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

MPs flee Zanu PF thugs
By Chengetai Zvauya, Senior Writer
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 08:23

HARARE - Members of Parliament, staff and journalists attending a public
hearing on electoral reforms fled for dear life yesterday as a Zanu PF mob
turned violent and disrupted proceedings in Marondera.

This comes after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s tour of the Mashonaland
East capital was almost derailed over the weekend by bussed militia from the
former ruling party, in what signals an undying inclination for violence by
Zanu PF.

“This is the usual barbarism that has been associated with Zanu PF. It is
clear these hooligans were acting on the instructions of their leaders,”
Douglas Mwonzora, chairman of the portfolio committee on justice legal
affairs, constitutional and parliamentary affairs said after the abandonment
of the meeting.

“Zanu PF does not want these public hearings but we shall continue holding
them. I am disappointed with the absence of the police because the MPs were
exposed to political danger without their protection,” said Mwonzora.

MPs running for dear life jumped into a waiting Parliament bus to escape
marauding militants who had been angered by contributions by a member of the
public suggesting tips for a free and fair election.

The MPs included Zanu PF MP for Mudzi Eric Navaya, Misheck Shoko (MDC)
Chitungwiza South, Dorothy Mangami (Zanu PF) Gokwe South, Pishai Muchauraya
(MDC) Makoni South, Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF) Chivi Central and Shepherd
Mushonga (MDC) Mazowe West.

The Bill seeks to ensure that election results are announced speedily and to
establish new mechanisms to prevent politically-motivated violence and
intimidation before and after elections, as well as introduce greater
transparency in the counting and collation of votes.

The ugly scenes and tense atmosphere at Marondera Hall marked the start of
the portfolio committee’s outreach programme to solicit public input on
proposed changes to electoral laws.

Trouble started when youths aligned to Zanu PF started heckling a person who
had identified himself as a representative of the Elections Victims
Association after he spoke against violence.

A group of people, who identified themselves as war veterans, led the
attacks together with youths wearing Zanu PF regalia who tried to eject him
out of the hall.

He resisted the moves resulting in pandemonium. The mob advanced towards the
high table where MPs were seated.

MDC MP Innocent Gonese tried to appeal for calm and allow the person to make
his contribution but his plea fell on deaf ears as the rowdy youths
continued heckling.

Sensing danger, the MPs sneaked through a backdoor without informing the
crowd that the meeting had been abandoned.
Gonese, who was chairing the meeting, said the legislators were left with no
option but to abandon the meeting and run for life.

“We had no option but to stop the meeting because people were clenching
their fists disrupting the meeting,” said Gonese.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF ‘empowerment’ group under new leadership

By Alex Bell
18 October 2011

The ZANU PF led Affirmative Action Group (AAG) is under new leadership,
after divisions within the group led to a vote of no-confidence in its
national executive.

The group is now being headed by Robert Mugabe’s nephew Philip Chiyangwa.

Over the weekend, former AAG head Supa Mandiwanzira resigned from his
position, along with four other senior national executive members.

Mandiwanzira, Tafadzwa Musarara (secretary-general), Elfas Mashaba
(treasurer-general), Farai Mutangamira (legal advisor) and Mrs Masuku
(second vice-president) said the decision was motivated by the desire “to
stay away from petty leadership squabbles”.

In a statement, the five said they would not continue serving at the highest
level of the institution “that certain individuals continue to think it is a
personal political pet project”.

They said they would continue pursuing their black economic empowerment
agenda from a different platform and they would be making further
announcements in due course.

In a letter to the AAG founding members, members from four provinces had
said they were unhappy with the leadership of the national executive. They
accused the executive of “not interacting with the grassroots” membership.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Biti urged to stop Mugabe trips

By Godfrey Mtimba
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 11:40

MASVINGO - Government blew $50 million on travel by President Robert Mugabe,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, their deputies and cabinet ministers last
month alone, according to finance minister Tendai Biti.

Biti told people gathered for a budget consultative meeting in Masvingo that
top government leaders had ignored his advice to cut on travel as well as
the large number of entourages that accompany government executives.

Residents who attended the meeting asked Biti to control runaway travel
expenses, particularlythose involving Mugabe.

The minister said he was powerless to stop the trips.

“I do not understand why those who travel continue to go with huge
delegations. It’s actually blatant, the size of delegations for outside
trips should be minimised but these guys continue to do that,” he said.

“But I do not have the power to stop them as the minister of finance as such
issues are approved by Cabinet,” Biti said, adding that so costly were the
trips that Treasury paid out $50 million on foreign travels alone in
September. The figure is equivalent to the money needed to buy Aids drugs
for people living with HIV/Aids for the next five years, according to health

Dr Owen Mugurungi, the Director for HIV and TB in the Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare, told a special parliamentary committee last week that
Zimbabwe needs about $50 million in the next five years to take care of more
than 1,1 million people living with HIV/Aids. These include 100 000

Infuriated Masvingo residents told Biti that uncontrolled spending by top
government leaders showed government’s lack of priorities.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai, their deputies, ministers and senior government
officials have travelled extensively since the formation of the coalition
government in February 2009.

The residents blamed the rampant travel for creating a hole in already
depleted government coffers.

One of the residents, Farai Chinobva told Biti that the coalition government
should put a stop to Mugabe’s travel excesses because he is abusing tax
payer’s money.

“We want to know why you continue to allocate huge amounts of money to the
President and his ministers when the country is reeling under a severe
economic crisis. We want you to cut the expenses as they are not justified,”
Chinobva told Biti.

“We cannot continue to watch these guys travel with big delegations getting
allowances from government when Treasury is said to be broke. So we are
saying that must be stopped,” said Chinobva.

“The big amounts of money used by these guys on foreign trips could be used
to address hunger in drought-stricken areas such as Chikombedzi. People
there are on the brink of losing life but you hear that millions of dollars
were used to finance the President’s trip accompanied by over 20 ministers
and other government officials plus security details,” said Chinobva.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Air Zim Sinks Deeper In Debt

By Nkosana Dlamini, Harare, October 18, 2011 – Zimbabwe’s troubled national
carrier Air Zimbabwe is operating at an appalling loss of US3,5 million a
month while its debt has surged to nearly US$138, the airline’s boss has

“Our cost of operating the business sits at about US$6 to US$7,5 million,”
Air Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer Innocent Mavhunga said Tuesday.

“Our income is between US$2,5 and US$3,5 million. So simple mathematics
would tell us there is a deficit averaging US$3,5 to US$5 million every

Mavhunga was presenting oral evidence before Parliament’s Portfolio
Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals chaired by Zvishavane-Runde
legislator Larry Mavhima on the state of affairs at the airline.

