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Zimbabwe's espionage crackdown nabs three

By KITSEPILE NYATHI in HararePosted Saturday, October 29 2011 at 14:08

A Zimbabwean court has charged three prominent businessmen with espionage
after they allegedly installed equipment to spy for the United States,
Canada and Afghanistan.

The trio is accused of illegally setting up satellite communication
equipment and leaking confidential government data to foreign countries.

Two executives at communications company Africom, Simba Mangwende and Farai
Rwodzi, together with Harare businessman Oliver Chiku, appeared in court
shackled in leg irons on Friday.

Prosecutors told a Harare magistrate court that Mr Chiku facilitated a
meeting between Mr Rwodzi and a Canadian company called Juch Tech.

The meeting allegedly led to Juch Tech providing communications equipment
capable of transmitting information to the Internet protocol at Africom’s
Harare offices.

The equipment allegedly installed in July was used to send messages to the
US, Canada and Afghanistan, the prosecutors claimed.

The lawyers for the three did not make bail applications and the case is now
expected to continue on Monday.

If convicted under the country’s Official Secrets Act, the businessmen face
up to 25 years in jail.

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Court approves MDC rallies

By Nkululeko Sibanda, Senior Writer
Saturday, 29 October 2011 14:31

HARARE - The courts have thrown out a bid by the police to bar the MDC party
from holding three rallies in Matabeleland North province over the weekend.

Prime Minister and MDC party president, Morgan Tsvangirai is billed to
address three rallies in the province.

Police wrote back to the MDC and advised them the rallies were banned on the
basis of manpower shortages.

The first rally was held yesterday in Binga after the intervention of
Thulani Nkala, a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
who launched an application with the Binga magistrates’ courts.

After hearing the matter, the court granted the application for the rally to

Kossam Ncube of Kossam Ncube and Partners also launched an application
against the ban on Tsvangirai’s rally in Lupane.

The rally is scheduled to be held today after the Lupane magistrates’ courts
approved it.

Tomorrow, Tsvangirai is expected to address another rally in Victoria Falls
which had also been banned by the police.

According to Nosimilo Chanayiwa, the ZLHR projects lawyer responsible for
the organisation’s Bulawayo satellite office, all the rallies are expected
to proceed after the intervention of lawyers.

“The police put forward excuses that there were some other state meetings or
functions that were happening in the same areas where these rallies were
being held,” Chanayiwa said.

“They said they did not have the manpower to deploy to the MDC rallies hence
they should be stopped,” she added.

However, the courts threw out the bans, enabling the rallies to proceed.

Fears are that Zanu PF, suspected to be in total control of the police and
security sector, has been behind the plans to stop the MDC from staging its

The fears are premised on the fact that should the MDC be able to reach out
to the masses ahead of the much anticipated presidential and general
elections, there is a chance Tsvangirai could woo the voters to his party
leaving President Robert Mugabe and his party even weaker.

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Police disrupt MDC rally in Lupane

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Police in Lupane have blocked an MDC rally despite a court order allowing
for it to take place.

35 police officers all in riot gear and guns besieged the venue at St Paul’s
and disrupted proceedings. The officers ordered the women who were preparing
food to evacuate the place and dismissed 968 members who were already at the
venue at 10:30am.

Police also blocked President Tsvangirai’s tour of St Paul’s Mission
Hospital. President Tsvangirai is on a government work programme visit to
Matabeleland North Province. On Thursday, he was in Tsholotsho to assess the
business situation in the region before going to Binga on Friday and Lupane

Meanwhile, in Victoria Falls, at 4 am today, about 15 uniformed police
officers visited homes of Thembinkosi Sibindi, the Matabeleland North
provincial organising secretary and the Hwange West district chairperson,
Bernard Nyamambi armed with search warrants for subversive materials.

Mr Nyamambi said “These are efforts to frustrate the party’s programmes in
this province. As you have observed, for all our rallies to take place, we
have had to approach the courts just to get approval.”

The provincial police officer in Matabeleland North, a notorious Zanu PF
activist, Veterai, has vowed to thwart all MDC programmes in this province.

On Thursday, the MDC youth chairperson for Hwange West, Innocent Ndlovu was
arrested by police here in Victoria Falls on frivolous charges of public

He was supposed to go to court on Friday, but the police are holding on to
him ahead of an MDC star rally in the resort town on Sunday.

The people's struggle for real change: Let's finish It!!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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Mugabe Wants To Step Down: Tsvangirai

Binga,Pashu,October 29,2011---Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says
President Robert Mugabe told him he wants to step down but he can not leave
now since his party is facing serious divisions.

Addressing more than 1500 MDC-T supporters at Pashu business centre in Binga
South on Friday Tsvangirai said Mugabe told him Zanu-PF is in tatters and he
can’t step down.

“I asked Mugabe why he is not retiring and go home to rest, but he told me
openly that his party is in tatters with two factions one led by (Emerson)
Mnangagwa and another by (Joyce) Mujuru fighting. But come elections I will
defeat him, you can’t compare to that old man, I am young and raring to go,”
said Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai also said Zanu-PF knows very well that he is very popular
among Zimbabweans that is the reason why they have criticize him day in
day out in state media.

“Zanu (PF) knows that I am very popular among Zimbabweans and I will win
any election, that’s the reason why they are working daily to tarnish my
image. Now there are saying Tsvangirai love gays. I am not a gay myself but
I won’t persecute gays because there were born like that.

“Instead of Zanu-PF dealing with bread and butter issue serious issues they
now spend time talking about gays,” said Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai also said: “Zimbabwe is rich in diamonds but Zanu-PF has been
looting the country’s resources and people have remained poor”.

The rally which was initially banned by Matebeleland North police was also
attended by Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe and other senior MDC-T
senior officials.

Magistrate Stephen Ndlovu of Hwange Magistrate Courts gave the MDC-T last
time permission to go ahead with the rally.

Although the rally had a court green light several roadblocks had been set
up by police all the way from Dete to Pashu business centre in Binga with
police searching cars and asking many questions.

Tsvangirai is expected to hold another rally St Paul Mission today Saturday
afternoon which was also given a go ahead by a Lupane Magistrate Tafadzwa
Gwazemba yesterday.

Police in Matabeleland North have been preventing Tsvangirai from
campaigning in the province since the run up to the June 27, 2008
presidential run-off poll. His armoured BMW campaign car was seized by
police in the provincial capital, Lupane and has not been released.

According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Matabeleland North
is now the most hostile province in the country as police have so far
arrested or harass more than 40 politicians and human rights activists since

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'Mugabe could appoint Grace'

By Tonderai Kwenda in Australia
Saturday, 29 October 2011 10:38

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe would rather anoint his wife Grace to take
over power if he becomes incapacitated than to hand over to his war time
comrades in Zanu PF whom he does not trust, a world renowned trade unionist
has said.

Sunil Prasad, secretary-general of the Commonwealth Trade Union Group, told
the Daily News that it was usually difficult for people of his age to trust
anyone who is not from his family hence Mugabe’s jittery at leaving power.

Prasad, who is also the secretary-general of the International Trade Union
Confederation (ITUC) based in Brussels, said political leaders who stayed in
power for too long found it difficult to trust anyone with political power
except their close family members.

The International Trade Union Confederation is the world’s main
international trade union organisation, bringing together the former
affiliates of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)
and the World Confederation of Labour (WCL), along with trade union
organisations which had no global affiliation.

The ICFTU and the WCL dissolved themselves on October 31, 2006 to pave way
for the creation of the ITUC.

Former Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general Wellington
Chibhebhe is ITUC’s deputy secretary general.

Prasad, whose organisation plays a critical role in supporting the ZCTU said
Mugabe, like other African leaders who overstay in power, is likely to find
it difficult to choose a successor from among his Zanu PF colleagues.

He said he would rather gamble and appoint his wife if at all he decides to
step down.

“Mugabe is likely to appoint his wife. All the indications are that he does
not trust his colleagues in Zanu PF,” said Prasad, who has followed
Zimbabwean politics since 1970s.

