The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Archbishop of Canterbury attacks 'mindless and Godless' assaults on Anglicans
The Archbishop of Canterbury was greeted by thousands of rapturous Anglicans yesterday as he launched a fierce attack on the "mindless and Godless" assaults on them by a renegade bishop backed by Robert Mugabe.
 Rowan Williams conducts a church service in Harare
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams conducts a church service in HararePhoto: AP

Dr Rowan Williams, who is due to meet Mr Mugabe on Monday, called on the 87-year-old president to end the suffering of Anglicans, who have been locked out of their churches and attacked by police wielding tear gas and batons.

He lamented the "injustice and the arrogance of false brethren" who had seized church property but told his audience that they did not need buildings if they had strong "spiritual foundations".

And he appealed for all Zimbabweans to shun violence and bloodshed in their "great and troubled country" ahead of political elections expected to take place next year.

Dr Williams's visit to Zimbabwe is the most contentious of his three-country trip which also takes in Malawi and Zambia.

He rarely intervenes in foreign affairs or politics and is known to have agonised over how far to go in his criticism of the president and the excesses of his followers in yesterday's sermon. It was delivered at a Eucharist service for 15,000 faithful who squeezed into every available space of a dingy concrete basketball stadium in central Harare which had been spruced up for the occasion with satin sheeting, palm leaves and crane flowers.

As he processed in along a red carpet through a fug of incense and behind Archbishops and Bishops from all corners of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, the cavernous arena erupted in earsplitting ululating.

Many of the assembled Anglicans now attend church services in gardens, sports centres and tents. Their ordeal started when Nolbert Kunonga, the former Bishop of Harare, split from the church over the ordination of homosexuals.

Excommunicated by the central authority, he declared himself Archbishop of the Province of Harare and, backed by the partial courts and Mr Mugabe's security forces, laid claim to all church property. In recent months, he has turned his attention to mission schools, clinics and orphanages.

Dr Williams told his audience they had inspired Christians around the world with their endurance.

"You know how those who by their greed and violence have refused the grace of God to try to silence your worship and frustrate your witness in the churches and schools and hospitals of this country," he said.

"But you also know what Jesus' parable teaches us so powerfully – that the will of God to invite people to his feast is so strong that it can triumph even over these mindless and Godless assaults."

He never mentioned President Mugabe by name, instead making reference to "political leaders and rulers", and to the destruction wrought by them on Zimbabwe by the violent land reform and rampant inflation of the last decade.

"We have seen years in which the land has not been used to feed people and lies idle; and we have begun to see how mineral wealth can become a curse – as it so often has been in Africa."

He conceded that colonisers had treated Africa badly, but added: "How tragic that this should be replaced by another kind of lawlessness, where so many live in daily fear of attack if they fail to comply with what the powerful require of them.

"The message we want to send from this Eucharistic celebration is that we do not have to live like that – in terror, in bloodshed. God has given us another way."

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph earlier, Dr Kunonga dismissed Dr Williams as a "homosexual" who has fomented splits in the Anglican church around the world because he has failed to take a position on the issue.

A spokesman for Robert Mugabe has refused to confirm whether the president will meet Dr Williams but said he had "many issues" he wanted to raise with the Archbishop.

"The president wants this man of God to clarify why his Anglican Church thinks homosexuality is good for us and why it should be prescribed for us," George Charamba said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Williams hands Mugabe Kunonga 'dossier'

All smiles ... Archbishop of Canterbury emerges from meeting with Mugabe

10/10/2011 00:00:00
by Fanuel Jongwe I AFP

THE Archbishop of Canterbury said he backed Zimbabwe's embattled Anglicans during a two-hour meeting with President Robert Mugabe on Monday.

The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has been divided since breakaway bishop Nolbert Kunonga was excommunicated in 2007 for allegedly inciting violence in sermons supporting Mugabe's party. But Kunonga says he left the Anglican Church because of its position on same sex marriages.

"I came to Zimbabwe a few days ago with the hope of negotiating with the president the concerns facing the Anglican Church," Williams told reporters in brief remarks as he left the meeting.

He added: "I am standing in solidarity to show those concerns this afternoon and to show His Excellency a dossier of those concerns. He (Mugabe) expressed concern and said he will speak with Kunonga.

"Anglicans must be allowed to carry out their mission in peace."

Kunonga led demonstrations against Williams' visit on Sunday, saying the trip to Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe was a "crusade for gays".

"Rowan Williams erred by accepting homosexuality and that has broken up the Church all over," Kunonga said on Monday, a day after his supporters held demonstrations denouncing the Englishman.

"It's sad, they should repent, it needs Williams himself to repent. He is the one who has divided the Church.”

Williams said Kunonga's accusations are "fictitious" and a "distracting tactic to take people's attention from the real problem."

"The Anglican Church doesn't allow homosexuality, but places like the U.S. and Canada have a more relaxed atmosphere. But we regard homosexuals as human beings deserving of love," Williams said.

The Archbishop later met with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. He is scheduled to leave for Zambia on Tuesday.

Williams, the spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans, used a sermon on Sunday to denounce "godless" attacks by Kunonga’s followers against the Church faithful in Zimbabwe, where they have been chased from cathedrals, schools and orphanages.

With the help of the courts, Kunonga has seized all of the Anglican Church's property in Harare and laid claim to 3,800 properties in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries.

The renegade bishop, who has praised Catholic Mugabe as a "true son of God", has also endorsed Mugabe’s condemnation of homosexuality.

Ahead of Monday’s meeting, Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba said: “The President wants this man of God to clarify why his Anglican Church thinks homosexuality is good for us and why it should be prescribed for us.”

Mission ... Archbishop Williams arrives at State House on Monday to meet President Mugabe

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bishop savages Mugabe

October 10 2011 at 11:35am

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued a stinging attack on Robert Mugabe
yesterday, telling Zimbabweans they deserved better than to live under his
reign of terror and violence.

Aides described Dr Rowan Williams as giving the “sermon of his career”
during his controversial visit to Zimbabwe.

He told a congregation of more than 15 000 Anglicans that the tyrant’s
“lawless” regime was no better than the colonial misrule it had replaced.

Addressing a cheering crowd in a sports hall less than a mile from the
headquarters of the country’s ruling Zanu-PF party, Dr Williams said the
country’s natural wealth had been squandered and that the population lives
in “daily fear of attack”.

The trenchant criticism came less than 24 hours before a possible meeting
with Mugabe. Dr Williams said: “For a long period in this country, an
anxious ruling class clung on to the power they had seized at the expense of
the indigenous people and ignored their rights and their hopes for dignity
and political freedom.

“How tragic that this should be replaced by another kind of lawlessness,
where so many live in daily fear of attack if they fail to comply with what
the powerful require of them.”

Dr Williams did not mention Mugabe by name as he delivered his Eucharist

But the implications of his message were clear.

He said: “How strange it is that we so often behave - yes, even we who are
Christians - as though we cannot survive unless we silence all voices of
challenge or criticism.

“And God has given so many gifts to this land. It has the capacity to feed
all its people and more. Its mineral wealth is great. But we have seen years
in which the land has not been used to feed people and lies idle.

“And we have begun to see how this mineral wealth can become a curse, as it
so often has been in Africa, as people are killed and communities destroyed
in the fight for diamonds that will for ever be marked with the blood of the

Dr Williams, who was speaking in the capital, Harare, is believed to have
been determined not to hand Mugabe any opportunity to turn his visit into a
propaganda coup.

A senior aide said: “[The sermon] was all him, all of his own work and
exactly what he wanted to say. It was powerful - by his standards or by any

Dr Williams’s sermon follows years of turbulence for Zimbabwe’s Anglican
church. Since 2008 Mugabe has publicly backed former bishop Nolbert Kunonga,
whose breakaway Christian group has seized dozens of churches and
orchestrated a campaign of intimidation against Anglican worshippers.

Yesterday Kunonga marked the Archbishop’s arrival in the capital by
attending a stage-managed protest at St Mary’s Cathedral.

Standing in front of 1 000 supporters, he said Williams’s visit was a
“crusade for gays”.

“This is a demonstration against homosexuality. I told people to come and
demonstrate if they wanted,” he said. “Rowan Williams erred by accepting
homosexuality and that has broken up the church all over.” Kunonga even
accused the Archbishop of being gay.

But Dr Williams dismissed the faction as one motivated by greed and

He told his congregation: “You know how those who by their greed and
violence have refused the grace of God try to silence your worship and
frustrate your witness in the churches and schools and hospitals of this

It is thought that Mugabe has granted Dr Williams an audience and the pair
were expected to meet this morning. But last night there was speculation
that Mugabe could refuse to honour the engagement in light of the Archbishop’s
criticism. - Daily Mail

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Robert Mugabe offers Rowan Williams tea but little sympathy

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Zimbabwe's president with a message about
the plight of the country's Anglicans

David Smith in Harare, Monday 10 October 2011 19.56 BST

It may have been the tea, scones and jam that put him at ease as the
Archbishop of Canterbury came face to face with Zimbabwe's president, Robert

Although the trappings at the presidential state house were akin to an
English vicarage, Dr Rowan Williams had come with a pointed message about
the plight of Zimbabwe's Anglicans.

Flanked by regional church leaders, he presented Mugabe with a dossier of
alleged abuses perpetrated against worshippers over the past four years.

In response, the president delivered a history lesson on Anglo-Zimbabwean
relations, detailed his own religious upbringing and reminded Williams that
the Church of England is "a breakaway group" from the Catholic church.
Despite persistent rumours over the 87-year-old president's health, Williams
commented: "He's on top of things intellectually."