Mavhunga said the parastatal’s debt to date is sitting at US$137,7 million.

He attributed this to government restrictions on charging in foreign
currency during the Zim-Dollar era, shortage in foreign currency and “the
devastating effects of sanctions” felt by the air line.

Of this debt, US$112,7 is owed to local creditors.

In 2006, Mavhunga said, the airline’s debt was sitting at US$6 million but
ballooned over the last five years.

The Air Zimbabwe boss also cited a recurrent strike by the company pilots,
high operational costs for its aging aircrafts, diminishing passenger
confidence and continued interference into its operations by government as
some of the factors militating against the smooth operations of the company.

Mavhuma said the impact brought by the recent prolonged strike on the
airline will take up to a year to repair.

According to Mavhunga, Air Zimbabwe has seen a turnover of 12 successive
CEOs in the past decade who have all failed to rescue the company from its
worsening financial burden due to continued under capitalisation.

Currently, the airline is operating eight aircrafts and of these, three have
been grounded due to the fact that they are now beyond service.

The airline is also trapped with a bloated workforce of over 1000 employees
and is appealing for government funding to pay retrenchment packages to 400
employees most of whom have agreed to the retrenchment terms proposed by
their employer.

Air Zimbabwe last paid its workers in June this year while the continued
flight of passengers from the airline has forced it to shrink its

The airline is servicing three routes regionally namely Harare-Johannesburg,
Harare-Lusaka, Harare-Lubumbashi.

Internationally, Air Zimbabwe flies from Harare to countries, Malaysia,
China and London while flying from Harare to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls

The Air Zimbabwe boss appealed to government to inherit the entire debt of
the airline or give the airline at least US$40 million to restore viability
in the next six months.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Fears rise for Zim activist facing deportation from UK

By Alex Bell
18 October 2011

Fears are rising for the wellbeing of a Zimbabwean activist, set to be
deported from the UK this week.

Shamiso Kofi, also know as Caroline Shamiso Tagarira, is an active and
recognisable member of the London based protest group the Zimbabwe Vigil.
Last month, she was arrested and detained by UK immigration officials who
tried to deport her.

Vigil coordinator Rose Benton told SW Radio Africa that Shamiso was put on a
Kenyan Airways flight out of London, but she put up such a fight that the
pilot refused to take her. She was removed from the plane and has since been
detained at the Yarls Wood detention centre.

“I am not allowed to tell her full story, but she told me she is still in
pain from her experiences. She said she went through hell and just feels
like dying. She is also extremely frightened,” Benton explained.

Shamiso’s deportation has now been moved to Thursday, and she is set to be
deported on a Virgin Airways flight out of London. The Vigil has launched a
campaign calling on the public to pressure Virgin not to allow this to
happen. A petition has also been started asking the Home Office to halt her
removal, on the grounds that she might not be safe back in Zimbabwe.

People are also being urged to write to the UK’s Immigration Minister Damian
Green, the Home Secretary Theresa May and the MP from the area where Shamiso
lives, Stephen McPartland.

Benton meanwhile added that letters have been sent to Virgin boss Richard
Branson, asking why he is allowing his airline to deport people to a country
under control of a dictator that he wanted out of power.

It was revealed recently in a leaked diplomatic cable from the US Embassy
that Branson was involved in discussions aimed at trying to find a way to
remove Robert Mugabe in 2007. According to the cable, released by the
WikiLeaks website, Branson had meetings with Jonathan Moyo, Gideon Gono and
top African statesmen about how to make this happen, and then move the
country forward.

The billionaire businessman has confirmed these details. He told the UK’s
Independent newspaper the plan fell apart when he and his colleagues started
questioning whether Moyo and his supporters were the right people to partner
with to rebuild Zimbabwe.

The Vigil’s Benton said that Branson therefore “must be aware that Zimbabwe
is not a safe place to return nationals who have participated in activism
against the human rights abuses in that country.”

You can sign the Vigil’s petition and get details on other ways to campaign
for Shamiso by following this link:

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mutambara commutes to work weekly from South Africa

By Lance Guma
18 October 2011

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is costing tax payers thousands of
dollars every week flying business class between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Mutambara lives in the posh Sandton suburb of Johannesburg with his wife and
two kids but flies to Harare every Monday to do his job as Deputy Prime
Minister. Every Friday evening the former student leader flies back home to
South Africa.

SW Radio Africa has information that Mutambara is dropped off at Harare
Airport every Friday night and takes business class flights back to
Johannesburg. In South Africa members of the Zimbabwean embassy have to come
and meet him at the airport. We are told they are not too amused by this
weekly ritual.

In one incident last year embassy staff arrived late and Mutambara allegedly
blew his top and made such a fuss he was warned about his behaviour by
officials from the South African Foreign Affairs Department. Mutambara was
told if he repeated his behaviour he would be barred from entering South

Not only is Mutambara chewing up much needed taxpayer dollars with his
weekly commutes, but SW Radio Africa has information he is second only to
Mugabe in his expenditure on foreign trips. One trip to Davos, Switzerland
gobbled up over US$67,000 for his entourage. Other trips to the United
States and the United Kingdom have only added to his ballooning bill.

SW Radio Africa put this information to Mutambara in order to get his side
of the story and he told this reporter: “Washaya nyaya here? (Are you
desperate for stories?). He said he had no time to spend on commenting on
‘useless stories’ and that if we wanted comment on ‘developmental issues’ we
can contact him any time. Before we could explain the importance of our
story he ended the call.

In July Finance Minister Tendai Biti warned that government had blown US$30
million in foreign travel between January and June. Four months later that
figure is expected to have grown. Biti said the amount was unjustifiably
high given sectors like health and education were in desperate need of

“I appeal to the leadership of this country to strongly and boldly desist
from unnecessary travel or reduce their entourage,” Biti said. To curb this
unnecessary expenditure Biti said he would be drafting a Public Finances
Management Bill in order to try and restrict official spending to manageable

In July SW Radio Africa reported how Mugabe overshot his annual travel
budget by a massive 133 percent in just 6 months. He spent a total of
US$20.6 million of the US$30 million cited by Biti. The 87 year old has been
to the Far East several times seeking medical attention and other endless
summits across the globe. He regularly travels with an entourage of more
than 70 people each time he flies out.

Meantime in Zimbabwe Mutambara lives in ‘quite a small house’ in Marlborough
which he bought when he was still outside politics and working in the US. An
‘official’ house in Chisipite along Steppes Road is reportedly being built
or renovated by the government for Mutambara. It’s not clear if he
eventually moved into this house whether his weekly commutes to South Africa
would end.

