By Tererai Karimakwenda
26 May, 2011
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) on Thursday called for
applications for two commercial radio licenses in an advert in the state run
Herald newspaper. A number of media groups described it as nothing more than
a political ploy by the Mugabe regime, who want to deflect criticism at next
month’s SADC summit on Zimbabwe. The SADC approved election roadmap states
that a new board should be appointed for the Broadcasting Authority and new
broadcasters should be licensed. But the media groups said the radio license
offer also disregards a section of the GPA and agreements made by
negotiating teams from the 3 political parties.
The licenses offered would run for 10 years and there is an application fee
of $2500. There are also annual fees of $15,000 plus 1 percent of the gross
annual turnover and $7500 in public consultation fees. Other miscellaneous
fees will also be charged and the application deadline is June 30th.
The composition of the BAZ board, headed by former Media, Information and
Communication Minister Tafataona Mahoso, has been a contentious issue for
years now. Stalwart ZANU PF supporters were appointed to the board, without
consultation, in 2009.
Patience Zirima, coordinator of the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, welcomed the
potential addition of two new “radio players” but said the group had serious
concerns. “The BAZ board is still under dispute and we are not sure under
what legal basis they are offering licenses. We need this clarified,” Zirima
She added: “What we want is a total liberation of the airwaves as is
required by section 19 of the GPA, which says the unity government would
free the airwaves so citizens can enjoy the right to freedom of speech.”
Zirima also criticized the state run ZBC radio for increasing the percentage
of ZANU PF jingles and hate speech being broadcast. She said no other
political party has been given the same space to broadcast their views.
Loughty Dube, director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa- Zimbabwe
(MISA), dismissed the call for applications for licenses as just a ZANU PF
ploy. He said they want to appear as though they are meeting the demands of
the GPA, ahead of the regional summit next month.
“The issue of media reforms is on the GPA agenda and ZANU PF wants to look
like they have made progress”, Dube said, adding: “But Mahoso’s views on
freedom of speech are well known. He is against opening up the media.”
Dube explained that it would have been “prudent” to license community radio
stations first because they are less expensive to establish and some are
ready to start broadcasting in Zimbabwe. He said commercial radio should be
the last level to receive licenses and the first thing that should happen is
to transform the ZBC into a true public broadcaster. “ZANU PF jingles still
dominate ZBC,” said Dube.
SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa said BAZ chairman Mahoso
appeared on the state run ZTV offering the licenses and the issue has caused
much debate in the capital. “The talk is that the fees are exorbitant and
the government knows no-one can raise that amount by June 30. They also know
that radio would reach the majority of Zimbabweans and they don’t want
that,” Muchemwa said.
Muchema said there is no media freedom in a country where newspaper vendors
still get attacked and journalists are harassed by the authorities over
By Lance Guma
26 May 2011
Robert Mugabe will use the next SADC summit in South Africa to tell regional
leaders that Zimbabwe does not need an election roadmap and there will be no
security sector reforms. The 87 year old ZANU PF leader will hide behind the
2008 power sharing deal and claim it already lays the frame work for
On Wednesday ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told Voice of America they have
officially instructed their party negotiators not to enter into any
discussions on the election roadmap or reforms to the security sector. Gumbo
said they “don’t want to re-invent the wheel” and according to their
interpretation of the GPA the roadmap was a new constitution, a referendum
and then elections.
It’s reported that ZANU PF has not yet formally communicated this position
to SADC or South African President Jacob Zuma who is the chief mediator.
Inter-party negotiations on a roadmap were initially said to have been going
well until a few weeks ago, when a heated ZANU PF politburo meeting began an
acrimonious war of words between the two factions vying for control of the
Hardliners in ZANU PF know that making concessions on key issues like
security sector reforms, the shambolic voters roll and the composition of
the election commission, will deliver almost certain election defeat.
Although the so-called moderates are said to be advising against the current
confrontational attitude towards SADC the hardliners are winning the battle
and have vowed to leave SADC if the group tries to force through the
On Wednesday Zuma’s International Relations adviser, Lindiwe Zulu, told
journalists that her boss would be in a position to deal with any
confrontational issues that will arise during their mediation. MDC-T
spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said the negotiations were a “SADC baby and
cannot be abandoned at the whims of Mugabe” and they will reject any
proposals to drop the roadmap.
The two MDC formations have made security sector reforms a key component of
the negotiations, much to the nervousness of ZANU PF. Army, prison, police
and CIO chiefs have in the past regularly declared their loyalty to Mugabe
and are seen as a major stumbling block to any power transfer if, as is
expected, Mugabe and ZANU PF once again lose the election as happened in
A classic example was police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri last year.
Addressing junior officers coming from a trip to liberation struggle shrines
in Mozambique he said; “This country came through blood and the barrel of
the gun and it can never be re-colonised through a simple pen, which costs
as little as five cents,” referring to the pen used to mark an X on the
ballot paper during voting.
ZANU-PF says it has now officially instructed its negotiators not to
entertain any discussions on an elections road map and reform of the
security sector, items Southern African leaders have signaled they want to
Blessing Zulu | Washington 25 May 2011
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's former ruling ZANU-PF party has
instructed its negotiators in talks on power sharing and the next elections
not to engage in discussions on a road map to the next ballot or proposed
reform of national security agencies.
ZANU-PF's new stance in talks with its governing partners - the two
formations of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change - sets
the stage for a clash between Mr. Mugabe and regional leaders including
South African President Jacob Zuma, who is mediator for the Southern African
Development Community in the Harare talks.
A senior Zuma aide said the ZANU-PF position has not been communicated to
Pretoria - but said Mr. Zuma has the capacity to deal with Mr. Mugabe if the
issue arises at the SADC special summit on Zimbabwe to be held next month in
ZANU-PF hardliners have been pushing for weeks for a tougher stance in the
face of pressure from SADC to adopt a road map detailing electoral and other
Moderates warned this would not be productive, and urged Mr. Mugabe to use
diplomacy to counter SADC's increasingly tough position with respect to
But following the failure of a ZANU-PF charm offensive and a heavy-handed
campaign at a SADC summit held in Namibia late last week, ZANU-PF hardliners
are said to have won the day and are now refusing compromise even if it
means leaving SADC.
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that
the party is unanimous in rejecting SADC demands for reforms.
