One of the most powerful methods of currying favour with potential voters in a country wreaked with severe drought and hunger is the issuing of farming supplies and food.
In the footage below, various meetings are recorded in which both Zanu-PF and the MDC use the promise of farming supplies to loyal and often desperate supporters in a bid to secure votes in the scheduled elections in July.
In a country that was once hailed as the 'bread basket' of Africa, many believe the political influence of the ruling and opposition parties has ironically created the humanitarian food crisis they claim to be able to solve through the sparse distribution of farming supplies, particularly maize seeds.
People interviewed in the footage said that food aid is dependent on their political leanings, and one MDC supporter said only the Zanu-PF supporters got grain to plant, and that if you were an MDC supporter, the ruling party would not support you.
Further questions are also being raised as to where the political parties are getting the supplies used in the campaign as there is a huge shortage nationally that has required humanitarian organisations to intervene by supplying food supplies, some say the same that the parties are using to gain votes for the upcoming election.
The African Development bank warned in April this year that Zimbabwe’s food reserves had been depleted, and that at least 1.6 million people relied on food aid in the country.
By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
30 May 2013
A Chinese firm that was granted a special permit to begin mining activities
in the Gwayi Conservation area is set to go ahead with its major development
plans, despite warnings of the devastating impact such activities will have
The warnings have been made predominately by conservation groups ever since
news of the mining plans surfaced. The firm, a joint venture between the
Chinese and a Zimbabwean company, was granted special permission by Robert
Mugabe in 2011 to undertake a major project, including coal mining, methane
gas extraction and thermal power generation.
The firm, China-Africa Sunlight Energy, is run by retired army Colonel
Charles Mugari, and it is suspected that his military links have seen the
project being given the all clear. Mugari has insisted that he has done
everything legitimately and has followed the proper environmental assessment
procedures. But there are serious questions being asked about an
Environmental Impact Assessment report that approved the firm’s plans.
Stakeholders in the Gwayi area have said they have been side-lined from the
assessment process and accused Environment Guardian Services (EGS), which
did the assessment, of dishonesty in giving the project the thumbs up.
A copy of this assessment, seen by SW Radio Africa, raises many of the same
concerns voiced by conservation groups, pointing to negative effects like
river siltation, pollution, erosion, community displacement and even crime
and prostitution. The assessment states that while it is “naļve to imagine
that developments of this nature cannot degrade the environment, what is
important is that stakeholders in the situation should work together for a
win – win situation.”
Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said
this week that he doubts the validity of this assessment and called for an
independent, professional one to be conducted. Rodrigues told SW Radio
Africa that from the start the process has been suspicious, and there are
grave concerns about the future of the conservation area.
“Normally when projects like are done it should be publicised and a proper
assessment done. The whole deal has been so secretly done. There are a lot
of things hushed up,” Rodrigues said.
He explained that the firm has already started fulfilling its plans, saying
“the actual projects are taking place.” He said the destruction is already
under way, despite the assessment only being done in recent months.
“We should be preserving these areas and try and bring tourism in because
there is more money in tourism in the long term, because what happens when
you take the minerals out? Nothing is being explained,” Rodrigues said.
Meanwhile, there is concern about illegal hunting taking place in
neighbouring Hwange National Park, where gunshots are still being heard by
tourists. The Park is home to the Presidential Elephant Herd and is meant to
be protected from hunting.
Rodrigues said that the mining projects being dished out in the conservation
areas threatened the safety of these areas. He speculated that the illegal
hunting might be linked to the mining activities, in an effort to clear the
area of animals.
See China Africa Sunlight Energy (Gwayi) – Press presentation -
By Nduduzo Tshuma 12 hours 24 minutes ago
DESPITE his love-hate relationship with President Robert Mugabe, one of Zanu
PF’s founding fathers Enos Nkala believes the party cannot survive beyond
the aged leader.
In a wide-ranging interview on Tuesday punctuated by bursts of laughter from
the former minister, Nkala tactfully ducked questions, with the trade mark,
“I have not exercised my mind on that.”
Never one to shy away from controversy, the former Defence minister waded
into the Zanu PF succession politics, saying he believes Defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa is a better leader than Vice-President Joyce Mujuru.
“Zanu PF is already fragmented, I am not sure if it will survive if Mugabe
leaves, these factions will grow beyond what our present politics may take,”
“Zanu PF is an old party, it has made many mistakes during the time it has
been in power, and maybe that is what may cause its defeat in the next
Nkala, recently discharged from hospital over heart and kidney
complications, walks with the aid of a gold-coated stick and complains that
age has taken the strength from his knees, but the light in his eyes does
not reflect that the body is ailing.
His eyes light up each time he speaks of Zanu PF, a party he helped form.
Commenting on revelations by Zambian Vice-President Guy Scott that Mugabe
wanted to leave politics, Nkala said Zanu PF would collapse without the
“If he does not stand in the elections, Zanu PF will lose to MDC-T,” he
says. “You know Mugabe is a good speaker and commands a lot of respect, if
he leaves and someone takes over I do not know who that is, maybe Joice
Mujuru, she may not be able to command the respect that Mugabe enjoys.”
However, Nkala said Mnangagwa was a better-suited leader and would lead Zanu
PF better in a post-Mugabe era.
“I think Mnangagwa,” he said. “Well he knew what he was doing, he had a
programme for his own leadership and I think if he were given the
opportunity to put that programme into operation, he would have done very
Pressed if Mnangagwa has always had ambitions to lead Zanu PF, Nkala said:
“like anybody else, people have ambitions, they maybe hidden, but they have
“If you dig into them you will find that they have ambitions, they maybe
loose or solid ambitions.
“Mugabe has done very well and has been in this game for a long time, his
strengths overcome his weaknesses.”
Nkala does not believe that grooming a Mugabe successor would have helped
avoid divisions in the party.
“Do you groom or someone grooms and projects themselves and become
acceptable?” he said. “I am not so sure that you can groom somebody, it is
what that individual is made of.”
The Zanu PF founder ominously said army generals wielded immense influence
on the country’s politics and he was not certain what would happen if Mugabe
“I am not sure what would happen if Mugabe left because the generals have a
lot of influence and some of them date back to the days of the liberation
struggle,” he said.
Nkala shares memories of the late Matabeleland North governor Welshman
Mabhena coming to invite him for Mugabe’s wedding with First Lady Grace.
Mugabe and Nkala were not on speaking terms then and the President
reportedly sent Mabhena as an emissary.
“I’m not sure whether really we were not on talking terms or we had grown
apart,” the former minister said with a burst of laughter.
Nkala believes that Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa would have been an
automatic successor for the late Vice-President John Nkomo had he not left
Blamed in many circles for his involvement in the Gukurahundi massacres that
reportedly killed 20 000 people, Nkala believes Dabengwa, charged at the
time with treason alongside Lookout Masuku, would have even risen to the
presidency of the party and country.
“I would have thought of Dabengwa himself, but it is hard now since he left
Zanu PF,” he said. “I do not know whether Naison Khutshwekhaya (Ndlovu) or
Obert Mpofu would make it.
“I have not been exercising my mind on those things. It is hard to see
anyone beyond Dabengwa.”
Nkala said he was not sure whether Simon Khaya Moyo, considered by many as
the front runner, qualified for the position.
“But if he rises, he would be acceptable, each person has qualities that
make for leadership, he cannot just be devoid of those qualities,” he said.
Nkala defended the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s signing of the Unity
Accord in 1987, saying the nationalist, “rescued Matabeleland from violence,
remember there were flashes of violence so when he went into unity, peace
was established, I think he should be applauded for that”.
Commenting on Callistus Ndlovu’s appointment to chair the Zanu PF Bulawayo
provincial structures, Nkala said he had the ability to turn the party’s
On a lighter note, Nkala says he cannot wait to lay his hands on the first
edition of the Southern Eye.
