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‘Mugabe holds key to conference success’

September 30, 2012 in Politics
THE outcome of the forthcoming Copac Second all-stakeholders’ conference
largely depends on the will of the three principals of the Global Political
Agreement, particularly President Robert Mugabe, analysts and political
parties have said.

Report by Patrice Makova

The conference, which was supposed to be held this week, was postponed to
the third week of October due to logistical and financial problems.
It is the next step before a referendum is held.

The conference had been in doubt after Zanu PF rubbished the Copac draft and
made wholesale amendments to the document. The party recently made an
about-turn, allowing the event to go ahead.

However, questions still persist whether or not Zanu PF is going to allow
the conference to go ahead without any problems. The first all-stakeholders’
conference in July 2009 was marred by chaos and violence. It had to take the
intervention of Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T and deputy
premier Arthur Mutambara — then MDC leader — for the meeting to proceed.

University of Zimbabwe Political Science lecturer Shakespeare Hamauswa said
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube of MDC have to take decisive action to
ensure that shadowy organisations like Chipangano will not cause
disturbances again.

“The whole process has been shrouded in serious political struggles and
controversies,” he said. “The principals, in particular Mugabe, who controls
the state security machinery, have to stamp their authority if normalcy has
to prevail.”

Hamauswa said it was clear delegates would be powerless and it would be
entirely up to the principals and their negotiators to decide on the way

Political analyst Ernest Mudzengi said a deadlock was likely because of lack
of consensus between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.

He said the National Statistical Report, which Zanu PF insists on using,
should have been published before the conference to allow delegates to
thoroughly scrutinise the document before it was discussed. The report
captures the views gathered during the Copac outreach programmes.

“The success of the conference is in limbo because I foresee the political
parties playing hide and seek,” said Mudzengi. “The best they can do is to
present the agreed draft before the all-stakeholders’ conference.”
Zanu PF’s Copac technical adviser Godwills Masimirembwa said the Copac draft
would be subjected to scrutiny.

“Let not anyone daydream that the proposed amendments have fallen away,” he
said. “Zanu PF will be out in full force to put forward its amendments and
Copac is obliged to capture them in the report which will be presented to
the principals,” Masimirembwa said.

He said the conference would be forced to look at whether the draft was
consistent with what the people said, as captured in the National
Statistical Report.

But MDC director for policy and research, Qhubani Moyo, said if the
conference was to discuss the report, it should then follow that provincial,
district and ward reports should also be put into consideration.
“The politicians have spoken and the only logical thing is to allow people
to decide through a referendum,” he said.

MDC-T secretary-general and Finance minister Tendai Biti said it was not
practical for the conference to renegotiate the Copac draft as demanded by
Zanu PF.

“Anyone nursing the ideas that over 1 000 delegates can debate the draft
constitution obviously wants to kill that conference,” he said. “The
National Statistical Report which Zanu PF wants is not a true reflection of
what people said. It was based on how many people one party managed to bus
and intoxicate.”

Zanu PF has made several amendments to the Copac draft, but the two MDCs
have rejected them insisting the proposed draft charter was final, as all
three political parties appended their signatures to the document.

Among its amendments, Zanu PF retained Mugabe’s “imperial powers” and
removed devolution entirely from the draft, while introducing mandatory
national youth service.

The party also removed a provision for an Independent Prosecuting authority,
separate from the Attorney-General. The party also banned dual citizenship
and put provisions that specifically criminalise homosexuality.

Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said the conference was going to sail
smoothly, predicting that the event would be stage-managed, with delegates
carefully chosen.

Mandaza said this was meant to ensure that elections would be held on March
23 next year as insinuated by Mugabe in a recent High Court application
seeking an extension of dates for by-elections in vacant constituencies.

“The second all-stakeholders’ conference is simply going to rubber-stamp the
Copac draft,” he said at a “New Zimbabwe Lecturer series” on Thursday.

“The likes of Goodson Nguni, who are making noise, have been overtaken by
events because the three parties have already agreed on the draft and a
referendum which will be held 21 days after the Second all-stakeholders’

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Anti-graft organisation petitions Chihuri

September 30, 2012 in Community News
A local lobby group, Coalition Against Corruption (CAC), last week
petitioned the Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri to declare all
money the police collect on roadblocks.

Report by Tawanda Marwizi

Speaking just after handing over a letter to the Police General Head
Quarters in Harare last week, CAC director Terry Mutsvangwa said the
petition was designed to ensure transparency and accountability in the

“The Finance minister (Tendai Biti) is on record saying the money is not
being remitted to the treasury, so we have seen it proper to ask them to
tell us where the money is going,” said Mutsvangwa.

The petition was handed over to Chihuri’s secretary.
Mutsvangwa said the public had the right to know where the funds were being
channelled to.

“As CAC, we are not saying Commissioner Chihuri is abusing the funds, but we
are just demanding to know where the money is going,” he said.
The former journalist said they were expecting a quick response from Chihuri
to make the information available to the public.

“As you might be aware that on a daily basis the police traffic section
collects a reasonable amount of revenue from motorists, yet it is not going
to the treasury. we consequently hereby demand the following information or
records held by your authority,” reads part of the petition.

Efforts to get a comment from Chihuri were fruitless last week.

CAC, which was formed last month, has been holding awareness campaigns in

They recently visited Makombe Government offices, where people obtain birth
certificates and passports, telling people to desist from engaging in
bribery activities.

