown that nearly 100 firms have closed shop in Bulawayo since
2000.Former big names like National Blankets, Security Mills, (both under
judicial management), Cold Storage Company, National Railways of Zimbabwe,
United Refin-eries, Dunlop-Zimbabwe and Archer Clothing have since
down-sized leaving thousands jobless.
It now appears efforts to rescue Bulawayo companies by the inclusive
government through the US$40 million Distressed Industries and Marginalised
Areas Fund (DIMAF) have failed to yield results as some companies have
nonetheless either folded or been placed under judicial management while
awaiting funding.
The government has, since its launch in October 2011, continued to extend
every year DIMAF, described as a ‘drop in the ocean’ by industrialists.
However, Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe told the International
Business Conference in Bulawayo recently that she still believes Bulawayo
could be restored to its former glory.
“But I still believe the industry can be revived if we change our mindset
and copy how other countries like India and China have done it. Let’s unite
for a common cause,” she said.
Bulawayo mayor, Thaba Moyo, has said due to deindustrialisation, local
employment had suffered severely, affecting the livelihoods of people.
“Even those who have means have tended to import labour from outside the
city. Regrettably, what they might not realise and appreciate is that this
behavior is self-defeating as their enterprises are also affected,” he said.
Moyo castigated banks for their reluctance in funding Bulawayo companies and
the continued referring of loan applications in the city to Harare.
“It does not make economic sense to bank locally and yet be referred to
other centres for assistance,” he said.
Some of the Bulawayo companies that participated at the trade fair included
National Blankets, Cold Storage Company, National Railways of Zimbabwe,
Datlabs, Treger Products and United Refineries which returned this year
after disappearing for a few of years.
Zimbabwe National Cha-mber of Commerce (ZNCC) Bulawayo chapter chairperson,
Ntombenhle Moyo, said participation at the business jamboree by companies in
the city remained low owing to deindustrialisation.
“If it was not for deindustrialisation, more companies would have
participated at this trade fair. We are praying and hoping that next year
things will change and more of them will be seen participating here at the
trade fair,” she told The Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets.
She, however, said the quality of products coming mainly from the Small to
Medium Enterprises, which she argued were the ones now holding Bulawayo from
a total collapse, had significantly improved this year compared to 2012.
“They are producing quality products and given the capital, given the
assistance that they need, they would improve. What needs to be done is for
the authorities to hear our pleas as we have always been crying all along
for money to be injected to recapitalie these industries that are folding,”
said Moyo.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Matabeleland chapter president, Cletus
Moyo, said challenges faced by Bulawayo companies were dampening their
spirits in showcasing their products at the annual exhibition.
He explained that some companies were in a Catch 22 situation regarding
selling on credit or strictly on a cash basis.
Moyo further said some companies were battling with the payment of salaries
which were at times being staggered.
Participation at ZITF for such companies, he said, was therefore not a
Overall, manufacturing sector companies countrywide made up 14 percent of
total exhibitors at the fair, a testimony to the fact that manufacturing
levels in the country, though picking up, remain relatively low. For a few
Bulawayo manufacturing companies such as Treger Products, manufacturing of
basic products that every household requires has enabled them to remain in
business while many continue to crumble.
The steel and plastic products manufacturer, which has five manufacturing
divisions — Kango Products, Monarch Steel, Treger Plastics, Zimbabwe Grain
Bags and Treger Harare — is one of the largest producers of window frames,
door frames, wheel barrows, geysers and kitchen furniture.
“I will say for Treger, we were lucky because the products which we
manufacture are basic products which every household requires. Maybe that’s
why we have managed to survive,” group sales and marketing director,
Sithokozile Ndlovu, told C&M.
She said Treger was able to venture into the Southern African Development
Community region.
ZNCC Bulawayo chapter executive committee member, Tshidzanani Malaba, said
he expected companies still ailing to fail completely after this year‘s
elections unless a deliberate policy was adopted to ensure their survival.
“It will be easier (after polls) for foreign investors and start-up
entrepreneurs to thrive than an existing company that is reeling under heavy
debts to take off the ground,” said Malaba.
“It will be wise to direct all foreign investors who want to invest in a
particular sector or industry to first seek audience with existing companies
for partnership failure of which they can be allowed a new start up unless
it’s a completely new technology which is not represented by any local
player,” he said.
Malaba said there was a need for Bulawayo to refocus its self as a
technology city and leave heavy industries to where ever they have decided
to relocate to.

