By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Sunday, 07 October 2012 12:31
HARARE - Harare’s water shortages are coming as a blessing for some
enterprising residents, who have opened their own black market niche.
Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) executive director Mfundo Mlilo
confirmed receiving reports of hordes of youths taking advantage of the
situation to make a few more dollars.
“We have received reports from Budiriro, Kuwadzana and Mabvuku of
unidentified youths taking advantage of the desperate situation to sell
water on the black market.
We also understand there have been cases although unreported of fistfights
because there are just not enough boreholes to go by,” Mlilo told the Daily
News on Sunday.
He added that Chra would demand from government to declare the water
situation in the country a national disaster.
“This should prompt the international community to help. The City of Harare
loses half of its water through leakages, gets 50 percent of its revenue
from water but does not have a long term plan to solve the water crisis.
“And now that this issue has taken a national dimension, we believe
government must now come and help with strategic planning to arrest the
problem,” said Mlilo.
Harare Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi refused to comment, referring questions to
council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi who was unavailable.
At the height of Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown, almost every commodity,
except water, was sold on the black market.
Harare’s suburbs have suffered from water shortages for years but the
problem seemed to deepen in recent weeks.
The Daily News on Sunday visited Budiriro, Mufakose and Glen Norah where
long queues at churches, schools and industrial sites have surfaced.
“They are selling water at kwaMhishi at the far western end of Mufakose. How
are we supposed to survive in a situation like this?”
At a house in Mufakose, water obtained from a fertiliser manufacturing
company near the suburb was clearly on the market.
A two-litre container was going for five rand, for 10 litres one has to part
with $2 while 20 litres went for $4.
In Glen Norah, residents were fetching water from shallow wells while water
was on sale at a Zanu PF-aligned cooperative between the suburb and Glen
Harare caters for almost five million residents inclusive of the dormitory
town of Chitungwiza and the satellite Ruwa.
By KITSEPILE NYATHI in Harare | Sunday, October 7 2012 at 14:01
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has threatened to pull out of the
coalition government he formed with President Robert Mugabe four years ago
citing violence against his supporters.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader who temporarily walked out
of the shaky coalition in 2009, made the threat on Saturday during a
memorial service for his over 200 supporters killed in the last presidential
He said he would soon convene a meeting of his party’s decision making body
to consider the pull out.
“I am pained. My message to (President) Mugabe is that we can’t pretend to
be working together when violence is taking place,” Mr Tsvangirai was quoted
saying by the privately owned The Standard newspaper.
“I am going to call an emergency council meeting to see if it is worth it to
continue in the government of national unity.
“Shall we continue to turn a blind eye when my supporters are being
tortured, when diamonds are being looted?”
He said he would also confront President Mugabe who is pushing for general
elections in March next year without reforms demanded by regional leaders.
Mr Tsvangirai beat the 88 year-old leader in the first round of the
presidential elections but was forced to drop from the run-off poll because
of political violence largely blamed on security forces.
“I will confront him and look him in the eye to see if he still wants the
unity government to continue,” he said. “We are sick and tired of
Last week, the MDC accused Zanu PF members of attacking its supporters who
were travelling to the second city of Bulawayo for the party’s 13th
Soldiers were also accused of attacking supporters of the other MDC
formation led by Professor Welshman Ncube after he held a rally in
Mashonaland East a fortnight ago.
Mr Tsvangirai says he fears next year’s elections would me marred by
“I will not step on dead bodies to State House, as long as I am living and
as long as I am MDC president I will not walk past burnt houses to State
House,” he said.
“We have politicians who shed crocodile tears like (President) Mugabe.
“He denounces violence. That’s hypocrisy we do not want. If he is serious,
why can’t he stop that violence instead of just saying it without any
President Mugabe has been calling for elections since last year saying the
inclusive government had become dysfunctional.
But Southern African Development Community leaders – the guarantors of the
power sharing deal – have been insisting on reforms before the polls to
avoid the bloodshed that marred the last elections.