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EU funds US$3 million Masvingo sanitation project

September 30, 2012 in Community News
MASVINGO — The European Union (EU) is funding a four-year water, sanitation
and hygiene project in Chivi district that would see 50 boreholes drilled
and over 350 repaired.Report by Tatenda Chitagu

The project, dubbed “CHIWASH” (Chivi, water, sanitation and hygiene) would
be implemented by the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) at a cost of over
US$3,2 million.

The project also involves the construction of 3 400 latrines in the
ZRCS acting secretary-general, Lucky Goteka told reporters at a handover
ceremony of 180 bicycles to community health and hygiene promoters at
Maringire business centre last week that the programme was part of the
nationwide humanitarian effort to promote the quality of life in vulnerable

“The ZRCS is currently implementing integrated humanitarian programmes that
provide a holistic approach to the diverse humanitarian needs of the
vulnerable groups,” said Goteka. “This integrated project is both emergency
and developmental, so that while addressing current challenges, it also
incapacitates communities to develop community-based solutions to their
everyday challenges.”

A total of 100 000 people in 400 communities in Chivi district, mainly
vulnerable groups such as people living with HIV, orphans and single-parent
households, would be targeted. Goteka said Chivi district was chosen because
of its poor sanitation.

“As an impartial, neutral and independent voluntary humanitarian
organisation, we are there to complement government efforts in saving lives
and alleviating human suffering wherever it may be and however it is
caused,” he said.

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Police officers evicted from MDC-T member lodgings

September 30, 2012 in Community News
BUHERA — Ten police officers who were lodging at a complex owned by an MDC-T
official at Muzokomba business centre were recently ordered to vacate the
place by their superiors. Report by Our Correspondent
The officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution,
said the message was conveyed to them by a senior officer who told them that
the directive was from the top authorities.

“We were told to vacate from our lodgings because of the political
affiliation of our landlord and we had to rush to find alternative
accommodation,” said one of the officers.

MDC-T chairman for ward 24, Robson Masaiti owns the complex.
Masaiti said he was shocked to hear that the officers had been ordered to
leave his property with immediate effect.

“They told me while packing their belongings that they were leaving and I
couldn’t ask more questions,” he said.

MP for the constituency, Naison Nemadziva, also confirmed the story adding
that he would engage the responsible authorities to have the issue resolved.

“The police are supposed to be a non-partisan force. They should be free to
live where they want and after all, the camp has insufficient
accommodation,” said Nemadziva.

Manicaland Police spokesperson Inspector Enock Chishiri, however, professed
ignorance on the matter.

“We are getting it from you. I don’t think there is any one of us here who
knows that incident. What I only know is that members of the police force at
Muzokomba stay at the camp,” said Chishiri.

The two MDC formations have been advocating for a non-partisan uniformed
force in the new constitution.

The two parties have on several occasions accused state security agents of
selectively applying the rule of law in their efforts to prop up President
Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF, especially during elections.

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Tongaat Hullets bails out struggling hospital

September 30, 2012 in Community News
Tongaat Hullets Zimbabwe recently bailed out Chiredzi General Hospital which
was on the verge of collapse.Report by Own Correspondent

The company donated 158 hospital beds to the institution. The donation,
which is part of Tongaat Hullet’s corporate social responsibility programme,
came at a time when the only big hospital in Chiredzi district was faced
with serious challenges in its quest for a good health delivery system.

Apart from donating beds, Tongaat Hullets donated two water tanks, each with
a carrying capacity of 5 000 litres, replaced all damaged windows at the
hospital and re-painting all the walls of every structure in the hospital.

The donation from Tongaat was handed over to Chiredzi General Hospital by
its managing director Stanley Mutsambiwa. Mutsambiwa challenged the hospital
staff to work together with his company in providing top-class health

“This is one of our good gestures towards our social responsibility as a
company, and I urge hospital management to tell us what you want in time and
we can help you in the best possible way we can,” Mutsambiwa said.

Present at the colourful event was Masvingo governor and resident minister
Titus Maluleke who was also the guest of honour.

Maluleke challenged Tongaat Hullets to equip Chiredzi General hospital in
the same way they had equipped Collin Saunders, a private hospital owned by
the giant sugar manufacturing company.

Colin Saunders, located in Triangle, is one of the best hospitals in the
country offering top- class heath facilities and services. Maluleke said he
would be more than happy to see the twinning of the two hospitals in the
near future.

“I am happy because of this gesture, but I challenge management at this
company to consider twining the two hospitals so that they complement each
other,” the governor said.

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Domboshava murders spark backlash on prostitutes

September 30, 2012 in Community News
DOMBOSHAVA — The recent murder of six men from Chinamhora community in
Domboshava has sparked a backlash on prostitutes.

Report by Jennifer Dube

Villagers in the area are now calling for a clean-up campaign to weed out
all suspected sex workers who lodge in the surrounding communities.

villagers last week said there was a proliferation of “strangers”, mostly
prostitutes, in Domboshava, whom they suspected of luring dangerous
criminals into the area.

“Our community has always had its share of prostitutes, but it is now too
much,” said Yvonne Johannes, whose 65-year-old father Clemence Parirewa was
murdered recently.

“A lot of illegal structures are mushrooming in people’s backyards and
rented out to people from outside Domboshava, whose backgrounds no one has a
clue about.”

Residents said shop-owners were at the centre of the controversy, creating
residential quarters at backyards of their business premises and renting
them out to “questionable characters”.

