By Alex Bell
27 May 2013
The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday boycotted the burial of one of
Robert Mugabe’s top CIO officials, over the decision to grant him national
Elias Kanengoni, the Deputy Director of the CIO and the head of the spy
agency’s internal operations, collapsed and died at his home in Mashonaland
Central last week. He was conferred with hero status not long after his
death, and was buried at the national Heroes Acre on Monday.
But this decision, unilaterally made by the ZANU PF wing of government, has
left the MDC-T fuming, because of Kanengoni’s conviction for the attempted
murder of the late former Gweru mayor Patrick Kombayi. MDC-T spokesperson
Douglas Mwonzora has been quoted as saying that his party would not turn up
for Monday’s funeral.
“We also want to put on record that we are also not going to attend to Elias
Kanengoni’s burial for the reason that he is the one who shot Patrick
Kombayi. So we are not going to attend his burial,” Mwonzora said.
Kanengoni was convicted of attempted murder in 1990 for the shooting and
maiming of Kombayi. He was later pardoned by Mugabe despite being sentenced
to seven years in prison.
Years later he was then named by the MDC-T as one of the people who
orchestrated violent attacks that led to the deaths of 14 party activists
killed in a single night in Chiweshe in May 2008. The MDC-T submitted a full
list of the alleged perpetrators to the Attorney General and the Police
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri, but no arrests were ever made.
Political analyst Clifford Mashiri told SW Radio Africa Monday that the
MDC-T decision to boycott the Kanengoni burial was a good one that reflected
the anger felt by many in Zimbabwe.
“He is not a national hero and conferring him with such a status is an
insult to Zimbabwe’s real heroes. Especially since he was confirmed in a
court as an attempted murderer and was linked to orchestrating numerous
MDC-T deaths,” Mashiri said.
He added that this was symptomatic of the larger problem of impunity in
Zimbabwe, which ZANU PF has allowed to become an endemic problem.
“We can’t pretend we have national healing until we address impunity. We
need a new government to investigate all these crimes, bring the
perpetrators to book, and end this cycle we see,” Mashiri said.
Meanwhile it is being reported that the decision to grant the late CIO
official with hero status has divided ZANU PF, with some members of the
party reportedly fighting to stop the hero honour being conferred. Kanengoni
family sources told the NewsDay newspaper that the Dickson Mafios-led ZANU
PF Mashonaland Central provincial leadership was determined to ensure that
the top spy was not buried at the national shrine because of party
by Tavada Mafa
Acting President, Joyce Mujuru, on Monday told the nation including the
military to observe and maintain peace in the forthcoming elections. Mujuru,
who did not divert from her written speech, said violence was an uncivilised
way of garnering political support.
“I appeal to all of you to take heed of the wise counsel of President Robert
Mugabe on the need to be tolerant, open-minded and live in peace with each
other despite our different political persuasions,” she urged the nation
while burying the late Central Intelligence Organisation Deputy Director in
charge of internal affairs, Elias Kanengoni.
Ironically, Kanengoni was convicted of a politically motivated attempted
murder act when he shot politician-cum-businessman, Patrick Kombayi, in the
run-up to the 1990 election.
The Gweru businessman sustained serious injuries and had to seek treatment
in London after being shot by Kanengoni, then a CIO officer, and Kizito
Chivamba, who was a Zanu (PF) MP for Chiundura. Kombayi was challenging Vice
President Simon Muzenda for the Gweru urban seat at the time.
Chivamba and Kanengoni were sentenced to seven years in jail after being
convicted of attempted murder only to be pardoned by President Robert
Mugabe. Kanengoni’s daughter, Elizaberth, worshipped Zanu (PF) for declaring
her father a national hero.
“We would like to thank President Robert Mugabe, the politburo and the
provincial executive of Zanu (PF) for awarding my father the highest honour
of being a national hero .We knew he deserved it, and you also know that he
was a true national Hero,” she said at the burial.
MDC boycotted Kanengoni’s burial and said he was an assassin.
“We do not recognize him as a hero. What he did to the people of Zimbabwe is
unforgivable and unforgettable. He is one o f the people who pumped seven
bullets into Patrick Kombayi, a defenceless civilian during elections. So he
was actually a promoter and active participant in election violence, and the
MDC cannot honour such people. We want heroes who in their life time were
respecting people of Zimbabwe. The national Heroes Acre is not a place for
assassins and murderers; it is a place for patriots,” the party’s
spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, said.
By Violet Gonda
27 May 2013
The trial of human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa failed to kick off on
Monday after several hours of delays, including a power cut, and was finally
postponed to next month at the request of the prosecution. Bizarrely the
prosecution asked for a postponement insisting that Mtetwa, who is the lead
counsel in her own trial, was busy with another case despite the fact that
she had told the court that the delays were affecting her own work and she
was ready for the case to be heard and was ready to proceed.
A number of Mtetwa’s cases, such as the trial of the ZimRights Direct Okay
Machisa over voter registration issues, were postponed during the time she
was in police custody but the defence team made it clear that the rights
lawyer was ready to have her own trial proceed, and that she would continue
with her other cases in June and July.
Mtetwa was arrested in March on charges of obstructing the course of justice
by insulting police officers. The incident allegedly happened when she tried
to help her clients from the Prime Minister’s office, who had been arrested
on allegations of impersonating law enforcement agents so that they could
gather sensitive information about corrupt state officials. She was released
on $500 bail after spending eight days in detention and ordered not to
interfere with investigations.
Her lawyer Harrison Nkomo told SW Radio Africa the trial was postponed to
Saturday June 8th and accused the prosecution of using delaying tactics. He
said: “It shows confusion on their part. I don’t think they were ready for
the trial because they were actually shocked to hear that we were ready to
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights director Irene Petras, who was one of the
people who packed the magistrates court on Monday, said the morning was full
of high drama at Rotten Row. She said: “Beatrice’s case was supposed to kick
off at 8.30am; state representatives did not pitch up on time. We then had
to move to a different court room – one of the few which has equipment
(circa 1970) to record the proceedings by cassette. This was at around
10.15am, but unfortunately ZESA conspired to delay us once again, as there
was no power for the recorder.
“Proceedings only commenced at around 11.35am at which time there was an
argument about whether or not to proceed with the matter, and if not, the
date to which it should be postponed, as Beatrice is committed with other
trials and cases throughout June,” Petras wrote on her Facebook page.
Mtetwa told journalists shortly after her release in March that she believed
her arrest was aimed to intimidate and instill fear among rights lawyers.
3:22pm May 27, 2013
Australia is further easing sanctions against Zimbabwe after a
constitutional referendum in the African nation has paved the way for
Foreign Minister Bob Carr says sanctions against 65 individuals - including
politicians, government officials and military personnel - and three
entities will be lifted.
The move comes after more than 90 per cent of Zimbabweans voted in favour of
a new constitution on March 16 this year, with constitutional legislation
being formally adopted last week.
Senator Carr said Australia's decision was aimed at encouraging further
"Zimbabwe's next step must be the holding of free, fair and credible
elections by the end of 2013," he said.