Zuma international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu said her boss is in a
position to deal with confrontational situation with President Mugabe if
Clifford Mashiri, a former Zimbabwean diplomat to Ethiopia, commented that
ZANU-PF is misleading itself if it thinks it can shrug off guidance from
By Stanley Gama and Chengetai Zvauya
Thursday, 26 May 2011 12:14
HARARE - In a firm rebuff of Zanu PF’s recent discordant statements on the
Global Political Agreement (GPA), it was made clear last night that
President Jacob Zuma is neither entertaining changing his approach to the
Zimbabwe political crisis nor the make-up of his facilitation team.
Pretoria’s strong reaction and its confirmation of its position on the GPA
and the long-running political crisis in Zimbabwe follows recent statements
by President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, in which they have
agitated for a unilateral and premature end to the inclusive government – as
well as moved, ill-advisedly, to rubbish members of Zuma’s facilitation team
to the GPA.
A well-placed source in Pretoria said last night that notwithstanding Zanu
PF’s “endless and dumbfounding provocation” of Zuma, the South African
president remained focused on resolving Zimbabwe’s decade-old political
crisis “whatever this will take”.
“The president (Zuma) has taken note of all the developments, the
inconsistent moves and utterances (by Zanu PF) of the past few weeks and he
is not happy. The important thing though is that he will not be distracted
by this noise from his mission and Sadc mandate to help the people of
Zimbabwe, not just some individuals.
“To this end too, it has not even crossed the president’s mind to change the
make-up of his facilitation team to the GPA. His approach remains that all
the GPA’s outstanding issues must be resolved mutually by all the parties to
the GPA without further delay and destructive politicking. Only at the end
of this process can legitimate and credible elections be held in the
“Anything that does not support this position and mandate is not on the
president’s agenda and he will neither entertain it nor be swayed by it. He
says it is time to end this unnecessary strife,” the source said.
Pretoria’s fresh affirmation of its stance on the Zimbabwe crisis and the
GPA comes amid fears that negotiations towards an election roadmap could
grind to a halt due to Zanu PF’s intransigence.
Apart from insulting Zuma repeatedly and throwing incomprehensible brickbats
at members of his facilitation team, particularly its spokesperson
Ambassador Lindiwe Zulu, who is also Zuma’s international relations adviser,
Zanu PF has virtually sought to reverse all agreements made to date within
the GPA context.
And contrary to the wishes of the former ruling party’s partners in the
inclusive government, the party wants to force through an early election –
and is no longer willing to negotiate crucial elements of the roadmap to
democracy such as electoral and security sector reforms.
This has meant that progress has been slow and difficult. This will see Sadc
leaders meeting again to deliberate on the Zimbabwe crisis in Johannesburg
“The roadmap, as with the entire negotiations process is a Sadc baby and
cannot be abandoned at the whims of Mugabe. We wait for the summit (the June
11 meeting) on Zimbabwe to push forward our agenda. But what is clear is
that we will reject any proposals to drop the roadmap,” said MDC spokesman
Douglas Mwonzora last night.
Mugabe’s decision to abandon the elections roadmap that is almost complete
is contained in a document that the party unsuccessfully tried to smuggle
into last week’s Sadc summit in Namibia.
Edwin Mushoriwa, vice president of the smaller MDC faction, said Zanu PF’s
“about face” on issues already agreed on was stalling progress.
“We want the matter to be resolved by fully implementing the GPA and we
uphold the decision that was made by the Sadc troika in Livingstone Zambia.
We are expecting Sadc to press upon Mugabe to continue participating in the
crafting of a roadmap. Security sector reforms should also remain on the
agenda,” he said.
Zanu PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa said: “We are not going to change
our position on the issues we want to be discussed. The MDC are demanding
the security sector reform and that is not going to happen,’’ he said.
By Helen Kadirire, Staff Writer
Thursday, 26 May 2011 15:15
HARARE - The whereabouts of two Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
(ZimRights) officials arrested for planning a public meeting on torture are
still unknown, raising fears for their lives.
Walter Dube, a paralegal officer and Florence Ndlovu, the regional
coordinator for Matabeleland were arrested at Tshino business centre in
Tsholotsho after police stopped the meeting on torture on Monday.
This was in defiance of a ruling by Bulawayo magistrate Ntombizodwa Mazhandu
allowing the meeting by the grassroots based organisation to proceed without
Lawyers and ZimRights officials yesterday said police were frustrating
efforts to locate the two.
“We do not know where the two are being detained and what their charge is.
We are now worried because we do not know if they are safe of not,” said
ZimRights national director Okay Machisa.
The two are being represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
member lawyers Charles Moyo and Jonathan Tsvangirai.
Machisa expressed worry that security agents could be torturing the
officials, given their history of kidnapping and torturing human rights
defenders and political activists.
ZLHR spokesman Kumbirai Mafunda said Tsvangirai and Moyo were denied access
to their clients when they went to Nyamandlovu police station.
“The lawyers representing Dube and Ndlovu were denied access by a rifle
wielding police officer at Nyamandlovu on Tuesday. The lawyers believe their
clients are still at Nyamandlovu despite the police claiming the two
officials have been transferred to Sipepa police station,” Mafunda said.
He said officers at Sipepa police station had denied holding the two
Mafunda said lawyers had observed that the vehicle used by the two missing
officials had been removed from Nyamandlovu police where it was initially
parked after the arrest.
“Police have refused to divulge where the car and the officials are,” said
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena professed ignorance on the case.
State security agents in 2008 abducted several human rights and political
activists, including a journalist and held them incommunicado at secret
locations while torturing them to induce confessions of insurgency.
By Alex Bell
26 May 2011
Zimbabwe’s remaining commercial farming community is facing a fresh
onslaught of invasions by ZANU PF land grabbers, in the wake of the closure
of the regional human rights court.
Leaders in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) last week
dissolved the human rights Tribunal for at least another year, in a move
being described as ‘regressive’ and a serious blow for the protection of the
rights of SADC citizens.
The court has already been suspended for more than 6 months, after SADC last
year resolved to review its mandate. This review was the result of the SADC
leadership refusal to force Zimbabwe to honour the Tribunal, which ruled in
2008 that Robert Mugabe’s brutal land grab campaign was unlawful.
The review has since been completed, and has upheld the Tribunal’s rulings
and also clarified that the court has the jurisdiction to rule on matters in
Zimbabwe. But despite this, SADC leaders have once again suspended the court
for a further 12 months, for yet another review.