The meeting was the culmination of the archbishop's two-day visit to
Zimbabwe that saw him condemn lawlessness and violence in a sermon cheered
by thousands on Sunday. He has pledged support to Anglicans who have been
arrested, beaten and locked out of churches by supporters of Nolbert
Kunonga, a renegade bishop loyal to Mugabe.

Williams arrived at the state house in Harare in a police convoy. He walked
up a red carpet, passing two stuffed lions as he entered through giant
wooden doors.

Williams and his delegation sat down for 90 minutes in what one witness
described as "a grand room" with pale blue damask curtains and velvet
armchairs. Tea was served on fine china and included scones and jam.

The archbishop said later: "People say that sometimes you get a long
lecture, nothing much else; others have said he'll be very charming, and so
we didn't know what to anticipate. In fact it was a very serious
conversation with real exchange."

Williams was allowed to speak first, outlining the dossier which claims
that, since 2007, Anglican congregations have suffered systematic harassment
and persecution at the hands of the police, including false imprisonment,
violence and denial of access to churches, schools, clinics and mission

Williams told a subsequent press conference: "We have asked him that he use
his powers as head of state to guarantee the security of those of his
citizens who worship with the Anglican church and put an end to unacceptable
and illegal behaviour.

"We are proud of our church here and our people who have suffered so much
but continue to serve with great enormous energy, with love and with hope. I
think the scale of intimidation documented in the dossier was something with
which he was not entirely familiar."

He added: "It was a very candid meeting; disagreement was expressed clearly
but I think in a peaceable manner."

Asked if Mugabe had been receptive, he replied: "No president is ever going
to say, 'I don't care about people being beaten up'. But I think there's a
real concern that this is a running sore, that he and others in government
would like to see it sorted. He was fairly clear that he and his people
would want to talk to Kunonga."

He said Kunonga's derision of the central church as promoting homosexuality
was "throwing sand in the air" and aimed at "distracting people from real

"In the US and in Canada there is a more relaxed attitude to these questions
but these are provinces which do not represent the general mind of the
communion on this matter. The Anglican communion worldwide holds the
position that whatever our views on the morality of homosexual behaviour, we
regard homosexual persons simply as human beings, as deserving of dignity
and respect."Like others who have met Mugabe before him, Williams did not
escape a lecture, which was critical of the Labour government elected in
1997 and what Mugabe claims are devastating EU sanctions. "We had the
history of Anglo-Zimbabwean relations from 1 May 1997 onwards in some
detail. So I don't know. I think if there's a problem that is soluble
without loss of political face maybe he feels he can do something about

"I said at the end that what we'd all like to see is Zimbabwe fulfilling the
potential that it showed in the early years of independence. He's very clear
that he blames everybody else for what's gone wrong since."

Religion was also discussed. Williams recalled: "He talked about his
Catholic upbring and I think continuing occasional Catholic practise, and
reminded us that the Church of England is a breakaway group from the Roman
Catholic church."

Asked if Mugabe struck him as a Christian man, the archbishop observed: "I
could answer it on the basis of what I've read about him, or I could answer
it on the basis of this afternoon, and this afternoon I've not much to go on
except what he said. On the basis of what I've read about him, 'Blessed are
the peacemakers' is the obvious thing to say about him."The Zimbabwe trip
has proved controversial in some quarters with objections that it could give
Mugabe political capital. However Williams, who moves on to Zambia on
Tuesday , has no regrets.

"I've been immensely moved by it," he said. "I'm just deeply glad that I
came because seeing these immense congregations in the most difficult
situations, seeing what they achieve, it's just fantastic. It's one of those
'I've seen the church and it works' moments.

"This morning we spent the whole morning in the Manicaland diocese visiting
a number of congregations that have been excluded from their church
buildings. They gathered at the roadside to meet us, they gathered in
extremely smelly disused cinemas to meet us and in the middle of a field.
They're there, they're growing numerically. In terms of numbers there's no
comparison between the Kunonga faction and the church. It's been hugely
moving and I'm very glad I came."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Head of Anglican Church holds "candid meeting" with Mugabe

Oct 10, 2011, 18:44 GMT

Harare - The head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Rowan Williams, on
Monday said he had a 'very candid meeting' with President Robert Mugabe, in
which he told the African leader to ensure the safety of citizens who
worship in the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.

'It was a very candid meeting, disagreement was expressed clearly, but it
was held in a peaceful manner. We were able to share ... concerns ... (of)
abuses our people have suffered,' Williams told journalists after his
meeting with Mugabe, which lasted nearly two hours.

Williams arrived in Zimbabwe on Sunday to try to heal divisions within the
Anglican Church, which has been divided since 2007 when the former bishop of
Harare and Mugabe supporter, Nolbert Kunonga, was expelled by Williams amid
divisions over the ordination of gay priests.

Williams said issues related to homosexuality were discussed, but that the
'Church of Central Africa ... does not encourage the ordination of people in
homosexual partnerships.'

He said it was worth visiting Zimbabwe and meeting Mugabe. 'The local church
needs a platform to make absolutely sure that its grave concerns about
injustice and violence are given maximum possible publicity.'

On Sunday, in a sermon delivered to an estimated 10,000 worshippers in
Harare, Williams urged Zimbabweans to stand up to violence and intimidation.

The president's spokesman, George Charamba, was quoted by local media at the
weekend as saying that Mugabe would ask Williams to work towards lifting the
so-called 'smart sanctions' imposed on Mugabe and senior officials in 2002
in response to reports of human rights abuses.

Williams said Mugabe did raise the issue of sanctions, adding that 'what we
are seeing is a number of targeted measures agreed by the European Union.
The question of dispute is how far those sanctions are the cause of
suffering or dysfunction in this country. I do not have evidence to conclude
that they are.'

Williams is to visit Zambia on Tuesday before returning to Britain.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Kunonga hides behind homosexual debate in Anglican saga

By Lance Guma
10 October 2011

A trip to Zimbabwe by the head of the Anglican Church worldwide has provided
renegade Bishop Nolbert Kunonga with an international platform to hide his
seizure of church property behind the controversy of gay priests in the

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams arrived in Zimbabwe by road from
Zambia on Sunday and addressed over 15 000 parishioners gathered at the City
Sports Centre in Harare. But Kunonga, who was excommunicated after an
attempt to withdraw his Diocese from the main church in August 2007,
responded with a demonstration against homosexuality.

In 2007 Kunonga unsuccessfully tried to withdrew his diocese from the Church
Province of Central Africa (CPCA) claiming it was over differences on the
ordination of gay priests. Without the necessary two thirds majority support
he still went ahead to unilaterally withdraw the diocese and form his own
church. With tacit support from the Mugabe regime he also went on to seize
Anglican property.

Since 2008 Kunonga has seized over 90 properties belonging to the church,
including the main Cathedral in Harare, 19 primary and secondary schools and
several orphanages around the country.
Although many international news agencies are reporting this Anglican split
as being based on a disagreement about homosexuality, SW Radio Africa has
reported over the past 5 years that this dispute in the Anglican Church in
Zimbabwe has nothing to do with this issue.

Kunonga has in fact advanced his own agenda and now calls himself an
archbishop, in total control of all the church’s assets and funds. He has
openly declared his support for Robert Mugabe and given a farm as reward.
Kunonga has been able to rely on war vets, police, state security agents and
ZANU PF militias to build up his breakaway church while harassing and
intimidating legitimate parishioners.
On Sunday Dr Williams dealt with the crisis over the church property in his
speech and spoke to supporters saying: “It is not the buildings that makes
the church but the spiritual foundation of your faith.”

“Day by day you’re faced with an enemy driven by self-enrichment and lies…
We thank God for your patience. You know very well, dear brothers and
sisters, what it means to have doors locked in your faces by those who claim
the name of Christians and Anglicans. You know how those, who by their greed
and violence, have refused the grace of God try to silence your worship and
frustrate your witness in the churches and schools and hospitals of this
country,” Williams added.

Meanwhile Kunonga convened a press conference at the Anglican Cathedral at
which he said: “Williams coming will not make the CPCA get in the church
buildings, look we are here in the Cathedral and they are meeting at the
Sports Centre. I am the owner of this (ndini muridzi wazvo). Gandiya is
showing off with a white man and I do not care. This is not the end of
Kunonga,” he boasted.
SW Radio Africa spoke to Precious Shumba who works as a Press Officer for
Bishop Chad Gandiya, the man who effectively is the legitimate head of the
Church in the Harare Diocese, the position formerly held by Kunonga. Shumba
described Kunonga’s seizure of property as akin to “an employee resigning
from a company, then claiming that he should take over the properties of
that company.”

“What single church did Kunonga build during his reign as Bishop? The
majority of churches were built by parishioners without any input from
Kunonga and his thugs,” Shumba told SW Radio Africa.
He also confirmed that Robert Mugabe on Monday met with Archbishop Williams
to discuss the problems in the Anglican Church. A press conference was set
to be held to announce details of that meeting but at the time of going on
air no information had been received.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chipangano attack leaves three MDC activists in hospital

By Tichaona sibanda
10 October 2011

Three MDC-T supporters were on Friday admitted to a private clinic in Harare
after they were attacked in the capital by the violent Mbare based
Chipangano gang.

The weekly Zimbabwe Standard said in its latest edition that ten other MDC-T
supporters were injured in the attack. About 50 members of the ZANU PF
terror squad waylaid the MDC-T activists along Simon Mazorodze road and
robbed them of their cash and mobile phones.

The paper said ten of the activists were treated and discharged from the
clinic but three, who could barely speak, were hospitalised. The paper named
two of the victims in hospital as Vengesai Chigoriro and Prince Mwenezhi.

‘The three are being treated for injuries ranging from broken ribs, brokens
legs and a suspected fractured skull. They were stabbed with screw drivers
and struck by stones, iron bars and sticks,’ the paper said.

