by Own Correspondent Wednesday 19 October 2011
HARARE – Zimbabwe needs more than US$200 million to fund a constitutional
referendum and elections expected next year, the country’s elections
commission has said.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said it has submitted to the
government a budget of $104 million for the referendum that must precede
polls in line with a political pact between President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that gave birth to their coalition
ZEC deputy chairwoman Joyce Kazembe said it had requested another $115
million for the elections to choose a new government to replace the troubled
She said: "We submitted (budgets) to Treasury and as long as we get the
money we are ready to roll. We have already trained our (electoral)
Finance Minister Tendai Biti was not immediately available for comment on
the matter. But Biti, who is also secretary general of Tsvangirai’s MDC
party, has in the past said that the government is seriously strapped for
cash and would struggle to fund polls.
Biti presents his 2012 budget to Parliament next month and could use the
occasion to set aside funds for the referendum and polls.
The ZEC needs the money to fix a voters’ roll that is in shambles and for
other work that must be done to ensure the conduct and outcome of polls is
acceptable to all parties.
Critics say the present voters’ register is outdated with thousands of dead
people still appearing on the voter’s register and have accused Mugabe and
his ZANU-PF party of benefiting from the shambles.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai agree on the need for elections to end their
uncomfortable coalition but remain divided over when they should take place
with the veteran President wanting them as soon as a new constitution is
adopted, a situation that could see Zimbabweans going to polls in the first
quarter of 2012.
But Tsvangirai says Zimbabwe should not rush to elections and says the new
constitution and other democratic reforms underway must be given time to
take root before polls are held. Under Tsvangirai’s plan polls could take
place in the last quarter of next year or even in 2013.
Zimbabwe’s elections have in the past been blighted by violence and charges
of vote rigging, which saw the European Union and United States slapping
sanctions on Mugabe and senior members of ZANU-PF.
The country's most recent election in 2008 ended in stalemate after
Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe for the first time but election officials
withheld results for five weeks, only to call for a run-off vote, which was
marred by violence and boycotted by Tsvangirai citing deaths among his
supporters at the hands of ZANU-PF.
Mugabe was elected unopposed but the veteran President’s blood-soaked
victory was rejected by the international community including some of his
African allies forcing him to agree to form a power-sharing government with
Tsvangirai. – ZimOnline.
Harare, October 19, 2011 - The country’s elections body has urged
Zimbabweans who have their dead relatives on the voters' roll to assist in
removing them by reporting them to the Registrar General's Office.
“If dead people are not removed from the voters roll or nobody goes and
register them as dead they will remain on the voters roll because the
Registrar General has no legal authority to remove anyone until somebody
comes with an affidavit that this person is dead,” said the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s Deputy Chairperson, Joyce Kazembe on Tuesday.
“We are very worried and it is always a worry," she said adding that as long
as the ghost voters existed this will undermine the credibility of any
She said there were a lot of dead people on the voters roll because there
were no incentives for people to come and remove them. Her organisation was
moving towards total management of the country’s voters roll, currently the
prerogative of the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede.
Kazembe said her organisation wants total independence in the management of
funds to run elections and no longer want them to be channelled through the
Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs. ZEC requires $220 million to run the
constitutional referendum and elections in 2012.
“There has been a question that we wish we would have our funding direct
from a parliamentary vote. It is something that we have talked about. We
would also want to move away from being supervised using the executive as a
conduit. That is what we are advocating for,” said Kazembe.
Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:59pm GMT
LONDON Oct 19 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's inflation rate will fall below 4
percent by the end of 2011 and the country will launch a sovereign wealth
fund next year to conserve mineral wealth for future generations, Zimbabwe's
finance minister said on Wednesday.
"At the end of 2011, inflation will be clearly under 4 percent," Tendai Biti
told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of a conference.
"The cost of oil has been a major inflation driver."
Zimbabwe's headline consumer inflation quickened to 4.3 percent year-on-year
in September from 3.5 percent in August, data last week showed.
Biti said fuel prices had contributed to rising inflation, and oil has eased
in recent weeks.
The southern African country has recovered from hyper-inflation which hit
500 billion percent in 2008 but fell back into single figures thanks to the
adoption of multi-currencies in 2009.
Zimbabwe's economy is likely to grow 7.8 to 9 pct in 2012 compared with 9.3
pct in 2011, Biti said in a pre-budget statement earlier this month, adding
that Zimbabwe's growth next year was vulnerable to "corrosive politics" and
to a dip in commodity prices.
The government's projections are for an inflation rate averaging between 3.7
and 5 percent up to the end of 2012.
The power-sharing government between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party
and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, of
which Biti is a member, has been in power since disputed elections in 2008.
It has brought a measure of economic stability to the country, which holds
the world's second-largest platinum reserves and vast diamond reserves.
Biti said Zimbabwe planned to launch a sovereign wealth fund next year to
conserve some of that mineral wealth, working with organisations such as the
African Development Bank.
"We will definitely set up a sovereign wealth fund in 2012," he said.
"We can put $200 million aside for this fund every year, the money will be
The AfDB and other multilateral organisations have recommended mineral-rich
countries set up such rainy-day funds, but previous attempts by African
governments have not always been successful.
Nigeria laid out the timeframe for the launch of a sovereign wealth fund on
Tuesday, its second attempt at ringfencing a fund to conserve oil wealth.
Zimbabwe plans to launch a $100 million development bond next year, Biti
said, following a $50 million diaspora bond issued last year.
Countries such as Kenya have been launching infrastructure bonds aimed at
investors in the country's diaspora, again with the approval of the AfDB.
Zimbabwe's diaspora bond found interest particularly in South Africa and
Britain, Biti said.
"It was oversubscribed," he said.
By Alex Bell
19 October 2011
The ZANU PF led Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has launched a probe into the
goings-on of its former leadership, which some analysts have said is a sign
of deepening cracks within Robert Mugabe’s party.
Former AAG President Supa Mandiwanzira and four national executive members
all announced that they were stepping down from the group’s leadership this
week. This followed a vote of no-confidence in the executive, apparently
because the leadership was sidelining grassroots members.
The group has now been taken over by its original founder, Robert Mugabe’s
nephew Phillip Chiyangwa and founding Secretary-General Tendai Savanhu.
Savanhu has also been tasked with investigating some allegations raised by
provincial AAG members over the manner in which the group was being run.
Political analyst Professor John Makumbe told SW Radio Africa that this
collapse of the AAG’s leadership was expected. He explained how earlier this
year Mandiwanzira and the AAG had resigned in protest over Chiyangwa’s
unilateral appointment of a Vice President. That split was mended soon
after, but Makumbe said it was only a matter of time before Chiyangwa took
“The AAG is the business wing of ZANU PF and the collapse of the leadership
is indicative of the collapse of the party,” Makumbe said.
He added: “This is part and parcel of the fight within ZANU PF, which is
jockeying for control of businesses under the indigenisation drive. Every
one knows that the AAG will lead the way in determining who gets the shares,
so people are trying to offload each other from the group.”
Mandiwanzira last month also allegedly faced the ire of ZANU PF politicians
after he publicly castigated them for fighting over shares in Zimplats,
which is under pressure to cede more than half of its shareholding. Speaking
at a public lecture at the Midlands State University titled “Demystifying
Indigenisation” Mandiwanzira said the AAG was against people stepping on
each others toes in a bid to get a controlling stake of the mining firm.
“We ask these people to back off. Zimplats is a big company that cannot be
taken by an individual. We are saying every Zimbabwean should benefit from
such big profit making companies therefore every one should get the shares
instead of one person,” Mandiwanzira said.