Southern Eye, published by AMH, will be launched on Monday, being the fourth
paper in the stable after NewsDay, The Standard and the Zimbabwe
Independent. - NewsDay
Thursday, 30 May 2013 10:44
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe ushered in wide sweeping security sector
reforms when he inked the new Zimbabwe Constitution last Wednesday.
Eleven security sector clauses immediately kicked into operation, and
ensures that the security sector’s power is controlled constitutionally to
ensure that civilians retain control of the affairs of the State and stamps
out dictatorship by the military.
The new Constitution now criminalises statements by the country’s security
chiefs who recently signalled that they would not accept a victory by Zanu
PF’s opposition, headed by former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai.
The army’s statement was the latest blow to hopes for a free and fair poll
in the country, which is locked in a deepening economic and social crisis.
Clause 12.3 (3) of the new Constitution prohibits the security services or
any of their members from acting in a partisan manner, to further the
interests of any political party or cause or to prejudice the lawful
interests of any political party or cause or indeed to violate the rights of
“Members of the security services must not be active members or
office-bearers of any political party or organisation,” the new Constitution
Parliament is required to enact a law to ensure the political neutrality of
members of the security services.
Significantly, the new Constitution sets a maximum threshold of two terms
for Commanders of the Defence Forces or any of their branches. Therefore,
the commander of the Defence Forces, the army commander, would serve for a
maximum of two, five-year terms while there were no constitutional term
limits in the Lancaster House constitution.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has openly declared that police chief
Augustine Chihuri, who joined the law-enforcement agency at independence as
a patrol officer, and Chiwenga, who joined the army as a private under the
name Dominic Chinenge in 1980, must be relieved of their duties ostensibly
because they were partisan.
But the prime minister lacked the legal powers to enforce what he wants,
which has been granted in the new Constitution.
Clause 12.6 (3) states: “The defence forces must be non-partisan, national
in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian
authority as established by this Constitution”.
The Lancaster House constitution makes no specific provision for political
The new Constitution specifically has constitutional rules that separate the
security forces from politics and prohibit partisan political support by the
Alex Magaisa, Tsvangirai’s political advisor, told the Daily News that with
the passing of the new Constitution, security sector reforms at law have
been accomplished; what remains is implementation.
“Therefore, while some may continue to say no to security sector reforms,
the reality at law is that the Constitution has ushered in security sector
reforms,” Magaisa said.
“If you look at the Sixth Schedule of the new Constitution, it actually
mentions section 208 as one of the clauses that came into operation on the
publication date. This clause regulates the conduct of members of the
“It was so important that it had to be made operational from the publication
date rather than from the effective date, which is a later date. This means
that as of now, section 208 is operational and requires members of the
security services not to act in a partisan manner, not to further or
prejudice the interests of any political party.
“Members of security services are also not permitted to be office bearers of
any political party or organisation. Section 208 is therefore a fundamental
piece of security sector reform.”
The Clause 12.5 of the new Constitution also makes provision for the
establishment of an independent mechanism for handling complaints against
members of the security services.
The new Constitution specifically requires that all the security services
must be regulated by law through Acts of Parliament and makes a clear
constitutional statement that the conduct of security services must adhere
to and uphold human rights, democratic values and the rule of law.
The new Constitution, which replaces the 19-times amended Lancaster House
constitution, requires that in securing national security, it must be done
in accordance with the Constitution and the law — which also includes
Under the new Constitution, the intelligence service is recognised and
included as one of the security services of Zimbabwe whereas there was no
such recognition under the old constitutional order.
Emphasising political neutrality of the Central Intelligence Organisation,
Clause 12.16 (2) states that “Any intelligence service of the State must be
non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate
to the civilian authority as established by this Constitution”.
The new Constitution proscribes the formation of armed militias and
paramilitary groups outside the structures of established laws and clearly
states that all armed groups must be formed in accordance with the law and
must therefore be regulated by and adhere to the law.
The new Constitution requires that membership of the security services must
reflect the diversity of the people of Zimbabwe and ensure that the security
forces reflect the demographic composition of Zimbabwe.
On deployment of defence forces, Clause 12.8 specifically requires the
president to inform Parliament within seven days of the deployment of
defence forces to defend Zimbabwe against external aggression.
More significantly, the new Constitution prohibits members of a security
service from obeying an order that is manifestly illegal. There was no
equivalent provision in the Lancaster House constitution.
For example, torture is manifestly illegal and if a soldier is ordered to
torture an individual he cannot argue that he was obeying an order because
that order would be manifestly illegal.
Under the new Constitution, individual members of the security services take
primary responsibility for his or her actions and has the option to disobey
orders that are manifestly illegal. - Gift Phiri, Political Editor
by Gilbert Nyambabvu
WIN elections first and then you can reform and tweak the country’s security
services to your heart’s eternal content, Prime Minister and MDC-T leader
Morgan Tsvangirai was told on Thursday.
Tsvangrai wants the country’s security establishment “reformed” before
elections to end his unhappy coalition with President Robert Mugabe can be
His MDC-T party repeated the call in a statement Wednesday saying: "Reforms
in the security sector and media have to take place for the country to hold
free and fair elections.
"Other processes which need to be observed before election date
pronouncements include the mobile voter registration and verification
exercises that have clearly set timelines."
Tsvangirai is frustrated by the unapologetic partisanship of the country’s
military and other security services top brass, a fair number of who have
said they would not serve under his command and would actually work to
prevent the possibility.
But political activist Margaret Dongo – who fought in the country’s
liberation war – reminded the MDC-T leader that there was no reform of the,
perhaps, even more partisan security establishment ahead of the Independence
“We came from the bush with our soldiers but we inherited the security
structures that were there and we had to reform the sector when we were in.
General Peter Walls was in charge and (the late army commander Retired
General Solomon) Mujuru saluted General Walls,” Dongo said in an interview
with state media.
“Tsvangirai has to win the elections and then start his reforms. Look at
South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Britain and America; political leaders in
those countries do not demand security sector reforms as condition for
getting into polls,” he said.
The MDC-T leader argues that the partisanship of top generals the main
reason he is not in power, having beaten Mugabe in the first round of the
2008 Presidential elections.
Tsvangirai took 47.9 percent of the vote - short of the required outright
majority - against 43.2 percent for Mugabe.
The MDC-T leader however, pulled out of the run-off election, accusing
elements in the security services loyal to Mugabe of brutalising his
supporters in the lead-up to the decisive final vote.
He has recently toured the region to drum up support from SADC leaders in
his bid to force Mugabe and Zanu PF to allow the re-organisation of the
security services and other reforms he insists are key conditions for
But Dongo suggested that the MDC-T leader might have been better off taking
a holiday cruise.
“South Africa cannot cause the security sector reforms. It’s Zimbabwe that
will make the changes when it is necessary,” she said.
“The Global Political Agreement expires next month and he (PM) should just
wait for the elections and if he happens to win, the he will reform the
Zanu PF says there is nothing wrong with the country’s security services and
dismisses as treachery any calls for change.
Politburo member Jonathan Moyo reiterated the party’s position saying: “It’s
foolhardy for any politician to think that the security should be reformed
for the purposes of elections.”
Moyo also warned the MDC-T leader.
“Security matters in all democracies in the world are not for public debate.
They are confidential. Raising those sensitive matters to foreign media is
provocative,” said the Zanu PF strategist.
“He (Tsvangirai) is influencing other countries to undermine the country’s
security sector … A person does not become immune simply because he is a
By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
30 May 2013
Popular disk jockey turned politician, Ezra ‘Tshisa’ Sibanda, on Wednesday
scooped the right to stand as an MDC-T parliamentary candidate for Vungu,
following his convincing victory in the party primaries.
Sibanda polled 752 votes to beat his closest contender Mark Moyo who polled
245, while Senzeni Mpofu managed a paltry three votes. The primary elections
in the Midlands South province also produced some interesting results.