“Thieves and prostitutes are collaborators, so we believe that the many
prostitutes staying in this area give thieves space to come here and monitor
how people live, allowing them to plan heinous activities,” said Tichaona

Six men were recently murdered in Domboshava, five of them using the same
method, raising suspicions that a gang of dangerous criminals was on the

The five, four of them murdered as they left Showgrounds business centre on
September 7, are believed to have been hit with blunt objects on their heads
while their bodies had bruises.

There are allegations that there was no blood on two of the bodies at the
murder scenes, raising speculation the killers were drawing blood from their

As a result, security has been tightened, with police establishing a post at
the business centre. security details are now a common sight in the area.

There are reports that traditional leaders have been selling residential
stands to people from Harare and other areas and “original” residents
suspect that some of these “foreigners” could be behind the killings, which
are suspected to be linked to rituals.

Chinamhora police officer-in-charge Lameck Mtetwa would not comment as his
mobile went unanswered last week.

Officer commanding police in Murehwa district, Simon Mwatsikesimbe referred
questions to acting police spokesperson, Charity Charamba who was said to be
out of office.

Disruption to business

residents said they now retired from the growth point before sunset for
safety reasons, driving night club owners out of business.
“Business is not doing very well as police can come in any time looking for
the criminals, but we are not complaining since it is for a good reason,”
said one bartender.

Beauty Muvirimi, mother to Casper Muvirimi who survived an attack by three
men on the same night of the murders, said she and other vegetable traders
now waited for sunrise instead of going to the local market before dawn as
they used to do.

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Soldiers acquitted on assault charges

September 30, 2012 in Community News
TWO Air Force of Zimbabwe officers, who were accused of assaulting a
policeman who wanted to arrest their friend for driving without a licence,
were recently acquitted due to lack of evidence.Report by Silas Nkala

Promise Makaza (21) and Tafadzwa Maida (22) both of Emakhandeni, Bulawayo,
pleaded not guilty, to assault charges and defeating the course of justice
when they appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove.

The court heard that on August 16 this year, Edson Dzinavanhu of Ross Police
Camp in Bulawayo arrested a man in the city who was driving a vehicle
without a licence.

The man, whose name was not mentioned in court papers, was a friend of the
two officers. When Dzinavanhu was taking the suspect to Bulawayo Police
Central Station, Makaza and Maida allegedly assaulted him all over the body.

They allegedly wrestled the police officer pulling away their friend to
enable him to escape. Dzinavanhu, however, managed to arrest the two
soldiers for obstructing the course of justice. Jeremiah Mutsindikwa

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Chitungwiza General hospital in need of urgent expansion

September 30, 2012 in Community News
THERE is urgent need to expand Chitungwiza General Hospital to meet the
increasing number of patients that throng the hospital for treatment, a
senior official with the institution has said.

Report by our Staff

Addressing the media recently, the hospital’s chief executive officer
Obediah Moyo said the institution’s catchment area was continually growing,
presenting serious challenges to the hospital.

The hospital used to cater for Chitungwiza’s 1,5 million population, but now
caters for patients from Harare, Epworth, Ruwa, Chihota, Seke Rural and
Marondera in Mashonaland East Province.

“There is an urgent need to expand the hospital to meet the ever-increasing
number of patients. A good number of health professionals are needed to help
the hospital live up to its mandate of offering quality health to the
community,” said Moyo.

He lamented the impact of erratic power supplies and water problems that are
affecting the hospital’s ability to deliver quality services.

So far, the hospital has sunk boreholes and acquired generators in an effort
to ensure smooth operations at the institution.

President Robert Mugabe, who officially opened the hospital in 1986, is
expected to officially launch its jubilee celebrations on October 25 this
year. The event coincides with a two-day exhibition by suppliers to the
hospital, partners and other stakeholders.

The hospital will be celebrating 25 years of existence.
Moyo said before the hospital commenced operations, Chitungwiza was served
by four municipal clinics that referred patients to Harare Central and
Parirenyatwa hospitals.

In its attempt to stay abreast with contemporary technological trends, the
hospital last year embarked on a computerisation programme and also
introduced an Internet Global Village for research purposes.

This was above providing general internet access to both staff and patients
at the hospital.

The hospital was this year selected to run a pilot project for the
e-governance programme. Training of staff on digital literacy is ongoing.

Moyo, however, said the hospital’s success were affected by political and
economic developments that triggered the brain drain. Currently, the
institution has a staff complement of around 1 300 employees.

Staff shortages have also been compounded by a huge number of patient
turn-over and increased demand for HIV and Aids and tuberculosis services.
The hospital’s on-site Opportunistic Infections Clinic caters for more than
14 000 patients that are on anti-retroviral drugs.

The institution has also managed to get services from expatriate
professionals to boost its staff levels.

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IMF says Zim’s current account deficit to shrink

September 30, 2012 in Business
ZIMBABWE’s current account deficit is projected to narrow to 20,5% of gross
domestic product (GDP) in 2012, as last year’s import spike is reversed and
exports continue to expand, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has
said.Report by Kudzai Chimhangwa
A current account is the difference between a nation’s total imports and
exports of goods, services and transfers.

The multilateral institution’s executive directors said despite higher
exports, the current account deficit widened to 36% of GDP in 2011 from 29%
of GDP in 2010, partly due to a sharp increase in imports.

“The deficit was financed by debt-related flows, arrears, and a drawdown of
special drawing rights (SDR) holdings, as uncertainties regarding policy
implementation continued to affect foreign investment flows,” reads part of
an Article IV consultation report by the IMF.