Makumbe said it is likely that these comments caused Mandiwanzira to fall
out of favour with key ZANU PF business figures. He added that the AAG has
been widely discredited as nothing more than a platform for ZANU PF
functionaries to take root in business under the guise of ‘affirmative
Meanwhile, it has been reported this week that Mandiwanzira was under
pressure to account for thousands of dollars in ‘donations’ to the group.
This includes an estimated US$30,000 reportedly donated by the Mbada Mining
Firm, and US$2,000 from Telecel Zimbabwe.
Questions are now being asked about the reasons behind these ‘donations’,
especially from the Mbada firm, which is a joint venture diamond mining
group with the government, at the controversial Chiadzwa alluvial site. The
AAG has been the most vocal supporter of mining at Chiadzwa, which has been
at the centre of human rights concerns raised by civil society groups.
Political commentator Clifford Mashiri questioned if there could have been a
falling out between the AAG under the Mandiwanzira leadership and the Mugabe
family, given that Grace Mugabe is a major shareholder in the Mbada firm. He
speculated that this might be the reason behind the investigation launched
by Mugabe’s nephew.
“Regardless of investigations though, it is clear that the disintegration of
ZANU PF is extending to other groups it is involved in, like the AAG. They
are all suffering from the same disease and they are near death,” Mashiri
18 October 2011
Nkala, in whose Highfield, Harare, home ZANU-PF was formed in 1963, charged
that "cowboys, power seekers and fly-by-night politicians” have hijacked the
party in pursuit of personal glory and financial gain
Sandra Nyaira | Washington
Veteran Zimbabwean politician and ZANU-PF founding member Enos Nkala has
urged the party to drop President Robert Mugabe as its 2012 presidential
candidate when it meets later this year for an annual conference, saying his
former colleague is too old to keep up with the demands of the nation’s
Nkala said ZANU-PF as a party also stands to lose if it keep President
Mugabe as its candidate for the next elections – generally expected some
time in 2012.
Nkala, in whose Highfield, Harare, home ZANU-PF was formed in 1963, says he’s
not happy with the direction the party has taken, accusing “cowboys, power
seekers and fly-by-night politicians” of hijacking it in pursuit of personal
glory and gain.
"I'm not happy at all with the way the party has been going but I make
positive contributions by speaking to a lot of senior ZANU-PF politicians
and telling them that it is time that it is time for them to let Robert
Mugabe rest," Nkala said.
The former defense minister said ZANU-PF can only start rebuilding if Mr.
Mugabe hands off to a younger generation which he says has fresh ideas on
moving the country forward in line with international standards.
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo responded that he respects Nkala’s views –
but it is not up to him who should continue to lead the liberation party.
By 3 hours 56 minutes ago
Senior Zanu (PF) officials and party stalwarts who spoke to this reporter
were clearly worried about Mugabe's gamble. Senior Zanu (PF) officials and
party stalwarts who spoke to this reporter were clearly worried about
HARARE - Senior Zanu (PF) officials say President Robert Mugabe is turning
out to be a bad choice for the forthcoming poll, but admit that there was no
one who could muster enough courage to tell him to step down.
"There is simply no one to tell him that," said a senior Zanu (PF) central
committee member, summing up the mood in the party over Mugabe's decision to
Senior Zanu (PF) officials and party stalwarts who spoke to this reporter
were clearly worried about Mugabe's gamble.
Speaking strictly on condition of anonymity, they were under no illusions
that Mugabe needed "nothing short of a miracle" to shrug off a fierce
challenge from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC.
"It’s going to be one of the most difficult campaigns. People are saying
enough is enough and it is quite clear to all of us that the writing is on
the wall," the central committee member said. "It will take a miracle to
He and others interviewed by The Zimbabwean predictably declined to be named
for fear of a backlash. Party hawks were said to be "despondent".
A party stalwart from Matabeleland said: "I know I might sound unpatriotic
but the signs are there for all to see. It is too late for us to try any new
tricks. Our empowerment card has been rubbished by Morgan to the investors
and to our people."
Of concern to those spoken to was Mugabe's age. He turns 88 next February.
They said he should have allowed a younger politician to stand to save the
party from a humiliating defeat. But Mugabe has steadfastly rejected calls
to anoint a successor, and the two horses racing to succeed him have been
fingered as "sellouts" in classified US embassy cables revealed by the
One party stalwart from Midlands said: "The comparisons the people are
making with Morgan doesn't augur well for the party at this crucial time in
our country's history. In Tsvangirai, the electorate sees a younger, free
person with young ideas. Even those who are against the foreign-funded MDC
might be forced to vote for Tsvangirai because of the age factor. We might
physically clobber the electorate but it will be futile," he said, referring
to his party's campaign of violence after Mugabe's devastating electoral
defeat in 2008.
The Bulawayo conference in December is largely expected to rubberstamp
Mugabe's candidacy for the next poll Didymus Mutasa shouted "your paper
writes negative stories about our party so write what you want" when we
reached him for comment.
Tsvangirai told thousands of his supporters at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera
on Sunday that the next poll was a "watershed election, like the 1980
18 October 2011
Biti said he has no power to stop President Mugabe, Prime Minister
Tsvangirai and other top officials from embarking on costly foreign trips,
at times with large entourages receiving US$250 daily allowances
Gibbs Dube & Tatenda Gumbo | Washington
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
Cabinet ministers ran up a travel bill of some US$50 million last month
despite the Treasury’s call for government to pull back on such trips,
Finance Minister Tendai Biti says.
According to the Independent daily Newsday, Biti told a budget consultation
meeting in the provincial capital of Masvingo this week that top officials
have ignored his urging that they cut back on foreign trips and reduce the
size of their delegations.
Biti said he has no power to stop President Mugabe, Mr. Tsvangirai and other
top officials from embarking on such trips. President Mugabe is known to
travel with an entourage of 60 aides or so including state security agents,
all paid daily allowances of up to US$250 dollars on top of the cost of
their air fares and hotel rooms.
Mr. Mugabe attended the United Nations General Assembly in New York last
month with a large delegation before flying to Singapore for medical care.
Mr. Tsvangirai visited several countries including the United States during
the same period.
A Masvingo villager who asked to be identified only as "Sithole" told VOA
reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that some of the US$50 million spent on travel
last month could have been used to buy food for the many undernourished
people in Zimbabwe.
Commentator Masimba Kuchera said all these trips have failed to attract
investors. "Most of these trips are hopeless even if some of them cannot be
ignored," he said.
Economist Eric Bloch said Parliament is the only branch of government that
can rein in such spending. "If Parliament comes up with stringent
regulations to minimize these trips President Mugabe, the prime minister and
Cabinet ministers will be compelled to restrict their travel," Bloch told
VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube.
Elsewhere, Biti says the government has started removing some 70,000
so-called ghost workers from state payrolls. The process won’t be completed
until the end of the year but is critical to easing budget pressure to
continue paying higher civil servant salaries.
The Public Service Commission is finalizing the method to be used to winnow
out state workers who were hired through an irregular process or don’t show
up or do no meaningful work.
Secretary General Japhet Moyo of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions says
announcing the removal of ghost workers is not enough and the finance and
public service ministries must provide some proof the process is actually
moving, adding there have not been sufficient statistics or number of back
up claims of such removal.
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe Executive Director John Mufukare says it’s
time government got serious about removing ghost workers. Mufukare says the
paying of non-workers by the state has largely disrupted the wage level in
By Tererai Karimakwenda
19 October, 2011
Public hearings to scrutinize applicants for the radio broadcast licenses on
offer from the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) started this week,
and media groups and experts have already dismissed the process, saying it
lacks transparency. Journalists were not even allowed to record the
proceedings, which are supposed to be open to the public.