Sunday, 07 October 2012 12:29
President Robert Mugabe
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has made a complete revolution from
demanding a 2012 election to begging for a delay, until at least March 2013,
revealing his lack of power under the coalition to unilaterally impose his
Despite macho public statements declaring that elections would be held this
year with or without reforms and consent from other stakeholders, events in
recent weeks have unmasked how the veteran ruler is powerless to act
Fighting old age and reports of ill-health, an early election for Mugabe
would be ideal when he can still withstand a rigorous campaign trail.
Obstacles being thrown by coalition partners and devastating infighting that
has left his Zanu PF ill-prepared for a poll are revealing Mugabe as a man
held captive on several fronts.
Starting the year on a virile campaign for elections this year, Mugabe is
ending 2012 with a whimper.
His desperate pleas for the courts to delay elections and the hasty manner
in which he moved to break a deadlock on the stalled new constitution by
agreeing to a Second All-Stakeholders meeting prove Mugabe is hostage to the
coalition government and the regional Sadc body, apart from Zanu PF
Sadc helped negotiate Harare’s fragile administration following disputed
elections in 2008.
Mugabe has quickly backed down each time a dispute in the coalition
government has been referred to the regional bloc Sadc, the guarantors of
the Harare power-sharing deal.
Mugabe’s successive climb downs have given fodder to his rivals that he was
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai accuses him of kowtowing to security
commanders and his party’s politburo by shifting positions several times on
The MDC leader says despite the posturing, Mugabe has always known that
elections will only take place after fundamental reforms have been completed
and after securing consensus from all Principals in the ruling coalition.
Mugabe has been demanding elections in 2012, a year ahead of schedule,
arguing the coalition government he formed in 2009 with Tsvangirai and
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara was now “dysfunctional”.
It all started in June 2010, when Mugabe’s Zanu PF posted on its website a
statement headlined “Elections inevitable,” saying there was unacceptable
friction in the fragile coalition — which Mugabe had said
was like water and oil.
A campaign pushing for fresh elections ostensibly because the coalition’s
two-year mandate had expired ensued.
This was outrightly rejected by Tsvangirai and Mutambara, who both said the
coalition did not have a sunset clause, forcing Mugabe to back down.
In 2011, Mugabe again insisted elections would be held in early 2012.
“We cannot go beyond March next year,” he told a September 2011 meeting of
his Zanu PF. “I will definitely announce that (election) date. It does not
matter what anyone would say. Once I announce the date, everyone will
follow,” said Mugabe.
How times change.
After spending the whole of 2012 demanding elections, the former guerrilla
leader has changed tune and unmasked himself by challenging three former MDC
legislators who went to court to force him to proclaim by-election dates in
Agreeing to the former MPs’ demands would have resulted in a mini-general
election as there are about 200 vacant parliamentary and municipal seats
Mugabe pleaded with the court to grant him more time, saying the earliest he
can announce election dates would be in March next year.
Judge President George Chiweshe granted Mugabe’s wish, which is closer to
what his coalition partners have insisted on all along — that elections are
only possible in 2013.
Cash shortages and pressure from regional bloc Sadc, whose mediation is
being led by South Africa president Jacob Zuma, have forced the veteran
ruler to reluctantly stick to the deal to ensure free and fair elections and
then handover power peacefully if he loses the forthcoming poll.
While earlier Mugabe accused the two MDCs of dragging their feet over a
deadlock around the crafting of a new constitution expected to pave way for
fresh polls, the veteran ruler has climbed down on that deadlock as well.
He temporarily shelved his demand to make over 200 amendments to a draft
constitution seen as whittling down presidential powers and strengthening
the role of Parliament.
A mini-regional summit of the Sadc troika organ to resolve the
constitutional deadlock was scheduled for Dar es Salaam this weekend in
Tanzania, but the meeting was called off after Mugabe hastily climbed down
ahead of the summit.
Sadc has already emphasised the need to stage a violence-free
All-Stakeholders conference that has been tentatively scheduled for October
21 to 23, according to Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister
According to the power-sharing Global Political Agreement, the coalition
government must complete the constitutional reform exercise and other
important political, security and electoral reforms before going for fresh
polls. It is not clear when elections, which Mugabe wants in the last week
of March, can be held as the two MDCs say the country will only be ready for
fresh polls by June 2013.
Douglas Mwonzora, spokesperson for Tsvangirai’s MDC, said the March date was
“unilateral, unrealistic and has no scientific or legal basis”.