Under a current account deficit situation, the country’s local industry
loses aggregate demand to foreign countries. Such demand could stimulate
employment opportunities and higher growth in the concerned country.

Following the inception of the multiple currency regime and trade
liberalisation in 2009, the current account deficit stood at 22,2% of GDP
before spiralling to 36,2% of GDP as imports continued to flood the domestic

However, under the Medium-Term Plan, the government plans to grow the export
base and curtail imports in order to avert the negative effects of a
broadening current account deficit.

In his state-of-the-economy report for August, Finance minister Tendai Biti,
said exports and imports maintained an upward trend, cumulatively reaching
US$2,16 billion and US$5,1 billion respectively by the end of August 2012.
This scenario led to a half-year trade gap of US$3 billion, reflecting
faster imports growth during the period under review.

Economist Witness Chinyama said in order to address the perpetual current
account deficit, there would be need for the country to implement measures
aimed at recapitalising and modernising local industries in line with
technological developments.

“This will go a long way towards capacitating local industry to produce more
at lower unit costs, thereby becoming more competitive. At the moment,
industry is using an antiquated plant and equipment,” said Chinyama, adding
that some industrial structures had been built well before Independence.

IMF directors underscored that improving the business climate would be
necessary to strengthen competitiveness, build investor confidence and boost
the growth potential.

“The medium-term outlook, under an unchanged policy scenario, is for growth
to moderate to average some 4%, although constraints on energy supply and
weak competitiveness may pose a challenge to achieving these rates,” IMF

“Foreign investment is likely to be hampered by a poor business climate,
uncertainties over the implementation of the indigenisation policy and
political instability, while domestic investors may face difficulties
accessing long-term credit,” reads the IMF report.

Economist Prosper Chitambara said the government would have to implement
structural reforms that particularly address competitiveness, the business
environment, infrastructure rehabilitation and the cost of doing business,
as this is too high in comparison to other countries in the Southern African

“The political environment is placing a premium on the country in terms of
potential investment inflows. There is also a critical need to ensure that
business has cheap access to energy as part of export regeneration
measures,” he said.

Chitambara concurred with IMF that refraining from non-concessional
borrowing was critical, but presently a difficult task as the liquidity
crunch was not getting any better while Treasury had limited options.

Economic commentator Eric Bloch said with forthcoming elections parties in
the government would be desperate to raise money in order to pay civil
servants with the hope of garnering votes, irrespective of the consequent
negative after effects.

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Chimanimani diamonds above board: Shillaev

September 30, 2012 in Business
DTZ-OZGEO, a joint venture between a Russian company OZGEO and a Zimbabwe
firm, Development Trust of Zimbabwe, recently discovered diamond deposits in
Chimanimani district. The Standard News Editor Caiphas Chimhete (CC)
recently spoke with DTZ-OZGEO director Ismail Shillaev (IS) (pictured right)
about the company’s diamond mining operations, the size of the deposits and
other issues. Below are excerpts of the talk.

CC: When did DTZ – OZGEO start diamond mining operations in Chimanimani

IS: In 2007 there was a gold rush in Taka Forest and after the rush, we
applied for a Special Grants for gold mining in the Charleswood Farm that
was granted the same year. Early 2008 within our special grant, our
geologist discovered diamond-bearing stones and in October 2008 we applied
for addition of diamonds on our Special Grant which was granted. In April
2011, we installed a pilot plant and commenced comprehensive exploration in
our Special Grant.

CC: How much diamonds are you extracting per month and of what value?
IS: From June last year we have been producing on average 250 carats per
month which has improved and as of June this year, we have reached a 1 000
carat mark per month. The highest price achieved on the market for our
diamonds has been US$120 per carat.

CC: How big are diamond deposits in Chimanimani and the area you are

IS: We are still in the exploration phase meant to determine the available
resources and will be able to quantify the size of the deposits when we are
through. The preliminary results of first stages have shown deposits of
about 80 000 carats.
For the pilot mining we are currently doing, we occupy an area of 3km

CC: There have been reports that diamonds found in Chimanimani are of much
better quality than those found in Chiadzwa and Marange. Can you please
explain this? Are they not in the same geological vein?

IS: The diamonds in our concession are of better quality, but they are small
in size and of low concentration as compared to the Chiadzwa diamond area.
We have a different geological structure and different mineral age as
compared to the Chiadzwa area. Our geological structure is of the upper
layers of the Umkondo stratigraphy, unlike the Chiadzwa that lie above a

CC: There have been reports that your company was allegedly smuggling
diamonds from Chimanimani to Mozambique. Can you please respond to these

IS: DTZ-OZGEO has Kimberley Process Certification (KPC) which it obtained
after complying with minimum requirements. We safeguard this certification
and we would not like to lose it. Having said this, we will not do anything
to have it cancelled. In short, we have put all security systems in place to
make sure there are no leakages within the system and we work on a
day-to-day basis with ZRP Minerals Unit whose interest is to ensure there
are no leakages of the precious stones.

CC: What other security measures have you put in place to avoid diamond
leakages at the diamond fields in Chimanimani?
IS: Unfortunately, for security reasons I cannot disclose the security
measures in place, but can only confirm we have high security in place
commensurate with the mineral we are mining and KPC requirements.

CC: Your mining operations in Chimanimani are said to have displaced a
number of families that were resettled there a few years ago. What sort of
help have you given the affected families?