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Tsvangirai Party Supporters Fight for Election Positions

Loirdham Moyo

MUTARE — Fists were nearly exchanged at the offices of the Movement for
Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on
Friday during the verification process for the party’s primary elections to
choose parliamentary and council candidates for this year’s polls.

Aspiring candidates and their supporters almost exchanged blows as the
situation deteriorated.

MDC-T supporters argued and tussled at the party’s Manicaland provincial
party offices as they disagreed with officials on who will be allowed to
participate in the primary elections to select candidates in the province’s
26 constituencies.

Some complained names had been imposed onto the list in a deliberate attempt
to favour some candidates while other names were allegedly omitted.

Barbara Mukahanana said she was disappointed by the goings-on in her party.
She blamed factions in the party for Friday’s chaos at the verification

Innocent Gonese represents Mutare Central in parliament and has been under
attack by supporters here who think he has not done enough to cater for
their needs. He refused to speak with Studio 7..

The MDC-T chief whip, who has represented the area since 2000, is being
challenged by former Mutare councilors Aarai Arutura and knowledge Nyamhoka
in the primary elections.

The party’s Manicaland provincial spokesperson and Makoni South Member of
Parliament Pishai Muchauraya said his party is in control of the situation,
adding that “the small challenges experienced” Friday would be addressed.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday heard arguments in a case in which
the director of the Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa,
Jealous Mawarire, is seeking an order compelling President Robert Mugabe to
set June 29 as the date for the country’s next crucial elections as the life
of the unity government comes to an end.

Mawarire’s lawyer, Joseph Mandizha, told the full Supreme Court bench that
elections should be held by June 29 because the life of the current
parliament expires on the same day.

Mandizha argued that holding elections after that date would create a power
vacuum in the country.

Attorney Terence Hussein, who appeared in court on behalf of President
Mugabe, concurred with Mandizha.

But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s lawyer, Lewis Uriri, said although it
is not disputed that the current parliamentary session ends June 29, there
won’t be any power vacuum in the country if elections are not held by June

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday heard arguments in a case in which
the director of the Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa,
Jealous Mawarire, is seeking an order compelling President Robert Mugabe to
set June 29 as the date for the country’s next crucial elections as the life
of the unity government comes to an end.

Mawarire’s lawyer, Joseph Mandizha, told the full Supreme Court bench that
elections should be held by June 29 because the life of the current
parliament expires on the same day.

Mandizha argued that holding elections after that date would create a power
vacuum in the country.

Attorney Terence Hussein, who appeared in court on behalf of President
Mugabe, concurred with Mandizha.

But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s lawyer, Lewis Uriri, said although it
is not disputed that the current parliamentary session ends June 29, there
won’t be any power vacuum in the country if elections are not held by June

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Zanu-PF Says Aspiring Candidates Must Only Campaign for Mugabe Until Primary Election Rules Are Finalized

Blessing  Zulu

WASHINGTON — The Zanu-PF Politiburo has instructed all aspiring party
candidates to campaign only for President Robert Mugabe for now until the
party finalizes its rules governing primary elections.

ZANU PF’s decision-making body, the Politburo, is locked in a renewed bid to
quell resurgent factionalism and infighting fires burning at provinces ahead
of primary polls and crucial general elections expected later this year.

The Politiburo met in Harare at the parrty Headquarters Wednesday until late
into the night but still failed to finalize the contentious issue of primary

The rival MDC formation, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, is holding
its primary elections beginning Saturday.

Zanu-PF party sources, who asked not to be named, told VOA that temperatures
are rising as some aspiring candidates are already on the campaign trail,
despite instructions to wait for the party to agree on primary election

The early campaigns are said to be bringing serious friction within the
party. Incumbent senators, members of parliament and councillors are said to
be bitter with aspiring candidates who are said to be already campaigning
and causing confusion.

Our sources also say that if Mr Mugabe calls for early elections it could be
a disaster for Zanu-PF, as candidates will have very little time to

Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA  the party hopes to deal with the
matter when it meets again next week.

Political analyst Earnest Mudzengi, director of the media centre in Harare,
says party infighting is to blame for the lack of agreement.

Zanu PF is divided into two major factions, one said to be led by
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and the other by Defence minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa. Political analysts say as the 89 year old Mugabe gets
increasingly old and frail, factionalism is worsening.