“For us to meet those dates, Zanu PF has to change drastically,” he said.
“We want elections to be held in conditions which allow the secrecy of the
vote and the security of both the vote and the voter,” said Mwonzora.
Alex Magaisa, a lawyer and academic, currently a senior lecturer at Kent Law
School at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, said it seems there
has been a general misreading of the High Court decision and its
implications on the timing of next year’s general elections.
“It does not follow that the general elections will be held before the end
of March 20,” he said.
“It only means the President must comply with the order by the end of March
2013 and the order is to set dates for the elections. It is important in
this regard to note that the process of setting the date for nominations and
the polling date in accordance with section 38 of the Electoral Act can take
up to 10 weeks. Therefore, the general elections could well be in early June
Lovemore Madhuku, head of pressure group National Constitutional Assembly
has previously said all this was part of Mugabe’s strategy of managing both
the internal dynamics within Zanu PF, and the outside ones, with the MDC, by
creating “a sense of uncertainty”. - Gift Phiri
The crisis-ridden Zimbabwe People’s Union has sacked its Bulawayo Provincial
Chairperson, Retired Colonel Lazarus Ray Ncube, for allegedly running
parallel party structures and breaching protocol.
by Zwanai Sithole
Ncube, who is also the former Zipra Veterans Trust Chairperson, was served
with his expulsion letter last week.
Ncube‘s expulsion letter follows a meeting of the party’s National Executive
Committee in Gweru on 29 September.
Ncube is being accused of writing a letter directly to the party President,
Dumiso Dabengwa, outlining some of the challenges the party is facing in the
“Please be informed that you have by your aforesaid conduct automatically
expelled from the party .You addressed a letter to the party President
raising certain issues and concerns which you claimed to have discussed with
Bulawayo districts and all wings of the province at the inter-district
meeting,” reads part of the suspension letter from the party’s United
Kingdom based secretary general, Ralph Mguni.
Ncube was last year suspended from the party and later reinstated .He was
accused of making unilateral decisions in the running of the province.
The party, which was revived three years ago, has been suffering serious
financial woes and divisions.
Zapu was recently evicted from its national headquarters following a High
Court writ of execution order following its failure to settle its rentals
which had ballooned to $9 000.
Dabengwa has repeatedly urged party members to donate their livestock to
save the party from total collapse.
Dabengwa and some members of the national executive members have also been
accused of having strong links with Zanu (PF), charges which the former
intelligence supremo has refuted.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Ncube were all in vein as his mobile
phone was not reachable.
A fresh wave of political violence has hit Masvingo province, with scores of
MDC-T supporters nursing injuries after they were separately petrol-bombed
and beaten up in Zaka Central constituency on Tuesday .
by Regerai Tukutuku
The violence erupted when a house belonging to Nelson Vhudzijena from
Mashingaidze Village under Chief Ndanga was petrol-bombed by suspected Zanu
(PF) supporters during the night, leaving Vhudzijena and his wife, Eveline
The two are currently battling for life at Musiso Hospital in Zaka after
sustaining serious burns during the incident.
MDC-T Masvingo provincial spokesman, Harrison Mudzuri, who is also the Zaka
Central legislator, said the couple had refused to attend a Zanu (PF) rally
in the area, arguing that they supported the MDC formation of Prime Minister
MDC-T national executive member, Jefreyson Chitando, told The Zimbabwean
that the situation in Zaka was tense following the incident.
"As we speak, two of our supporters are in hospital after they refused to
attend a Zanu (PF) rally", said Chitando.
"The political temperature is now high in Zaka and I hope the law
enforcement agents will act accordingly", added Chitando. Scores of MDC-T
supporters in Masvingo North constituency were on Wednesday beaten up and
left for dead at Chikarudzo business centre when a group of soldiers waylaid
them when they were coming from an MDC-T ward meeting.
One of the victims, Alfred Leokay, said he was beaten and left for dead. “I
was beaten severely and am finding it difficult to walk," he added. Police
in Masvingo confirmed the incident but said investigations were in progress.
Zanu (PF) Masvingo Provincial Chairman, Lovemore Matuke, said he was not
aware of the incident.