IS: I would like to say we have not yet displaced many families at the
moment, as we are at the exploration stage with a pilot plant in place. Only
one family has been affected to date and we have built the family a
state-of-the-art home a few kilometres from our concession on the land
allocated by the Lands ministry. When we expand the project we expect about
15 families to be affected by our operation and we have already engaged the
Lands ministry to allocate us land where we will build state-of-the-art
houses for the affected families.

CC: What sort of social responsibility, if any, have you carried out in the
community in which you operate?

IS: DTZ-OZGEO found it appropriate to support such a worthy cause of
educating Zimbabweans, as we also need an educated workforce. In
Chimanimani, as we conclude exploration of diamonds in the area, we have
found it appropriate to plough back to the community through education. We
have donated 31 pupil desks to Charleswood School. We have also provided
materials for construction of a block of toilets.

We have maintained the road from Chimanimani to Chikukwa and other various
roads around Chimanimani through assistance given to District Development
Fund. We have made it a company recruitment policy to recruit within the
communities we operate from where skills available match requirements. To
date we employ more than 400 from Penhalonga and Chimanimani where we are

CC: What impediments do you face as a mining company in the country?
IS: Just to mention a few, we have power challenges as we are affected by
load-shedding by Zesa; have working capital challenges especially at the
moment as we move from the exploration phase and prepare on project
expansion. The changing regulations have not spared us either.

CC: Your company has also been accused of polluting Mutare River in
Penhalonga where you are involved in alluvial gold extraction. What measures
have you put in place to avoid siltation of the river and destruction of the

IS: There has been a fair share of reports in different media, both local
and international, on this subject, with specific allegations on water
pollution in Mutare River.

There are no reactants or chemical additives used in the production
pipeline. The concentration processes are carried out only using clear
water. Water supplies for processing are conducted according to the closed
reverse scheme where the regenerated water returns to production pipeline
(recycling). Technical water supply is not connected in any way with the
Mutare River or Haruna River in Chimanimani or other natural water sources.

CC: As one drives past your operations in Penhalonga, there is massive land
degradation taking place. What are your plans in terms of land

IS: Environment protection and land rehabilitation takes centre stage in our
operations and our promise to communities where we operate from is to
restore environment to its original state, if not improved. Rehabilitation
and restoration of the soil surface is conducted in accordance with
developed plan of rehabilitation works. For the execution of the
rehabilitation plan, the company has employed the help of an ecology
specialist who works in conjunction with State organs such as Agritex to
design befitting reclamation plans.

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Regional blocs seek to remove trade barriers

September 30, 2012 in Business
THREE regional economic communities (Recs) have taken the lead as Africa
seeks to remove trade barriers by 2017.

Report by Ndamu Sandu

The establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) was endorsed by
African Union leaders at a summit in January to boost intra-Africa trade.

Sadc, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the East
African Community (EAC) have combined forces to establish a tripartite FTA
by 2014.

Willie Shumba, a senior programmes officer at Sadc, told participants
attending the second Africa Trade Forum in Ethiopia last week that the
tripartite FTA would address the issue of overlapping membership, which had
made it a challenge to implement instruments such as a common currency.

“…overlapping membership was becoming a challenge in the implementation of
instruments, for example, common currency. The TFTA is meant to reduce the
challenges,” he said.

Countries such as Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Kenya have memberships in two
regional economic communities, a situation that analysts say would affect
the integration agenda in terms of negotiations and policy co-ordination.

The TFTA has 26 members made up of Sadc (15), Comesa (19) and EAC (5).
The triumvirate contributes over 50% to the continent’s US$1 trillion Gross
Domestic Product and more than half of Africa’s population.

The TFTA focuses on the removal of tariffs and non-tariff barriers such as
border delays, and seeks to liberalise trade in services and facilitation of
trade and investment.

It would also facilitate movement of business people, as well as develop and
implement joint infrastructure programmes.

There are fears the continental FTAs would open up the economies of small
countries and in the end, the removal of customs duty would negatively
affect smaller economies’ revenue generating measures.

Zimbabwe is using a cash budgeting system and revenue from taxes, primarily
to sustain the budget in the absence of budgetary support from co-operating

Finance minister Tendai Biti recently slashed the budget to US$3,6 billion
from US$4 billion saying the revenue from diamonds had been underperforming,
among other factors.

Experts said a fund should be set up to “compensate” economies that suffer
from the FTA.

Shumba said the Comesa-Sadc-EAC FTA would create a single market of over 500
million people, more than half of the continent’s estimated total

He said new markets, suppliers and welfare gains would be created as a
result of competition.

Tariffs and barriers in the form of delays have been blamed for dragging
down intra-African trade. Stephen Karingi, director at UN Economic
Commission for Africa, told a trade forum last week that trade facilitation,
on top on the removal of barriers, would see intra-African trade doubling.

“The costs of reducing remaining tariffs are not as high; such costs have
been overstated. We should focus on trade facilitation,” he said.

“If you take 11% of formal trade as base and remove the remaining tariff,
there will be improvement to 15%. If you do well in trade facilitation on
top of removing barriers, intra-African trade will double,” Karingi said.

He said improving on trade information would save 1,8% of transaction costs.
If member states were to apply an advance ruling on trade classification,
trade costs would be reduced by up to 3,7%.

He said improvement of co-ordination among border agencies reduces trade
costs by up to 2,4%.

Karingi called for the establishment of one-stop border posts.
Participants at the trade forum resolved that the implementation of the FTA
be an inclusive process involving all stakeholders.