Asked why he believes Mugabe would go for such an extreme political move,
Prasad said Mugabe is not different from other leaders who have stayed for
too long in power and is likely to behave like them.

“He is just like Jawaharlal Nehru who appointed his daughter Indira
Priyadarshini Gandhi to take over the country after him,” he said.

In addition, he said leaders who are old and who have overstayed in power
always develop an affinity to keep it in the family as a way of protecting
themselves. He gave the example of ailing Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak
who was grooming his son Gamal for eventual takeover of his party before he
was toppled.

He also cited the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il whose son Jong-un recently
became his second-in-command at his ruling Workers’ Party’s powerful Central
Military Commission setting him up for succession.

The global workers activist said had nothing happened to the late Muammar
Gaddafi in Libya, his son Saif al-Islam, currently on the run from National
Transitional Council forces following the capture and subsequent death of
his father and brother, would have eventually taken over.

Gabon’s late leader Omar Bongo’s son Ali was left in power together with his
sister Pascaline who at one point was his father’s chief of staff.

The ITUC chief says he has confidence in his former trade union comrade,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s leadership.

“He has all the advantages that Zimbabwe needs as a country.

“He is acceptable to the international community and a global face that can
change the fortunes for Zimbabwe in a short time,” said Prasad.

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Zim should restore ‘genuine’ democracy

By Tonderai Kwenda in Australia
Saturday, 29 October 2011 14:23

PERTH - The Commonwealth says Zimbabwe will only be readmitted into the
54-member group only after restoring “genuine” democracy and holding
transparent elections.

The organisation’s secretary-general Kamalesh Sharma said this as the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) opened here yesterday amid
massive demonstrations by citizens of several Commonwealth countries in
downtown Perth.

Sharma said the organisation is keeping an eye on Zimbabwe and Fiji which
was also suspended from the organisation for committing human rights abuses.

“We are watching very closely the situation and their readiness to promote
genuine democracy through free, fair and transparent electoral process.

When they restore democracy to their countries, the leaders will take
necessary decision on their return,” said Sharma while addressing
journalists at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre together with
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Australia takes over the leadership of the grouping of mainly former British
colonies from Trinidad and Tobago.

Sharma’s comments come amid criticism that the grouping is not doing enough
to push suspended members to restore democracy. Some have even argued that
the organisation needs massive surgery if it is to remain relevant.

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday said the organisation
has failed on Zimbabwe and Fiji.

He said the group has to continue pressuring the two countries to reform
otherwise their suspension would be meaningless.
UK Foreign Minister William Hague said the Commonwealth has over the years
done very well in protecting the rights of citizens from member countries
but has largely been found wanting on Zimbabwe and Fiji.

Countries such as Kenya, which are pushing for the reform of the
organisation, fell short of describing it as a “Tea party” complaining why
they have to pay the $500 000 annual membership fee if they don’t see any

But Sharma said the Perth meeting should bring a “new sense of purpose and
promise” to promote traditional values of democracy, human rights and the
rule of law.

Political leaders gathered here, who include UK’s David Cameroon, Canada’s
Stephen Harper, New Zealand’s John Key, Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan, South
Africa’s Jacob Zuma and Namibia’s Hifipikepunye Pohamba, have to deal with
the controversial issue of the group’s reform.

The Eminent Persons Group (EPG) and the Commonwealth Ministerial Action
Group (CMAG) has suggested a raft of measures that need to be put into place
to reform the group. Among the recommendations is the appointment of a Human
Rights Commissioner to deal with problem areas such as Zimbabwe and Fiji.

Another recommendation is the setting up of a Commonwealth Electoral
Commission (CEC).

India, an influential member of the grouping, has offered to fund the
commission which will help member countries organise free and fair

However, many countries have so far resisted some of the suggested reforms
saying they will interfere with their sovereignty.

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MDC supporters arrested for Gaddafi “insult”

Two MDC supporters here have been rounded up by police for allegedly
likening President Robert Mugabe to the deposed like Libyan leader Muammar
by Brenna Matendere Munyati

Alexander Tigere, an MDC-T ward committee member and Rangarirai Foyo the
party’s youth Chair for Gokwe Central District were picked up at different
points and detained at Gokwe police station.

Police sources say the two will be charged for criminal insult of the
president. Tigere and Foyo are in trouble for allegedly saying Mugabe would
meet the same fate of Gaddafi who was killed by his countrymen after a
four-decade dictatorship. The two are reported to have made the statements
at the burial of party supporter Moses Chokuda slain by Zanu (PF) supporters
including son of Midlands Governor Jaison Machaya.

Abraham Mutshena, the MDC Midlands North spokesperson, bemoaned the arrests
and said they came at a time when his party’s supporters countrywide are
worried about the conduct of police.

Sources told The Zimbabwean that Gokwe police, who were accused by High
Court Judge Justice Nicholas Matonsi last month of trying to suppress the
case of Chokuda, were frustrated that they had been exposed and their
efforts foiled.

“The police saw the case of Chokuda as an embarrassment especially now that
the Governor has agreed his son murdered him and made compensations. They
now want to fix everyone,” said a source.

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Biti: Cabinet ministers among failed farmers

29/10/2011 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti has defended his agriculture funding record
insisting criticism of his policies was only coming from failed farmers,
among them ministers in the country’s coalition government.

Bit has come under fire from cabinet colleagues accusing him of undermining
the country’s land reforms by “refusing” to adequately fund the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) and help farmers procure inputs.

Defence Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa recently said the GMB was failing to
pay farmers for grain supplies after being refused funding by Biti.

“We are worried that farmers struggle to get agricultural inputs due to lack
of funds when they are owed huge sums of money by the GMB,” Mnangagwa told
farmers at a meeting in Chiredzi.
“We put the blame squarely on Finance Minister Biti of the MDC-T who does
not release funds to the GMB on time,” he said.

But Biti dismissed the criticism claiming more than US$2 billion dollars has
been put into agriculture since the formation of the coalition government in

“The people who criticise our work at the ministry, especially what we have
done for the agricultural sector, do so from the viewpoint of malice and
total ignorance,” Biti said in an interview with The Herald.

“This is so particularly with failed farmers, some of whom masquerade as
Cabinet ministers who continue to be called new farmers even after 11 years
of the land reform programme.”

He said agriculture accounted for up to 40 percent of total government
expenditure since 2009 adding the sector had only started recovering after
the formation of the coalition government.

“In 2008, we could not find a bag of maize meal … wheat production was zero
and coffee and tea plantations had become sites of tourism. But in a very
short period, agricultural output has massively grown because of the
interventions of the inclusive Government,” he said.

Biti claimed some of his critics were actually responsible for the collapse
of agriculture in the last decade adding they were further holding back
recovery of the sector by blocking a much-needed land audit.

“Unfortunately, the non-genuine farmer in powerful political positions is
afraid of the (land) audit, which will expose that they are multiple farm

“It will further expose the vicious malpractices taking place on the land.
There is land that is not being productively used and that is what the audit
will expose.”

Biti said the government did not have the resources to fully fund
agriculture and warned that a full turn-around in the sector would not be
achieved unless farmers were given “securitised long land leases”.

“There is no Government in the world that can ever finance agriculture in
full. To expect the Government of the day, particularly the present GNU, to
be able to finance agriculture is fiction,” he said.

“We can talk about financing agriculture until the cows come home but as
long as the farmers do not have securitised long land leases, then let us
forget about agriculture beyond subsistence farming.

“As long as the land does not have title, it is dead capital, it has no
useful and exchange value. More importantly, without security of tenure,
farmers cannot borrow money from the banks to finance their operations.”

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Heat Wave in Zimbabwe Exacerbating Impact of Urban Water Shortages

28 October 2011

Zimbabwean authorities have advised people to drink lots of water, but that
has not been so easy for residents of Harare suburbs like Hatcliffe,
Budiriro and Mount Pleasant that have been without clean drinking water for

Tatenda Gumbo | Washington

The Zimbabwe Meterological Services Department has declared a heat wave amid
water shortages in a number of cities. Temperatures have topped 40 degrees
Celsius in spots like Kariba, Masvingo, Binga and Victoria Falls and have
been hovering over 35 degrees in many other locations. Such temperatures are
expected through Sunday.

