Press Release – 16 Oct : Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) is
greatly encouraged by High Court Judge, Justice Charles Hungwe’s order
reinstating the Supreme Court’s bail order on behalf of Deputy Agriculture
Minister-Designate and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Treasurer-General
Roy Bennett. Justice Hungwe on Friday 16 October 2009 granted an Urgent Application made
by Bennett’s lawyer and ZLHR member, Harrison Nkomo for reinstatement of bail,
which had been unlawfully disregarded by state agents on Wednesday 14 October
2009 when he was recommitted to Mutare Remand Prison following his indictment
for trial in the High Court by Mutare Provincial Magistrate Lucy Mungwari. The State representative, Michael Mugabe (a law officer in the Attorney
General’s Office) immediately attempted to invoke Section 121 of the Criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) which the AG’s Office has religiously abused
to suspend bail orders granted by the courts in favour of legitimate human
rights defenders and political activists. [Sok note: Section 121 gives the
State 7 days to launch an appeal against the granting of bail to a person. If
this had been granted, Roy Bennett would have had to spend another week in jail.
The State uses this to keep people locked up for as long as they possibly can,
and to delay legal processes] However Nkomo argued that Section 121 of the CPEA can only be invoked where a
fresh bail order is made by a High Court Judge and not under the circumstances
in which a bail order already exists. This was the case in Bennett’s matter,
where the Supreme Court had granted bail on 11 March 2009 and Justice Hungwe was
asked to adjudge the lawfulness of the revocation of the bail order. Justice Hungwe then ruled that Section 121 of the CPEA cannot be invoked
where the State wishes to appeal a point of law. The judge cautioned Mugabe not
to throw invocations around here and there, as this practice only made a fool of
him (Mugabe). As a result of Hungwe J’s judgment, Bennett’s existing bail order stands, and
he should be released in terms of this Supreme Court order. The terms and conditions imposed by the Supreme Court when it granted him
bail in March were such that he deposited the sum of US$5 000 with the Clerk of
the Mutare Magistrates’ Court, is continuing to reside at his Harare residence
and surrendered the title deeds of his Stand No. 901 Umtali Township property to
the Clerk of Court. Bennett also surrendered his passport, agreed not to
interfere with State witnesses, and before his incarceration was reporting at
the Harare Central Police Station’s Law and Order Section three times a week,
namely Monday, Wednesday and Friday between the hours of 0600 and 1800
hours. ZLHR condemns the actions of the Attorney General’s representative in the
proceedings culminating in today’s positive judgment. It is clear that law
officers are failing or refusing to exercise their discretion and their minds to
the laws of Zimbabwe in order to make reasoned and justifiable decisions. They
continue – whether willfully or negligently – to misinterpret the laws and to
utilize nefarious provisions of the criminal law such as Section 121 (the
constitutionality of which is currently being challenged) as if they were
automatons, rather than professional legal officers who are able to apply their
minds to the facts and laws relating to cases, particularly those of a political
nature. Whilst ZLHR is heartened by today’s events, we are under no illusion as to
the disrespect and contempt which is regularly shown by representatives of the
executive to orders made by the judiciary, and it remains to be seen whether
there will be compliance with Justice Hungwe’s order. We look forward to
Bennett’s immediate release, and urge authorities to refrain from further
persecuting him and others through abuse of the law.
ZLHR Press Release – 16 Oct : Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) is greatly encouraged by High Court Judge, Justice Charles Hungwe’s order reinstating the Supreme Court’s bail order on behalf of Deputy Agriculture Minister-Designate and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Treasurer-General Roy Bennett.
Justice Hungwe on Friday 16 October 2009 granted an Urgent Application made by Bennett’s lawyer and ZLHR member, Harrison Nkomo for reinstatement of bail, which had been unlawfully disregarded by state agents on Wednesday 14 October 2009 when he was recommitted to Mutare Remand Prison following his indictment for trial in the High Court by Mutare Provincial Magistrate Lucy Mungwari.
The State representative, Michael Mugabe (a law officer in the Attorney General’s Office) immediately attempted to invoke Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) which the AG’s Office has religiously abused to suspend bail orders granted by the courts in favour of legitimate human rights defenders and political activists. [Sok note: Section 121 gives the State 7 days to launch an appeal against the granting of bail to a person. If this had been granted, Roy Bennett would have had to spend another week in jail. The State uses this to keep people locked up for as long as they possibly can, and to delay legal processes]
However Nkomo argued that Section 121 of the CPEA can only be invoked where a fresh bail order is made by a High Court Judge and not under the circumstances in which a bail order already exists. This was the case in Bennett’s matter, where the Supreme Court had granted bail on 11 March 2009 and Justice Hungwe was asked to adjudge the lawfulness of the revocation of the bail order.
Justice Hungwe then ruled that Section 121 of the CPEA cannot be invoked where the State wishes to appeal a point of law. The judge cautioned Mugabe not to throw invocations around here and there, as this practice only made a fool of him (Mugabe).
As a result of Hungwe J’s judgment, Bennett’s existing bail order stands, and he should be released in terms of this Supreme Court order.
