KIM SENGUPTA THURSDAY 18 OCTOBER 2012
A group of farmers who had their land seized in Zimbabwe are launching a
campaign today to protest against a proposed lifting of sanctions against
Robert Mugabe’s regime by the European Union.
The 11 farmers and their families have won successive court cases over the
takeover including one through the legal channels of the World Bank and
another presided over by an officially sanctioned judge in Harare. They were
awarded compensations totalling £ 17.5 million, but no money has been
forthcoming for over three years and now there is fear that the Zimbabwe
authorities will have no incentive left to pay up if the EU move goes
A delegation from JusticeZimbabwe, along with MPs supporting their cause,
will meet diplomats from the Foreign Office, including William Hague’s
Zimbabawe advisors . Meanwhile an online petition launched this morning, it
is claimed, is expected to gather 3000 signatures by weekend.
The farmers say that they had agreed with a Zimbawean request not to
publicise the legal actions with the promise that the money they were due
would be paid up in return. The Harare government, they now believe, have
been playing for time and the sanction lifting will encourage them to renege
altogether on their deal.
EU ministers have stated that most of the punitive measures against Zimbabwe
would be lifted once it held a credible referendum towards a new
constitution. The move would mark an “important milestone” towards a
democratic future for the country, they said in a recent statement.
More than100 key individuals have been covered under an EU travel ban and
assets freeze imposed in 2002. The online petition by the campaign group
states: “In 2000, the world looked on in horror as the Zimbabwe state and
thugs acting for President Mugabe destroyed property, attacked farm
employees and in some cases, tortured and murdered Zimbabwe’s own farmers.
In response to this, the UK Government led efforts to implement sanctions
against the ruling elite of Zimbabwe.
“(Now) the international community and EU High Representative Baroness
Ashton are preparing to abandon them and their hopes for justice, if plans
to lift targeted sanctions progress. Despite Mugabe and the Zimbabwe
Government refusing to pay these farmers, the UK Government will soon
unfreeze money from stolen assets, lift travel bans allowing Mugabe’s thugs
to visit London and Paris and allow UK aid money to flow directly into
Mugabe’s Government coffers.”
Campaign organisers point out that that the World Bank’s process in the
International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) which
found in favour of 11 British and Dutch farmers against the Zimbabwean
government is voluntarily accepted by both creditors and debtors.
Timolene Tibbett, part of the delegation to the Foreign Office spoke of what
the she and others have had to endure. Her husband, Rolf, died at the age of
50 due to stress related illness. Altogether “Six members of our farming
community in Macheke have died since the land invasions” she recounted.
“One murdered, three stress related, one car accident in another country,
one stress and age related. How many of our employees have passed on, I have
sadly no idea.”
Pippa van Rechteren who lost her farm north of Harare 12 years ago insisted
that the facts irrefutable: “As part of a group of ex Zimbabwean farmers, my
husband and I fought and won a landmark legal ruling entitling us to
compensation for the loss of our land, property and livelihoods. The court
ruling of 2009 remains unsettled and we are asking the UK Government, EU and
others to do all they can to ensure the Government of Zimbabwe end our
ordeal and our battle for justice.“
By Alex Bell
18 October 2012
Zimbabwe’s government has filed an urgent appeal, against a landmark legal
decision in South Africa that upholds the regional ruling declaring Robert
Mugabe’s land grab unlawful.
Attorney General Johannes Tomana told the state ZBC that the government had
filed an appeal to the Constitutional Court of South Africa, to stop the
sale of Zimbabwean properties there.
“We have filed papers to challenge the ruling at the North Gauteng court
that gives powers to attach and sell property in Cape Town,” said Tomana.
He said the ruling to confiscate properties was based on a ruling of the
still suspended Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal and
therefore the South African court ruling had no legal basis.
The case at the High Court stemmed from the SADC Tribunal’s 2008 ruling that
the land grab in Zimbabwe was unlawful, which the Zim government has
ignored. The court was then suspended in 2010 by SADC leaders who refused to
take action against Zimbabwe for its contempt of the court.
This forced Zimbabwean commercial farmers and South African citizens Louis
Fick, Mike Campbell and Richard Etheredge to seek legal recourse in South
Africa, because Zimbabwe had refused to compensate them for the loss of
their land. The South African High Court in 2010 ruled in favour of the
farmers, enforcing the Tribunal ruling and recognising the court’s
jurisdiction. The Court also ruled that a Cape Town property owned by the
Zim government should be ‘attached’ for auction, to cover the government’s
debt to the farmers.
The Zim government then appealed this decision at the South Africa Supreme
Court of Appeal, which last month dismissed the appeal. This has been
described as a landmark legal decision and a positive development for the
rule of law in Southern Africa.
The fresh appeal at the Constitutional Court however now means that justice
for the farmers is further delayed. There is also still no word on the fate
of the SADC Tribunal, with SADC leaders still making no commitments to fully
By Professor Matodzi Harare, October 17, 2012-President Robert Mugabe has
demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that his government lacks adequate
resources to call for by-elections in three vacant constituencies in
Matebeleland provinces, High Court Judge President Justice George Chiweshe
In a full judgment made available on Wednesday, Justice Chiweshe reasoned
that President Mugabe had adequately explained his election dilemma when he
sought an extension of time to March next year to gazette dates for three
vacant by-elections in three constituencies which were held by former MDC
legislators Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu before their
membership was terminated following their suspension and subsequent
expulsion from the MDC party.
Lawyers representing the three legislators had to petition Chiweshe to
compel him to furnish them with the reasons for his order which was granted
at the beginning of the month.
Chiweshe ended Mugabe’s misery over fixing election dates in the three
constituencies after allowing him to set the dates by the end of March next
The High Court Judge, who led the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that
presided over the violent and controversial harmonised elections and the
discredited June 2008 presidential re-run election, granted Mugabe six
months to comply with a Supreme Court order compelling him to declare dates
for by-elections in Nkayi South, Bulilima East and Lupane East.
In the six-page full judgment, Chiweshe ruled that Mugabe had tendered
credible reasons in court that justify his request for more time to mobilise
financial and material resources.
“In the circumstances I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of the
applicant’s explanation and his reason for seeking an extension of time
within which he is required to execute the order of this court. He has
offered a reasonable explanation for the indulgence he seeks and, by
approaching this court timeously, he has demonstrated his wish to abide by
the court’s order but for the constraints he alludes to,” Chiweshe said in a
judgment seen by Radio VOP.
Chiweshe said Mugabe had acted rationally by approaching the High Court to
let the nation aware of the hurdles in his way and seeking directions on how
best to proceed.
Mugabe in September petitioned the High Court in a bid to evade contempt of
court charges by begging for an extension of time allowing him to call for
elections by March 31, 2013 rather than October 1, 2012 as dictated by the
Supreme Court recently.
