02 November, 2011
The global diamonds watchdog, the Kimberley Process, has cleared Zimbabwe to sell alluvial diamonds from the controversial Marange fields, despite documented evidence that top military and political chefs are involved in massive looting and that human rights abuses continue.
Clearance to sell Marange diamonds from two sites was given Tuesday after a meeting of the KP members, who are the World Diamond Council and representatives from Zimbabwe, the European Union, the United States and South Africa.
It was agreed the
deal made “will remain under constant review” and civil society representatives
will have access to “independently verify mining activity”, a statement from the
World Council said.
But this has angered civic groups and some observers who maintain that no diamonds from Marange should be sold until the Zimbabwe government complies with the KP regulations they agreed to, and until abuses are dealt with.
The new deal ignores evidence revealed by MDC-T legislator Eddie Cross in a presentation to parliament last month, showing millions of dollars have been looted from the Marange profits. Cross alleged that top military, police and ZANU PF officials were involved and brought forward a parliamentary motion to nationalize the diamonds. He was later threatened by intelligence agents on his way home.
Further abuses were also revealed by the South African television programme Carte Blanche on Sunday, who spoke to victims in Marange. One miner said security guards from private firms hired by Mbada Investments, who have concessions in Marange, are using dogs to attack them. He said guards held him down while a dog bit his mouth.
Another victim said he had witnessed many attacks by guards using dogs, including a brutal incident where a dog bit off a woman’s breast. The stories told to Carte blanche confirmed the abuses that MP Eddie Cross talked about in parliament. A separate investigation by the BBC had earlier shown that torture camps also exist in the Marange area.
Mike Davis from the rights group Global Witness told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday the new deal was a “very poor decision” by the KP, and that it may reduce their influence and level of respect in the global diamond market. He said the decision was “deeply disappointing” as Global Witness had invested many years in getting the KP established.
“The KP has effectively surrendered its influence over Zimbabwe by saying that from now on the main mines can export diamonds without any checks or balances or further restrictions,” Davis said.
He explained that the KP was supposed to authorize specific exports “as and when” Zimbabwe showed progress in reforming the situation in Marange, but that link between progress and exports is now gone. “So there is really no incentive now for the Zimbabwean government to comply with its commitments,” Davis added.
In 2008 the government sent troops to the Marange area to remove all small scale miners and villagers who had been operating there, and according to Human Rights Watch at least 200 were killed and many others assaulted or abused.
KP halted sales from Zimbabwe and a deadlock has existed on the issue, with only China and India favouring the authorization of Zim diamonds for sale. But a brisk trade in illegal diamonds has flourished in Mozambique, profiting military and government chefs who bypassed national coffers.
The deal authorized Tuesday requires Zimbabwe to update KP monitoring staff consistently as to the identity of mine investors and the progress on eliminating illegal mining and traffickers, a statement from the Council said.
Asked why the
continued abuses have been ignored Davis said: “This reflects a lack of
sufficient commitment on the part of the governments which make up the KP and
also on the part of the global diamond industry too.”
Ironically, the meeting Tuesday was held in the Congolese capital Kinshasa, a place renowned for fuelling African conflicts using “blood diamonds”. The DRC is currently the chair of the Kimberley Process.
Davis said it was clear what commitments the Zimbabwean government had made to remedy the situation, and it was equally clear that they have not met most of them.
Unfortunately it is ordinary Zimbabweans who will continue to be the victims and it will be the ruling party chefs, military and unscrupulous business people who will go on stealing the country’s resources.
Nov 2, 2011, 17:39 GMT
Harare - The world conflict diamonds watchdog's approval this week of the
sale of gems from the controversial Marange diamond field in Zimbabwe will
be used to fund President Robert Mugabe's violent hold on power, a leading
lawmaker warned Wednesday.
The Kimberley Process Certification Process meeting in Kinshasa on Monday
agreed to lift the two year suspension on diamond exports from two mines in
the Marange fields on Zimbabwe's eastern border, the scene of the murder by
soldiers of at least 200 illegal diggers in 2008, rights groups say.
Zimbabwe Mines Minister Obert Mpofu - himself accused by critics of
involvement in diamond smuggling from Marange, regarded as the richest find
in a century - declared Wednesday at a press conference 'We want to shock
and shake the world. Now we are going to unleash our worthiness to the
world. Zimbabwe will not be begging from anybody.'
But Eddie Cross, a senior parliamentarian from Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's MDC party, and a respected economist, said that the Kinshasa
decision was 'a very serious violation of the Kimberley Process.'
'The diamonds are already being used to fund what is virtually a parallel
Mugabe's security administration in the country's two-year coalition
government with Tsvangirai was 'hiring and arming militias, buying military
equipment, military installing, for the dislocation of the entire democratic
process,' he said.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and Tsvangirai's MDC are to face each other in
elections expected in about two years. 'It appears the demons of violence
are back, a siege mood seems to be slowly gripping the country,' Tsvangirai
said Wednesday. 'The state security agents have instituted a coup over the
civilian authority and they are now above the law.'
His remarks follow a week in which police - in violation of court orders -
barred Tsvangirai from holding rallies in the north of the country, and went
on the rampage with teargas and batons in the capital centre against MDC
supporters and passers-by.
Last week Cross told parliament that mines minister Mpofu had deliberately
misled the government earlier by giving estimates of diamond earnings up to
five times lower than their real value. The balance - about US$ 1.5
billion - had been siphoned off to ZANU(PF), he said.
At the weekend, Cross said, he was waylaid by a secret police agent and
threatened with death for his statement.
By Associated Press, Published: November 2 | Updated: Thursday, November 3,
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s mining minister vowed Wednesday that the
country “will no longer be begging for anything from anybody” after
international diamond regulators agreed to let it trade some $2 billion in
diamonds from a field where human rights groups say miners have been
Earlier this week, Kimberley Process experts meeting in Congo agreed to
allow Zimbabwe to sell diamonds from the Marange fields. Zimbabwe, which has
denied allegations of human rights abuses in the area, had been under
sanctions since 2009 because of “significant noncompliance.”
The Kimberley Process was set up in 2002 after brutal wars in Sierra Leone
and Liberia that were fueled by “blood diamonds.” Participant nations are
now forced to certify the origins of the diamonds being traded, assuring
consumers that they are not financing war or human rights abuses.
The 60,000-hectare (140,000-acre) Marange field in eastern Zimbabwe was
discovered in 2006 at the height of Zimbabwe’s political, economic and
humanitarian crisis. It is believed to be the biggest find in the world
since the 19th century, and it triggered a chaotic diamond rush.
Last year, the Kimberley Process declared two shipments of stones from the
Zimbabwe mines conflict-free, backing off from a ban and allowing 900,000
carats of diamonds to be auctioned. The latest move allows all diamonds from
the area to be sold. The stockpile of Marange diamonds — some 4.5 million
stones, is valued at around $2 billion.
“We are going to shock the world. We are going to unleash our worthiness,”
Mining Minister Obert Mpofu told reporters Wednesday. “Zimbabwe will no
longer be begging for anything from anybody.”
Human Rights Watch has accused Zimbabwean troops of killing more than 200
people, raping women and forcing children to search for the gems in Marange
Mike Davis, a human rights activist from Global Witness told The Associated
Press on Wednesday that the decision was a “disappointing conclusion” to the
“Violence is still going on and smuggling, providing revenue for the ruling
elite,” Davis said.
He said Zimbabwe also had not met some conditions, such as removing military
troops from the area and allowing small-scale diamond miners to operate
there as well.
Opposition politicians also say there is rampant theft in the Marange
diamond fields by forces loyal to longtime ruler Robert Mugabe. Lawmaker
Eddie Cross said he has received death threats from Mugabe’s security agents
after he testified before parliament about millions of dollars in diamond
profits that he said already could not be accounted for.
Nov 2, 2011 9:06 AM By Deena Taylor
(RAPAPORT) The European Union's European Council welcomed the Kimberley
Process agreement reached in Kinshasa yesterday regarding the export and
sale of Marange rough diamonds, calling the decision a way forward for the
certification scheme and Zimbabwe.
The E.U. launched an initiative aimed at finding consensus among all
Kimberley Process members, including Zimbabwe, to preserve the credibility
and integrity of the process following the global body's Intersessional
stalemate meeting in June 2011, where no consensus could be reached on
"After months of intensive negotiations with all parties, an agreement has
now been reached on the basis of this initiative, which protects the
integrity of the Kimberley Process, respects the core concerns of Zimbabwe
and the E.U., recognizes the concerns of civil society and meets the
expectations of diamond producing and importing countries,'' said Catherine
Ashton, the high representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and
Security Policy and vice-president of the Council.
Where Will Christmas Diamonds Come From?
Nov 2, 2011 10:46 AM By Jeff Miller
RAPAPORT... The civil society stakeholders of the Kimberley Process, who all
staged a boycott of this week's plenary meeting in Kinshasa, the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, issued a statement saying that the certification
scheme had "effectively given up on Zimbabwe." Yesterday, the Kimberley
Process agreed to allow rough diamonds from Mbada Diamonds and Marange
Resources to begin exporting immediately and additional areas of the Marange
could be approved upon visit by monitors this month.
But civil society, which includes Global Witness and Partnership Africa
Canada among others, concluded that this annual plenary meeting dispensed
with any meaningful link between Zimbabwe's compliance with the joint work
plan and the Kimberley Process’s authorization of diamond exports. This
comes in spite of the Zimbabwean military remaining deeply involved in
diamond mining in Marange, persistent and widespread smuggling and no
progress in enabling small scale miners to work legally, the groups
contended. Regular reports of human rights abuses against miners by
security forces continue.
Alfred Brownell, the president of Green Advocates, Liberia, a coalition
member, said, ''Kimberley Process member governments and the diamond
industry seem ready to turn their back on the interests of Zimbabwe's
citizens, the public good and the principles on which the Kimberley Process
A previous agreement between the Kimberley Process and Zimbabwe gave local
civil society representatives the official status of ''Local Focal Point,''
allowing them to access Marange and formally report back to the Kimberley
Process. This status promised protection for activists who have previously
been arrested and harassed over their work on Zimbabwe's opaque diamond
industry. The new agreement, while maintaining that civil society
organizations retain access to the Marange fields, strips the Local Focal
Point of its official status, according to civil society members.
''This deal only reinforces the perception that there is no limit to how far
the Kimberley Process is prepared to go in lowering the ethical bar on
Marange,'' said Shamiso Mtisi, the coordinator of the Local Focal Point and
an environmental lawyer at the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association.
''Given the chance to keep Zimbabwe to its previous commitments, the
Kimberley Process has shown itself incapable of doing the right thing.''
The Marange diamond fields and rough stockpiles were seized by Zimbabwe's
military in 2008 and at least 200 small scale miners were killed in the
process. At the end of 2009, Zimbabwe had at least agreed to undertake a
series of reforms as a basis for Kimberley Process authorization of further
exports through a ''Joint Work Plan'' requiring demilitarization, action on
smuggling, and the legalization of small scale mining. What happened with
the stockpiles? There is no clear answer.
''The integrity of the entire clean diamond supply chain is on the line,''
said Alan Martin, the research director of Partnership Africa Canada. ''How
can consumers buy a diamond this Christmas with any confidence that they are
not buying a Marange diamond mined in unquestionable violence? How can
industry give any assurances that they will be able to separate these
diamonds from the legitimate diamond supply chain?''