The infamous Chipangano is a violent political gang which has caused mayhem
in Harare since the beginning of the year. It has unleashed violence on
unsuspecting victims, most of them people perceived to be anti-ZANU PF.
Recently, the MDC-T’s organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa, dared Robert
Mugabe to the stop the shadowy group from terrorising Harare residents, to
prove he is sincere in his calls for peace. Two weeks ago the Bulawayo East
MP for the MDC-T, Tabitha Khumalo, told party supporters in the UK that the
pattern of political violence being waged by Chipangano seemed to be highly
systematic, deliberate and well planned.
‘There are four branches within Chipangano. There is Chipangano one, two,
three and four. Chipangano one identifies MDC activists. Chipangano two
carries out surveillance and monitors individuals and structures of the MDC.

‘Chipangano three approaches our members and verbally warns them of dire
consequences of supporting the MDC. Chipangano four is the deadliest of all
the groups. This group beats the hell out of you,’ said Khumalo.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Matibenga sworn in as Public Service Minister

By Tichaona Sibanda
10 October 2011

The MDC-T MP for Kuwadzana, Lucia Matibenga, was on Monday sworn in as
Minister of Public Service in the inclusive government by Robert Mugabe in

The veteran trade unionist replaces the late Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro
who died in August this year. Before her appointment Matibenga had been the
MDC-T governor designate for Masvingo province.

She is a founder member of the MDC-T and a former General Secretary of the
Commercial Workers Union and a first vice president of the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions. At one time she was also the president of the Southern
African Trade Union Coordination Council.

In 2005 thugs from ZANU PF attacked her in her ZCTU office and broke her
arm. The same arm was broken again in 2006 during another attack by state
security agents and this has left her hand deformed.
Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa they are happy to have
an individual of her calibre leading the public service ministry.

‘We hope and have confidence in her that she is going to deal with the issue
of ghost workers and the horrible civil service audit and accountability.
The late professor did a splendid job in flushing out these ghost workers
and there is every hope Minister Matibenga will finish that job,’ Mwonzora

Mugabe also swore in Seiso Moyo, the MDC-T MP for Nketa in Bulawayo, as the
deputy Minister of Agriculture. Moyo is the party’s director of elections
and like Matibenga was governor designate for Bulawayo metropolitan

‘We now have a substantive deputy Minister of Agriculture. This is a man who
is sober, mature and a good administrator. His skills will bring some sanity
into that ministry.

‘This is a ministry that has let down a lot of people in Zimbabwe. The
distribution of farming inputs is still skewed in favour of one political
party, so we hope he will bring professionalism into that ministry,’
Mwonzora added.

At the formation of the unity government in 2009 Mugabe refused to swear in
the popular Roy Bennett, the treasurer-general of the MDC-T, in the post of
deputy Minister of Agriculture. Mugabe’s refusal has remained an outstanding
issue in the Global Political Agreement.

Bennett remained the MDC’s choice for this post until he was eventually
hounded out of the country in April by Mugabe’s Joint Operations Command.
The former commercial farmer has been acquitted by the Supreme Court of the
trumped up treason charges against him, but still feels it’s unsafe for him
to return home. His party has since appointed him the MDC-T chief
representative in the UK.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Calls for lifting of sanctions a ‘political game’

By Alex Bell
10 October 2011

Calls are intensifying for the lifting of targeted ‘shopping’ sanctions
still in place against the Robert Mugabe regime, despite ongoing human
rights and governance concerns in the country.

ZANU PF has been urging for the lifting of the restrictive measures for
years, and has used the ‘sanctions’ as the scapegoat for not implementing
the Global Political Agreement (GPA). The party says the measures are to
blame for the economic destruction of the country, despite being
specifically targeted against key members of the regime because of human
rights abuses and electoral theft, among other major issues.

The US and the European Union (EU), who imposed the measures, have both
previously said that the ‘sanctions’ will remain until there is evidence of
real reform by ZANU PF. Reforms have not happened and human rights concerns
are still high despite the formation of the unity government three years

Regardless of these concerns, there is now a growing call for the measures
to be lifted which commentators have said is part of a ‘political game’.

Leaders in the Commonwealth are this month being urged “re-engage” with
Zimbabwe by the Commonwealth Advisory Bureau (Cab), which said in a policy
briefing that “reducing” sanctions would be a positive sign of support. The
University of London-based Cab is an independent think tank and policy
advisory service for the Commonwealth.

“There are plenty of things the Commonwealth could do, if it so wished,” the
Cab said, adding: “It could, for instance, calibrate a reduction in
international sanctions against Zimbabwe to match progress towards democracy
and human rights.”

At the same time a United States Senator, Jim Inhofe, has reintroduced the
Zimbabwe Sanctions Repeal Act of 2011, in a bid to lift the US sanctions
imposed on the regime. According to a press release, Inhofe said repealing
the measures would allow Zimbabwe to recover financially and “fully assist
in its process of transition to democracy.”

“As a result of a 2008 power-sharing agreement engineered by the Southern
African Development Community and the United States, Mugabe remains
President, but the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai holds the post of
Prime Minister. Under this new government, the Zimbabwe economy is starting
to recover and democratic freedoms are re-emerging,” Inhofe said.

Inhofe’s attempts to have the measures repealed also come as the US
Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, has encouraged more American investment
in the country. Ray’s comments at a business summit in the US last week are
being viewed as a sign that the US is trying to re-engage with Zimbabwe to
secure its business interests in the mineral-wealthy country. Ray’s comments
that the US was missing out to Russia and China have been singled out as
telling of his government’s changing attitude towards Zimbabwe.

“Let me assure you that Zimbabwe is changing and it’s changing relatively
quickly with investors from as far as Russia, Brazil and China having
visited Zimbabwe in recent months to explore business opportunities and
America’s presence remains fairly limited,” said Ray.

Meanwhile the private business sector in Zimbabwe has told the World Bank
and the US State Department that the sanctions should be removed as they
have a “collateral damage” on their businesses. Officials from the American
Business Association of Zimbabwe (Abaz) last week met influential American
officials, and expressed concern about their business interests.

Group financial director of Paramount Group, an integrated clothing and
manufacturing organisation, Jeremy Youmans, told American investors at a
“Doing business in Zimbabwe” forum last week that Abaz had met with
influential American officials explaining to them how sanctions were
affecting their businesses.

He said: “We arrived on Sunday and spent the last two days meeting
representatives of facilitation organisations, World Bank and the (US) State
Department as well. We were raising concerns that sanctions were a problem
to us because although they are specifically targeted they have a collateral
damage effect. So what are we doing about it? We are raising those issues to
the policy makers to make them aware that they are causing us problems.”

Political analyst Clifford Mashiri told SW Radio Africa that the lifting of
the targeted sanctions would be a serious “blunder,” explaining that “the
reasons why these measures were put in place have not been resolved.” He
said these measures are “the only real punishment facing the regime for
human rights abuses, the same abuses that have displaced millions of

“Lifting these measures would be a betrayal,” Mashiri said.

He also agreed that there is a sense of “fatigue” over the ongoing crisis in
Zimbabwe, to the point that business interests are over-taking human rights
interests for Western states. Mashiri warned that lifting the targeted
sanctions would be the same as sidelining human rights, because its gives
ZANU PF absolute impunity for the abuses they have committed and continue to

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC-T Chair Quizzed About Arms Cache At His Home

Victoria Falls, October 10, 2011- Police here arrested Movement for
Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) district chairman,
Bernard Nyamambi after arms of war were discovered at his home in Chinotimba
High density suburb here at the weekend.

An AK47 rifle and a full bullet magazine were discovered at Nyamambi’s home
on Saturday. But when the MDC-T district chairman, who said the arms were
planted by his political rivals, took them to police, he was arrested and
questioned. He was released the following day Sunday and police said they
will pick him again.

Speaking to Radio VOP on Sunday Nyamambi said he believed this was the work
of Zanu (PF) and government spy agency, Central Intelligence Organization
(CIO) members.

“When I took the arms to police they arrested and questioned me on why these
arms were found at my house but I told them openly this was the work of Zanu
(PF) and CIOs. Zanu (PF) wanted me to rot in jail because they believe I am
the stumbling block in their bid to win this constituency in next
elections,” said Nyamambi.

The police docket number Nyamambi’s case is RB 11815/67.

Victoria Falls which falls under Hwange West constituency has been an MDC –T
stronghold since year 2000 and Gift Mabhena is the current legislator.

When contacted MDC-T Matebeleland North Provincial chairman Sengezo
Tshabangu also blamed Zanu (PF) over the arms which were found at Nyamambi’s

“This is not different from Roy Bennett’s case, Zanu (PF) is desperate they
want to continue tarnishing our party’s image by planting arms at homes of
our members. I am happy that Nyamambi was quick to rush to police after
discovering the arms because police are now confused on what to do with the
case. They had arrested him for questioning but he was released,” said

There has been upsurge of in the number of MDC activists harassed by police
and Zanu (PF) supporters in the Matebeleland North province in the past
recent months. Police have also banned MDC meetings in the province.

According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Matabeleland North
province is now a hostile province as police have so far arrested or harass
more than 40 politicians and human rights activists January.

Meanwhile MDC-T youths have threatened mass action over the arrest and
incarceration of their Youth Assembly President Solomon Madzore who is
facing murder charges.

Madzore was arrested on Tuesday on charges of killing a police Inspector
Petros Mutedza in May and is currently languishing in Remand Prison after
denied bail at Harare Magistrate court on Friday.

However addressing over 2000 MDC youths at Induba grounds in Pelandaba High
density suburb on Sunday afternoon during the launch of presidential
elections campaign the party’s youth assembly Vice President, Costa
Machingauta threatened a mass action over Madzore’s incarceration.