Senator Carr said the government remained concerned about the fragile
political situation in the troubled African nation.
"It has been made clear that Australian sanctions will be reimposed should
political reforms be derailed," he said.
The government lifted sanctions against 55 people in March.
Australia still has travel and financial restrictions against 33 people -
including President Robert Mugabe - and one entity, as well as an arms
embargo and a ban on defence links.
Australia first adopted sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2002 after Mugabe
trampled human rights and suppressed the country's political opposition, led
by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government with Mugabe in 2009. He
called on Australia to suspend sanctions against his country when he visited
Canberra in July last year.
AIR Zimbabwe has introduced a leased Airbus A320 to its fleet to service the
Harare- Johannesburg route, officials confirmed last week.
The plane has been in South Africa for mandatory safety tests and is one of
the two Airbus A320s leased by Air Zimbabwe to complement its current fleet.
"Air Zimbabwe is pleased to introduce the Airbus A320 on the
Harare-Johannesburg route," it said in a statement.
"The aircraft will initially be deployed on the Harare-Johannesburg route
and later on the other regional routes. This is an exciting moment for us at
Air Zimbabwe as we will be able to better serve our valued customers."
However, the company did not specify the dates on which flights using the
Airbus A320 would commence.
An official at Air Zimbabwe said more details would be announced today by
the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development.
The A320 is a fly-by-wire modern aircraft with a configuration of 12
business class and 138 economy class seats.
Air Zimbabwe is trying to restore its viability following years of decline
characterised by industrial action by its workers, among other challenges.
The airline has managed to retire part of its debt mostly to South African
creditors after government injected US$8,5 million into its operations last
year, while it is also making strides to regain its IATA membership.
The national carrier is sitting on a debt overhang of over US$100 million
owed to various creditors and has depended on Government bailouts now and
again in recent years.
Air Zimbabwe is one of the parastatals earmarked by government for
privatisation to restore viability.
By Tichaona Sibanda
27 May 2013
This weekend’s round of internal confirmations and primaries in the MDC-T
party produced interesting results, with a number of senior and two term
parliamentarians being knocked out cold.
Stalwarts like Fidelis Mhashu, a former cabinet minister, and Misheck Shoko,
the former Mayor of Chitungwiza, were among high profile casualties whose
political careers are almost over. Both MPs failed to get enough votes to
avoid going to the primaries.
Others big names who suffered huge setbacks include Science and Technology
Minister and Budiriro MP Heneri Dzinotyiwei, and Kambuzuma legislator
Willias Madzimure, who is the chairperson of African Parliamentarians
Network against Corruption.
So far the exercise has been held in Harare, Bulawayo and Chitungwiza and 15
MPs were not confirmed. They have a chance to redeem themselves in the
primaries, though chances for some are remote if you look at voting figures
that emerged from the constituencies.
In St Mary’s, incumbent MP Marvellous Khumalo only managed to garner 30
votes, while 330 were against him. Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya told
SW Radio Africa that Khumalo’s chances of making a comeback in the primary
elections were almost zero.
‘If you are a sitting MP and you lose that dismally, it is as good as
surrendering that seat. This was a clear message from the electorate that
you are no longer fit to continue as their parliamentary representative,’
Ruhanya said, adding that the exercise has been held in a peaceful
For each constituency there is a voters roll that was prepared by the party’s
election directorate and the voters are using transparent boxes.
Ruhanya said the exercise helps to strengthen intra-party democracy as well
as engender democratic accountability and good governance.
He stressed that no one should be protected but rather the field should be
levelled to enable all interested candidates to contest and win on merit.
‘If the exercise is to continue like this countrywide, the winners at the
end of the day will be the MDC, the leadership, contestants and the party
The week long exercise continued in Matabeleland South on Monday and Tuesday
the exercise will be in Mat South with the Midlands provinces on Wednesday
The Mashonaland provinces will have theirs from Thursday to Friday and the
last province to have the elections will be Manicaland this coming weekend.
Monday, 27 May 2013 12:29
HARARE - Former National Housing minister Fidelis Mhashu’s political career
is hanging by a thread after he was condemned to primary elections as more
heavyweights stumbled in the internal MDC elections held in Chitungwiza and
Mhashu, Chitungwiza North legislator, was among the high-profile MDC senior
politicians who failed to avoid facing off rivals in primary elections after
failing to garner the vote required to be confirmed as the outright
Former mayor Misheck Shoko (Chitungwiza South), Collin Gwiyo (Zengeza West),
Marvellous Khumalo(St Mary’s) and Edward Musumbu (Norton), will all have to
undergo primary elections after they also failed to get confirmation.
The MDC introduced the confirmation process, a system which requires a
sitting MP to get two thirds of the votes in his constituency, in a bid to
avoid accusations of imposing candidates.
Khumalo, who was arraigned in the courts for allegedly blowing funds meant
for constituency development, will need to overcome nine challengers in the
But there were no problems for Chitungwisa provincial chairperson Alexio
Musundire (Zengeza East), Thomas Nyamayaro (Seke Rural) and Honest Manhando
(Mhondoro Mubaira) who won in primary elections.
In Bulawayo Province, Samuel Sandla (Khumalo Mpopoma-Pelandaba) and MP Felix
Magalela Mafa of Magwegwe Constituency failed to get the required two-thirds
confirmation in yesterday’s polls.
Bulawayo provincial chairperson Gorden Moyo said: “Our elections were
peaceful. After this exercise, we want to make sure that Bulawayo is Zanu PF
free. We want to make sure that all MPs from Bulawayo come from the MDC.”
Moyo was unopposed in Makokoba following MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe’s
departure from the constituency.
Minister of Water Resources Samuel Sipepa Nkomo was also confirmed in
Lobengula as well as Tabitha Khumalo of Bulawayo East and Pumula’s Albert
Former deputy minister of Youth Thamsanqa Mahlangu was confirmed in
Nkulumane. On Saturday, heavyweights fell by the wayside in Harare’s
Science and Technology minister and Budiriro legislator Heneri Amos Murima
Dzinotyiwei, and the local chairperson of African Parliamentarians Network
against Corruption (Apnac) and Kambuzuma legislator Willias Madzimure
suffered huge setbacks.
Highfield East MP Pearson Mungofa, his neighbour in Highfield West
Constituency Simon Hove, Elias Jembere of Epworth Constituency, Glen Norah
member of the House of Assembly Gift Dzirutwe and Sunningdale MP Margaret
Matienga were also condemned to primary elections.
The MDC hopes to complete the confirmation exercises this weekend.
There will be visits to Matabeleland North and South, Manicaland,
Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Central and the volatile Masvingo
Province. - Mugove Tafirenyika and Pindai Dube
By Tichaona Sibanda
27 May 2013
The regional SADC bloc believes the country is in a position to hold
elections following the adoption of a new constitution, which was signed
into law by President Robert Mugabe last week.