Officials from the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) met
with the police over the latest incidents of violence in the province.
Staff Reporter 22 hours 15 minutes ago
Prime Minster Morgan Tsvangirai says Information Communication and
Technology (ICT) is the cornerstone of economic development in the country.
Officially opening the e-tech Africa conference and Exhibition today the
premier said ICT should at the forefront of spearheading other developments.
“In fact the argument in our economic development policy is can we grow all
the sectors at one time? The answer is No. Can we identify a sector that is
going to spearhead economic development? Yes we can. I think that in
identifying ICT to be at the forefront of spearheading other developments we
will be developing the rest of the economy,” Tsvangirai said.
Tsvangirai said government has adopted a policy that makes ICT a central
“As government we have adopted a policy to make ICT a central hub to connect
the Medium Term Plan, the Millennium development Goals (MDGs) and other
programmes that bring social change to the people of Zimbabwe.”
The premier said ICT is supposed to play a role in societal transformation
adding that the “exhibition is highlight to the importance of developing a
conscious ICT policy.”
Dozens of ICT based companies including Telecel, Powertel, Potraz Zimbabwe,
and Zarnet exhibited at the conference.
The Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa said there
is need to reduce the cost of ICT services.
“We are not where we want to be in terms of the cost and the price and the
quality of service. These are issues that are always under construction,”
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara said he was impressed by the quality
of the exhibits that were exhibited.
“I am so impressed by what l have seen here the level of sophistication and
the quality of exhibits is very outstanding so l must congratulate you for a
wonderful display of ICT,” Mutambara said.
Sapa | 07 October, 2012 11:43
Newly elected African Union (AU) chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been
set up to fail in her new position, former President Thabo Mbeki said in a
media report on Sunday.
"I think part of this feeling that she is going to change [things] is the
failure to understand how the AU operates. People might put a big burden on
her shoulders expecting her to do this and that and when it doesn't happen,
they will blame her when actually she has no capacity to do these things,"
Mbeki told the Sunday Independent.
The former president said AU policies did not originate from the AU
Commission, which Dlamini-Zuma heads.
Mbeki said the AU depended on policy made by individual nations, with the
commission only able to try and persuade them.
"You have to be able to intervene with the governments in a manner that
encourages them," Mbeki said.
He said the AU had appointed a former head-of-state, Malian President Alpha
Konare, for this reason.
"The reasoning was that once you have a former head of state sitting in this
position of chair; he will have sufficient influence over his former peers,"
Mbeki said. "It didn't work."
Mbeki said Konare asked not to be re-appointed to the position at the end of
"The people should not raise expectation with regard to the appointment of
Nkosazana, which expectations will be disappointed," Mbeki said.
Sunday, 07 October 2012 12:47
HARARE - Pro-Zanu PF empowerment group Upfumi Kuvadiki is accusing the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) of not supporting indigenous millers.
Scott Sakupwanya, the group’s president wrote to Albert Mandizha, the GMB
general manager demanding an explanation as to why the state-owned grain
company has engaged a Pakistani miller instead of locals.
In a letter to the GMB boss, Sakupwanya says the state grain stocker is
disregarding national laws through awarding tenders to foreigners.
Under the indigenisation regulations the milling industry is preserved for
“We simply do not understand why locally grown wheat be milled by a
Pakistani for local consumers at a whooping cost of one million (dollars)
which is likely to be repatriated out of the country.
“We submit that the milling sector together with other sectors be reserved
for the previously marginalised people,” said Sakupwanya.
He further said the continuation of awarding such tender to foreigners is a
clear violation of the country’s black empowerment laws and it would force
his organisation to seek assistance from government.
Upfumi Kuvadiki last year, took the law into its hands demanding a stake in
Easipark claiming the South African-Harare City Council formed company
should include its members in managing parking in the city.
Foreigners such as Nigerians and Chinese who occupy the retail sector have
also came under attack from the group.
Efforts to get a comment from Mandizha were fruitless as his mobile phone
was unavailable. - Xolisani Ncube
Eyewitness News | 7 hours ago
HARARE - Zimbabwe has hired a team of lawyers in South Africa to appeal a
recent Supreme Court ruling in favour of dispossessed white farmers from
The ruling allows the farmers to seize Zimbabwe government assets because
they have lost their farms, but Zimbabwe's attorney general says it violates
the Geneva Convention.