In the approach to presidential elections next year in Zimbabwe, the new
Kimberley Process agreement completely fails to address the risk of the
diamond industry financing political violence in Zimbabwe, according to
civil society members. Each election in Zimbabwe this past decade has been
accompanied by widespread violence and voter intimidation. Coordinating the
violence requires significant sums of money to pay security agents and youth
Civil society member Farai Maguwu said, ''It’s a pure business deal that
leaves out key concerns of Zimbabwe’s civil society: That is protection of
the locals from human rights abuses in and around Marange and ensuring that
Marange diamonds are properly accounted for, for the benefit of the
suffering Zimbabwean people.''
By Reagan Mashavave (AFP) – 4 hours ago
HARARE — Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe should consider resigning
because of his age and health, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said
Wednesday, fueling speculation on the veteran strongman's future ahead of
"The question of age is catching up, the question of health is catching up,"
Tsvangirai, Mugabe's political rival, told a news conference.
"I am sure that advisably he would be in a position for the sake of the
country, for the sake of his legacy, for the sake of his children to
consider stepping down."
The comments were the clearest public indication yet that Mugabe's health is
failing, amid reports that the liberation leader is suffering from prostate
cancer that has spread to other parts of his body.
Mugabe returned Sunday from a private visit to Singapore -- the latest in
what has become an almost monthly journey.
The president, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, has
brushed off speculation about his health.
"As you can see, this Mugabe is fit," he told state media upon his return
A leaked US diplomatic cable on the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks said
that Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono told then US ambassador James McGee
in 2008 that Mugabe has prostate cancer "that will cause his death in three
to five years."
Gono has denied the WikiLeaks report, and Tsvangirai declined to discuss
what ailment afflicted Mugabe.
"He is not certainly suffering from malaria," Tsvangirai said, because the
disease common in Zimbabwe can be treated "at the nearest hospital".
Tsvangirai also defended the expense of shuttling Mugabe to Asia for health
"The responsibility of the state is to look after its leaders. If the
president is sick he should be attended to," Tsvangirai said.
The premier spoke one day after a raid on his party offices Tuesday, when a
riot erupted in downtown Harare after police tried to arrest street vendors
selling pirated CDs.
Six people were arrested as police beat people on the street, fired teargas
and blocked off the offices of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.
"The police have exposed themselves to be partisan, to be disrespectful of
my office and me personally," Tsvangirai said.
"What we are faced with here is a situation in which the police are acting
as the law unto themselves. The president assured me that we would deal with
"The violence we are witnessing is state-sponsored and state-driven. It is
being championed by a few fascist leaders who want to reverse the little
progress we have made," he said.
Tsvangirai won the first-round presidential vote in 2008, sparking a wave of
attacks that killed more than 200 of his supporters. He pulled out of the
run-off against Mugabe to end the violence.
Under intense regional pressure, the two formed a unity government to
oversee the drafting of a new constitution and guide the country toward new
elections -- a process running more than a year behind schedule.
Mugabe has already been endorsed as ZANU-PF's candidate, but his party is
roiled by divisions between a more moderate faction led by Vice President
Joice Mujuru and hardliners led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mujuru's husband, former army chief Solomon Mujuru, was killed in a fire in
his farmhouse outside Harare in August. The results of an inquest into his
death have yet to be made public, adding to the tensions in the party.
Nov 2, 2011, 15:15 GMT
Harare - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday said
costly and frequent travel to Singapore by President Robert Mugabe, 87, for
medical care was justified.
Questions had been raised regarding travel expenses run up by Tsvangirai and
Mugabe. The costs have mounted to 29 million dollars over eight months.
'The responsibility of the state is to look after its leaders. If the
president is sick, he should be attended to,' Tsvangirai said.
According to official figures, Zimbabwe spends about 5 million dollars a
month, while the travel expenses by the two leaders takes 3.6 million
dollars on average.
Tsvangirai, Mugabe's political rival, refused to divulge the nature of the
Mugabe, who has dominated the southern African country's politics since
independence in 1980, flew to Singapore last week for medical treatment for
the eighth time this year.
While officials said he had undergone an eye operation to remove cataracts
and subsequent treatment, there are persistent rumours that he has prostate
cancer and does not have long to live.
By the CNN Wire Staff
November 2, 2011 -- Updated 1826 GMT (0226 HKT)
Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Costly and frequent travels to Singapore by
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe for medication were justified because the
87-year-old might be having "complications," his political rival and
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Wednesday.
"The responsibility of the state is to look after its leaders. If the
president is sick, he should be attended to," said Tsvangirai responding to
journalists who were eager to know why his and Mugabe's travel expenses had
reached $29 million dollars in eight months, according to government figures
The figures represent an enormous sum for a country where the majority of
the population struggles to have one meal a day.
Official figures show Zimbabwe spends about $5 million a month. Mugabe's and
Tsvangirai's travels consume more than $3.6 million a month, the figures
When quizzed by journalists why the 87-year-old frequents Singapore which
accounts for the bulk of the two's travels, Tsvangirai said: "Whether you
like it or not he (Mugabe) may say I was sick and I had to go and seek
medical attention. Who am I to question him? I do not want to divulge (his
real ailment), what you are trying to draw me is to tell what ailment he is
suffering from. Maybe the attention (Mugabe needs) is outside the country.
Maybe we do not have the expertise (in Zimbabwe). What do you want him to
do? He is not certainly suffering from malaria as you would understand,
which we can obtain (treatment for) at the nearest hospital. There might be
Mugabe, last week flew to Singapore for medical treatment for the eighth
time this year, heightening concern over his health. In March, Mugabe's
office declared that he had undergone an eye operation to remove cataracts
earlier in the year, and that he had just had "a final review."
Last month Mugabe's Zanu-PF party set up a committee to probe revelations
contained in the WikiLeaks documents that party officials told U.S.
diplomats that Mugabe had prostate cancer and would be dead by 2013.
The U.S. diplomatic cables indicate that information was allegedly conveyed
to the U.S. officials by one of Mugabe's allies, central bank head Gideon
Gono has rejected the claims that Mugabe had prostate cancer.
By Lance Guma
02 November 2011
Soldiers were deployed in the Mbare suburb of Harare Monday after angry
commuter bus operators and touts clashed with members of the notorious ZANU
PF Chipangano gang. Trouble started after Chipangano gang members tried to
set up their own bus terminus near the ZBC studios in Mbare to extort
‘ranking’ fees from operators.
But just like Hatcliffe on Sunday, when angry MDC-T supporters retaliated
against a ZANU PF mob trying to disrupt their rally, a similar angry
reaction saw commuter operators refuse to have money extorted from them.
Street fighting broke out which the police failed to control, resulting in
the army being called in.
According to Precious Shumba from the Harare Residents Trust the Chipangano
gang “is merely there to protect business interests of various leaders
within ZANU PF, who also use the outfit to intimidate and silence critics
Shumba said: “Mbare residents live in fear. They are constantly harassed and
threatened with beatings. And they are consistently forced to attend
meetings, with unclear agendas, convened outside bars, markets, in
corridors, and pambureni (where firewood is sold), and in open spaces, even
at service stations.”
Shumba said there is usually no notice of the meetings, “but rowdy young men
and women move into your neighbourhood and coerce everyone to attend
In a recently published expose of the group, Shumba said; “From interviews
with knowing people, there is leadership at all these places. The touts who
harass people at bus termini, the people with the pushcarts, the vendors you
see selling their wares, the stall holders in flea markets and the retail
and wholesale markets are all under a known structure, with strict reporting
Shumba added: “For any person to be allowed to operate a stall or table, or
even push those carts, and even to be allowed to operate as a vendor, one
has to produce a ZANU PF membership card that indicates your cell, branch
among other details. Usually there is a fee to be paid to security teams
that claim to be protecting operators.”
The clashes in Mbare came the day before armed riot police besieged the
MDC-T Harvest House headquarters, barricading the main road and firing tear
gas. Police claim they were trying to arrest local vendors who retaliated,
resulting in skirmishes with officers. The police officers apparently
retreated to get reinforcements, but when they returned the vendors had
According to the MDC-T, a group of more than 30 fully armed police officers
stormed Harvest House, saying they were looking for the vendors. The
officers blocked the main road outside the headquarters and then started
firing tear gas, both inside and outside the building, causing MDC-T staff
and passers-by to flee.
On Wednesday Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai talked about the violence, in
his second edition of what he says will be a monthly Prime Minister’s Press
Day. During the briefing he said: “We meet at a time of rising political
tension in the country, increasing cases of violence, sabotage and total
disrespect by the police and other government agencies of the Prime
Minister, even as he executes government programmes.”
Tsvangirai added: “It appears the demons of violence are back, a siege mood
seems to be slowly gripping the country. This is a reincarnation of the
violence of 2008 and this country risks sliding back if immediate action is
not taken to bring back order and peace in the country.”
HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Nov 02 2011 11:19
Six people were arrested in a riot at the party headquarters of Zimbawbe's
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, state media said Wednesday, as police
denied targeting the offices.
A security officer for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change was among
those arrested, the Herald newspaper said.
Harare police spokesperson James Sabau said the incident began when a member
of a gospel choir complained that street vendors were selling pirated copies
of their CDs.
When police went to arrest the street vendors on a sidewalk near the MDC's
Harvest House headquarters, they ran into the building, he said.
Police chased them inside, sparking a scuffle with MDC activists, he said.
No option but to teargas the MDC
"Police were left with no option but to fire tear canisters into the
building. The police were not aware that there was an exit door at the back
of the building, which the suspects used to flee," Sabau said.
MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said Tuesday that the raid on the vendors
was an excuse for police to harass the party.
"This is a deliberate attempt by the police to harass and decimate the MDC,"
Tsvangirai has endured more than a decade of violence and intimidation
against him and his supporters.
In 2008 he pulled out of a presidential runoff, after his victory in the
first-round vote ignited a nationwide wave of attacks that left more than
200 of his supporters dead.
To curb the violence, he formed a power-sharing government with Robert
Mugabe in 2009, under a deal that left the 87-year-old president in control
of the security forces.
Political tensions are intensifying as Zimbabwe inches toward new elections,
possibly next year.
Tsvangirai's supporters, even his ministers, still suffer routine arrests
and harassment. MDC rallies and meetings on the country's new constitution
have been disrupted by pro-Mugabe militants. -- AFP
Wed Nov 2, 2011 5:26pm GMT
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE (Reuters) - Political violence is on the increase in Zimbabwe and
supporters of President Robert Mugabe and state security agents are to
blame, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Wednesday.
"It appears the demons of violence are back, a siege mood seems to be slowly
gripping the country," Tsvangirai told a monthly media briefing.
On Tuesday, anti-riot police sealed the offices of Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change party (MDC), firing tear gas into the building and at
bystanders in central Harare.
"The state security agents have instituted a coup over the civilian
authority and they are now above the law, to the extent of disrupting
government programmes and assaulting civilians with impunity," Tsvangiri
Incidents of political violence decreased after Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed
a unity government more than two years ago following a disputed election in
2008, but talk of a possible election next year has reignited tensions.
Police have in the past few weeks disrupted Tsvangirai's rallies in the
western Matabeleland region where the MDC won the majority of parliamentary
seats in 2008.