The terms and conditions imposed by the Supreme Court when it granted him bail in March were such that he deposited the sum of US$5 000 with the Clerk of the Mutare Magistrates’ Court, is continuing to reside at his Harare residence and surrendered the title deeds of his Stand No. 901 Umtali Township property to the Clerk of Court. Bennett also surrendered his passport, agreed not to interfere with State witnesses, and before his incarceration was reporting at the Harare Central Police Station’s Law and Order Section three times a week, namely Monday, Wednesday and Friday between the hours of 0600 and 1800 hours.
ZLHR condemns the actions of the Attorney General’s representative in the proceedings culminating in today’s positive judgment. It is clear that law officers are failing or refusing to exercise their discretion and their minds to the laws of Zimbabwe in order to make reasoned and justifiable decisions. They continue – whether willfully or negligently – to misinterpret the laws and to utilize nefarious provisions of the criminal law such as Section 121 (the constitutionality of which is currently being challenged) as if they were automatons, rather than professional legal officers who are able to apply their minds to the facts and laws relating to cases, particularly those of a political nature.
Whilst ZLHR is heartened by today’s events, we are under no illusion as to the disrespect and contempt which is regularly shown by representatives of the executive to orders made by the judiciary, and it remains to be seen whether there will be compliance with Justice Hungwe’s order. We look forward to Bennett’s immediate release, and urge authorities to refrain from further persecuting him and others through abuse of the law.
By Violet Gonda
16 October 2009
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has announced his party's 'disengagement'
from ZANU PF, who he described as dishonest, unreliable and unrepentant.
Speaking to journalists in Harare on Friday the Prime Minister said while
the MDC will remain in government, they are going to disengage from Zanu PF,
and in particular from Cabinet and the Council of Ministers, until there is
the full resolution of all outstanding issues and the complete
implementation of the GPA.
He said despite countless meetings among the Principals, countless press
conferences, numerous correspondence and trips to the SADC plus a SADC
summit, non-compliance and toxic issues continue to impede the transitional
"Instead, we have seen total abuse and disrespect of the GPA and in
particular of the MDC. Ministerial mandates have been changed unilaterally,
government internal rules have not been changed to recognize the new
reality. Over and above this, some government agencies, in particular few
components in the National Security forces, still behave as if the old order
exists. The National Security Council itself has met only once in nine
months," the Prime Minister said.
He added: "We are also aware of the extensive militarization of the
countryside through massive deployment of the military and the setting up of
bases of violence that we saw after the 29th March 2008. Over and above
this, we are aware of over 16 000 of Zanu PF youth functionaries who have
been imposed on the government payroll."
The Prime Minister went on to say his party had 'papered over the cracks'
and sought to persuade the whole world in the last eight months that
everything is working, putting at stake their reputation, credibility and
trust. This was in order to restore hope to Zimbabweans. But he said the
re-arrest of MDC Treasurer General Roy Bennett 'has brought home the
self-evident fact that Zanu PF sees us as a junior, fickle and unserious
This latest crisis in the coalition government has brought more questions
than answers. How will ZANU PF respond to this boycott and will SADC, the
guarantors of the GPA, finally do something? While the Prime Minister says
his party is only boycotting executive duties between the two parties and
will continue participating in parliament, how will the political parties
avoid each other in a ministry like the Home Affairs, that is shared by the
two parties? Is this the end of the inclusive government as we know it?
Critics like civic leader Dr Lovemore Madhuku say the MDC should withdraw
fully, or not at all. There is no such thing as half pulling out. On the eve
of Tsvangirai's announcement Madhuku told SW Radio Africa that it was a
'senseless' move and that the MDC must make up their minds, either they are
in government or they are completely out of it. 'There is no concept of a
Others say the consequences are severe if the MDC pulls out completely,
because ZANU PF wants this government to collapse so it can continue to
maintain its power over the nation.
Political commentator and lawyer Arnold Tsunga said the MDC response is not
surprising as the government was becoming seriously dysfunctional and the
final straw was Bennett's imprisonment.
He said: "It has been a game of political calculation on the part of both
ZANU PF and MDC. ZANU PF wanting to continue to prevent the MDC from gaining
any semblance of power, whilst the MDC hoping that by being in government
they'd show good faith and that they would be able to influence ZANU PF to
begin to look at the national democratisation process and allow Zimbabweans
to begin to see fundamental freedom. But that has not happened."
Tsunga pointed out: "The problem with getting out completely is that once
you surrender the policy space and once you surrender the macro-economic
governance space - which (Finance Minister) Tendai Biti has ably occupied -
you will find that you surrender that space back to ZANU PF."
Meanwhile, Roy Bennett was granted bail on Friday by the High Court in
Harare but was still waiting to be released from remand prison in Mutare.
It remains to be seen if the MDC will maintain the 'boycott; until all the
outstanding issues are resolved.
October 16, 2009
The following is the full text of the press statement by MDC president
Morgan Tsvangirai, who is also the Prime Minister. Tsvangirai outlines
reasons for disengaging from Zanu-PF although the party is not pulling out
of the GNU:
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, addresses a news conference at his party's
office in the capital Harare, October 16, 2009.
IT is exactly 264 days since the extra-ordinary summit of SADC of 26 January
2009 that directed the formation of the transitional government, which
government started work on the 13th February 2009.