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Deportations Of Zimbos Escalate

23 May 2013
Ray Ndlovu, Assistant Bureau Chief

BULAWAYO — The governments of Botswana and South Africa have in recent
months escalated the deportation of Zimbabwean immigrants living in their
countries without proper documentation.
Figures released by the Home Affairs Ministry indicate that Pretoria
deported 23 150 Zimbabweans between January 1 and April 30 this year while
Gaborone banished 2 151 Zimbabweans.
During the comparative period last year, South Africa only deported 13 600
Political observers point to the near-doubling of the deportation figures as
indicative of South Africa’s failure to halt the influx of illegal
immigrants into Africa’s largest economy.
Christopher Ngwenya, the Matabeleland South police spokesperson, revealed
that deportations from South Africa through the Beitbridge Border Post
averaged between 200 and 300 people per day, while Botswana was deporting
about 100 people daily through the Plumtree Border Post.
“Those deported would have either breached immigration laws such as
overstaying resulting in the cancellation of their permits or crossing
borders without valid travel documents,” he said.
Scores of Zimbabwean nationals left the country at the height of the
economic crisis in search for greener pastures.
South Africa alone is home to an estimated three million Zimbabweans.
The South Africa Home Affairs Department was forced to introduce a stringent
visa requirement for Zimbabwean travellers in 2008 and to compel all foreign
nationals in that country to regularise their stay.
Only 275 000 Zimbabweans applied to regularise their stay in the last
documentation exercise.
In March, the Home Affairs Department ruled out the possibility of extending
the exercise.
Charles Mangongera, a political analyst, said Zimbabweans have taken
advantage of the visa free regime to flout immigration laws, leaving the
South African government in a fix as it could not re-introduce the visa
requirements without stirring fresh tensions with Zimbabwe.
“The visa requirement has become anachronistic…given the very close
economic, social and political ties that have now developed between the two
countries,” said Mangongera.
With elections which ZANU-PF wants held at the end of next month,
speculation is gaining ground that the deportations from South Africa are
set to increase.
“Certainly those numbers will increase and this has been the case in
previous elections,” said Mangongera.
The influx of deportees from South Africa and Botswana is likely to worry
ZANU-PF, which is suspicious of Zimbabweans who are based in the Diaspora.
Zimbabwe’s electoral laws restrict postal voting to citizens who are on
government business and disallows Diaspora-based nationals from
participating in elections. As a result, a large number of Zimbabweans
living abroad will not be able to vote in the forthcoming polls.
“The South African government has not necessarily pronounced a policy to
send Zimbabweans back home to vote, but the police and immigration
authorities seem to have had covert operations to deport more Zimbabweans
during election periods,” observed Mangongera.

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Robert Mugabe claims he could trust Margaret Thatcher but Tony Blair was dishonest in new documentary

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has spoken about how he 'could trust' the
late Margaret Thatcher but did not believe anything Tony Blair said during
their respective periods as Prime Minister of Britain.

By Peta Thornycroft, Johannesburg12:27AM BST 25 May 2013

Mugabe, 89, revealed his contrasting take on the former British leaders
during a soft documentary interview aimed in part at trying to clean up his
blood-stained legacy and promote a more positive image of Mugabe the man
ahead of the Zimbabwe elections.

In choreographed scenes around the Mugabe family dinner table and home, he
also talks about the pleasure his family have given him but insists that
Zimbabweans still need him so he cannot retire from politics to spend more
time with them. The programme will be shown on the series 'People of the
South' on state TV.

Mr Mugabe sanctioned the intimate filming in Harare late last year with Dali
Tambo, the only son of the late African national Congress President Oliver

"My people still need me," Mr Mugabe says."And when people still need you to
lead them it's not time, sir, it doesn't matter how old you are, to say

Shortly after filming ended Mr Tambo, who spent his exile years in London,
told The Daily Telegraph he was unconcerned if the sympathetic depiction of
a man despised by many made observers angry with him.

"I interviewed Rhodesian leader Ian Smith in Cape Town a previous series,"
Mr Tambo said. "This is not Hardtalk. This isn't a political programme. We
all have lunch together."

Mr Mugabe talked briefly to Mr Tambo, and his white-South African wife
Rachel, about the controversial land grab which began in 2000 and collapsed
the Zimbabwe economy when thousands of productive white farmers were often
violently evicted and the international reaction to his policy.

"They (the UK) will praise you only if you are doing things that please
them. (Nelson) Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black
communities, really in some cases at the expense of them ...

That's being too saintly, too good, too much of a saint."