A total of 15 applications were received by BAZ, yet only four were
shortlisted for the hearings, with BAZ offering no explanation as to why the
other 11 have been excluded. Reportedly BAZ has not even informed them that
they were not selected.
The first hearing focused on KISS FM, a Hot Media project. The directors
include musician Oliver Mutukudzi, journalists Musi Khumalo and Tony Ndoro,
public relations guru Sharon Mugabe and business chef Douglas Munatsi, who
SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa, who was at the hearing in
Harare, said many Zimbabweans will definitely be impressed by the people
behind KISS FM, and may be blinded to the real issue of whether the station
will truly be independent. He said there was much talk about Tuku teaming up
with Khumalo, whose husband is a top military official, and Munatsi, whose
bank is aligned with ZANU PF officials.
Muchemwa added that eyebrows were raised when KISS FM announced that their
station would have an arrangement to broadcast news from the state run ZBC
radio, until they have the resources to set up their own news team. He said
the only explanation offered was that it was a temporary situation and KISS
would not be influenced once they are fully operational.
The link to ZBC was strongly criticized by the Media Institute of Southern
Africa (MISA), who said: “Such an arrangement will render KISS FM a relay
station whose role is to amplify the very same propaganda that the new
players should liberate Zimbabweans from.”
“It is very unfortunate because we have a serious problem with the bias and
propaganda of ZBC news. We were hoping to get a variation of different
voices from the new media players,” MISA programme officer, Koliwe Majama,
told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday.
She added that MISA was concerned that ordinary Zimbabweans were not
represented at the first hearing, because only a few “privileged”
individuals knew about it. “Not enough time or effort was given to informing
people exactly what was happening, when and where,” Majama explained.
MISA also continues to refer to unresolved issues regarding the legality of
the BAZ board, which is supposed to have been reconstituted, as agreed to by
the principles in the unity government earlier this year. “That board was
illegally appointed by one political party but they continue to control
broadcasting. Unfortunately the issue has been sidelined,” Majama said.
The remaining applicants for broadcast licenses who BAZ said will be reviewd
at public hearings, are; Zimbabwe Newspapers Talk Radio, AB Communications
and Radio VOP (Voice of the People).
Zimbabwe Newspapers are already known as publishers of the daily Herald
newspaper and the weekly Sunday Mail, both clearly ZANU PF mouthpieces.
AB Communications is understood to be a project of former journalist and
businessman Supa Mandiwanzira, who is also known to be a ZANU PF functionary
and supporter of Upfumi Kuvadiki, ZANU PF’s so-called youth “empowerment”
group. Their hearing is on October 25th.
Radio VOP currently broadcast programmes into Zimbabwe on the Radio
Netherlands Worldwide network. Their hearing is scheduled for October 27th.
Independent radio is widely understood to be crucial if there is to be any
hope of democracy and it’s particularly important as a means to spread
credible and reliable information leading up to elections. But there is
clearly little urgency to license new broadcasters ahead of elections that
are expected in the country in 2012. The Mugabe regime has resisted all
meaningful changes to the electronic media environment and all media
practitioners continue to be viewed as “enemies of the state” and are
persecuted and harassed .
By Garikai Chaunza, Harare, October 19, 2011 - Radio VOP is among the four
out of the 14 aspiring radio stations that have been shortlisted for public
The four applied in May for two broadcasting licences that were offered by
the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ).
“Yes I can confirm that this public enquiry and hearing is one of the four
aspiring radio stations which were shortlisted from the fourteen, and the
adjudication will be done immediately after the last hearing is done,
controversial BAZ chair Tafataona Mahoso told journalists on Tuesday at a
public hearing of KISS FM which has pledged to work with the state
broadcaster on news productions.
"This is the first hearing of the four radio stations which are publicly
known and there will be three more hearings,”said Mahoso who chairs BAZ
which the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe Chapter says is
not properly constituted. Mahoso is dubbed as the 'media hangman after he
closed down two newspapers prior to the 2008 elections using the draconian
Access to Information and Protection to Privacy Act (AIPPA). MISA-Zimbabwe
has appealed for the repeal of AIPPA. Mahoso is also chief executive officer
of the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) which licenses print media.
Other radio Broadcasting aspirants are Zimbabwe Newspapers Talk Radio and AB
Communications. Zimbabwe Newspapers are publishers of the daily Herald and
the weekly Sunday Mail among other newspapers while former journalist and
businessman Supa Mandiwanzira is behind AB Communications.
KISS FM comprises banker Douglas Munatsi(board chair), Musi Khumalo (company
Chief executive) Sharon Mugabe(non-Executive director) Oliver
Mtukudzi(Non-Executive Director),Joseph Zimuto(Non-Executive
Director),Phibion Gwatidzo(Non-Executive Director),Tony Ndoro
(Head-Programming),George Munetsi(Programs manager),Bertha Charuma(Senior
Announcer and Chris Masikati(technical consultant).
The next public hearing is that of AB Communications on 25 October while
Radio VOP will appear on October 27.
BAZ demands to know from the aspirants shareholding structure, financiers,
programming schedules as well as budget for transmission investment.
Currently the country has one state controlled Broadcaster the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation and has no private broadcaster.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) on 26 May 2011 called for
applications for free to air national commercial radio broadcasting
A national free to air national commercial licence refers to a profit making
broadcasting entity that transmits an un-encoded signal throughout Zimbabwe.
The two licenses will be valid for 10 years each when issued.
The application fees for the potential broadcasters are US$9 500 and include
an initial fee of US$2 500 and a fee of US$7 500 for the public enquiry. On
being granted a licence, prospective broadcasters will be expected to pay a
licence fee of US$15 000 plus per annum.
The licence fees include frequency fees of US $30 per month, a 0.5%
contribution of the audited annual gross turnover to the broadcasting fund
and 1% annual turnover for the license period.
By Alex Bell
19 October 2011
A High Court judge has dismissed an application for a stockpile of diamonds
to be released by the Mines Ministry, which has not yet accounted for the
The 8kg diamond stockpile, said to be worth an estimated US$300 million, was
confiscated by the police and allegedly handed over to the government
ministry. The diamonds had been used as evidence in the case against Newman
Chiadzwa, who was arrested for possession of the stockpile. He was convicted
and sentenced to a five year jail term in 2010 for ‘illegal possession’ of
He was released from jail earlier this year after High Court Judge Andrew
Mutema nullified both his conviction and sentence. This came after state
lawyers from the Attorney General’s Office failed to appear in court in
connection with a review of the case.
Chiadzwa last month filed an application at the High Court to have the
stones returned to him, after his lawyers said there was no sign of the
stockpile. Chiadzwa had applied for his diamonds to be surrendered to the
Clerk of Court, who in turn was supposed to forward them to the Minerals
Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, which would then facilitate some form of
payment to Chiadzwa.
But High Court Justice Francis Bere last week dismissed the application in
his chambers, saying only the Mines Ministry had the mandate to manage the
diamonds. This is despite the fact that the Ministry has not accounted for
The fate of millions of dollars worth of diamonds and revenues from sales
remains a contentious issue in the country’s diamond trade. Earlier this
year, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said that over US$100 million earned from
diamond exports had not been accounted for. Biti has since called for a
proper investigation and an audit, but he has faced resistance from other
members of the coalition government.
By Staff Writer
Wednesday, 19 October 2011 10:11
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says many Zimbabweans living in
South Africa are desperate to return home but are being prevented by
prevailing economic and political hardships.
Tsvangirai said this during a live interview with South African radio
station Radio 702.
“Everyone I meet says I need to come back home. When do we come back home?”
The Prime Minister said Zimbabwe needed people who are living outside the
country to boost the country’s skills base.