That same SADC summit directed that the government be formed by the swearing
in of the Prime Minister, ministers and deputy ministers on 11 and 13
February 2009 respectively. That same summit directed that the issue of
provincial governors, the Reserve Bank governor and the Attorney-General be
resolved by the parties forthwith. That same summit directed that the
allocation of ministerial positions be reviewed after a period of six
264 days later, outstanding, non-compliance and toxic issues continue to
impede the transitional government. Despite countless meetings among the
Principals, despite countless press conferences, despite numerous
correspondence and trips to SADC and SADC leaders and despite a SADC summit,
the above issues remain outstanding.
It is regrettable to note that provincial governors have not been appointed
to date despite agreement on every item. Equally, it is unacceptable that
the issue of the RBZ governor and the AG have not been resolved despite the
self-evident illegality in their appointment. More indecently is the fact
that even the government itself has not fully been constituted due to the
failure to swear in the deputy minister of Agriculture.
Perhaps more embarrassingly is the fact that there has been no review of the
GPA nor of the ministerial positions six months after 26 January 2009.
In this period, we have seen a complete lack of paradigm shift on the part
of Zanu PF. Instead, we have seen total abuse and disrespect of the GPA and
in particular of the MDC. Ministerial mandates have been changed
unilaterally, government internal rules have not been changed to recognize
the new reality. Over and above this, some government agencies, in
particular few components in the National Security forces still behave as if
the old order exists. The National Security Council itself has met only once
in nine months.
We are also aware of the extensive militarization of the countryside through
massive deployment of the military and the setting up of bases of violence
that we saw after the 29th of March 2008. Over and above this, we are aware
of over 16 000 of Zanu PF youth functionaries who have been imposed on the
In addition, we have seen the continuous selective and unequal application
of the rule of law. Seven MDC MPs have been persecuted and convicted on
shadowy charges whilst several others are on remand.
The public media, in particular The Herald and the ZBC continue to treat the
MDC and our leaders in government as if they were a third-rate treasonous
and sell-out element instead of a genuine and equal partner in the
The slow rate of movement and execution of positions agreed in the GPA is
also as worrying as it is unacceptable. Indeed, the lack of real movement on
the key issues of democratization of the media, the Constitutional reform
process, the land audit and the rule of law issues in the GPA are issues
that stick out like a sore thumb.
On our part, we have papered over the cracks and have sought to persuade the
whole world in the last eight months that everything is working. We have
sought to persuade our constituencies that the transitional government was
on course and was the only business in town. In the process, we have put at
stake the reputation, credibility and trust of our movement and to ourselves
We have done everything in order to make this government work and we have
done so purely for one reason, the need to restore hope and dignity to our
people; the need to give our people a new start and a new beginning. This
overwhelming obligation remains as factual and as fundamental to date.
The present arrest and detention of our party treasurer Roy Bennett has
brought home the fiction of the credibility and integrity of the
transitional government. It has brought home the reality that as a Movement,
we have an unreliable and unrepentant partner in the transitional
government. It has brought home the self-evident fact that Zanu PF sees us
as a junior, fickle and unserious Movement.
The truth of the matter is that it is our Movement that won the election of
29 March 2008. It is our Movement that has the mandate of the people to
govern this country. It is our Movement that has strategically compromised
on that mandate by executing the GPA and by entering into the transitional
government. It is our Movement upon which the hope and future of millions of
Zimbabweans is deposited.
However, it is now time for us to assert and take our position as the
dominant party in Zimbabwe . In taking this path, we are guided by the fact
that we are the trustees of the people's mandate and therefore the only one
with the mandate to remain in government.
For that reason, this party for now cannot renege on the people's mandate.
However, it is our right to disengage from a dishonest and unreliable
partner. In this regard, whilst being government, we shall forthwith
disengage from Zanu PF and in particular from Cabinet and the Council of
Ministers until such time as confidence and respect is restored amongst us.
This will include the full resolution of all outstanding issues and the
substantial implementation of the GPA. We are aware of the Constitutional
implications of our decision, in light of the foundational element of the
transitional government that executive power is shared between the
President, the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
However, it is a Constitutional crisis which should be resolved if Zanu PF
and its leadership know that there is a price to pay for procrastination.
Naturally should this Constitutional crisis escalate, then the self-evident
solution would be the holding of a free and fair election to be conducted by
SADC and the AU and under UN supervision.
We reiterate that this Movement will stand embedded in its social democratic
principles and values. It will remain loyal to the cause of our struggle and
it will continue with the struggle for real change in Zimbabwe .
May God bless you.
October 16, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE- The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party led by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday ordered all its ministers to stop working from
The order includes the Prime Minister Tsvangirai, who the MDC said had also
moved out of his office.
The move follows an impasse between the MDC and Zanu-PF over unresolved
issues under the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed in September 2008.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa told The Zimbabwe Times that the premier and
his team in government had immediately vacated their offices.
"The Prime Minister is just going there for the last time to conduct a
briefing then after that he will be working from the Harvest House until all
outstanding issues are resolved. This also applies to all ministers," said
Chamisa moments after the premier had announced that his party had stopped
engaging Zanu-PF in government until all the political issues are resolved.