President Robert Mugabe’s attorney general Johannes Tomana says the Supreme
Court ruling in South Africa is not valid.
He told the Sunday Mail that the judgment defied the concept of diplomatic
immunity which can only be revoked in extreme cases.
At the centre of this dispute, is the property that the Zimbabwe government
owns in Cape Town, and that the white farmers are trying to seize.
The property is currently being leased out but the authorities say that it
does not mean that it is not still to be protected by the Geneva Convention
on diplomatic privileges.
Zimbabwe has tasked the team of lawyers to mount the appeal.
Sunday, 07 October 2012 12:40
HARARE - A rivulet of stinking slime flows through the back of one of the
biggest food outlets at Harare’s upmarket Avondale Shopping Centre.
The repulsive stink at the back of this supposedly trendy shopping centre is
in sharp contrast to the aroma that breezes from the front where there is a
fast food and ice cream outlet, two supermarkets run by retail giants, a
coffee and pizza joint and a pharmacy among other classy businesses.
The situation at Avondale mirrors how food and grocery companies in Zimbabwe
are found wanting when it comes to meeting best practices as required by
health and environment officials.
These companies have conveniently chosen to ignore the word “green” as they
chase profits, conservationists say.
Although different companies in the world are increasingly going green,
Zimbabwean food companies are lagging behind.
Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba says companies with higher
chances of polluting the environment should commit more resources towards
environmental friendly programmes.
“We expect companies to commit resources towards proper waste disposal. The
social responsibility is seen as a compensatory measure for the profit they
are making out of that community. Big companies like food chains must also
engage in clean-up campaigns and other environmental awareness programmes.
The longer they continue polluting our streams the more resources we will
need towards the purification of water,” Shumba says.
According to the Environmental Management Agency (Ema), companies causing
environmental hazard should be fined or cease operations. - Bridget
Sunday, 07 October 2012 12:39
HURUNGWE - He is among the few foot soldiers taking the bull by its horns to
fight for a better environment among farmers whose livelihood depends on
Tobacco farming has transformed the lives of resettled farmers here but with
a dent on nature.
This explains why Edward Musaniwa Chikwapuro is regarded as a thorn in the
flesh by fellow villagers.
His passion for nature is contributing towards the restoration of standards
in the green forest around Hurungwe Rural Council’s Ward One in Hilltop
Due to the 71-year-old’s commitment to bring to book suspects who are
usually fellow villagers, he has become an “enemy of development” and fellow
villagers view him with disdain.
Some are resorting to overstepping fire guards and starting fires at night
but he is not losing hope despite it being a “thankless” job. “We must work
together and see to it that our grandchildren know that honey comes from
bees. Why should we destroy nature?” he tells the Daily News on Sunday.
Situated about 40 km along Karoi-Chirundu, Hilltop or Warikandamurume
resettlement area was established in 2002 after Hurungwe District Council
evicted villagers to pave way for the construction of Magunje Dam.
Settled here among new farmers, Chikwapuro remains an epitome of
determination in forest conservation though on a voluntary basis.
Married and looking after seven grandchildren whose parents have since died,
his love for nature is written all over his face when he talks about the
“I am worried that only a few resettled farmers are taking heed not to
destroy trees which they use to cure their tobacco. We advocate for a better
future and efforts to curb unwarranted veld fires that destroy nature
including birds and bees,” he says.
“Our animals including cattle are affected as there is no grass. We are our
own enemies,” he says.
Chikwapuro is among four village environment management monitors covering an
area with over 5 000 villagers.
“I used to have a motorbike following up wherever fires started but it broke
down three years ago. I cannot afford to have it repaired,” he says.
Chikwapuro covers a distance of over 15 km daily spreading the word against
veld fires and this has been a routine for the past five years. “I enjoy
it,” he says.
His heart bleeds as more villagers are starting off the tobacco seedbeds
along Rukomechi River for their next tobacco season.
“The chemicals they use affect the river water. We teach them to be at least
30 meters away from the river to avoid siltation but it is a challenge. We
will advocate for them to be arrested, even if it means they go to jail.