On Saturday, militants from Mugabe's ZANU-PF party disrupted an MDC rally
organised by a minister jointly responsible for police affairs. ZANU-PF
denies engaging in violence and instead accuses MDC supporters of provoking
"The violence we are witnessing is state-sponsored and state-driven. It is
being championed by a few fascist leaders who want to reverse the little
progress we have made," Tsvangirai said.
"The country is at a high risk of imploding if some in the leadership
continue to be privately abetting lawlessness while publicly preaching
Tsvangirai said Mugabe had assured him during a weekly meeting on Tuesday
that the issue of violence would be dealt with. He gave no further details.
In September Mugabe called for an end to violence in a speech to parliament.
While the 87-year-old leader was speaking, ZANU-PF supporters attacked MDC
November 02, 2011
Peta Thornycroft | Johannesburg, South Africa
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai visits Movement For Democratic
Change youth leader Yaya Kassim, attacked while visiting MDC supporters, at
a hospital in the capital Harare, August 5, 2011.
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai visits Movement For Democratic
Change youth leader Yaya Kassim, attacked while visiting MDC supporters, at
a hospital in the capital Harare, August 5, 2011.
Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says he is worried about rising
political violence in the country, which he says is designed and executed by
people working within the government of national unity. Tsvangirai
specifically blamed the police force, which he said causes violence, is
partisan, ignores the law and has recently prevented him from holding
several political rallies.
Tsvangirai held a press conference Wednesday, 24 hours after armed police,
using tear gas, surrounded the Harare central headquarters of his Movement
for Democratic Change party [MDC]. He said the police brought commercial
activity in parts of the city to a standstill and threw tear gas at people
on the streets.
"In fact, the police are now the source of violence in this country, they
are now the source of instability, of undermining peace. Because can you
explain to me what happened yesterday, how can you go and throw tear gas
throughout the whole city, chasing, chasing, I want to emphasize, a
complaint by one person because his record had been reproduced," said
Tsvangirai. "It is like saying let's go and burn down the building because
there is a rat. How can police behave in a manner which is so blatantly
Tsvangirai said the violence was designed by people who want to reverse
progress made since the MDC went into a power-sharing government with
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party nearly three years ago. Mugabe and
his party control the police in Zimbabwe.
He said he met Tuesday with Mugabe, and said they both agreed that political
violence in Harare and elsewhere in the country must stop.
Tsvangirai also gave details of several political rallies either disrupted
or stopped by police, some of which he had been due to address.
The prime minister also was asked about the cost of Mugabe’s frequent trips
to Singapore for medical treatment. Finance Minister Tendai Biti has
complained that foreign travel by Zimbabwe’s senior political leaders,
including Mugabe and Tsvangirai, is unnecessarily costly to the economy,
saying they have incurred travel expenses of $29 million this year.
Tsvangirai said President Mugabe has a right to seek medical care abroad
when it is not available in Zimbabwe.
“It is the responsibility of the state is to look after its leaders. If the
president is sick he should be attended to. Whether we like it or not, he
may say, 'I was sick, I had to go,' and who am I [to] get attention, and who
am I to question,” said Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai said he did not believe he is guilty of overspending on foreign
travel, and asked that the finance minister break down the expenditure for
By Nkululeko Sibanda, Senior Writer
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 08:41
HARARE - Police turned central Harare into a mini-battlefield yesterday
afternoon after descending on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Harvest
House headquarters, attacking the party’s security officials and nearby
This comes as police at the weekend banned two rallies Tsvangirai intended
to address in Binga and Lupane areas of Matabeleland North province, forcing
the party to consider seeking redress from Sadc.
The mayhem yesterday came hours after South African officials appointed by
Sadc to mediate in Zimbabwe arrived in the country to intensify negotiations
amid signs of a return to instability.
About three dozen policemen wielding baton sticks fought running battles
with vendors near Harvest House some of whom were selling MDC merchandise
before turning on unsuspecting passers-by.
Late afternoon shoppers and workers from shops close to Harvest House had to
scurry for cover as police details indiscriminately fired teargas canisters
at the crowds, forcing a temporary shutdown of the city centre area near the
Banks, supermarkets, pharmacies and furniture shops closed shop, while
customers were trapped inside the stores as the police showed no mercy.
In a police against the people script, the Daily News correspondent
witnessed as police harassed anyone seen within the vicinity of the MDC
offices whose access roads they had cordoned off.
Trouble started when a truckload of police officers brandishing baton sticks
and canisters pulled to a screeching halt at the MDC headquarters along
Nelson Mandela Avenue at about 1505 hours.
The police details immediately blocked traffic passing through the party’s
They then proceeded to assault street vendors who were selling different
wares on the pavements along the MDC offices, forcing them to scurry for
Some of the targeted vendors trade in MDC regalia and party music CDs and
Several of the vendors fell unconscious as a result of the tear smoke and
had to be helped regain consciousness by passers-by.
MDC security details stationed at the headquarters accused “zealous” police
details for torching off the skirmishes.
“Some riot police officers came to the MDC offices in the afternoon.
“They clashed with some vendors selling different wares close to the MDC
“They then tried to gain entrance into the MDC offices but changed tact and
again started assaulting some vendors selling MDC compact discs,” said one
The compact disc vendors are reported to have reacted angrily at the move by
the police, resulting in running battles between the two groups.
A number of windscreens and windows of vehicles parked in the vicinity of
the MDC headquarters were smashed as vendors unleashed stones at the police
officers who had earlier assaulted them.
When the Daily News arrived at the scene of the clashes, owners of some of
the vehicles were standing helplessly on the pavement, assessing damage to
their vehicles. Police were still pouncing on shoppers and workers.
Police details cordoned off part of Harare’s First Street, closing shops in
Some employees at some shops had to use backstreet alleys to make good their
escape from the marauding police officers and choking teargas.
MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora blamed the police for torching off the
chaos and violence.
“We understand police officers got to Harvest House intending to apprehend
some vendors or chase them away from the office. They then claimed that they
were looking for Washington Gaga, one of our security department officials
but did not disclose why they were looking for him."
They then changed again and claimed they wanted to ‘rescue’ some
plainclothes police officers who had been deployed to Harvest House, but it
was not clear whom they wanted to rescue them from,” said Mwonzora.
The MDC, he said, viewed the move by the police as part of a campaign to
instil fear in the party’s supporters ahead of elections to be held possibly
“There is no justification why police would simply cordon off the Harvest
House offices without proper explanation,” said Mwonzora.
Efforts to contact acting police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver
Mandipaka proved fruitless as his mobile phone was switched off.
Another police spokesperson Superintendent Andrew Phiri was also unreachable
on his phone.
State broadcaster ZBC quoted Harare police spokesman Inspector James Sabau
as saying the armed police details attacked Harvest House to arrest vendors
selling pirated MDC music CDs.
By Tichaona Sibanda
2 November 2011
Zimbabweans will vote to approve or reject the proposed new Constitution
between 30th March and 30th May, a Copac co-chairman has said.
Douglas Mwonzora, co-Chairman of the multi-party Constitution Select
Committee, met President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team in Harare on
Wednesday and told them of these proposed dates. At the meeting was Lindiwe
Zulu, Zuma’s international relations advisor, Charles Nqakula plus the South
African Ambassador to Zimbabwe.
The other two Copac co-chairmen (from ZANU PF and the MDC-N) were in
Victoria Falls for a Zimbabwe-South Africa joint commission conference on
Zuma’s team jetted into Harare on Tuesday for various meetings with party
negotiators, Copac, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and Civil Society
Mwonzora said: ‘The drafting of the constitution will begin on the 20th
November and this will take us to the end December. In between December and
March there will be a second all stakeholders meeting and a report back to
Parliament. They (Zuma’s team) wanted to know if there’s been progress at
Copac and tentative timelines for the drafting of the new constitution in
order for them to assess the situation.’
The MDC-T legislator said the process of drafting a constitution, which is
running 16 months behind schedule, has made some ‘considerable progress’ in
‘We have completed the pre-drafting exercise. We have agreed on the identity
of drafters and the structure of the drafting team. We have also agreed on
the constitutional principals, constitutional framework and on the
constitutional issues that came from the outreach,’Mwonzora said.
The drafting team comprises Justice Moses Chinhengo (a Judge at the Botswana
High Court), former Zimbabwe High Court Judge Priscilla Madzonga and Brian
Crizier (former legal drafter in the Attorney-General’s office and also a
legal practitioner in Harare).
Under the original agreement signed in September 2008, which formed the
basis for the formation of a coalition government, the country was supposed
to have a new constitution by July 2010. The new charter is meant to clear
the way for fresh polls following the country’s bloody 2008 elections.
By Tendai Kamhungira, Court Writer
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 15:27
HARARE - Munyaradzi Gwisai’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, doubts the identity
of the state witness Jonathan Shoko.
Muchadehama, a human rights lawyer who has represented MDC and human rights
activists on several occasions, told the court yesterday that he suspects
the case against Gwisai and five others to be a sting job to trap the
Gwisai and his co-accused initially faced treason charges for watching
videos of the Arab Spring revolutions but the charges have since been
reduced to conniving to incite and promote public violence.
Shoko, an undercover police officer who claims to have been part of the
planning meeting, is the second state witness after Rinos Chari, who
testified on September 14.
“In his testimony he testified that he sneaked into the meeting, so I want
to ascertain if he did not also sneak into these proceedings,” said Gwisai’s
lawyer Alec Muchadehama.
Muchadehama said this after prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba objected his line of
questioning during cross examination.
Muchadehama requested for Shoko’s force number, which he disputed and said
was similar to those given to police officers that were admitted into the
force in 1998, yet Shoko only started training in 2001, according to his
Shoko was further asked if he used a different name.
Muchadehama said they had made enquiries with the Criminal Intelligence
Unit, a department Shoko claims to be part of and they were told that the
name Jonathan Shoko did not exist in the department.
Shoko was further asked about his officer in charge’s office number, which
he said he was not aware of. He was also asked whether he was on Facebook or
twitter, to which he denied.
The matter is expected to continue on Friday when Muchadehama will continue
Gwisai, 43, is jointly charged with Antonater Choto, 36, Tatenda
Mombeyarara, 29, Edson Chakuma, 38, Hopewell Gumbo, 32 and Welcome Zimuto,
Nyazamba told the court that the six convened a meeting at Zimbabwe Labour
Centre in Harare, where they agreed to act in concert to forcibly and
seriously disturb peace, security or order of the public in Zimbabwe on
February 19 this year.
The state further alleges that they agreed to mobilise the people of
Zimbabwe to revolt against the government and demand the resignation of the
president of Zimbabwe after watching video footage of revolutions in Egypt
With elections looming, the Zanu (PF)-controlled state media has upped its
propaganda war against main rival party led by Prime Minister Morgan
by Chief Reporter
But the MDC said this week the campaign would not guarantee victory for
President Robert Mugabe and his party.
In the past week, state media have published a series of stories suggesting
the MDC, which beat Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) party in 2008, is set to split
over Tsvangirai's support for gay rights.
The MDC dismissed the articles, which said that Tsvangirai, a fiery former
trade unionist, was being challenged by his secretary general, Tendai Biti,
The stories quoted Wikileaks cables and unnamed MDC Members of Parliament
saying Tsvangirai, who has no university degree, did not have the right
academic qualifications or the skills to lead Zimbabwe.