They were unanimous that a cost-benefit analysis should be undertaken on the
CFTA to facilitate the buy-in of member states and stakeholders for the

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Chinese firm fails to complete dam construction project

September 30, 2012 in Business
BUHERA — A Chinese company that won a tender to construct Marovanyati Dam in
Buhera district has failed to complete the project citing funding

Report by Clayton Masekesa

The dam was earmarked to be a source of livelihood for hundreds of
households in the district that suffers perennial drought due to poor rains.

The company, Jiangxi International Corporation, began the construction of
the dam in 2003 and was expected to complete it in 2009. However, the
company has since stopped work because it has run out of funds.

An official from Jiangxi International Corporation, who chose to remain
anonymous for protocol reasons, said: “I do not see the construction of the
dam continuing anytime soon. There is no money at all. We are grounded and
we are ready to continue with the construction if we can get more funding.”

Buhera district chief executive officer Kingstone Matsinde urged the
government to intervene and prioritise the construction of the dam.

“The government should now prioritise this project because there is an
increasing demand of water because as we speak right now, the district has
already stretched its limit,” he said. “It is sad because if there is no
funding injected in this project, the money that was poured into the project
would go to waste.”

The dam was supposed to provide domestic and industrial water to people at
Murambinda growth point and surrounding areas. The project was also
earmarked to irrigate 3 650 hectares of land. The failure to complete the
dam has resulted in about 1 000 people losing their jobs while 10 families
were relocated to facilitate the construction of the water reservoir.

Residents of Murambinda last week called on the government to prioritise the

“This is a very serious issue. There is continuous hunger in Buhera and the
provision of water would have helped people to embark on irrigation
projects, but now we are stranded,” said Kenneth Masomere.

Residents urged the responsible authorities to partner with non-governmental
organisations and the private sector to ensure the completion of the
project, seen as the panacea to hunger and poverty in the district.

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‘Elections impossible by March next year’

September 30, 2012 in Opinion
LAST week President Robert Mugabe hinted at the possibility of holding a
referendum and harmonised elections — set for November this year and March
next year respectively.

Report by ZESN

Logistically, the timing of the elections is impossible given a number of
fundamental issues that need time, resources, commitment and the political
will to ensure that these elections are conducted in an environment that
promotes democracy.

Zimbabwe has always had periodic elections as provided for in its statutes.
Nonetheless, these elections have been characterised by allegations of
electoral fraud, violence and a contestation of the outcome, both locally
and internationally, resulting in questions around the legitimacy of the

The 2008 Presidential elections were inconclusive hence the subsequent birth
of the Government of National Unity (GNU). Sadc has also shown its desire to
see the full implementation of the GPA and the finalisation of the
constitution-making process.

South Africa as the facilitator and negotiator of the GPA has also voiced
its support for the full implementation of the GPA processes with the
current South African Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane,
earlier this year suggesting that elections in Zimbabwe would only be held
after the finalisation of the constitution-making process.

Zimbabweans still carry vivid memories of the last elections. Citizens still
remember the extensive and systematic political violence that claimed lives
and a media that spewed hate speech.

Others still remember the elections were mismanaged. The March 2008
elections saw unprecedented delays in the announcement of the results,
reinforcing the idea that the entire process of election management has been
characterised by lack of transparency and accountability.

The voter’s roll has also presented another challenge in ensuring the
conduct of free, fair and democratic elections in Zimbabwe.

A 2011 audit of the voters’ roll by ZESN which tested for the accuracy,
currency and completeness revealed a number of imperfections; 27% of entries
in the voters’ roll constitute dead voters, 41% of voters no longer reside
at the address in the voters’ roll while 97% of the respondents had changed
residential status, something that was not reflected.

The above mentioned problems and others that have not been explored here,
make it imperative that a solid foundation for the creation of an enabling
electoral environment be established before any elections can be held.
ZESN believes that elections must not be called for before substantive
electoral reforms take place.

This includes the reforming of repressive legislation such as Posa and Aippa
that hinder on respect and upholding of fundamental freedoms (freedom of
movement, association, expression and assembly).

In addition, there is need to ensure that Presidential Powers are removed in
respect of elections. Another critical issue is an end to violence and
intimidation, in particular the dismantling of all structures of violence in
all communities.

With the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference scheduled for mid to end of
October, there is need for adequate publicising of the draft constitution to
ensure that the electorate is well informed about the document before they
vote for or against it.

There is also the issue of the Referendum Act which needs to be examined to
see whether it is still an appropriate legal instrument that can give the
citizens of this country an unencumbered platform for direct participation
in decision-making on critical questions of the day that entirely affect
current and future generations of this country.

Given the issues that were raised earlier on in this article regarding the
problems that were observed in relation to the management of elections in
previous years, specifically in 2008, there is need for a truly independent
Electoral Commission, fully responsible for all electoral-related
activities, accountable to the people through Parliament.

Thus, ZEC should be in charge of inviting and accrediting observers (local,
regional and international). In addition, ZEC should be provided with
adequate resources drawn from a consolidated fund for running elections
including preparation, voter education and voter registration.

ZEC should also be open and communicate timeously with the public and other
stakeholders and ensure that they earn the electorate’s confidence, way
before elections are conducted. Apparently, ZEC has not been given a budget
to start preparations for these elections.

On the issue of observers (international, regional and local), these should
be invited early to enable deployment, three months before and one month
after the elections. This is recommended again against a background of
violence which in Zimbabwe happens mostly before polling day and after
polling, as witnessed in the previous elections.