Among some of the issues that are yet to be resolved are the appointment of
Roy Bennett into government, and of provincial governors, the rescinding of
appointments of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor and Attorney
Tsvangirai had earlier on told journalists of his party's decision to cut
ties with Zanu-PF until these issues were dealt with fully. His announcement
just fell short of a pull-out from government which could have triggered a
In his address he carefully put it as "disengagement from dealing with Zanu
"We are not pulling out because the people of Zimbabwe want real change and
that is our obligation. It is not because we cannot make that decision but
it's because we are conscious of our responsibility to deliver that change
for the people and the people appreciate that," said Tsvangirai.
Asked whether he would continue meeting Mugabe and Mutambara for their
weekly Monday meetings where most of the thorny issues plaguing the
government have been discussed, Tsvangirai said, "Our disengagement includes
the Monday meetings."
He however said parliament would continue to conduct its business.
"Parliament will continue to work; it's separate from the executive," said
He also added that his party would be prepared to meet Zanu-PF to discuss
the political crisis, the worst that has been witnessed since the inception
of the GNU in February this year.
He said his party's decision to terminate relations with Zanu-PF was not in
anyway motivated by the detention of Roy Bennett.
"Let me emphasise this, " Tsvangirai said," this decision has not been made
because of Bennett as some might want think.
"This has purely nothing to do with Bennett but with the collapse of trust
in our Zanu PF partners in government."
He said should Zanu-PF not change its way of doing business in the inclusive
government, he wouldl be left with no option but to ask for fresh elections.
"Should this constitutional crisis escalates, the self-evident solution
would be the holding of free and fair elections to be conducted by SADC and
AU under the supervision of UN," said Tsvangirai.
Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:13pm BST
GENEVA (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has invited a U.N expert on torture to visit
later this month, the first time Harare has issued such an invitation to an
independent U.N. Human Rights Council expert, the United Nations said on
Manfred Nowak, special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment, will visit Zimbabwe from October 28 to
November 4, the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said
in a statement.
"This mission is a positive sign of the Government of Zimbabwe's willingness
to engage with the U.N. Human Rights System and permit open and unfettered
access to places of detention, Nowak said.
The invitation comes during a political crisis, as Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's opposition MDC said it would boycott the power-sharing
government over differences with President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
Nowak will meet government officials, national human rights institutions and
civil society representatives. The Austrian law expert will also inspect
prisons and police stations, and present a report to the U.N. Human Rights
By Alex Bell
16 October 2009
A farmer in the Headlands District, who was forcibly evicted from his land
more than two weeks ago, on Friday said the unity government has 'betrayed'
him, by allowing the invasion on his farm to continue.
Charles Lock's Karori farm has been completely taken over by soldiers, hired
as land invaders by Brigadier General Justin Mujaji. The gang, under Mujaji's
leadership, have plundered the farm of valuable produce worth more than US$1
million and because of the violent threats and intimidation by the soldiers,
the land has become a no-go area. Police officials have repeatedly been
called in to enforce numerous courts orders against Mujaji's illegal
occupation of the farm, but they have been chased off the farm and
Last month, Lock and his staff were forcibly evicted by the soldiers who
beat some of the workers and raped one woman. Lock has previously argued
that police are now too worried to get involved in affairs concerning the
army, saying they have no power against the soldiers. But he explained on
Friday to SW Radio Africa that this is just an excuse being used by the
police to allow events to keep unfolding on the farm. Mujaji meanwhile, who
is related by marriage to Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, has also
threatened to shoot Lock, his staff and even some police officials for
trying to stop the theft of the farm's maize and tobacco stock. But his
government connections clearly mean that court orders against him, and even
an outstanding arrest warrant, will not be enforced.
"Mujaji and his soldiers are a law unto themselves and they know they can
act with absolute impunity," Lock said.
The situation has prevailed this week despite a letter written by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to the Defence Ministry about Mujaji's actions on
the farm. The Prime Minister reportedly wrote the letter to Emmerson
Mnangagwa last week, quietly requesting that the Defence Minister stop the
Brigadier General from his illegal occupation of Lock's farm. The letter was
sent, and subsequently ignored by Mnangagwa, after a written protestation by
the German Embassy over the seizure of the farm. That letter, addressed to
Tsvangirai, called for the immediate restoration of law and order on Lock's
farm, which is part-owned by a German investor. Germany has argued that the
invasion of the farm by Brigadier General Mujaji is in violation of the
bilateral investment protection agreement between the two countries.
Lock explained on Friday that he has not heard of any letters being sent by
the Prime Minister about his farm, explaining instead that Tsvangirai has
openly ignored two previous letters he'd written. Lock continued that while
he is not surprised that the Defence Ministry has ignored the Prime Minister's
letter, he feels 'betrayed' that the government has not done more to protect
"The unity government promised us that they would deal with these issues and
that the rule of law would be respected, but nothing has been done," Lock
The situation on Lock's farm meanwhile highlights that the current offensive
against the country's remaining commercial farmers is being driven by greed,
not land 'reform'. Lock voluntarily gave up his own farm to the State for
the land 'reform' programme in 2002 and moved on to his father-in-law's farm
to head operations there. In 2004 Lock and his father-in-law were both
arrested and charged with being on state land illegally, after they had been
asked to give up yet more land the year before. Charges against them were
dropped and at the time, both the Rusape Governor and the Land Task Force,
acknowledged their legal right to the property. But all this has come to
nothing, with Mujaji clearly deciding for himself that the property is his.