Media reports say this was agreed by SADC leaders who met on the sidelines
of the African Union general assembly in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa
on Sunday. The extra-ordinary summit discussed other regional hotspots like
Madagascar and the DRC.
The bloc’s executive secretary, Tomaz Salamao, told journalists in the
Ethiopian capital that the leaders took note of the fact that the
constitution making process has been endorsed by parliament and that it was
time for the region to support Zimbabwe to hold elections.
‘Our position as SADC is that the constitution was concluded and the next
step is the election, whether it’s held within one month, two months, three
months or the next six months, it is up to those with the powers to decide.
‘We are waiting to hear the ruling of the Supreme Court, and as SADC we will
be there to support. We are basically waiting for the announcement of the
day of the election so that we move this process forward,’ Salamao said.
The Supreme Court case referred to is the one in which a Harare man is
seeking an order to force Mugabe to announce election dates. Last week
Friday the court reserved judgment in this case.
Monday, 27 May 2013 14:43
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party’s plan for a June
poll has all but crumbled, and many are now waiting to see how the
89-year-old will publicly handle the climb-down.
After fiercely and repeatedly declaring that elections will be held by June
29 despite opposition from MDC coalition government partners, Mugabe could
be preparing how best to handle the embarrassment of — once again — facing
up to the fact that he no longer enjoys power to unilaterally call
Observers say a fresh 30-day voter registration agreed to by all coalition
partners and provided for in the new constitution has unmasked Mugabe’s
pretence on an early election.
Even if the exercise was to start today, it would only end on June 27 making
at the earliest, two days before the June 29 date. In a sign Mugabe’s poll
push was a blush, the 89-year-old is yet to announce a poll date despite
boldly declaring he would do so more than 10 days ago.
It is exactly 12 days after Mugabe’s May 15 threat that he would proclaim an
election date “by the end of the week” yet his Zanu PF party is still in the
dark on the dates as the veteran leader continues to flip-flop.
Although Mugabe has since assented to the new constitution, he is yet to act
on his election date pronouncements threat.
Zanu PF’s spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday could not give an immediate
response when the Daily News pressed him if the party still stood by its
leader’s June 29 poll date.
“I am unable to answer that question now, why don’t you ask me on
Wednesday?” Gumbo said.
Mugabe’s coalition partners Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry
minister Welshman Ncube are on record as stating that a June 29 election is
impractical given the time left to carry out a 30-day voter registration
exercise and other legal requirements.
Douglas Mwonzora, co-chairperson of the Constitution Parliamentary Committee
which spearheaded the drafting of the new constitution, said Mugabe is
trying to move mountains and knows the futility of his actions.
“June 29 is now a legal impossibility,” Mwonzora said.
“There must be a period of 44 days between the declaration and the actual
polling. In terms of the new Constitution, the calling of a Nomination Court
must be done within a period of 14 days.
After Nomination Court, there must a period of at least 30 days to the
actual polling. This makes a total of 44 days.
“Mugabe knew this was impossible since he started posturing and this also
shows that he is receiving very poor quality legal advice and we feel sorry
Two weeks ago, Ncube told his supporters in Chikomba that although there is
no legal outlet to allow for a June 29 election.
Observers say the 89-year-old Zanu PF leader has no intention of holding a
general election soon, with his party in disarray owing to factional fights
to succeed him by rival camps.
Despite dispatching a team to some of its troubled provinces to stop the
fire caused by the factional fighting, there is still chaos over primary
elections which are yet to be held. - Mugove Tafirenyika
By Nomalanga Moyo
27 May 2013
As the march towards the general election gathers pace, the skint government
has revealed that it has managed to raise funds for a fresh mobile voter
registration exercise as stipulated in the new constitution.
Last week, co-Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi revealed that his ministry,
which oversees electoral processes, requires $25 million for a
‘comprehensive registration exercise’.
Mohadi accused the struggling Treasury of hampering voter registration by
not releasing adequate funds for the earlier 20-day exercise. The exercise
was heavily criticised for the manner in which it was conducted, with most
people describing it as chaotic and partisan.
But over the weekend Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told the state-run
media that $25 million had been raised for the fresh registration exercise
which is expected to be carried out in every ward.
Speaking to the Sunday Mail newspaper, Chinamasa revealed that the money was
sourced locally and would be disbursed to electoral body ZEC, the registrar
general’s office and the police through Treasury.
Chinamasa would not say where the money had come from except that it was
Finance Minister Tendai Biti confirmed that Treasury would be disbursing $25
million for the fresh exercise, but he too would not be drawn into revealing
the source of the funds, but he indicated that the money had come from
Biti told SW Radio Africa: “The money for the mobile voter registration is
now available and I will be disbursing $25 million for the exercise.
“We have collected some licence fees that were due but don’t ask me from
where, because I won’t tell you. We haven’t borrowed the money from anyone,
and we are very proud that we have been able to do this.”
Although both Biti and Chinamasa could not confirm it, it is almost certain
that mobile telecommunications firms Econet and Telecel, whose licences were
due for renewal end of June, provided the funds.
Earlier this year, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara told the Zimbabwe
Independent newspaper that government would target three sectors for
election funds: mining, the financial services, as well as the mobile
So far, only the telecoms firms had not been raided by the desperate
government, with diamond mining firms Mbada, Anjin and Marange already
having contributed millions of dollars.
Funds from pensions companies Old Mutual and the National Social Security
Authority were used to fund the March 16th referendum.
In April, the Finance Minister Biti himself told the media that more poll
funds would come from telecoms, and announced an increase in licence renewal
fees from $100 million to $180 million.
Last week, in a move seen as part of the poll fundraising campaign,
government announced a compulsory hike in pension contributions, as reported
by SW Radio Africa on Friday.
The government still needs to raise $100 million for the harmonised
election, expected sometime soon, and Minister Biti also indicated that the
government is yet to find the money, despite ZANU PF’s clamouring for a June
“We don’t have money for the remainder of the election and we are still
looking to the United Nations and other members of the international
community, including South Africa to help us with the election,” Biti said.
Although South Africa had previously indicated its willingness to assist, it
has since emerged that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has recommended that
Zimbabwe sends its election funding appeal to the Southern African
Development Community for consideration instead, Studio 7 reported Monday.
Initial requests for UN funding fell through after ZANU PF took exception to
what it saw as unacceptable conditions attached to the financial assistance.
The UN had wanted to send a ‘needs assessment team’ that would meet civil
society groups as part of the process. ZANU PF saw this as political
Once it is re-launched, the mobile registration teams are expected to cover
all the wards in the country, following allegations that the previous
exercise favoured ZANU PF strongholds.
Monday, 27 May 2013 14:43
HARARE - The new Constitution has done away with powers used by Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo to fire mayors and councillors
To date, the Zanu PF minister has fired dozens of elected councillors,
mainly those elected on the MDC ticket and replacing them with handpicked
But that is going to be a thing of the past as the new Constitution does not
give the Local Government minister such excessive powers which the MDC,
civil society organisations and residents groups condemned as open to abuse.