Zimbabwean authorities were advising people to stay hydrated by drinking
lots of water. But that has not been so easy for residents of Harare suburbs
like Hatcliffe, Budiriro and Mount Pleasant which have been without clean
drinking water for weeks.

Health Minister Henry Madzorera says residents should watch for symptoms
including diarrhea, vomiting and headaches, and take steps to combat the
effects of heat.

Public Weather Services chief Tich Zinyemba said high temperatures are not
unusual in October, but current conditions are unique due to atmospheric and
climate changes.

A Dzivarasekwa resident who gave his name as Manyenga said residents are
worried about the heat wave which comes on top of power cuts and water

Kamhamba, a resident of Bulawayo, said that although things have cooled off
in the last day or so, residents of the country's second largest city are
still struggling to cope

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Zimbabwe Engages International Lawyers To Challenge European Sanctions

28 October 2011

Attorney General Johannes Tomana said the government will pick up the tab
for the lawsuit, but Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the Cabinet task
force on re-engaging the EU was set up for dialogue, not litigation

Blessing Zulu | Washington

Zimbabwean Attorney General Johannes Tomana said Friday that lawyers engaged
by Harare will file a lawsuit against the European Union next week for
imposing what it calls illegal sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his
inner circle since 2000.

He said the suit will be filed in the European Union Court of Justice in

Mr Tomana told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that the team will
brief the EU council before filing the suit. "We are done with the paperwork
and what is only left is to get the necessary travel documents to (travel
to) Europe," Tomana said.

How the legal team will be funded could become yet another bone of
contention for the Harare national unity government. Tomana said the
government will pick up the tab. But Finance Minister Tendai Biti said he
was not consulted on this, adding that the Cabinet task force on re-engaging
the EU was established for dialogue, not legal maneuvers.

Sources said it was decided to bolster the legal team with international
lawyers this week after Switzerland denied President Robert Mugabe’s wife
Grace and five senior officials visas to attend a United Nations meeting in
Geneva. All six were on a Swiss sanctions list. President Mugabe was given a
visa, but canceled his trip to Switzerland.

Lawyer Terence Hussein, who has represented President Mugabe on occasion,
said Harare has a strong case against the European Union on sanctions.

But human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
said the threatened lawsuit is not likely to go anywhere.

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Iron Ore Dispute Jeopardizes Strategic Partnership in Zimbabwe Steel Maker

28 October 2011

The independent daily paper Newsday quoted Finance Minister Tendai Biti as
saying the US$750 million Essar deal is being scuttled by government
ministers who want to benefit personally from the partnership

Gibbs Dube | Washington

Workers at New Zimbabwe Steel Limited, formerly Zimbabwe Iron and Steel
Company, said Friday that Indian steel giant Essar Africa Holdings has
withheld October salaries following a dispute with the government over the
transfer of ore reserves and Harare’s failure to issue share certificates to
the firm under their partnership deal.

Workers Council Chairman Partson Mubaiwa said New Zimbabwe Steel management
told workers it will not pay salaries until Harare issues the share
certificates and confirms Essar's rights to ore reserves estimated at 40
billion metric tonnes.

The Indian steel maker bought a 53 percent controlling stake in Ziscosteel.

The independent daily paper Newsday quoted Finance Minister Tendai Biti as
saying the US$750 million Essar deal is being scuttled by government
ministers who want to benefit personally from the partnership arrangement.
New Zimbabwe Steel holds mineral rights to the disputed ore through a
subsidiary, New Zimbabwe Minerals.

But the ore reserves in Mwenezi District, Masvingo Province, are controlled
by a former Ziscosteel employee who is alleged to have acquired rights to
them illegally.

Mubaiwa said the dispute has caused panic among workers who sent
representatives to Harare late this week to urge President Robert Mugabe to
resolve the matter.

Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire said the government intends to
maintain its partnership with Essar and has engaged a lawyer to ensure that
Essar has access to the ore reserves in Mwenezi that are being withheld by
the former Ziscosteel employee.

Chimanikire said the office Attorney General Johannes Tomana complicated
matters by ordering his ministry to hand over the Menezi iron claim to the
former Ziscosteel employee, "but we have since taken the matter to the

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Zanu (PF) wants to silence me: Chibaya

MDC-T Mkoba House of Assembly Member Amos Chibaya says ZANU (PF) has adopted
a strategy of using state apparatus to silence him from advocating for
President Robert Mugabe to leave office.
by Brenna Matendere Munyati

Chibaya was last week arrested after he had gone to Gweru police station to
report a case in which ZANU (PF) supporters had run riot and damaged his
vehicle few kilometers from the city.

He was released after two days on US$50 bail to November 8 by Gweru
magistrate Joseline Mashiri after police charged him with assaulting the
mob. He denies the allegations.

In February Chibaya spent a week inside filthy police cells at Mtapa station
after he had been arrested for assaulting a soldier who later-on disowned a
docket that chronicled the matter expected to be concluded on December 8.

“ZANU (PF) has discovered that I have stood my ground since 1999 advising
locals that there is need to boot out Mugabe from office to save this
country from collapse.

“They now want me to keep quiet about that and so state apparatus like
police have been roped in to achieve that agenda,” Chibaya told The
Zimbabwean in an interview.

“The people of Zimbabwe need change and unfortunately I will continue to
talk about it at every platform,” he vowed.

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Radio Licence Issuance To Linger Longer

Harare, October 29, 2011- Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe says issuance
of the two radio licences will take longer than expected as it has to wait
for additional submissions of documents by some of the four aspiring radio
stations who went through the public hearings which ended Thursday in

“We cannot announce the actual date of the issuance of the licences now
because the process is going to take some time. As you witnessed some of the
applicants raised some other new issues and they are going to submit to the
commission document evidence supporting their presentations. That alone is
another process and the commission will need some time to peruse the
submissions before adjudication,” Erica Mususa one of the BAZ Commissioners.

Four aspiring radio stations which were short listed from; fourteen
commercial radio licence applicants over the week went through BAZ public

The four are VOP FM, KISS FM, AB Communications and Zimpapers Talk Radio.

During their presentations before BAZ all the four aspiring radio stations
indicated that there were going to submit additional documents to support
their presentations. This was prompted by questions emanating both from BAZ
commissioners and the public seeking further clarifications.

Only two are going to be granted a national free to air national commercial
licence which will run for 10 years.

A national free to air national commercial licence refers to a profit making
broadcasting entity that transmits an un-encoded signal throughout Zimbabwe.

In 2005 BAZ invited applications for free to air commercial licences but no
private player was awarded with one.

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Morgan Tsvangirai on Question Time

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is the guest on Question Time and joined SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma to answer questions sent in by listeners. The no holds barred interview touched on the outstanding issues in the GPA, his decision to replace Roy Bennett, political violence, the MDC’s perceived lack of power in the coalition, prospects for uniting the two MDC factions, empowerment debate, his views on gay rights, media and electoral reforms, his new book and one of the most asked questions, when he is getting married?

Lance Guma speaks to Morgan Tsvangirai on SW Radio Africa's Question Time

Lance Guma speaks to Morgan Tsvangirai on SW Radio Africa's Question Time

Interview broadcast 28 October 2011

Lance Guma: Good evening Zimbabwe and thank you for joining me on this special edition of Question Time. My guest today is Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Thank you for joining me Prime Minister.

Morgan Tsvangirai: Thank you very much Lance.

Guma: In four months time it will be three years of a unity government with Zanu PF; several issues still remain outstanding but it does appear the parties have lost the appetite to resolve them. Can we conclude that you are now in election mode and sticking GPA issues have been temporarily shelved?