Meanwhile, Lock has managed to obtain yet another court order against
Mujaji, but with no law enforcement, it is highly unlikely the legal route
will result in any positive action. Lock explained on Friday that the legal
route is the only option he has.
"It won't come to anything now, I know that," Lock said. "But hopefully one
day there will be a day of reckoning and I will be prepared for that day."
By Lance Guma
16 October 2009
South Africa's Fort Hare University is under growing pressure to intervene
in a row over the Zimbabwean Presidential Scholarship program, that has
stopped funding 12 students, for alleged political activity. The programme
meant for under-privileged students is funding around 750 students at the
university but ZANU PF functionaries are now abusing it to punish those said
to be taking part in MDC activities on the campus.
This week Fort Hare Vice Chancellor Dr Tom Mvuyo tried to distance the
university from the problem, saying they were 'not a party to the
scholarship agreement between the Zimbabwean government and the scholarship
holders. As with any other similar funding arrangement, the terms are a
matter between the government and the students'. He was also eager to
emphasize that they had not expelled the students but had asked them to
contact them to 'discuss alternative payment arrangements'.
Sibanengi Dube, the MDC SA spokesman, said they have been assured by the
Vice Chancellor that no student has been expelled so far. He said even those
who had left campus, on the basis of the letters that had informed them that
scholarships had been withdrawn, have been asked to come back. With end of
semester exams under way the students have also been allowed to sit for
them. It was not clear if this is a 'temporary truce' on the back of intense
media coverage of the story, but Mvuyo is also said to have disowned all the
statements issued by the university spokesman, confirming the axing of the
students from the programme.
The story has generated outrage on the basis that a reputable South African
University could allow under-privileged students to be victimized on the
basis of political affiliation. To make matters worse the university
spokesman had issued a statement claiming the scholarship programme
specifically barred political activity and 'this condition, among others, is
a cornerstone of the programme since 1995 when it began at the university,
and it has been emphasized to new and old students to maintain cohesion and
oneness among beneficiaries and to protect the image and integrity of our
Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) says only 139
000 out of 380 000 students have registered for this years O and A level
exams. With fees pegged at US$10 and US$20 per subject, depending on the
level, most parents have failed to pay for their children. Education
Minister David Coltart said his ministry was working on ensuing that those
who had failed to raise the fees would be able to sit for them and pay
ZIMSEC on the other hand is saying this is creating a logistical nightmare
for them. The body tasked with running exams says they don't know how many
question papers to print and send to the exam centres. Last month the
deadline for registration was changed to Friday the 16th October and ZIMSEC
say the extension has created the current logistical chaos. It's not clear
when the exams themselves will be written.
Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:20am GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's monthly inflation was at -0.5 percent in
September, mainly due to a decline in food prices, compared to 0.4 percent
in August, Central Statistical Office data showed on Friday.
The CSO -- which resumed calculating inflation data in U.S. dollar terms in
December after use of the local currency was abandoned due to
hyperinflation -- has not been issuing annual figures.
By Stanley Kwenda
HARARE, Oct 16 (IPS) - Agriculture used to be Zimbabwe's economic mainstay
but it has been on the decline since 2000 when the ZANU-PF government
embarked on a so-called land reform programme that resulted in about 4,000
productive white farmers losing their farms, many to members of the
politically connected elite.
The programme is largely to blame for the huge food deficit that Zimbabweans
face. Farmers are regrouping to take stock of the present situation.
Recently a two-day conference was held to review the status of the
agricultural sector and come up with a recovery strategy. Issues of
compensation and respect for property rights came under the spotlight.
Several farmers hammered home the point that government and the private
sector need to fund agriculture if the sector was to recover.
"We need to start from scratch. Confidence among traditional funders, such
as banks and other private sector players, is at its lowest as a result of
the continuing lawlessness on the farms," Trevor Gifford, a commercial
farmer and president of the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), told IPS.
"Previously we used to just walk into any bank and get loans to fund our
farming operations but now we can't offer the collateral security needed by
the banks because of the lack of security of tenure." The Zimbabwean
government has issued 99 year leases on land to the newly resettled farmers
that banks refuse to accept as collateral because the leases cannot be sold
Unlike the previous owners, the newly resettled farmers have no title deeds,
making it difficult to borrow from banks. In the past, international banks
such as Barclays and Standard Chartered Bank funded farmers who put up their
land as collateral. "We need to address the ownership issue of land so that
we go back to the situation where farmers have security of tenure," farmer
Charles Taffs said. "Without that we are not going anywhere and we may just
as well stop thinking of the recovery of agriculture."
"Although everything seems to be fine on the outside, the rule of law just
isn't there. It's applied very selectively as we continue to see with the
continuing farm invasions that the government has chosen to ignore," Gifford
told IPS. "There has been progress, but the reality is that the government
of national unity has no unity."