The decision is also being described as a massive blow for farmers in
Zimbabwe, because they are essentially defenseless in the face of fresh farm
attacks. This week members of the Mugabe loyal, Johanne Marange Apostolic
sect, have invaded one of Zimbabwe’s biggest dairy farms in Chipinge,
ordering the farmer to leave within 24 hours. Members of the sect, together
with a mob of ZANU PF youths, stormed Spillemeer Farm on Wednesday and
declared they had taken over. This is according to the farm’s owner Francois
Kotze who told the Daily News newspaper that he was in the process of moving
off his property.
“They have showed an offer letter that claims that the farm belongs to them
and they are using ZANU PF youths to intimidate me,” said Kotze.
Fresh farm attacks have also been reported in the Chipinge area, where two
farmers have faced worsening threats from invaders since the beginning of
this week. The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said this week that they are
in the process of trying to negotiate with the invaders to allow the farmers
to continue with farming. Another farmer in the Pomona area has also
reported harassment by potential land invaders.
According to the Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance (SACFA) ZANU
PF supporters and war vets have also been moving from one farm to another in
Mashonaland and the Midlands provinces, intimidating and harassing farmers.
CFU President Deon Theron told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the
suspension of the SADC Tribunal has made an already bad situation for
commercial farmers, even worse. He said the decision by SADC was “hugely
disappointing” and “a very worrying development for the entire region,”
explaining how it is not just Zimbabwe’s farmers who will be affected.”
“The impact will be very wide ranging, because it means the whole region is
without an independent court to turn to,” Theron said.
He added: “Things have never really been good for us farmers in recent
years, but this decision will definitely have a very negative impact now.”
Peta Thornycroft | Harare May 26, 2011
Many of Zimbabwe's top lawyers say the country's 2008 political agreement,
the foundation of the inclusive government, will not achieve its goal of
producing undisputed elections, unless the present attorney general is
replaced with a professional legal officer.
Two human rights defenders were arrested this week while managing a workshop
in southern Zimbabwe on the evils of torture. Peaceful women protesters
were detained in the city of Bulawayo days earlier.
On Tuesday, 27 mourners arrested at a funeral of a Movement for Democratic
Change official were released on bail after five days in filthy cells.
Every week, MDC officials and supporters are detained. Only a few of those
arrested proceed to trial, and court records show that only one or two of
the thousands arrested have been convicted of charges for which they were
Many analysts blame partisan police for the never-ending arrests of people
opposed to President Robert Mugabe.
Former Zimbabwe Law Society president Beatrice Mtetwa is the winner of many
international awards for her human rights work. She says at the core of
partisan policing is the office of Attorney General Johannes Tomana, who
acknowledges he is a long-standing member of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
“For as long as we have the current attorney general, Johannes Tomana, there
can be no question that the criminal justice system cannot function
properly, because the abuses where the law is just used as a political tool
against perceived political opponents is continuing, and nobody is in doubt
that the arrests for instance of senior MDC personnel have very little to do
with the law,” she said.
Tomana was appointed after the political agreement was signed in 2008 by
leaders of the two MDC parties and Mugabe.
The agreement says Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the large MDC party and
now prime minister in the inclusive government, must be consulted before
appointments of any senior public servants. He was not consulted for the
Mtetwa says Tomana is motivated to prosecute people on behalf of his
“It is Mr. Tomana doing ZANU-PF’s bidding to ensure the MDC is decimated or
is harassed to an extent they are concentrating more on defending themselves
than on doing their work,” said Mtetwa.
Mtetwa says the police give orders to the attorney general’s office. “The
attorney general’s office is run by the police; they literally do what the
police tell them to do. If the police say, 'Oppose bail,' they oppose bail,
and that is not how the AG’s office is supposed to function. For as long as
Tomana is there we will continue to have a partisan police force,” she said.
Mtetwa and several other senior Zimbabwean lawyers say the country urgently
needs an impartial attorney general.
“If we had a professional, independent, impartial attorney general, the
police would not abuse the law the way they do because the attorney general
would be able to step in and refuse to deal with any cases where arrests
have been done for the wrong reasons without any cases against the suspect,”
There are ongoing negotiations between the two MDC parties and ZANU-PF about
implementation of the political agreement.
Mtetwa says she does not know why the appointment of the attorney general is
not given prominence because without a professional in place, free and fair
elections will not be possible.
“I am actually surprised that the two MDC’s are not as vocal as they ought
to be, because for me that is one of the fundamental areas. For as long as
the attorney general remains being the current incumbent, we are not going
to see this country going back to any semblance of the rule of law, we are
not going to have independent, or free and fair elections,” she said.
Mtetwa says even if negotiators produce substantial electoral reforms before
the next elections, there is a long tradition of cheating at the polls and
Zimbabwe will need a professional attorney general to ensure electoral laws
Neither Tomana nor any officials from Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party was available
for comment Thursday.
10 hours 1 minute ago
HARARE, May 26, 2011 - THE Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
Gideon Gono, has once again ignited his lost battle for the return of the
worthless Zimbabwe dollar but, this time, backed by "gold bullion".
Gono, who was at the helm at the central bank when the economy shrunk to
unbelievable levels and had the world's largest inflation figure of more
than 231 million percent, told a weekly newspaper that Zimbabwe could not
continue using the United States greenback because it was "foreign cash".
He said the US dollar would soon be phased out as the tender of choice on
the international markets.Gono said since Zimbabwe is currently "awash" with
gold the broke nation should re-introduce the Zimbabwe dollar but this time
backed by gold produced locally.
At its peak Zimbabwe was producing among the highest levels of gold in the
world. However, it is now producing only about nine tonnes annually, which
cannot put it on the international panel of gold producing nations in the
During the days of the Zimbabwe dollar Gono regularly phased out the
currency resulting in citizens carrying truck-loads of cash to buy items as
minor as toffees and matches in shops countrywide.
Customers needed to carry cardboard boxes with cash when going out for
dinner but Gono says this will "change" when the new Zimbabwe dollar returns
backed by gold.
The Minister of Finance, Tendai Bit, however, regularly says the Zimbabwe
dollar would "never ever return" especially with current productiobn levels
put conservatively at less than 40 percent in industry.
Biti told this journalist that he would "quit" if the Zimbabwe dollar
returned "anytime soon" especially under the old circusmstances.
But Gono, who regularly clashes with the minister, says he thinks Zimbabwe
needs to have its own currency or lose its independence to the Western world
who have slapped sanctions on its leadership including President Robert
Mugabe and himself.