Thus preliminary assessment teams should be allowed access now to assess the
political environment and to do a post-election follow-up, hence the need
for observers to be invited and accredited on time and decentralisation of

Previously we have noted the cherry-picking of observers and this again
should be avoided. ZEC should be mandated to invite observers and give them
full access to all electoral processes especially in the rural areas, as
well as to ensure that their (observers) security is guaranteed by the
state. In addition, clear guidelines for the observers should be drawn up by
the management body in consultation with its key stakeholders.

In order to instill confidence in the electorate with regards to the
management of elections, there is need for proper mechanisms that would
ensure transparency in all processes including printing, distribution of
ballot papers, processing of special votes, postal votes and results
management. One cannot ignore the need for a timely announcement of results
within the confines of the law and punitive measures to be enforced for
non-compliance. In addition, timely dispute resolution mechanisms including
the speedy resolution of election-related litigation should also be put in

With a vision of improving future elections, failure to implement any
significant reforms will have damning effects on peace and security in
Zimbabwe and the region at large. — ZESN

Media reforms of critical importance

An informed electorate is an empowered electorate that’s why the issue of
media reforms is of critical concern. There is need for equitable access to
the public media by all political parties and candidates including
reasonable charges for airtime for contesting political parties especially
during prime time viewing.

There is therefore need for the election management body to enforce
advertising ethics-code of conduct for political parties and the public
broadcaster (content and structure of adverts and political messages)
including to monitor public media to observe non-partisan reportage during

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Constitutions muzzled for political gain: Biti

September 30, 2012 in Opinion
The post-colonial state in Africa was in the main founded on negotiated
constitutions that by and large, were Westminster in construction. Report by
Tendai Biti

The typical Westminster constitution provided for standard constitutional
provisions such as the bill of rights, the separation of power between the
judiciary, legislature and executive and to some extent the creation of some
minimalist oversight bodies, the office of the ombudsman and that of the
comptroller and auditor-general being the most common.

In these constitutions, although a bill of rights exist, to the extent that
Parliament is largely allowed to derogate on the same, it is fair to say
that the Westminster constitution establishes a Parliamentary hegemony as
opposed to constitutional hegemony.

Despite the existence of these constitutions and despite the fact that every
post-independent African state has had a constitution, the constitutions
have not established or reproduced any sustainable legal order or social

The record of Africa in the last 40 years has been that of constitutional
abuse, privatisation, militarisation and criminalisation of the state,
reflected through military coups, corruption, patronage and clientelism.

The biggest failure of the African constitution has been its failure to curb
power and perpetuity. Thus Africa has been dominated by little tin-pot
dictators that have absolutely monopolised the state. This includes the
likes of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Mobutu Sese Seko, El Hadj Omar Bongo
Ondimba, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and Daniel Arap Moi, among others.

In all these African countries, a charade of the law exists; regular
elections are in fact, held.

In short, every effort to adhere to formal legalism and constitutionalism is
made. In the case of Zimbabwe, in per capita terms, more elections have been
held since 1980 than in any other country, but everyone knows that democracy
is in the intensive care unit.

The critical question to interrogate then is; what is the problem with
African constitutions and what explains Africa’s predatory and altered
state? There are many explanations to Africa’s failure, but it is
uncontestable the fact that the African legal order has failed and African
constitutions have not delivered, primarily because they have been
constitutions without constitutionalism. Constitutionalism goes beyond the
mere constitutional text passed and adopted by Parliament.

Constitutionalism refers to a set of rules, written and unwritten, standards
and traditions that must be located inside and outside that constitution.
Constitutionalism refers to constitutional safeguards and the existence of
constitutional roadblocks and humps that prevent abuse.

Unfortunately, given the existence of weak economies characterised by huge
levels of poverty, the absence of institutions, in particular, weak and
subordinated judiciary and legislature, press, trade unionism and civic
society, the African constitution has been a paper tiger.

It has failed to curb the excess of predatory and imperial presidents such
as Nguema and others. For many of these tin-pot dictators, legitimacy is not
derived from the people or from some constitution that in any event was
negotiated with the colonial power. that fact alone makes the dictator
regard the constitution as an irritant and an inconvenience to be discarded
at any convenient political opportunity.

In a mere 32 years, the Zimbabwean constitution has been amended 19 times.
The only other law which has been amended more times, is the Finance Act. By
far, the majority of these amendments have not been based on the need to
preserve and improve on the constitution, but on the contrary desecration
and weakening of the same. Put simply, the constitutional amendments have
been motivated by politics, power and control almost without exception.

In the case of Zanu PF, its disdain for constitutions does not start with
the national constitution.

Let us examine Zanu PF’s encounters with its own internal constitution. It
is unclear when the first Zanu PF constitution was written, but what is
self-evident is the fact that the constitution has always been and will
always be what President Mugabe wants and does not want.

One can make reference to the dubious manner in which Mugabe assumed
ascendancy over Ndabaningi Sithole and other senior members of the Dare.

This breach of internal constitutional rules has been brilliantly captured
by Wilfred Mhanda in his autobiography; Dzino: Memories of a Freedom

Mugabe wields too much power: Biti

As recent as November 2004, Mugabe simply got out of an aeroplane and
announced that one of the Vice-President positions was now reserved for a
woman. The Zanu PF constitution had not been amended, but what he said
became law and the “Dinyane” faction of Zanu PF was dealt with a timely but
illegal blow.

More recently, a simple politburo meeting had the audacity of dissolving
constitutionally-established district co-ordinating committees, not
withstanding that only the Zanu PF congress has the power to amend the

Years back, Mugabe made the decision that Politburo members, contrary to the
provisions of the Zanu PF constitution, would be handpicked by the
President, a position that still prevails up to date.