Tsvangirai: No, I think far from it. We still pursue the issues as outlined in the Global Political Agreement. Let me say that yes, there’s been reluctance on the part of Zanu PF to implement all the issues of the GPA as directed by Sadc and as stated by the international community but to Zanu PF they think that any reform is a regime change agenda.

I don’t know which regime they are talking about but as far as I am concerned, we are still pushing, we still want the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement. However, I must say that yes, there is election talk in spite of the deficit on the implementation. Everyone thinks that the only way to resolve these matters is to go to an election.

Guma: Several of our listeners want us to ask you whether, because there does seem to be a perception that the Sadc mediation has run out of steam, we not hearing a lot about Lindiwe Zulu’s team in and out of Harare.

Tsvangirai: No, what you have to understand is that although South Africa and President Zuma are facilitators, it doesn’t mean necessarily that they don’t have their own issues to deal with.

So yes, Zimbabwe may at some stage not appear a priority because of their own internal matters but it doesn’t mean necessarily that they’ve taken a back seat and a blind eye to what is taking place because you remember that for South Africa, Zimbabwe is not a foreign policy issue, it is a domestic issue.

Guma: Several of the outstanding issues will have a bearing on the ability of the country to conduct free and fair elections – a credible voters’ roll, eliminating political violence and having independent broadcasters will be some of the key issues that need addressing.

We have questions on the Broadcasting Authority – it’s already conducting interviews for two commercial radio stations despite the board itself being illegally constituted. The last time we reported on this issue, you as the principals in government had agreed to appoint a new board. What happened?

Tsvangirai: Well we have directed Minister Shamu to make sure that that board is constituted and you know that eventually you can’t have a legitimate BAZ board unless it is regularized and we will continue to push for that. It would appear, that even judging by some of the state media reports, one would see the continued hate speech, vilification, which means that there is some degree of defiance on the part of the ministry of Information.

Whether that is an individual minister trying to be defiant or they have the quiet support of president Mugabe I don’t know, but we will continue to push and expose this reluctance on the part of a particular ministry fulfilling what the Global Political Agreement has said.

Guma: You spoke about this issue in parliament today, in the first ever Prime Minister’s question time and a lot of our listeners are also of the view that this board, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe board is already set on giving licences to people like the Zimpaper’s Talk Radio. Do you share similar worries that this is what will happen?

Tsvangirai: Well what we need Lance is multiple voices not multiple voices of similar outlook. We need different voices and different channels to cater for different voices and you see the thing is that we all have to understand that it doesn’t matter, we have to keep on pushing, doesn’t matter, but there is a degree of thinking that they can serve Zanu PF by having the same voices with the same message.

Guma: One of the major standoffs in the coalition government involved the appointment of Roy Bennett as your deputy agriculture minister; you stuck by him for over two years, do you think as suggested by others your recent appointment of Seiso Moyo to the position has given victory to Robert Mugabe while undermining the MDC?

Tsvangirai: No, it has not given him anything. Roy Bennett has been assigned other responsibilities, it is not the part of the MDC to divulge how it deploys its candidates so it doesn’t mean necessarily that we have given up in demanding, we’re just filling a vacancy. Even if we had to appoint him, he was not going to occupy that position because he was not coming back to Zimbabwe, so it would still have created a vacancy in the Senate.

Guma: Last week I spoke with Pishai Mucharauya your Member of Parliament for Makoni South and he was describing how Zanu PF mobs disrupted the public hearing in Marondera on the Electoral Amendment Bill. Now these disruptions have been widespread and it seems there’s a determination to frustrate the process. What do you see as a way forward because clearly people are being blocked from airing their views?

Tsvangirai: Well I mean it’s not a perfect society, it’s not a perfect situation. I mean we have always said that Zanu PF’s character of violence, intimidation, coercion, it’s not something they will wake up one morning and try to discuss, it’s part of their culture but it doesn’t mean necessarily that our people must also not be determined to make their views be heard.

Guma: One of the reasons we are told Zanu PF is disrupting the public hearings on the Electoral Amendment Bill is that they do not want the Diaspora to be allowed to vote. What is the status of this issue? We have a lot of listeners in the Diaspora wanting to ask you are you fighting for this to be made possible?

Tsvangirai: Well we have fought over this issue of Diaspora votes; you know that the excuse that Zanu PF is making is that ‘we have no access to England and America, therefore how do we campaign within the Diaspora vote?’ But we say in Southern Africa there is also Diaspora people to whom you have access. So we have assigned the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to come out with, where it is possible, to give this right. Every Zimbabwean you know that constitutionally, you can’t disenfranchise any Zimbabwean for whatever reason.

Guma: There has been much talk about the credibility of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, although the commissioners themselves might appear credible, there’s great concern the Secretariat who do the actual administration, is staffed with CIO, army and police operatives whose allegiance to Zanu PF is well documented. Are there any chances of getting a new Secretariat before the next elections?

Tsvangirai: Well I’m sure that’s up to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to see that they discharge their job professionally. If there are CIO people, if there are army people, it’s up to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to identify those people and make sure that you have professional people in those bodies.

But also I think that in terms of the Electoral Amendment, one of the powers that has been designated to the Chief Elections Officer who is part of the Secretariat, we definitely cannot have an officer announcing results and managing everything when there is already a chairman of the Electoral Commission with that responsibility.

So those are some of the integral challenges of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in order to discharge its professional job.

Guma: Zanu PF is accusing you of employing delaying tactics and claiming you are not ready for elections. Based on the constitutional exercise and other things that need to be implemented, when do you see elections being held? A lot of people are asking this question.

Tsvangirai: Oh, Zanu PF to accuse us of delaying tactics – there’s no money. You need money for the Electoral Commission, let money be available, let the money for diamonds go into the Electoral Commission; let money go into a voters’ roll, let money go into preparing for an All Stakeholders Conference for the constitution, let money go to the referendum. We are not being the impediment.

These are practical, realistic impediments to the whole process and it cannot be blamed on the MDC just because the Minister of Finance he doesn’t dish out money like confetti.

Guma: There was a lot of euphoria surrounding your victory in March 2008 in the presidential elections; a growing feeling that the loser (Mugabe) of that election seems to be setting the agenda, do you feel that frustration also?

Tsvangirai: No he’s not setting any agenda, that’s why he had to negotiate. He went for ten months without appointing a cabinet, he heard that he can’t run a government without us and if we had just deliberately said we will not be part of it, what would have happened to the people and the country?

The country was looking at the precipice and we had to intervene so that we could save whatever little was there and time has proven that we were right. There is no way Zanu PF or Mugabe can set the agenda when the agenda is set by cabinet which is the government led programme.

Guma: I suppose people will point to some of the outstanding issues and his refusal for example to swear in Roy Bennett and other issues and say…

Tsvangirai: Ah it’s just stubbornness inherent in president Mugabe and sometimes you just have to say let’s maintain our eye on the ball which is if we can get to an election and give the people of Zimbabwe an opportunity to elect their government, that is the only goal.

And for the last two and a half years it has not been easy, we have also had to experience these frustrations but small victories are not the big goal, small victories yes they may appear satisfactory but in the long term what should be satisfactory is that have we achieved the change we have been fighting for over the last ten years?

Guma: Much has been said about the need for unity between the two MDC factions. I’m sure it’s a subject that has been raised with you several times; you even have a new book where you talk about this and the role former South African president Thabo Mbeki played. Given all that has transpired, what are the prospects for uniting the two MDCs?

Tsvangirai: To me it is not the unity of leaders, it is a unity of the people of Zimbabwe. I was in Nkayi and of course the villagers there were saying please Mr. Tsvangirai can you unite all the parties? Yes, I said yes we can unite all parties, we can unite on an objective, we can’t unite on personality, because we can’t negotiate egos of personalities.

As far as I know the people in Nkayi and the people in Buhera or Chimanimani know that the real change has to come from all of us working as a one. But if there are individuals who think that as individuals, we have to satisfy their egos, definitely it’s going to be problematic but my attitude is very, very progressive, my attitude is that the people of Zimbabwe who are fighting for change must unite.