According to Chapter 14, section 278 (2) of the new Constitution, an
independent commission will be sorely responsible for the removal of the
mayor, councillor and chairperson of a local authority from office.
“An Act of Parliament must provide for the establishment of an independent
tribunal to exercise the function of removing from office mayors,
chairpersons and councillors…,” reads part of the section.
The MDC has in the past accused Chombo of abusing the Urban Council Act,
pointedly Section 114, to wield the axe on several MDC councillors
countrywide. Chombo has also used the Act to fire several MDC mayors.
The running battles between Chombo and councillors resulted in one of the
councillors who was sacked after blowing the whistle on a $1,6 million
corruption case in the Umguza rural district in Matabeleland North dragging
Chombo to court for unlawful termination.
Councillor Mxolisi Ndlovu from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC was
dismissed by Chombo in October last year over what he says are trumped up
charges after raising alarm at a $1, 6 million tender he alleged had been
corruptly awarded by Umguza chief executive officer Collen Moyo to a
The contract was to rehabilitate Ilitshe Road, a 12km stretch that connects
Victoria Falls to Nkayi in Matabeleland North Province.
Ndlovu raised the red flag after noting that council workers were
rehabilitating the road when there was a $1,6 million tender issued out to a
In April this year, Chombo announced that he had fired suspended Mutare
mayor Brian Leslie James, despite a High Court barring him from taking any
further action against the suspended mayor.
Chombo claimed that the MDC councillor was incompetent and mismanaged
council affairs. James claimed he was forced out for demanding an audit,
claiming some corrupt MDC councillors worked with Chombo to oust him.
Service delivery, which had vastly improved in the city under James, has
sharply deteriorated with water works projects driven by James now run down
through corruption and maladministration. - Tendai Kamhungira
by Staff Reporter
EDUCATION Minister David Coltart has dismissed as baseless allegations money
contributed by donors to the Education Transition Fund (ETF) was being used
to fund his MDC party’s projects.
Funded by donors such as the European Union the ETF was aimed aimed at
helping revive an education sector once described as the pride of Africa
before it was pushed close to collapse by the economic crisis experienced in
the last decade.
Coltart said allegations the Fund – designed to mobilise resources for the
sector and ensure equitable access to quality education - was being used to
support MDC projects in Bulawayo were baseless.
“What those people are saying is false . . . ETF is managed by Unicef in
Harare. The ETF implementation committee is chaired by (Ministry of
Education official) Constance Chigwamba,” he said.
“ETF is a fund by donors coming from EU countries. I chair the fund but it
is managed by Unicef in Harare. Not a single cent comes to Government that I
can use personally . . . (Unicef’s) country director can confirm that.”
The Herald newspaper claimed MDC activists Linnet Nyathi and Ellen
Shiriyedenga were running an ETF office in Bulawayo which was distributing
books to local schools.
But Coltart said there was no ETF office in Bulawayo adding the two officers
were, in fact, Education Ministry employees.
“Ellen works in Harare, she has been my personal assistant from day one and
her political affiliation cannot be questioned. She is not in the ETF
implementation committee. Nyathi was employed to run the Education Advisory
Board and is based here in Harare,” he said.
The ETF was established to address the acute shortage of textbooks across
the country with most schools operating on a 10:1 pupils-to-textbook ratio
as well as provide teaching and learning materials.
The first phase would see some 13 million textbooks distributed to schools
around the country while the next phases would focus on expanding support to
the secondary schools curriculum revision and supporting implementation of
the ministry’s new strategic plan.
NewsDay 6 hours 44 minutes ago
CHINHOYI — Zanu PF’s aspiring Chinhoyi MP and former provincial chairman
Phillip Chiyangwa has described his party’s impending primary elections as
the most divisive phase, adding the process was likely to widen the already
Speaking at the weekend at a function to welcome party supporters who had
defected to his rivals’ camp, Chiyangwa said Zanu PF risked losing the
upcoming polls if there was imposition of candidates and wanton disregard of
calls for certain candidates to stand on the party ticket.
“There is no other time that divides Zanu PF than the time for primary
elections. Instead of them (primaries) being a gauge of the winning
candidate’s popularity, they sow seeds of disunity.
“The divisions brought about by these contestations should be properly
managed,” said Chiyangwa, a nephew of President Robert Mugabe.
“However, there are certain instances where some influential people within
Zanu PF want to deliberately ignore the electorate’s calls for certain
candidates to stand so that we win back the masses’ loyalty.
“While it is everyone’s democratic right to compete in primaries, there are
constituencies such as Chinhoyi where the call is so loud and clear on whom
the people want to represent Zanu PF and that person is myself. I repeat
here today that I have never lost an election in my life. I am the Usain
Bolt of elections who is good at photo finishes, I am unbeatable,” Chiyangwa
said amid applause.
The former Chinhoyi MP called for unity among contestants in the primaries,
urging Zanu PF to hold transparent, free and fair internal polls and avoid a
repeat of the 2008 “Bhora Musango” phenomenon where party candidates
decampaigned the party’s presidential candidate President Robert Mugabe.
This caused Mugabe to lose to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai who, however,
could not be declared outright winner as he failed to garner an outright
majority. A resultant runoff election ended up being a one-man race after
Tsvangirai pulled out at the eleventh hour citing persecution of his
supporters. Mugabe then won the disputed poll culminating in the formation
of a coalition government after the international community refused to
recognise his victory.
Over the weekend, Chiyangwa said he would host a free music concert at
Chinhoyi Stadium featuring prominent musicians Suluman Chimbetu, Jah
Prayzah, Somandla Ndebele and Mathias Mhere, among others, dubbed Vharai
Gedhi to shore up Zanu PF support in Mashonaland West province.
Chiyangwa will contest against Simba Kanzou, Richard Chafausipo, Mathew
Magureyi and Samuel Mvurume in the Zanu PF primaries expected soon. -
by Staff Reporter
BULAWAYO governor, Cain Mathema, has said he wants several local civic
organisations banned, accusing them of causing divisions and promoting
Groups targeted by Mathema in his attack include Bulawayo Agenda, Radio
Dialogue and the Catholic Commission on Justice and Peace (CCJP).
He also claimed the groups were being funded by the West to further its
regime change interests in the country.
“Most NGOs here are funded by the US intelligence organisations and the
British. They are part of the regime change agenda. In fact I have the
figures that prove their source of funding,” he said.
“We have the so-called human rights organisations that are fanning tribalism
amongst the people. They are destabilising the country and causing
confusion. Such NGOs must be banned.
“NGOs such as the Bulawayo Agenda, Radio Dialogue and the Catholic
Commission on Justice and Peace (CCJP) are some of the spy organisations and
our people should reject them. They are not Zimbabwean and they work against
“It is these organisations which also invited sanctions that are causing
suffering to our people and none of them should have its licence renewed.”
However, National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango),
Effie Ncube, said Mathema’s attack on the groups was not justified.
“Mathema is entitled to his opinion but it is not true that all NGOs are
fronting imperial interests. There might be a few who are doing that and it
is not fair to regard all of them as such,” said Ncube.