“We need their skills that we have lost over the past 10 years. There are so
many good Zimbabweans contributing good things in South Africa and we need
their skills back home,” he said.
Tsvangirai’s call comes as South Africa starts deporting Zimbabweans staying
in that country illegally.
More than 261 Zimbabweans have so far been deported, while others who have
not yet regularised their stay in that country face similar treatment.
The Zimbabweans were deported following the expiry of a July 31 deadline for
them to regularise their papers under the Zimbabwe Documentation Project
meant to give illegal Zimbabwean immigrants a chance to regularise their
Over 275 000 Zimbabweans illegally staying in South Africa applied for legal
status under the project.
Migration bodies and civil society estimate that close to 3 million
Zimbabweans crossed into South Africa over the past decade fleeing economic
and political tumult.
This could mean the majority of Zimbabweans living in South Africa snubbed
the documentation project.
Wednesday, 19 October 2011 10:08
HARARE - Refugee rights groups have accused South Africa’s Home Affairs
ministry of “dishonesty” over its decision to lift a two-year moratorium on
deportations to Zimbabwe.
South Africa carried out its first deportations last Wednesday, but
campaigners claim officials may have misled parliament over their
The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (Zef) and the People Against Suffering Oppression
and Poverty (Passop) on Monday wrote to the South African Parliament’s Home
Affairs committee, accusing Home Affairs Director General Mkhuseli Apleni of
Apleni signed a September 30 directive authorising the detention and removal
of undocumented Zimbabweans “with immediate effect”.
But just a week earlier, say the two groups, he had told MPs that “no
Zimbabwean will be deported ... up to the time that we close the
(documentation) project” — a special scheme introduced in May 2009 to issue
work permits to Zimbabwean migrants who applied by December 31 last year.
“Our daily monitoring efforts at DHA (Department of Home Affairs) offices
show us that the issuing of permits will only be completed towards the end
of the year, at best,” the two groups said in the letter to MPs.
“There are thousands of Zimbabweans still waiting for their permits.
Therefore, we cannot comprehend the statement by DG Apleni that ‘the ZDP had
come to an end on September 30’.”
“Passop and Zef are extremely concerned about the lack of transparency of
the Director General of Home Affairs in his engagements with both parliament
and civil society.
“We cannot believe that the same week that the Director General briefed the
Committee on the Zimbabwean Documentation Project, he failed to mention that
he was about to sign a directive that ordered the resumption of deportations
of Zimbabweans,” the two organisations said.
“We expect transparency and honesty from the Department of Home Affairs.
After fully reviewing the meeting’s minutes and transcripts, we believe that
the Director General has misled parliament and civil society.”
The two groups said the moratorium on deportations “was introduced on the
realisation that it was not tenable to forcibly return Zimbabweans because
of the socio-economic and political environment prevailing there.”
“This environment has since not been adequately resolved; therefore Passop
and Zef’s position is that it is ill-advised and premature to recommence
deportations at this time.
“Both civil society organisations and the Zimbabwean government are not in a
position to deal with the large human rights and humanitarian costs that the
resumption of deportations brings about.”
In the first two days of the deportations, officials say 600 people were
dumped at Beitbridge.
Home Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa has defended the decision to resume
He told reporters the majority of Zimbabweans living in South Africa were
“law-abiding citizens who had done everything in their power to regularise
their stay by taking advantage of the documentation project”.
He added: “Accordingly, those Zimbabweans living in South Africa and (who)
had applied for the regularisation of their stay through the Zimbabwean
documentation project have nothing to fear.
“Nobody who has applied for the regularisation of their stay in South Africa
will be subject to deportation as their stay is protected in our rules and
“However, those who did not take advantage of the regularisation project,
including those who continue to undermine South Africa’s immigration laws by
entering the country illegally, cannot claim protection of the country’s
rules and regulations governing the regularisation of Zimbabweans living in
South African authorities believe there are more than 1,5 million
Zimbabweans living in Africa’s biggest economy, but just 275 762 people
submitted work permit applications under the special dispensation.
Zimbabweans who were denied passports because they were “aliens” have
accused the Ministry of Home Affairs of pocketing their passport fee and
denying them their rightful documents.
by Mxolisi Ncube
The affected nationals are Zimbabwean by birth but have parents of foreign
origins. They were denied Zimbabwean passports and ordered to renounce their
“foreign nationality” first, a process that takes around four months.
As a result, they missed out on the Zimbabwe Documentation Project, through
which the South African government gave undocumented Zimbabweans
freely-processed work, business and study permits.
However, many of those who spoke to The Zimbabwean early this week said that
they had been “robbed” of about R900 each, which they paid to apply for the
“I am a Zimbabwean by birth and cannot renounce a status that I never
carried. My father, who was born in Mozambique, died a long time back and I
never visited that country with him, so how do I become a Mozambican? This
is just unfair and it cost me a permit here,” said one applicant.
“Now that I we have been denied the passports, they are refusing to refund
us the money we used to apply. What they are now saying is that, ‘we cannot
give you our passports because you are foreigners, but we will take your
money’ and that does not make sense.”
Another applicant said that he had been to Harare on three occasions to get
his money back, but was referred from one office to another until he
returned to South Africa empty handed.
“It seems that no-one really knows what should happen with the money because
the officers at Home Affairs kept referring me with no solution. I have now
resigned myself to the fact that I will not get the money back,” he said.
A source in the Johannesburg office said he did not know whether the
affected citizens would be refunded or not.
This is not the first time that the Zimbabwean government has been accused
of malpractice over travel documents. In 2009 and 2010, the Johannesburg
Consulate was accused of fleecing South African-based citizens of over R10
million when they issued them invalid Emergency Travel Documents.
Comrades ordered to surrender rent money
by Zwanai Sithole Harare
Zanu (PF) youths have resolved to force white company owners in the city to
contribute cash towards the hosting of the party’s national annual people’s
conference scheduled here in December.
The resolution to solicit cash from white-owned companies was reached at the
party’s Bulawayo province annual youth conference held at Davies Hall last
According to party sources who attended the meeting, all the party’s organs
which includes the women’s league, the youth and the main party wing are
required to raise specific amounts of money for the hosting of the
conference, which the party’s President Robert Mugabe has declared will be
turned into a congress.
“Bulawayo youth province has been asked to raise $5,000 for hosting the
conference. There is no way we can raise that amount except to get donations
from the Americans and British who are plundering our own resources while
the local people are suffering. We have compiled a list of all whites who
owns mines in the city and next week we will start moving door-to-door
demanding cash for the conference,” said a Magwegwe party district official
who attended the congress.
During the meeting, all party youths who are illegally occupying white-owned
buildings in the city were ordered to surrender to the party all the rental
proceeds they are getting.
“There are some of our comrades who are individually benefitting from
the buildings which we liberated from white capitalists. As sons and
daughters of a revolutionary party, we agreed during the meeting that no
individual should benefit from those buildings but instead the money should
go towards the hosting of our national conference,” said another youth who
attended the conference.
The youths also endorsed the octogenarian leader as the party’s presidential
candidate in next year’s elections.
Representatives from all the province’s District Coordinating Committees
attended the meeting, together with politburo members.
19 October 2011
Former Defence Minister and ZANU PF founding member Enos Nkala has denied any involvement in the Gukurahundi Massacres.
Nkala told SW Radio Africa’s Question Time programme that he was Finance Minister when soldiers from the notorious Fifth Brigade began a campaign that led to the slaughter of an estimated 20,000 innocent civilians in the Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces.