Guma: The empowerment debate in Zimbabwe over the last few months has taken centre stage with Zanu PF being accused of electioneering using that. You came out to criticize the way the empowerment plans are being implemented and you even spoke about it in parliament today. Do you not feel that they are laying a trap for you where they will portray you as anti-empowerment?

Tsvangirai: What is empowerment? Is empowerment destroying the few jobs we have got? Or is it empowerment to try and have a policy which creates more jobs rather than sharing a small cake? Empowerment means that more people have got money in their pockets not a pie in the sky where you are given a share in a community trust where you don’t even see the money.

What is important for our country at the moment and the challenge we face everywhere I go is that multitudes and multitudes of Zimbabwean young people who are educated are unemployed. That is the biggest challenge we have got.

And in order to deal with the question of joblessness and desperation amongst our young people, what we need is to attract more investment, to make more jobs and uplift the standard of living of the people. You cannot have a few, just ten per cent saying that we are empowered when 90 per cent is disempowered.

Guma: Your recent position on gay rights has generated a lot of debate and some say represents a major u-turn on your part. Any reason for this and do you think, are you not opening yourself to political point scoring?

Tsvangirai: My attitude towards gay rights has never changed. I’m not gay and therefore I don’t prescribe anyone’s sexual preferences. What you should understand is that this is a diversion, the real issue is that the people of Zimbabwe are writing a constitution and that it is the people of Zimbabwe who are going to define what society they would like.

Including the fact yekuti (that) if the majority don’t like gays, they will not reflect it in their constitution, but it’s up to Zimbabweans, it cannot be written just to satisfy one individual just because at one stage in their life they’ve been traumatized.

So one has to say that the issue of gay rights is a diversion, an elitist project to avoid the poor people who are around the country who don’t have anything. So let’s concentrate, let’s not try to bring to the forefront an issue which is definitely inconsequential.

Guma: Two more questions to go – your new book, At The Deep End, has generated quite a lot of interest. I see the state media are picking sections of it and interpreting it the way they want, accusing you of trying to seize power and obviously there’re a few other critical issues that you address in there – the split in the MDC and other issues – what was the motivation behind publishing it now?

Tsvangirai: Well that is a narrative, that is a post-liberation narrative in which I have a role and I was giving that narrative. Twenty years of my life in that post liberation struggle, is what is reflected in the book. If anyone has got any factual disputes with what I have written, surely they have their own right to write their own books? The more the merrier.

This is the story of Morgan Tsvangirai as part of the democratic struggle but also I had to stop at the inauguration because there is a new phase of the transition and I’m going to write again my experiences working with Zanu PF in the transition. And of course the fact that some people may pick and choose, that’s their choice but as far as I’m concerned that’s the story.

Guma: The final question I have for you Prime Minister and it was one of the most popular questions from our listeners believe it or not, a lot of interest in your personal life. People wanting us to ask you whether there are any wedding bells on the horizon as being speculated in the media?

Tsvangirai: People just speculate about my personal life. You know the thing is when the time comes, people will be informed and there’s no need to be anxious about it. I’m a grandfather so why get into anxiety about a grandfather? There are more young people who have their own wedding bells that you should be more interested in than in a grandfather who is too preoccupied with issues of state (laughs) to even divulge his own personal relationships.

Guma: Well we have one report already saying you are getting married in December. Is that true?

Tsvangirai: Oh well, well, no, no, I’ll inform you when it is time, okay?

Guma: Well Zimbabwe that’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai joining us on this special edition of Question Time. Prime Minister thank you so much for your time.

Tsvangirai: Thanks Lance.

To listen to the programme:

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Mugabe banks on violence

“Soon after I discovered that my husband had been killed by Zanu (PF) thugs,
I quickly covered him with a blanket and rushed to Gutu police station where
I narrated my ordeal to six policemen. But when I told them that the
perpetrators were well-known Zanu (PF) supporters and that the team was
headed by a Colonel, they told me to go home as they were not entertaining
‘political cases’.”
by John Chimunhu

The above testimony was recorded by the pro-democracy NGO, Heal Zimbabwe, on
2 July this year during a memorial service for an MDC-T supporter murdered
by Zanu (PF) militants and the army in Gutu East in 2008. It is part of a
huge dossier that gives chilling evidence of the genocide committed by
President Robert Mugabe’s backers as he desperately clung to power after
losing elections to MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai, that year.

As the prospect of another bruising election looms, ordinary Zimbabweans,
politicians and human rights defenders are watching with alarm the violence
pervading the country. Those who can manage are fleeing the country in
droves. Others are leaving the countryside in the hope of finding safety in
cities and towns. Many more have already made the decision not to
participate, fearing a backlash if they vote for the ‘wrong’ party.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai have said the election will take place in 2012,
although they are still haggling over a possible date. Mugabe, who is
suffering from poor health, says he will not go beyond March next year
before declaring an election date. Tsvangirai says an election can only be
possible after a new constitution is in place and other reforms agreed in
the Global Political Agreement are implemented.

The continuing violence by Zanu (PF) is a direct violation of what Mugabe
signed up to on September 15, 2008, in the presence of regional leaders
acting as observers. Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara made a
commitment to “…build a society free of violence, fear, intimidation,
hatred, patronage, corruption and founded on justice, fairness, openness,
transparency, dignity and equality.”

GPA flouted

What many see as an alarming trend is that the Southern African Development
Community and African Union guarantors of the GPA have not taken any
effective action to reign in Mugabe.

“Intensified violence against those deemed to be Zanu (PF) enemies has
exposed the limitations of Zimbabwe’s much-delayed reform process and
threatens to derail the GPA,” says the Johannesburg-based Institute for
Democracy in Southern Africa (Idasa) in a new report.

“Mugabe’s call for early elections has increased fears of a return to 2008’s
violence. Eventual elections are inevitable but without credible,
enforceable reforms, Zimbabwe faces another illegitimate vote and prospects
of entrenched polarisation and crisis. Zanu (PF) is increasingly confident
it can intimidate opponents and frustrate reform, and there is waning faith,
internally and externally, in MDC-T capacities. Without stronger
international pressure on Zanu (PF), the tenuous current coalition may
collapse, triggering further violence and grave consequences for Southern

A lot to hide

Many Zimbabweans fear that the current spate of violence is just a prelude
of what is to come if Mugabe loses the election - as is widely predicted by
opinion polls and political analysts. In 2008, Mugabe used members of the
army, police and state spy agency CIO to unleash a horrific wave of violence
against perceived opponents. He also used the military to doctor election
results and force a run-off which he effectively rigged through murder,
rape, torture and other heinous crimes. Experts now predict a repeat of

Idasa suggested strengthening important institutions, including
parliamentary committees and the Human Rights, Media and Electoral
Commissions, but said it was unlikely that meaningful security sector reform
could be implemented in the absence of a democratic constitution.

Mugabe’s defiance has shocked the international community. He has brazenly
flouted SADC guidelines on democratic elections, denying regional monitors
and observers timely access. He has rejected moves by SADC to introduce
regional officials to assist the Joint Monitoring and Implementation
Committee deal with growing cases of violence.

Mugabe has already shown that he has a lot to hide by declaring that
international observers will not be welcome.

Instruments of terror

The instruments of terror are already in place. Military sources told The
Zimbabwean that the two battalions deployed on so-called ‘AC duties’ in
2002 – working undercover among civilians – have not been recalled.

Recently, there has also been a lot of movement, with soldiers being sent on
lengthy paid vacations of up to three months so that they can spy on the
civilian population. The MDC-T alleged that Zanu (PF) had a militia force of
80 000 waiting in the wings to cause terror as soon as it emerged that
Mugabe was losing the electoral race.

Among Zanu (PF)’s shock troops are war veterans, youth militia and a band of
thugs known as Chipangano, based in Mbare but often deployed countrywide to
cause mayhem. “Vigilante groups such as Chipangano and several other militia
groups have allegedly been harassing, intimidating, raping, assaulting
people in communities for holding a different political opinion or failing
to attend their party’s meetings,” said the Zimbabwe Peace Project which
monitors acts of political violence and is led by award-winning human rights
defender Jestina Mukoko.