“There are genuine NGOs working in our communities who are so angry with the
British, for instance. The problem is that at times we do not understand
each other because we do not listen to each other.”
By Alex Bell
27 May 2013
The number of deportations of Zimbabwean nationals from other Southern
African nations is on the rise, in what is being described as a sign that
thousands of people are still risking illegal border crossings in search of
a better life.
Figures released by the Home Affairs Ministry have indicated that South
Africa deported over 23,000 Zimbabweans between January 1st and April 30th
this year, while Botswana sent back over 2,000 Zim nationals in the same
This is almost double the number of deportations compared to the same period
last year. This is now being described as a sign that Zimbabweans are still
flocking to other countries, because the situation has not improved under
the unity government.
The Financial Gazette quoted Christopher Ngwenya, the Matabeleland South
police spokesperson, as saying that the deportations from South Africa
through the Beitbridge Border Post averaged between 200 and 300 people per
day. Ngwenya reportedly said that 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.
South Africa has been in the process of clamping down on illegal
immigration, with hundreds of thousands of foreigners entering the country
illegally every year. This includes a vast number of Zimbabweans, who have
continued to risk the illegal border crossing in search of job opportunities
in South Africa.
This is despite the formation of the unity governed in Zimbabwe in 2009,
which has failed to improve conditions enough back home for ordinary
Zimbabweans to make ends meet.
South Africa is believed to be home to an estimated four million Zim
nationals, and in an effort to try and control this influx, the Jacob Zuma
government introduced a brief regularisation process in 2010. But only
275,000 Zimbabweans applied to regularise their stay. The authorities there
have ruled out extending this documentation process, but the latest
deportation figures reveal that this is not deterring Zimbabweans from
seeking greener pastures.
Monday, 27 May 2013 14:34
HARARE - Zimbabwe’s often warring parties, in a rare show of unity, have
come out guns blazing against a separatist movement which is threatening
The South African-based Mthwakazi Liberation Front (FLM) (Mthwakazi) is
seeking to have Zimbabwe sliced into two halves. The group says this will
represent what it claims were the original historic mappings of the country
before colonialism in the 19th century.
Last week, Mthwakazi made far-fetched threats to take up arms against the
governments of Zimbabwe and Britain for refusing to entertain the group’s
Political parties in the country say the group’s demands are absurd.
Minister of State in the President’s office and Zanu PF secretary for
administration Didymus Mutasa told the Daily News that his party treated the
threats from Mthwakazi seriously.
“The fact that they are threatening military action means they have arms and
for that reason we will handle them accordingly,” he said.
“Where do they want to take our country to because Zimbabwe has always been
one? It is simply unacceptable,” Mutasa said.
The MDC formation led by Industry minister Welshman Ncube MDC said Zimbabwe
will always be known by its tea pot-shaped boundaries and that anyone who
wanted to change them would be dealt with constitutionally.
“When we deal with such issues we are guided by a national ethos that
enables people to access national resources and our answer to that is
devolution, not this madness,” party spokesperson Nhlahla Dube said.
“We will therefore not speak to issues that are clearly taken care of in our
Constitution. We know what will happen to those who are bent on
destabilising the country,” Dube said.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC youth assembly president Solomon
Madzore described the threat as unfortunate.
He said the new Constitution provides for devolution, which deals with
concerns of marginalised provinces.
“It is rather unfortunate that Mthwakazi is threatening war,” he said.
“As youths we are very energetic and exuberant so should they attempt to
carry out their threats, we will condemn them in the strongest terms
possible, especially that we now have a new charter that guides us,” said
While acknowledging that Mthwakazi has a right to freedom of expression,
former Zanu PF politburo member and now Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa said
it would be wrong to abuse that right.
In a letter to the British monarchy last week, Mthwakazi issued a threat of
armed war against the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe, declaring a 90-day
“I write on behalf of the people of Matabeleland (Mthwakazi), a Kingdom
destroyed by Her Majesty’s forces under the banner of the British South
Africa Company (BSAC) in 1894. This is the third time we seek audience with
Her Majesty on the restoration of the kingdom of Matabeleland (Mthwakazi
State),” reads the Mthwakazi’s letter to the British monarchy.
“In our last correspondence, you directed us to the Zimbabwean government
and we got the harshest of replies from Robert Mugabe, the sitting president
in the binary arrangement (whereby Matabeleland and Mashonaland were bundled
into one country without the consent of the subjects into Rhodesia then and
Zimbabwe today) which you created in a whites only referendum of 1923.
“We regret to have resolved to take such a stance and we add that this is
the last peaceful means that we the people of Mthwakazi will do before we
engage the occupying regime otherwise, in the not so distant a future. We
have sufficient evidence to push your State and government to its knees
while we prepare to settle the issue militarily with the obdurate Zimbabwean
government,” the organisation’s spokesperson David Magagula wrote.
Monday, 27 May 2013 14:47
HARARE - With key elections around the corner and a cupboard full of
skeletons, a Facebook character constantly churning out what appears to be
dark party and government secrets is the last thing Zanu PF would want.
Yet, apart from the factional fighting that is playing out publicly in
courts of law and elsewhere, President Robert Mugabe and his fractious party
have to turn their guns against a new frontier — Baba Jukwa.
Baba Jukwa, a faceless Facebook character, seems so up-to-date with
happenings in Zanu PF that top officials tremble at the mention of his name.
He is dominating dinner table discussions, not only among affected Zanu PF
officials but also among many ordinary folks who cannot go a day without
clicking his page for the “latest” inside detail.
Insiders say there is an all-out effort to sniff out Baba Jukwa, who claims
to be a Zanu PF insider gone rogue.
“Tapanduka zvachose,” is his catchphrase while dishing out details which he
claims are from high level meetings.
He mentions the venues of the meetings, the times and salacious details such
as murder plots by top-ranking Zanu PF, military and intelligence
His “lens” has at times taken those who follow his page to State House
meetings, leaving even security goons in awe.
Baba Jukwa claims to have foretold the demise of a top intelligence
commander who suffered a sudden death recently.
He claimed the top agent was poisoned by colleagues. He further claims to
have foretold a road
accident which recently befell a Zanu PF politburo member.
On Friday, the Daily News on Sunday went online and briefly chatted up Baba
Jukwa via the Facebook chat platform.
He claimed to be in the thick of things, promising to reveal even “darker”
secrets within Zanu PF.
“There are a lot of people whom I know will die in the following three
months,” he said before dropping names of “targets” ranging from top Zanu PF
officials and army commanders to MDC leaders, civil society actors and a
prominent female lawyer.
In a little over three months, the Internet troll’s popularity has risen to
nearly a 100 000 followers and in the process creating some sort of movement
or wave that has become a thorn in the flesh of many in the former guerrilla
He has also launched a website http://zimbabwean-at-heart.com.
This sharply contrasts with another faceless blogger calling him or herself
Amai Jukwa — a pioneer of this hard-hitting banter and commentary, but with
merely a quarter of the other Jukwa’s following.