A defiant Nkala said he served as Finance Minister at independence in 1980 up to 1983 when the portfolio was consolidated into Finance, Economic Planning and Development under the late Dr. Bernard Chidzero. Nkala was then appointed National Supplies Minister up to 1985. After elections that year he served as Home Affairs and Defence Minister, in the two years leading to a unity accord between ZANU and ZAPU that ended the Gukurahundi Massacres.
Challenged on his role in the massacres as a cabinet minister Nkala said: “You are peddling lies which you cannot prove. You ask Robert Mugabe who formed Gukurahundi? Who deployed Gukurahundi in Matabeleland? Who gave them instructions to do what they did? It wasn’t me. Its people who are ill-informed who pick things from the press. You ask Mugabe, he owned Gukurahundi.”
Nkala claimed he expressed his opposition to the massacres while he was still a cabinet minister and it was one of the reasons he doesn’t like Mugabe and the 87 year old ZANU PF leader also doesn’t like him. Nkala however also blamed the then opposition ZAPU for contributing to the conflict, claiming the abduction of white tourists in Victoria Falls by dissidents aligned to the party kicked things off.
“That was the reason for Gukurahundi and many other issues. The two main political parties (ZANU and ZAPU) we were both armed. Why should the blame be put entirely on the ZANU PF leadership, why not on the ZAPU leadership?”
Reminded that innocent people were targeted during the Gukurahundi and not the actual combatants Nkala said: “Long before you were born young man, innocent people were killed. When there is conflict, the grass suffers, innocent people suffer. When we were fighting the whites, you have never talked about that, because maybe you like whites. Many innocent people were killed, in villages people were grouped and killed.”
Asked about a statement he made several years ago during a political rally, that he regretted being from the Ndebele tribe and wished he could wash this away, Nkala told SW Radio Africa: “That’s another lie. It was created by my political opponents who were fighting me and peddled that story to try and destroy me.”
“How could I, I am a proud Ndebele, whatever you think. I fought as a Ndebele, I entered politics as a Ndebele and I left as a Ndebele. So that’s nonsense, it’s rubbish, it belongs to the dustbin,” Nkala said.
Nkala also defended himself against the WillowGate Scandal, which cost him his job as a cabinet minister. The scandal saw several ministers abuse their concessions to buy cheap vehicles from the government-owned Willowvale Motor Industries and then sell them at a profit.
“It’s all nonsense. You buy something at a lower price; sell it at a higher price, what is the scandal there? It’s business.”
Reminded that they were abusing their privileges as ministers, Nkala said: “It was all foolish. It was because this weak man, so called Robert Mugabe wanted to weed some of us out. That was the reason, it was not about cars. It was blown out of proportion and if you believe it, continue to believe it if you like, it’s up to you.”
A recent article by writer Thembani Dube described Nkala and Jonathan Moyo as, “arguably the most notorious Ndebele leaders since the formation of the Ndebele nation in 1821 under King Mzilikazi.” We asked Nkala if he thought that was fair criticism. He gave us another defiant answer saying:
“Whether I am a good person or not, I wouldn’t care or give a damn about it. After all I have never heard about that Dube. He is just a useless creature, maybe a university lecturer or some funny gangster somewhere, he is entitled to his gangster thinking that’s all.”
Nkala refused to comment on the controversial book he is said to be writing in which he says he chronicles, “all that has happened in ZANU PF since its formation, including the Gukurahundi Massacres and the assassinations of several high profile politicians using car accidents.”
In the book he blames the death of liberation war heroes Josiah Tongogara and Herbert Chitepo and others on Robert Mugabe. All he said was that the book will be published when he dies, in the meantime he was, ‘doing a lot of research and authoring.”
In the Wikipedia entry for Enos Nkala he is accused of having had an affair with Mugabe’s late wife Sally. We asked him about this and he said: “Please don’t be silly. I haven’t seen that (article). I would like to sue that person. Please, some of these questions should not come out your mouth.”
Told it was our job as journalists to seek clarification on issues in the public domain he replied: “That’s why I am saying don’t be silly. If you read about leaders like (Winston) Churchill and others, there are a lot of untrue things written about them.”
To listen to the full interview with Enos Nkala on Question Time with Lance Guma: Click Here
Local Mayor, Shadreck Tobaiwa, has confronted Government Minister Ignatius
Chombo over the disputed reinstatement of a city official convicted of
by Brenna Matendere Munyati
Albert Zingwe, the former treasurer, was suspended on December 1 last year
pending investigations. He was then found guilty of embezzling funds and
stealing 2 000 street lights by a three member probe team led by local
magistrate Tendai Mahwe.
The Local Government Board upheld the decision and recommended that Zingwe
be fired. However, Chombo wrote to the council and stated that Zingwe should
"I met Chombo over the issue last week and we had fruitful deliberations on
the issue of Zingwe," Tobaiwa told The Zimbabwean in an interview. "He
agreed that Zingwe could not be allowed back to work because he stole a lot
of money and said the letter that came from his office should be nullified,"
He also reiterated that the council would stand on its decision and would
not allow any corrupt officials to be accommodated at town house.
Newly sworn in Public Service Minister Lucia Matibenga has vowed to pursue
the issue of civil servants salary increments until its finalised.
by Brenna Matendere Munyati
Matibenga, who has a strong labour unionism background, told delegates
attending a feedback meeting here that although she could not promise much,
the issue of civil servants salaries was close to her heart.
This follows a nationwide outcry from civil servants who are pushing for
salaries that are in accordance with the poverty datum line.
"The brief that I got from Prime Minister Tsvangirai when I became Public
Service Minister is that I should use my unionism experience in the job.
Therefore, I will certainly do that and as for civil servants, they should
be patient and see the changes that will be there," she said.
Matibenga also reiterated that there was need for a vibrant negotiating
committee for civil servants.
"There is no vibrant negotiating team for civil servants in the country and
that is the greatest shortcoming there is. The civil servants should address
that," she said.
By Everson Mushava, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 19 October 2011 08:35
HARARE - Emmanuel Makandiwa, a young and charismatic “prophet” commanding
one of the largest Christian denominations locally, has lined himself up for
a big pay day.
His outfit, United Family International ministries (UFI) that he co-founded
with his wife Ruth, is set for a possible $0,5 million windfall at the very
minimum by charging top dollar for a “spiritual” conference running from
Friday to Sunday.
Church members are required to fork out as much as $60 per person to attend
the conference, which will be graced by Makandiwa’s “spiritual father”
Ghanaian Victor Boateng.
One needs to pay at least $10 as conference fees to be allowed in.
To get up close and personal with the man who describes his movement as “a
prayer answered” for Zimbabwe and the world, one needs to pay an extra $50
for the VIP section.
Some members of the public who spoke to the Daily News said the move showed
how Christianity in Zimbabwe is catching up with the craze in most parts of
the world where religion has turned into good business.
UFI organisers say they are targeting 50 000 people to attend the
conference, running under the theme “Breaking the cycle of negativity,
possessing your destiny.”
Going by the organisers’ target, Makandiwa and his church will pocket a cool
$500 000 from the $10 conference fees. That figure will balloon if the $50
VIP fees are taken into account.
The 50 000 figure may seem too huge for politicians and local football teams
battling to attract crowds.
But Makandiwa has in the past surpassed such numbers. Over 60 000 people
attended his sermon at the National Sports Stadium at Easter this year.
Makandiwa, whose life story is a rags to riches tale, has illuminated
Zimbabwe with his church sermons. He grew up as a village boy in Muzarabani
and rose to become a superstar church leader in nine years and now pitch
tents at almost all his sermons to accommodate overflow crowds spilling out
of the auditorium.
People were streaming in to buy tickets for the conference when the Daily
News visited UFI church offices yesterday.