The legislators reportedly accused Tsvangirai of failing to deal with the
violence in his party that erupted at the MDC congress. The State
media has hammered Tsvangirai for his gay rights call, branding him
"erratic", "flip-flopper" and several other denunciations.
Discredited "analysts" such as Gabriel Chaibva, Tafataona Mahoso and
Jonathan Moyo have been lined up by the state media to tear into Tsvangirai,
while church leaders have been quoted slamming Tsvangirai for calling for
gay Rights. One even suggested the PM himself was gay.
The MDC has said the stories are "attempts to discredit and demonise the MDC
leadership with false and fictional stories concocted within the corridors
of the Central Intelligence Organisation and the Department of Information".
The MDC has officially protested to the state media over biased reporting,
selective coverage and black-out of party activities in two damning letters
slamming the state press for practising "gutter journalism."
The State media has imposed a complete blackout of the Prime Minister’s
press conferences, especially on matters to do with the outstanding issues
in the Global Political Agreement.
In the meantime, more new propaganda songs extolling Mugabe's leadership are
being churned out with even more repulsive dancing by Mbare Chimurenga Dance
Article 19 of the GPA that gave birth to the inclusive government, says
steps should be taken to ensure that the public media provides balanced and
fair coverage to all political parties for their legitimate political
The MDC says it has been a perennial victim of unbridled propaganda and hate
speech from newspapers in Zimpapers stable.
"We have borne the brunt of misguided lies masquerading as journalism," said
Tsvangirai's spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka. "The good news is that we have
succeeded and won elections despite being at the receiving end of relentless
gutter journalism whose sole purpose has been to perpetually malign and soil
the image of the MDC and its leadership."
Political analysts say the MDC has the capacity to weather the hostile
campaign, although the careers of some promising young MPs named in
Wikileaks cables hangs in the balance.
01 November 2011
Presidential spokesman George Charamba said Mr. Mugabe had 'announced
policy' and implementation was in the hands of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and 'possibly' the Ministry of Indigenization
Ntungamili Nkomo & Blessing Zulu | Washington
A spokesman for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has stated that it is a
matter of state policy now to target Swiss-owned businesses and properties
in retaliation for that country's recent refusal to grant visas to Mr.
Mugabe's wife, Grace, and five aides.
George Charamba, Information Ministry permanent secretary and spokesman for
Mr. Mugabe, told the independent Newsday paper that Mr. Mugabe had
"announced policy" and implementation was in the hands of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and "possibly" the Ministry of Indigenization, which is
pressing foreign firms for majority black stakes.
He said Swiss companies "are not exempted" from the indigenization process.
Charamba added that "surely, if you don’t want visitors from Zimbabwe why
should you want to make money in Zimbabwe?”
Mr. Mugabe received a visa to attend a United Nations telecoms summit in
Geneva last week but canceled the trip after his wife and several senior
aides were turned down on the basis that they were among individuals listed
for Swiss travel and financial sanctions instituted in 2002 over Harare's
alleged human rights violations and election-rigging.
Mr. Mugabe, describing the Swiss as "vicious," said Zimbabwe would
Observers said the Zimbabwean subsidiary of Swiss food giant Nestlé seemed a
logical target, being one of the largest Swiss units in the country and
given sharp differences in the past between the company and the Mugabe
family, a former milk supplier.
But Nestlé Southern African Regional Communications Manager Brindah Chiniah
said the company has not received any communications from government.
She would not say whether Nestlé would abide by the widely-criticized
indigenisation law requiring foreign firms to transfer a 51 percent stake to
A spokesman for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change said the Cabinet has not adopted any particular policy regarding
Mr. Tsvangirai has declared his opposition to the indigenization program as
it is being pursued by Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF, calling it a threat to economic
"Charamba should know that there is a difference between ZANU-PF and the
government," MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said. "What he is saying is not
government policy because it was never brought to cabinet."
Tendai Savanhu, ZANU-PF deputy secretary of economic affairs, said the Swiss
visa denials were inexcusable and that Harare must retaliate.
Economist Godfrey Kanyenze urged moderation, telling VOA Studio 7 reporter
Blessing Zulu that moves by Harare against Swiss interests could backfire.
By Tendai Kamhungira, Court
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 08:48
HARARE - Two Africom Holdings executives and a Harare businessman charged
with espionage were yesterday granted bail with strict reporting conditions.
Africom acting chief executive Simba Mangwende, non-executive director Farai
Rwodzi and Oliver Chiku of Global Satellite Systems tasted freedom for the
first time since their arrest last week.
The three are also being charged of contravening the Postal and
Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi ordered Mangwende and Rwodzi to pay $2 000
each while Chiku was granted a $700 bail, after the defence lawyers
submitted that their clients’ capital means were different.
The trio was also ordered to surrender their passports, reside at their
given addresses, not to interfere with witnesses and report twice a week to
police Central Investigations Department (CID) Law and Order section as part
of their bail conditions.
They will be back in court on October 15.
Their lawyers have given notice to the court that on October 15, they intend
to challenge their clients’ placement on remand.
In yesterday’s ruling, magistrate Mutevedzi said the state had failed to
convince the court on why the three cannot be granted bail.
“The state failed to produce evidence to prove that there is hostility
between Zimbabwe and United States of America, Canada and Afghanistan, thus
as such it is not correct that the state must argue that it has a strong
case against the accused,” Mutevedzi said.
Mutevedzi further said that the state was only basing its opposition on bald
and unsubstantiated assertions.
“I have no doubt that a lot more is required from the state other than
unsubstantiated facts that the accused would interfere with witnesses. I am
convinced that all the three accused have discharged the honours that they
would not abscond,” he said.
Prosecutor Jonathan Murombedzi, alleges the three leaked confidential
information pertaining to government ministries to United States, Canada and
Afghanistan from July to Thursday last week.
Chiku, who is allegedly connected to a Canadian firm called Juch Tech,
invited the company’s representatives to Zimbabwe, the court was told.
They allegedly installed satellite dishes and other equipment capable of
transmitting Internet and voice over protocol.
According to state papers, the three bought the satellite equipment in their
personal capacity and connected it to the Africom network system without
Africom management’s knowledge.
01 November 2011
Fernando Arroyo, local head of the United Nations Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Aid, said the World Food Program and other
agencies will source and roll out seasonal targeted assistance
Tatenda Gumbo | Washington
The US-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network has estimated that about
10 percent of the Zimbabwean population will need food aid for the rest of
this year, rising to 11.5 percent when the so-called hunger season peaks in
The agency said planned food assistance programs for the 2012 maize season
are likely to fill the food entitlement gaps in some rural areas, if they
are adequately supplied. But aid workers say very hot summer weather is
already affecting the outlook for crops.
Humanitarian agencies are now conducting assessments to estimate the food
shortfall in the most vulnerable areas of the country.
Fernando Arroyo, local head of the United Nations Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Aid, said the World Food Program and other
agencies will source and roll out seasonal targeted assistance. He said
weather among other factors will be key.
Forbes Matonga, director of Christian Care, a leading Zimbabwean partner for
the WFP and other humanitarian agencies, said the need could be greater than
Zimbabwe will require $14.2 billion to rehabilitate old infrastructure such
as roads, dams and other transport network systems, a local economist said
by Tonderayi Matonho
Speaking at a workshop to present background research findings on the
economics of climate change adaptation in Zimbabwe, Dr Medicine Masiiwa of
the University of Zimbabwe, said the country was lagging behind in terms of
infrastructural development and rehabilitation.
“Rehabilitating old infrastructure and building new infrastructure such as
weather-proof tarred roads, dams, bridges and other transport networks, will
require $14.2 billion,” he said at a workshop organized by the Zimbabwe
Environmental Regional Organization in partnership with the International
Institute of Environment and Development.
He noted that identified dams for rehabilitation through the public-private
sector partnerships included Chisumbanje, Middle Sabi Irrigation expansion,
Mushumbi Pools in the Dande area, Buri, Chirundu, Zihove and Gwayi-Shangani
“With almost 10 000 dams already built but not fully operational, there is
need to quantify water levels in those dams to measure water use efficiency
against evaporation, especially looking at the impact of climate change,”
observed Juliet Gwenzi, also from the UZ.
Dr Masiiwa further noted that low-lying areas in the southern part of the
country could be turned into non-maize producing areas because of increasing
temperatures. A 2.5 degree Celsius increase in temperature would result in a
decrease in net farm revenue of about $0.4 billion.
“Rainfall is predicted to fall by 5-20% by 2080 basing on 1961-1990
average,” he said, adding that evaporation and transpiration would increase
by between 4-25% and run off water would decline by up to 40 %.
“Research on climate change is essential to enable evidence-based
decision-making that responds adequately to the country’s needs,” said
Shepard Zvigadza, Director of ZERO.
|Most teachers in
Zimbabwe make around $220 per month, well below the poverty line of $500 per
As concerns deepen
about the quality of education in Zimbabwe, parents can expect an indefinite
extension of subsidising teacher salaries as the cash-strapped government
struggles to meet the bloated civil service wage bill.
Teacher incentives - a stipulated amount of usually between $2 to $5, which is paid by parents directly to teachers on a monthly basis - were introduced two years ago by the government to supplement teacher salaries. But many parents say the situation has become untenable and that they can no longer afford to contribute to teachers' salaries.
Zimbabwe's education sector is bedevilled by a myriad of problems. In addition to the low teaching salaries there is a shortage of teachers as many have left government schools in search of better wages in the private education sector. In addition, thousands of unregistered and bogus colleges have sprouted across the country.
While Education Minister David Coltart has called the incentives "a necessary evil" if teachers are to continue working, parents like Davison Phiri believe this "cannot go on forever."
"[Teacher's salaries] ... is the government's obligation."
- Davison Phiri, parent in
"We want our
children to go to school but it is unfair that we are expected to (supplement
teachers' salaries), which in fact is government's obligation," Phiri said.
"If the government has no money, surely education is one of those areas that must be prioritised with what little (money government) has?" he asked.
Coltart announced in September that the incentive scheme would continue despite complaints from teachers' unions and parents that this system makes education inaccessible to the poor.
With these incentives, teachers can earn up to $500 a month, but there are increasing concerns that they are not fully discharging their duties when learners fail to pay these controversial bonuses.
The pro-government Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) said the incentives must be discontinued.
"Teachers are now fighting with parents because of these incentives," said ZIMTA's chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndlovu. "This just cannot be sustained indefinitely."
Parents pay varying amounts under Parents and Teacher Association agreements. Primary school teachers get paid about $2 a month per child, while secondary school teachers get up to $5 a month per child.
Teachers' salaries increased this year from around $150 a month to $220 a month. But this is well beneath the country's poverty line of $500 a month, which indicates the basic living cost for a family of five.
The country's diamond sales have also been sucked into the issue of teachers' salaries.
Early this year, President Robert Mugabe responded to a strike threat by teachers' unions over poor salaries by saying that the government had made enough money from diamond sales to meet these demands.
(Zimbabwe restarted its diamond sales in August 2010 after exports were banned in 2009 amid allegations of human rights abuses at the country's Marange mines.)
"If ministers and legislators can buy themselves luxury cars, they must also have enough for teachers."
- Tennyson Dube, teacher in
Minister Tendai Biti, a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
disputed Mugabe's statement. This sets the stage for a long-drawn public spat
among the coalition government partners about teachers' salaries.