“We must be environment-friendly,” he says. - Criswell Chitsa
This week sees the 10th anniversary of the Vigil, which was launched on 12th October 2002. Since then we have met every Saturday (except when it fell on Christmas day, when there is no one around in central London to demonstrate to). The Observer newspaper described us as the largest regular demonstration in London.
Not that we were very large today as some of our supporters were drawn to other functions, principally the MDC’s 13th anniversary social in Slough, west London. Fraternal greetings to the MDC but our own view of their achievements is summed up by the latest article by the Botswana-exiled Zimbabwean journalist and SW Radio Africa commentator Tanonoka Joseph Whande. He says ‘What's there to celebrate? To make matters worse, Tsvangirai promised the people free and fair elections. Who is he kidding? Where does he get the powers to stage such when Mugabe refuses to clean up the voters' roll on which Ian Smith still appears? When ZANU-PF vigilante groups are sprouting in every town?’ (see: http://www.swradioafrica.com/2012/10/04/tanonoka-joseph-whande-mdc-t-is-taking-people-too-much-for-granted/ – Tanonoka Joseph Whande - MDC-T Is Taking People Too Much for Granted).
While the MDC celebrated in Slough, we kept the Vigil going outside the Embassy. Why? Tanonoka spells it out well but so does Nevanji Madanhire who asks, in the Standard, if the current looting continues ‘what will be left of the country for our children?’ (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/old/oct2_2012.html#Z21 – Editor’s Desk: Immediate gain behind plunder).
For a graphic picture of the problem one only has to read a description of corruption, theft and abuse of power by Zimbabwe’s police in an account posted by Sokwanele (see: “Is your battery secured?” – http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/archives/8106).
‘But what have you achieved?’ many people ask us. Well, we see our job as keeping up awareness of the crisis in Zimbabwe. And, thanks to the BBC and others picking up our Bulawayo lavatory ‘scoop’ (see: diary of 22nd September 2012 - http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/442-mummy-daddy-politics-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-22nd-september-2012), we have helped launch the prospective Olympic sport of ‘synchronised toilet flushing’ (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19704766 – Synchronised toilet flush held in Zimbabwe’s Bulawayo).
On the basis of our intimate acquaintance with Zimbabwean crap, we can mention a few other emerging sports: sychronised looting, certainly. Sychronised wives as well, and what about sychronised being ‘unavailable’ when something needs to be synchronized; like receiving the SADC delegates in JOMIC?
Unlike the MDC celebrating their optimism we will be gathering after next week’s Vigil to mourn the need for our continued existence and reflect on the way forward in what we see as a very long struggle before there is freedom in Zimbabwe (for details see ‘Events and Notices’ below).
· Our thanks to Sheron Makhosi Bhebhe and Elijah Bhebhe who were there at the start to help set up the Vigil. Thanks also to Sheron and to Mary Muteyerwa who stepped in to take care of the Vigil front table in the absence of Vigil regulars.
· We were pleased to be able to send $90 to Bernard Hukwa’s widow. This was money left over from donations from Vigil supporters after the repatriation of Bernard’s body had been paid for.
· A video of our demonstrations on 22nd September outside the Tanzania and Botswana High Commissions can be seen on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxLsfsI4v5M.
· There seemed to be a more than the usual number of groups in London in fancy dress. We were visited by some very colourful parrots and a group in orange boiler suits with ‘LBS Psycho Ward’ on their backs who joined in the dancing..
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.
FOR THE RECORD: 37 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· 10th Anniversary of the Zimbabwe Vigil / Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 13th October from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn. Future special ZAF meeting: Saturday 10th November when our special guest will be Ben Freeth. This meeting will take the place of the regular ZAF meeting in November at 6.30 pm at Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see above.
· Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/363-vigil-highlights-2011. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.
· The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.
· ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.
· The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.
· Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
· Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
· To sponsor the Mike Campbell Foundation expedition ‘Sailing across the Makgadikgadi Pans’ which will raise money for the work of the Foundation, go to www.justgiving.com/Mike-Campbell-Foundation.
· Useful websites: www.zanupfcrime.com which reports on Zanu PF abuses and www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.