A cashier at the offices said she expected all tickets to be sold out by end
of day today.
According to a church official, the money for VIP tickets will be used for
food, parking and reserved sitting in the auditorium.
“The $50 does not include conference fees. It caters for parking, reserved
seating and the auditorium and a three course lunch for the duration of the
conference. One will also be required to pay an additional $10 for the
conference,” Pastor Kufa told members during a church service on Sunday.
Those who do not pay will not be allowed in, although free for all services
will be offered on Friday and Saturday evening for poorer souls.
The conference is one of Makandiwa’s money spinning ventures.
He has introduced several cash cows such as a controversial spiritual link
card where people pay to receive daily spiritual messages from him.
A Harare businessman, Pascal Nyasha, has taken Makandiwa to court over the
project, claiming to have been the brains behind the project.
Religious organisations enjoy a number of concessions due to the nature of
their business. Income tax legislation exempts from taxation ecclesiastical
institutions of a public character.
This covers the receipts and accruals of religious organisations such as
They also get rebates on duty if goods are imported specifically for church
Many pastors today are building multi-million dollar empires out of their
Abandoning the traditional robes usually worn by clergy from “old school”
churches such as the Anglican or Roman Catholic churches, they don expensive
pinestripe suits, fly around in private jets and cruise around in fancy,
According to Forbes Magazine, pastors are no longer solely interested in
getting people to Heaven; they’ve devised intelligent ways to make good
money while reaching out to souls as well.
Recent research in Nigeria showed that most church leaders were among that
country’s top 10 richest people.
One of them, David Oyedepo, leader of Winners’ Chapel International, was
valued at around $150 million.
According to Forbes magazine, Oyedepo owns four private jets and homes in
London and the United States.
He also owns Dominion Publishing House, a thriving publishing company that
publishes all his books often focus on prosperity.
He founded and owns Covenant University, one of Nigeria’s leading tertiary
institutions, and Faith Academy, an elite high school.
Temitope Joshua of Nigeria, popularly known as T B Joshua is valued at
between $10 million and $15 million and owns a television channel, Emmanuel
By Pindai Dube
Wednesday, 19 October 2011 19:19
BULAWAYO - Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Tapiwa
Mashakada yesterday said Zambia has refused to work with Zimbabwe government
on the proposed Batoka Gorge Power Station demanding millions of dollars
which was owed by the Rhodesian government back in the 1950s.
Zimbabwe’s inclusive government was planning to construct Batoka Electricity
The power station was expected to provide the country with 800 Megawatts of
hydro power, generation capacity.
Batoka Gorge is situated 50 kilometers down stream of Victoria Falls along
the Zambezi River.
Addressing businesspeople in Bulawayo on Monday during the launch of Medium
Term Plan policy in the city, Mashakada said Zambia has refused to work with
Zimbabwe on Batoka demanding that the Rhodesian debt be settled first.
“During the time of Federation of Rhodesia, Harare which was called
Salisbury was the capital of the Federation.
“So when Zambia and Malawi got independence they separated from the
Federation and most of their assets remained in Harare. There are now
demanding that we pay for those assets and are barring us from constructing
Batoka Power Station,” said Mashakada.
Mashakada added: “The Zambians have already calculated and told us how much
we owed them. We have discussed this matter in Cabinet and we agreed to pay
“Only until after we pay this amount which I can’t mention now, can we have
an agreement with Zambians on Batoka”.
The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was created in 1953 and embraced
the colony of Southern Rhodesia (later Rhodesia and now Zimbabwe and the
territories of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Nyasaland (now Malawi).
The Federation was dissolved on 31 December 1963, and Northern Rhodesia and
Nyasaland gained independence in 1964 as Zambia and Malawi respectively.
Mashakada also said that the Batoka project was set to improve electricity
supply in the country.
Zimbabwe is currently facing critical power shortages, a development that
has crippled various economic sectors such as manufacturing and mining. In
the Medium Term Plan, government has projected to increase power generation
capacity from the current 1 200 megawatts to 2 800 megawatts by 2015.
The desk sergeant at Harare Central Police Station was affable but totally
by John Chimunhu
As the shaken young woman related the story of how her bag containing money
and clothes had been stolen by thieves just outside the police station, the
officer responded with exaggerated effusions of ‘Aw, shame!’ and ‘That is
But contrary to standard police practice, the officer was not taking any
notes and did not even bother to record the woman’s personal details, even
just for statistical purposes. At the end of the brief interview and out of
nowhere, the officer suddenly turned hostile.
“You women are a problem. How do I know you are telling the truth. Maybe you
squandered your husband’s money on shopping and now you want to use the
police to cover up your foolishness. Go away, we can’t help you,” the cop
said, picking up his hat and joining the stream of officers going home at
the end of the morning shift.
Baffled, the woman left the station with tears streaming down her cheeks.
Top lawyer and former Deputy Minister of Justice, Jessie Majome, says the
police are a great let-down to women and justice delivery in Zimbabwe.
“I’m concerned about the distance between the public’s security needs and
the priorities of the police,” Majome told The Zimbabwean.
Majome, who is now Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community
Development, says the malfunctioning police system has had disastrous
consequences for women, in particular. Often subjected to violence, rape and
other serious crimes, women have borne the brunt of the lawlessness that is
engulfing Zimbabwe. The police are often accused of failing to protect
victims or actively supporting political party thugs pillaging the country
in the name of various patriotic causes.
“Women deserve a police force that is genuinely professional and ably serves
the security interests of the public. But right now there’re issues of
access. If I go into a police station, am I guaranteed protection?” Majome
Numerous studies by human rights defenders and parliamentary committees show
that for the best part the Zimbabwe Republic Police
(ZRP) has become useless in solving simple crimes that affect people daily.
Instead the force has become highly politicized and is often seen performing
hatchet jobs for President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party at the
expense of professionalism. At the other end, the cops are just downright
clumsy and corrupt, demanding bribes and sexual favours from suspects and
Said Majome: “It seems they have other priorities, which are political. They
will react very fast if you want to hold a political rally but don’t seem to
care about serious crimes that are being committed daily. We are concerned
as a nation about ballooning rape cases, murder, thuggery,violence, to name
a few for example.”
Earlier this year, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri was summoned before
Parliament to answer various allegations levelled against the force.
Chihuri, who seems to think he is answerable only to Mugabe, was stunned by
the rigorous questioning he was subjected to.
Subsequently, Chihuri issued statements condemning the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Defence and Security.
The Committee’s chairperson, Paul Madzore says the police are just very
corrupt. He wonders why they have to be paid by the state when they are not
serving the public which is paying them through taxes.
“People are very disappointed by the attitude of the police. One would
expect them to be professional because they are being paid from taxpayers’
money, but that is not the case,” said Madzore.
The committee wanted to institute public hearings into the conduct of the
police. However, the hearings never took place because the police failed to
guarantee protection for legislators, the public and officials.
In one glaring case of failure by the police, Zanu (PF) thugs invaded
Parliament building in July and assaulted MPs and journalists during a
public hearing. Despite the fact that the scenes were recorded on security
cameras and the suspects could easily be identified and apprehended, the
police have not done anything. Instead, they are pursuing a campaign of
harassment and intimidation against the MDC, on behalf of Zanu (PF).
In Madzore’s Glen View constituency, the security forces allegedly staged
the murder of a policeman as a pretext to move against the MDC.
Some believe the police wanted to arrest Madzore for grilling Chihuri in
Parliament. However, they have so far failed to link him to the murder.
Instead, they have now arrested his brother, Solomon, who is the chairman of
the MDC-T Youth Assembly’.