In his urgent chamber application, Mugabe justified the extension as
necessary to allow his government to raise financial resources needed to
stage a referendum on a new draft governance charter, hold by-elections and
harmonised general elections planned for March 31 2013.
Mugabe’s elections dilemma was brought upon him by Bhebhe, Mguni and Mpofu,
who in 2010 took him to court demanding the staging of by-elections after
their parliamentary membership was terminated following their suspension and
subsequent expulsion from the MDC party.
Mugabe’s bid for an extension was the second one inside one month after he
first obtained a reprieve in the High Court late last month when Justice
Chiweshe granted a consent order extending the period within which he should
fix by-elections dates to October 1, 2012.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
18 October 2012
The ongoing trial of 29 MDC-T officials and activists accused of murdering a
Glen View cop last year was postponed again on Thursday, after the state
prosecutor failed to turn up, claiming to be ill.
The trail has dragged on for over a year and defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa
has been critical of the slow pace, saying only a few hours have been spent
on the actual trial due to deliberate delays by the prosecution and judge.
Lawyer Gift Mtisi, who is part of the defence team, told SW Radio Africa
that Prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba, had excused himself after only one witness
on Wednesday. Nyazamba told the court that he was not feeling well and had
to see a doctor.
“On Thursday we were ready to proceed with evidence from a chief inspector
but the prosecutor did not turn up. He sent Mpofu (from the prosecutor’s
office) who said the doctor had given Nyazamba a five-day bed rest. So the
trial could not proceed and was postponed until October 29th,” Mtisi
He added that there have been numerous adjournments and postponements,
without any justifiable cause most of the time. On Tuesday the court had
adjourned early because the prosecution said they had no other witnesses.
This was after only one testimony, which the prosecution said they had
expected to take longer.
Mtisi confirmed that activist Cynthia Manjoro was released on Thursday after
the prosecution conceded during the session on Wednesday that she should be
bailed. The warrant of release, required by prison authorities, was not
ready until Thursday. Manjoro rejoined her three-year old son.
Her release came after a dramatic day Tuesday, when defence lawyer Beatrice
Mtetwa shed tears in court. Cynthia’s brother had testified that she was
being held as bait for the arrest of Darlington Mudzingwa, who was using her
car the day the cop was murdered.
As a state witness, the brother’s evidence exonerated Cynthia and the
prosecution later conceded she should not be detained any longer.
The Glen View cop Petros Mutedza died last year following a brawl at a local
pub. The police claim he was murdered by MDC-T members who had gathered
there for a meeting. The MDC-T strongly deny the charges and insist the
arrests are a plot by ZANU PF to destroy the party structures.
By Tichaona Sibanda
18 October 2012
It has been alleged that ‘political analyst’ Danny Musukuma, who filed an
urgent application at the High Court in Harare to stop the holding of the
Second All-Stakeholders Conference, is a CIO operative.
A highly placed source in Harare told SW Radio Africa he has known Musukuma
as a member of the notorious CIO for many years. The alleged spook filed his
application on Wednesday in an attempt to block the three day conference,
due to start on Sunday.
Musukuma said he was representing millions of Zimbabweans who stand to be
cheated by political parties and civic society groups by personalizing a
process meant to be people driven.
He is not alone in stating this as a number of observers have criticized the
He charged that allowing the production of the national statistical report
on the constitution making process, without having it published in the local
newspapers, is a violation of Article 6 of the GPA.
A source told us he had no doubt Musukuma belonged to a ZANU PF faction
determined to use both conventional and unconventional means to derail and
eventually collapse the COPAC process.
Our source said he had absolutely no doubt in his mind that this is a plot
by a certain faction in ZANU PF, adding that the plot is more complicated
than it may appear at face value.
He claimed a certain faction within the ZANU PF will do anything to ensure
they will not be a new constitution by the time the historic elections are
held in 2013.
The papers filed at the High Court sight the Constitutional Parliamentary
Committee (COPAC), Ministers Patrick Chinamasa, Elton Mangoma, Tendai Biti,
Professor Welshman Ncube, and Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga as the
respondents. No date has been set for the hearing at the High Court.
By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:45
HARARE - Zanu PF has warned there could be a bloodbath if Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai wins next year’s Presidential elections.
In an interview with South African-based television channel e-News Channel
Africa, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo chillingly revealed how hardliners
would find it difficult to hand over the reins of power to Tsvangirai.
The Daily News also managed to exclusively view the whole hair-raising
“I can say it will be a mess. That is what I can tell you; it will be messy.
We will be asking for too much from our guys (the military) to accept these
people who we all know fought against them and were responsible for the
deaths of many of their comrades,” Gumbo said.
“They (hardliners) are human beings; they feel pained by the actions of the
opposition and also by the West. I have told people several times that look
we laughed at what happened in Libya and we laugh at what is happening in
Syria. These things can also happen here. There will be deaths. People could
be killed and maimed and so on,” he said.
Gumbo’s warning comes hard on the heels of a recent interview with the
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
in which he made veiled threats to Tsvangirai, insinuating the military
would stage a coup detat if he wins the next elections.
“He (Tsvangirai) cannot win. He has been campaigning and mobilising against
the interests of Zimbabweans on many issues, whether talking about land,
seeking to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle,” Chinamasa told BBC’s
"And this is where the military comes in…. Young people participated in the
liberation struggle to gain control over our resources. Many friends died
and are buried in unmarked graves. Now if anyone is going to say: 'When I
come into power I am going to reverse that,' they (the military) have every
right to say: 'Please - you are asking for trouble. You will be asking for
Pro-democracy groups, including the MDC have accused Zanu PF of militarising
the electoral process, insisting that hardliners in the military would
prevent Tsvangirai from assuming power in the event that he wins.
In the same interview, Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga said
Zanu PF was preparing for another violent election as happened in the run up
to the Presidential runoff in 2008.
“Zanu PF is preparing Zimbabweans for another charade as happened in 2008.
They are simply saying and if I may use these words ‘if you believe we are
going to have a free and fair election then you must believe water flows
“They do not want elections because if you try and tick our democratisation
progress under the Global Political Agreement you will see we fall far
short,” Matinenga said.
He said Zanu PF is setting the ground for a no win situation in the next
election that will culminate in another GPA so that Mugabe will die in
Gumbo said the MDC was sponsored by white farmers and the Westminster
Foundation, consisting of the conservatives and the democrats, to reverse
the land reform programme.
“How do you expect the military to support these people who were fighting
them? Some of these guys’ parents fought against these whites. It’s not that
easy for the people in the army to accept and tolerate such a thing
(Tsvangirai win) when they know their colleagues suffered; perished during
the war. It will be asking too much of them,” said Gumbo.