But Ngoni Masoka, permanent secretary in the ministry of agriculture,
mechanisation and irrigation development, told IPS that the World
Bank-funded conference was an indication of better things to come. "We got
the necessary stakeholder participation and input into formulating an
agricultural strategy," Masoka said.
The World Bank has provided farming with a timely shot in the arm by
donating 74 million dollars to help poor farmers in Zimbabwe. David
Rohrbach, a senior agricultural economist for the Bank, said the money will
benefit 700,000 families through the procurement of seeds, fertilizers and
other agricultural equipment for the coming harvest.
The money will be channelled through non-governmental organisations involved
in the agricultural and humanitarian sectors.
But despite this intervention, farmers say the country could still face
another grain deficit in the next season due to poor preparations and lack
of funding. This is despite government projecting a maize output of up to
2.5 million tons next season, which would mark a return to food
self-sufficiency. Zimbabwe needs about 1.8 million tons of the staple maize
per year, according to official figures.
"What we're seeing on the ground paints a different picture," Berean
Mukwende, vice president of the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU), a
predominantly black farmers' association, said. "Many farmers are having
difficulties in terms of accessing inputs and time is running out."
But Masoka insisted that government support and funding will result in a
good harvest. "Last year, we were assisted by the Southern African
Development Community, through South Africa, to get 300 million rand (41
million dollars). Now we are talking of more money, so we should produce
more," Masoka said.
Another effort is that of the United States Agency for International
Development (USAid), which signed an agreement with Standard Chartered Bank
of Zimbabwe three weeks ago.
The agreement will enable the bank to expand its lending to farmers by 20
million dollars over five years. It will allow the bank to increase the
number of loans directly to farmers and enterprises that can provide inputs
and technical assistance to small holder farmers with the ultimate objective
of increasing productivity and production. (END/2009)
Harare, October 16, 2009 - Several charity organisations in Zimbabwe
who had gathered in Harare to receive donations from Nestle Zimbabwe on
Thursday went home empty handed after the company postponed the event
without giving clear reasons.
Nestle Zimbabwe - sponsors of the Nestle Charity Shield, were
supposed to hand the donations last Friday before being moved to Thursday.
Stan Higgins, the media consultant of the Nestle Charity Shield said
the disbursement of cash donations to the several charity organisations had
been postponed. He added that the cash donations will be done in the next
two weeks without specifying the actual dates. "I am going to be meeting
with Nestle Zimbabwe and the donations will be done in the next two weeks.
We are going to meet on Monday to discuss the function," Higgins said.
However it is understood that Nestle Zimbabwe could not access funds
as the company's bank accounts had been frozen. Nestle Zimbabwe's bank
accounts were frozen and the government ordered an audit after the company
stopped buying milk from a farm owned by President Robert Mugabe's wife,
However Nestle spokesman Ravi Pillay in neighbouring South Africa told
Associated Press three days ago that the company's Zimbabwe accounts were
"operating as usual".
Nestle's finance director, Farai Munestsi, said over the weekend that
access to funds was blocked. Munetsi said on Monday he could not comment.
Nestle's Zimbabwe stopped buying milk from Gushungo Dairy Estate in
early October. The farm was confiscated from white farmers as part of
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's widely condemned land reform program and
given to Grace Mugabe. Nestle ended its dealings with Gushungo Estate
because of all the negative attention and boycott threats Nestle received
when the business relationship came to light following newspaper reports.
The Nestle Charity Shield is played to raise funds for charitable
organisations. Champions Monomotapa, CBZ FA Cup winners CAPS United, first
and second runners-up in the league - Dynamos and Njube Sundowns - took part
in the tournament in August. CAPS won the Cup after beating Dynamos 2-1 on
The Nestle Charity Shield is in its third year and several charity
organisations among them homes for the aged and HIV organisations were
expected to receive proceeds from the tournament.
WASHINGTON, October 16, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ - Robert Wood
Deputy Department Spokesman
QUESTION: The Zimbabwean Government is prosecuting a would-be deputy
minister, a guy named Roy Bennett, for treason despite the sort of nominal
existence of a unity government there. Do you have any response to that?
MR. WOOD: Yeah. What I would say, Dave, is that we call on President Mugabe
to implement the Global Political Agreement. This particular case with
regard to Roy Bennett is, frankly, a blatant example of the absence of the
rule of law in Zimbabwe, and frankly, is a transparent attempt to prevent
Mr. Bennett from taking up his position as deputy secretary for agriculture.
So prosecution has never, as far as I know, presented any credible evidence
against him. He's complied with all of the court's requirements, so - and
Mugabe needs to end his harassment of the opposition, including Mr. Bennett.
QUESTION: Just - to stick with Zimbabwe?
MR. WOOD: Sure.