The police have also launched a reign of terror in Glen View and other
But for most Zimbabweans, an enduring image is that of the police taking
bribes at road blocks. They usually do it quite openly and motorists have
now taken it upon themselves to be the paymasters o f the normally
shabbily-dressed, underpaid police officers.
“Our committee has received numerous complaints about police corruption. We
would have wanted to conduct public hearings to gather evidence but we can
not do it at present because the police can not protect us,” Madzore said.
Majome added: “The public perception is that the police are corrupt and they
should be addressing this issue instead of pursuing personal and party
Bulawayo South legislator said one way of dealing with police corruption on
the roads was to abolish the collection of spot fines.
Co-Minister for Home Affairs Theresa Makone says the best way of starting a
restructuring of the force would be first to fire Chihuri.
Chihuri has reacted to that suggestion with scorn. But as the police
continue to bungle cases, costing the state millions in payouts to aggrieved
parties, it is becoming clear that something needs to be changed.
Serving officers who spoke to this newspaper confirmed that Chihuri is a
major problem for those trying to do a professional job.
Recruitment and promotion is often done on the basis of allegiance to Zanu
(PF) or militia training under the notorious Border Gezi scheme.
Experienced officers who can not prove loyalty to Mugabe’s party are often
frustrated or hounded out of the force. This has led to a dire shortage of
investigative skills, with officers resorting to violence to extract
confessions. Many of the confessions have been dismissed by the courts.
“The police should be able to detect offenders without resorting to torture
and violence. People want to see quality policing and respect for human
rights,” Majome said.
Majome added that women in the police force are disadvantaged. She said the
police had failed to achieve gender balance prescribed by United Nations
Female officers interviewed said they are being abused and subjected to
sexual harassment which is now rampant within the force. Women officers are
expected to wine and dine with the big fish before they get recognized.
The public is outraged by the clumsy handling of cases. In one case, a woman
who was robbed of a cellphone was later shocked when the investigating
officer demanded sex from her if she wanted her phone to be recovered.
“The officer kept phoning me and inviting me to the station claiming that my
phone had been found. When I went there, I discovered that he was lying. He
was telling people that I was his girlfriend and later asked me for sex. I
never followed up on the case after that,” the woman said.
Prostitutes are also an easy target for the crooked cops, who arrest them
and demand sexual favours in exchange for freedom.
Zanu (PF) propaganda chief and former information minister Jonathan Moyo
planted false stories in the state media to tarnish President Robert Mugabe’s
opponents, an ex-Herald editor revealed in confidential discussions with US
by Vusimusi Bhebhe
Former Herald editor Ray Mungoshi told the then Charge D’Affaires at the US
Embassy, Earl Irving, during an hour-long meeting on 27 March 2001 that they
would normally send ready-to-print stories to the paper and expect them to
be “published without question or alteration”.
“He described one specific incident in which Moyo sent a story alleging that
leading Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa (Econet Cellular) was
involved in illegal foreign exchange dealings,” said a leaked diplomatic
cable about the meeting.
Mungoshi, who knew Masiyiwa and believed him to be an honest, law-abiding
man, assigned two reporters to confirm the details of the story before
The reporters found out that there was no basis for the story and Mungoshi
refused to publish it.
“That decision prompted a barrage of verbal abuse from Moyo, who apparently
told Mungoshi that he had no right to question any stories Moyo wished to
have published in The Herald,” the cable said.
After the incident, Mungoshi said he became accustomed to finding stories in
the newspaper that he had never seen before or approved.
He narrated how the acerbic Moyo would call him daily, usually around 6am,
to complain about The Herald’s editorial content.
These calls would last for between 30 and 45 minutes and were often angry
diatribes about the paper’s lack of support for the government.
Moyo also used these phone calls to tell Mungoshi what the next day’s
editorial should be or what story he wanted to see on the front page.
Mungoshi’s editorship of the state-run paper lasted only seven months.
He was appointed on September 15, 2000 and was sacked on March 14, 2001.
He succeeded Bornwell Chakaodza who had been editor for two-and-half years
and was also sacked by Moyo for trying to rebuild The Herald’s credibility
after its biased coverage of the June 2000 parliamentary campaign and
A reply to Alec Russell’s article in the Financial Times, “How to Take Tea
and Turn the Tables on Mugabe” (17 October 2011)
19 October 2011
Call Mugabe’s bluff by removing sanctions? Can Alec Russell really believe
that sanctions and indigenisation are the last two weapons left in Mugabe’s
rhetorical armoury? Mugabe deliberately misrepresented travel and trade bans
imposed against himself and his malevolent inner circle by labelling them
illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe. He then masterfully turned ‘sanctions’
into a propaganda tool to explain away his disastrous mismanagement of the
economy. Finally, he used it – completely disingenuously – as an excuse not
to implement any provisions of the GPA.
Take away sanctions, as Russell suggests, and Mugabe would simply pick
another excuse from his Machiavellian tool-kit to avoid implementing the
GPA. It’s not just sanctions: Mugabe uses his rhetorical weapons time and
again to out-manoeuvre his opponents and commit heinous crimes against his
own people. Want to wipe out the Ndebele supporters of your political
opponents? Call them dissidents. Want to seize commercial farms? Accuse
white farmers of being the racist children of British colonialists? Want to
teach urban opponents a lesson? Destroy their homes and livelihoods in the
name of cleaning up the cities. Want to reward your cronies with major
shareholdings in banks and mines? Pull out the sovereignty card. Refuse to
implement the GPA? Blame sanctions.
What logic possesses Russell to think that sanctions have kept the despot in
power? The truth is far simpler and well known. Mugabe uses the police, the
army, his secret service and his war veterans and militia to brutalise the
population into submission so that he can keep his imperious hand on the
levers of power. Violence is the tool of choice when his power is
threatened – to which the June 2008 elections offer ample testimony. The
belief that removing sanctions can wrong-foot Mugabe and usher in the MDC,
is about as delusional as the old despot himself. Lifting sanctions would
simply be another act of appeasement, another victory against the West,
another opportunity for Mugabe to flaunt his invincibility by shopping at
Sanctions should not be lifted, but tightened so that Mugabe gets the
message that the international community unequivocally condemns the gross
human rights abuses that continue to be committed by his party. They should
continue to be imposed so that there is no mistaking the acceptable and
unacceptable members of the Inclusive Government. They should remain in
place in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe who have been living in
fear, humiliation and poverty under his autocratic rule. And they should
remain in place so that we continue to hear Mugabe squeal rather than crow.
CONTENT SERIES 9/2011
[18th October 2011]
The Legislature Part II
3. Membership of the Legislature
What should happen if a member of Parliament leaves his or her party?
Under the British constitution, members of Parliament are free to “cross the floor”, that is to abandon their party and join another one without having to resign their parliamentary seats. Winston Churchill did it at least twice in his long career. The same applied in Zimbabwe until 1989, when the Constitution was amended to provide that if a member of Parliament leaves the party to which he or she belonged, the party can notify the Speaker or the President of the Senate, as appropriate, that the member no longer represents its interests, and the member then automatically loses his or her seat (section 41(1)(e) of the Constitution, as amended by Constitution Amendment No. 9).
There are arguments for and against the current Zimbabwean position:
ˇ In Zimbabwe as in most modern democracies, members are elected on the basis that they belong to a particular political party. If one of them subsequently leaves his or her party, therefore, it may be dishonourable for him or her to remain in Parliament without going back to the electorate and seeking re-election under his or her new political affiliation.
ˇ If members know they will have to vacate their seats if they leave their party, they will be less likely to abandon the party whenever the political wind changes. Party discipline is therefore strengthened, making it easier for government and party leaders to predict whether or not legislation will be passed by Parliament. If by contrast there is a weak party system, members of the legislature are more easily bribed with money or political advancement to vote against their parties. Weak parties may therefore encourage corruption in the legislature.