Elected to stand on an MDC-T ticket in Mberengwa North was Takavafira Zhou,
the President of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ). A young
medical doctor, Cumming Hove got the nod to fight former ZBC-TV reporter and
ZANU PF MP for Mberengwa East, Makosini Hlongwane in the general elections.
It is the election of Sibanda however that has set tongues wagging both
inside and outside the country. Once a popular MC in the flashy nightspots
of Bulawayo, Sibanda has transformed himself from Master of Ceremonies to a
political newcomer, who never hesitates to say what’s on his mind.
The former Radio 2 DJ will join former radio and TV personalities Eric ‘The
General’ Knight and James ‘Junior 3’ Maridadi who also prevailed in the
An elated Sibanda thanked the people of Vungu for electing him and assured
them he will work with the community to bring development to the area. He
said if elected to parliament, he will put the road network rehabilitation
on top of his development agenda.
He expressed his sadness that the Vungu constituency has remained
undeveloped since independence, blaming the ZANU PF regime of neglecting the
area despite being in power for 33 years.
Sibanda, who is likely to battle it out against Josphat Madubeko of ZANU PF
in the elections, promised the people of Vungu that an MDC-T government led
by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai would do everything possible within its
means to increase development.
‘I have safely negotiated the first hurdle; the hard work begins with
working hard to dislodge ZANU PF from Vungu. I urge the electorate to vote
MDC-T so that development could be accelerated and not to make a mistake by
voting ZANU PF because it is evident they have no capacity to bring
development to the area,’ Sibanda.
He continued: ‘Today people are aware. They know what is good or bad for
them. The real problem in Vungu is that the government has not been reaching
out to the masses.’
The MDC-T holds two parliamentary seats in the province and only Amos
Chibaya, the MP for Mkoba, was confirmed by an electoral college in his
The incumbent legislator for Gweru Urban, Rodrick Rutsvara, failed to get
the two thirds required for confirmation and will stand in the primary
Other candidates who were elected to represent the party in the forthcoming
elections were Davis Shoko (Mberengwa South), Onismo Manungo (Shurungwi
North), Munyaradzi Mutandavari (Shurugwi South), Francisco Masendeke
(Chirumanzu), Clever Bhoko (Zvishavane Runde), Ishmael Jeko (Chirumanzu
Zibagwe) and Michel Timveous (Zvishavane Ngezi).
The exercise continues in Midlands North Thursday and will move to the three
Mashonaland provinces Friday before Manicaland on Saturday. Masvingo will be
last, next week.
HARARE — Some aspiring parliamentary candidates, who lost in the on-going
primary elections of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, have petitioned the party’s leadership
seeking a re-run of the polls alleging the process was fraught with
The official line from the MDC-T has been that the on-going primaries are
proceeding smoothly and without incident. But some aspiring lawmakers who
lost in the process think otherwise.
They are challenging both the process and the outcome of the elections with
others complaining that the party’s top hierarchy was shielded from being
challenged though they are not popular in their constituencies.
One such disgruntled aspirant is Alec Masomera who lost to the party’s youth
leader Solomon Madzore in Dzivarasekwa constituency.
But Nelson Chamisa, organizing secretary of the MDC-T, told Studio 7 from
Kwekwe where he was supervising the party’s primaries in the Midlands
Province, that all primary polls held so far were credible.
Similar complaints have been raised in Harare’s Mabvuku and Mbare
constituencies where former prominent ZBC disc jockeys James Maridadi and
Eric Knight won the right to stand as MDC-T parliamentary candidates in this
year’s crucial elections.
Another former disc jockey Ezra Sibanda also won the right Wednesday to
stand for the MDC-T in Vungu constituency.
Sources at Harvest House said an appeal has also been lodged by some
candidates who lost to the party’s Harare provincial chairperson Paul
Madzore in Glen-View South constituency.
Masomera told Studio 7 that he now wants the party’s appeals committee to
nullify the poll results in his constituency. Although allegations of
election rigging have been raised in Mbare and Mabvuku, appeal letters are
yet to be submitted to the party’s leadership.
Chamisa said MDC-T leaders will handle each appeal as it comes, adding doors
are open for those who are unhappy with both the election process and
The MDC-T says it will hold primary elections for its council
representatives when it has finished selecting its parliamentary candidates.
Zanu-PF and other political parties are yet to announce when they will hold
their primaries although President Robert Mugabe and his party are pushing
for early polls.
By Chengetayi Zvauya, Parliamentary Editor
Thursday, 30 May 2013 11:12
HARARE - The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has been summoned to appear
before the Parliamentary thematic committee on peace and security for an
update on the electoral body’s preparedness for the upcoming polls.
Zec is the body charged with conducting electoral processes in the country,
but was exposed during the abortive three-week mobile voter registration
With another round of voter registration in the offing, legislators are keen
to quiz Zec to ascertain whether the body has made requisite corrections.
Damian Mumvuri, Zanu PF senator and chairperson of the committee, told the
Daily News that Rita Makarau, who chairs Zec, is expected before the
committee next week.
“We have agreed as a committee that we need to meet all stakeholders
involved in the running of the elections, and we are going to be calling
Zec, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and media organisations since they are
some of the major players in the elections,” said Mumvuri.
He said the committee has written a letter to Makarau informing her of the
need to furnish the committee on the finer details relating to holding
“We are now in the election season and we need to know what is happening
from all the stakeholders including Zec,” said Mumvuri.
Past experiences of violence have seen legislators assume a proactive stance
as stakeholders are keen on avoiding a repeat of the 2008 election violent
“We are concerned that peace should prevail before and after the elections,
this is why we are also going to meet the police since they will be working
together with Zec during the election period. As another arm of the
government we need to be informed,” Mumvuri.
The new Constitution, signed into law by President Robert Mugabe last week,
makes it mandatory for a 30-day mobile voter registration exercise and
government has already secured $25 million for the blitz that is starting
Dates for elections are yet to be announced as Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai fail to agree on the timing for the critical exercise.
Thursday, 30 May 2013 11:58
HARARE - As Zimbabwe gears for elections whose dates are yet to be announced
this week in the Guthrie Munyuki Interview, our Senior Assistant Editor
sought views of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) a local civic
group involved in the monitoring and observation of elections; below are the
excerpts of an interview with its national director Rindai Chipfunde Vava.
Q: Are you happy with the conditions that have been slapped on those who
want to register and what are some of the concerns you might have regarding
A: The fact that there will be a new voter registration exercise is a
positive sign as the one that has just been completed was clearly
What will be critical is that adequate information supported by an objective
criteria should be used to determine where, how many and for how long each
registration team will be in any given ward and how to register.
It is also a positive sign that the requirements for proof of residence have
been eased, but voters and registration officials must be informed of these
In addition Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) needs to assume its legal
responsibility to supervise voter registration hence they should also define
what the goal is for the mobile voter registration drive (i.e. how many
first time voters, aliens, and transfers are the Zec expected to process
during the 30-day registration exercise). For credible elections it is
critical that everyone who wants to register to vote has a reasonable
opportunity to do so.
Q: What is the length of time needed to give adequate notice on voter
registration and how key is this notice to meeting the standards of
providing voter education to the would-be voters?
A: What is critical is not the overall length of the voter registration
exercise, but the publicity, accessibility of the locations in which voter
registration is conducted and for how long does voter registration last. It
is, therefore, important for Zec to develop and launch a countrywide voter
education campaign informing the electorate about the requirements for
successful registration as a voter.
In particular, four categories of potential voters, including first time
voters, aliens now allowed to vote, returnees from the Diaspora and
transfers will require this information. Mobile voter registration should
therefore be conducted in all wards (not districts) for at least several
This means more teams with professional staff to meet the process.
In addition, based on the recently released 2012 Census Zesn has identified
232 Wards with the largest number of unregistered eligible voters.
The 2012 Census data should be used to target particular areas for extended
registration to avoid long queues so everyone who wants to register to vote
has a reasonable opportunity to do so.