QUESTION: The British Government today announced that it plans to give
Zimbabwe a hundred million dollars in aid, notwithstanding what you
described as the blatant absence of rule of law. What do you think of their
MR. WOOD: Well, I mean, that's a decision for the British Government. We've
made very clear that we have some very serious concerns about the lack of
democratic reforms in Zimbabwe and that we want to see changes on the ground
before we can commit to supporting any type of development assistance
We will continue to provide assistance to the Zimbabwean people, but we're
certainly - in terms of our sanctions that are targeted against regime
members - Mugabe regime members, we're not going to in any way ease those
sanctions until we see changes from that government. And we're very
concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe. And so we are not going to be
able to make fundamental changes to our policies with regard to development
assistance until we see real movement on the ground.
QUESTION: Just if I may, I'd like to read you the quote from the British
MR. WOOD: Sure.
QUESTION: - to Zimbabwe. "We thought the formation of the inclusive
government was a significant step. The UK wants it to succeed. We are not
holding back and will be supporting it to the tune of a hundred million
dollars this year," closed-quote. Do you think that - I mean, they seem to
have come to a different conclusion. Their conclusion seems to be that the
government is worthy of support and that giving it assistance may help it to
succeed. Do you see any concern that by withholding development assistance,
you may be undermining the government?
MR. WOOD: No, on the contrary. We have been very clear from the beginning,
as you know, Arshad, about our views with regard to what needs to happen in
Zimbabwe if we are to go forward with normal engagement on the development
assistance side. Our primary concern is about the Zimbabwean people, and
that's why we continue to provide humanitarian assistance, that's why we
continue to call on the Mugabe regime to implement the necessary government
Look, at the time the unity government came into - was put in place, we
certainly thought that that was a good thing, but we needed to see results
and see where this government was going with regard to some of the concerns
that we have. We still have a lot of those concerns, so as I said, we need
to see more happen on the ground with regard to democratic and economic
reform before we're going to commit further.
US Department of State
Following the return to prison of Deputy Minister for Agriculture designate,
Roy Bennett, the MDC top brass headed into a caucus to decide their future
in Zimbabwean politics.
Unsurprisingly, the decision made was as confusing as the events that
brought them together to make the resolution!
"The MDC's Standing Committee, comprising the party's top leadership, met on
Thursday and made a resolution to disengage from contact and deliberations
with ZANU PF in the inclusive government, until all outstanding issues
plaguing the coalition are resolved.
The matter now awaits endorsement by the MDC's National Council. Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to hold a press conference to reveal
the outcome on Friday.
A senior official in the Prime Minister's office told the UK based
Zimbabwean radio that ZANU PF has pushed the patience of the MDC too far
with the latest treatment of Roy Bennett. The MDC Treasurer General, who is
facing charges of possessing weapons for the purpose of terrorism, was on
Wednesday sent to prison again, pending trial in the High Court.
ZANU PF has been criticised over this action, with observers saying this is
a clear sign that shows ZANU PF has only contempt for the Global Political
If the party's National Council endorses this move, it is understood the MDC
is not going to pull out of the inclusive government as it will continue to
run its ministries, but will disengage from Cabinet and the Council of
Ministers and suspend any forums with ZANU PF."
In my humble opinion, this is playing right into Mugabe's hands. Time is his
friend, and every day that he remains the top of the pile, is a victory.
If the MDC disengage with ZANU PF, how can the 'government' work? Mugabe, as
President - albeit by questionable means involving beating, abduction and
murder - will no doubt decide that the MDC have abandoned the coalition and
will either take over the MDC-run ministries or will dissolve parliament
with elections being called for after that.
Now, we need to be aware that Mugabe's support in the voting proletariat is
waning - so I would imagine that he will look for a re-run of last year's
violent election campaign (and every election since 1980) where the will of
ZANU PF is beaten into the people, and those that refuse to be taught will
meet their doom.
But my concern is that a separate MDC camp within the halls of power will
lead to much confusion and will allow Mugabe to pull even more audacious
moves under cover of that confusion. Mugabe will not allow the MDC to remain
in situ if the disengagement goes ahead.
Mugabe will throw the power-sharing government in the bin and will look
towards rebuilding his ZANU PF power base.
"The official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, said; "There is
now a constitutional crisis. ZANU PF has pushed and pushed and enough is
enough. This was the shortest meeting the Standing Committee has ever had
and the vote was unanimous. There was not one dissenting voice."
However, the MDC's proposal to suspend engagement with ZANU PF has been met
with mixed reactions. Those in favour say there was momentum growing within
the MDC, against the party continuing to do nothing in the face of ZANU PF's
unwillingness to share real power. But critics say if this impasse drags on
Zimbabwe might find itself in unfamiliar territory, with two parallel
The chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, Dr Lovemore Madhuku,
believes the MDC is losing direction. He said: "This is a senseless
position. It doesn't make sense. It has no meaning if you are still in
government that is engaging ZANU PF because that government is an inclusive
government. There is no concept of running a ministry which is different
from being in government."
The outspoken civic leader said: "This is all part of the thinking that the
Zimbabwean public and everyone else is still so gullible to keep hearing
these antics. They (MDC) must make up their minds, either they are in
government or they are completely out of it. There is no concept of a
The absolute logistics of a split government are as yet unknown - but I do
not see Mugabe standing for it. If the MDC are intent on disengaging from
ZANU PF, then he will interpret that as a disengagement from the
There is no word as to any decision made by the smaller faction of the MDC
led by rocket scientist Arthur Mutambara.