Although he seldom attacks President Robert Mugabe and his vice Joice
Mujuru, Baba Jukwa instead focuses his energies on people such as Defence
minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere and
other inside plots.
Apart from politicians, he has also drawn the ire of other high-ranking
government officials with his salacious allegations and “predictions”.
Many in Zanu PF believe he is a party insider with access to top drawer
But Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu PF spokesperson, on Friday refused to comment on
“Let him say what he wants, ndezvababa Jukwa izvo, we are not going to
comment on that,” said Gumbo.
Despite feigning composure, sources in Zanu PF say the party has deployed
well-oiled machinery that is working round-the-clock to sniff out Baba
Jukwa, fearing his destabilising effect could haunt the party ahead of
Political analysts such as Zimbabwe Democracy Institute’s Pedzisai Ruhanya
say the Baba Jukwa phenomenon is a case of chickens coming home to roost.
“It is assisting to democratise the public sphere in the sense that in
authoritarian States or governments where information is censored, where the
media is curtailed, citizens find different ways of interaction and sharing
information which the State cannot control,” said Ruhanya.
“What is happening with Baba Jukwa therefore is a case of import media
liberalisation where the State fails to liberalise its media space, the
democratic space and the social media becomes handy.
“The reason is that the State or any organisation for that matter has no
capacity to regulate the modern information superhighway.
“What Zanu PF should do therefore is not to look for Baba Jukwa but to
liberate the public space, especially the media.
“To look for Baba Jukwa will only lead to the emergence of a million other
Baba Jukwas,” said Ruhanya. - Fungi Kwaramba and Mugove Tafirenyika
Monday, 27 May 2013 11:44
HARARE - During their first meeting, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
refused to share tea with President Robert Mugabe, fearing the old political
master might just do a trick on him.
These were the early days of the coalition government as suspicion took
centre stage between two men who had spent a decade-plus fighting each other
but having to work in the same government sharing executive power.
As the dusk sets upon a four-and-a-half year long power-sharing partnership
between formerly sworn enemies President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, their relationship seems evolving.
Bad blood between the two developed after Tsvangirai formed his MDC party in
1999 to challenge the former guerrilla movement leader.
After more than eight years of arrests, harassment, assaults and treason
accusations from Mugabe’s government, Tsvangirai later found himself having
to drink tea and share a plate of biscuits with the Zanu PF leader.
With only weeks left before Zimbabwe’s watershed general election, expected
sometime this year, one would have expected the relationship between Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe to grow sour.
But actions and affections the two long-time rivals displayed during the
signing ceremony of the new constitution suggested their relationship is
Sitting next to each other, occasionally holding each other’s hands and
exchanging warm laughs, their actions portrayed understating, love and
unity, complimenting each other with their party symbols.
After Mugabe clenched his fist in the air and chanted “pamberi ne Zimbabwe,”
Tsvangirai thought he should train his partner in government on the MDC’s
open palm symbol.
Tsvangirai stood up and holding Mugabe’s hand and said: Imi munoti pamberi
handitika? Manje isu tinoti Chinja. In response Mugabe said zvinhu zvinoda
kuchinjwa, kuti chibage chochinjwa chova hupfu,(things need to be changed,
from maize to mealie meal)” he joked.
Around 11:30am on Wednesday Mugabe signed constitution bill Number 20 into
law setting the pace of a gruelling election between him and Tsvangirai.
The 89-year-old assured his 6i-year-old competitor and the audience that
this coming election will be peaceful with no violence and no rigging.
Mugabe said the animosity between him and Tsvangirai had ended during their
union as they now had better understanding of each other.
Mugabe called Tsvangirai “true son of some Buhera (rural village in
Zimbabwe) family” a total change from his previous “puppet” label.
He said the two were one. Ndaimboti uyu muroyi uyu, ungagare naye iyeyu (I
used to call him a witch, wondering if we will ever get along), iye
achitiwo, ah, mudhara uyu anonzi ah ane twaakabata.
“Zvino, aiwa takazobvisana huroyi wani (he also used to say ‘this old man is
evil’, but no, all that is over now),” Mugabe said.
“We really are very free with each other. Kana masadza tinodya tiine mufaro
(we eat in joy),” he quipped. - Bridget Mananavire
A HEAVY-duty worksuit that is emblazoned with the signature of President Robert Mugabe is the latest fashion craze in Zimbabwe – and the designers claim orders are flooding in from outside the country.
Designers James Pande and Herbert Huruba say young Zimbabweans can’t get enough of their worksuits – even wearing them to football matches.
“What surprised us was the overwhelming orders and interest of people in the [suits],” said Huruba, of local fashion house Hovhorosi $tyle.
“Currently we are seeking to fulfil an order we received from Scotland showing that we have gone platinum since our inception in the fashion industry,” he told the Standard newspaper. It was not immediately clear which Scottish company has placed the order.
Available in green, yellow, orange, red and white, the one-piece worksuits were originally designed for delegates attending a conference of Mugabe’s Zanu PF party last year and bear the 89-year-old president’s signature across the front.
At $30 each, the overalls are not cheap in a nation where many earn less than $300 a month. Fans can purchase a matching beret for $10. Promotional materials show models pairing the overalls with stilettos, knee-high boots and the dark glasses Mugabe favours.
Agents are selling them across the border in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa, the designers claim.
They say the overalls will promote “solidarity and unity”, a catchphrase for Mr Mugabe’s dream of a one-party state.
But critics say they are being used to rebrand the 89 year-old leader ahead of elections this year – and warn that survivors of the last violent elections in 2008 may find them intimidating.
Youth militias dressed in not-dissimilar green uniforms rampaged through Zimbabwe’s rural areas after Mugabe lost the first round of voting in March 2008, attacking anyone suspected of supporting Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party.
At least 200 opposition supporters were killed. Mugabe was forced to sign a coalition deal with Tsvangirai in September 2008.
Since then, the veteran leader has worked hard to endear himself to the urban youth, traditionally supporters of Tsvangirai.
Mugabe appeared in a rap video in 2010, using – albeit with unease – a street greeting well-known to teenagers. House of Gushungo, a rival fashion label, also uses the president’s signature on its designs.
Commentators warn despite his violent past, Mugabe may win the elections on the back of growing disenchantment with his rival Tsvangirai, who has served as prime minister in the coalition government.
Staff Reporter 6 hours 41 minutes ago
JUSTICE and Legal Affairs deputy minister Obert Gutu has admitted that the
country’s justice delivery system is fraught with high-level corruption
involving police, prison officers and court officials.
Addressing a Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ)-organised workshop
for his ministry’s anti-corruption committee last week, Gutu said there was
need to introduce an Act that protects whistleblowers as a way of combating
corruption in the justice delivery system.
“Corruption has reached an alarming rate in Zimbabwe and the Ministry of
Justice and Legal Affairs is doing everything it can to make sure that those
engaging in corruption are prosecuted,” said Gutu.
“In the justice delivery system, corruption is multifaceted and
interconnected involving also the police, prison officers, interpreters,
clerks of courts, prosecutors and even the magistrates.”