“ZPP appeals to the leaders of political parties to go beyond making public
statements denouncing violence and take stern actions against their party
members responsible for spearheading political violence.”

Master of Chicanery

Mugabe is a master of this kind of chicanery. During the recent opening of
Parliament, he preached peace in the House of Assembly as his supporters
unleashed an orgy of violence just outside the chamber. This resulted in
howls of condemnation for his speech.

The MP for the violence-wracked Bindura South constituency, Bednock Nyaude
said: “The reported progress on issues related to the holding of elections
is a welcome development. However, these elections, when they finally land,
must be free of violence, fair and credible, reflecting the peoples will.”

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network a coalition of NGOs involved in
elections, headed by prominent rights activist Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, lists
violence as one of the key hurdles to the holding of free and fair elections
in the country.

Zesn called for “a total end and denunciation of politically related
violence and prosecution of the perpetrators of all forms of political
violence, and that SADC ensures a non-violent, free and fair election that
respects the will of the people of Zimbabwe”.

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Are real owners of Zanu (PF) afraid to challenge ‘mafikizolos’?

Since the Government of National Unity came into place, nearly three years
ago Zimbabwe has been in a state of limbo. The much hoped for transition
from a state of virtual war to peace and stability is still a pipe dream.
by Pius Wakatama

What we have is nothing but a government of disunity. Nothing has really
changed. There is no rule of law. The greed, lies, deceit, hatred and
violence are still with us, albeit on a more sophisticated scale.

The only noticeable change is that we are now using US currency and there
are South African goods in shops. What is frightening is that things are now
coming to a head without any planned and discernible direction. Zimbabwe is
like a train which has come off the rails and is going full steam ahead.
Where to? Only God knows.

Our newspapers are full of warnings from concerned prophetic writers who see
doom ahead. We would do well to heed these dire warnings. Some blinkered,
self-seeking politicians would like to comfort themselves by saying the
revolutions taking place in the Arab world cannot happen here because our
situations are different.

Don’t be fooled. Human nature is the same the world over. The human spirit
can never be put in a cage and controlled for any length of time. People
will rise up and use any and all means to be free to order their lives as
they wish. They don’t need Western countries or NATO to influence them.

I am not a doomsday prophet. I sincerely believe that God has a special
place in His heart for Zimbabwe and has laid at our feet the ingredients for
a peaceful and prosperous future. The tribulations that we have gone through
were not for our destruction but for us to learn from and be toughened for
the task of nation building ahead. I believe Zimbabwe is destined for great

The first thing we have in our favour is the Government of National Unity.
Let’s make it work as the transitional instrument that it is supposed to be.
For this to happen all people of goodwill, in all political parties and in
civil society must stand up for the truth and be counted, especially those
who are Christians. Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC-T have upheld their end of
the Agreement and been patient to a fault. The ball is in Zanu (PF)’s court.

But for anything positive to happen our old man, Comrade Robert Mugabe must
be retired from its leadership. Seven, if not eight, times this year he has
had to be hurriedly flown to Singapore for medical attention. His ailment is
immaterial. The truth is that Mugabe is old, tired and sick. Some of us are
in our early 70s but are already full of aches and pains. He needs to go
home to Zvimba and rest in peace.

Age and illness are not the only reasons for Mugabe to go now. The man and
his party have run the country into the ground and the people know it. There
is now no way they can win in a free and fair election. They will be lucky
to win a couple of seats. If Mugabe stands for the presidency, as he would
like to, the much younger Morgan Tsvangirai will definitely trounce him.

He will not be the only one to lose. There are a number of men and women in
Zanu (PF) who are doing the best they can for the country under very
difficult conditions and deserve seats in the next parliament. With Mugabe
at the head, they will not stand a chance.

For Zanu (PF) to have a fair chance in any future, free and fair elections,
it must retire Mugabe and his cronies and field young and vibrant
candidates. Vice-President Amai Joice Mujuru has the respect of most
Zimbabweans. She was at the fore-front of the liberation struggle but does
not make a song and dance about it. She is the only credible contender for
the leadership of Zanu (PF) at the moment. She could give Morgan a run for
his money.

I am sure Tsvangirai, as magnanimous as I know him to be, would not be
averse to including her, and other Zanu (PF) stalwarts like her, in his
cabinet to form a real government of national unity.

Now that Wikileaks has exposed them, realistic Zanu (PF) leaders have
nothing to lose. They might as well come out and publicly work to ease the
old man out. They have to do that or forget about any political future for
themselves. Who they have to contend with are a vocal minority who still
sing Mugabe’s praises and insist that he should remain at the helm until he
dies. These are afraid of a change in leadership because they have much to

They have to please the old man because he has dossiers on them. Many of
them are of a criminal nature and he is protecting them from prosecution.
Some of them are nobodies on their own and are what they are today because
of his patronage. Without him they are nothing but common thieves. Can the
real owners of Zanu (PF) be afraid to challenge those, who founder member
Enos Nkala refers to as “mafikizolos” (new comers) who are nothing in the
party, or anywhere else, without Mugabe?

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Zanu PF continues to idolize the late Colonel Gaddafi

October 29, 2011, 1:01 am

While Zimbabwe or Zanu PF at least, continues to idolize the late Colonel
Gaddafi, the ‘African hero’ as they have described him, the African Union
has been largely silent on the subject. Zimbabwe has been an almost lone
voice, heaping praise on Gaddafi and vilification on his alleged killers. On
Thursday Zimbabwe’s Foreign Minister, Samuel Mumbengegwi, blamed the UN for
Gaddafi’s killing. Mumbengegwi’s argument appears to consist of an attack on
the UN.’s nine member Security Council as being unrepresentative of UN.
membership as a whole. Mumbengegwi claims that this arrangement makes it
possible for the nine powerful Security Council members to flout the wishes
of the majority because, as he put it, they have “the troops on the ground
and the planes in the air”. Mumbengegwi, predictably, blames the west, his
argument being that the west supported the NTC, the anti-Gaddafi
transitional government that currently runs Libya. The story goes that
Gaddafi was captured hiding out in a storm drain by NTC troops and, in the
ensuing clash with pro-Gaddafi forces, the dictator was killed. The UN is
anxious to establish the precise facts of his death but for Zimbabwe, and
Mugabe in particular, it is not the morality or otherwise of his killing
that makes Gaddafi’s death significant - it is a question of money. With the
new dispensation in Libya, Mugabe is faced with the problem of how to mend
fences with the NTC. He had made several very lucrative deals with the
Gaddafi government and this week it was reported that a diplomat is asking
that those deals be cancelled. The diplomat is none other than the one
expelled by Mugabe for his support of the NTC!

Now that Gaddaffi is dead, his mines, farms and other businesses in Zimbabwe
are presumably the property of the new Libyan government. But what about
Gaddafi’s widow? Will she and her family now be given asylum in Zimbabwe?
Her late husband had numerous properties in the country and he and Robert
Mugabe were known to be close allies. However, Zimbabwe’s recent history has
shown that property rights have little meaning for Mugabe and Zanu PF. Grace
Mugabe demonstrated that this week when she evicted people in Mazowe from
their homes – without compensation – on the basis that she wanted to use the
land to build an extension to her orphanage. Other reports, however, claim
that, in reality, Grace wants to build a shopping Mall on the land.