Mr Mugabe who cuddled and kissed his second wife Grace for the South African
cameras said he was able to deal with Mrs Thatcher when she was in power,
unlike those that have followed.

"Mrs Thatcher, you could trust her," he says in the film. "But of course
what happened later was a different story with the Labour party and Blair
... who you could never trust. You couldn't compare them to Thatcher and the
others ... Who can ever believe what Mr Blair says? Here we call him Bliar."

Mr Mugabe also reveals he cheated on his sick wife Sally with Grace because,
he said, he wanted a child before his mother, Bona died.

Mrs Sally Mugabe's only child with Mr Mugabe died in Ghana when he was in
detention in Rhodesia. After the war when the couple returned to Rhodesia
she was too old to bear children and she was also ill with nephrites. So her
husband started a relationship with pretty Grace, then a typist in the state
house typing pool.

His mother then saw her grand daughter, named Bona after her, shortly before
she died at 93.

Sally Mugabe had to endure the birth of Bona and her husband's second child,
Robert, before she herself died.

She told some Zanu PF women members to whom she was close that she was
deeply unhappy about her husband's affair but admitted to them that there
was nothing she could do as she was dying and was childless.

Mr Mugabe kept his first two children secret until the media broke the story
when Bona went to school at the Dominican Convent in Harare. Mr Mugabe
claims in the interview with Mr Tambo he had told his ailing wife about his
affair with Grace and that she seemed satisfied when he told her that he
still loved her.

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‘My people still need me’: Mugabe

24/05/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has told a South African broadcaster that age will
not force him out of office, insisting he believes Zimbabweans still need

Voters will however, have their say in elections to replace the coaltion
government which are expected later this year.

But speaking in an interview to be broadcast on SABC early next month
Mugabe, who turned 89 this year, would not contemplate retirement, saying he
was no quitter.

He said: “My people still need me and when people still need you to lead
them it's not time, sir, it doesn't matter how old you are, to say goodbye.

“They will say you are deserting us and I am not a deserter, never have
been, never have thought of deserting people. We fight to the finish: that's
it. I still have it in me here."

The veteran leader is set to lead his Zanu PF party in fresh elections to
choose a substantive government, ending an uneasy coalition with long-term
rival Morgan Tsvangirai which came into office in 2009.

He has led the country without check since independence in 1980 but suffered
a scare in 2008 when he lost the first round of the Presidential ballot to

The MDC-T leader however, pulled out of the run-off accusing Mugabe of
brutalising his supporters.

The regional SADC grouping later intervened to facilitate the formation of a
unity government, which Mugabe described as a "humiliation".
Meanwhile, the Zanu PF leader told interviewer Dally Tambo – son of South
Africa liberation hero Oliver Tambo – that he believes former colonial
ruler, Britain, was still keen to regain control of the country.

"There is a fight to fight. The British are calling for regime change, that
I must go. That call must not come from the British,” he said, banging his
fist on an armrest.

"The sanctions are still on us and what man is there who, when his own house
is being attacked, will run away and leave the family and the children still
under attack? It's a coward!”

His refusal to step aside for a younger leader or even anoint a successor
has frustrated rivals and lieutenants alike, with Zanu PF said to be riven
by deep divisions over his succession.

Mugabe blamed the divisions for forcing on him the ignomny of sharing power
with Tsvangirai after the inconclusive 2008 elections.

He told a Zanu PF central committee meeting after the vote: "If only we had
not blundered in the election, we would not be facing all this humiliation.

"We have gone further to say 'if only we had not chosen to be divided'. If
only, if only, if only. Yes, we learned it the hard way."

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Who's in charge of this asylum?

May 25, 2013, 10:25 am

Dear Family and Friends,

After at least fifteen years of voting in elections with a highly flawed
voters roll stuffed with dead people and countless missing names, Zimbabwe’s
latest voter registration exercise shuddered to an end. The month long voter
registration process had turned out to be an absolutely chaotic exercise
which started with sensational news at the beginning of the process and
finished with shocking news before the ink was dry at the end.

Just after the registration process began the MDC’s Douglas Mwonzora  told
the press that in some constituencies the voters roll had swollen by 10,000
names in 48 hours saying  it was impossible that 153 voters  were being
registered every second. Mwonzora described how the co-minister of Home
Affairs had checked the voters roll for her constituency on Monday and found
5,196 people registered but two days later when she checked again, the
number had more than tripled and there were 17,068 names on the roll.