Gutu said corruption was not only liable against persons in authority, but
also the public.
“Zimbabwe is lagging behind in fighting corruption as we do not have an Act
to provide for whistleblowers. Such an Act would provide protection to a
disclosure of any violation of law, except for an alleged violation that is
a minor, inadvertent violation that occurs during the conscientious
carrying-out of official duties.”
He said he hoped the development of a policy on whistleblowers would soon
take place, culminating into a law.
On curbing corruption, Gutu said his ministry introduced an anti-corruption
committee in October 2009 to identify and stem the scourge.
Speaking at the same workshop, TIZ board member Sandra Mehlomakhulu said it
was imperative for committee members to be able to study the existing
legislative and institutional framework as well as regional and
international treaties on corruption so that they would be able to come up
with ways to fight it in their ministry. - NewsDay
The MDC takes great pride in the ongoing peaceful primary elections and confirmation exercises to choose members who will represent the party in the upcoming watershed elections. The party is particularly proud at the level of maturity and political tolerance displayed by all the interested people and organs of the party. This indeed is testimony that the internal democracy of the MDC has reached the required level.
The process, the first of its kind in Zimbabwe is being carried out under free and fair conditions, a clear testimony of existing and thriving democracy within the party. The party of excellence is enthused by the manner in which the elections are handled and the maturity demonstrated by participants in the whole exercise.
The MDC strongly asserts that healthy competition is possible in Zimbabwe if contestations are done in a free and transparent manner. The party is pleased that the culture of corruption and underhand dealings as nurtured and propagated by Zanu PF over the years is fast fading away and being replaced by the new MDC culture of transparency and good governance which is set to bring real transformation to the lives of many Zimbabweans.
The MDC government will certainly respect and uphold democratic principles and values as enshrined in the new constitution that the MDC ensured was promulgated. To this end, the MDC party unequivocally condemns the recent unilateral appointments of Judges by Mugabe which is a total negation of the terms of the new constitution which clearly stipulate that judges must be appointed after transparent public interviews.
The recent fast track appointment of Judges before the signing of the new charter into law by Mugabe was a deliberate ploy to circumvent the provision of the new constitution so as to pack the bench with Zanu PF cronies before the new charter comes into effect. The MDC finds this move as objectionable as it is indecent and embarrassing.
Finally the MDC applauds the minister of finance Tendai Biti for realising cash for the second round of voter registration which is due to start in every ward. Unlike the just ended chaotic voter registration process,the party is confident that this new exercise will be diligently executed to allow everyone to register and exercise his or her right to vote in the coming elections this year.
YES - Together we can complete the change!!
Posted on Monday, 27 May 2013 11:22
By Thabo Bhebhe in Harare and Gemma Ware
As elections approach in June, the future of an ethanol project in
Chisumbanje linked to business tycoon Billy Rautenbach hangs in the balance.
Locals claim the project has led to the displacement of 100 families.
For over 15 months, a large ethanol plant at Chisumbanje in south-eastern
Zimbabwe has sat idle. With limits on where it could sell its supplies, it
had filled up its storage containers and paused production.
Now, a political firestorm rages over the project, run by Green Fuel, a
company backed by the controversial businessman Billy Rautenbach.
Ahead of crucial elections planned for 29 June, access to land remains a
contentious political issue following large-scale redistribution of property
owned by white farmers. Now accusations that smallholder farmers have been
pushed from their land to make way for the project raise questions about the
power of political patronage.
There were reports that the $600m Chisumbanje plant had re-opened in late
March, following a visit and directive by vice-president Joice Mujuru of
President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
But the plant's management confirmed it remains shut.
"We are awaiting licensing," said Graeme Smith, Green Fuel's general
Things were looking up in February, after a statutory instrument introduced
provisions for mandatory blending of 5 percent ethanol in all petrol in
Yet, according to energy minister Elton Mangoma, who gazetted the new
legislation after its approval by cabinet, for the law to kick in the
companies proposing to produce the 5 percent ethanol blend, known as E5,
must first enter into a joint venture with the government.
A member of prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), Mangoma told The Africa Report that although Green Fuel has a
licence to sell higher grade E10 and E85, those products have not had a very
"They then approached government for mandatory blending, at which point
government turned around and said we will not use public policy to benefit
an individual," says Mangoma, referring to Rautenbach, a close ally of
Mugabe and defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
No Bend, No Blend
Mangoma says neither Green Fuel, nor Triangle – an ethanol producer owned by
South African sugar giant Tongaat Hulett – have formed a joint venture with
government and therefore do not meet the requirements to benefit from the
mandatory blending legislation.
The Triangle plant, in Masvingo Province, restarted production in 2010 and
has the capacity to produce 40m litres per year. It exports 75 percent of
its production to South Africa.
Smith confirmed that progress had been made on turning Green Fuel into a
joint venture, but that negotiations were "still underway". For the future
of the plant, he said it was necessary that its ethanol be eligible under
the mandatory blending legislation.
In another development in early April, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory
Authority (ZERA) approved the sale of E85 fuel. It will provide an extra
market for ethanol producers, although ZERA warned consumers not to use the
85 percent blended fuel in vehicles that are not specifically adapted for
Mujuru's directive to re-open the Chisumbanje plant has led to accusations
of her politicising the venture ahead of elections, after direct pleas to
the presidency by laid-off workers to get the plant back up and running.
The project is located in Manicaland, a province that could swing either way
in the upcoming election.
After four years of inclusive government during which Zimbabwe has struggled
with a liquidity crunch and a lack of foreign direct investment, projects
like this are vote-winners. But, like the project to build the Harare
airport road (see box), much of the dealmaking seems to have favoured a few
individuals rather than the interests of the public.
In March 2009, 16 days after the formation of the inclusive government
following the 2008 election crisis, the government allowed Rautenbach to
take over 5,100ha in Chisumbanje formerly run by the state-owned
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA).
Rautenbach's firms Macdom Investments and Rating Investments signed a
20-year build, operate and transfer arrangement with ARDA for Green Fuel's
ethanol plant. Directors of Green Fuel include Toni Machado, a former
business associate of Rautenbach.
The deal remains shrouded in secrecy, with some ministers claiming they were
not allowed access to the site because they belong to Tsvangirai's party.
Mangoma speaks angrily about the project: "There is no way you can allow one
person, whatever colour, to take away land from the majority of the people
so that those people become refugees in their own country. It's not
Wedzerai Gwenzi, a spokesperson for the villagers, says that they feel
cheated by the project. "We thought this project was going to bring relief
to the people of Chisumbanje, but it's actually displacing them," he told
The Africa Report.
According to Chipinge South deputy Meki Makuyana, as many as 187 families
have relocated to Mozambique after the company encroached on communal plots
and damaged crops.
In the last week of December police fired shots in the air and used teargas
to disperse angry villagers demanding their land back. The stand-off started
when villagers went back to till their land following the start of the rainy
season. Police arrested 15 people who were released on bail after four days.
Their case has been continuously postponed.