As the stalemate in Zimbabwe drags on and on, the moral decline deepens and
people are using the political hiatus to enrich themselves. The absence of
the rule of law and a partisan police force makes that easier. Impunity is
the order of the day and the police so often ‘turn a blind eye’ that they
could now best be described as ‘partially sighted’. Kunonga’s thugs are
still beating up Anglican parishioners, this week at Watsamba, near Mutare,
where five people were hospitalised. Also in Manicaland province, political
violence is on the rise and the MDC activist who was abducted last week was
found dumped by the roadside. The Chipangano gang in Harare seems to be
totally out of control; they attacked MDC. HQ in a pre-dawn raid and on
Wednesday assaulted an MDC Organising Secretary with logs and stones,
fracturing his leg in the process. None of these attacks are dealt with by
the ‘partially sighted’ ZRP. They do however ‘see’ whatever suits their
political masters and have banned MDC rallies in Vic Falls, Binga and
Lupane. No coincidence, I think, that Binga villagers had earlier refused to
comply with Minister Chombo’s directive to take over white-owned fishing

None of this improves Zimbabwe’s international image, though Zanu PF
continues to claim that it is all part of a western plot to ‘demonise’
Zimbabwe. The EU has announced that sanctions will remain until ‘democratic
reforms are in place’ and this week Switzerland refused to grant visas to
Mugabe’s party of 62, including his wife Grace. The huge delegation was due
to attend a UN meeting in Geneva. In a typically childish Zanu PF response,
Attorney General Tomana threatened to pull Zimbabwe out of the world body;
the Attorney General is always quick off the trigger with his threats - but
they usually come to nothing. After all, who would be the loser if Zimbabwe
pulled out of the UN? The old adage about ‘cutting off your nose to spite
your face’ springs to mind!

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.

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The sky is falling in

Dear Family and Friends,
The chat in the queue at a government hospital Outpatients department
this week was about the searing heat that has been beating down on the
country in the last few days. The extremely high temperatures
scorching Zimbabwe have been the national talking point as day after
day we’ve looked up into dazzling blue skies without even a whisp of
cloud. One woman in the hospital queue said that God must have dropped
the sun, letting it fall down lower in the sky. People laughed and her
words made me think of Chicken Licken, Turkey Lurkey and all their
mates who were sure the sky was falling in! Someone else in the
hospital queue said that this heat was a sign from the ancestors: a
warning of something, although no one volunteered what. The dreaded
word on everyone’s lips is ‘drought.’ Memories of hunger and
starvation are still very fresh in our minds although the hunger in
our recent past was caused more by political mis-governance and
negligence than by weather.

This October is hotter than most people can ever remember. Many higher
areas of the country which usually have milder climates have been
recording minimum overnight temperatures of 27 degrees and midday
temperatures of 37 degrees Celsius. Too hot to walk outside barefoot,
in fact, too hot to be outside, let alone to be walking. In the drier
lowveld areas temperatures have been hitting the high 40’s for a
number of days. According to the Meteorology department, temperatures
like this have not been recorded for almost fifty years, last seen in
October 1962. Even sleeping in this heat is a problem, too hot even
for a sheet. The nights are made considerably worse by clouds of
whining, niggling mosquitoes desperate for just one little mouthful of

Exacerbating our rising tempers in the searing heat has been the
crisis with water. In urban areas in many towns and cities it has
become normal to have no water for days at a time; you are very lucky
if you have water for an hour or two a day and it is very unusual to
have a continuous supply. Morning, noon and night people are trudging
with water containers to the nearest stream, borehole or open well.
Handpumps on boreholes sunk by NGO’s in many small towns and
congested residential areas last year are always surrounded by people
waiting for their turn to fill a container. Wheelbarrows, handcarts
and even pick up trucks loaded with small containers and huge drums
all join the water queue. They have now become such a familiar sight
that no one gives them a second glance. Its hard to believe this is
urban Zimbabwe in 2011. In some parts of Harare where residents have
gone for over three weeks without water, fights have broken out and
people queue day and night at the handpumps.

Travelling to an eastern town this week, both the heat and the water
shortages were common denominators. A shimmering mirage danced on the
tarmac and I looked for something to take my mind off the heat. First
I saw two oxen hitched to a cart standing under the shade of a tree.
Beasts with huge curved horns their tails flicked incessantly at flies
and they were accompanied by two young men. One lay flat on his back
in the shade of the tree while the other did all the work. He was busy
unloading dozens of empty blue plastic beet crates filled with empty
brown beer bottles called Scuds. The beer crates were being piled up
on the side of the highway, waiting to be collected and replaced with
full ones by the brewery truck. On the road a steady stream of four
wheel drive vehicles went past, watched by two oxen and their burden
of beer bottles.

Minutes later another sight caught my eye and helped take my mind off
the scorching heat. I saw four little Vervet Monekys running through
the short burnt grass towards the road. Two scampered across the tar,
the third hesitated before deciding on a very fast dash in front of my
approaching vehicle. And the fourth, which I felt sure I was going to
run over, turned a head over heels somersault right on the edge of the
tar and sat staring at me, looking dazed and bemused; as surprised as
I was that it had been able to stop in time.

What a land of contrasts! Until next time, thanks for reading, love
cathy. 29 October 2011. Copyright � Cathy Buckle.

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Bill Watch 46/2011 - 27th October [Summary of the Last (Third) Parliamentary Session]

BILL WATCH 46/2011

[27th October 2011]

Summary of the Last Parliamentary Session

A Longer than Usual Session

The last Parliamentary session – the Third Session of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe – started on 13th July 2010 and ended just under 14 months later, on 5th September 2011. The Constitution does not specify the length of a Parliamentary session nor does it fix starting or ending dates; these dates are fixed by the President by proclamation published in the Government Gazette. But the Constitution states there must be a new session in every calendar year and that the gap between the last sitting in one session and the first sitting in the next must not be more than 180 days. In practice such a gap is unheard of.

Number of Sitting Days

During the session:

the House of Assembly sat on 48 occasions

the Senate sat on 33 occasions

Sittings are on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, commencing at 2.15 pm for the House of Assembly and 2.30 for the Senate. Standing Orders envisage work continuing until 7 pm, but seldom did either House sit after 5 pm. There were a significant number of short sittings, when one or other of the Houses met only to adjourn after sitting for less than an hour. The Session was also marked by long adjournments – six weeks over the Christmas-New Year period, and more than ten weeks in July-October 2010 to allow legislators to take part in the Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee [COPAC] outreach programme. There were some unexpected adjournments: a November-February adjournment for the Senate was caused by disorder in the Senate chamber but the Senate was recalled to deal with urgent business in December. In March the Clerk of Parliament suspended sittings of the House of Assembly after the Supreme Court unseated the Speaker. [See Noteworthy Features below.]

13 Bills Passed

In all 13 Bills were passed during the Session:

Appropriation (2010) Amendment Bill

Appropriation (2010) Amendment (No. 2) Bill

Appropriation (2011) Bill [Budget for 2011]

Attorney-General’s Office Bill

Criminal Laws Amendment (Protection of Power, Communication and Water Infrastructure) Bill

Deposit Protection Corporation Bill

Energy Regulatory Authority Bill

Finance Bill, 2010

Finance (No. 2) Bill, 2010 [2011 Budget measures]

Finance Bill 2011 [to give effect to the 2011 Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review]

General Laws Amendment Bill

Small Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Bill

Zimbabwe National Security Council Amendment Bill

[All but two of these Bills have been gazetted as Acts – the two awaiting gazetting are the Deposit Protection Corporation Bill and the Small Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Bill. All the gazetted Acts, except the Attorney-General’s Office Act, are in force.]

3 Bills announced on the President’s Agenda that lapsed at the end of the Session:

Electoral Amendment Bill

National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill

Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill

[To date – 27th October – these Bills have still not been restored to the Parliamentary agenda.]

One Private Member’s Bill Introduced

Hon Gonese’s Public Order and Security Amendment Bill was passed by the House of Assembly without opposition, and sent to the Senate in December 2010. Debate in the Senate started on the 3rd August but was adjourned after ZANU-PF objections, resulting in the Bill’s lapsing at the end of the session. To date the Bill has not been restored to the Parliamentary agenda; debate has been adjourned on Mr Gonese’s motion to restore it to the Senate Order Paper.