"Madzore is languishing in prison right now and police are being used by
Zanu (PF) to arrest and harass our leaders. We are not going to sit back
and watch the struggle continues and mass protests is the solution, enough
is enough ,”said Machinguta to a round of applause.

Machingauta added: “(President) Mugabe is the main reason why we are
suffering and why we are in abject poverty, he should be removed in the next

Speaking at the same rally MDC-T Youth Assembly Spokesperson Clifford
Hlatswayo said Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as Mugabe is now history.

“Mugabe is finished Tsvangirai will be walking into the State House after
next elections there is no doubt about that comrades,” said Hlatswayo.

Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe who was expected to lead the elections
campaign launch did not attend as she was said to be unwell.

The MDC Youth Assembly national leaders and several party Members of
Parliament, Senators attended the rally.

Although no dates have been set, Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party have said
elections should be held before March 2012, but civic groups want reforms to
ensure a level playing field before the polls.

Mugabe has said he will not invite election observers from Britain and the
European Union because they imposed sanctions against his Zanu (PF).

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF Accused Of Coercing Supporters In Hurungwe

Hurungwe, October 9 ,2011 - A dark cloud of uncertainty is hovering over
some villagers’ heads here amid allegations that they will lose out on
inputs scheme yet to be implemented by Government for communal farmers if
they do not buy Zanu-PF party cards despite calls by President Robert Mugabe
that people must not be coerced.

‘’We are under pressure to buy these cards and we have to be within the
party structures to benefit in future handouts. We are doing this out of
fear as those who do not subscribe to Zanu-PF are labeled opposition members
whether they like it or not’’ said a villager near the business centre who
refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

Another traditional leader confirmed that they are now having their records
adjusted with information accompanied with Zanu-PF card membership .

‘’It is well known here that John Chundu, a war veteran and former soldier
in Operation Maguta program openly says that those who do not have party
cards will not get anything. He is threatening that those who support any
opposition party will be evicted if discovered ’’ said a traditional leader
who declined to be named.

Last week President Mugabe told the central committee in Harare, that his
party wins elections due to its polices.

" We win elections by nature of our policies. We do not win by way of
fisting; we do not convert people by the way of coercing. Let us work for a
culture of non violence ’’, President Mugabe said.

He urged his supporters to take the message to the province and district
level so that those at grass roots level would welcome the move.

However as if acting in defiance of President’s call, some suspected war
veterans here are threatening villagers in Hurungwe rural district ward 8
that cover Karuru area situated about 45 kilometres north of Karoi town.

Villagers here say they are being forced to buy the cards and be part of the
party structures to benefit in every program that seeks to assist rural
communities ahead of possible elections set for next year.

The ward is under Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai councillor, the late Paddington Chavhuruma.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Police provoking us - MDC

By Pindai Dube
Monday, 10 October 2011 16:19

BULAWAYO - MDC youths say Zanu PF and the police are making efforts to
provoke them into a violent reaction following the arrest of their leader,
Solomon Madzore.

Madzore was arrested at his Waterfalls home in Harare on Tuesday last week
on murder charges relating to the murder of a police officer, Inspector
Petros Mutedza in May.

Police once claimed he was on the run and was wanted to face murder charges.

Following his arrest, Madzore appeared in court on Friday facing murder
charges and was remanded in custody to October 19.

Addressing more than 2000 MDC supporters at Induba Stadium in Pelandaba high
density suburb in Bulawayo yesterday, Costa Machingauta, who deputises
Madzore said the MDC youths were planning to act following their leader’s

He did not specify the type of action they would take.

“It is very painful that our leader (Solomon) Madzore is languishing in
remand prison as we speak. Police are not doing this alone, there are
getting instructions from Zanu PF to arrest and harass MDC leaders,”
Machingauta said.

“As MDC Youth Assembly we will not just sit and watch while this happens. It
is high time we stop this, we have to do something, enough is enough,” he

Machingauta urged the MDC youths to confront war veterans’ leader Jabulani
Sibanda and stop his terror campaign in rural Masvingo and Matabeleland

“Jabulani Sibanda should be stopped,” he said, adding: “We can not allow him
to continue harassing and intimidating the rural folk. I am happy MDC youths
in Bulawayo did not allow his terror campaign here.”

Speaking at the same rally, MDC Bulawayo Youth Assembly chairman Bhekithemba
Nyathi said his party would not allow the repeat of violence that
characterised the 2008 general and presidential elections.

“We want peaceful elections this time. We would like to warn Zanu PF against
violence because we will (indeed) retaliate,” said Nyathi.

The rally was attended by almost all MDC Youth Assembly national leaders and
several party Members of Parliament, Senators from in and around Bulawayo.

Although no dates have been set, President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF
party have said elections should be held before March 2012.

Civic groups and Sadc have demanded that there be reforms that would ensure
a level playing field before the polls.

Mugabe has said he will not invite election observers from Britain and the
European Union because they imposed sanctions against his Zanu PF party.

Deborah Bronnert, the new British ambassador to Zimbabwe, said after meeting
Mugabe recently that her government was happy that “the (Zimbabwean) parties
in the inclusive government were working together towards greater reform and
credible elections.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Minister Trying to Create a "Paper Tiger" Human Rights Commission

By George Nyathi

HARARE, Oct 10, 2011 (IPS) - Zimbabwe’s justice minister is frantically
trying to fend off probes into allegations of human rights abuses
perpetrated by President Robert Mugabe’s regime since the country’s
independence in 1980.

Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a member of the
highest decision-making body of the ruling ZANU-PF party, the Politburo, is
reportedly trying to weaken the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) so
that it would not be able to investigate decades of governing party abuses.

The commission was established in March 2010 but has been dormant due to the
absence of an enabling act that clearly spells out its scope of work. In
late 2010, Chinamasa introduced a bill that seeks to operationalise the
commission, which is currently being debated in the lower house. If
approved, it will be submitted to the Senate, but will require Mugabe to
sign it into law.

The bill has attracted criticism from human rights organisations and civil
society locally and internationally. Critics say it has many gaps that need
to be addressed in order to give birth to an effective human rights
commission in this Southern African nation.

These gaps relate to the functions of the commission, whom it reports to,
its powers to ensure that human rights abuse victims are paid compensation
or reparations, and the commission’s powers to prosecute those found guilty
of abuses. Failure to eliminate the gaps, civil society says, could lead to
Chinamasa abusing his ministerial powers by dictating what the commission
should and should not investigate.

ZHRC chairperson Reginald Austin told IPS that his commission has concerns
about Chinamasa’s apparent attempt to control its activities.

"Our concern with the current bill is that although we are defined as an
independent commission, there are provisions in the bill that severely
compromise the commission’s work and take away the idea of the commission’s
independence," he said.

Austin explained that Chinamasa had included a clause in the ZHRC bill that
compels the commission to regularly brief him and also get his approval on
various issues, which include the financing of the ZHRC and who it meets

"We are of the view that our funding and budgetary updates as well as (the
report on) our activities should not go to the minister but to parliament
since we were established by an act of parliament," said Austin.

He said the commission also had issues with the attempt by the minister to
take away their transparency.

The minister, as outlined in the current bill, can label sensitive
information as "secret" and withhold it from the public.

"What that provision does is hold us back from disclosing certain details to
the public despite the fact that the public is entitled to that information.
That on its own is tantamount to unnecessary interference by the minister,"
Austin added.

Chinamasa, in response, said parliament would make its decision on the bill

"The bill is before parliament. I do not see the reason why people should
make a noise now before the bill is (passed into law)," he told IPS.

"There is no need to press panic buttons at this moment," Chinamasa added.

However, he refused to discuss claims that he was trying to be the
commission’s "dictator".

"I will not comment on such matters. I am the minister of justice and not a
dictator. I simply lay the provisions of the law and if they are passed by
parliament, they will become law. I do not dictate," Chinamasa said.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), a group of practicing lawyers
that seeks to protect the rights of Zimbabweans from being violated by the
government, noted that the current state of the proposed law would result in
an ineffective commission that depends on the direction given by the justice
minister in its operations.

"It must be borne in mind that the current foundation of the ZHRC … is weak
and problematic and does not, in and of itself, facilitate the creation of
an independent institution," ZLHR said.

Human rights organisations fear Chinamasa could prevent investigations into
violations perpetrated by ZANU-PF in the 1980s and push the commission to
investigate the post 2008 abuses. Violence erupted throughout the country in
2008 after the disputed elections.

ZANU-PF have maintained that after 2008 Mugabe was not alone in human rights
abuses as Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) also
violated ZANU-PF supporters’ human rights by allegedly engaging in violence
and murder.

An investigation into post 2008 abuses could also see non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) being dragged before the commission to answer ZANU-PF’s
allegations that NGOs distributed food to mostly MDC activists and denied
food to their supporters.

Asked to comment on whether there were other abuses the commission was
likely to probe outside the scope of the post 1980 violations, Austin said
the outcome of the ZHRC bill would determine this.

"The parliamentarians are the ones who can state what we will and will not
be able to do in terms of the commission looking at abuses, and whether we
will be empowered by the law to look at violations that belong to the
pre-independence and post-independence eras," Austin said.

South African-based Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) coordinator Dhewa
Mavhinga said civil society organisations were deeply concerned that
Chinamasa was trying to curtail the commission’s work by "smuggling through
the back door" provisions that would effectively make it toothless.

"What the minister is trying to do is to create a paper tiger," said

"He is trying to smuggle into the law provisions that give him total control
of what the commission can do and cannot do. We, as civil society
organisations working on the Zimbabwean crisis believe, firmly, that the
minister should not guide the commission in its work and should make the
commission as independent as possible," he added.

He said his organisation believed that it is the commission’s mandate to
probe human rights abuses perpetrated in Zimbabwe by the Mugabe regime.