Mutambara remains Deputy Prime Minister despite not leading any political
party and despite not winning a single election. This year in January the
smaller faction of the MDC replaced him at its congress, but instead of
stepping down as DPM to make way for the new leader Welshman Ncube in the
coalition government, Mutambara has continued to refuse to vacate the

The move prompted an angry response from the MDC led by Ncube, who later
claimed that they had ‘donated’ Mutambara to ZANU PF. The matter is now
before the courts, after a few Mutambara loyalists challenged the congress
that elected Ncube as President. The matter has continued to boil over,
especially during SADC mediated inter-party talks, given Mutambara does not
represent any party.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Army, Police Refuse To Pay US10m They Owe Council

Roy Chikara, Masvingo, October 17, 2011 - The Masvingo City Council is
failing to recover US 20 million owed by government departments of which
half of it belongs to the Army and Police.

Sources in the city council which is led by the Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai Movement Democratic Change (MDC-T) told Radio VOP that the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) had not paid
for their water tariffs and other services rendered by council despite
efforts by the city fathers to engage them.

The sources said the money owed had accumulated since the inception of the
multi currency system in the country in 2009 when the government of national
unity came into being.

“The city council is owed a lot by the army and the police and several other
government departments. They are refusing to pay their water tariffs and
other services they get from us, using their military muscles,” said an
insider who declined to be named.

He added that the issue had been discussed at length in council meetings but
the council could not take any resolution because they are afraid of the

It is alleged the city council cannot resort to disconnecting the water at
the army’s HQ4 brigade and 4:1 infantry battalion as it can be turned into a
security issue.

“You see if they try to take any action to the army or the police the issue
is turned to an issue of national security threat. So they do not have any
option to deal with this guys but this is impacting negatively on the
operations of the institution,” he added.

Masvingo City Mayor, Alderman Femias Chakabuda, confirmed the stand-off but
could not shed light on the exact figure the army, police and the government
owed the city council.

“We have been trying everything possible to get the money paid. The city
council is owed a lot of money by the government departments and the
military institutions but I am not sure about the exact amount you can check
with the city treasurer," Mayor Chakabuda told Radio VOP.

“You seen at times we do our budgets and include such debtors assuming that
they will pay but they don’t so all our plans are affected negatively. We
need money to deliver quality service for the residents and these people.
Sometimes we this is affecting our residents who are innocent as they pay
their dues in time,” he added.

Efforts to get a comment from ZNA provincial spokesperson, Warrant Officer,
Kingston Chivave were fruitless as his mobile was not reachable while his
counterpart, ZRP provincial spokesperson, Inspector, Tinaye Matake refused
to comment and referred all questions his boss in Harare, Police
spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena.

“I can’t comment to you call the PGHQ and speak to Bvudzijena,” said Matake.

Efforts to get a comment form Bvudzijena were not fruitful.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

State opposes bail application

By Tendai Kamhungira, Court Writer
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 09:26

HARARE - MDC youth assembly chairperson Solomon Madzore, facing murder
charges, should remain in remand prison because he is likely to flee if
freed on bail, the state has argued.

Prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba yesterday filed papers opposing Madzore’s High
Court bail application after the matter had previously been postponed on two

He argues that Madzore is not a suitable candidate for bail. The matter is
expected to proceed today before Justice Hlekani Mwayera.

Madzore, who is represented by Gift Mutisi, is part of 28 people arrested
for allegedly murdering a policeman, Petros Mutedza, in Glen View in May.

He is part of nine suspects who are still in custody in connection with the
murder after 19 others were granted bail by the High Court.

The state alleges Mutedza had gone to Glen View 3 as part of a team that was
assigned to disperse a group of alleged MDC supporters.

The group allegedly fought running battles with the police, before Mutedza
was struck with a brick.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Madzore’s bail judgment set for Thursday

By Tichaona Sibanda

18 October 2011

MDC-T youth leader Solomon Madzore will have to wait until Thursday to find
out if he will be set free from custody on murder charges.

Madzore was arrested two weeks ago and is facing trumped-up charges of
murdering police inspector Petros Mutedza in Glen View, back in May. Police
arrested onlyMDCsupporters, claiming party activists killed the cop at a
local pub, despite evidence many were not even at that location on the day.

The urgent High Court bail application by Madzore was first postponed from
last week Wednesday to Friday. On Friday it was postponed to Monday after
the State prosecutor said he was not ready.

On Monday Justice Hlekani Mwayera postponed the ruling to Tuesday, saying
she needed time to review the state’s response. On Tuesday it was decided
that judgment will be delivered on Thursday. Unless they find some other way
of continuing to delay this.

The State is opposing bail claiming that Madzore has been on the run for the
past five months and that he is a flight risk and has contacts

The youth leader is one of 28MDCmembers who have been arrested since May on
charges of murdering Mutedzaa police officer at Glen View 3 Shopping Centre.
The police officer was murdered by unknown revellers at a night club.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Minister Accuses NGOs of Destabilization in League With West

17 October 2011

National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations Secretary General
Godwin Phiri said such attacks on NGOs have long been a feature of
Zimbabwean politics

Tatenda Gumbo | Washington

Zimbabwean Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo has accused civic
groups of working with the West to promote instability and an agenda of
regime change.

Chombo, of the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe, was speaking late
last week in Zaka district, Masvingo province, at a ceremony handing over
food aid under the government’s Zunde Ramambo ("Chief's Granary") program.

He said non-governmental organizations should seek to complement government
efforts rather than, as he charged, trying to destabilize it with the help
of Western nations.

Chombo said all non-governmental organization programs should be approved by
relevant government authorities or face closure.

National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations Secretary General
Godwin Phiri said such attacks on NGOs have long been a feature of
Zimbabwean politics.

He said it is time ministers avoided such rhetoric as Zimbabwean
non-governmental organizations are making a critical contribution to
national development.

ZANU-PF politicians have often accused International and Zimbabwean
non-governmental organizations of pursuing hidden agendas, especially in
electoral periods. Before the 2008 elections President Mugabe's government
of the time issued directives barring most field activities of
non-governmental organizations.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Not Paying 1,000 Teachers Rehired After Unity Gov't Formed

17 October 2011

PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said teacher representatives have demanded
that the government urgently address the situation, as some of rehired
teachers have abandoned their classrooms

Gibbs Dube | Washington

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said Monday that the country's
Public Service Commission owes more than two years of salaries to more than
1,000 teachers who rejoined the public service in 2009 when the new unity
government declared an amnesty for those who had left the profession for
various reasons.

PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said teacher representatives have demanded
that the government urgently address the situation, as some of rehired
teachers have abandoned their classrooms and left the country because of
non-payment of salaries.