A short while later the Registrar General, who has been in that position for
thirty three years and has surely got lots and lots of practice at this by
now, announced that the names of one million dead people had been removed
from the voters roll. Mudede said that as of the 1st May 2013 there were
5,677,881 registered voters on the roll. Instead of calming people’s fears
about the accuracy of the voters role, the Registrar’s statement about a
million dead voters having been removed, set the national eyebrows soaring
towards the heavens. How many of those dead blokes voted in the
constitutional referendum a couple of months ago we wondered? And is that
why we all saw no queues at referendum polling stations while authorities
described it as the biggest turnout in thirty years?  Who’s in charge of
this asylum?

As the voter registration exercise continued, there were widespread reports
of massive queues, of people being turned away, of rural village chiefs and
headmen denying people proof of residence and of voters finding their names
either not on the roll or mis-spelt and not matching the spelling of their
names as shown on their ID’s thereby making them invalid come voting day.

Ten days before the end of the voter registration process the Chairperson of
the Electoral Commission said that since the start of the exercise 29,940
new voters had been registered on the national voters roll. It wasn’t clear
if that included the super-fast ten thousand people who had been registered
at the rate of 153 people per second in one constituency in the first two
days of the exercise.

As the national voice of outrage reached fever pitch, and just a few days
before the end of voter registration the Electoral Commission officials went
walk-about. ZEC Chairperson, Judge Rita Makarau, spoke to church leaders and
said: “We accept that there are gaps between what we are saying and what is
happening on the ground.”

And then, one day after the closure of the voter registration exercise,
Deputy President Arthur Mutambara told Parliament that when Vice-President
Joice Mujuru  went to check the voters roll last week, she was shocked to
discover that only nine people from her home village in Mt Darwin were on
the roll.

All this aside there’s still the massive problem of hundreds of thousands of
born and resident Zimbabweans with the dreaded “Alien” status on their ID’s
and countless others who’ve been forced to take out citizenship of other
countries in order to survive the last thirteen years of mayhem in Zimbabwe.
All of them have been struck off the voters roll and we wonder how many even
tried to renew their seized citizenship status. With such obvious mayhem and
incompetence why would they?

As the dust settled over the whole mess and it was obvious that the
April/May voter registration had been a complete waste of time, money and
resources we heard the exercise was going to be repeated. Justice Makarau
was quoted in the Herald saying: "We were drawing lessons in order to
structure the next exercise." Justice Makarau said US$21 million was needed
for the new voter registration exercise which would take place very soon ,
now that President Mugabe had signed the new Constitution.

No one said anything about just exactly who in Zimbabwe was left with any
trust or confidence at all in the whole voter registration process, this one
just ended or the one still to come. After the disgraceful debacle of the
past month, the calls to allow people to vote with their ID cards only
continues to grow ever louder. Until next time, thanks for reading, love

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Soil Atlas of Africa
Africa Atlas  At the African Union and European Union Commission College meeting in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia (April 25-26, 2013) the Atlas was introduced by EU Commissioner Hedegaard (Climate Action) on behalf of the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. 

 A pdf of the atlas is available to download from the Soil Action Web Site from Monday, April 29th. See the link below....

 Physical copies of the book will be available through the EU Publications Office towards the end of May 2013. 

An introduction to the Soil Atlas of Africa was presented at the European Parliament's session 'Land and soil degradation post Rio+20', on November 9th 2012 (hosted by Sandrine Bélier, MEP). 

Africa Atlas
Download the Soil Atlas of Africa

 (29/4/2013): Download the PDF version of Soil Atlas of Africa. You are invited to download all the 3 parts as the total size of the Atlas is more than 500 MB. Physical copies of the book will be availabe through the EU Publications Office towards the end of May 2013.

What is special about soil in Africa?

The first ever SOIL ATLAS OF AFRICA uses striking maps, informative texts and stunning photographs to answer and explain these and other questions. Leading soil scientists from Europe and Africa have collaborated to produce this unique document. Using state-of-the-art computer mapping techniques, the Soil Atlas of Africa shows the changing nature of soil across the continent. It explains the origin and functions of soil, describes the different soil types that can be found in Africa and their relevance to both local and global issues. The atlas also discusses the principal threats to soil and the steps being taken to protect soil resources. The Soil Atlas of Africa is more than just a normal atlas. It presents a new and comprehensive interpretation of an often neglected natural resource. The Soil Atlas of Africa is an essential reference to a non-renewable resource that is fundamental for life on this planet.