“There is a history that people fail to understand. For someone to have
become a member of Zanu PF’s military wing (Zanla) during the war, they had
to be a member of Zanu first. You cannot then expect these guys not to be
Zanu PF; they are members of the party,” he said answering a question why
military generals supported Zanu PF.
From the infamous straight jacket declaration by then army chief Vitalis
Zvinavashe on the eve of the 2002 elections to Douglas Nyikayaramba’s
characterisation of Tsvangirai as a national security threat, senior
military figures have consistently made threats against Prime Minister’s
Zimbabwe is preparing to hold a constitutional indaba to pave way for the
crafting of a new constitution crucial for the holding of elections.
But the process has been marred by haggling amongst the three parties in the
inclusive government, including accusations that the military wants to
derail the process, allegations it has dismissed.
President Robert Mugabe has already said elections to end the inclusive
government will be held in March next year amid growing concerns by the two
MDC formations that the environment is not yet conducive for holding of
He, however, insists that the electoral playing field “does not need a
tractor to be level, they will never get a better environment than this.”
by Staff Reporter
EXAMS body ZIMSEC faces an US$850,000 bill after cancelling 13 Ordinary
Level examination papers due to a suspected leak.
A headmaster from a Matabeleland North school misplaced examination papers
while hitch-hiking from Bulawayo last Sunday, and authorities now fear they
may have leaked.
The Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council said Thursday it had invalidated
the English Language (Paper 1 and 2), Mathematics non calculator version
(Paper 1 and 2), Geography (Paper 1 and 2), Integrated Science (Paper 1, 2
and 3), Commerce (Paper 1 and 2) and Ndebele (Paper 1 and 2) question papers
which had already been sent out to all schools ahead of November's
ZIMSEC says the timetable of the exams will not change, but it is now in a
race against time to get the new question papers to the 2,118 examination
centres around the country in time.
Professor Norman Maphosa, the ZIMSEC board chairman, said: “We regret the
anxiety this incident may have caused to candidates, parents, guardians and
other stakeholders. I would like to inform them that everything is under
“We are yet to get full details on how the question papers went missing. We
are always security conscious but because of lack of resources, we cannot
deliver the examination papers to every school that is why we work together
with the Ministry [of Education].”
Maphosa insisted that although the distribution of exam papers was not
entirely secure, all other schools had collected theirs without incident.
Police say they are still investigating the disappearance of the papers
which was reported at Mzilikazi Police Station on Sunday by Panganai
Zimhuno, the acting headmaster at Sijawugwe Secondary School in Bubi
Zimhuno told investigators he collected the papers from Bulawayo on Friday
and spent two nights in the city.
On Sunday, he went to Renkini Long Distance Bus Terminus where he claims he
loaded a box containing the papers onto the trailer of a minibus bound for
When the bus stopped some 30KM out of Bulawayo along the Nkayi Road, he says
he checked if the box was still there but discovered to his horror that it
Police tracked down the minibus and also conducted interviews at Renkini but
hit a dead end.
ZIMSEC says a total of 286,343 candidates will sit O’ Level exams this year.
The incident in which the acting headmaster of Sijahugwe Secondary School in
Bubi in Matabeleland North reportedly lost 13 Ordinary Level examination
papers while travelling from Bulawayo took a new twist on Thursday amid
revelations that the papers were taken by a prostitute after the teacher
failed to pay for services rendered.
by Zwanai Sithole
Panganai Zimhuno allegedly lost the papers at the Renkini long distance bus
terminus on Friday last week while travelling from Bulawayo to the school.
However according to well-placed sources at the Ministry of Education,
Sports, Arts and Culture provincial offices in Bulawayo, Zimhuno lost the
examination papers at a local lodge where he had booked with a lady of the
“What really happened is that after collecting the examinations papers from
Zimsec, Zimhuno booked at a local lodge with a prostitute. He left the
papers which were sealed in khaki paper at the lodge’s reception and the
woman noticed this,” said a source at the provincial education offices.
The source said the following morning, the unidentified woman demanded her
dues from Zimhuno but the headmaster allegedly reneged on his promise.
Instead, he gave her half of the amount which they had earlier agreed on.
After that, the source said the woman left the room in a huff, leaving
Zimhuno fast asleep. She reportedly went to the lodge’s reception and took
the examination papers as compensation for the shortfall.
“When the headmaster woke up and became sober he went to reception and was
told that the examination papers had been taken by the woman.
After realizing the gravity of his negligence, he cooked up the version that
the papers were lost in a public transport” said another source. The
Zimbabwe School Examination Council (Zimsec) has already cancelled the
affected papers and will have to reset the examinations at a cost of $850
The cancelled papers are English Language (Paper 1 and 2, Mathematics
non-calculator version (Paper 1 and 2), Geography (paper 1 and 2),
Integrated Science (Paper 1,2and 3) Commerce (Paper 1 and 2) and Ndebele
(Paper 1 and 2).
The questions papers are reportedly being sold in the streets at $5 per
by Everson Mushava 7 hours 46 minutes ago
HARARE - Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana yesterday spilled the
beans on who in Zanu PF “sold out” on the constitution-making process as the
blame game and finger-pointing threaten to further split President Robert
Mugabe’s faction-ridden party.
In an exclusive interview with NewsDay in Harare yesterday, Mangwana said if
ever there was any selling-out that took place, the party’s Copac Management
Committee representatives — Nicholas Goche and Patrick Chinamasa — were to
“The whole debate on the constitution-making process started with the method
to use when sifting the information gathered during the outreach programme,”
“I stood firm in support of the quantitative method because it was in line
with the exercise that we had carried out. There was astalemate and it was
our representatives in the management committee who compromised on the
qualitative method. I was not willing to give in. That is where we lost out.
I am not the one who sold out.”
“I don’t accept the nonsense that I sold out. I acted in accordance with
instructions that I was given by my party (Zanu PF) and I am clearly aware
that there are pressures from my party to discredit me.”
A visibly angry Mangwana was reacting to a TV programme screened by the
national broadcaster, ZBC, on Tuesday night where panellists accused him of
selling out, describing him as worse than those who massacred Zimbabweans at
Chimoio and Nyadzonia during the liberation struggle in the 1970s. The Chivi
Central MP is now suing ZBC for $1 million for defamation.
The panellists claimed Mangwana was worse than Morris Nyati, the alleged
traitor who guided Rhodesian forces in the brutal pre-independence massacres
at Nyadzonia in Mozambique in 1976. The panellists further claimed that
Mangwana supported homosexuality and was paid by imperialists to sell out on
Mangwana said he constantly consulted Zanu PF during the process and firmly
defended the party’s principles, but Goche and Chinamasa “sold out” by
acceding to the demands of the two MDCs each time there was a stalemate. As
Copac co-chairpersons, Mangwana claimed, they disagreed on numerous issues
that were later settled by the management committee.