However, the Progressive Teacher Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) insists that the government has made sufficient money from its diamond exports to pay teachers more.
"The government has made enough from the diamonds and they must give us some of that money," said Tennyson Dube, a teacher affiliated with PTUZ.
"If ministers and legislators can buy themselves luxury cars, they must also have enough for teachers," Dube said, referring to the recent announcement that the Ministry of Finance approved a $5m purchase of vehicles for legislators.
However, the International Monetary Fund has raised concerns that Zimbabwe cannot afford a huge public service wage bill as this will effectively scuttle any efforts towards economic reconstruction.
Meanwhile, those parents who can afford it have turned their back on government schools and have opted to send their children to private and even unregistered schools and colleges.
"We are aware some of these colleges are not registered but at least here the teachers are dedicated," said Mavis Sibanda, whose child attends class in a municipal recreational hall that has been turned into a school.
However, it is not certain for how long the unregistered schools and colleges will survive. This year, the government has shut down hundreds of such schools, which have been operating without licences.
Meanwhile, human rights watchdog Amnesty International released a report in early October stating that hundreds of thousands of school children were still reeling from the effects of the 2005 Operation Restore Order, a government campaign that forcibly destroyed informal settlements and indirectly affected almost 2.4 million people.
"The victims (of Operation Restore Order) have been driven deeper into poverty while denial of education means young people have no real prospect of extricating themselves from continuing destitution," Amnesty International's Deputy Africa Programme Director Michelle Kagari said.
"The government's removal of people from places where they had access to education, and its subsequent failure to provide education, has struck a devastating blow to the lives and dreams of thousands of children," Kagari said in the report.
A version of this article was first published on Inter Press Service.
The failure of Zanu (PF) to turn new ‘farmers’ into instant commercial
landowners has opened a space for donors to develop the traditional
farmlands which President Robert Mugabe has said are useless.
by John Chimunhu
President Robert Mugabe’s smash and grab policies have rendered commercial
agriculture in Zimbabwe almost sterile. Thanks to donors, however, some
peasants have been armed with tools of the trade to produce for their
families and on-sale to the market.
This contrasts sharply with the programme administered by the government-run
Grain Marketing Board, which Zanu (PF) party hacks have hijacked.
In 1980, the government set out to empower small rural farmers. Amid daily
doses of socialist lectures by officials who had little knowledge of what
that meant, the peasants performed wonderfully and were recognised by the
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations with an award for
enhancing regional food security.
In 1979, small farmers’ representative Gary Magadzire had argued tenuously
in London during the Lancaster House Conference that it would be impossible
to relocate all farmers to more fertile soils. Instead, a project was
started to support small farmers within their traditional lands. The results
When, in 1999, donors demanded accounts of funds they had donated over a
decade for the purchase of commercial farms for resettlement of poor blacks,
they were shocked to find that most of the money had been stolen by
Farms that had been bought with resettlement funds had become the private
property of the well-connected. Mugabe by 2000 sensed that there would be no
more money coming from Western countries for land reform and encouraged his
supporters to seize the farms. This marked the beginning of the severe
degradation of commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe.
A world-class production system fell to ruin. With it went a sophisticated
farming input supply system that was supporting small village farmers.
The Poverty Reduction Programme introduced with British funds has come to
the rescue of some of these small farmers, helping them to secure inputs on
time and without cash.
Zimbabwe’s commercial agriculture sector is yet to recover from a decade of
destruction caused by Zanu (PF)’s misguided policies. A unique programme for
small farmers, the PRP, promises to revive farming and prove that with
adequate resources, farmers anywhere, including those in arid regions can be
productive and guarantee food security for their families and the nation.
This flies in the face of Mugabe’s wild claims that only farmers on the best
soils can be productive. In fact, it is the well-resourced farmers on poor
soils who are making an impact, while commercial farms with the best soils
have been turned into wild bush by invaders who complain about lack of
government support. Donors have steered away from forcibly seized land,
rendering Mugabe’s project to grab land a total waste.
Up to 70 000 communal farmers are benefitting from a unique electronic
voucher system introduced by the PRP in Zimbabwe at the beginning of October
to ease the supply of farming inputs. Armed with swipe cards produced in
conjunction with local banks, the poor peasants are able to buy enough
materials to produce a surplus.
The system is expected to speed up transactions and reduce costs for farmers
According to one of the project’s consultants, Terry Quinlan, 45 000 to 50
000 of the farmers would get grants of $160 per household in the current
agricultural season. Another 20 - 25 000 would get loans to buy livestock.
Quinlan said the beneficiaries would get electronic vouchers in the form of
swipe cards that they would present to traders in their wards. The system is
designed to ensure that the farmers do not travel more than five kilometres
to get to the nearest supplier of inputs.
“To minimize fraud, the cards will have unique serial numbers showing the
NGO, district and beneficiary codes. The cards are not transferable,”
Quinlan said, speaking during a recent meeting with the project’s suppliers.
Another official, Erica Keogh of GRM, a consultant co-ordinating the
programme on behalf of the UK’s Crown Agents, said a major outcome envisaged
for the project was “improved food security for rural farmers”.
“The programme aims to get to farmers high-quality inputs for agriculture.
Providing the voucher means we have to see an increase in the area planted,”
She said the programme was being run with implementing partners CAFOD,
Catholic Relief Services and Christian Aid. In 2010, some $4.5 million was
spent on funding the farmers.
Quinlan said apart from seed and fertiliser, the vouchers can also be used
for purchasing livestock and veterinary products as well as protective
Another unique aspect of the project is that farmers will no longer have to
go to the Grain Marketing Board to access inputs, a system that has proved
to be flawed and fraught with corruption. Instead, non-governmental
organisations take the lead in administering the programme at a local level,
while commercial suppliers do the actual sourcing and distribution up to
village level. Commercial agro-dealers are now part of the PRP’s supply
“We want them to do what the private sector does best, that is to compete
with each other. NGOs carry out beneficiary targeting, including capturing
ID numbers,” Quinlan said.
He said the NGOs attended retailer training and ensured that they were
properly registered with wholesalers attached to the programme. The NGOs
also have to ensure that the retailers have enough security and have put up
a system to redeem their funds from the donor.
“Wholesalers must register retailers. Last year, there was no registration
and this resulted in chaos. They also have to ensure that there is adequate
storage space and that security arrangements are in place. They also have to
come to an agreement about stocks and about the return of excess stock,”
In 2010, the project benefitted some 244 000 farmers. This year the number
was reduced, but the grant amount increased to ensure that each farmer
plants about half a hectare of maize.
Typical problems dogging the system include Zesa power cuts, bad rural roads
and network problems in some areas. However, the programme has given a
much-needed lifeline to poor peasants who are regularly shunned by banks and
can not beat the Zanu (PF) patronage system which has ensured that only the
well-connected and party supporters get farming inputs. Experts believe that
if the project is replicated across the country, it could have a significant
impact on food security and possibly return Zimbabwe to its former status as
a regional bread basket.
The two army generals accused of leaking Zimbabwe’s military secrets to the
Americans have been placed under 24-hour surveillance, according to
by John Chimunhu
Defence Ministry sources confirmed that Major-General Fidelis Satuku and
Brigadier-General Herbert Chingono were now ‘marked men’. This is after
Defence Forces Commander, General Constantine Chiwenga, ordered an
investigation into their top secret meetings with US government and military
Leaked diplomatic notes published by whistle-blower site Wikileaks show that
the two top commanders told US officials that most professional soldiers had
no faith in Chiwenga.
They said Chiwenga was under-qualified to lead the army, lacked practical
experience and was only keen on advancing Zanu (PF) politics. They also
revealed that Chiwenga had not completed a single top-level military course.
Chingono and Satuku were trained in the USA and Britain.
The generals face possible treason charges for espionage and may be
sentenced to death if an envisaged court martial finds them guilty. The
generals have also had their offices clandestinely searched, while their
close aides, family members and associates have been questioned
unofficially, said the sources.
The CIO, army intelligence and the police are now involved, although no
formal board of enquiry has been set up as required by the Defence Act.
Analysts say in the absence of a formal enquiry, the actions against the
generals amount to victimisation and harassment.
Army spokesman Overson Mugwizi confirmed that the two generals were being
probed, but would not say by who. It was also not clear what terms of
reference the investigators had. Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa could
not be contacted as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Defence experts and military analysts told The Zimbabwean that a probe
leading to a court martial would be unprecedented in Zimbabwean military
history. The closest the Defence Forces got to such a stage was when Air
Force commander Perence Shiri was placed under house arrest in the 1980s and
was closely monitored by the intelligence services.
“It would be unprecedented to have such officials under court martial,” said
a military analyst who asked not to be named.
The analyst said if such a probe was really going on, it was a violation of
the rights of the officers.
“If such an investigation is going on then there is something wrong. You don’t
just investigate such senior commanders without following proper procedures.
These are very serious charges. Treason carries the death penalty if one is
|By Staff Writer|
Wednesday, 02 November 2011 15:09
HARARE - Prime Minister’s
Question Time was inaugurated in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 26 October,
taking up the hour immediately after the opening prayer at 2.15 pm.
Harare, Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Good afternoon members of the Press and I welcome you to the second edition
of the monthly Prime Minister’s Press Day.
We meet at a time of rising political tension in the country, increasing
cases of violence, sabotage and total disrespect by the Police and other
government agencies of the Prime Minister, even as he executes government
It appears the demons of violence are back, a siege mood seems to be slowly
gripping the country. This is a reincarnation of the violence of 2008 and
this country risks sliding back if immediate action is not taken to bring
back order and peace in the country.
The inclusive government
The inclusive government trudges on, albeit with differences on how best we
can empower the people of Zimbabwe.
We differ with our Zanu PF colleagues in government because they seek to
empower a few, well-connected elite while some of us are advocating for a
comprehensive plan which creates jobs, uplifts the ordinary people,
increases the cake and attracts investment so that every Zimbabwean
I have travelled the whole country and addressed meetings and what is
evident is that despite the rhetoric of indigenisation, over 90 percent of
our population has no jobs and no income. That is their priority and we must
there come up with a plan that addresses the plight of every Zimbabwean and
not a few well-connected politicians.
This government has serious challenges on its hands, including lack of food
in various parts of the country. As I toured various provinces to assess
projects under the Government Work Programme, villagers in most parts of the
country were eager to know what plans government has put in place to ensure
that no one starves.
About six out of the 10 provinces are likely to experience food shortages. I
have tasked the Ministers of Agriculture and Labour and Social Services to
put in place a full-proof mechanism to ensure food is moved from the surplus
areas to the deficit areas.
Once again, it is pertinent to stress that it is the responsibility of
Government to ensure that every Zimbabwean does not starve and as Prime
Minister, I hope that there will be non-partisan food distribution in the
One other key challenge the inclusive government faces is the lack of
movement on key reforms to ensure that there is a proper environment for the
conduct of a free and fair election.
One of the most important of these is media reforms. I am saddened to note
that there is no movement on this arena, especially the liberalisation of
The Minister of Media, Information and Publicity and his staff have simply
refused to act to ensure movement in this key area.
The four media houses short-listed by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe
for the granting of radio licences, which Authority we agreed with the
President should be reconstituted, include among them Zimpapers, a public
print media house.
This is the biggest assault on our quest to media freedom in this country.