COURT WATCH 18/2012
[6th October 2012]
Current Supreme Court Cases
Anglican Church Cases for Supreme Court
During the week beginning Monday 22nd October the Supreme Court will deal with seven appeals on court cases between the mainstream Anglican Church recognised world wide and a breakaway local church. Dr Nolbert Kunonga previously Bishop of Harare, broke away from the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa to set up his own new Province of Zimbabwe and has taken over much Anglican church property although the Anglican world body no longer recognised him as Bishop of Harare. The recognised Anglican Church continued under a legitimate elected Bishop of Harare – first Bishop Sebastian Bakare and now Bishop Chad Gandiya. The cases involve the property of the Anglican Church owned by the Church of the Province of Central Africa and hitherto administered by a board of trustees chaired by the Bishop of Harare. The whole week has been allocated to these appeals, which will be heard one after the other.
The President v The Prime Minister – the Provincial Governors case
Reminder This case dates from November 2010, when the Prime Minister went to the High Court to challenge the constitutionality of President’s unilateral appointment of provincial governors. The President’s lawyer raised a preliminary procedural objection to the Prime Minister suing the President without first getting the leave of a High Court judge to do so. High Court Judge-President Chiweshe overruled this objection, taking the view that the rule of court cited by the President was not applicable to legal action against the President in his official capacity; he also refused to allow the President to appeal to the Supreme Court, pointing out that the Supreme Court had decided the point in another case in 2000. Dissatisfied with this decision, the President, as he was entitled to do, applied to the Chief Justice for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court on the procedural point. [see Court Watch 14/2012 of 28th July and 15/2012 of 24th August]
Chief Justice allows President to appeal On 19th September Chief Justice Chidyausiku granted the President leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. This was with the consent of the Prime Minister, who through his lawyers withdrew his initial opposition to the appeal going ahead. The Chief Justice will be handing down a judgment setting out his reasons for granting leave to appeal, i.e., explaining why the procedural point needs to be re-considered by the Supreme Court.
Effect This means there will now be a full appeal before the Supreme Court on the procedural objection only. It will inevitably take time for that appeal to be heard and decided, making a ruling before the end of the year most unlikely. And if the Supreme Court eventually upholds the President’s objection, that will probably be the end of the Prime Minister’s case – by then there may be little or no practical value in having a court ruling invalidating the President’s appointment of the provincial governors.
Other Supreme Court Cases: Hearings Delayed
Mutambara v Ncube – MDC Leadership Dispute: Hearing Delayed
Reminder: Two appeals about the leadership of the MDC await hearing in the Supreme Court. Professor Mutambara and a group of his supporters are asking the Supreme Court to reverse High Court decisions confirming the January 2011 election of Professor Welshman Ncube as leader of the party. [See Court Watch 14/2012 of 28th July.]
Preliminary point raised by Ncube side The Supreme Court’s rules of procedure require an appellant to provide security for the legal costs of the other side should the Supreme Court in due course turn down the appeal and order the appellant to pay the other side’s costs. The Ncube side’s lawyers have taken the point that the appeals cannot go ahead because the appellants – the Mutambara camp – did not comply with this requirement when filing their appeals. The Mutambara side’s lawyers say that their written undertaking to bear costs if ordered to do so was sufficient compliance with the rule and pointed out that there had been such a long delay from the other side in querying the undertaking that it was now too late to raise this issue. Chief Justice Chidyausiku heard legal argument from both sides in chambers on 26th September and reserved judgment until a later date.
Private Member’s Bills case postponed: Minister Chombo v Parliament
Reminder: In this case Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Ignatious Chombo has asked the Supreme Court to bar the Urban Councils Amendment Bill, a Private Member’s bill, from being considered by Parliament. The Bill would, if passed, severely restrict the present wide powers of the Minister over local authorities. The contention on behalf of the Minister is that Article 20 of the GPA, as set out in Schedule 8 to the Constitution, prohibits all Private Member’s Bills during the subsistence of the GPA. [See Bill Watch 20 and 21 of 15th May 2012] The Clerk and Parliament’s presiding officers, cited as respondents in the Minister’s court papers, lodged papers opposing the application.