The contrary argument runs as follows:
ˇ Members of the legislature are not elected to serve the interests of a particular political party, but to serve their country. They must be allowed to act according to their own good judgement and conscience and not according to the dictates of their party bosses.
None of these arguments can be regarded as conclusive, but it may be observed that the argument in favour of giving members freedom to vote according to their conscience assumes that politicians are all honest and upright and willing to follow their consciences.
What privileges or immunities should the legislature and its members have?
The privileges of a legislature are special rights that are conferred on the legislature as an institution and on its members individually, so that the legislature has the authority and independence to carry out its functions properly. Because these privileges are so important, some of them at least should be set out specifically in the constitution. Section 49 of the present Constitution merely allows an Act of Parliament to provide for the parliamentary privileges; in contrast, section 58 of the South African constitution mentions of some of them.
The most important privilege of the legislature as an institution is the power to compel officials to appear and give evidence before it and its committees. This privilege should be mentioned in the new constitution. The legislature should also have power to punish its members and other people for contempt, but its power should be limited to ensure that the punishments are reasonably moderate and that the range of conduct that constitutes contempt is not so great as to stifle legitimate criticism of the legislature and its members.
At present, the main privileges and immunities enjoyed by members of the Zimbabwean Parliament are:
ˇ Freedom of speech and debate. This is a vital privilege because members must be free to engage in debate and raise matters in Parliament without fear that they will be arrested, prosecuted or sued civilly for what they say in Parliament.
ˇ Exemption from attendance at court. This exemption extends only so far as to prevent members from being kept away from their parliamentary business by having to attend court proceedings.
ˇ Immunity from arrest: This immunity, inherited from the British Parliament, applies only to civil arrest while Parliament is sitting. It does not apply to arrest for criminal offences. It does not therefore protect members from being arrested and detained on trumped-up charges. The French constitution, it may be noted, protects members of the legislature from being arrested for criminal offences without the authority of a committee of the legislature. Our new constitution should give the same protection.
These privileges are intended to facilitate the functioning of the legislature, not to benefit the members individually. The new constitution should mention them specifically.
Assent by the Head of State
Under section 51 of the present Constitution, a Bill passed by the House of Assembly and the Senate must be assented to by the President before it is promulgated as an Act of Parliament. The President therefore takes part in the legislative process; indeed, the Zimbabwean legislature is defined as consisting of the President and Parliament (section 32(1)) and the preambles of all our Acts state that they are enacted by “the President and the Parliament of Zimbabwe”.
The involvement of the Head of State in the law-making process is a survival from the days when laws were made by kings. It may seem anomalous to continue the practice in a modern State, where political power is supposed to be vested in the people, but most States do so. Even the constitution of the United States, which famously begins with the words “We, the people” and which vests “all legislative powers” in a Senate and a House of Representatives, requires the President to approve all Bills before they are enacted.
None of the draft constitutions mentioned earlier — the Constitutional Commission draft, the NCA draft, the “Kariba draft” or the Law Society’s draft — alter the Head of State’s involvement in the making of legislation, and it is too well-entrenched for the new constitution to alter it. Strict time-limits must be imposed, however, on the Head of State’s consideration of a Bill before approving or disapproving, and in the event of the Head of State’s rejecting a Bill the legislature must have power to compel him or her to approve it. The President should not be allowed to “veto” legislation by delaying his assent.
Procedure for the passing of legislation
Schedule 4 to the present Constitution deals with the procedure which Parliament must follow in regard to the passing of legislation, but its main focus is the relationship between the Senate and the House of Assembly. The internal procedures of each House are left to standing orders made in terms of section 57 of the Constitution.
This pattern is followed in the draft constitution prepared by the Constitutional Commission in 2000 and in the “Kariba draft”. In the NCA draft and the Law Society draft most matters of parliamentary procedure are left to be prescribed in standing orders, but in those two draft constitutions the Senate is given very limited legislative powers.
If the new constitution creates a Senate, and if the Senate is given the same or nearly the same powers as the lower chamber to enact legislation, then the relationship between the two chambers should be spelled out as it is in the present Constitution.
The internal procedures of each chamber should for the most part be left for the chambers concerned to work out in their standing orders. The constitution should, however, lay down some minimal ground rules:
ˇ Legislative procedures must allow adequate debate on all legislation. Members must be give adequate time to consider the legislation; “fast-tracking” Bills should be prohibited or at least minimised.
ˇ There must be adequate consultation before legislation is presented in Parliament. Current parliamentary procedures do require Bills to be considered by portfolio committees and allow the committees to hold public hearings, but the constitution itself should lay down the need for full consultation.
In addition, though this need not be specified in the constitution, the procedural rules should be made as simple as possible so that members understand them easily and do not have to be subjected to lengthy induction before they are able to take part effectively in debates.
5. Powers of the Legislature over National Finance
In Britain since the 17th century the Executive has had to rely on Parliament to provide it with the necessary finance to maintain the government, and Parliament has used its financial power to keep the Executive in check. This is reflected in the present Zimbabwean constitution, where Chapter XI gives Parliament (primarily the House of Assembly) power to raise finance through taxation, requires all government revenues to be paid into a single Consolidated Revenue Fund, and prohibits the Executive from withdrawing money from the Fund unless the withdrawal is authorised by an Act of Parliament.
The new constitution should certainly continue this position, and if possible should strengthen it, perhaps in the following ways:
ˇ The constitution should state that no taxes can be raised except under the specific authority of an Act of Parliament. The present Constitution does not state this expressly, and the President has raised some taxes temporarily through regulations made under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act.
ˇ Parliament should be required to set statutory limits on the level of national debt and borrowings by the State.
ˇ All public accounts without exception should be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor-General and scrutinised by Parliament. At present some accounts relating to the President’s office are not scrutinised.
ˇ The power to fix and raise the salaries and allowances of State officials, including the President, Ministers and members of the legislature, should be made subject to approval by an independent Salaries Commission set up by the constitution.
6. Dissolution, Adjournment and Sessions of the Legislature
At present, the President has power, in his personal discretion, to summon Parliament to its annual sessions, to prorogue (i.e. adjourn) Parliament and to dissolve it (sections 31H(5), 62 and 63 of the Constitution). He cannot abolish Parliament completely, because Parliament must meet at least once every six months (section 62(2)) but he can keep its sittings to a minimum. The maximum life of Parliament (i.e. the period between general elections) is five years (section 63(4)) but the President can shorten that period by dissolving Parliament before the five-year term has elapsed.
If Parliament cannot even determine the dates of its own sessions it cannot be regarded as a truly independent legislature. Clearly the new constitution must reduce the President’s powers in this regard.
One way of doing it, suggested in the NCA draft constitution and the Law Society’s draft, would be to allow Parliament to determine when and how often it should sit. The President would be required to summon Parliament within 21 days after a general election, and after that it would be up to Parliament to work out its own sittings. In the interests of efficiency, Parliament would probably have to prepare some sort of time-table for its sittings, but this could be done through its standing orders rather than through presidential order.
Even the power to dissolve Parliament could be conferred on Parliament itself rather than on the President. This would have to be done by an increased majority, say a two-thirds majority, of all the members of Parliament (or of the lower chamber of Parliament, if there is to be a bicameral legislature).
One important point should be made before ending. Whatever the form of the legislature in the new constitution, and however much power it is given, it will only be effective if effective members are elected to it. Its effectiveness, in other words, will depend on the quality of its members. That in turn will depend, at least partly, on the form of the electoral system. And that will be the subject of another Constitution Watch.
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