Zhou said politics appeared to be a factor in the issue as many unpaid
teachers are members of the former opposition Movement for Democratic

He said the 8,000 teachers who responded to the amnesty were also victimized
because the Public Service Commission only gave them 12-month contracts, not
permanent posts.

VOA Studio 7 was unable to reach Education Minister David Coltart or Public
Service Minister Lucia Mativenga immediately for comment.

Zhou said Public Service Commission staff must be held accountable.

"It is surprising that the government is victimizing these professionals at
a time when it is looking for teachers in order to revive the education
sector," he said.

Political analyst George Mkhwanazi said he believes some Public Service
Commission staff with ties to ZANU-PF are discriminating against the rehired

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe to Award 2 Commercial Radio Licenses

VOA 1 hour ago

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Authority has held the first of four public
hearings to scrutinize applications for two commercial radio licenses. But
there are concerns the licenses have already been awarded to allies of
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, and that the hearings are a sham.

KissFM was the first of four finalists for two commercial radio licenses to
present their bid in a public hearing held in Harare. But CEO Musi Khumalo
was unwilling to speak about the bid, or what the company hopes to achieve
if their application is successful.

"Really I feel so bad. I am one of you, but this is a bid under
consideration so it might not be appropriate for us to speak. Not right
now," said Khumalo.

KissFM would be funded by regional banking group BancABC, and bank CEO
Douglas Munatsi would be a major KissFM shareholder.

Another applicant is Radio VOP (Voice of the People), which currently
broadcasts two hour-long shows daily into Zimbabwe on Radio Netherlands
Worldwide. The third applicant is ABC, widely believed in Zimbabwe to be a
project of the Mugabe family. And the last is the state-owned Zimbabwe
Papers group which publishes The Herald, a newspaper aligned to President
Mugabe's ZANU-PF.

Some observers say the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has already
decided to award the two licenses to ABC and Zimbabwe Papers. They say this
would make a mockery of a requirement in Zimbabwe's 2008 global political
agreement to open the airwaves to independent operators. That agreement led
to the establishment of Zimbabwe's unity government.

However, BAZ chairman Tafataona Mahoso says the process is being conducted
in terms of the law and that the decision is yet to be made.

"It is a public process and it is done according to law. As soon as we
finish the adjudication, the adjudication begins after the last hearing and
then we do the adjudication. This is one of four I think shortlisted and
they are publicly known," said Mahoso.

The hearing was disrupted several times by a ZANU-PF-aligned group calling
themselves Wealth to the Youth. Spokesman Thomas Katewera told VOA young
people should be the ones who get the licenses.

"Young journalists should be the ones who actually get licenses to go into
this sector as an empowerment move," said Katewera. "This is what is
bringing us here. To lobby for our young journalists who are members of
youth, to enter this, and licenses should be given to them. This is what we
are talking about."

Some observers say it is unlikely the licenses will be issued before next
year. Once that happens, it will break the monopoly of the state-owned
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Aspiring Radio Broadcasting Company To Work With ZBC

Harare, October 18, 2011 -Public enquiries for radio licence applicants
commenced in Harare on Tuesday with Hot Media trading as KISS FM revealing
that when licenced it will work with the state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) for its news productions.

Presenting its roadmap, the aspiring radio broadcaster’s Chief Executive
Musi Khumalo, told the gathering that her station when given the licence
will partner with Transmedia.

“Our Radio station will be predominantly music and entertainment. Our
programming format has a component of news and we are looking to partner
with the national broadcaster for some of our news content...".

The public responded angrily to Kiss Media’s plans to get news from ZBC
citing its bias to ZANU (PF).

“We do not see the real change which you are going to bring in the
broadcasting industry if you are going to take news from ZBC whose
credibility is questionable," asked one observer from the public gallery.
"ZBC’s news is unbalanced, inaccurate and biased towards one political party
and for you to get news from them is not going to do any good to Zimbabweans
who are in dire need of professional journalism.”

“We are not going to use everything from ZBC but taping resources from
there. If you have issues with ZBC there can be channelled to that
organisation, “she responded.

Kiss FM also announced that it will be partnering with Zimbabwe's signal
carrier, Transmedia, in reaching out to the public.

Transmedia is struggling to service the one and only broadcaster ZBC by
failing to reach all the corners of the country.

KISS FM comprises banker Douglas Munatsi(board chair), Musi Khumalo (company
Chief executive) Sharon Mugabe(non-Executive director) Oliver
Mtukudzi(Non-Executive Director),Joseph Zimuto(Non-Executive
Director),Phibion Gwatidzo(Non-Executive Director),Tony Ndoro
(Head-Programming),George Munetsi(Programs manager),Bertha Charuma(Senior
Announcer and Chris Masikati(technical consultant).

Two more public hearings are expected this month out of the 14 who applied
for a radio licence.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SA deportees include Gukurahundi survivors: ZAPU

Tuesday, 18 October 2011 10:58 Editor News

By Methuseli Moyo

ZAPU calls on the Government to put in place comprehensive measures to
receive and reintegrate into society Zimbabwean deportees from South Africa
and Botswana. We are concerned that the three co-ruling parties do not have
any plan on the table to deal with the situation.

The deportees return home to face hunger and unemployment, and may be forced
to resort to illegal and dehumanizing means of survival such as crime and
prostitution. Some may be forced to reenter South Africa and Botswana
illegally, risking arrest and harm in the process. Zapu calls on the
Inclusive Government to immediately deliberate on the problem and come up
with a programme of detailing, following up and assisting the deportees
reintegrate into society. This could be through government funded self help
projects and land allocation in cities and districts for settlement and
commercial use.

Zapu also calls on the NGO community to also focus on the problem and come
up with intervention programmes and projects to alleviate the predicament of
the returnees. Some of them left the country long back and have no formal
qualifications, no savings, and in some cases no families.

Zapu calls on the government to allocate land to the returnees in their home
provinces for them to engage in income generating projects such as
horticulture, poultry, piggery, among other short term projects. If the
government does not take the initiative, there could be problems soon in
some areas such as Matabeleland North and South where most of the deportees
originate from. To compound the situation, most productive land in the two
provinces has been allocated to people from outside the region. This could
soon be a source of conflict. We therefore call on the government to act
fast on the matter.

Zapu also calls on the Registrar General’s office to take the initiative and
ensure that the deportees are assisted to obtain identity documents such as
birth certificates, identity cards and passports for them to lead a normal
life. Some of them left Zimbabwe when they were young and never acquired
identity particulars, while some may have lost parents during Gukurahundi.
No death certificates were issued out for people killed or kidnapped during
Gukurahundi, making it difficult for their children to obtain birth

Zapu calls on the RG’s office to come up with ways of going round the
problem for the returnees to have a normal life.