Nyanga North MP Douglas Mwonzora represented Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s MDC-T, while Edward Mkhosi stood for the MDC led by Welshman
“When I parked those issues, it means I was refusing to compromise. Who then
compromised? It was the management committee. And those are the same issues
that Zanu PF is now demanding to bring back,” said a fuming Mangwana.
He said he refused dual citizenship, whittling down of the President’s
executive powers, the rights of war veterans, devolution and many other
issues before Goche and Chinamasa “caved in”.
He said: “ZBC should know that it cannot abuse their monopoly by attacking
individuals without the right to respond. They had been doing that for a
long time, but I kept quiet. This time I will fight and set a precedent so
that they will not continue abusing politicians.”
Strenuous efforts to get a comment from Goche and Chinamasa last night were
fruitless as their mobile phones went unanswered. - NewsDay
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede’s influence over elections has been
severely weakened with the passing of the electoral law that strips him of
his registration powers.
by Staff Reporter
The Electoral Amendment Act places Mudede under the control of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission. While the voters’ roll has been a closely guarded
secret kept by Mudede, the new Act entitles election candidates to access an
electronic constituency voters’ roll. The national voters roll will be
available in electronic formula for a reasonable price.
Section 18 (2) of the Electoral Act provides that the RG is subject to the
direction and control of ZEC in registering voters. The issue of ghost
voters has also been addressed by the new Act.
In the past, the power to remove the deceased from the voters roll rested
with the RG but the Electoral Act introduces a new provision that will allow
the constituency registrar to remove dead and disqualified voters from the
Mudede has been criticized by international human rights organisations for
falsifying voting records to enable Mugabe to remain in power. The RG gained
a reputation from foreign journalists as a key player in press censorship
and a culpable member of the Mugabe regime for human rights violations.
Mudede has been in charge of all elections held in Zimbabwe since 1980. His
critics charge him with manipulating the elections to favour Mugabe, a
charge he denies.
Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Stan Mudenge, who died recently, had
been embroiled in a farm ownership wrangle with dozens of villagers who
invaded Chikore Farm in Masvingo during the height of farm invasions.
by Regerai Tukutuku
A spokesman for the former freedom fighters occupying Chikore Farm, who
refused to be named for fear of victimization, said they would not vacate
the property which they grabbed from a former white owner only identified as
“While it is taboo to celebrate one’s death, we did celebrate because the
former minister had given us a torrid time,” said the spokesman. “We were
being harassed every day by state security agents who wanted to know why we
were not moving out of the minister’s farm.”
“When we were fighting the former white owner, Minister Mudenge was very
supportive. He used to bring us food and other things but after chasing away
the former white owner Mudenge then changed the goal posts and claimed that
the farm belonged to him.”
The settlers at Chikore farm were last year arrested and convicted of
invading gazette land. Early this year Masvingo magistrate Oliver
Mudzongachiso convicted the settlers of illegally staying on the minister’s
farm. The magistrate ruled that the settlers should leave the property to
pave the way for Mudenge.
However, the settlers’ lawyer, Matin Mureri of Matutu Kwirira and Associates
legal firm, told The Zimbabwean that the settlers were still on the
Mureri said because he had appealed to the high court against both the
conviction and the sentence, therefore the settlers had the right to remain
on the farm.
Mudenge died in a hotel room on October 4 in Masvingo minutes before he was
supposed to officiate at a function. He was declared a national Hero and
buried at the country’s national Heroes Acre.
By Alex Bell
18 October 2012
Ongoing problems with water supplies in Zimbabwe are being described as a
worsening national crisis, with the government being blamed for doing little
to solve the problems.
Water shortages, intermittent supply and sewage issues have steadily
increased across the country, particularly in high density suburbs.
Residents’ associations in Zimbabwe’s two major cities, Harare and Bulawayo,
have now called for immediate action from both local and national government
to prevent the situation from getting worse.
Zibusiso Dube, the information manager for the Bulawayo Progressive
Residents’ Association, told SW Radio Africa that the water problems are
“severe,” and there are regular shortages that sometimes last up to a week
at a time.
“People are resorting to storing what water they can get in containers.
Others are relying on boreholes. But some residents don’t have access to
boreholes, to they have to rely on other sources,” Dube explained.
He said that calls on the local Bulawayo council to improve the situation
have fallen on deaf ears, “and not even water bowsers are being supplied to
ensure residents have access to clean water.”
“The water is a failure of leadership and we have had problems since
independence. It is appalling that the government has failed to come up with
a solution for more than 30 years,” Dube said.
The Bulawayo grouping has also raised concern about the related health
issues that the water problems have created, with increasing cases of
cholera and typhoid. The water borne diseases have thrived in areas with
little access to clean water.
These same concerns are still very high in Harare, where the cholera
outbreak of 2009 and the typhoid outbreak of this year, hit the hardest.
Simbarashe Moyo from the Combined Harare Resident’s Association (CHRA) told
SW Radio Africa that the situation is “out of control.”
“The water systems were constructed 50 years ago. But the population has
boomed since then. The problems now are a lack of planning from the local
government,” Moyo said.
He explained that some of the areas around the capital have not had running
water for about a decade, while others areas are now solely reliant on
boreholes for water. He said it is a “failure by government” to not supply
this most basic need.
Meanwhile, the government is being urged to explain how millions of dollars
in funds, donated specifically to address water issues, have been spent.
Zimbabwe has received over $8 million from the UK over the past three years
to improve access to clean water countrywide. The funding, managed by
UNICEF, has been coming from Britain’s Department for International
UNICEF Zimbabwe Representative, Gianni Murzi, said in a written speech this
week that the agency is concerned with reports that most Zimbabweans, 30
percent of them in rural areas, do not have access to clean water. Murzi
said the statistics “make a compelling case to increase investment to
improve water and sanitation services.”
“Since 2009, DFID has channelled more than $8million through UNICEF to
improve the supply of clean water and adequate sanitation facilities for all
Zimbabweans. I wish to highlight that poor sanitation has a negative bearing
on the country’s Millennium Development Goal priorities, including poverty
alleviation,” Murzi said.
By Tichaona Sibanda
18 October 2012
Over 300 delegates from different sectors of Civil Society in the country
are gathered in Harare for a two day leaders-indaba, aimed at coming up with
a common position on the COPAC draft.