Q: Our voters’ roll in its current state is said to have been cleaned
following the removal of 1 million dead people. Has the Registrar General
done enough to publicise the process and spell out the method used to delete
these dead people from the voters’ roll? What is supposed to be the
A: We have raised similar concerns regarding the methodology used by the
Registrar General, however, in future before the voters’ roll is finalised,
it must be displayed to the public.
This act will enable voters and other stakeholders to ensure only eligible
voters are registered and their personal details have been captured
In the instances where errors have been made, voters should be able to
request corrections by filling out a form.
As a result, this display exercise is an excellent opportunity for Zec to
instil confidence in the voter registration data to be used on election day.
Furthermore, without access to an electronic copy of the voters’ roll it is
impossible for Zec, political parties and civic organisations to assess the
quality of the voters’ roll.
The amended Electoral Act now also makes it mandatory for electronic copies
of the voters’ roll to be provided.
Thus, it is advisable that Zec take full advantage of this amendment by
making it easily accessible to voters and stakeholders.
The more voters who are able to validate the data, the higher the confidence
level will be.
So, Zec would be advised to conduct an information campaign dedicated to
informing the public about why, where, when and how they can access the
preliminary voters register.
Q: You have covered many international elections as an observer. Does the
Zimbabwe Electoral Act provide the platform for holding elections that are
consistent with the international best practice?
A: Several shortfalls exist.
Q: What are the shortcomings?
A: The critical issue in Zimbabwe has been and remains implementation of the
There have been important reforms in the past that bring Zimbabwe in line
with the Sadc region, but what has been lacking is implementation of those
This is why Zesn observes elections — to provide independent non-partisan
information about the conduct of elections so that people can determine for
themselves if the laws are being properly implemented.
For example, the law now says clearly that voters requiring assistance to
vote can select a person of their own choice, but for the Constitutional
Referendum Zesn observers overwhelmingly noted election officials and
police assisting voters.
Also, additional reforms are necessary and these include the creation of a
conducive environment, comprehensive voter registration and voter education
exercises, transparency in the whole electoral process, early accreditation
of local and regional observers and guaranteeing of their security,
capacitating Zec with adequate resources.
Furthermore, the law needs to spell out how the proportional representation
system will work in practice, the role of the police on polling day, the
results management system and announcement.
Q: In the forthcoming elections Zimbabwe will be using the Proportional
Representation and the Zebra systems in choosing candidates.
Are these systems best suited to Zimbabwe given the problems that were
raised when we were using the First-Past- the-Post?
A: Proportional representation was an issue which people have strongly
supported back to the public consultations in advance of the draft 2000
Neither proportional representation nor first-past-the-post systems are
Both have their strengths and both have their limitations.
One advantage the proportional representation system will have here is that
it will increase the number of women MPs in Parliament. This is a positive
step for the country as we strive to meet the 50-50 gender parity by 2015 as
stated in the Sadc Protocol on Gender Development.
Q: How does Zesn rate the new Constitution in terms of providing for the
holding of free and fair elections?
A: The new Constitution includes important reforms, but what is critical for
credible elections is the harmonisation of existing laws with the new
Constitution and for the new Constitution to be implemented.
Laws such as the Electoral Act, Posa and Aippa need urgently to be reviewed
and amended to be in conformity with the new Constitution.
Also, the new Constitution and the harmonised laws need time to take effect
and change conditions on the ground.
Q: Does a new Constitution guarantee free and fair as well as credible
A: The new Constitution can only provide the framework for an election.
What is critical is the harmonisation of other laws such as the Electoral
Act, Posa and Aippa as well as how the elections are conducted by Zec.
There is need to instil public confidence that Zec will properly oversee and
conduct the 2013 Harmonised Election.
However, the new Zec chair, Justice Rita Makarau, has taken some initial
positive steps to start to rebuild Zec’s credibility and we urge her to
continue doing so by ensuring that there is transparency in the whole
Q: What is your role in the holding of elections?
A: Zec is the constitutional mandated (body) for conducting all aspects of
As in other Sadc countries, ZESN was founded to SUPPORT the electoral
process. This is reflected in our name —Zimbabwe Election SUPPORT Network.
Elections are incredibly important events, but they are also incredibly
difficult exercises and hence it is important that (the) whole country work
together for their success.
In support of credible elections Zesn: 1) provides information to the public
about the election process so that it is easier for voters to participate in
elections; 2) deploys trained accredited observers to polling stations to
watch the process in order to give the public confidence to go out and vote
on election day; and 3) issues independent non-partisan reports on the
conduct of elections for ZEC, ALL political parties and public so that they
can assess for themselves if elections are consistent with Zimbabwean laws
as well as regional and international standards.
Zesn has since its formation in 2000 observed elections in a bid to not only
instil confidence in the electorate but also to note if the elections were
done within the confines of the law and to offer support based on best
Q: How has the recent harassment of Zesn by security agents impacted on your
mandate as stakeholders in as far as elections are concerned?
A: Unfortunately, the situation in the country remains highly polarised.
Such conditions make credible elections impossible.
It is critical that all stakeholders call for and take concrete steps to
make a more peaceful environment for everyone.
Zesn is committed to credible elections and to observing 2013 harmonised
elections in a non-partisan manner as the organisation does not support or
endorse any political party or candidate.
By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
30 May 2013
Efforts to tackle Zimbabwe’s multi-billion dollar debt took a step forward
this week with news that the Treasury is close to signing a deal with the
International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Finance Minister Tendai Biti last week used the monthly State of the Economy
Report to reveal that government was close to reaching a deal that will see
the country re-engaging international financial institutions for more loans.
Zimbabwe owes external creditors an estimated $11 billion and, since the
formation of the unity government, Finance Minister Biti has expressed
concern at the huge strain this debt has on the country’s finances.
The IMF-led staff monitoring programme (SMP) that Zimbabwe has opted for, is
part of efforts to deal with this burgeoning external debt, and is a key
condition towards access to international lenders.
Minister Biti has in the past said this programme will be implemented in
conjuction with home-grown policies aimed at accelerating economic growth,
kick-starting sustainable job creation and poverty reduction.
“The SMP is a key component of Zimbabwe Accelerated Arrears Clearance, Debt
and Development Strategy and Zimbabwe Accelerated Re-engagement Economic
Programme, the NewsDay newspaper quoted Biti as saying.
The minister also stated that government had already written to the IMF
expressing interest in the scheme, before adding that government was “on the
verge of signing documents that will pave the way for an SMP.
“This is key because without this, we cannot resolve the debt problem of
almost 110% of gross domestic product. Once we succeed in the SMP, it will
allow the international community to forgive and cancel some of our debt,”
Under the SMP, the IMF would help monitor the country’s economic reforms and
policies, and facilitate arrears clearance with official creditors.
However, debt campaigners are not convinced that the government has chosen
the best path towards resolving its debt dilemma.
Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development official Hopewell Gumbo told SW
Radio Africa that the government’s step was bold, but questionable.
“It is easy to see how such an excessive debt would affect any government’s
efforts to meet its social and economic obligations.
“However, Zimbabweans will be skeptical about the route that Minister Biti
has taken considering the IMF’s past dealings with the country by way of the
Economic Adjustment Programme (ESAP) whose ravages we all remember.
“Just as we saw with ESAP, the SMP scheme will see the IMF dictating the
pace and manner in which the economy is run. To put it crudely, while we may
not necessarily have to adopt an IMF flag, the scheme gives a lot of power
to the institution.”
Gumbo added that instead of running to international institutions for more
loans, government should be seriously considering ways of augmenting its
“Borrowing should hinge on a need to augment one’s resources. Why should we
borrow $2 million for example when we can raise that from diamonds in
Marange, Murohwa, or from Makwiro Platinum, or even from the gold at Falcon
Gold or Renco Mine?”