"These violations were committed and there is no way they can be swept under
the carpet without being addressed," Mavhinga added.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Task of rebuilding Zimbabwe has only just begun

With tensions increasing within Zanu (PF) every effort must be made to
return Zimbabwe to its citizens by harnessing popular support for, and
participation in, reconstruction policies and effort, Ollen Mwalubunju and
Elizabeth Otitodun write
Published: 2011/10/10 07:43:00 AM

THE Southern African Development Community’s (Sadc’s) relative lack of
comment on disputes in Zimbabwe’s unity government between President Robert
Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been
interpreted as an indication that Sadc’s strategy of "constructive
engagement" with the regime constitutes appeasement. It is a view bolstered
by Sadc’s previous lack of criticism of Mugabe following widespread
political repression and the economic crises in Zimbabwe since the end of
the 1990s.

However, the criticism fails to take account of recent criticism by Sadc
leaders of state intimidation and violence, and strong calls for the timely
completion of a Parliament-led constitutional reform process in advance of
elections scheduled for next year. Nor does such scepticism lend sufficient
credit to the body’s sustained support for intra-Zimbabwean dialogue —
currently facilitated by President Jacob Zuma . Recent signs indicate that
some positive outcomes are starting to emerge from the peace process, which
was initiated in September 2008, when former president Thabo Mbeki brought
together Mugabe and the leaders of the two MDC formations, Morgan Tsvangirai
and Arthur Mutambara, to sign the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

The GPA identified the restoration of economic stability as a key issue to
be addressed by Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government established in February
2009. In addition to the increasing political repression, the country
experienced an economic crisis between 2000 and 2008 that saw living
standards and life expectancy fall more rapidly than anywhere else in the
world. Regionally, Southern African economies are estimated to have lost
more than $36bn in potential investments in Zimbabwe as a result.

In response, the government launched a short-term economic recovery plan in
2009, and has since formulated a medium-term plan for 2010-15.
Hyperinflation has been curbed and capacity use in the manufacturing and
service sectors has improved. But fundamental problems persist, relating to
constrained infrastructural capacity, foreign currency reserves, investment
and liquidity levels, skills shortages, government finance, and corruption.
Most Zimbabweans continue to rely on the informal economy for survival. Even
formally employed workers are often unable to make ends meet.

In 2008, Zimbabwe’s health sector had almost completely collapsed due to
internal crises as well as deep cuts in social spending imposed by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank from the early 1990s.
In recent years, maternal and infant mortality rates have worsened and
serious outbreaks of cholera, tuberculosis and malaria have taken their

Land reform caused huge instability in Zimbabwe after a market-based
approach failed to transform ownership patterns. A hasty land redistribution
programme in 2000, under which the government expropriated 11-million
hectares held by 4500 white commercial farmers, led to international
sanctions, the loss of jobs for most farm workers and a decline in
agricultural production.

Proper reform of the security sector — and complementary reform of the
political sector — have become key challenges that need to be met to address
the pervasive engagement of the military, intelligence and policing agencies
in Zimbabwean politics.

The government of national unity (GNU) has said it needs $10bn a year for
its national reconstruction efforts. However, the government has so far
failed to attract significant funds from western donors and China.

External aid and loans, which crumbled in the wake of sanctions imposed by
the IMF, the World Bank and other western donors in 2000, have not been
substantially revived, although the GNU has sought to provide a framework to
enable Zimbabwe to access such financing.

The challenges facing Zimbabwe are huge and complex; and a clear
demonstration of common political will by the parties to the GPA will be
needed on the road to national recovery.

With tensions increasing within Zanu (PF) following veteran leader and
struggle hero Solomon Mujuru’s recent mysterious death, every effort must be
made to return Zimbabwe to its citizens by harnessing popular support for,
and participation in, reconstruction policies and efforts.

• Mwalubunju is a senior manager and Otitodun a researcher at the Centre for
Conflict Resolution in Cape Town.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe defends human rights record

Sapa-AFP | 10 October, 2011 18:57

Zimbabwe has defended its human rights record at a UN hearing while slamming
sanctions against the country which it said brought hardship and violated
human rights.

"Zimbabwe is a member of the international community and remains committed
to its obligations on human rights," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told
the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review.

He said Zimbabwe had reformed its constitution on several occasions to
improve the human rights situation.

"We adopted among others laws on the protection of children and orphans,
laws against family violence and laws that ensure the rights of NGOs working
in our country," said Chinamasa.

He therefore criticised the "illegal economic sanctions against Zimbabwe,
which contributes a lot to the suffering of the Zimbabwe people and which
are violations of human rights."

The European Union has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe since 2002 due to
repeated rights violations by longserving President Robert Mugabe's regime.

The sanctions include an arms embargo, as well as travel bans and assets
freeze on a list of Zimbabweans, including Mugabe himself.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Murowa Diamonds surrenders 51% to Zimbabwe

Harare, Zimbabwe --- MININGREVIEW.COM --- 10 October 2011 - Murowa Diamonds
has agreed to surrender a 51% stake in its mine in line with the Zimbabwean
government's indigenisation and economic empowerment regulations.

Zanu-PF secretary for indigenisation and economic empowerment Saviour
Kasukuwere, confirmed that Murowa Diamonds had complied with the empowerment
regulations last week.
“Murowa Diamonds wrote to us saying it has given up 51% shares and these
would be given to our people,” said Kasukuwere, who is also the minister of
youth, indigenisation and empowerment.

Kasukuwere added that the implementation of the empowerment regulations had
moved up a gear with indications that President Mugabe would be launching
the Ngezi Community Share Ownership Trust, worth over US$100 million, next
week at Selous, in Mashonaland West province.

“On Thursday, the President will launch our programme at Selous. A 10% stake
worth over US$130 million will now be in the hands of our communities. By
December we will have more than 100 community trusts,” said Kasukuwere.

He added, however, that there was still some resistance to the empowerment

“The general trend of submitted plans shows a level of resistance in moving
away from the proposal by the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe. The mining
businesses are offering to dispose of 26 to 30% as equity on commercial
value. The balance is to be claimed as empowerment credits for corporate
social responsibility programmes. It appears this approach has been agreed
to and coordinated under the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe,” Kasukuwere said.

“My overall assessment is that over 90% of the submitted proposals do not
meet the minimum requirements of the General Notice 114 of 2011, and there
seems to be an element of resistance,” he declared. “However, I am meeting
the various mining houses to achieve agreement on compliance with the law,”
he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mutambara, AAG boss set for UK expo

10/10/2011 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

DEPUTY Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and Affirmative Action Group president Supa Mandiwanzira will be guest speakers at a weekend business expo being held in Leicester, United Kingdom.

Mutambara, the driver of Zimbabwe’s “rebranding” project, “will give a presentation on why every Zimbabwean should not forget home and explain why investing in Zimbabwe now is the best way forward”, organisers said.

Now in its 10th year, the ZimExpo Business Exhibition is being held under the theme: “Cultivating wealth back home for a sustainable and bright future.”

Mutambara and Mandiwanzira will use the two-day event which begins with a business dinner on Friday night followed by the exhibition and speeches on Saturday, to “address key concerns of Zimbabweans in the diaspora”.

The expo will climax with the staging of the Miss Zimbabwe UK pageant later in the evening with performances by Jusa Dementor and DJ King Alfred.

Dozens of companies “whose services benefit Zimbabweans home and away” are set to exhibit. Companies from Zimbabwe and the UK are confirmed for the expo, said spokewoman Chipo Mkandla.

The ZimExpo Business Exhibition will be held at the Leicester Tigers Conference Centre, Aylestone Road, Leicester, LE2 7TR from Friday through Sunday. For more information CLICK HERE

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mana Pools faces threat

Mana Pools, the iconic Zimbabwean national park and World Heritage Site, faces another threat to its wilderness status as two new lodge developments on prime sites within the parks boundaries have been proposed. And both are being vigorously disputed by the wider conservation and ecotourism communities.

It was just over a year ago that strong opposition from environmental groups stopped Protea Hotels from going ahead with their 144-bed hotel and conference centre across the river from Mana. But this time, the battle is likely to be more complex as those involved are reputed to have strong political connections.

Mana Pools has established its world-wide reputation because it remains a low-volume wilderness region offering some of the best wildlife experiences on the continent. And it lies along an extended floodplain section of the Zambezi, which makes it an ecologically sensitive area. It is for these reasons that UNESCO established the region as a Word Heritage Site. Indiscriminate development by unconcerned developers puts this status at risk.

Both proposed lodges seem to have been given government approval without going to tender and without comprehensive EIA’s a being completed: in fact, according to local conservationists, everything about the procedures goes against the parks own approved management plans that state all new developments should be well away from the river for ecological and impacts reasons.

The first site, referred to as ‘Nyamepi Lodge’, is situated on the banks of the Zambezi River midway between the parks western and eastern boundaries, and is controlled by the son of George Pangeti, Chairman of Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Board. The second site, known as the Vine site, is also situated on Zambezi River between the existing Ndungu Camp Site and Vundu Camp, and is controlled by an Italian citizen. He is involved in a tannery business not far from Marondera that has extensive government contracts. His partner, a Chinese national, has links to various businesses in Zimbabwe, including minerals and the development of an agricultural university. It is believed that this consortium won a concession to establish a lodge in Gonarezhou National Park, which then subsequently fell through. In exchange, they requested and have been granted a site in Mana Pools!

For more information, go to **or** the Facebook groups: Friends of Mana Pools and Keep Mana Pools Wild

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Ex-Cape Verde leader wins $5m African governance prize

By Robin Millard (AFP) – 9 hours ago

LONDON — Former Cape Verde president Pedro Pires on Monday won the $5
million Mo Ibrahim prize for exceptional African leadership, as the award's
founder forecast more Arab Spring-style uprisings.