The indaba that started Thursday will also provide CSO’s with a platform to
analyze the COPAC draft constitution. The 2nd All-Stakeholders conference
kicks off in Harare on Sunday with at least 1,100 delegates expected to
attend. Among the participants will be 246 political party representatives,
284 MPs and 571 civil society representatives.
The constitution-making process has been characterized by bickering, threats
and disagreements, including the disruption of the first All-Stakeholders
conference by militant supporters of ZANU PF. The bickering hasn’t subsided
among the political parties, setting the tone for another possible
confrontation ahead of the conference.
COPAC and both MDC formations want this second conference to be used as a
feedback platform. But ZANU PF insists it wants a protracted discussion of
the draft, with the contents pitted against the national report. They say
that COPAC deviated from the views given by the people during the outreach
COPAC denies this, arguing the document is an authentic reflection of the
people’s wishes, adding that the COPAC draft will be the only principal
document to be tabled for discussion during the conference.
A draft constitution was completed in July this year as part of key reforms
ahead of elections expected in the first half of next year. The proposed
draft, which will be subject to a referendum, was crafted by experts from
the main political parties involved in the power-sharing government that has
been in place since a violence-marred 2008 election.
Although analysts and experts agree the draft is a highly compromised
document, they also say that the draft contains some positive changes. These
include the fact that the Head of State has to consult parliament and the
cabinet on key appointments, while it protects a serving president from
prosecution, the immunity falls away when the President leaves office, an
issue that concerns Mugabe’s party and there is a 10 year Presidential
Dewa Mavhinga, a research fellow with the newly formed Zimbabwe Democracy
Institute, told us while the new charter will not be a game changer in next
year’s poll, he believes it will tackle both the social and political ills
that have plagued the country for decades.
‘While challenges remain part of the country’s reality, the constitution, if
it passes the stakeholders conference, will present a plethora of changes to
the way the country is governed. While many Zimbabweans say that this is
just a start and that things could still go very wrong, most believe it is a
fundamentally better document than the current constitution,’ Mavhinga said.
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 19:46
The clearing of at least 6 000 ghost workers from the government's payroll
is unlikely to ameliorate fiscal pressure on the country's beleaguered
Treasury, economists warned this week, indicating that new, irregularly
recruited officers were likely to swell the government's salary bill.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported in its Article 1V
Consultation report for 2012 on Zimbabwe that government had cleared at
least 6 000 ghost workers, who had been irregularly employed as youth
officers, from its payroll.
But the deletion of alleged ghost workers came as reports indicated
government had employed about 7,800 officers between January and June 2012,
putting pressure on the country's public finances which could incur a heavy
deficit this year.
The removal of ghost workers represents savings of about 0,2 percent of GDP
on an annual basis, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but
The Financial Gazette's Companies & Markets can report that the additional
cost from new recruits is likely to add an even bigger financial burden on
the cash-strapped government.
Independent economic consultant, John Robertson, said the 6 000 ghost
workers flushed out of the salary system were a tiny fraction of the number
of ghost workers identified on the government payroll.
Government had a Payroll and Skills audit financed by the World Bank and
undertaken by Ernst and Young (India), which submitted two reports to the
Zimbabwe government in November 2010 and July 2011. The audit revealed that
there were as many as 70 000 ghost workers receiving salaries every month
from the cash-strapped government.
Robertson said the best way to deal with the scandal would have been to
identify those that were receiving salaries through the ghost workers and
arrest them for fraud.
"Removing them from the payroll is not enough," said Robertson.
He said there was also no justification for the new recruits, whose
employment appeared to be beyond the means of government.
"They might have been employed for a political purpose rather than to serve
the people," said Robertson.
The IMF, however, appeared to celebrate the clearing of 6 000 ghost workers
from the government payroll as a milestone.
The move is now expected to guarantee the start of an IMF staff-monitored
programme (SMP), since government and the Bretton Woods institution had
agreed this was part of two markers for initiating stocktaking on the
feasibility of the SMP.
The other marker had been timely reporting of data, which had been
considered met since 2011.
The outstanding marker concerned actions to address the "ghost worker"
"A report from the Public Service Commission indicated that some 6 000
irregularly employed youth officers have been removed from the payroll.
Also, the PSC report affirmed that that bulk of the red flags raised in the
Payroll and Skills Audit have been explained or addressed," the IMF report
The IMF, in consultation with the World Bank, concluded that these steps
were significant, and justified undertaking a stocktaking exercise with the
government on a possible SMP, which was conducted during the 2012 Article IV
consultation mission to Harare a few months ago.
The IMF said Treasury considered an SMP would support the country's
macroeconomic stabilisation efforts and their arrears clearance strategy by
boosting the credibility of Zimbabwe's reform programme and catalysing donor
The IMF has advised that an SMP requires progress towards a consistent
policy package as well as assurances on the capacity and commitment to
implement what it described as an upper credit tranche facility quality
"Also, that backtracking on the markers that have been met would set the
process back. In addition, cooperation among the various elements in
government will be essential. The authorities expressed their intention to
persevere in these fronts.
"They have resumed payments to the PRGT. So far in 2012, two payments
totaling SDR 3,3 million (US$5 million) have been made. Staff strongly
encourages Zimbabwe to make regular and timely payments to the Fund, and
increase them as the payments' capacity improves," said the IMF in its
report".- Staff Reporter
Concerning policies, the IMF said government had raised efforts to improve
bank regulation and supervision, and in their mid-year budget statement
announced measures to address recent fiscal slippages.
"The fact that these measures garnered broad support in cabinet is a
positive signal," the Bretton Woods institute noted.
Thursday, 18 October 2012 13:15
BULAWAYO - The smaller MDC formation led by Industry minister Welshman Ncube
has suffered a setback in its stronghold of Matabeleland South Province
after 13 district members crossed the floor to the mainstream MDC.
Described by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as a village politician, Ncube
had been building a base in the area before being hit by the defections.
Kenford Nkala, a local councillor left with 12 other district members.
They formally defected to Tsvangirai’s MDC at a rally held at Nkazhe
Business Centre in Gwanda North constituency on Monday.
The district members who defected are Julia Moyo, Rebecca Dube, Oscar Moyo,
John Nyathi, Fidias Moyo, Sihle Ndlovu, Eva Mudzviti, Filda Nkala, Lucia
Nyathi, Eva Phiri, Margaret Ngwenya and Trust Ndlovu.
Gwanda North Constituency is held by Thandeko Zindo Mnkandla from Ncube’s
party. Addressing the rally, Nkala said: “The Ncube-led MDC is only there to
divide votes and will not be able to remove Zanu PF.”
“In 2008, Ncube brought Simba Makoni and Dumiso Dabengwa to divide the votes
which were supposed to go to Tsvangirai. Now Ncube is back again trying to
divide the Matabeleland votes at Tsvangirai’s expense. He has nothing to
offer,” said Nkala.
Nkala and the group surrendered their party cards to MDC chairperson for
Matabeleland South Washy Sibanda.