Nick Dearden of UK-based lobby group Jubilee Debt Campaign said that
although the terms of the SMP are not yet out, it is highly likely that
conditions will include Zimbabwe receiving new loans to repay old ones.
“The price for IMF help will be imposed economic policies such as
privatisation of the banking sector. The debt created through the new loans
will not be eligible for debt cancellation when the country gets to that
“The problem with such IMF schemes is that they take the power away from the
people to sort out their issues and place it in the hands of these financial
institutions, leading to the creation of new debt,” Dearden said.
Dearden said a better way of dealing with the country’s debt crisis would
have been a debt audit, “where the people of Zimbabwe hold both lender and
borrow accountable for any loans incurred.”
By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
30 May 2013
11 workers from the Chisumbanje ethanol project have been released from
police detention and cleared of having any involvement in a fire, which
destroyed about US$5 million worth of sugar cane.
The fire earlier this week wiped out an estimated 500 hectares of sugar cane
belonging to the Green Fuel run ethanol plant.
11 people, all workers at the controversial project, were picked up for
questioning by police amid speculation that the fire was the result of an
This was fuelled by state media reports which voiced speculation that this
was a deliberate attempt to stop ‘success’ at the still idle ethanol plant,
allegedly because this success would help ZANU PF gain political ground in
But it has since emerged that the 11 workers arrested after the fire were
targeted in an attempt to cover up a mistake by the ethanol project’s
Manicaland police have said that no charges will be brought against the
workers, after investigations found there was no ‘malicious intent’.
Reports have suggested that a manager had started burning a section of sugar
cane ahead of planned harvesting, but he lost control of the fire because it
was a windy day.
Thursday, 30 May 2013 00:00
Air Zimbabwe’s new airbus A320 aircraft, which made its maiden flight to
Johannesburg, South Africa, on Monday has been temporarily grounded in that
country after a bird struck and cracked its windscreen.
Senior Air Zimbabwe officials confirmed the incident, but could not say when
the plane would fly again.
Air Zimbabwe introduced the 150-seat mid-range plane on the Johannesburg
route only two days ago to replace the long-range and costly Boeing 767 that
used to ply that route daily.
Air Zimbabwe spokesperson Ms Shingai Taruvinga could not give details on the
incident insisting that the airline’s chairman Mr Ozias Bvute would issue a
However, impeccable sources last night told this paper that the airplane
would be back in the skies by today.
The A320 is a fly-by-wire modern aircraft, fully automated with a
configuration of 12 business and 138 economy class seats.
It is more fuel-efficient although it has less carrying capacity than the
767, which makes it better equipped to meet demands of the regional route.
The plane, went for its routine maintenance before it took to the skies.
by Staff Reporter
THE MDC-T denied Wednesday allegations it was divided over the timing of new
elections after party secretary general and Finance Minister Tendai Biti
said confusion over poll dates was hurting the country’s fragile economy.
The party dismissed suggestions Biti had gone rogue and "broken rank" with
its policy when he called for clarity over the timing of elections to
replace the coalition government.
“(Minister) Biti has not at all broken rank and has no intentions of
breaking rank with his party for any reason especially as he is very clear
that his party is going to win the forthcoming elections.
“Like any other respected member of the party (Biti) is clear that elections
will come but that certain processes have to be exhausted before the
elections are held
“Calling for a proclamation of a date for elections does not mean breaking
rank but a reflection of the state of election preparedness in the MDC.”
Speaking to reporters in Harare this week, Biti said: "The elephant in the
living room evidently is the election and the sooner there is clarity on the
dates from the politicians the better for the economy," Biti told reporters
"I think the sooner that there is clarity on the dates, there is clarity on
the processes, there is clarity on the funding I think we should see the
return of greater business confidence."
State media pounced on the remarks, interpreting them to suggest that Biti
was backing President Robert Mugabe’s calls for early elections.
The Zanu PF leader wants the polls to immediately follow the end of
Parliament on June 29 while the MDC-T says a delay to October is required to
facilitate further, critical, reforms.
The MDCT said it was united on the need for the reforms to be completed.
“The party is clear and on record saying that the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) conditions must be satisfied before elections are held. The party
still maintains that position,” the statement added.
“If there is anyone stalling the election process, it is Mugabe who still
thinks he can unilaterally declare an election date when in actual fact the
current legal framework no longer allows him to do so.
“It is indeed unfortunate that Mugabe has got a very incompetent team of
legal advisors whose interpretation of the legal guidelines for the holding
of elections in Zimbabwe is conveniently skewed for political expedience.”
by Staff Reporter
ZISCOSTEEL workers have gone for 36 months without pay as the company’s
proposed US$750 million takeover by the India-based Essar Group remains
A representative of the workers union at the Redcliff-based firm now renamed
New Zimbabwe Steel, Bennedict Moyo, said no-one appeared to be interested in
their “dire” plight.
Moyo said many among the company’s 2,500 idle workers were now living in
abject poverty adding that at least 38 had died in recent months, unable to
buy much-needed medications.
“The workers conditions are dire to say the least,” Moyo told the Herald
“We have now gone for 36 months without pay and our children are being
thrown out of school while some families have disintegrated because of the
financial problems we are going through.”
The government decided to let go of the company – perennial drain on its
sparse purse – in 2011, handing a 54 percent controlling interest to Essar
Africa, a unit of the Indian multinational.
The company was virtually comatose at the time, having stopped production
some two year before the conclusion of the deal with most of its problems
blamed on poor management and political interference in its operations.
However, Essar’s takeover was expected to help revive what was once one of
Africa’s leading steel producers with Industry Minister Welshman Ncube
describing the deal as “an investment of the decade” as the deal was signed
at the company’s Redcliff base in March, 2011.
But Moyo said they have not heard from Ncube since.
“The minister and his officials have never been here to address our concerns
despite numerous pleas to them to do so,” he said.
“We last saw him during the official signing ceremony in 2012 and ever since
he has not set foot at the complex.
“As workers representatives we want them to address us and tell us the real
position so that we prevent workers from taking matters into their hands.”
The company’s part-privatisation has stalled over the transfer of iron ore
resources to Essar with the Mines Ministry arguing that the deal agreed by
Ncube undervalues the asset.
Some government officials have claimed that the mineral resource alone could
be worth up to US$30 billion adding the company could, therefore, not be
given away for US$750 million.
Moyo said with the deal stalled, no one appeared to be in charge on the
ground in Redcliff.
“Management is saying they are no longer in charge while Essar is saying
precedent conditions to the agreement have not been addressed so they cannot
pay us,” he said.
MASVINGO — Outreach meetings on Zimbabwe’s Income Tax Bill continued in
Masvingo on Thursday with the chairman of the parliamentary budget and
finance committee, Paddy Zhanda, saying the Bill is being rushed through
parliament without considering the people's views.
The parliamentary portfolio committee on budget, finance and investment
promotion is on a countrywide outreach programme collecting people’s views
on the proposed law that has been criticised by some stakeholders.
Zhanda said the outreach was an exercise in futility as parliament has been
rubber-stamping laws as ministers continue to take the House of Assembly for
granted, unwilling to incorporate sensible contributions from the public
besides just noting the committee’s reports.
Zhanda said in a normal situation, views from the outreach should be
incorporated into the bill but says this has not happened in the past and
will not happen next week when the Bill will be read in parliament for the
second time Tuesday.
Zhanda told Studio 7 parliamentarians’ right to interrogate ministers and
proposed laws has long been taken away from them.
He adds the current system has to change, saying it is not healthy for the
nation to have a parliament that just rubberstamps what the executive wants.
He believes that this is not healthy for the nation.
Zhanda said his committee has the weekend to prepare its report on the
outreach exercise and seek a meeting with Finance Minister Tendai Biti on
Monday ahead of the Bill’s second reading, which does not leave space for
any changes to the proposed law as Mr. Biti is anxious to have the Bill
passed into law before the current session of parliament expires.
The Income Tax Bill will replace the country’s old taxation system, which
according to some experts, has outlived its usefulness and does not meet
It was a mixed bag in Masvingo on Thursday where some supported the Bill
while others said it needs to be fine-tuned in a number of areas.
Association of Certified Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe tax manager
Marvelous Tapera welcomed the Bill but said Mr. Biti should review a number
of clauses in the Bill.
Tapera said mining companies and others that are being forced to donate
money for community share ownership trusts under the country's
indigenization laws should be exempt from paying tax for a while.
The Income Tax Bill, which is a residence-based taxation model, has been
criticised by stakeholders in Mutare and other areas where the parliamentary
committee has been conducting the outreach exercise.
It remains to be seen whether the finance minister will next week
incorporate the changes that have been proposed by tax experts, members of
the public and other stakeholders.
by Edgar Gweshe
JOMIC is set to take action in a case in which Zanu (PF) activists from
Harare South allegedly assaulted and injured MDC-T supporters who are
currently receiving treatment at a local hospital.
The MDC-T alleges that the Zanu (PF) activists, led by Brian Katumbureni, a
woman only identified as Mai Chido, one Ndambonde and one Shaddy, attacked
its supporters at Crest Breeders Farm on Tuesday.
The Zanu (PF) activists allegedly claimed they were acting under
instructions from Hubert Nyanhongo (Zanu (PF) who is the Member of
Parliament for Harare South.
The MDC-T identified the injured activists as Ward One Youth chairperson,
Willard Dombo, Youth Secretary for Labour, John Saidi and Laston Deure, who
is the party's Youth Secretary for International Relations
JOMIC spokesperson, Joram Nyathi said: "Our officers are still investigating
the case and we are yet to get an official report. I understand there is
something that happened yesterday in that area so as soon as the
investigations are completed, JOMIC will decide on the course of action to
An MDC-T official from Harare South who spoke on condition of anonymity
said: "John Saidi sustained serious head injuries while Dombo was sustained
neck injuries and is complaining that his right rib is in pain."
The official told The Zimbabwean that his party's activists were attacked as
punishment for holding MDC-T activities in a Zanu (PF) infested area.
Police deputy spokesperson for Harare Province, Assistant Inspector Tarirai
Dube said no arrests have been made so far in connection with the incident.
Nyanhongo quickly cut this reporter off when contacted for comment.
By Jeffrey Muvundusi, Own Correspondent
Thursday, 30 May 2013 11:16
BULAWAYO - A prominent Plumtree businessperson has appealed to Zapu leader
Dumiso Dabengwa and his followers to come back to Zanu PF — accusing him of
leading a nonexistent political party.
Obedingwa Mguni, who has declared his interest to challenge the MDC Mangwe
legislator and former Copac co-chairperson Edward Mukhosi under a Zanu PF
ticket, told journalists at Bulawayo Press Club on Tuesday that his party
did not recognise the revived Zapu.
He said if the revived Zapu was the real original party founded by the late
Joshua Nkomo, Dabengwa should produce the “divorce certificate”.
“If two people go into a marriage they go to a court and both sign a
marriage certificate. When the two intend to divorce the courts will annul
the marriage and give a divorce certificate,” said Mguni.
“Officially I don’t recognise anything called Zapu because I haven’t seen
them signing anywhere that they are pulling out.”
But Dabengwa has scoffed at the idea of ever re-joining Zanu PF. Late last
year he said two decades of intransigence by President Robert Mugabe and his
ruling elite during the time of the Unity Accord compelled him to quit the
party and respond to his former Zapu colleagues’ pleas to revive Zapu as its
“I can never let the people who tasked me to lead Zapu down by re-joining
Zanu PF for the sake of the vice presidency post. Zanu PF would need to
undergo a radical “mental refurbishment” for me to change that decision,”
Dabengwa said in response to suggestions that he could have clinched the
vice presidency after the death of John Nkomo owing to his seniority.
“I don’t regret ever pulling out of Zanu PF.”
SW Radio Africa
30 May 2013
Zimbabwean businessman Mutumwa Mawere is taking steps to have the issue of dual citizenship addressed by the High Court. He wrote a final letter to Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede on Thursday, seeking an official response to clarify this provision in the new constitution, which affects tens of thousands of Zimbabweans living abroad.
The country’s citizenship law came under the spotlight recently after Mawere, who is also a South Africa citizen, was told by the Registrar General that dual citizenship is not permissible in the country.
Mawere has now written to the Registrar General, who is the authority that administers the Citizenship Act, and has given him until Friday 31st May to make an official response explaining the status of the dual citizenship provisions in the Constitution, or he will seek redress in the High Court.
Mudede told Mawere, who is a South African by naturalization, that he would have to renounce his South African citizenship before he could apply for a Zim identification document.
Mawere said under the new constitution, signed into law by President Mugabe last week, an individual cannot be denied dual citizenship if they were born in Zimbabwe. There are tens of thousands of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora who were born in the country, but have taken citizenship in foreign countries where they now live and work.
Confusion has been caused as it appears the abridged version of the constitution says: “Dual citizenship is automatically permitted in respect of Zimbabweans by birth.” But the full constitution that was passed into law appears to only state that “persons are Zimbabwean citizens by birth if they were born in Zimbabwe” without elaborating on what that means if the same individual is also a citizen of another country.
Mawere told SW Radio Africa: “Mudede has to confirm whether the constitution provides for a person born in Zimbabwe, who qualifies to be a citizen, to be given that right in terms of the constitution. It would appear that any law that is inconsistent with the new constitution is ultra vires, and therefore is invalid to the extent that it conflicts with the new constitution.
“The citizenship portion of the new constitution is already operative from last Friday when there was a gazette. So under that constitution there is no qualification of citizenship that would allow discretion on the part of the Registrar General to deny citizenship.”
He said he wants confirmation that would enable other affected individuals to be able to assert their rights in terms of the new constitution without being ‘abused by the Registrar General’.
Mawere has instructed his lawyers from Nyakutambwa Legal Counsel to file a legal application in the High Court on Monday if they don’t hear from Mudede by end of the business day on Friday.
“If Mr. (Jealousy) Mawarire can go to court to get the president to proclaim a date for the elections surely we have to go to court to test whether this constitution means what is written on paper,” added Mawere.
by Staff Reporter
2013 May 30
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, COMMUNICATIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURAL
DEVELOPMENT, HON N T GOCHE (MP), ON THE NEW LICENCE FEES FOR MOBILE
TELECOMMUNICATIONS OPERATORS, 29TH MAY 2013
With the advent of the liberalization of the telecommunications era, the
Government issued mobile licences to two privately owned operators, Econet
Wireless and Telecel Zimbabwe in 1998. The licences were for 15 year tenure,
and the basic licence fee for each licence was set at US$100 million. In
addition, operators also paid Annual Licence Fees, Spectrum Fees and made a
contribution to the Universal Services Fund, whose objective is to extend
services to rural and other under-served areas.
In line with the terms and conditions set out in their licences, the
affected operators have applied for their renewal. In this regard, over the
last few months, the Government has been seized with a review process for
the licence fees payable, as well as other terms and conditions of the
Specifically, my Ministry and the Ministry of Finance have held
consultations with the players in the industry and other interested
stakeholders. Comparative studies were also done, both at regional and
international level to enable the Government to come up with an informed
decision which meets Government's expectations but also allows for the
industry to flourish. I am now pleased to announce that the licence fees for
the renewal of the mobile licence has been set at US$137.5 million for a 20
In addition, operators will pay an annual licence fee (2% of audited annual
gross turnover), and contribute to the Universal Services Fund (0.5% of
audited annual gross turnover). They will also pay frequency spectrum fees
in accordance with their different requirements of that limited national
The scope of the licence will remain substantially the same as the current
licence. This means the licences will cover the range of services that are
commonly referred to as 2G through to 3G. Services beyond that will require
formal licence adjustments.