The writer is ZAPU Director Communication, Marketing and Publicity, ZAPU
Southern Region.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC election campaign to target young voters

By Tichaona Sibanda
18 October 2011

The MDC-T will run a massive campaign to encourage young voters to register
for the next crucial elections, now expected in the last quarter of 2012.

Promise Mkwananzi, the firebrand secretary-general of the Youth Assembly,
told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that they’ve put in place a versatile and
robust voter registration campaign targeting three million new voters.

‘If you look at world events, starting with the election of Barack Obama,
young voters have been on the forefront for change. Only recently in Zambia
young voters played a role and got the change they wanted, so I don’t see
why that cannot work in Zimbabwe,’ Mkwananzi said.

The MDC-T believes a large turnout of young voters, many of whom are
unemployed, is likely to play a significant role in dislodging Robert Mugabe
from power.

Though admitting that victory will not come cheap, Mkwananzi said their
party had endeared itself to young voters and to voters disillusioned by the
consistent failure of ZANU PF to provide jobs and deliver better living

‘We know ZANU PF is all about violence but the MDC will have in its
possession a much deadlier arsenal in three million young voters. ZANU will
go into the next election guns blazing, but young voters could still cause a
major upset.

‘We want young people to be on the forefront for this drive for change. It
is incumbent upon them to drive the process of change, they should author
their own destiny by putting a government in place that will be able to
deliver on issues and interests of young people,’ the secretary-general

He said the MDC-T had failed sometimes in the past to transform some of its
support base into votes. He said fear could have played a major part in
people failing to register. But they have set in motion a robust campaign to
ensure every MDC supporters registers to vote.

‘This is a watershed election whereby the party itself is putting in place
mechanisms to protect the vote of the people. This will not be an ordinary
vote; this will not be a meaningless vote.

‘It is a vote that will change the course of history in the Zimbabwe
politics for ever,’ Mkwananzi added.

Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai is set to lock horns again with Mugabe in the
next election, which analysts say is now likely to be held in the last
quarter of 2012.

The MDC-T leader on Sunday urged the 87 year-old Mugabe to step down from
active politics, warning him he faces a poll drubbing should he stand as a
ZANU PF candidate. Speaking at a party rally in Marondera on Sunday,
Tsvangirai said Mugabe risked further denting his legacy if he contested the
next presidential poll. ZANU PF has already announced that Mugabe will be
their presidential candidate for the forthcoming elections.

Tsvangirai also reiterated what analysts believe is the only possible time
scale for elections, when he told journalists that an election would likely
not be held until the second half 2012.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Miners decry high bank tariffs

By Taurai Mangudhla, Business Writer
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 10:28

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines (Comz) has called on government to
set a ceiling on interest rates and bank charges, saying they are too high
and are stifling the sector’s growth.

The mining body yesterday told a budget consultative meeting that the state
should put a lid on “exorbitant” bank levies to stimulate borrowing for
capital expenditure across the economy.

“I was talking to someone who works for a bank and they told me that their
bank charges 22 percent for loans. This is too high and when it becomes
extremely difficult for us to source funds from these local banks.

“This simply means that for every $1 million the bank gets about $220 000
from interests alone,” said Comz mineral economist David Matyanga, adding
that it was currently illogical for the industry to acquire funds from local
banks at huge interest rates.

Lovemore Pazvakavambwa, an economic consultant, said the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe and the finance ministry should come up with cost reflective
tariffs in place of the unjustified high interest rates and levies.

“How then do banks justify their exorbitant rates considering that Zimbabwe’s
inflation is less than five percent and other international banks, like
those in London for instance, charge three or four percent above the
inflation rate,” he said.

“It clearly demonstrates that something is wrong, there is no
synchronisation between the fiscal and the monetary authority,”
Pazvakavambwa added.

Comz is led by Mimosa managing director Winston Chitando.

Banks have come under fire from consumers over high bank charges with the
John Mushayavanhu-led Bankers Association of Zimbabwe defending its members
saying the charges are comparable to the regional standards, although they
differ slightly due to high cost of utilities.

According to depositors, banks charge an average $3 per transaction while an
interest as little as 3 percent can be earned annually.

The Chamber of Mines says its members require between $6 billion and $8
billion to fully restore production over the next five to eight years.

Zimbabwe has been unable to attract foreign direct investment due to
policies like the Indeginisation Act which require all foreign-owned firms
to cede a minimum 51 percent threshold to local blacks, leaving mines with
no choice but to source the much needed capital resource locally.

The mines body also expressed concern over the high tax charges in the
country, saying that they were above regional standards.

Isaac Kwesu, a Comz economist also said, government tax chewed a huge chunk
of mines’ revenue leaving the shareholder with very little to enjoy.

“Government tax and levies alone accounts for 15 percent of our cost and the
mine owner gets less than 8 percent which is by far below regional averages
of 22 percent and the international rates of between 15 and 20 percent,” he

Statistics from Comz indicate that the mining sector accounted for 65
percent of exports in 2010, up from 50 percent in 2009 and accounts for a
third of imports.

The Chamber of Mines says it expects mineral to account for 59 percent of
the country’s exports at the end of 2011.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZESN chairman Tinoziva Bere on Question Time

Zimbabwe Election Support Network chairman, Tinoziva Bere, is the guest on
Question Time. He joined SW Radio Africa journalists Lance Guma to discuss
preparations for possible elections next year and some of the laws being put
in place. Is Zimbabwe ready for a free and fair election? What needs to be
put in place to achieve this? ZESN also observed elections in Zambia; what
can Zimbabwe learn from them?
by SW Radio Africa

Interview broadcast 05 October 2011

Lance Guma: Hallo Zimbabwe and thank you for joining me on Question Time The
chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Tinoziva Bere, is the
guest on the programme. He joins us to discuss preparations for possible
elections next year and some of the laws being put in place.

And we know Zambia recently held its elections and chose a new president; we’ll
also be getting his views on that particular election. Of course we asked SW
Radio Africa listeners to send in their questions using Face Book, Twitter,
Skype, email and text messages and the hope is that Mr Bere will answer some
of your questions. Mr Bere thank you for joining us.

Tinoziva Bere: Thanks Lance and thank you for having me on the programme.

Guma: Okay now the Zimbabwe Election Support Network deployed a 15 member
delegation to observe the tri-partite elections in Zambia; the team observed
the pre-election and post-election phases of the presidential, parliamentary
and local government election. Just as a starting point, how is it that the
Zambians were able to pull this one off whilst in Zimbabwe, we generally

Bere: Well for as long as Zimbabwe has been independent, Zambia has been
holding elections and you will remember the historic elections that were
held by President Kenneth Kuanda and the fact that he established a practise
then of leaving office after he had been defeated by Chiluba; that practise
has been accepted and it has been respected and I think that is what we saw
in place.