“We have welcomed the defectors to our party. Our party is not regional.
Ncube officials join Tsvangirai.
“Our party is national in outlook and people continue defecting to us after
realising that they have been taken for a ride by Ncube,” Sibanda said.
Kurauone Chihwayi, the deputy spokesperson for Ncube’s MDC, dismissed the
defections as a non-event.
“This guy Nkala defected some two years ago. We do not know whether he
defected for the third time. He has been defecting at every rally held in
Matabeleland South,” said Chihwayi.
“He is trying to bootlick Tsvangirai. We do not want him. He wants to see
how he can get a post in the MDC by defecting now and then.
“Secondly, we do not know the other 12 members. They are not in our
records,” Chihwayi said.
Ncube’s MDC, which split from the main party in 2005, secured its highest
number of parliamentary seats in Matabeleland South province in the 2008
The government of Zimbabwe has sparked outrage by announcing controversial
plans to turn Robert Mugabe's home into a tourist attraction, local media
reported on Thursday.
By Stewart Maclean 1:50PM BST 18 Oct 2012
The cash-strapped country's cabinet reportedly hopes to spend several
million pounds renovating a string of properties once owned by the tyrant
and other nationalist leaders.
Ministers are believed to have approved the controversial proposals this
week under plans to boost tourism by doing more to promote the troubled
The New Zimbabwe website reported that Mugabe's former home in the capital
Harare was one of a handful due to be renovated under the scheme.
The publication reported: "Ministers have approved plans to spruce-up the
old homes of prominent pre-independence nationalists to promote township
"Finance Minister Tendai Biti is expected to allocate funds for the
project – which could run into millions of dollars – in his 2013 budget due
to be announced on November 15."
New Zimbabwe reported that Mugabe's former home in the Harare suburb of
Highfield would be renovated under the scheme, alongside others previously
owned by other veterans of the struggle against colonial rule including the
late opposition leader Joshua Nkomo and the former head of Mugabe's ruling
Zanu party Herbert Chitepo.
It is believed ministers want to turn the properties into museums as part of
a project inspired by the renovation of homes in neighbouring South Africa
previously inhabited by leading members of the country's struggle against
The sprawling township of Soweto near Johannesburg has become a leading
tourist attraction after houses lived in by the country's former president
Nelson Mandela and other African National Congress veterans were
successfully turned into museums.
New Zimbabwe reported that Zimbabwe's tourism minister Walter Mzembi
believed the scheme could be successfully copied in Harare.
He said: "As part of the efforts to promote township tourism, we have
proposed to raise the status of the houses which housed our early
nationalist leaders into national heritage sites.
"We will be pushing the issue to be allocated funds in the 2013 national
budget as these houses need to be enshrined for posterity.
"What has happened in South Africa's old suburb of Soweto is our benchmark
and we would want to see Highfield become like that."
Zimbabwe's Information Communication Technology minister Nelson Chamisa said
the renovated houses would be equipped with the latest in visual technology
to provide engaging exhibits for visitors.
New Zimbabwe reported that the plans had been approved by ministers from
both parties within Zimbabwe's coalition government.
The scheme has now apparently been listed for consideration by the country's
finance minister Tendai Biti ahead of his budget next month.
But critics have questioned the wisdom of spending public funds renovating
houses once owned by national leaders.
Political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya told New Zimbabwe the scheme showed the
government had skewed priorities when so many people remained out of work.
He said: "It's a clear lack of agenda and a case of misplaced priorities.
"How can they prioritise renovating those houses when the economy is
bleeding with an unemployment rate of over 80 per cent, when universities
have no ablution facilities?"
The reported plans to renovate Mugabe's former home comes 32 years after the
ageing tyrant, 88, took power in Zimbabwe.
The one-time freedom fighter spent years fighting colonial rule and was
elected the southern African state's first prime minister when the country
gained independence from Britain in 1980.
He was initially vaunted by the West for his leadership of the country,
which was once considered the bread basket of Africa.
However Mugabe was later widely criticised for unleashing a wave of terror
against his political opponents and allowing thousands of white-owned farms
to be seized by his supporters.
His rule saw the virtual collapse of the country's once-strong economy,
causing record unemployment and forcing millions of his citizens to flee.
The tyrant has since clung to power despite a string of disputed elections.
He has ruled the country since February 2009 as part of a shaky coalition
with the country's main opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change.
The two parties agreed to work together to draw up a fresh constitution for
the country before returning to the polls.
However Mugabe, who turned 88 in February, has repeatedly indicated his
desire to call new elections sooner.
It is now thought fresh parliamentary and presidential elections could take
place next year.
Thursday, 18 October 2012
The MDC Manicaland provincial chairperson Julius Magarangoma was arrested
this morning by officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)
from Mutare Central Police Station on false charges of public violence in
2010 at Dorowa Business Centre in Buhera North.
Chairperson Magarangoma is currently detained at Mutare Central Police
Station and there are strong indications that the police want to detain him
The arrest of Magarangoma is part of a well calculated plot by Zanu PF to
intimidate and harass MDC leadership and supporters ahead of the much
anticipated 2013 elections. The arrest comes barely a week after the arrest
of Hon. Elton Mangoma, the MDC Deputy Treasurer General and Minister of
Energy Power Development on charges of insulting Robert Mugabe in May in
Another senior MDC official, Hon. Settlement Chikwinya, the MP for Mbizo,
was arrested last Friday on frivolous charges that he had given a radio
interview to SW Radio.
The arrest of Chairperson Magarangoma also comes at a time when the party in
Manicaland province is making final preparations for the Second All
Stakeholders’ Conference on the draft Constitution to be held in Harare from
21 to 23 October.
The MDC condemns the continued harassment, intimidation and arrests of its
officials, members and supporters. These human rights abuses are nothing but
an effort by some dark forces in Zanu PF and State security agents now in
panic mode ahead of the referendum.
The party remains resolute as it enters its last mile towards transformation
that will usher in a new Zimbabwe with jobs, better health, education and
improved service delivery.
The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!
By Lance Guma
Today we remember Rwisai Nyakauru, the 82 year old headman who was arrested and tortured by Zanu PF youth militia and war vets. He died from his injuries on Saturday the 16th of April 2011.
The headman for Nyamaropa in Nyanga had been incarcerated for 25 days, alongside Nyanga North MP and MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora and 23 other villagers.
Nyakauru was arrested on the 14th of February at the Taziwa Hotel and brutally assaulted in one of the rooms. The war vets and Zanu PF militia “kicked him all over the body especially the chest area.” Mwonzora narrated last year.
“When we got to prison he was very sick and at one time collapsed vomiting blood. Prison officers would not take him to a civilian hospital believing they could treat him there.” Mwonzora explained.