These licensing conditions will apply to all mobile operators in the country
as and when their licenses come up for renewal. I am, therefore, pleased to
announce that already one of the operators whose licence expires on 10th
July 2013, Econet Wireless, has had its application for renewal approved by
the regulator, POTRAZ, and a new 20-year licence issued on the terms and
conditions that I have just referred to.
Hon N T Goche (MP)
MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, COMMUNICATIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT
BILL WATCH 17/2013
[30th May 2013]
House of Assembly and Senate adjourned until Tuesday 4th June
Supreme Court Nullifies Private Member’s Urban Councils Amendment Bill
In a judgment dated 20th May the Supreme Court unanimously declared that the introduction of the Urban Councils Amendment Bill was null and void. [Judgment available from email@example.com] [See details of case in Court Watch]
Effect on other MDC-T Private Member’s Bills This ruling adversely affects both the other Private Member’s Bills that have been initiated by MDC-T Chief Whip Innocent Gonese: the Bill to repeal section 121(3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and the POSA Amendment Bill. Both must now be dropped.
Three Adverse Reports from Parliamentary Legal Committee
Adverse reports on three statutory instruments were tabled in the Senate on 21st May [available from firstname.lastname@example.org]:
· Zimbabwe Youth Council Regulations [SI 4/2013] [The PLC’s unsurprising conclusion is that the regulations are ultra vires the parent Act in a number of important respects.]
· Mangwe Rural District Council (Sand Extraction) By-laws [SI 25/2013] [The PLC finds the by-laws to be unconstitutional because they contain a provision stating that a person convicted of a breach of the by-laws is liable to a penalty stipulated by the rural district council rather than a penalty decided by the court – an interference with judicial independence inconsistent with section 18 of the Declaration of Rights.]
· Mining (General) (Amendment) Regulations [SI 29/2013] [Last year the PLC reported adversely on the SI that this SI replaced. Its adverse report on the present SI is based on two findings: that it is ultra vires, because the Minister of Mines and Mining Development has gone beyond the regulation-making powers conferred on him by the Mines and Minerals Act; and that it is also unconstitutional because “it contains matters that are more appropriate for parliamentary enactment” and are therefore in violation of Standing Order 201(1), “which was duly made in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe”.]
Comment: Will the Government take more notice of the adverse report on SI 29 than it did of the adverse report on its predecessor?
In Parliament Last Week
Both Houses sat on 21st and 22nd May only. While Parliamentarians had a relatively relaxed week, attention was focused elsewhere – on the signing and gazetting on 22nd May of the Act for the new Constitution [see Constitution Watch 29/2013 of 22nd May].
House of Assembly
Bills No Bills were dealt with.
Motions On 21st May, after two brief contributions to the debate, the House approved the vote of thanks to the President for his speech opening the Session.
Mobile voter registration exercise The House then continued debating Hon Chikwinya’s motion on the just-ended voter registration exercise – which called for a repeat exercise, this time with proper notice to the public and adequate funding, of the just-ended mobile voter registration exercise. ZANU-PF Chief Whip Joram Gumbo said the motion was “meaningful” and supported by all sides of the House. In winding up the debate Hon Chikwinya read into the record, and commended to his colleagues, the resolution passed earlier in the day by a meeting of civil society organisations which stressed the need for a new and far more efficient voter registration exercise [resolution available from email@example.com]. The House approved the motion without opposition. [Note: A new countrywide registration exercise at ward level is due to start on 3rd June, as required by paragraph 6 of the Sixth Schedule to the new Constitution, a provision that is already in operation – although the problem of funding does not seem to have been resolved.]
Question Time [Wednesday 22nd May]
Questions without Notice During the hour allotted, Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara and a few Ministers fielded questions on Government policies. Topics raised included:
- Voter registration DPM Mutambara waxed eloquent on voter registration, maintaining that we are going to have a bona fide voters roll if two principles are upheld: (1) “if you were on the voter’s roll in the year 2008 and you are not dead, you must be afforded the opportunity to vote if you want to do so; (2) “if you want to register and you are an eligible voter in our country, we must allow you the opportunity to register and vote. Now, I am speaking of the young people who are coming up, who are now eighteen and above. They were not on the voter’s roll in 2008 because they were below 18. I am also now talking about the so called aliens who have been empowered by the new Constitution. These people must be expeditiously and painlessly enabled to become voters. If we uphold those two principles, we are going to have a bona fide voter’s roll”.
- Science education in schools The Minister of Science and Technology, Professor Dzinotyiwei, told the House that Government policy on science education calls for scientific-related curriculum content, including development of ICT skills, to be at least 30% in primary schools and at least 60% in secondary schools.
- Use of GMO crops in Zimbabwe Minister Dzinotyiwei, while acknowledging the strength of the scientific case for GMO crops and the need for Zimbabwe to move with the times, explained that reservations of other interested sectors was preventing the adoption of pro-GMO policies.
Written questions with notice came next. Only two of the twenty-seven questions on the Order paper were dealt with before the House adjourned. The Minister of Water Resources Development and Management reported on the condition of the washed-away wall of Shagari Dam in Gokwe district. The Minister of Labour and Social Services explained procedures for accessing assistance from the Disabled Persons Fund and for duty-free importation of special equipment for disabled persons.
Bills In the absence of the Minister of Finance, the two Bills received from the House of Assembly [Securities Amendment Bill and Microfinance Bill] were not dealt with.
International Agreement Approved On 22nd May, at the request of the Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs the Senate approved the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks in terms of section 111B of the current Constitution. The other three international agreements approved by the House of Assembly the previous week have not yet been laid before the Senate.
Motions and Question Time There were no motions for discussion. Question Time did not take place, because the Senate did not sit on Thursday. In any event, there was only one question listed, a much deferred one for the Minister of Mines and Mining Development about perilous conditions prevailing at Benson Mine, Mudzi district.
Coming up in Parliament Next Week
House of Assembly
Government Bills The Income Tax Bill [available from firstname.lastname@example.org], is due to come up again on 4th June, for continuation of the Second Reading debate following Finance Minister Biti’s Second Reading speech on 7th May. No other Government Bills are listed. In preparation for the debate, the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion is holding public hearings on the Bill round the country from 28th to 31st May [see Bill Watch – Committee Series 12/2013 of 27th May]. The committee’s report will be presented by its chairperson during the debate.
Private Member’s Bill Hon Gonese’s motion for leave to bring in his Bill to repeal section 121(3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act is item 11 on the Order Paper but it view of the Supreme Court judgement [see above] will have to be dropped. [Note this Bill has delayed for one reason or another for over three years and these tactics have paid off for the opponents of the reforms recommended in the Bill]
Adjourned debates on a large number of motions await completion [see Bill Watch 13/2013 of 14th May for a summary]
Question Time on Wednesday 25 written questions, most carried forward, await responses from Ministers. Two of the newer questions highlighted in Bill Watch 16/2013 of 20th May are still on the list: one for the Minister of Mines and Mining Development about the value of the Government’s interest in diamond mines in Marange, and related details; and the other for the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment on the criteria used to select beneficiaries of the indigenisation programme and a list of all beneficiaries.
Bills The only Bills on the Order Paper are the two Bills passed by the House of Assembly two weeks ago: the Microfinance Bill and the Securities Amendment Bill. The Senate awaits the Minister of Finance’s Second Reading speeches on both these Bills.
International agreement for approval
The Minister of Energy and Power Development seeks the Senate’s approval of the Statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency [IRENA], in terms of section 111B of the Constitution. This Statute has already been approved by the House of Assembly.
Adverse reports from Parliamentary Legal Committee
The three adverse PLC reports [see above] are due to be considered by the Senate. The PLC chairman, Hon Mushonga, will present the reports. If, after discussion, Senators vote to adopt the adverse report/s, these SIs will either have to be amended to accommodate the PLC’s objections – or, if that is not done, will have to be repealed by the President – unless within 21 sitting days after the Senate’s adoption of the adverse reports the House of Assembly resolves that the SIs should not be repealed.