The two are largely accused of bringing the country's economy to its knees
during their terms in office - an allegation which, however, both deny.Both
Governor Gono and President Mugabe have regularly said that they will not
President Mugabe has been at the helm of Zimbabwe since April 18, 1980 while
Gono has served two "back-to-back" terms at the Central Bank.
by James Mombe Thursday 26 May 2011
JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwe should ensure a proposed new constitution guarantees
and protects the basic rights and freedoms of citizens including the
freedoms of expression and the media, a local media rights group has said.
The local arm of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe)
lamented the failure of the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to scrap a battery of tough security and
Press laws that it said continue to “pose obstacles to the media and civic
society organisations’ watchdog roles over the three arms of the state”.
The organisation said the repressive laws -- some inherited from white
supremacist leader Ian Smith, who ruled Rhodesia before it became Zimbabwe
in 1980 -- were in contravention of the African Charter on Human and
Peoples Rights to which Harare is a signatory.
“MISA-Zimbabwe calls for constitutional provisions that explicitly guarantee
media freedom and the citizens’ right to access to information,” the group
said in a statement issued to mark Africa Day celebrated across the
continent every 25th of May.
“In coming up with a new constitution vis-à-vis the envisaged media reforms,
MISA-Zimbabwe urges the government to take into serious consideration the
principles of the African human rights instruments whose founding cascade
from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” it said.
Zimbabwe is writing a new constitution as part of wide-ranging reforms
agreed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai under their power-sharing agreement and
meant to entrench democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights in
the southern African country.
Zimbabwe is reputed to have some of the toughest media and security laws in
the world. For example the government’s Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act imposes up to 20 years in jail on journalists convicted of
denigrating Mugabe in their articles.
Mugabe’s previous administration had since 2002 used the stringent media
laws to police the newspaper industry, forcing several titles, including the
popular Daily News to close in 2003.
But the unity government has since allowed the Daily News back on the
streets while a host of other new titles are now available in the country
after the Zimbabwe Media Commission granted several companies licences to
MISA-Zimbabwe commended progress by the unity government in opening up the
newspaper industry but lamented the administration’s failure to do the same
with the electronic media where the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation remains the only licenced radio and television broadcaster in
the country. -- ZimOnline
By Xolisani Ncube, Staff Writer
Thursday, 26 May 2011 15:35
HARARE - Residents association groups countrywide have united in pushing for
the arrest of Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, but the police say
they are wasting their time.
The Zimbabwe United Residents Association(ZURA), which claims to represent
over 30 residents associations in the country, has written to police
commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri demanding answers on why Chombo was
still walking free despite allegations of abuse of office.
“As representatives of residents in Zimbabwe, we are worried at the pace or
manner in which the police handle matters implicating Minister Chombo,” read
part of the letter written on 20 May.
“As representatives of residents in Zimbabwe, we note with grave concern the
deteriorating of service delivery as a result of Minister Chombo’s failure
to account to the public what is entrusted in him as the minister of local
government,” the group said.
ZURA counts the Combined Harare Residents Association, Bindura Residents
Association, Combined Masvingo Residents Association and the Bulawayo United
Residents Association among its members.
“We implore your officers to take necessary steps to ensure that the
application of the rule of law remains uncompromised in the police force,”
Police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, however, said police did not take ZURA’s
“Police will not act on that noise,” he said.
“Why is the City of Harare not making the report for themselves? It should
be them that have to make a police report,” said Bvudzijena.
ZURA cited several cases that it said warranted police action.
In one of the cases, then acting mayor of Harare Charity Bango lodged a
report to the police on 30 April last year against Chombo’s alleged unlawful
acquisition of stands in Helensvale and Avondale.
“On the 3rd of March, the Combined Harare Residents Association lodged a
formal complaint against Minister Chombo’s unlawful issuing of an
instruction to the Harare City Council to make a payment of US$42 000 to a
certain Christopher Shumba thereby prejudicing the residents of Harare,”
“On the 27th of April 2011, the Elected Councillors Association of Zimbabwe
in conjunction with the Bindura Residents Association lodged a report
against Minister Chombo’s authorisation of the sale of a Bindura council
house for 48 cents Zimbabwean currency without following proper procedures.
The case was referenced RRB1103309,” according to the residents association.
ZURA’s letter follows a petition to the Attorney-General (AG)’s Office by
the Elected Councillors Association of Zimbabwe to invoke section 76(a) of
the constitution, which empowers the AG to instruct the police to
investigate an individual where there is a suspicion of a crime.
9 hours 50 minutes ago
PLUMTREE, May 26, 2011-Zimbabwe’s political parties are deadlocked on the
implementation timeframes of the election roadmap to guarantee free and fair
polls, Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai has said.
Tsvangirai said the adoption of the election roadmap has been hindered by a
stalemate between parties to agree on the timeframes for the implementation
of the roadmap ahead of fresh elections.
“The parties have agreed on all issues concerning the election roadmap but
the only outstanding issue is on the timeframes for its implementation (the
roadmap),” Tsvangirai said on Wednesday afternoon in an interview with Radio
The country’s premier, for example, singled out the deadlock between parties
on the timeframe for the writing and subsequent adoption of the country’s
constitution, saying Zanu (PF) is attempting to speed up the process to
force elections this year.
He said this in an interview on the sidelines of re-election celebrations to
the Parliament Speaker’s position for Lovemore Moyo, the MDC T chairman,
that were held at his Brunapeg home area in Plumtree, Matabeleland South.
Tsvangirai said his party was in disagreement with Zanu (PF) saying his
MDC -T party did not believe that it is possible to have a new constitution
and elections this year.
“Zanu (PF) wants a fast process of writing and adopting a new consitution so
that we can go for elections this year but what is the point in having a
fast process that will be challenged after.
“It is better for us to take our time being thorough as we write this
document."It is not possible to hold elections in the next 12-16 months as
besides writing an acceptable constitution, going for the referendum and so
forth, we will need a new voters roll and delimitation exercise,” he added.
Zanu-PF has been pushing calls for elections this year with or without a new
constitution to undo the unity government.However, the MDC has refused calls
for fresh elections, saying it favours election roadmaps to guarantee a free
and fair poll.
Hopes for a consolidated MDC electoral front were raised when the two
formations cooperated in the re-election of House Speaker Lovemore Moyo, a
member of the Tsvangirai wing briefly unseated by a court ruling
Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington 25 May 2011
The head of the smaller formation of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic
Change has ruled out joining forces in the forthcoming but
as-yet-unscheduled elections with the larger wing led by Prime Minister
Welshman Ncube said in posts on Facebook and Twitter that the differences
between the two MDC branches resulting from a 2005 split were “too deep and
Ncube was responding to a comment posted on his Facebook page.
Hopes for a consolidated MDC electoral front were raised when the two
formations cooperated early this year in the re-election of House Speaker
Lovemore Moyo, a member of the Tsvangirai wing briefly unseated by a court
Spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the Ncube MDC formation told Studio 7 reporter
Jonga Kandemiiri that the party differs with Tsvangirai's formation on many
But Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said his party is ready to
work with any party seeking to bring about democratic rule in Zimbabwe.
Elsewhere, a June 10 court date has been set in the case of a man arrested
for comments he posted on Prime Minister Tsvangirai's Facebook page.
Vikas Mavhudzi was arrested in February for posting what police said were
offensive comments. He told Mr. Tsvangirai in his Facebook posting that the
revolt taking place in Egypt and other Arab countries was “worth emulating”
Analysts said the arrest of Mavhudzi, now free on bail, is the first of its
kind in Zimbabwe and could set an important precedent for free speech on
Internet social media sites.
Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya described the arrest as political, but
added that with more Zimbabweans turning to social media government
monitoring should be expected.
Madhuku’s position has displeased some members of the civic group who say he
is repeating his 2006 maneuver in which he declined to make way for a new
leader, and accuse him of clinging to power
Chris Gande | Washington 25 May 2011
The NCA has refused to take part in the constitutional revision process,
objecting to the control of the process by a parliamentary select committee
and political parties
The chairman of Zimbabwe's National Constitutional Assembly, Lovemore
Madhuku says he will seek an extension of his mandate if a referendum on the
new constitution being drafted is not held before his term expires in
December, drawing criticism.
“There would be no change of leadership until after the referendum," Madhuku
told VOA Studio 7 reporter Chris Gande. "It will be only after that I will
hand over power to another person and that is unanimous within the NCA,” he
But Madhuku’s position has displeased some members of the civic group who
say he is repeating his maneuver of 2006 in which he declined to make way
for a new leader. The group’s constitution says a chairman may only serve
two terms of five years each.
NCA founding member John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe political science
professor, accused Madhuku of clinging to power like President Robert
The NCA has refused to take part in the constitutional revision process,
objecting to the control of the process by a parliamentary select committee
and political parties.
The non-governmental organization says it will encourage a "No" vote in the
referendum on the draft constitution which is expected to be held later this
By Bridget Mananavire, Staff Writer
Thursday, 26 May 2011 15:13
HARARE - A coalition of church leaders is turning the heat on state security
agents whom it accuses of stepping up harassment of Christians and the
clergy, as pressure mounts on President Robert Mugabe.
The churches, whose attempts at mass peace prayers in Harare have been
ruthlessly crushed by the police, are planning defiance meetings in all of
the country’s provinces, representatives said.
They have also compiled a document capturing the harassment they have
received at the hands of state security agents which they plan to hand over
to Sadc leaders.
Simultaneously, the church leaders, under the banner of the Christian
Alliance Zimbabwe, have communicated with their regional counterparts to
sensitise them on the onslaught, hoping the churches would push their
governments to pressure Zimbabwe into tolerating alternative voices.
“The surprising thing is that the police never cause any disruptions when
Zanu-PF officials join the apostolic churches in worship where they turn
those gatherings into political rallies,” said Reverend Useni Sibanda, the
alliance’s national director.
He was referring to Zanu PF officials, including Mugabe’s trend of visiting
apostolic sect churches where, usually wearing white robes, they turn the
church services into political rallies.
Efforts by the Christian Alliance to meet commissioner-general Augustine
Chihuri to resolve the issue have been snubbed by the Zanu PF aligned police
“The disruption of church services is a shameful violation of the
constitution, which allows for freedoms of religion and worship. By carrying
out more defiance church services, it is hoped that the police and the
authorities will see the need to allow people to congregate freely without
fearing for their lives,” said Dr Raymond Motsi, the alliance’s national
The Daily News is in possession of the document that the churches plan to
The document highlights cases of harassment that include arrests and
violence by state security agents against Christians.
Early last month, police stormed a Glen Norah church in Harare and threw
teargas at parishioners from different churches that had congregated to pray
for peace in the country.
Terrified worshippers, among them children and the elderly, were forced to
stampede out of the church. Some escaped through windows resulting in many
sustaining cuts from broken glass.
Two priests were taken into police custody during the chaotic scenes and
were only released after spending at least three days in detention.
In another high profile incident, police arrested a Lupane Roman Catholic
Church priest, Father Marko Mabutho Mnkandla, for allegedly holding a mass
in memory of victims and survivors of the mass military killings of the
1980s, also known as Gukurahundi.
In the document, the alliance proposes to continue engaging the police and
regional leaders, as well as the Press with mass prayer meetings in defiance
of police bans.
“The motto of the Zimbabwe Republic Police is ‘pro lege, pro patria, pro
populo or for the law, the nation and the people’. Their actions are clearly
in violation of their charter and motto. It is regrettable that our law
enforcer has become the chief law breaker,” reads the document.
26 May 2011
Education Minister Senator David Coltart has told SW Radio Africa that no child should be sent home from school over non-payment of levies. But last week the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association said numerous schools in the city were sending children home, contrary to the announced government policy.
Speaking on our Question Time programme Coltart said; “I find that hard to accept because for a start, headmasters know what the law is. There is a statutory instrument, a law which was published way back in 1998, which makes it very clear children cannot be turned away for non-payment of levies.”
Coltart said most headmasters tend to hide behind the school fees which are far less than the levies and are ‘nominal.’ He said; “For example in rural primary schools there are no fees payable at all. Even in high density primary schools there is a nominal fee payable per term of no more than US$10 per term which even the poorest people generally can pay.”
Asked if it was possible headmasters were disregarding the directive Coltart said; “There is a lot of lawlessness which has crept into the education sector in the last decade. A lot of it has been caused by the economic collapse in the country.” He said they have not been able to ‘adequately police the system and many of the district education officers, who are the people responsible, don’t have transport.”
So what can parents do if their kids are sent back home. “What I ask parents to do is go to their local provincial education director if they are able and report the case to them, so that we can then try and follow up and deal with it,” Coltart said.
If you want to listen to the full interview with David Coltart on Question Time: Click here
By Tichaona Sibanda
26 May 2011
A Harare based regional magistrate, Never Katiyo, has taken sabbatical leave
from his Rotten Row court room to work as a ZANU PF technical advisor on the
drafting of a new constitution.
He usually presides over his cases using court number 30 at the Rotten Row
magistrates’ complex, but Katiyo took leave at the beginning of this month
to sit on the Lands, Natural Resources and Empowerment thematic committee,
where he represents the former ruling ZANU PF party.
The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai accuse him of regularly
denying MDC-T activists bail as they face the trumped-up charges against
It appears ZANU PF went to great lengths to try and hide his identity and
involvement with the thematic committee, as his name does not appear on the
list of officials working there.
But this is nothing new as the names of serving soldiers like the 3 Brigade
commander in Mutare, Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, do not appear
on the list released by Veritas on the 14th May. (Veritas is a watchdog that
monitors Legal and Parliamentary affairs in Zimbabwe).
Nyikayaramba is the ‘technical advisor on elections and transitional
mechanisms’ for ZANU PF in compiling data collected during the constitution
Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us on Thursday that many other civil
servants and soldiers, apart from Katiyo and Nyikayaramba, were part of
COPAC’s thematic committees. By law civil servants are not allowed to take
political sides, but this law has long been flouted by ZANU PF.
‘In the case of Katiyo, he was recently seen at COPAC joking with a former
Ministry of Justice employee who is now representing the MDC-T, that he was
working for a wrong party.
‘Although he seemed to be joking, others who saw it didn’t think it was
ideal for him to declare his allegiance to ZANU PF because he has recently
been presiding over Themba Mliswa’s case who is known to be a leading ZANU
PF official. He cleared stated he was ZANU PF and the party still had
absolute power in the inclusive government,’ Muchemwa said.
Contacted for comment Obert Gutu, the deputy Minister of Justice told us
that as a judicial officer Katiyo shouldn’t involve himself in active
‘He (Katiyo) is breaking every rule that one can imagine. Firstly he should
not be allowed to earn his salary as a magistrate for the time that he is
working as a ZANU PF employee at COPAC. Secondly, he should be promptly
hauled before a Judicial Service Commission disciplinary hearing to answer
charges of gross misconduct,’ Gutu said.
There are reports that the MDC-T is going to raise the issue in Parliament,
about how the Ministry of Justice is going to deal with judicial officers
who publicly align themselves with certain political parties.
In Masvingo last year, a magistrate with links to ZANU PF was suspended
pending investigations, for suggesting that he would deal decisively with
anyone who supports the MDC-T.
by Staff Reporter
A JUDGE has refused the UK Home Office permission to appeal against a
decision to grant asylum to a former Central Intelligence Organisation
operative accused of “crimes against humanity”.
Phillip Machemedze, 47, admitted kidnapping dozens of opposition activists
and carrying out acts of torture "too gruesome to recount", but he was
allowed to stay in Britain on May 4 after a judge said he would be killed in
The Home Office initially said it would not appeal, but appears to have
changed its stance after criticism from media coverage.
But an attempt to launch an appeal suffered a setback on May 18 when a
second judge said the Home Office’s arguments amounted to “no more than a
disagreement” with the earlier decision to grant asylum to the former CIO
agent and his wife, Febbie.
“It is true that Phillip Machemedze committed abhorrent acts and deserves no
sympathy or favours. However, it is also true that we are bound by the
European Convention on Human Rights and Articles 2 and 3 are absolute,”
Senior Immigration Judge Robert Martin of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber’s
First Tier Tribunal ruled in a judgement seen by New Zimbabwe.com.
He added: “Whatever is felt about Phillip Machemedze and his actions, the UK
cannot return him to face death or inhuman or degrading treatment and for
someone who has ‘spilled the beans’ to the UK authorities, the Immigration
Judge was entitled to find that was what awaits him in Zimbabwe.”
Judge Martin also refused the Home Office permission to challenge the
granting of refugee status to Febbie Machemedze, saying she would also be at
risk of persecution.
“Neither the grounds (Home Office reasons for appeal) nor the determination
(decision to grant asylum) disclose an arguable error of law,” the judge
Machemedze, who joined the CIO in 1996, arrived in the UK in 2000 after he
had “enough of the torture” as one of President Robert Mugabe's shock
He admitted in court to smashing the jaw of an MDC activist with pliers
before pulling out his tooth and stripping another naked and threatening to
force him to rape his daughters if he did not give information.
He also confessed to electrocuting, slapping, beating and punching "to the
point of being unconscious" a white farmer suspected of giving money to the
MDC, and to "putting salt into the wounds" of a female MDC member who was
imprisoned in an underground cell before being stripped naked and whipped.
But he claims he tried to leave the CIO and was supplying information to the
MDC. He said his wife was tortured after he left the country, prompting her
to leave behind their three children and follow him to the UK.
After the Home Office rejected his initial asylum claim, arguing that he had
committed "crimes against humanity", he appealed.
At a hearing in Newport, South Wales, where he lives, the judge who heard
his appeal Mr Justice David Archer said he had committed “savage acts” of
violence, but ruled sending him to Zimbabwe would be a death sentence.
“He has seen too much and said too much about his colleagues to be allowed
to live,” the judge added.
Norwich-based Zimbabwean lawyer Masimba Mavaza, of IEI Solicitors, is
representing Machemedze and his wife.
Investment Minister Tapiwa Mashakada in a statement said the new plan will
be funded through domestic savings and new investment from abroad - though
foreign investors and donors have not been forthcoming
Gibbs Dube | Washington 25 May 2011
The Zimbabwean Cabinet has approved a five-year plan to promote economic
growth and sustainable development through the investment of US$9 billion.
But critics have already dismissed the medium-term lan over-optimistic and
Investment Minister Tapiwa Mashakada in a statement said the new plan will
be funded through domestic savings and new investment from abroad. But he
did not explain how Zimbabwe will attract foreign investment and
international aid when it has failed to do so since the formation of the
current unity government more than two years ago.
The plan projects average annual growth of 7 percent with inflation of
between 4 and 6 percent. It replaces the Short-Term Emergency Recovery
Program published in 2009 but still needs parliamentary ratification to
receive budgetary support.
Parliamentary Budget Committee Chairman Paddington Zhanda said the
Medium-Term Plan will not work in Zimbabwe. “There are many economic
development plans drafted long back that are currently gathering dust in the
country and as such indications are that this new one will do the same,”
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce President Trust Chikohora said
business leaders have warmly embraced the latest economic recovery plan.
“We are happy that we now have a five-year strategic plan that will give us
a proper framework [for] turning around our businesses,” Chikohora said.
But economic commentator Walter Nsununguli Mbongolwane said the plan is too
ambitious for a country whose jobless rate approaches 90 percent.
Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mawapanga Mwana Nanga of the Democratic Republic of
Congo led celebrations in Harare under the theme 'Accelerating Youth
Empowerment for Sustainable Development,' which comforted ZANU-PF proponents
of indigenizing foreign enterprises
Sandra Nyaira | Washington 25 May 2011
Acting Foreign Minister Herbert Murwera said the West was merely continuing
its agenda of regime change with its military operations in Libya.
Zimbabweans marked Africa Day on Wednesday in different ways, some lamenting
the country’s lack of media diversity, others talking up a black empowerment
The Media Institute of Southern Africa lamented the absence of independent
broadcasting outlets 31 years after independence.
MISA's Zimbabwe chapter said President Robert Mugabe maintains a
"stranglehold" on broadcasting in the country at the expense of ordinary
The media watchdog said that with just one broadcast station, Zimbabwe lags
behind most other African countries in opening the airwaves to free
The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai said Africa Day remains important for the country, declaring in a
statement that while Zimbabwe has stagnated, hope is not lost with new
elections on the horizon.
"To us in Zimbabwe, the day represents a cherished dream," the MDC statement
"We fought gallantly against colonialism in a national project whose ideals
unfortunately have yet to be realized after a colossal betrayal by an elite
we sincerely entrusted with our mandate to help us assume a new identity in
the changed circumstances."
The former opposition party continued: "Our African culture is clear and
unambiguous: we celebrate our diversity; dialogue and democracy; we see our
differences as invaluable sources of strength; and love peace and security."
In official observations in Harare, Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mawapanga Mwana
Nanga of the Democratic Republic of Congo led celebrations under the theme
“Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.”
Youth and Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said the AU theme this
year was very much in line with Harare’s initiative to empower indigenous
people, especially youth.
Addressing ZANU-PF youths later at his party's headquarters after the
festivities in Africa Unity Square in downtown Harare, Kasukuwere said his
party was not going back on its indigenization plans. Acting Foreign
Minister Herbert Murwera said the West was merely continuing its agenda of
regime change with its military operations in Libya.
“We struggled against colonization to ensure that the people enjoyed their
rights and freedoms," Murerwa said. In the current situation, "our systems
and institutions are manipulated under the cover of democracy, good
governance and the rule of law.”
Executive Secretary Takura Zhangazha of the Voluntary Media Council, a
self-regulatory body, said Zimbabweans should continue to embrace Africa
Day. He was one of the main speakers at an event held to mark Africa Day in
"This event was organized by the National Constitutional Assembly and the
Media Institute of Southern Africa in order to remember and place into
context Zimbabwe role in Africa vis-a-vis the theme of this year's Africa
Day theme," said Zhangazha "As well as our issues in relation to SADC
mediation and in general the condition of African people in the whole, so
it's a very significant day indeed which reflects our understanding of our
London-based political analyst George Shire says Zimbabweans must decide
collectively to move forward instead of politically tearing the country
By Ignatius Banda
BULAWAYO, May 26, 2011 (IPS) - At independence in 1980, Loyce Tshuma (55), a
villager in rural Tsholotsho in Matebeleland North, was a loyal believer in
politics as a powerful vehicle to change and better lives. Since then she
never missed an opportunity to cast her vote.
But now, with the upcoming national elections, Tshuma has lost all trust in
the process. "So much has changed about what I used to believe in about
politics," Tshuma says.
"There has not been any commitment to better our lives and some now think
things could be better if we had promoted our own women to lead us," she
said expressing a common frustration that emerged during IPS interviews with
some rural women.
As the country heads for national elections that President Robert Mugabe
insists must be held in 2011, the general feeling among rural women who
spoke to IPS is that there has not been much improvement of their lives
Early in 2011, an audit by the Zimbabwe Election Network (ZESN) found that
very few women (48 percent) were registered by 2010 to vote in 2011 as
many - alongside youths - had lost interest in participating in national
There also remains a palpable absence of female political leaders in rural
parts of the country. Activists say there are no signs that women will
challenge positions and seats currently held by their male counterparts
despite commitments by political parties to ensure gender parity within
While political parties have made commitments to elect women to positions of
influence in line with SADC protocols and other multilateral policy
frameworks that seek gender parity in parliament and government, the coming
elections offer a test for those commitments.
The main political parties themselves are struggling to meet gender parity
commitments they set for themselves as seen by the recent Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) congress. Here top posts were dominated by men. Out
of thirteen senior posts, only one was won by a female, Thokozani Khuphe,
who was re-elected party deputy president.
Gender activists say the Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front)
(ZANU-PF), the former ruling party that now forms part of the government of
national unity, has also not faired well in gender equity. There are only
seven female cabinet ministers in Zimbabwe.
"Women are still not taken seriously even by male politicians themselves,"
said Tabitha Khumalo, a senior MDC official.
"We still need to change attitudes among ourselves before we take on men in
elections and only then will other women whom we want to vote for us take us
seriously," she said.
The Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU) says statistics about women's
representation in parliament "reached nine percent at its lowest and 22
percent in 2009 at its highest - a far cry from the 30 percent minimum set
by the 1997 SADC Declaration on Gender and Development and even further from
the achievement of the 50 percent benchmark set by the SADC Protocol on
Gender and Development and the Millennium Development Goal three."
It has become an accepted feature of local politics for women to don party
regalia bearing the image of the party president, and that is where their
active participation ends as reflected in the numbers that are voted into
"Rural women are easy to forget for politicians as soon as the election is
over as they have all forms of communicating with the world blocked because
of being in rural areas," says Josephine Ngulube, a Bulawayo gender
"If the politician cannot go to them, they too cannot go to him. The
disenchantment with the electoral processes is understandable because it can
be proven that they remain the poorest in the country affected by years of
economic hardships," said Ngulube.
However, it is the disgruntlement of rural women such as Tshuma that could
be telling about the state of women's participation with voting and
Mugabe's ZANU-PF has announced it will be targeting the registration of
women ahead of the coming polls as the party claims its support is in the
Rural women have traditionally been looked upon as a huge constituency for
political parties who have nevertheless continued to field men for
parliamentary and senatorial seats. But changing attitudes and perceptions
about voting itself by rural women, at least according to IPS interviews and
the ZESN report, could mean the drive for gender parity in government and
parliament could have a setback.