Mugabe will just show the Tsvangirai people the door and within days we can
look forward to a total pro-ZANU PF cabinet - as he will rescind any
agreement with the smaller MDC faction as part of the Tsvangirai
To get back to the main thrust of this editorial. Morgan Tsvangirai's
disengagement will mean very little to the man on the ground in Zimbabwe, as
the MDC have enjoyed very little by real power within the government in
general, and the cabinet in particular.
Disengage from a government that didn't work in the first place?
Power-sharing? What power-sharing?
Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man
By Ephraim Nsingo
HARARE, Oct 16 (IPS) - Zimbabwe's eight-month-old inclusive government
suffered its biggest setback to date, when Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
announced that his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) was partly
disengaging from the government.
"The detention of our party treasurer, Roy Bennett, has brought home the
fiction of the credibility and integrity of the transitional government. It
has brought home the self-evident fact that ZANU-PF see us as a junior,
fickle and unserious movement."
The news sent an anxious jolt through the streets of the capital Harare.
"I wonder what this means for us," said Calvin Mawire, a vendor at the
intersection of Angwa Street and Nelson Mandela Avenue, a stone's throw from
the MDC headquarters.
"I do not really understand how they can say they are disengaging but are
not pulling out. It is good for the party to come out clear and tell us
whether Tsvangirai is still Prime Minister. The problem is that most of
these positions are reached without any consideration of our situation."
The MDC-T will for the moment cease to attend Cabinet and Council of
Ministers meetings. It is technically and constitutionally impossible for
the other members of the unity government, ZANU-PF and the Movement for
Democratic Change faction led by Arthur Mutambara, to proceed with running
the government in the party's absence.
Efforts to revive the economy and address urgent problems in the health,
education and agriculture sectors will be frozen. The inclusive government
is supposed to spearhead the writing of a new constitution, but that process
is currently stalled due to lack of funds and differences over how the
process should be carried out.
The MDC-T and ZANU PF had been tussling over the failure to review
ministerial positions after six months, as agreed on Jan. 26. The party also
criticised what it termed "continuous selective and unequal application of
the rule of law".
The former opposition leader said his party would only participate in the
inclusive government when there was a "paradigm shift" by ZANU-PF. He said
Bennett's indictment was evidence of ZANU-PF's lack of commitment to the
Tsvangirai said while there was nothing wrong with officials being
prosecuted under the law, Bennett was "not being prosecuted, he is being
Bennett was indicted on charges of terrorism and banditry after seven months
on bail. Despite efforts by the prosecution, he was granted bail late in the
afternoon of Oct. 16 - bail conditions required him to pay 5,000 U.S.
dollars, and surrender his passport and title deeds to his property in
Harare. His trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 19 at the High Court.
Officials from ZANU-PF and the smaller formation of the MDC said their
parties would hold emergency meetings to review Tsvangirai's decision and
come up with a position.
Tsvangirai said they had "done everything in order to make this government w
Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:40pm GMT
HARARE, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's power-sharing government was shaken by
a boycott by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party on Friday, but
analysts say a complete collapse looks unlikely.
Tsvangirai and Mugabe formed a power-sharing government earlier this year to
try to end a decade-long crisis, but are still fighting a low-intensity
political battle ahead of an expected democratic election in about two
The country faces tough times ahead under the following likely scenarios:
POWER-SHARING GOVERNMENT JUST SURVIVES
* Leaders in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will engage
both Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mugabe's ZANU-PF
in talks to end the latest crisis.
* A full-scale emergency SADC summit appears unlikely in the coming couple
of weeks as the regional body had already tasked its committee on politics,
defence and security to handle the Zimbabwe dispute. The three-member panel
may convene an urgent meeting to discuss the crisis.
* Both Tsvangirai and Mugabe's parties will almost immediately start talking
to each other privately outside the SADC's mediation framework.
SADC is likely to force a compromise solution which will not satisfy both
parties but will be adequate enough to save the unity government.
COMBATANTS DIGGING IN FOR A FIGHT
* A compromise agreement may take some months to reach if hardliners
opposing camps dig to try to squeeze out the best deals for their parties.
The economy will slide back into severe crisis as the political battle rages
Fear and political violence may return to haunt the population, especially
in the countryside.
POWER-SHARING DEAL WRECKED
* Hardline opponents of the power-sharing deal in both Tsvangirai's MDC and
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party may take advantage of the latest crisis to wreck any
talks to save the government.
Some senior MDC figures have been grumbling privately that Tsvangirai has
been outwitted politically and that their MDC's investor-friendly
policies -- including an end to farm seizures -- have all been trashed by
Those on Mugabe's side opposed to the deal still see the MDC as a puppet
party bent on reversing ZANU-PF's policies on behalf of powerful Western
forces who want them tried on charges of rights abuses.
MUGABE'S ZANU-PF SOLDIERS ALONE
* If the hardliners on both sides of political divide win the day, Mugabe's
ZANU-PF will try to rule the country alone and is only likely to call new
elections in 2013 when they are due under the current constitution.
Western countries will intensify sanctions against Mugabe's party and the
country can almost forget about economic recovery for some years.
(Writing by Cris Chinaka)