Pires, who led the island nation off Africa's northwest coast for a decade
until last month, is the first winner since 2008 of the world's biggest
individual prize -- because no suitable candidate could be found for the
past two years.

Cape Verde, which moved up two places to second in the 2011 Ibrahim Index of
African Governance announced Monday, has been praised for its stable
democracy and peaceful elections.

"The prize committee has been greatly impressed by president Pedro Pires's
vision in transforming Cape Verde into a model of democracy, stability and
increased prosperity," committee chairman Salim Ahmed Salim, Tanzania's
former prime minister, told a press conference at London City Hall.

The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership carries a
five-million-dollar (3.7-million-euro) prize paid over 10 years and $200,000
annually for life from then on, with a further $200,000 per year available
for 10 years for good causes backed by the winner.

The inaugural prize went to former president Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique
in 2007 and Botswana's ex-president Festus Mogae won in 2008.

The prize goes to a democratically-elected African leader who has served
their mandated term and left office in the last three years.

The London-based Mo Ibrahim Foundation, set up by the Sudanese telecoms
tycoon, also publishes an Ibrahim Index, ranking 53 African countries
according to 86 indicators grouped under safety and the rule of law,
participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human

Mauritius kept the top spot with a score of 82 out of 100, ahead of Cape
Verde (79), Botswana (76), Seychelles (73) and South Africa (71).

Tunisia and Egypt, whose countries' leaders were overthrown in the Arab
Spring, were ranked ninth and 10th respectively. Dropping one point, Libya
slipped from 23rd to 28th.

Somalia remained at the bottom with a score of eight, behind Chad (31),
Zimbabwe (31), Democratic Republic of Congo (32) and the Central African
Republic (33).

Sierra Leone (ranked 30th of 48) and Liberia (ranked 36th of 45) showed the
biggest improvement.

Citing the index data, Ibrahim said imbalanced development, with reasonable
health and education provision but poor democratic participation, could lead
to more uprisings.

"If economic progress is not translated into better quality of life and
respect for citizens' rights, we will witness more Tahrir Squares in
Africa," he said, referring to the Cairo heartland of the Egyptian

In Tunisia and Egypt, "there is great progress in human development -- a lot
of young people well-educated -- but terrible human rights, terrible
democracy, lack of participation and no jobs for young people."

Ibrahim said the development imbalances exposed in the index pointed to the
Arab Spring spirit spreading south through Africa.

"It's not enough to develop the economy and to deprive people from their
citizens' rights," he told AFP.

"We noticed last year a stagnation in the area of human rights and the rule
of law and this year we can see that definitely confirmed and there are some
reverses in some countries. So we really again raise alarm bells here.

"That's not acceptable and so please be smart, African leaders: Tahrir
Square in your country -- that will happen, history shows you, where you
have that imbalance in development.

"If they are smart and stay ahead of the curve, they reform."

He said Africa had resisted the financial crisis well, with continuous
improvement over the past five years in "economic opportunity", while
education and health care was also improving.

Former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, who is on the Ibrahim prize
panel, said the Arab Spring had show that "no-one can say that democracy and
human rights are Western values."

"These people who went to the streets proved they are universal," he told

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

If only UK politicians were as brave as Rowan Williams about Zimbabwe

The archbishop has spoken out about his concerns for Anglicans under
Mugabe's regime, but ministers are more circumspect

Simon Tisdall, Monday 10 October 2011 16.19 BST

Brave Rowan Williams did not pull any punches during his visit to Zimbabwe
this week, condemning the "greed and violence" of a renegade bishop and by
extension, the whole corrupt, perennially vicious Mugabe regime. It's
unfortunate British Foreign Office ministers are not similarly forthright in
their public statements. All the signs indicate Robert Mugabe and his
Zanu-PF gang are gearing up to steal another election. It's important they
be stopped.

The archbishop's concerns about an Anglican community in Zimbabwe that is
"tortured by uncertainty and risk of attack", has endured "mindless and
godless assaults", and whose property has been arbitrarily expropriated
might apply equally to MPs of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
prosecuted on trumped-up charges, harassed opposition activists and human
rights champions, and, indeed, anybody at all who dares to stand up to
Mugabe's 32-year-old, army-junta-backed autocracy. Williams was due to meet
Mugabe later on Monday.

Intimidation levels rose earlier this year amid speculation that national
elections due in 2013 may be brought forward. As the Irish Times columnist
Patrick Smyth noted: "Thirty of the 109 opposition MPs, several of them
members of the notionally power-sharing cabinet, have been arrested and
jailed since their election in 2008. Human rights observers [report] a
systematic campaign by Mugabe supporters in the police and prosecuting
services … to intimidate the MDC."

Observers fear a repeat of events preceding the last election when the MDC
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was arrested and beaten, 200 of his supporters
were killed, opposition rallies were banned, and voters were terrorised by
pro-government youth militia. Tsvangirai subsequently became prime minister
in a power-sharing government, following the signing of the
externally-mediated "global political agreement" (GPA). The suggestion now
is that Mugabe plans to subvert the agreement's provisions for democratic
and security reforms and reassert his absolute overall control.

"Elections in Zimbabwe are synonymous with violent beatings, intimidation
and vote-rigging. Rumours abound that Mugabe [aged 87] is very ill with
advanced prostate cancer and that he is keen to bring forward elections … He
wants to secure enough votes for Zanu-PF to rule without the MDC, and
without agreeing to a new constitution that was promised in the 2008
political agreement," said the analyst Roland Rudd, of RLM Finsbury, in a
recent commentary. South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, had a crucial role
to play in ensuring Mugabe did not renege on the GPA, he added.

Far from heeding the sort of criticism dished out by Williams, Mugabe is
sticking to his outmoded ideological guns, buoyed by an economy rescued from
the brink by Tendai Biti, the MDC finance minister, and underpinned by
tried-and-tested roughhouse tactics. His latest wheeze: a law forcing the
transfer of foreign-owned firms to local ownership, a sort of business
equivalent of the forcible takeover of Zimbabwe's white-owned farms.

Tsvangirai has warned the new law is economically damaging. "The warped
indigenisation policy has eroded investor confidence and created a sceptical
international business community that has developed a wait-and-see
attitude," he said. Others suggest Zanu-PF will use the new measure to
bankroll its election campaign.

Mugabe also appears bent on maintaining his self-styled role as the enfant
terrible of international affairs. He has fiercely criticised the western
intervention in Libya and continues to insist that the National Transitional
Council in Tripoli negotiate a peace deal with Muammar Gaddafi, his old
crony and a generous aid donor. Speaking at the UN last month, he said
African Union (AU) leaders should resist western meddling. "It is a terrible
period and it is selling out of the principles of the founding fathers, and
Zimbabwe cannot stand for that," he said.

In fact, many modern-day African leaders appear to view Mugabe as a
throwback and an embarrassment. He certainly does not speak for the AU on
Libya, which has recognised the post-Gaddafi government. South Africa's
Zuma, the Zimbabwe regional mediator for the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), reportedly told Mugabe earlier this year to stop his
intimidation of Tsvangirai and abide by the GPA's terms. Zambia's former
president, Rupiah Banda, said Mugabe should study the Arab spring uprisings
since they showed what could happen when leaders did not listen to their

Foreign Office ministers from William Hague downwards, apparently keen to
avoid a repeat of Peter Hain's bruising verbal jousts with Mugabe, have been
disappointingly circumspect so far about Zimbabwe's looming descent into
renewed political crisis.

Speaking in June, the Africa minister Henry Bellingham referred glowingly to
Zimbabwe's "massive unlocked potential for trade". He continued: "It goes
without saying that the key to unlocking this potential is achieving the
political stability that can only follow free and fair elections. We fully
support the efforts of SADC, as guarantors of the GPA, as they work with the
Zimbabwean political parties to agree a path by which this will be

All worthy sentiments – but not exactly leading from the front.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Archbishop's sermon to the Anglicans in Zimbabwe

Press Release from Lambeth Palace

Sunday 9th October 2011

Archbishop's sermon to the Anglicans in Zimbabwe

The Archbishop of Canterbury today preached a sermon to a packed sports
stadium in Harare
where over 15,000 Anglicans had gathered for a Eucharist, travelling from
all over the country -
from as far as Bulawayo and Gweru to Masvingo and Mutare.

The full text of the sermon can be found below:

‘So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they
could find.’
‘When it happens, everyone will say, He is our God! We have put our trust in
him, and he has
rescued us.’
Jesus’ parable of the great marriage feast is both one of the most joyful
and one of the most
challenging of his stories; and it speaks very directly to us as we gather
here today. It begins
with the picture of a great monarch who wants nothing but to invite people
freely to feast with
him. He has made all the preparations; there is enough for everyone to eat;
he wants his guests
to be joyful and fulfilled – in body and spirit!
And then the responses begin to arrive. One after another, the guests he
wishes to honour find
excuses for not accepting his generosity. They are too occupied with their
own private interests
to come and share a great public celebration. And so the king throws the
doors open and
invites anyone and everyone who is willing to come – anyone who is hungry
enough to walk
through the door, anyone who is eager enough for happiness and welcome to
come and enjoy
it. All the king wants is that his gifts should be received and that they
should create joy.
Our God is a God who wants us to receive what he gives. He pours out his
gifts in the world –
the gifts of natural resources, the gifts of human skill, the gifts of human
love and
understanding – and he invites us to use them so that together we may find
joy, together we
may grow to maturity, together we may be glad and grateful for each other.
His purpose is
justice: not an abstract idea of fairness, but a situation where every
person has the fulfilment
God desires for them, without interference from others who want – in Jesus’
own words – to
shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against them. ‘You lock the door to the
Kingdom of Heaven in
people’s faces, and you yourselves don’t go in, nor do you allow those who
are trying to enter!’
says Jesus to his enemies in Mt 23.12.
Because this is part of our problem. It is not only that some refuse the
invitation of God to
share his abundant love and generosity. It is all too easy for us human
beings to try and block
that love and prevent it from reaching others. You know very well, dear
brothers and sisters,
what it means to have doors locked in your faces by those who claim the name
of Christians
and Anglicans. You know how those who by their greed and violence have
refused the grace of
God try to silence your worship and frustrate your witness in the churches
and schools and
hospitals of this country. But you also know what Jesus’ parable teaches us
so powerfully – that
the will of God to invite people to his feast is so strong that it can
triumph even over these
mindless and Godless assaults. Just as the Risen Jesus breaks through the
locked doors of fear
and suspicion, so he continues to call you and empower you in spite of all
efforts to defeat you.
And in the Revelation to John, the Lord proclaims that he has set before us
an open door that
no-one can shut. It is the door of his promise, the door of his mercy, the
door into the feast of
his Kingdom.
In your faith and endurance, you have kept your eyes on that open door when
the doors of
your own churches have been shut against you. You have discovered that it is
not the buildings
that make a true church but the spiritual foundations on which your lives
are built. And as we
together give thanks for the open door that God puts before us, we may even
find the strength
to say to our enemies and persecutors, ‘The door is open for you! Accept
what God offers and
turn away from the death-dealing folly of violence.’
There is the message that the Church of God exists to announce. God has
poured out his gifts in
abundance: why must we human beings wreck and spoil these gifts by our
sinfulness? God has
given us the promise and hope of his mercy in Jesus Christ: why is it so
hard to admit mistakes
and sins? How strange it is that we so often behave – yes, even we who are
Christians – as
though we cannot survive unless we silence all voices of challenge or
criticism. And God has
given so many gifts to this land. It has the capacity to feed all its people
and more. Its mineral
wealth is great.
But we have seen years in which the land has not been used to feed people
and lies idle; and
we have begun to see how this mineral wealth can become a curse – as it so
often has been in
Africa, as people are killed and communities destroyed in the fight for
diamonds that will
forever be marked with the blood of the innocent. A few months ago I was in
Congo and saw
and heard some of the tragedies that arose out of a war fuelled by greed for
minerals. Can we
hear the voice of our Creator crying to us - like the blood of Abel ‘out of
the ground’ itself –
‘Why will you turn my gifts into an excuse for bloodshed? Why will you not
use what you have
for the good of a community, not for private gain or political advantage?’
Of course, to say this is at once to recognize that it was just this natural
wealth that provoked
the greed of colonists and imperialists in the past. No European can say
these things without
being aware of what one of my predecessors, Michael Ramsey, once said about
‘the debt we
owe to Africa’ after generations of white rule. For a long period in this
country, an anxious
ruling class clung on to the power they had seized at the expense of the
indigenous people and
ignored their rights and their hopes for dignity and political freedom. How
tragic that this
should be replaced by another kind of lawlessness, where so many live in
daily fear of attack if
they fail to comply with what the powerful require of them. As we together
give thanks for the
gifts of nature that God has given us and the gifts of solidarity and the
gift of freedom from
foreign exploitation, can we stand together to say to all our political
leaders and rulers, ‘Listen!
Not only to the voice of those who suffer but to the voice of God himself,
grieving over the way
we ruin his creation, the voice of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, longing for
his people to open
their hearts to justice and peace and mercy.’
This Eucharist is the sign of God’s purpose for all of us; it is a feast in
which all are fed with
Christ’s new life, in which there is no distinction of race, tribe or party.
In this community there
can be no place for violence or for retaliation: we stand together, sinners
in need of grace,
proclaiming to the world that there is room at God’s table for all people
equally. What the
Church has to say to the society around it, whether here or in Britain, is
not to advance a
political programme but to point to the fact of this new creation, this
fellowship of justice and
joy, this universal feast. It is on the basis of this vision that we urge
all people to say no to
violence, especially as the next election approaches in this country; to
discover that deep
reverence for each person that absolutely forbids us from treating them as
if their welfare did
not matter, from abusing and attacking them.
The message we want to send from this Eucharistic celebration is that we do
not have to live
like that – in terror, in bloodshed. God has given us another way. He has
opened a door of
possibility that no-one can shut. He has announced that he will welcome all
to the marriage
feast of his Son – and so we see that all, even our bitterest enemies, still
have a place in his
peace if they will only turn and be saved. Did you hear what St Paul said in
today’s epistle? ‘Fill
your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things
that are noble, right,
pure, lovely and honourable.’ We need to feed ourselves and most especially
to feed our young
people with such things, to hold before us that great new possibility opened
up by God for our
minds to be transformed, to be excited not by the false thrills of violence
and bloody conflict,
by the overheated language of party conflict, but by the hope of joy and
And this also lays upon us the duty to keep alive our own concern for those
lest able to help
themselves. The Church of God is – or should be – the great hope of the
poor; not just as a
source of material help, important as that is, but as a source of hope and a
guarantee of human
dignity. The Church could not exist with any integrity if it forgot that
every person is of
immeasurable value in God’s eyes and so immeasurably worthy of our attention
and service. In
this country in recent years, you, our Anglican brothers and sisters, have
been more and more
active and courageous in this practical service, and in reminding the whole
society of the
universal dignity that the gospel implies. You have also been faithful to
those who suffer from
the HIV pandemic, which has ravaged a whole generation; and, like Christians
elsewhere in
Africa, you have been at the forefront of challenging the stigma that can
make the suffering so
much more bitter and can prevent people from facing the problem honestly.
You know that the
truth will make you free. To tell the truth about the sufferings and fears
people endure, but also
to tell the truth about their value in the sight of God – this is the most
effective way of
banishing stigma and prejudice and superstition.
Dear friend in Christ, you have given so much to the Church worldwide and to
your neighbours
in this great and troubled country. Day by day, you have to face injustice
and the arrogance of
‘false brethren’ as St Paul would call them. You must often have prayed with
the Psalmist, ‘We
have been treated with so much contempt. We have been mocked too long by the
rich and
scorned by proud oppressors’ (Ps 123.3-4). Yet you must know that we give
thanks to God for
you – for your patience and generosity and endurance. Your life here is
tortured by uncertainty
and the constant risk of attack, yet it speaks to all of us in the worldwide
Communion of the
victory of Jesus Christ and the undefeated will of God to welcome people
into his Kingdom and
to seat them at the table of his Son so that we can celebrate the marriage
of heaven and earth
in the fleshly life and death and resurrection of the Lord. ‘We have put our
trust in him and he
has rescued us.’ Today we are able to enjoy a foretaste of that rescue and
that heavenly feast in
the Eucharist. And the free invitation of God to be reconciled and healed,
to leave behind the
paths of violence and injustice, is once again spoken out as we gather –
spoken out to this
country and to the whole world. What can we say or pray except to cry out
with Our Lord,
‘Whoever has ears, let them hear!’
Notes to editors:
Further information and photos will be available during the course of the
trip at the Archbishop
of Canterbury’s website:
On Twitter:
On Facebook:

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bill Watch 41/2011 of 7th October 2011 [Minister of Justice to Propose Amendments to Human Rights Commission Bill]

BILL WATCH 41/2011

[7th October 2011]

Human Rights Commission Bill

Constitutionality of Bill and Amendments Proposed by Minister

It is likely that the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill will be re-introduced into the House of Assembly soon. If it is, it will be at the stage that it reached when the Third Session of Parliament was closed. That is, it will proceed to its Second Reading. It had its First Reading on 12th July and then, like all Bills at this stage, it was immediately referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]. The role of this committee is to examine Bills to ensure they comply with the Constitution. The PLC considered some of the Bill’s provisions were inconsistent with the Constitution and accordingly prepared an adverse report on it. Before the report was published, however, the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Mr Chinamasa, met the committee and it was agreed he would propose the necessary amendments to the Bill during the Committee Stage [this comes after the Second Reading when the House goes through the Bill clause by clause and when amendments can be proposed]. The PLC then sent the Speaker a non-adverse report on the Bill, on condition that those amendments were made. [The PLC’s draft adverse report has not been made public.]

The Minister’s Proposed Amendments

The Minister’s proposed amendments were printed in the House of Assembly’s Votes and Proceedings for 31st August, the day after he delivered his speech explaining the Bill to the House. [Electronic version of Notice of Amendments available from]. Although the PLC report is not public, some of the Minister’s amendments obviously respond to concerns about unconstitutionality. Other amendments do not address constitutional issues but seem to react to issues raised in the report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs. The two groups of amendments will be outlined separately. Also there are still constitutional issues not addressed by the Minister’s amendments, and these will also be listed. [Note: The Minister is free to propose further amendments to the Bill, as are backbenchers if they are not satisfied with the Minister’s amendments or think that other clauses need to be changed.]

Amendments to Rectify Unconstitutional Clauses

1. Who may complain Clause 9(4)(a) of the Bill states that only a “citizen, resident or visitor of Zimbabwe” at the time at the time of an alleged human rights violation may complain to the Commission. Clause 2 defines “visitor” in terms which exclude such vulnerable persons as victims of trafficking, illegal immigrants and refugees. This restriction is inconsistent with the Constitution, which applies the Declaration of Rights to all persons in Zimbabwe.

The Minister’s amendment would remedy this by removing the limiting words “the aggrieved person was a citizen, resident or visitor of Zimbabwe …”; in consequence he also proposes the deletion of clause 2’s definition of “visitor”, which will be redundant if the amendment to clause 9 is made. As a result any aggrieved person will be able to complain to the Commission.