Green Fuel's Smith insists there were no displaced households: "There have
been communal farmers who were cropping land previously designated for a
commercial development, who were moved from this land onto irrigated
cropping land by local government," he says, adding that all crop
compensation claimed has been paid.
Rautenbach has been involved in a web of complex and often murky mining
deals. He fled South Africa in November 1999 when police sought to arrest
him on charges of fraud. After a prolonged extradition battle, he pleaded
guilty in September 2009 to 326 charges and paid a R40m ($4.5m) fine.
The US and European Union (EU) put him on their sanctions lists for being a
financial backer to Mugabe's regime. The EU lifted its sanctions against him
After current upgrades are completed, Smith says the Green Fuel plant will
produce 6.5m of ethanol a month. Ultimately, this will increase to 9m
litres. Macdom's management believes the project will enable Zimbabwe to cut
down on its fuel imports.
It was against this backdrop that the government introduced the new ethanol
Zimbabwe Energy Council (ZEC) executive director Panganayi Sithole says the
ZEC would be in favour of a 10 percent mandatory blending, but that 5
percent is "a strong starting point".
The ZEC says that Zimbabwe imports 30-40m litres of petrol every month, and
the new law could save the country $2m a month. However, deputy prime
minister Arthur Mutambara, part of a cabinet committee investigating the
project, raised questions about the price of ethanol being proposed by the
In a September report to cabinet, Mutambara said Green Fuel's proposal to
sell ethanol at $0.85 per litre was higher than the international average
and would put the retail price for E5 blended fuel at $1.47 – almost equal
to the price of unleaded fuel. In other words, little benefit would be
passed on to the consumer.
In other countries such as Brazil, which has a large programme of ethanol
blending, ethanol sells for between $0.65 and $0.75 per litre.
Green Fuel declined to comment on its pricing.
Giles Anderson, a trucker with cross-border operations covering South
Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia, has strong reservations about the initiative.
"The idea of blending will no doubt negatively affect operations. Government
has not come clean on whether it will set aside a subsidy for us to procure
compatible vehicles," says Anderson, who has a fleet of 18 trucks.
He believes other truckers will ignore the directive and procure fuel in
It was likely that such a big project in a country starved of investment
would turn into a political debate ahead of elections. As a result, its
future re- mains uncertain.
As President Robert Mugabe signed Zimbabwe’s new constitution into law last week, the case of lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa should have reminded us of the dangers of political interference in the justice system, as well as the price lawyers sometimes pay for the courageous defence of their clients.
Beatrice, a prominent human rights lawyer and past president of the Zimbabwean Law Society, will stand trial today for “obstructing or defeating the course of justice”. She was arrested in Harare on 17 March after she asked to see the search warrant of police officers who were conducting what she called an “unlawful, unconstitutional, illegal and undemocratic” search of the home of her client, Thabani Mpofu, an aide to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
When Beatrice arrived at her client’s home, police were already conducting the search. She was handcuffed and taken to Harare Central police station. Despite a High Court order for her release, she was held in custody for eight nights and was allegedly ill-treated and denied access to her family. The High Court finally released her on bail of £330 after magistrates had initially refused to let her go.
This is just one of a series of incidents Amnesty International has observed in recent months amounting to what the organisation calls a crackdown on human rights defenders. The signing of the new constitution paves the way for presidential elections later this year and there are concerns that this crackdown could be the beginning of a return to the violence and bloodshedthat left 200 people dead, 10,000 injured and nearly 30,000 displaced around the last elections in 2008.
When Beatrice was arrested, Amnesty called for her immediate release, as did the Law Society of England and Wales. The Law Society pointed out that the arrest breached United Nations basic principles on the role of lawyers. These require governments to ensure that they can perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference. The UN principles call on national authorities to safeguard lawyers whose security is threatened through performing their role, and to ensure that they are not identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result.
Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson said of Beatrice’s case: “This blatant lack of respect for the role of lawyers in the structure of democratic society demonstrates how the rule of law is yet to be fully established in Zimbabwe. [The] arrest marks a new low in relations between the Zimbabwe State and the legal profession.”
The ordeal of Beatrice Mtetwa brings home to us in the UK how lucky we are. Our courtroom battles for justice and human rights for our clients don’t normally bring down reprisals on our heads. That said, the notorious exceptions of lawyers Rosemary Nelson and Patrick Finucane, both assassinated in Northern Ireland as a direct result of their performance of their legal functions amid allegations - confirmed in Finucane’s case - of collusion by the state authorities, warn us how fragile and contingent is the rule of law and the structure of democratic society.
There is evidence that the campaign of the anti-human rights lobby in the UK, which involves tabloid “naming and shaming” of immigration judges who allow deportation appeals by long-resident foreigners on human rights grounds, has dramatically reduced the number of successful appeals.
This lobby also ran a successful campaign to prevent prominent human rights lawyer Ben Emmerson QC becoming a judge at the European Court of Human Rights because he had represented Abu Qatada. And legal aid cuts, new obstacles to judicial review and proposals to award bulk criminal legal aid cases to cut-price contractors, all threaten the rule of law.
We in the UK need to appreciate, protect and defend our independent human rights lawyers and judges and the fabric of justice, even as we express our solidarity and support for beleaguered colleagues such as Beatrice Mtweta.
Frances Webber is a human rights lawyer, author of Borderline justice: the fight for refugee and migrant rights (Pluto, 2012), an honorary vice-president of the Haldane Society and vice-chair of the Institute of Race Relations
PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES SERIES 12/2013
[27th May 2013]
Public Hearings on Income Tax Bill This Week
The House of Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion will be conducting public hearings on the Income Tax Bill this week in Harare, Mutare, Masvingo and Bulawayo. Dates, times and venues are as follows:
Harare, Tuesday 28th May
Rainbow Towers – 9 am to 12 noon
Mutare, Wednesday 29th May
Amber Hotel, 9 am to 12.30 pm
Masvingo, Thursday 30th May
Civic Centre Hall, 9 am to 12.30 pm
Bulawayo, Friday 31st May
Bulawayo Holiday Inn, 9 am to 12.30 pm.
The public, interested groups and organisations are invited to the hearings to express their views their on the Bill [available in soft copy from firstname.lastname@example.org]. Contributions made will be considered by the Portfolio Committee and will be part of its report to be tabled in the House of Assembly, where the Second Reading debate on the Bill is due to start on Tuesday 4th June.
If you want to make oral representations, signify this to the Committee Clerk before the hearing so that he can notify the chairperson to call on you. An oral submission is more effective if followed up in writing. If you are making a written submission, it is advisable to take as many copies as possible for circulation at the hearing.
If not attending
Written submissions and correspondence are welcome and should be addressed to:
The Clerk of Parliament
Attention: Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion
P.O. Box CY298
or sent by email to email@example.com
or delivered to Parliament Building in Harare using the Kwame Nkrumah Avenue entrance between 2nd and 3rd Streets.
Reminder: Members of the public, including Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, can at any time send written submissions to Parliamentary committees by email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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