Zimbabweans want a plural media. They do not want more of the same.
They want a multiplicity of voices not another ZBC in a different form. It
would not be surprising at this rate to learn one of these days that the ZBC
itself is now seeking a newspaper licence as part of “pluralising” the print
media in this country.
This is no laughing matter.
It is a key issue which is at the core of the Global Political Agreement and
the roadmap to elections as agreed by negotiators of all parties. We simply
expect true diversity and not a charade to mislead the nation and the region
that there are media reforms taking place in Zimbabwe.
The Government Work Programme
On Monday I launched the Health Transition Fund in Marondera.
The Fund, launched with the support of Partners, will result in about $435
million being invested in this crucial social sector particularly to support
women and children.
On Monday, I said this was a revolution and with minimum discord in
government, we can be able to achieve more in the social sectors of health
Tomorrow, I will be launching the Education Transition Fund where, with the
help of Partners, we will be providing textbooks to all the secondary
schools in the country. Last year, I commissioned 13 million textbooks for
the country’s 5 500 primary schools in what was the single largest
investment into education since independence.
When I saw students proudly holding these books at Simbali primary school in
Binga on the banks of the Zambezi, I knew this investment had changed the
face of the country.
We are set to continue with this revolution tomorrow when we do the same
exercise for the secondary school as a way of bringing back the glory into
our education which had collapsed due to three decades of misgovernance.
Other ministries continue to pursue their critical path targets and
following the consultations the Minister of Finance had with ministries and
other stakeholders, it is my hope that in the forthcoming national budget,
funds can be channelled into the priorities of government as identified by
the ministries and endorsed by Cabinet.
A number of achievements have been recorded through the implementation of
the Government Work Program.
We have managed to stabilize the economy, service delivery in the Health and
Education sector has improved. The recently launched MTP has also given our
planning a sense of direction and focus. The linkages between the MTP,
Government Work Program and the budget should see the Zimbabwean economy
being more focused and progressive.
It is only through effective coordination of government programmes that can
help our economy to grow and prosper. Through the evaluation of the
implementation of the Government Work Program we have noted areas that needs
more focus especially in the infrastructural development and the legislative
There has been notable progress in the provision of water, social services,
and other sectors. But despite the indicated successes in the education and
health sectors, the overall performance of Ministries, for 2011 ranges
between 30% and 40%. This is quite poor when compared to the 60% which was
recorded in 2010.We are behind the curve in implementing a number of
legislative and non-legislative reforms, to which we are committed not only
in the GWP but also in the GPA.
Besides the limited budgetary resources, there is lack of determination in
the implementation of Government programs in some Ministries. The level of
compliance remains low with some ministries failing to send even a single
report to the Office of the Prime Minister since January. This has made it
difficult to monitor implementation of government programmes.
Non submission of reports means that accountability of resources received
has been non-existent. Improving our own capacity to deliver is therefore a
I have personallytoured various provinces to assess projects of the
government work programme. This allows me the opportunity, as the executive
authority responsible for policy formulation and implementation, to inspect
specific projects on the ground.
It is while on government work during these tours, especially in
Matabeleland North, that the police have exposed themselves to be partisan
and to be disrespectful to me and the executive office that I hold in the
I shall come to the specific actions by the police later in my remarks.
Violence and the absence of the rule of law
Statistics of violence in the past one month have shown an increase. For
example, one human rights group has noted 800 cases of human rights
violations in the month of September alone, which translates to an average
of 28 violations a day.
Despite the fact that I am the Prime Minister of this country, with
executive powers bestowed on me, I have witnessed the participation of the
police in gross human rights violations.
The violence we are witnessing is State-sponsored and State-driven. It is
being championed by a few fascist leaders who want to reverse the little
progress we have made. They have become a threat to peace, stability and
social order in the country.
I want to promise these misguided elements that their days are numbered
because I and the President agreed yesterday that we must put a stop to this
violence in Harare and elsewhere.
Only yesterday after the President and I had met, the police besieged the
MDC headquarters, Harvest House, beat up people and tried to force their way
into the offices for no apparent reason. They threatened by-standers, threw
teargas into crowds going about their business and brought the entire city
into a standstill as citizens scurried for cover.
The police say they are for the law, for the people and for the country, but
what we have witnessed is that they are anti-law, anti-people and
On Saturday, I was scheduled to tour St Paul’s clinic in Lupane but police
in three truckloads chased away staff an hour before my arrival and locked
I was scheduled to address a rally at a nearby business centre and another
rally the following day at Chinotimba stadium in Victoria Falls. Police
chased away people from the two venues before I arrived despite court orders
to the effect that the rallies must proceed.
When a police officer refuses to respect a court order, this is total
disregard for the rule of law and it represents a break-down of justice in
In Lupane, they threw away pots of food while in Victoria Falls; they
occupied the stadium, locked themselves in and prevented anyone from
entering the venue.
On Sunday, another MDC rally was violently disrupted by Zanu PF youths in
The major issue is that you have the police disrupting a lawful gathering to
be addressed by their own minister and further disrupting a tour of a
hospital by the Prime Minister of the land, then you now have party
functionaries masquerading as a police force.
The public hearings by Parliament have not been spared, with Zanu PF thugs
disrupting proceedings and preventing people from freely airing their views.
To date, the police have not made a single arrest on any of the perpetrators
of these dastardly acts.
On Sunday, Bulwayo South MP, Hon. Eddie Cross, was threatened with death in
Mvuma by people who claimed to be State agents. To date, no one has been
The State security agents have instituted a coup over the civilian authority
and they are now above the law, to the extent of disrupting government
programmes and assaulting civilians with impunity.
The country is at a high risk of imploding if some in the leadership
continue to be privately abetting lawlessness while publicly preaching
I urge President Mugabe and Zanu PF to commit themselves to the letter and
spirit of the GPA, to appreciate that this is shared responsibility and that
this shared executive authority that no one should undermine.
I urge the police to do their job in a non-partisan manner and I will be
urging the President to use his powers in the Police Act to deal with senior
police officers promoting lawlessness in the country.
Personally, I do not condone violence. My party and I have been victims of
violence and not perpetrators. My whole political career is premised on
non-violent politics and that is why we won the 2008 election without
violence and without firing a single bullet.
I also told the President yesterday that we must show leadership and ensure
that true media reforms, particularly in the broadcasting sector, are part
of the cocktail of measures that we should immediately implement to give
confidence and provide a platform for alternative voices.
We also await the deployment of the three-member SADC technical committee
that was supposed to work with JOMIC in monitoring the situation in the
The deployment of that team is long overdue.
I am committed to executing my mandate and to serving this country as I
swore to do at the formation of the inclusive government in February 2009.
I urge my colleagues in leadership to step up to the plate, to stem violence
and to implement that reforms that we all agreed should be put in place
ahead of the next election.
Zimbabweans deserve nothing less.
Finally, I want to put finality and closure to an issue that has been
misinterpreted; the issue of the so-called gay rights. My beliefs on this
issue are a matter of public record. My beliefs manifest themselves in my
I am a Christian associated with the Methodist church. I am a father. I am a
grandfather. I am a family man.
I am a Zimbabwean and I know the strong feelings of Zimbabweans about this
issue. I have those strong feelings too but in the end, Zimbabweans are
making their own Constitution and it is that Constitution which will bind
What I refuse to do as a loyal son of God and as a social democrat is to
persecute, to judge, to condemn and to vilify people for their own opinions
because judgment is a preserve of God the Almighty.
The Book of Luke Chapter 6 verse 37: “Do not judge and you will not be
judged, do not condemn and you will not be condemned.”
The Book of John Chapter 8 verse 7: “If any one of you is without sin, let
him be the first to thrown a stone…”
So while I may differ with them, as a Christian and as a social democrat, I
refuse to throw a stone at them.
God bless you.
And God bless Zimbabwe.
I thank You
MDC Information & Publicity Department
44 Nelson Mandela Ave
November 2nd, 2011
The discovery of massive diamond deposits in Zimbabwe has led to hundreds of media reports exploring the abuse of human rights and grandscale corruption. It can be difficult to keep up to date with events as they unfold, or to tease out the key story as it unfolds. Sokwanele has produced a full report that aims to synthesise this glut information into a single report providing our readers with an accessible and wide ranging overview of events, meetings, human rights abuses, environmental degradation, and the network of the people involved in the ‘Marange story’. We have also produced a timeline highlighting Kimberley Process meetings and other key events.
The struggle for power in Zimbabwe is inextricably linked to the discovery of “the richest diamond field ever seen by several orders of magnitude”1 at Marange. What should have been a means of salvation for the virtually bankrupt country after ten years of chaos that saw world record inflation and the nation brought to its knees has led, instead, to greed, corruption and exploitation on a grand scale, the use of forced labour – both adults and children – horrifying human rights abuses, brutal killings, degradation of the environment and the massive enrichment of a select few.
Initially De Beers had full exploration rights to search for minerals in the Marange communal area in eastern Zimbabwe. Their exploration certificates expired on March 28, 2006, and De Beers did not renew them.2
A United Kingdom-registered company, African Consolidated Resources (ACR) subsequently registered exploration claims over the Marange diamond fields giving them exclusive rights to explore and search for diamonds and other precious stones in Marange district. In June 2006, having discovered diamonds, they declared the find, whereupon the government evicted them, seizing 129,400 carats ACR had extracted. They then opened the fields to anyone wishing to look for diamonds. “It was estimated that between 15,000 and 20,000 illegal artisanal miners were working the land and illegally selling their diamond finds to dealers outside the country.”3
In November 2006 the government launched a nationwide police operation code-named Chikorokoza Chapera (End to Illegal Panning), aimed at stopping illegal mining. “The operation was marked by human rights abuses, corruption, extortion and smuggling.”4
Two years later on 27 October, 2008, the government launched Operation Hakudzokwi (No Return). Human Rights Watch noted that the operation, involving elements of the Zimbabwe National Army, Air Force and Central Intelligence Organisation, appeared to have been designed both to restore a degree of order and to allow key army units access to riches at a time when the country was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. HRW reported that the army had killed at least 214 miners, and said soldiers were involved in the smuggling of diamonds.5
By November the army was firmly in control and they turned rapidly to forming syndicates6, often using forced labour, including women and children.
In July 2009 the Ministry of Mines accepted expressions of interest from companies willing to enter into joint ventures agreements to mine in Marange under the auspices of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.7 This resulted in the incorporation of two new distinct companies in which ZMDC [through Marange Resources] had 50% shares: Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners Private Limited. Transparent procedures were not followed.8
On 4 November, 2010 five officials from ZMDC and a director from Canadile, were arrested over an alleged US$2-billion fraud. Canadile’s operations were suspended, its equipment confiscated and its directors barred from entering the country. The ZMDC, through Marange Resources, assumed total control of the diamond claims held by Canadile.9
The government then granted licenses to Sino-Zimbabwe, a joint commercial entity between the Chinese government and Zimbabwe, Anjin, a Chinese company and Pure Diamonds, a Lebanese firm.10
It is clear that China stands to gain much from its extensive investments in the mining sector. All revenues from the Zimbabwe government’s joint diamond venture with Anjin over the next 20 years may already have been mortgaged to Beijing to pay off a contentious US$98 million loan to build a vast “techno-spy and communications base”, the Robert Mugabe School of Intelligence, outside Harare.