2. “Public interest” restriction on evidence to Commission Clause 12(6) of the Bill allows the Minister to give notice to the Commission and to a complainant prohibiting the disclosure by or to the Commission [emphasis added] of evidence or documentation, if the Minister thinks disclosure would be prejudicial to the defence, external relations, internal security or economic interests of the State. This is inconsistent with the constitutional right to freedom of expression. The Minister proposes to replace this with a subclause which will allow him to tell the Commission to hear such evidence in a closed hearing, and the Commission will then be obliged to do so and to take steps to prevent the disclosure of the evidence. An “aggrieved person”, e.g., the complainant, would however be able to appeal to the courts. This apparently substantial concession by the Minister may turn out to be limited by his related proposal to insert a new clause 12(9), which will apply the ordinary law regarding “privileged” evidence; this means that evidence could still be withheld from the Commission “in the public interest”, but not merely on the Minister’s say-so. Other proposed amendments to clause 9(7) are of a minor nature, consequential to the adoption of the new subclause (6).

Amendments Not Addressing Constitutional Issues

1. Extension of definition of “human rights violation” The present definition in clause 2 includes violations of treaties and conventions to which Zimbabwe is a party and which have been incorporated into Zimbabwean law [“domesticated”], but only if the domesticating law expressly gives the Commission power to deal with violations. The amendment will remove this requirement, so that the Commission will be able to investigate violations even though the law which incorporates the treaty or convention does not expressly give it power to do so. But, the requirement that the treaty or convention must be domesticated will remain. [Note: The Portfolio Committee report said domestication is unnecessary, as long as Zimbabwe has become party to a treaty or convention.]

2. Additional functions for ZHRC Clause 4 presently purports to give the Commission the same functions as it already has under the Constitution. The Minister proposes to replace it with a new clause which will give the Commission additional functions, all expressly permitted by section 100R(8) of the Constitution:

to visit and inspect prisons and mental hospitals;

to “ensure and provide appropriate redress for violations of human rights and for injustice”. [Note: Section 100R(8)(d) of the Constitution says “secure and provide”, so “ensure” must be a mistake. How the Commission will “provide” redress is left unexplained.]

3. Qualifications of Executive Secretary A new clause 6(2) will require that the Executive Secretary must be a legal practitioner of at least seven years’ standing or have a graduate or post-graduate qualification in human-rights law or a related discipline.

Other Clauses of Bill Still Unconstitutional

Other clauses of the Bill, not addressed by the Minister’s proposed amendments, are or may be unconstitutional.

1. The Cut-Off Date of 13th February 2009 Clause 9(4)(a) of the Bill prohibits investigation of human rights violations that occurred before this date. This is unconstitutional because section 100R(5)(e) of the Constitution says that the Commission can investigate any violation of the Declaration of Rights. Imposing a cut-off date is inconsistent with the wide general words of the constitutional provision.

2. Stale Complaints Clause 9(4)(a) also prohibits the Commission from investigating complaints made more than three years after the violation occurred. This, too, is an unconstitutional cutting-down of the general words of the Constitution. It also ignores the fact that victims of human rights violations are often unable or too frightened to complain until long afterwards. Zimbabweans have lived for years in a culture of fear, and the Commission should break this.

3. A More General Objection It is at least arguable that much of the rest of the Bill is unconstitutional. Section 100R(8) of the Constitution allows Parliament to confer certain additional powers on the Commission, but it doesn’t allow Parliament to do anything else. This is not the case with other Commissions. For example, the Constitution gives Parliament the power to confer additional functions on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, to regulate its members’ conditions of service, and to ensure its impartiality; and section 109(2) of the Constitution gives Parliament similar powers in relation to the Public Service Commission and other service commissions. The absence of these extra enabling provisions in section 100R suggests that, in relation to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, Parliament cannot prescribe the qualifications of Commissioners, their terms of office, the procedure for removing them from office, their conditions of service, how their meetings should be conducted, and so on; nor can Parliament confer additional powers on the Commission apart from what it is authorised to confer by section 100R(8).

Remaining Omissions and Weaknesses of the Bill

Omissions Several important matters are not dealt with in the Bill:

Procedure for Selecting Nominees for Commission Membership There is no provision for the procedure to be followed by the Standing Rules and Orders Committee in arriving at its list of nominees for appointment to the Commission, designed to give some assurance of sectoral representation, impartiality and transparency. The Bill is completely silent on this matter, which is regrettable because no other law regulates how the Committee must exercise this sort of function.

Interaction with Parliament The Commission should be specifically authorised to communicate directly with Parliament, to submit comments on all Bills, and to submit reports directly to Parliament rather than through the Minister.

Interaction with International Human Rights Bodies The Constitution tasks the Commission with assisting the Government in the preparation of compliance reports to the bodies monitoring compliance with international human rights instruments. The Commission should also be empowered to submit its own reports to those bodies.


Inadequate Provision to Buttress Commission’s Independence There is no strong, direct statement that the Commission is independent and not subject to direction or control by any authority such as the President or the Minister; all the Bill says in clause 7 is that no State official may interfere with, hinder or obstruct the Commission. This is not quite the same thing. It should be noted that section 109 of the Constitution, which states that the Public Service Commission and other service commissions are independent and not subject to anyone’s control, does not apply to this commission.

Inroads on Commission’s Independence The Bill in fact specifically reduces the Commission’s independence in three respects. Clause 6 states that the Minister must be consulted before staff and consultants are appointed; clause 17 prevents the Commission from accepting loans and donations without the Minister’s approval; and clause 23 gives the Minister a power to veto the Commission’s regulations. Also objectionable is clause 8, which allows the Minister to demand reports and information from the Commission.

Lack of Budget Without adequate funding, resources and staff the Commission will not able to do its job effectively. This is not something that that can be guaranteed by anything said in a Bill or Act, but the Bill should at least require the Commission’s budget to be kept separate from its parent Ministry’s, and enjoin Parliament to keep the Commission properly funded [something the Constitution fails to do].

Mode of Investigation An investigation procedure limited to a formal inquiry is likely to be ineffective. The Commission and its staff should have power to enter and search premises, in order to gather evidence and to see for themselves what is happening there. For example, if it is alleged that people have been tortured in a police station or barracks, the Commission and its staff should be able to inspect the premises to see if the allegations are true.

Inadequate Provision for Securing Redress The Commission will be confined to reporting on human rights violations and making recommendations about them; it will also be able to take proceedings in court on behalf of victims. The Commission will not have power to order anyone to stop a violation or to pay compensation, which is what human rights commissions in other countries can do. Its proposed power to “provide appropriate redress” is likely to hampered by lack of funds. Its power to take legal action on behalf of victims is unlikely to be of much use to them: court procedures are complex, time-consuming and expensive, so any redress won through the courts may be long delayed and will be expensive for the Commission.

No Power to Stop Violations This is perhaps the Bill’s most significant weakness. The lack of any provision for the Commission to enforce its recommendations means that it cannot halt ongoing violations and may be seen as lacking real “clout”. If its recommendations to a Minister, for instance, are ignored, the Commission’s authority would be immediately undermined.

Bad Drafting The Bill is marred by several instances of sloppy drafting, which could spark unnecessary disputes if not corrected. Is it really intended, for example, that a complainant cannot assist the Commission in its investigations [clause 7(4)] or that Commission members have a free hand to decide on salaries, allowances, pension benefits [Second Schedule, paragraph 9]?

Given the country’s history, the omissions and weaknesses in the Bill bode ill for the future of human rights in Zimbabwe, unless MPs can find the determination and resolution to see that it is improved during its passage through Parliament

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Parliamentary Committees Series - 8th October 2011 [Meetings Open to Public 10 - 13 October]



[8th October 2011]

Committee Meetings Open to the Public: 10th to 13th October

The committee meetings listed below will be open to members of the public, but as observers only, not as participants, i.e. members of the public can listen but not speak. All meetings will be held at Parliament in Harare, entrance on Kwame Nkrumah Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets.

Note: This bulletin is based on the latest information released by Parliament on 7th October. But, as there are sometimes last-minute changes to the meetings schedule, persons wishing to attend a meeting should avoid possible disappointment by checking with the relevant committee clerk that the meeting is still on and still open to the public. Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 and 252936. If attending, please use the Kwame Nkrumah Ave entrance to Parliament. IDs must be produced.

Monday 10th October at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: Mines and Energy

Oral evidence from Minerals Marketing Corporation on its role in exporting chrome

Senate Chamber

Chairperson: Hon Chindori-Chininga Clerk: Mr Manhivi

Portfolio Committee: Higher Education, Science and Technology

Oral evidence from University of Zimbabwe Vice-Chancellor on the water situation and accommodation of students at UZ

Committee Room No. 3

Chairperson: Hon S. Ncube Clerk: Mrs Mataruka-Mudavanhu

Monday 10th October at 2 pm

Thematic Committee: HIV/AIDS

Oral briefing from Secretary for Health and Child Welfare on AIDS policies

Government Caucus Room

Chairperson: Hon D. Khumalo Clerk: Mrs Khumalo

Wednesday 12th October at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: Agriculture, Water, Lands and Resettlement

Oral evidence from Minister of Water Resources Development and Management on progress of major dam projects and water supply schemes

Committee Room No. 4

Chairperson: Hon Chinamona Clerk: Mrs Mataruka-Mudavanhu

Thursday 13th October at 9 am

Thematic Committee: Human Rights

Oral evidence from the Commissioner of Prisons on the current state of prisons

Committee Room No. 2

Chairperson: Hon Marava Clerk: Ms Macheza

Thursday 13th October at 10 am

Thematic Committee: Indigenisation and Empowerment

Briefing by the Chamber of Mines on the implementation of the indigenisation policy

Government Caucus Room

Chairperson: Hon Mutsvangwa Clerk: Mr Ratsakatika

Veritas makes every effort to esure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

Back to the Top
Back to Index