Government Gazette dated 24th May 2013
Control of firewood, timber and forest produce
SI 70/2012 retrospectively – and very belatedly – changes the effective date of the important main regulations [SI 116/2012] from 2nd July 2012 to 2nd June 2013. There are other minor amendments to the main regulations. For a note on SI 116/2012 see Bill Watch 28/2012 of 29th June 2012.
Local authority by-laws
SI 73/2013 – Harare Hawkers By-laws
SI 71/2013 – Victoria Falls Licensed Premises By-laws
Medicines and Allied Substances Control
SI 72/2013 enacts changes to the First Schedule to the main regulations of 1991 which lists fees payable to the Medicines and Allied Substances Control Authority.
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COURT WATCH 5/2013
[30th May 2013]
Supreme Court Decision on Private Members Bills
Supreme Court Nullifies Private Member’s Urban Councils Amendment Bill
Background In October 2011, in accordance with Standing Orders, Parliament’s House of Assembly passed a resolution giving MDC-T MP Tangwara Matimba permission to introduce a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Urban Councils Act. Hon Matimba in due course introduced his Bill [available from email@example.com] on 28th February 2012. Its main purpose was to reduce drastically the powers of central government, through the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, over municipal and town councils. The Bill received a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee, signifying that the PLC saw no inconsistency with the Constitution. But the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development asked the Speaker and the Clerk of Parliament to stop the Bill, arguing that for the duration of the GPA, Article 20.1.2(c) of the GPA, as enshrined in Schedule 8 to the Constitution by Constitution Amendment No. 19, allowed only Government Ministers to introduce Bills in Parliament, and took away the normal constitutional right of private members to do so. [For a legal counter argument to this see Bill Watches 20 and 21/2012 of 15th May 2012.]
When this request was turned down, the Minister took his argument to the Supreme Court and the Speaker, citing the Standing Order embodying the sub judice rule, suspended further discussion on the Bill pending the Supreme Court’s decision.
The Supreme Court hearing On 24th January, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court [Chief Justice Chidyausiku and Justices Ziyambi, Garwe, Gowora and Omerjee] heard the lawyers for the applicant [Minister Chombo] and the respondents [Parliament, the Speaker, the Clerk and the proposer and seconder of the Bill] argue both sides of the case, and reserved judgment.
The Supreme Court’s decision In a judgment dated 20th May the judges unanimously declared that the introduction of the Urban Councils Amendment Bill was null and void because it was prohibited by article 20.1.2 of the GPA as set out in Schedule 8 to the current Constitution. [Judgment available from firstname.lastname@example.org]
Speaking for the court, Justice Garwe accepted the argument put forward on behalf of the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Hon Chombo, that “... since the country was going through a transitional period which was to be steered by three political groupings, the intention [of Article 20.1.2 of the GPA] was that private members would not be permitted to upset the inclusivity of decisions.”
Justice Garwe went on to say, however, that the right of private members had not been removed entirely: “I would only qualify these remarks by emphasising that the prohibition is restricted only to proposed legislation that deals with government policies and programmes. The corollary to this therefore is that whilst a private member has no right to introduce a Bill that deals with government policies and programmes during the subsistence of the Interparty Political Agreement, he is however still empowered to do so ... where he introduces a Bill that does not deal with such policies or programmes.”
Comment: it is extremely difficult to see what sort of Bill the court envisaged as still permissible, because any Bill enacted into law would necessitate government enforcement.
Effect on other MDC-T Private Member’s Bills This ruling adversely affects both the other Private Member’s Bills that have been initiated by MDC-T Chief Whip Innocent Gonese: the Bill to repeal section 121(3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and the POSA Amendment Bill. Both deal with matters of Government policy. Both must now be dropped.
Comment: Fortunately, this decision will be of no lasting significance, because it is based on an extraordinary GPA provision that has no parallel in the new Constitution. But it does mean that there is now no chance at all of any pre-election reforms being brought about by Private Member’s Bills. A decision the other way might conceivably have allowed just enough time for such Bills to be rushed through over ZANU-PF objections in the six weeks that remain of the life of the present Parliament.
Opinion: The Supreme Court’s decision does nothing to dispel the widespread notion that Parliament as an institution has been unduly subject to the control of the Executive. Those who had hoped for a straightforward application of the Constitution’s explicit provision giving Private Members the right to introduce Bills into Parliament [Schedule 4, paragraph 1(c)] will be disappointed by the court’s willingness to read into the general words of GPA Article 20.1.2, as incorporated in Schedule 8 of Constitution Amendment No. 19, an implicit limitation to this right. In particular, as it is a basic rule for interpreting a constitution that one provision should not be regarded as overriding another unless the intention to override is expressly stated, which in this case it was not [more detail in Bill Watch 20/2012 of 15th May 2012.]
It is hoped that the new Constitution’s provisions for the separation of powers is strong enough to allow Parliament to fulfil its legislative and oversight functions without being subjected to Executive interventions and without so many appeals to the Judiciary.
Case against Zimbabwe Election Commission to Provide Voters Roll
ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa vs ZEC
Early this month, frustrated by the failure of all his attempts to obtain an electronic copy of a ward voters roll for testing its accessibility for purposes of analysis ahead of the coming elections, ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa filed a High Court application citing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] as respondent. The filing of the application resulted in a meeting between Mr Dabengwa’s lawyer and ZEC chairperson Justice Makarau and commissioner Professor Feltoe, following which the lawyer was eventually supplied with an electronic copy of the required ward voter’s roll on a CD against payment of the prescribed fee of $5,00.
The CD contains the voter’s roll in PDF format, which is readable and analysable [and an improvement on the JPEG format in which electronic copies were supplied on previous years]. However, the CD came together with a letter from the Registrar-General to Mr Dabengwa’s lawyer personally, imposing conditions on what can be done with the information on the CD – e.g. that it cannot be reproduced, and its contents must not be misrepresented, and also drawing attention to criminal penalties for misuse of the CD. It seemed clear the conditions were imposed by the Registrar-General, not by ZEC. Mr Dabengwa’s lawyer has protested to ZEC about these conditions and asked ZEC for clarification. He is awaiting a reply. Meanwhile the High Court application is on hold.
Comment: the conditions laid out in the Registrar-General’s letter – especially the vague term “must not be misrepresented” – would seem to set a unacceptable precedent.
Another Case Requiring a Response from Government and ZEC
ACHPR Measure to Allow Diaspora Vote in the Coming Elections
In Constitution Watch 22/2013 of 16th March we reported that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights [ACHPR] had passed a provisional measure allowing exiled Zimbabweans and Zimbabweans living abroad to vote in the Referendum on Saturday 16th March and in the general elections to be held thereafter. Specifically, the measure directed the Zimbabwe government to provide all eligible voters living outside Zimbabwe with the same voting facilities it affords to Zimbabweans working abroad in the service of the government.
The ACHPR decision upheld a complaint by Zimbabweans currently based outside the country that they were being denied their rights, and ruled that the applicants had made out a prime facie case that the present position was in breach of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
Provisional measures of the ACHPR are binding on a State to stop or prevent a human rights violation. The State concerned is requested to comply until a final decision is taken in the case, and its Government is obliged under AU rules to report back to the ACPHR on its implementation of the provisional measure.
The facilities currently available to Zimbabweans working abroad in the service of the government, and to their spouses, are those provided by the postal vote machinery detailed in Part XIV of the Electoral Act.
There has been no evidence of State recognition or reaction to this ruling. No postal voting facilities were provided for the Referendum, even to the Government officials entitled to them under the Electoral Act. The excuse was lack of time to implement the time-consuming procedures involved.
It remains to be seen whether the Electoral Amendment Bill that is currently being discussed by the GPA negotiators, but still very much under wraps, will comply with the ACHPR ruling by extending the postal voting provision to registered voters in the Diaspora.
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