So Zambia has stronger traditions of observing or respecting views of the
people and the choices of the people than in Zimbabwe. They struggled with
one-party state but they overcame it and once they overcame it, you saw that
Kaunda left office, after him, Chiluba left office, and so on and so on and
Zimbabwe has had one ruler throughout that period so their traditions are
stronger that ours.

Guma: So as far as comparing Zimbabwe and Zambia is concerned, Zimbabwe is
still at the Kenneth Kuanda phase?

Bere: I would say that is where we are and there are many comparisons that
you could make. The only thing that you found comparable to Zimbabwe was
hate speech through the national media which was supporting the incumbent
but other than that a lot of other things were different – there were more
freedoms; civil society was allowed, the independent media was fairly strong
and independent and you also found that the police and the army stayed out
of politics, they did not make any slogans or declarations and on election
day, they allowed people to vote freely and where there were instances of
violence they responded impartially. So we do have differences that we can
point to and lessons that we can learn from Zambia.

Guma: Okay now in June I think we had the Electoral Amendment Bill or the
draft Electoral Amendment Bill being gazetted, ZESN has issued a preliminary
statement on this Amendment Bill drawing on your own observations. In terms
of addressing some of the problems that we’ve seen in past elections, do you
see the proposed laws doing this?

Bere: They do so in parts and in other parts they create problems. Let me
list the problems immediately – the provision that it provides for five year
imprisonment and creates a crime for announcing anything that sounds like
results is clearly not modern practise and it militates against scientific
estimation of what the results are likely to be and so we are concerned
about that but in other respects it tries to address the concerns that have
been raised over a period of time. Whether it will succeed in terms of
implementation is quite another thing.

Guma: Now from Mutare we have a question from Talent who says there has been
a lot of discussion on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and his question is
much has been made about the role of the Secretariat with allegations that
oh it is packed with CIOs; so his question really is – having the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission itself, how different is this from the old Commission
and can they guarantee a free and fair election?

Bere: I should say that something positive happened at the Electoral
Commission and it was the appointment of a new Commission and a new
chairperson. It is something which ZESN welcomed and over the few months
that they have been in office we have advocated that they get as much
support as they possibly can. We believe they should be given a chance but
in respect if the Secretariat, there have been no changes and the concerns
that have been expressed are legitimate and our hope has been that the
Commission would reform the Secretariat and grow its capacity to impartially
implement an election. So the concerns are understandable and ZESN also has
similar concerns.

Guma: Is it a bit of a problematic area though when it’s meant to be an
independent Electoral Commission, because I’ve seen Patrick Chinamasa the
Justice Minister making this argument that if it is an independent body why
meddle with the secretariat, it ceases to become independent. Is that a
valid argument to make?

Bere: If there was no history it would be a valid argument but because there
is history that argument is not valid. There is history of the Secretariat
having been determined by only those who are in power at the time and there
is also history of persons having come out of security forces to occupy
positions within the Secretariat. And there’s also history that it’s the
same Secretariat that failed us last time when they refused to announce
results which they had, so the argument would not be valid.

Guma: On Twitter we have a question from Jonathan who says they are not very
clear on whether Zimbabwe is going to have a completely new voters’ roll or
the old one is just going to be purged and refined so basically I think they
want to know are we having a completely new roll when all is said and done?

Bere: The new Section, which is Section 36A which is being introduced by
Clause 9 of the proposed Bill, envisages the president on the advice of the
Commission calling for a completely new registration of voters. Now there is
a possibility but not a certainty, the Commission may not advise the
president to do so and even on the advice, the president may not call for a
new voters’ roll.

And going by the signs and attitudes of the man who controls the voters’
roll but is not controlled by the Commission, Mudede, it feels like he
believes that the voters’ roll he is holding is a new one, I mean, is a
clean one, and he is unlikely to agree to its replacement. But certainly the
election will struggle if the voters’ roll which has been condemned is not

Guma: Now there’s a word often used – biometric – we have one listener here
who wants to understand what does that mean? Do we currently have a
biometric voters’ roll or is this a suggestion for something completely
different? Could you explain that in detail?

Bere: We don’t have a biometric voters’ roll in Zimbabwe; Zambia had that
kind of voters’ roll. What it entails is various ways of capturing the
biological features on a person; it might be capturing their eyes or
capturing their fingerprints or capturing their image on the voters’ roll
itself and on the voter identification and it is used to avoid fraud in
terms of voting several times and so on and having an accurate voters’ roll
and in Zambia it was used very effectively.

Guma: There has also been great debate on the issue of ward-based voting. I
remember reading an article in the Zimbabwe Standard where, Zimbabwe
Independent I think, where they were basically saying if the MDC agree to
that, Zanu PF might as well be declared the winner of the election because
they will be able to use their militants to sway the way people vote. What
is your position regarding ward-based voting? Are there advantages and

Bere: ZESN supports the concept as a principle and as best practise that as
has been used elsewhere but ZESN has also cautioned against the risk of
abuse. If there’s no elimination of intimidation, threats and of violence,
the kind we saw in June 2008, then ward-based voters’ roll can actually be
used to undermine free choice.

Let me give you an illustration: in my home area, if there is a polling
station and the voters’ roll is based on the ward, it will mean that it is
me, my family and our neighbors who will be only be able to go to vote at
our nearby school and when the streams are determined it will be clear which
box has Bere family and which box has Mugayi family and which box has Katema
family and it will then be easy to intimidate people by saying we know who
you voted for, we will know what you did and we are going to evict you from
this area or some such threats.

So because of the risk of intimidation it is felt that within a constituency
it is better for people to choose where they go to vote than restrict them
and therefore expose them to the risk of intimidation. But in terms of best
practise and avoiding fraud it is the best way to do it; that’s the best
practise. So maybe we should focus on dealing with the threats of violence
and intimidation in order to minimize the disadvantages that this good
practise or the ward-based voters’ roll has.

Guma: Now that takes us to the issue of political violence as you rightfully
point out. A lot has been said about this and Zimbabweans have gone through
a lot in previous elections. When one looks at the activities of a vigilante
group like Chipangano in Mbare, it does not look promising that we will have
another violence-free election, possibly next year?

Bere: Yah, in fact what has happened is they have perfected the methods.
Instead of doing it at one time in a very visible way, in Harare, certain
parts of Harare they have created a culture of fear and intimidation and
compulsion for people to attend certain meetings and terrorism in the
streets of Harare to avoid any freedom even to demonstrate against something
that people don’t agree and it is said that the police has not stopped this
creation and maintenance of a militia which is called Chipangano and the
other one.

They know who are sponsoring those and they know who is behind them and they
could arrest them and end it but it has not been stopped and unless that is
addressed we will see more structures such as Chipangano created in other
areas for purposes of the election and this time they won’t deploy a
military person, they have already trained people.

It will just be these party members who are organized along Chipangano’s
way, they will stop traffic, they will force meetings, they will do as they
please and I think it is legitimate to demand security sector reform before
elections are held in this country and the Chipangano is evidence of that.

Guma: From Chipinge is an email from Gerald who wants, I don’t know whether
it’s clarity or just an answer on the issue of the Diaspora vote; why is it
so complicated to have that included? Lots of people in South Africa, the
United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, America who want to participate in
national politics and want to vote – why is it so hard to put in a Diaspora
vote within our electoral laws?

Bere: I think it is not that it is hard or impossible; I think it is that it
is not, it has not been agreed. The parties have not agreed on doing it.

Guma: Diplomats in different parts of the world are allowed to vote, members
of the army and police who are deployed in different parts of the world vote
using postal voting.

Bere: That is true and so this is why I said it is not that it is
impossible. I think it has challenges, it has demands on resources but there
are no resources that can be spared to allow people a choice. The reason why
it has not been done and is unlikely to be done soon is because the two
political parties who have to, the two political formations who have to
agree, have not agreed.

There’s one in the, one of the parties who are afraid of the Diaspora vote,
who believe that it will weaken their position and therefore are opposed to
it so until that is resolved it will continue to be an issue under
discussion and a controversial issue but ZESN’s view is that every vote
counts and every vote must be permitted and certainly the Diaspora vote is a
material vote for this country, this is their country, they have a right to
make a choice.

They have gone outside the country, not by choice but by circumstances; they
are trying to earn a living because our country has been impoverished for
reasons that everybody knows. So people are trying to earn a living, they
should not be penalized for going out of the country to earn a living, they
should be allowed to vote and the mechanism can be put in place and
fraud-proofing that system is also possible but it is the people who rule
us – until they agree that it happens, it will look like it will continue to
be a debate.

Guma: Well finally let’s look at the relationship between the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network and the government; the last time I remember quite
clearly government refusing to accredit you to observe the election and they
threw all sorts of accusations at you. How would you describe the current

Bere: The relationship between ZESN and all institutions of government, we
believe it is respectful and professional. There are a few individuals who
may hold views that are different from that which the government holds but
ZESN operates legally in the country, it has not been banned, it does not
have to agree with everybody but we are apolitical and we have insisted that
we continue to be apolitical and professional in the way we approach the
issue of elections. We have good dialogue with the ZEC and we want that
dialogue to continue.

Guma: So you do not foresee any problems next year when they refuse to
recognize you?

Bere: Well we will deal with it when it happens but as of now we believe we
are a grouping of Zimbabwean NGOs that are legitimately engaged in lobby and
advocacy for better elections in this country and we believe we have the
right to exist and that right has been respected so far by everybody who
really matters and because of that, we are quite hopeful that we will
observe elections unless the elections are not credible elections.

Guma: Well Zimbabwe that’s chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network, Mr Tinoziva Bere, joining us on this edition of Question Time. Mr
Bere thank you so much for your time.

Bere: Thank you, thank you Lance

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Parliamentary Committees Series - 17th October 2011 [Meetings Open to Public 18 - 20 October]



[17th October 2011]

Committee Meetings Open to the Public: 18th to 20th 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 at 1 pm today. 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.


This week’s meetings schedule was released too late to circulate details of today’s open meetings.

Tuesday 18th October at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: State Enterprises and Parastatals

Oral evidence on the operations of Air Zimbabwe

Committee Room No. 2

Chairperson: Hon Mavima Clerk: Ms Chikuvire

Portfolio Committee: Industry and Commerce

Oral evidence from the Competititon and Tariff Commission on its mandate, challenges and successes experienced in executing that mandate

Committee Room No. 311

Chairperson: Hon Mutomba Clerk: Ms Matara

Thursday 20th October at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: Small and Medium Enterprises

Oral evidence from Chitungwiza Municipality on issues related to Stand Nos 3086, 3087 and 3091 St Mary’s.

Committee Room No. 1

Chairperson: Hon R. Moyo Clerk: Ms Mushunje

Portfolio Committee: Education, Sport and Culture

Oral evidence from Minister of Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture on textbook tendering and distribution

Committee Room No. 4

Chairperson: Hon Mangami Clerk: Ms Chikuvire

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

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Constitution Watch Content Series 8/2011 - 15th October 2011



[15th October 2011]

The Legislature Part I

The legislative branch of government is the branch of government which makes laws for the country. A legislature embodies the idea that people are the source of political power in the State and should control the law-making process. It is an institution of representative democracy under which the people elect representatives to act for them, as opposed to direct democracy under which the people enact legislation themselves through referendums or mass assemblies.

In this country the legislative branch is constituted by Parliament, which is divided into two separate chambers or houses, namely the Senate and the House of Assembly. Zimbabwe therefore has a “bicameral” or two-chamber legislature. This was not always the case. From 1923 until 1969 this country had a single-chamber (or “unicameral”) legislature. Then in 1970 a Senate was established and legislative power was divided, as now, between the Senate and the House of Assembly. Zimbabwe continued to have a bicameral legislature until 1990, when the Senate was abolished and a single-chamber Parliament was created. In 2005 the Senate was re-established and our legislature has remained bicameral.

Now that Zimbabwe stands poised to draft a new constitution, the structure and functions of the legislature, and its relationship with other branches of government, must be considered afresh. This Constitution Watch looks at issues facing the constitution-makers under the following headings:

1. Should the legislature be unicameral or bicameral (i.e. should it consist of one chamber or two)?

2. If there are to be two chambers, what should their relationship be to each other?

3. As to the membership of the legislature:

Should all the members be elected?

Should members of Executive (i.e. Ministers) be allowed to sit and vote in the legislature?

If a member leaves the party to which he or she belonged at the time of his or her election, should that party have the right to have the member’s seat declared vacant or can she or he “floor-cross”, (i.e. join another party) or stay on as an independent. Or if a member who won a seat as an independent joins a party, can he or she remain an MP and represent that party, or should there be a by-election so that the constituency can decide.

What privileges should members have?

4. As to legislation:

Should legislation passed by the legislature require the assent of the Head of State?

Should the procedure for passing legislation be laid down in the Constitution or left to be worked out by the legislature in its standing orders?

5. What powers should the legislature have over national finance?

6. Should the Head of State have the power to dissolve or adjourn the legislature and to fix the dates of its sessions?

These issues will be dealt with in turn.

1. Should there be a Bicameral or Unicameral Legislature?

The answer to this question depends on the answers to two subsidiary questions:

Are there interest-groups who need to be represented in a separate chamber?