How does one individual in a huge political organisation have the sole power
and right to choose members of the most important political organ of the
party in between congresses?

The above examples reflect the fundamental position this party, Zanu PF, has
always been driven by predatoriness and “thugocracy” .

Respect of the rule of law and order and constitutions is not in its DNA.
The constitutions, laws and systems are acts of inconvenience.

It is law of the jungle. I am not a moviegoer, but recently I have been most
impressed by Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates
of the Caribbean movies. These movies capture periods where high seas were
rife with lawlessness, aggrandisement and greed.

Zanu PF and its captain Mugabe would have found themselves in good company
in the high seas among its legendary citizens, than Captain Barbossa and
Davy Jones, the mighty “Long John Silver”.

‘Let’s rebuild Zimbabwe’

This country has suffered as a result of omissions and commissions of a
leadership that had no vision, no plan and no strategy. Most importantly, an
exhausted leadership that regards the truth, laws and rules as irritants.

Three things have driven Zanu PF. These are, one, the pursuit of power and
power alone, two, self-aggrandisement and self-enrichment and three, power
retention and perpetuity. A typical Machiavellian mindset; get power, hold
on to it and never let go.

As I indicated in my previous articles, the above three matrixes are the
dominant fingerprint in the Zanu PF constitutional draft. The same is a
charade of constitutionalism. It’s a bastardised document, a constitution
without constitutionalism.

It is an obligation of all democrats and peace-loving Zimbabweans to ensure
that we liberate ourselves from the shackles of exhausted nationalism and
neopatrimonialism. That we redefine a new social and legal order, where our
children and future generations can live in triumph and in pursuit of its
happiness is imperative.

It is important that we settle the constitutional question once and for all
and in this regard the forthcoming second all-stakeholder’s conference is
key. Our hope and prayer is that this conference will be a success and that
it must pave way for Zimbabweans to go to a peaceful referendum. Evil must
not be allowed to triumph over good and we know that the majority of people
in Zanu PF are decent people who would want to see the agreed Copac draft
triumph over the Zanu PF’s manual.

It is time we rebuilt this country. We graduate from cyclical politics of
destruction, uncertainty and poverty. It is time to make Zimbabwe work
We cannot continue to be denigrated, abused and assaulted by essentially one
person. We are too blessed, too gifted and too intelligent for this. Wake up
Zimbabwe! Wake up!

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Time to rethink large scale commercial agriculture

September 30, 2012 in Opinion
There is a reticence among academics and social commentors in Zimbabwe to
wholeheartedly endorse the principles and practice of large-scale commercial
farming.Sunday View by Bruce Gemmill

This can, in large measure be attributed to a lingering belief that
large-scale commercial farming was a colonial construction favouring whites.
Denying black Zimbabweans the right to own land in areas designated
commercial was driven by racist politics. This aberration does not in any
way contaminate or detract from the proven superiority of combining freehold
title with market-guided production.

Where large- scale commercial farming prevails, it is rare that food will be
in short supply.

Nevertheless, there is a notion that a more egalitarian method of land
holding should apply in Zimbabwe. This bias is understandable if one’s main
concern is social equity. After all, can one justify creating a land-owning

An attractive and easy argument to defend? If on the other hand, one’s main
concern is to optimise agricultural production and conservation, then one is
bound to support the notion that land is more productive and better looked
after when held under freehold title and farmed commercially.

Food security is of rising concern on the agendas of many governments around
the world. Surprisingly and alarmingly, the least concerned seem to be in
Africa. Regionally, there is an estimated four million tonnes of maize
deficit this year. When food gets scarce, prices rise automatically and the
problem becomes twin-tracked, availability and affordability.

In the 1960s India was agriculturally backward and unable to feed its
burgeoning population. Mass starvation was averted by initiatives led by
Norman Borlaug an American agronomist, “the father of the Green Revolution”,
credited with saving over a billion people from starvation.

He led to the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains,
expansion of irrigation infrastructure, mordenisation of management
techniques, distribution of hybridised seeds, synthetic fertilisers,
herbicides and pesticides to farmers.

In the 1960s, rice yields were about two tonnes per hectare, but by the
mid-1990s they had risen to six tonnes per hectare. In the 1960s, rice cost
about US$550 per tonne, in 2001 rice cost under US$200 per tonne. India
became a major exporter of rice.

We in Zimbabwe need to learn the lessons offered to us by the “Green
Revolution”. For the past 10 years, Zimbabwe has relied on grain imports,
either donated as aid or purchased on the world market.

This year our grain production falls short of the amount needed to feed
ourselves; this is the 11th consecutive year we have not been able to feed
ourselves. We are in a similar situation that India was in the 1960s, albeit
at a reduced scale.

Time is not on our side, the food supply situation in Zimbabwe is precarious
and getting worse. We can rescue ourselves. All that is required is the
political will. Revive large-scale commercial farming in the still existing
commercial farming areas and start the process of converting subsistence
farming into small-scale commercial farming in the existing communal farming

Hardliners say whites have no right to own land in Zimbabwe — racist
politics intruding again. I am confident that when we have a democratic
non-racist government, white farmers in partnership with black farmers will
build a new, modern and prosperous agricultural industry.

It is perhaps worth recalling the memorable observation made by Deng
Xiaoping, the Chinese communist party leader: “It doesn’t matter if a cat is
a white cat or a black cat, if it catches mice, it is a good cat”

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