“Every day millions of dollars’ worth of diamonds leave Zimbabwe from the world’s richest diamond field. But none of that money reaches the country’s desperate poor…”11
Those who have benefited are: General Constantine Chiwenga, the ambitious army chief; Emmerson Mnangagwa, the wealthy defence minister; the late General Solomon Mujuru, former commander of the national army, and his wife, Joice; Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank and Augustine Chihuri, the powerful police chief. And, of course, the Mugabes themselves.12
The figure at the centre of Zimbabwe’s controversial mining operations, the Minister of Mines, Obert Mpofu, has benefited, too. He has been implicated in extensive fraud, including a US$2-billion diamond fraud case. In March 2010, Mpofu attracted the interest of a parliamentary committee investigating the plunder of the diamond fields when he went on a massive property buying spree.13
Given the extent of the well-publicised corruption in Zimbabwe, it is not surprising that the country ranked 134 out of 178 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2010. Zimbabwe falls into the Highly Corrupt category, which it shared on a parallel ranking with countries like Nigeria and Sierra Leone.14
This is where the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme should be making an impact.
Launched in January 2003, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was a scheme requiring governments to certify that shipments of rough diamonds were conflict-free thus making it more difficult for diamonds from rebel-held areas to reach international markets. The import-export certification scheme required participating governments to certify the origin of rough diamonds and to put in place effective controls to prevent conflict stones from entering the supply chain. Participant countries can only trade rough diamonds with other members. In 2010, 75 governments were participating in the KP.15
The scheme relies on consensus-based decision-making, which often means slow progress or inaction on key issues,” explained Global Witness (GW) in its report, “Return of the Blood Diamond” (June 2010).16
Consequently, GW noted, “Lack of consistent political will, and outdated and obstructive procedures have prevented the scheme from achieving its potential and fulfilling its mandate – to prevent diamonds from fuelling violence and human rights abuses.”
“Zimbabwe is arguably the KP’s biggest test yet; one that it is currently failing,” GW said.17
Its critics consider that the KP’s response to the systematic and gross human rights violations rampant in the diamond fields of Zimbabwe ranges from ineffectual to complicit.
On July 15, 2010, an agreement was reached with the Harare government at the KP meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, to allow two strictly /supervised auctions to take place. In August the first public auction took place during which 900,000 carats of Marange diamonds were sold, worth US$46 million. “US-based Rapaport Diamond Trading Network advised its more than 10,000 international diamond buyer and supplier members to boycott …. and threatened to expel and blacklist anyone taking part in the auction.”18
The Telegraph (UK) noted that the auction went ahead after the gems had been certified as conflict-free by KP monitor Abbey Chikane, a South African businessman, attracting buyers from Belgium, Russia, India, Israel, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Human rights groups said the deal helped to avert a crisis in the international diamond market since President Mugabe was threatening to sell the diamonds without certification.19
Finance Minister Tendai Biti told Parliament in his budget statement in January 2011 that US$2- million had disappeared from the second auction, which took place in September 2010 and that the money had disappeared at the MMCZ. He told Zimbabwe Reporter that he “only had financial detail on the two ‘limited’ auctions of gems from Marange held in August and September” but that there had been “three subsequent sales which they (MMCZ) have not remitted.”20
Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a press release on November 1, 2010, stating that “the KP should not allow the export of further shipments until there was meaningful progress to end smuggling and abuses by the army.” HRW said they “had learned that the KP team sent in to review conditions in the fields in August ” had been “routinely obstructed by government officials from conducting its activities and had been unable to gather crucial information about conditions in the majority of the diamond fields.”21
On March 21, 2011, Mathieu Yamba of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who took over the revolving position of KP chairman from Boaz Hirsch of Israel, “unilaterally authorised Zimbabwe to resume exports of Marange diamonds …. ‘from the compliant mining operations of Mbada and Canadile [Marange Resources]‘.”22 In response, the European Union argued that the decision was taken without due process and therefore could not stand.23
In mid April, the South African government declared its backing for the diamond sales and said Harare had complied with international standards.24
At the KP’s Intersessional Meeting in Kinshasa during June, the World Diamond Council President, Eli Izhakoff, urged all KP participants to correct past mistakes and return to the core principles that characterised the KP when it was established. In his address, he stressed that the Kimberley Process system was about “humanity, not politics”.
Three days later, however, on 23 June, Voice of America (VOA) reported that KP Chairman Mathieu Yamba had “issued an administrative notice announcing ‘with immediate effect’ the approval of the sale of rough stones” from Mbada and Marange Resources. “The text [also] provided for the quick certification of other companies operating in Marange, some Chinese…. Protesting what they considered to be an abandonment of human rights concerns, civil society observers walked out of the plenary meeting on [the] Thursday, refusing to participate and issuing a vote of no confidence in the [KP].”25
“We have credible reports of beatings, shootings, dogs being set on villagers and other abuses at the hands of the military,” senior HRW researcher Tiseke Kasambala told SW Radio Africa on June 30. “This [decision by the KP chair] is a terrible tragedy for the KP because it erases all the good work it has done in the past. The fact that it now refuses to deal with broader issues of human rights is a really sad indictment of the institution.”26
Human Rights organisations have also drawn attention to the fact that the government and the mining companies have failed to provide basic facilities for re-settled families. Some of the families, who have been moved to Arda Transau farm, live in disused tobacco barns where there is no ventilation, let alone electricity or water.
Southern African Resource Watch (SARW) notes that the environment in Marange is fragile and congested, and that the area is very dry with few rivers of any note. Forests have been exploited in recent years, leaving most areas with diminished cover. Dams in the area are silting as a result of the indiscriminate activity of the mining companies and it has been noted that the Odzi River has been polluted and silted by the operations of Canadile.
Despite rampant corruption, smuggling and the looting of diamonds, The Times (SA) reported on 7 August , 2011 that Zimbabwe had entered the top 10 league of the world’s gem-producing countries…. and could yet recover from a decade of economic ruin if good governance is restored.
Zimbabwe is now ranked as the seventh biggest diamond-producing nation in the world, according to the latest global rankings. It produced diamonds worth US$334 million last year.27
Organisations such as Human Rights Watch and the Zimbabwe Blood Diamonds Campaign have called repeatedly for the removal of the army from the Marange district, the demilitarisation of the diamond industry and a return to the rule of law.28 Finance minister Tendai Biti has stressed the need for the country’s mining laws to be overhauled so that there is greater transparency in the operations of the industry.
Militarised diamond mining and trading at Marange has resulted in loss of life, human rights abuses, corrupt practices and the enrichment of a privileged and powerful political elite.
As a result of the Zimbabwe government’s actions, the world’s diamond industry has been brought into disrepute.
 The Telegraph (UK), ‘Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamonds exposed by Wikileaks cable’, 10 December 2010: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/mining/8192700/Zimbabwes-Blood-Diamonds-exposed-by-Wikileaks-cable.html
 Human Rights Watch, ‘Diamonds in the Rough’, June 2009, pg 13: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2009/06/26/diamonds-rough
 Rapaport, ‘Background: Zimbabwe’s Marange Diamonds’, 2009: http://www.diamonds.net/fairtrade/Zimbabwe/Background.aspx
 Human Rights Watch, ‘Diamonds in the Rough’, June 2009, pg 19: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2009/06/26/diamonds-rough
 Rapaport, ‘Timeline of Events at Marange Diamond Fields’, February 2011: http://www.diamonds.net/cms/Zimbabwe/docs/Marange_Timeline-041110-_2_
 Human Rights Watch, ‘Diamonds in the Rough’, June 2009, pg 37: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2009/06/26/diamonds-rough
 Partnership Africa Canada, ‘Diamonds and Clubs’, June 2010, pg 5: http://www.pacweb.org/Documents/diamonds_KP/Zimbabwe-Diamonds_and_clubs-eng-June2010.pdf
 The Zimbabwe Independent, ‘Diamond companies make a killing’, 19 March, 2010: http://www.theindependent.co.zw/local/25807-diamond-companies-make-a-killing.html
 New Zimbabwe, ‘Six held over $2bn Marange fraud’ http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news/news.aspx?newsID=3720
 Diamond News, Government of Zimbabwe: ‘Three new diamond miners licensed’, 9 November 2010: http://www.diamondne.ws/2010/11/09/government-of-zimbabwe-three-new-diamond-miners-licensed/
 Sunday Times (UK), ‘Robert Mugabe’s dirty diamonds’, 4 April 2010: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article7084367.ece
Sunday Times (UK), ‘Robert Mugabe’s dirty diamonds’, 4 April 2010: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article7084367.ece
 The Standard (Zimbabwe), ‘Obert Mpofu’s property-buying spree raises eyebrows’, 27 March, 2010: http://www.thestandard.co.zw/local/23943-obert-mpofus-property-buying-spree-raises-eyebrows-.html
 Transparency International, ‘Corruption Perceptions Index 2010’, (click on ‘Read Report’) http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results
Global Witness, ‘Return of the blood diamond’, 14 June 2010, pg 5: http://www.globalwitness.org/library/return-blood-diamond-deadly-race-control-zimbabwes-new-found-diamond-wealth
 Global Witness, ‘Return of the blood diamond’, 14 June 2010, pg 5: http://www.globalwitness.org/library/return-blood-diamond-deadly-race-control-zimbabwes-new-found-diamond-wealth
Global Witness, ‘Return of the blood diamond’, 14 June 2010, pg 5: http://www.globalwitness.org/library/return-blood-diamond-deadly-race-control-zimbabwes-new-found-diamond-wealth
 International Crisis Group, ‘Time to rethink the Kimberley Process: The Zimbabwean case’, 4 November 2010, pg 5: http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/southern-africa/zimbabwe/op-eds/time-to-rethink-the-kimberley-process-the-zimbabwe-case.aspx
 The Telegraph (UK), ‘Zim auctions 900,000 carats of diamonds’ 11 August, 2010: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/zimbabwe/7940142/Zimbabwe-auctions-900000-carats-of-diamonds.html
 Zimbabwe Reporter, ‘US$2m vanishes from 2nd Marange diamond auction’, 25 January 2011: http://zimbabwereporter.com/business/2473.html
 Human Rights Watch, ‘Kimberley Process: Demand end to abuses in diamond trade’, media release, 1 November 2010: http://www.hrw.org/news/2010/10/29/kimberley-process-demand-end-abuses-diamond-trade
 Rapaport, ‘KP chair authorises Marange diamond exports’, 21 March, 2011: http://www.diamonds.net/fairtrade/Article.aspx?ArticleID=35015
 VOA, ‘New Kimberley Process chairman from DRC clears Zimbabwe diamond sales’, 22 March 2011: http://www.voanews.com/zimbabwe/news/Uproar-Within-Diamond-Watchdog-As-Chairman-Unilaterally-Allows-Zimbabwe-To-Sell-Marange-Diamonds-118453084.html
 VOA, “South Africa backs Zim in Kimberley Process decision to resume diamond exports’, 15 April 2011: http://www.voanews.com/zimbabwe/news/South-Africa-Backs-Zimbabwe-in-Kimberley-Process-Decision-to-Resume-Diamond-Exports-119933179.html
 VOA, ‘Kimberley Process meeting ends without consensus on Zimbabwe diamonds’, 23 June 2011: http://www.voanews.com/zimbabwe/news/Kimberley-Process-Meeting-Ends-Without-Consensus-on-Zimbabwe-124439624.html
 SW Radio Africa, ‘Consumers urged to boycott Zim diamonds’, 30 June 2011: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news300611/consumers300611.htm
 Times Live (SA), ‘Zim enters big diamond league’, 7 August 2011: http://m.timeslive.co.za/?i=3692/0/0&artId=4158751&showonly=1
 Human Rights Watch, ‘Diamonds in the Rough’, June 2009: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2009/06/26/diamonds-rough
Solidarity Peace Trust
Release of new report: "Hard Times"
Matabeleland: urban deindustrialization - and rural hunger
Nationally, Zimbabwe is more food secure at the end of 2011 than it has been for several years. However, parts of Zimbabwe suffered serious crop failure earlier this year and a million people are still predicted to need supplementary feeding. In Gwanda, Matabeleland South, the authors found that almost half of households indicated a day without food in the recent past. Only 17% of families reported eating three meals a day, meaning that 83% of households were, weeks before the onset of the official "hungry season in October", already making food compromises daily. Grazing is critical, and people are traveling further to find water. This has been one of the hottest Octobers on record. Several families reported that baboons were killing and eating young goats and chickens, as the hunger now affects all living creatures in this area. Several families had no livestock left at all, not even one chicken.