The Soil Atlas of Africa – highlighting a forgotten resource?

In most people's mind, soil would not figure highly in a list of the natural resources of Africa. However, healthy and fertile soils are the cornerstones of food security, key environmental services, social cohesion and the economies of most African countries. Unfortunately, soil in Africa tends only to reach public awareness when it fails – often with catastrophic consequences as seen by the famine episodes of the Sahel in the 1980s and more recently in Niger and the Horn of Africa.

Soil is the foundation to many of the Millennium Development Goals. In addition to providing the medium for food, fodder and fuel wood production (around 98% of the calories consumed in Africa are derived from the soil), soil controls the recycling of nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon and other nutrients. Soil reduces the risk of floods and protects underground water supplies. Soil organic matter can store more than ten times its weight of water while the soils of Africa store about 200 Gt of organic carbon – about 2.5 times the amount contained in plants.

While Africa has some of the most fertile land on the planet, the soils over much of the continent are fragile, often lacking in essential nutrients and organic matter. Aridity and desertification affects around half the continent while more than half of the remaining land is characterised by old, highly weathered, acidic soils with high levels of iron and aluminium oxides (hence the characteristics colour of many tropical soils) that require careful management if used for agriculture. Soils under tropical rainforests are not naturally fertile but depend instead on the high and constant supply of organic matter from natural vegetation and its rapid decomposition in a hot and humid climate. Breaking this cycle (i.e. through deforestation) quickly reduces the productivity of the soil and leaves the land vulnerable to degradation.

With a population of over 1 billion people and growing, conflicting or competing demands (e.g. the cultivation of cash crops for export, the production of biofuel, conservation for wildlife reserves, carbon sequestration, mineral extraction, grazing, urban migration and expansion, etc.) are placing intense and increasing pressures on the remaining land. Soil degradation has multiple consequences. Perhaps the most pressing it that contributes directly to a decline in per capita food production, especially in small holdings throughout Africa. The harvesting of crops from cultivated soils breaks the nutrient cycle, which then requires additional inputs. In many parts of Africa, soils are losing nutrients at a very high rate, much greater than the levels of fertiliser inputs. As a result of rural poverty, farmers are unable to apply sufficient nutrients due to the high costs of inorganic fertilisers or from a lack of farm machinery (Africa has the lowest use of industrial fertilisers in the world). Traditional practices, such as long fallow periods that improve nutrient budgets and restore soil fertility, are difficult to implement due to the increased pressures on land and changes in land tenure that restrict traditional nomadic lifestyles.

However, the importance of soil and the multitude of environmental services that depend on soil properties are not widely understood by society at large. A part of the problem is that with an increasingly urban society, many people have lost contact with the processes that produce food. Most people expect to find goods on the shelves of supermarkets and have limited or even no appreciation of the role played by soil. Concepts such as nutrient cycling and organic matter management, that are critical to processes such as soil fertility, are a mystery to most. To compound matters, there is very little dialogue between the soil science community and the general public. The majority of soil-related print material is geared towards university level or scientific journals - normally out of the reach of the general public. This results in a lack of easily understandable material to help interested stakeholders appreciate the value of soil and to help them preserve this precious resource.

As a consequence, soil as a topic tends not to feature in the minds of the public or politicians. However, some soil scientists and policy makers are becoming increasingly aware of a greater need to inform and educate the general public, policy makers, land managers and other scientists of the importance and global significance of soil. This is particularly true of the soils in Africa where the dramatic consequences of the failure to use soil sustainably have led to desertification, famine, civil unrest, economic collapse and human suffering, often on astonishingly large scales.

It is in these contexts that the European Commission's Joint Research Centre initiated a project, in collaboration with the African Union and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, to bring together soil experts from Europe and Africa to produce the first ever SOIL ATLAS OF AFRICA. The goal was to produce a publication, aimed at the general public, decision makers, politicians, teachers and even scientists in other disciplines, that raises awareness of the significance of soil to human existence in Africa.

The atlas explains in a simple and clear manner the reasons for the varying patterns of soil across Africa as well as the need to conserve and manage this increasingly threatened natural resource through sustainable use. At its heart is a series of annotated maps that show, for the very first time, the diversity of soil characteristics across the African continent in a manner that is comprehensible to the layperson. The Atlas calls for a four-pronged approach to the soils of Africa:

The Soil Atlas of Africa supports the Global Soil Partnership of FAO and the final declaration of the Rio+20 meeting towards reversing and reducing global soil degradation.


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