Comparison of Bills Passed with Government’s Legislative Agenda for the Session

In his speech opening the Third Session on 13th July 2010 the President listed 24 Bills the Government intended to bring before Parliament during the Session. In the event only 7 out of the 24 Government Bills were introduced, and of those 7 only 4 were passed by Parliament. The 3 Bills that had not been passed by the end of the Session lapsed, in accordance with Parliamentary procedure [see list below].

4 Bills Announced by the President, introduced and passed:

Attorney-General’s Office Bill

Criminal Laws Amendment (Protection of Power, Communication and Water Infrastructure) Bill

Deposit Protection Corporation Bill

Energy Regulatory Authority Bill

Bills passed in addition to what was on the Government’s Legislative Agenda:

Appropriation (2010) Amendment Bill

Appropriation (2010) Amendment (No. 2) Bill

Appropriation (2011) Bill [Budget for 2011]

Finance Bill, 2010

Finance (No. 2) Bill, 2010 [2011 Budget measures]

Finance Bill 2011 [to give effect to the 2011 Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review]

General Laws Amendment Bill

Small Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Bill

Zimbabwe National Security Council Amendment Bill

Bills Announced by the President but not introduced:

Civil Aviation Amendment Bill

Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill

Environmental Management Amendment Bill

Minerals Exploration Corporation Bill

Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill

Indigenous Languages Bill

International Agreements Bill

Media Practitioners Bill

Medical Aid Societies Bill

Referendums Amendment Bill

Schools Examinations Council Amendment Bill

Trafficking in Persons Bill

Women’s Council Bill

Zimbabwe Border Post Authority Bill

Zimbabwe Examinations and Qualifications Authority Bill

Zimbabwe Income Tax Amendment Bill

Bills Carried Forward to the Legislative Agenda for the Fourth Session

In the President’s speech opening the Fourth Session on 6th September 2011 the following bills that were on the Government’s Legislative Agenda for the previous session were re-listed:

Referendums Bill

Electoral Amendment Bill

Income Tax Amendment Bill

Women’s Council Bill/Bill to coordinate the activities of registered organisations promoting the rights of women

Civil Aviation Authority Bill, to split the CAAZ into a Regulator and an Operator

New Bills Listed for the Fourth Session

The following new Bills for introduction during the Fourth Session were announced by the President in his speech on 6th September:

Zimbabwe Investment Authority Amendment Bill, to give full legal effect to the One-Stop-Shop Investment Centre

Micro-finance Bill

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Restructuring Bill

Public Health Act Amendment Bill

Food Control Bill

Land Developers Bill

Older Persons Bill

Civil Aviation Authority Bill, to split the Authority into a regulator and an operator

Railways Bill, to restructure the railways sector to establish a Railways Regulatory Authority, an Infrastructure Company for the railways and a Railways Operation Company.

State Enterprises Restructuring Agency Bill.

Bills that seem to have been dropped

Not mentioned in the President’s Speech on 6th September 2011 were the following Bills that were on the Legislative Agenda for the Third Session but had not been introduced by the end of that Session:

International Agreements Bill

Media Practitioners Bill

Trafficking in Persons Bill

Zimbabwe Mineral Exploration Corporation Bill

Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill

Zimbabwe Border Post Authority Bill

Zimbabwe Examinations and Qualifications Authority Bill

School Examinations Council Amendment Bill

Indigenous Languages Bill

Medical Aid Societies Bill

Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill

Environmental Management Amendment Bill

[Comment: These Bills may resurface later. It may be that the legislative agenda for the Fourth Session has been pruned to make room for the anticipated closing stages of the constitution-making process – the Parliamentary debate on the draft Constitution, the lead-up to the Constitutional Referendum and, if the Referendum result is YES, the enactment into law of the new Constitution.]

International Agreements Approved

Loan Agreement between Government of Zimbabwe and Export-Import Bank of China for Construction of National Defence College [Parliament was specially recalled from an adjournment to approve this controversial agreement on 31st May 2011.]

Loan Agreement between Government of Zimbabwe and Export-Import Bank of China relating to Zimbabwe’s 2G and 3G National Network Rollout Project being implemented by Net One

Agreement on the Establishment of the Zambezi Watercourse Commission

Convention on Wetlands

Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade

Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal

Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds

SADC Protocol on Fisheries

Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species

SADC Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement.

Parliamentary Committee Reports

House of Assembly Portfolio Committees

Committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development: the State of Service Delivery by the Municipalities of Harare, Chitungwiza and Norton (S.C.6, 2010)

Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development: Air Zimbabwe and the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (S.C. 7, 2010)

Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology: The fee structure, implementation of the Cadetship Support Scheme and scholarships programme (S.C.9, 2010)

Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare: the operations of NSSA (S.C11, 2010)

Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises: Status of SMEs in Harare (S.C12, 2010)

Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals: Supply of Water Treatment Chemicals by Chemplex Corporation to Harare City Council (S.C.13, 2010)

Committee on National Housing and Social Amenities: Constitutionalisation of housing (S.C.1, 2011)

Committee on Justice Legal Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs: The State of the Prison System in Zimbabwe (S.C.3, 2011)

Committee on Industry and Commerce: State of Industry and Revival Strategies (S.C.4, 2011)

Committee on Agriculture, Water, Lands and Resettlement: Operations of Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, Constraints and Challenges faced by Tobacco Farmers (S.C.7, 2011)

Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology: State of Public Media in Zimbabwe (S.C.8, 2011)

Committee on Mines and Energy: State of affairs at Shabani Mashava Mine (S.C.10, 2011)

Senate Thematic Committees

Committee on Human Rights: State of Prisons and Prisoners (S.C.5, 2011)

Committee on Indigenization and Empowerment: Indigenization and Empowerment Policies and Programmes (S.C.6, 2011)

Committee on Millennium Development Goals: Social Protection Programmes (S.C.9, 2011)

Committee on HIV and AIDS: Access to Treatment

Committee on Peace and Security: Role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in promoting and safeguarding peace and security in Zimbabwe.

Noteworthy Features

November 2010: Uproar in Senate over Provincial Governors

On 7th October Prime Minister Tsvangirai said MDC-T would not recognise the President’s unilateral, and therefore unconstitutional, re-appointment of all ten ZANU-PF provincial governors. When the Senate next met on 9th and 10th November Senate President Madzongwe rejected MDC-T objections to the presence of provincial governors. Protesting MDC-T Senators then halted proceedings with loud singing and dancing, and the Senate adjourned until 8th February. Having made their point, MDC-T Senators did not persist in their protests when the Senate was recalled in December to deal with the Budget. The governors have continued in office and to sit in the Senate without further Parliamentary protest.

March 2011: Speaker’s Unseating and Re-Election

On 10th March the Supreme Court set aside the 2008 election of MDC-T’s Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of the House of Assembly. In a split decision [3 for, 2 against] the court ruled that the secret ballot rule had been breached during the poll when 6 MDC-T MPs displayed their marked, unfolded ballot papers to other MPs. On 29th March in a secret ballot Mr Moyo was re-elected Speaker, defeating the ZANU-PF candidate, party chairperson S.K. Moyo, apparently with the support of at least three ZANU-PF MPs.

July 2011: Disruption of ZHRC Bill Public Hearings

Joint public hearings into the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill by Senate and House of Assembly committees were disrupted and aborted in four provincial centres. At the final public hearing, in Parliament building in Harare on 23rd July, a large unruly mob invaded the venue, bringing proceedings to a standstill and assaulting an MP and journalists. No arrests were made by police at the time or later.

Continuing Problems with Executive over Parliamentary Oversight Function

A cause for complaint by MPs was continued failure by Ministers to attend Question Time on Wednesdays, thereby evading answering awkward questions. Parliamentary Committees did not always get co-operation from Ministers and bureaucrats; an example was the obstruction of efforts by the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy to visit the Chiadzwa diamond fields for on-the-spot inquiries. The same committee complained about Minister Chinamasa’s responses to its questions during the Shabani-Mashava Mine inquiry; but the Speaker ruled there was no prima facie case justifying proceedings against the Minister for contempt of Parliament.

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