Appeal hearing postponed: The court postponed the hearing due on 27th September. The reason for this was that the judges felt the Minister should have cited the mover and seconder of the Bill in the House of Assembly as respondents to the appeal, in addition to the Clerk, the Speaker and the President of the Senate, as they should also have an opportunity to state their position on the Minister’s application. The Minister’s lawyers have since served the necessary papers on the two MDC-T MPs concerned, and their responses are being processed. A date for the resumption of the hearing is still to be fixed.
Comment: In deference to Parliament’s sub judice rule, the Bill remains stalled in Parliament pending the Supreme Court’s decision. Unfortunately this has also stalled two other Private Member’s Bills, one to amend the Public Order and Security Act [POSA] and the other to repeal section 121(3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. This is a great pity as getting these through Parliament would go a little way towards the reforms necessary before the next elections.
Mwonzora and Others v The State: Pre-Trial Mistreatment of Accused Persons
[previously covered in Court Watch 3/2011, 9/2012, and 15/2012]
Reminder: The Supreme Court was asked to determine whether the constitutional rights of MDC-T MP Douglas Mwonzora and his twenty-one co accused were violated while they were in detention in February and March 2011. The accused were arrested and detained on allegations of public violence in contravention of section 36(1)(a) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act [the Criminal Law Code]. The incident leading to these charges followed an MDC-T meeting addressed by Mr Mwonzora in his Nyanga North constituency. The accused say they were held incommunicado in illegal solitary confinement, assaulted, prevented from seeing their lawyers and denied food, water and medical attention for the three days that they were held in police custody. They were in remand prison for nearly three weeks after the State invoked section 121(3) of the CPE Act to prevent the operation of the bail order that the magistrate had granted. During this period of incarceration the health of one of the accused, Headman Nyakauru, aged 82, deteriorated significantly and his condition was aggravated by denial of access to private medical attention; he died shortly after his release.
The constitutional issues The constitutional issues before the court are: the complaints of inhuman and degrading treatment, and violation of constitutional rights to liberty and protection of the law as enshrined in sections 15, 13 and 18 of the Constitution and the constitutionality of section 121 (3) of the CPE Act. The main remedy asked for, as in the Jestina Mukoko case, is the stopping of the prosecution.
Case postponed for further evidence The Supreme Court hearing was due on 20th September 2012 but did not proceed. It was postponed indefinitely to allow further evidence to be filed on behalf of Mr Mwonzora and the other accused persons about the treatment to which they were subjected.
Comment: As Mr Mwonzora and his co-accused are asking the Supreme Court to stop the prosecution, the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Mukoko case, handed down on 20th September [see Court Watch 17/2012 of 4th October] will influence how this case is argued when the hearing resumes and how it is decided by the Supreme Court.
“Goblin”/Freedom of speech case – Prosecution for insulting the President:
Reminder: In this case Douglas Mwonzora MP is prosecuted with insulting the President in contravention of section 33 of the Criminal Law Code. Many others, including foreign visitors to Zimbabwe, have found themselves facing similar charges in the magistrates courts. Section 33 criminalises publicly making statements that may cause feelings of hostility towards, or cause hatred, ridicule or contempt of, the President – whether in person or “in respect of the office of President”. The maximum penalty on conviction is a fine of $300 or six months in prison or both.
Mr Mwonzora is alleged to have compared the President to a goblin in the course of a speech at a rally in Nyanga in March 2009. He successfully petitioned the magistrate to have the matter referred to the Supreme Court for a ruling on the constitutionality of section 33, claiming that it infringes the constitutional rights to freedom of speech, assembly and thought, is too broad and vague to qualify as a law and is not reasonably justifiable in a democratic society – particularly so when the President is a highly political figure.
Case postponed: These issues were expected to be thrashed out in argument before the Supreme Court on 4th October. But the State’s heads of argument, i.e. the written summary of its argument and the legal precedents to be cited, had not been filed in advance of the hearing as required by the rules of court. The court therefore indefinitely postponed the hearing until the heads of argument have been filed.
Comment – It is a pity that this important case has had to be postponed in view of the many others in which people have been and are still being taken to court for this offence. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights are handling 38 such cases. Section 33 of the Criminal Law Code is one of several provisions in the Code that have prompted civil society calls for repeal or rewriting in the interests of certainty and clarity in the law.
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