Of concern by the end of October, is that supplementary feeding has not yet started, nor has the distribution of seed, yet the first rains have arrived. If people are to avoid yet another season of crop failure, there is an urgent need for free agricultural inputs to roll out now. Furthermore, many families are in desperate need of food now.
Deindustrialization in Bulawayo
This hunger – already so extreme ahead of the recognized "peak hunger season" that officially lasts from October to February – is taking place at a time when Bulawayo, traditionally the source of employment and resources for Matabeleland, has seen a cataclysmic loss of jobs in industry in the last two years. This means that part of the greater support system for rural Matabeleland is highly compromised. The report traces the recent economic history of the region, and efforts to regenerate industry.
As deportations from South Africa gain momentum, the 17% of rural families that receive monthly remittances stand to lose this little extra means of support. All families with members in the diaspora will have extra mouths to feed during the hungriest months of the year, as or when the deportees return. Deportees to Zimbabwe have little likelihood of finding formal, productive employment and will merely exacerbate the plight of struggling households.
In addition to recommending urgent provision of both food and seeds, the authors make recommendations that include the following:
"Hard Times" Matabeleland: urban deindustrialization - and rural hunger is available in pdf format on our website (3.1MB). Please visit this link to download the report.
For requests for interviews, please email
For further information, please contact Selvan Chetty - Deputy Director, Solidarity Peace Trust
Tel: +27 (39) 682 5869
CONTENT SERIES 10/2011
[1st November 2011]
The Judiciary Part I
The judiciary is one of the three main branches of government, the other two being the Legislature (i.e. Parliament) and the Executive (the President, Ministers, the Public Service, the Police and Defence Forces). The judiciary consists of all judicial officers, namely, the people such as judges and magistrates who decide civil and criminal cases in courts.
In Zimbabwe the main courts are the Supreme Court and the High Court, which are presided over by judges, and magistrates courts which, as their name suggests, are presided over by magistrates. There are also local courts which administer customary law; these comprise primary courts (i.e. headmen’s courts) and community courts (i.e. chiefs’ courts). In addition there are other specialised courts such as the Administrative Court, which deals with applications and appeals under various Acts of Parliament, and the Labour Court which deals with labour matters. These courts are presided over by their own judicial officers, i.e. by people who are appointed to preside over the courts on a full-time basis. In addition there are other specialised courts such as the Fiscal Appeal Court, the Special Court for Income Tax Appeals, presided over by judges, and the Maintenance Court, presided over by magistrates.
All members of the judiciary, other than chiefs and headmen, are under the administrative control of the Judicial Service Commission, which is chaired by the Chief Justice.
Importance of the Judiciary
An independent judiciary is essential if the rule of law is to prevail. The concept of the rule of law was dealt with in an earlier Constitution Watch, but briefly it exists where:
· no one can be punished unless a court has declared that he or she has been guilty of a breach of the law;
· everyone is equally subject to the law, and no-one is above the law; and
· the courts and the law-enforcement agencies enforce and apply the law impartially.
Obviously, if these conditions are to exist there must be an effective and independent court system.
The rule of law is not the same as democracy, because it is theoretically possible for the rule of law to be respected even by an undemocratic government, but it is hard to envisage a truly democratic society in which there is no rule of law. So, because an effective and independent court system is essential for the rule of law, and because respect for the rule of law is an important element of a democratic State, one can say that a functional and independent court system is vital for a truly democratic State to exist.
Despite its importance, the judiciary is the weakest arm of government. It depends on the other branches to be able to function at all. Court officials are paid out of funds allocated by the Executive and Parliament; in criminal cases, the co-operation of the police is vital; and the enforcement of court decisions, both civil and criminal, depends on people who are employed by the Executive. If the Executive chooses to disregard a court decision – as has happened frequently in this country – there is little the courts can do about it, other than protest.
If the new constitution is to form the basis of a truly democratic society in Zimbabwe, it must seek to strengthen the independence, effectiveness and integrity of the judiciary. It can do this in the following ways:
1. by ensuring that members of the judiciary are selected through an impartial process;
2. by ensuring that, so far as possible, suitably qualified and non politically partisan people are appointed to the judiciary;
3. by giving members of the judiciary security of tenure to protect them from undue influence exerted by the Executive and the Legislature;
4. by providing suitable mechanisms to ensure that members of the judiciary carry out their work efficiently;
5. by ensuring that members of the judiciary observe high standards of ethical conduct.
Selection of the Judiciary
Current system in Zimbabwe
Under section 84 of the present Constitution, the Chief Justice and the other judges of the Supreme Court and High Court are appointed by the President after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). If the appointment of any of these judges is not consistent with a recommendation made by the JSC, the President must inform the Senate of that fact. The Constitution does not say what the Senate is expected to do in such a situation, so presumably there is nothing it actually can do, even if it does not agree with the President. This means, in effect, that the President can appoint whoever he likes, even if the JSC has recommended otherwise.
Judicial officers who preside over the specialised courts mentioned above (the Administrative Court, the Labour Court, etc.) are appointed by the President after consultation with the JSC (section 92 of the Constitution), though there is no provision for the President to inform the Senate if he goes against a recommendation made by the JSC. Magistrates are appointed directly by the JSC (section 7 of the Magistrates Court Act).
The JSC consists of the Chief Justice or his or her deputy, the chairperson of the Public Service Commission, the Attorney-General and between two and three other members appointed by the President (section 90 of the Constitution). No member of the JSC, therefore, is independent of the direct or indirect influence of the executive (but, as indicated above, even if the JSC was genuinely independent it would not matter anyway). Not surprisingly, there have been repeated allegations that judicial appointments and promotions have been politically motivated.
How can the new constitution improve the selection process?
Internationally, there are two main ways of selecting members of the judiciary: election and appointment.
System 1: Electing members of the judiciary
If the principle to be observed in a democracy is that all legal and political authority derives from the people, then logically the people should elect, not only members of the Executive and the Legislature, but members of the judiciary as well. Most countries do not have judicial elections, however, prominent exceptions being the some States of the United States, Japan and Switzerland.
Advantages and disadvantages of judicial elections are the following:
· Legitimacy: The election of judges gives them sufficient legitimacy to be co-equal with the other branches of government.
· Accountability: Elections make judicial officers more democratically accountable. Elected judges are likely to be more in tune with public opinion.
· Transparency: Judicial elections are more competitive, open and fair than most appointment procedures.
· Lack of professionalism: Ordinary voters do not have enough information to pick the best judges. They may not appreciate the professional qualities required for a judge, and judicial candidates cannot voice their opinions like candidates for political office (it would be improper for a candidate judge to pander to the electorate’s baser instincts by promising to hang all murderers and rapists, or to penalise the rich).
· Political influence: Elected judges will be tempted to give judgments that will ensure their re-election; this is the obverse side of accountability.
· Corruption and bias: Although the election of judges does not inherently require political partisanship, there is a danger that elected judges become too closely aligned to political parties or individuals who contributed to their election campaigns.
The fact that few countries have chosen to have a system of elected judges is most telling. If electing judges was a self-evidently superior system, one would expect it to be in much greater use, but very few countries have such a system. Judges and magistrates are usually appointed, subject to safeguards to ensure their independence, by the Executive or the Legislative branch, or by both branches.
System 2: Appointing members of the judiciary
If judges and magistrates are to be appointed, the questions arise: who should appoint them? What procedures should be followed?
Appointment by whom?
Usually, the appointment of judges is, at least formally, made by the head of State. In the case of magistrates and other junior judicial officers the appointment may be made by other authorities. In Zimbabwe before June last year, magistrates were appointed by the Public Service Commission because they were part of the Public Service; now they are appointed by the JSC.
There seems no reason to change this position: under the new constitution senior judicial officers should continue to be formally appointed by the head of State, while junior officers should be appointed by the JSC or whatever other body is created to oversee the judiciary. What needs to be changed is the pre-appointment procedures for selecting appointees (see above) and procedures for appointment.
Little or no formal process
In Canada and Australia, judges are appointed by the head of State (the Governor-General) acting on the advice of the Cabinet which is conveyed to him or her through the Prime Minister. In Canada an advisory committee is formed whenever a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court bench, and this allows for greater consultation though it does not fundamentally alter the largely informal process.
In India judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President in consultation with the Supreme Court, and appointments are generally made on the basis of seniority and not political preference. Judges of state High Courts are appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the governor of the state concerned.
While in these countries the Executive theoretically has a great deal of freedom in choosing judges for the highest court, it needs to be remembered that they are all strong democracies with a vigorous free press. Consequently, politicians must act with caution.
Defined formal process
In the United States, Supreme Court justices, and judges of Federal appeal courts and district courts, are nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee typically conducts confirmation hearings for each nominee. The system is open to criticism: the hearing process, for one thing, is said to be intrusive and time-consuming; Senators try to get candidates to commit themselves to a particular line on contentious issues; and nominations are very much affected by the President’s own political outlook.
In the United Kingdom a Judicial Appointments Commission is responsible for selecting judges in England and Wales. It is a independent statutory body made up of 15 members of whom nine are drawn from the judiciary and the legal profession and six are lay-people. The Commission interviews applicants and selects them on merit measured by five core qualities: intellectual capacity, personal qualities (integrity, independence, judgement, decisiveness, objectivity, ability, willingness to learn), ability to understand and deal fairly, authority and communication skills, and efficiency. Successful candidates are formally appointed by the Lord Chancellor (not the head of State).
In South Africa judges of the Constitutional Court are appointed by the President after consultation with the JSC and the leaders of parties represented in the National Assembly (the President is free to disregard their opinion). The candidates for appointment are chosen from lists prepared by the JSC after public interviews. The President appoints judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal and the various High Courts on the advice of the JSC (he must follow the advice) and he appoints the Chief Justice, the President and Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal after consultation with the JSC (but can disregard its opinion).
The South African JSC is a large body comprising judges, members of the legal profession, the Cabinet and members of both Houses of Parliament; when it considers appointments to a provincial High Court, it includes the premier of the province concerned and the judge heading that High Court. Hence the legal profession, the public and politicians all have a say in the appointment of judges.
To be continued in Part II
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