Mwonzora said the death of Nyakauru was an indictment of the Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, whose office caused the headman to spend an unnecessary 3 weeks in custody after appealing his bail.
Mwonzora was tied to the headman while in custody, with both of them forced to wear leg irons. He said Nyakauru kept naming the people who assaulted him.
These were identified as Wilfred Pokoto, Tawonga Mutsiwawo and Kilborn Masunungure. Pokoto especially was mentioned as having assaulted the 82 year old using a ‘safety’ shoe, that had an iron tip inside the front shoe end.
Nyakauru’s son, Philemon, who came to attend the funeral from Boston in the United States where he is teaching, said his father was a very outspoken man and this created enemies for him.
17 October 2012- HRT Position on the Issuance of Letters of Final demands by
the Harare City Council
The Harare Residents Trust has learnt with shock and alarm the arrogance
being demonstrated by that Harare City Council and its disregard for social
justice after the council embarked on a crusade of issuing letters of final
demand notices to residents in most high density suburbs. The areas greatly
affected by this development include Mabvuku, Tafara, Highfield, Glen Norah,
Warren Park, Dzivaresekwa, Glen View, Budiriro, Kuwadzana, Kuwadzana Phase
3, and Rugare among other suburbs. This development comes amid a general
political and administrative discord exhibited by the city fathers at Town
House. There has been a general lack of consensus from the city fathers and
management on how best to provide public services to the citizens.
There have been no deliberate attempts by the city fathers to reach out to
residents and address their problems. It is ironical that the residents who
were issued with letters of final demands are the ones who are worse off in
terms of social status, and residing in areas that have experienced erratic
service provision. Residents in the mentioned high density suburbs are
subjected to perennial shortages of water and when it is available it is
unsuitable for human consumption, uncollected refuse, and poor road network
and ineffective and unaccountable elected leadership, in particular
councillors. Most residents in these areas do not have the financial
capacities to settle the huge debts which the Harare City Council alleges
have accrued since 2009.The final demands were issued to residents with
debts ranging from about US$40 to several thousands of dollars.
The HRT is dismayed at this insincerity from city fathers to expect the
residents of Harare to pay for services which they do not provide. In
addition, from February 2009 to December 2010, the Harare City council
charged residents estimated bills and most services like refuse collection
and water were not being provided. It is improper for the city council to
continue to charge interest on outstanding debt yet the residents have shown
commitment to settle despite their inability to pay.
Central Government, particularly the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and
Urban Development has to immediately intervene to save the masses from an
abusive and arrogant elite, masquerading as senior council management,
lacking capacity and the willpower to guide the policymakers at Town House
on this issue. The general public has experienced high bills, poor service
delivery and low incomes yet senior management continue to pay each other
huge salaries, not matching incomes of the residents and the capacity of
council to generate enough revenue.
Councillors are being urged to act responsibly and treat residents’ issues
with the seriousness they deserve; otherwise they have no justification to
remain in office if the people who elected them into office are being
ill-treated by their employees. The HRT wonders whose interest they are
serving within the august house.
Through research and consultations that have been done in the Greater Harare
in 32 HRT community structures it has become unbearable that residents are
greatly disturbed and alarmed by the arbitrary issuance of letters of final
demands to them while the local authority is not providing the requisite
public services. The residents feel marginalised and neglected by the people
whose mandate it is to deliver quality services on behalf of residents.
The Harare Residents Trust is fully aware that the Harare City Council has
continued to hoodwink citizens on this issue. They claim in the media that
these final demands are merely meant to frighten residents to pay up their
outstanding bills, yet they proceed to court seeking full payment or
attachment of properties, creating unnecessary medical conditions among the
elderly, especially women and children. There is a legal process prescribed
in terms of Section279 subsection 1 to 5 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter
29:15) which outlines the procedures which are to be followed when
recovering rates from the residents. A local authority is empowered to take
several steps in a bid to recover the outstanding rates. In the same vein,
Section 281 Subsection (a) and (b) of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15)
and other legal proceedings for the recovery of rates which are the due
process which the councils follow. They do this knowing very well that
residents are vulnerable at law and are mostly ignorant of the legal
It is high time that overburdened residents rise up in their numbers and
confront the council over its failure to provide basic services which they
are legally entitled to provide, especially water and refuse collection,
whose absence have increased the risk of disease outbreaks. The residents
are not paying their bills, not because they do not want to, but because of
their very low incomes, high unemployment levels, extreme poverty, estimated
billing and erratic service provision by the local authority. Residents do
not have the money to pay!
The HRT urges the councillors to deal with their management and make them
realise that they are public servants and not some bullies who thrive on
instilling fear among residents. The City of Harare has to adopt public
participatory methodologies in handling public affairs to enhance local
democratic governance. The Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban
Development invited to mediate in this crisis of debt management and public
administration. Residents have lost confidence in the senior management of
council, in particular the City Treasurer and the Town Clerk who are both
rigid and uneasy with public participation in council affairs yet expecting
the residents to pay their bills. The Council has since 2009 adopted a
kleptocratic desk-centred approach to service delivery planning by fleecing
the residents of their hard earned money without providing basic services
like water, refuse collection, road network among other basic services and
this is cannot be tolerated.
Den Moyo, Co-ordinator of the 21st Movement, has suggested we target the Zimbabwe government for the Tenth 21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protest on Saturday 20th October. We are meeting as usual at 2 pm and targeting the Embassy along the lines outlined below. Please come and join us. Please bring posters with relevant messages if you can.
We are going straight to the head of the snake and targeting Zimbabwe embassies worldwide. We have succeeded in the previous rounds to take our message to SADC, the Regional players and the UN, now is the time to take the message home.
The theme for Round 10 is Operation Take Back Zimbabwe (OTBZ). Here are some areas that we want to bring awareness to:
· The 2nd Stakeholders meeting - should not be hijacked by Zanu PF, should have independent monitors
· Stop the violence and arbitrary arrests of opposition party members
· Ensure that the referendum takes place as required by the GPA
· Demand free, fair, credible and indisputable elections
· Demand for International monitors at both the referendum and elections
· Demand a new voters' roll
· No repeat of 2008 by whatever means possible
· Condemn the partisan Judiciary System whose judges are beneficiaries of the chaotic land grab
· Condemn the holding at ransom of Parliament operations by Mugabe's refusal to open a new parliamentary session since the last one was closed in July.
· Demand that diamond money benefit all Zimbabweans
Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 19:24
Njabulo Ncube, Assistant Editor
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has finally signed into law the Zimbabwe Human
Rights Commission Act that allows investigations into incidents of
politically-motivated violence but critics say this piece of legislation
glosses over the country’s poor human rights record.