In Britain there were historical reasons based on class stratification for having two houses and Zimbabwe “inherited” the system, but these reasons do not apply in Zimbabwe. But there may be interest groups such as women, the chiefs, disabled persons, etc, who may not get adequate representation in a directly-elected single-chamber Parliament. If they are to be given separate representation, then procedures must be laid down carefully in the constitution and the electoral law to ensure that the electoral or appointment processes are fair and not dominated by the party in power. Alternatively specific representation could be given to provinces in the Senate; for example the US Senate has equal representation for all member states and South Africa’s upper chamber is the National Council of Provinces.

Would a second chamber, i.e. a Senate, significantly improve the quality of legislation?

The main justification for a Senate which has been advanced in Zimbabwe is that it would be composed of mature statesmen and women who would reconsider legislation passed by the lower house and, where necessary, curb the excesses of the people’s elected representatives. If that was the hope of proponents of a Senate, they must have been disappointed. When one compares legislation passed in the years when we had a Senate with the legislation passed by a unicameral Parliament, one finds no noticeable difference in quality. Most of the amendments the Senate has made to legislation over the years have arisen from second thoughts on the part of the Government rather than from initiatives by senators. It has also been suggested that creating a Senate would prevent the fast-tracking of legislation which makes Parliament a rubber-stamp of the Executive, but the present Senate been has not been able to achieve this.

Set against the negligible advantages of having a Senate in Zimbabwe there is a serious disadvantage: cost. The expense of having a second chamber is considerable and the country can ill afford it. The only other reason for a Senate –usually unspoken – is that it has proved a convenient depository for political parties to reward their members. This reason does not benefit the nation as a whole and is no justification for a Senate.

On balance, therefore, it would be better for the country if the new constitution provided for a unicameral legislature.

2. Relationship Between the Chambers of a Bicameral Legislature

If there is to be a bicameral legislature, the new constitution will have to regulate the relationship between the two chambers. The present constitution does this. Generally, both chambers have equal law-making power and all Bills must be passed by both chambers before they can be sent to the President for assent and promulgation as Acts of Parliament. But:

The House of Assembly has primary responsibility for initiating and passing “money Bills”, i.e. Bills relating to taxation and State revenues (para 6 of Schedule 4 to the Constitution). The Senate cannot initiate such Bills and cannot amend them if they have been initiated in the House of Assembly.

If there is disagreement between the Senate and the House of Assembly over whether or not to pass a Bill or whether or not to amend it, the Senate can delay the Bill for 90 days only. After that time, the House of Assembly can resolve to overrule the Senate and send the Bill to the President for assent (para 3 of Schedule 4).

The House of Assembly also has the ultimate say in whether Parliament will accept Parliamentary Legal Committee adverse reports on statutory instruments.

If there is to be a Senate in the new constitution, and if most of its members are to be elected by ordinary voters, its legislative powers should probably be equal to that of the lower House; in other words, it should have the same power as the lower House to initiate, amend and reject Bills, including money bills. Which brings one back to the question – what is the point of having a Senate?

3. Membership of the Legislature

Should all the members be elected?

Ever since Independence some members of the legislature have been appointed by the President:

In the original Lancaster House constitution, six senators were appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister (section 33(1)(d) of the original Constitution), but there were no appointed members of the House of Assembly.

When the Senate was abolished in 1989 by Constitution Amendment No. 9, provision was made for the unicameral Parliament to have among its members eight Provincial Governors appointed by the President and an additional 12 presidential appointees

Now that the Senate has been reinstated, it contains 10 Provincial Governors appointed by the President and five other appointed members (section 34(1)(b) & (e) of the Constitution as amended by Constitution Amendment No. 18). In addition the GPA has added further appointed members in the form of Vice-Presidents, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and their proxies (article 20.1.8 of the GPA) and these additional appointees are spread between the two Houses.

The appointment of members of the legislature by the President goes against the doctrine of separation of powers, under which none of the three branches of government should control or unduly influence the others. In the new constitution, therefore, neither the President nor the Prime Minister (if there is one) should have power to appoint members of the legislature. All the members should be elected.

How they should be elected will be dealt with in another Constitution Watch which will consider electoral systems. One point should be made here, however: if there is to be a Senate, there should be some differentiation between the election of senators and the election of members of the other chamber, otherwise the Senate will be a clone of the lower chamber. This differentiation may be achieved in either of two ways:

By making the electorate different for senators and members of the other chamber. For example, senators could be elected on a provincial basis while members of the other chamber are elected on a constituency basis. Alternatively, some senators could be elected by institutions such as universities (which is the case in Ireland), professional associations or other bodies representing important sectoral interests such as women, chiefs, disabled, etc [see above].

By providing different electoral systems for the two chambers. For example, senators might be elected on a proportional representation system and members of the other chamber on a first-past-the-post basis.

Should members of the Executive be allowed to sit and vote in the legislature?

If the doctrine of separation of powers were to be applied strictly, members of the Executive (i.e. Ministers) should not be members of the legislature and should not be allowed to take part in debates of the legislature. The doctrine cannot be applied so strictly, however, because the executive and legislative branches of government must co-operate to some extent; the executive must have some way of ensuring that its proposals for legislation are presented in the legislature. It is also important for the legislature to be able to question Ministers and hold them to account. Ways of achieving this vary from country to country:

In France, Ministers are not members of the legislature but are entitled to address the Senate and the National Assembly.

In the United States, Cabinet members are not members of Congress, but the Vice-President is a non-voting president of the Senate, and the President is entitled from time to time to address Congress on the state of the nation.

In Britain, all Ministers including the Prime Minister must be members of one or other of the Houses of Parliament and the Executive effectively controls parliamentary business.

Zimbabwe largely follows the British model. No one can hold office as a Minister for longer than three months unless he or she is a member of the Senate or the House of Assembly (section 31E(2) of the Constitution) and Ministers are entitled to take part in the debates of both chambers (section 47). It is debatable whether the new constitution should change this. It is noteworthy that none of the draft constitutions that have been put forward to replace the present constitution – the Constitutional Commission draft, the NCA draft, the Kariba draft or the Law Society model constitution – seeks to change the position very much:

On balance, therefore, the new constitution should probably preserve the current position more or less unchanged: Ministers should be drawn wholly or mainly from members of Parliament, and they should have the right to take part in the debates in either chamber.

If this position is unchanged under the new constitution, ways will have to be found of counterbalancing the influence of the executive by enhancing Parliament’s independence (perhaps by making it easier for private members to introduce their own legislation and to alter legislation sponsored by the executive).

To be continued in Part II

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

Back to the Top
Back to Index