"We have seen in the past that women would generally not support another
woman, but women are beginning to be politically literate and are voicing
that they would rather vote for one of them based on the kind of leadership
they have received from men," said Samukeliso Mthunzi, a Zimbabwean gender
relations researcher based in South Africa.
"Attitudes must change if women are to assert themselves in the market place
of political ideas, otherwise we will see women voters simply boycott polls
without any long-term solutions to why they stayed away in the first place,"
According to agencies such as the United Nations International Fund for
Agricultural Development, rural women in sub-Sahara Africa are some of the
poorest in the world as they survive as smallholder farmers. It is this
lamented poverty that persists despite their being able to vote for change
that could see them shying away from the polls, Mthunzi believes.
APHIWE DEKLERK - May 26 2011 18:42
"The axe will always forget but the tree that was chopped by the axe will
These are words spoken by Moses Tsvangirai in The Axe and the Tree a new
documentary that reveals the extent of the violence directed at opposition
party supporters that erupted in Zimbabwe in the run-up to the 2008
presidential run-off elections.
The documentary was launched on Tuesday at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in
Houghton, Johannesburg. It comes amid calls by Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe to go to the polls again this year.
The film focuses on four families living on the periphery of Harare. They
relive their experience of violence, rape and house burnings at the hands of
violent Zanu-PF supporters young enough to be their children -- all because
they dared to support the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The screening was followed by a panel discussion featuring Zimbabwean-born
human rights activist Elinor Sisulu; Howard Varney, acting director of the
International Centre for Transitional Justice which supported the making of
the documentary; and Rumbi Katedza, the director of the documentary.
Tsvangirai's face darkens as he tells of repeated beatings and how, later,
he had to tell his child to accept the violence as a part of life -- a
statement that shocked the audience.
"When a father says to their child these things happen in life, it's not
right, it's not normal and people shouldn't expect that and almost have an
optimistic approach to it," said Sisulu, who is married to Max Sisulu,
Parliament speaker and son of struggle royalty Walter and Albertina Sisulu.
Katedza said the documentary was shot under difficult circumstances. One of
the perpetrators of the violence, who initially agreed to take part in the
documentary, disappeared for a while. When he came back he wanted nothing to
do with the documentary, said Katedza.
"There is a lot of fear [in the community], not only among the people who
support MDC but also on Zanu-PF supporters," she said.
The documentary comes on the back of fears of more political violence if
Zimbabwe goes ahead with elections this year.
Elections in Zimbabwe have become synonymous with violence, said Varney.
Sisulu said Zimbabwe's opposition parties and civil society needed a
stronger push for media freedom as a matter of urgency rather that their
currents focus on drafting the country's new constitution.
But her stance on media freedom seems to contradict the South African
government's secrecy on Zimbabwe. First there was Mbeki's controversial
"quiet diplomacy" in the way he handled his Zimbabwean counterpart during
his mediation mission, and currently President Jacob Zuma's fight to keep a
report on violence during Zimbabwe's 2002 presidential elections under
The Mail & Guardian has been embroiled in a battle to gain access to the
report, which the presidency has blocked at every opportunity.
Violence marred campaigning in the run-up to the elections in 2002, as
Mugabe's efforts to retain power through force intensified. Many detentions
and 30 deaths were reported.
Before the election, Thabo Mbeki -- then president of South Africa -- sent
judges Dikgang Moseneke and Sisi Khampepe to investigate constitutional and
legal challenges leading up to election day.
A report was compiled by the two judges, but the South African government
declined to make it public, despite the judges' recommendation that it be
released, leading to the M&G's request of a copy through the Promotion of
Access to Information Act in 2008.
While both the High and the Supreme Courts have ruled in the paper's favour,
the M&G has yet to see the report as the Presidency has taken the matter all
the way to the Constitutional Court on appeal.
Katedza is hopeful that the documentary will raise more awareness about what
happened in Zimbabwe and prevent similar incidents happening again.
“The violence at the end at the day affects families and children who, like
the characters in the film, just want to be able to build nice houses and
live their lives and they should be able to do that.”
By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 26/05/11
Media reports that Zimbabwe will soon licence two commercial radio stations
is welcome but it must be done transparently. As the devil is always in the
details, it remains to be seen how the licensing will be done and to whom.
However, it would be naïve for the regime to try to silence critics by
handing out licences to the regime’s loyalists in order to promote
paternalistic propaganda under the guise of black economic empowerment at
the expense of untapped impartial and professional talent with business
acumen across racial and ethnic lines.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe would be best advised to ensure a
level playing field as it is expected to completely transform the
broadcasting industry in Zimbabwe without sacrificing quality and
The freeing of Zimbabwe’s airwaves is long overdue to allow for business
growth and diversity and well as give the public value for their hard-earned
money for information, education and entertainment. Despite earning
independence in 1980, Zimbabwe is still in the wilderness as far as
broadcasting is concerned when compared to its neighbour, South Africa which
has transformed the industry beyond recognition with great dividends.
For instance, even during apartheid days i.e. before 1994, South Africa
already had two commercial radio stations, Radio 702 and Capital Radio and
one private pay-TV service, M-Net, in addition to the South African
Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
According to the National Association of Broadcasters, having started the
ball rolling with the establishment of the community radio sector in 1994,
the regulator turned its attention to commercial radio in 1996 – privatising
six lucrtative SABC stations: Highveld Sterio (Gauteng), Radio Jacaranda
(Gauteng), East Coast Radio (KwaZulu Natal), KFM (Western Cape), Radio Algoa
(Eastern Cape) and OFM (Free State). In 1997 the Independent Broadcasting
Authority (IBA) issued 8 new commercial radio licences in South Africa
Since then, gross advertising revenue for South Africa’s broadcasting
industry has been estimated to have increased from just over R2 billion to
almost R8.5 billion between 1994 and 2006.
While, Zimbabwe’s licensing fees of US15,000 payable annually plus 1 percent
of the new operator’s gross annual turnover are reasonable, however, there
is need for clarification on what the levy would be used for by the
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.
Ideally, the levy or tax on broadcasters should go towards funding the
removal of prime-time advertisements from the state broadcaster Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation as done e.g. in France. That is the only way of
ensuring you don’t milk the cow until it starts bleeding. Advertisers should
be made to support private as well as public broadcasters for there to be a
basis for a levy.
Zimbabwe must licence private broadcasters transparently. The country has
endured a very long period of arrested development for narrow paternalistic
reasons. It’s time to move on.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,