The law — gazetted last Friday as Act No 2/2012 and is already in force —
only covers political crimes committed from January 2009. In essence, it
effectively rules out investigations into cases of political violence which
rocked the country in the 2008 harmonised polls, particularly in the run-up
to the June 2008 presidential election run-off.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) claims that more than 200 of its
supporters were killed in State-sponsored violence during this period.
Investigations into the deaths could have shed some light into what really
went wrong after the first round of the presidential race won by MDC-T
leader, Prime Minister (PM) Morgan Tsvangirai before he pulled out citing
violence targeting his supporters.
Critics say there is still need for a probe to determine why violence was
unleashed on defenceless citizens whose crime was to seek to exercise their
democratic right – to vote for a person or party of their own choice.
So far no-one has explained who sanctioned the perpetrators to launch a
violent campaign. Not a single person has to date been arrested for the
cold-blooded killings. Citizens had thought the human rights law would have
helped in unmasking the people that committed crimes against humanity in the
run-up to the presidential election run-off, but alas.
A probe into these dastard acts of June 2008 could have brought closure to
this dark part of Zimbabwe’s history but the secrecy around these incidents
leaves more questions than answers.
So there is a huge disappointment among the country’s citizens that this
dark period in Zimbabwe’s history remains unexplained despite the
consummation of a coalition government that was expected to heal the nation
and deal, once and for all, with the polarisation, which is still inherent
in the country. To most people, it is a tragedy bordering on criminality and
a travesty of justice that the period which changed the face of Zimbabwe in
the region remains a dark secret.
There have also been calls for the government to date back investigations
into politically-motivated violence to 2002. MDC supporters particularly
want State agents and ZANU-PF supporters implicated in the death of PM
Tsvangirai’s two aides in the run-up to those polls jailed. The known
perpetrators of the violence which killed the two MDC activists walk the
streets unrestrained, they claim.
There has been a court battle between the South African government and
independent human rights groups who want a report into the matter made
public. Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who sanctioned the
report, refused to have it made public despite asking his generals who
monitored Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections to make known their findings.
What enrages human rights activists even more is that the new law also does
not permit a probe into disturbances that rocked Matabeleland and some parts
of the Midlands provinces in the early 1980s. It is estimated that more than
20 000 civilians were killed in cold-blood during the Gukurahundi era.
Victims of the political disturbances in these provinces have long demanded
that the issue be investigated. Independent human rights groups, including
the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace have produced damning reports
on the political disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands, showing the
military’s complicity in political violence.
While there have been calls for the establishment of a truth and
reconciliation commission into these atrocities modelled along South Africa’s
inquiry into political violence committed under apartheid, these calls have
fallen on deaf ears with the government reluctant to expose skeletons in its
To all intents and purposes, the new law effectively puts paid efforts aimed
at unravelling the country’s human rights record from 1980 to date.
Although members of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) were sworn
in — in March 2010 — the commission had been waiting for the promulgation of
the human rights law to enable it to become operational.
Its members, according to Veritas, a local legal watchdog, have however,
been able to prepare for their duties by paying familiarisation visits to
similar national human rights institutions in other countries in the
“Now, however, they should be able to get down to work, which includes
hearing complaints of human rights violations – both current and those since
13th February 2009,” said Veritas.
Trevor Maisiri, a political analyst with the International Crisis Group,
said the signing of the bill was expected since the three parties in the
Global Political Agreement had agreed to limit the mandate of the ZHRC to
post 2009 cases.
“Though the bill does not address pre-2009 cases, I think it gives Zimbabwe
a starting point to instituting justice and curtailing human rights abuses.
Zimbabwe’s case is that of a complex transition and such transitions at
times take long to fully evolve. What complex transitions need is a starting
point, and this bill seems to provide for that,” said Maisiri.
Critics say what is key now is the political will from all key stakeholders
in allowing the commission the independence to do its work.
While welcoming the eventual gazetting of the Act after inordinate delays,
the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), said at last Zimbabwe has a
constitutional body mandated to promote fundamental rights and freedoms, and
to protect the public against abuse of power and maladministration by the
Although the ZLHR maintains that the powers of the Minister of Justice and
Legal Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, remained too wide, discretionary, and
could have the effect of blocking key investigations and adversely affecting
transparency, accountability and independence of the commission, the
watchdog said the importance of having an operational commission to deal
with the protection of human rights could not be over-emphasised,
particularly in a society where violations of fundamental rights and
freedoms remain prevalent.
Executive director of the ZLHR, Irene Petras, urged civil society and the
general public to continue to scrutinise the conduct of the Minister of
Justice so as to ensure his powers are not abused to the detriment of
effective investigation and redress of alleged abuses.
“ZLHR remains mindful of the emotive issue of outstanding redress for past
human rights excesses prior to the timeline provided to the ZHRC for
investigation of human rights abuses. ZLHR therefore reiterates its call to
the coalition government to urgently establish an independent and credible
mechanism to deal with issues relating to past human rights violations and
atrocities,” said Petras.
“This independent mechanism must be mandated to deal with all past human
rights violations that have occurred in Zimbabwe, including the
pre-independence era, as well as the post-independence atrocities of
Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina, and electoral-related crimes, amongst
Citizens yearn for justice in all the incidents of political violence dating
back to the colonial era. What the new law purports to do is nothing but a
travesty of justice as it completely ignores pre-2009 crimes.
BILL WATCH 48/2012
[18th October 2012]
Ministry of Finance Budget Consultative Process: Provincial Meetings
As part of the Ministry of Finance’s 2013 National Budget Consultative Process, the Ministry is holding consultative meetings in centres outside Harare from 17th to 26th October. Veritas did not receive details in time to give notice of yesterday’s meeting held in Chinhoyi, but the rest of the programme is as follows:
Manicaland – Friday 19th October
Nyanga Troutbeck Inn 9.30 am
Masvingo – Monday 22nd October
Masvingo Civic Centre 9.30 am
Midlands – Thursday 25th October
Gweru Fairmile Motel 9.30 am
Matabeleland South and Bulawayo– Friday 26th October
Gwanda Gwanda Hotel 9.30 am
Bulawayo Holiday Inn 2.30 pm
Members of the public, business, labour, academia and other civic and religious organisations wishing to contribute to the consultative process are invited to participate in these meetings.
Stakeholders unable to participate in these meetings are welcome to make submissions either
· online – through the Ministry’s website www.zimtreasury.gov.zw or
· by direct delivery to the Ministry’s offices [address below].
If you have further questions, the contact persons are Mr Innocent Madziva and Mr Brian Goredema
Ministry of Finance
4th Floor, Block B
New Government Complex
cnr Samora Machel Ave/Fourth Street
Telephone +263 (0)4 794571-8
Cell +263 (0)773 759 444 and (0)772 867 083
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied