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Storm gathers over Mana Pools

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in News
A STORM is gathering over the scenic Zambezi Valley due to controversial
plans — which are not eco-friendly — to establish heavy mining operations
along two major rivers which feed into Mana Pools, one of the world’s most
pristine wildernesses and a leading tourist attraction in Zimbabwe, amid
fears the nation’s natural heritage might be irreparably damaged if
politically-connected miners overpower environmentalists.

Report by Tendai Marima
At the centre of the row is Zambezi Society — a non-profit conservation
organisation formed in 1982 — and Habbard Investments (Pvt) Ltd, a
subsidiary of a local mining company GeoAssociates (Pvt) Ltd.

The clash is intensifying as environmentalists step up their campaign
against determined efforts by miners to explore the area for commercial
benefit.

Environmentalists say the area is a national heritage and must not be
sacrificed on the altar of corporate interests that largely benefit
shareholders.

This has raised echoes of the recent invasions of Save Valley Conservancy by
top Zanu PF politicians and army commanders who have now been ordered by
President Robert Mugabe to vacate the area.

However, Habbard, which sources say has powerful political links, is rigidly
determined to scour the riverbeds of Chewore and Ruckomechi for heavy
mineral sand deposits.

Habbard managing director Paul Chimbodza this week refused to clarify
whether his company has political heavyweights behind it trying to
intimidate environmentalists.

“We can’t be talking to the media, we don’t talk to them. Ngatingomirira
zvirikuitwa (Let’s wait for what’s being done),” Chimbodza told the Zimbabwe
Independent on Tuesday, before hanging up his phone.

Habbard is determined to proceed as it sees money-spinning opportunities
because of the abundance of heavy mineral sand deposits in the Zambezi
Valley which are used as raw materials in the manufacture of paints and
dyes; enhancing colour in plastics, paper and rubber; in cosmetics and
pharmaceuticals; and in producing titanium alloy metals needed in aircraft,
spacecraft and medical prostheses.

Although Habbard has contracted Impact Assessment Consulting (Impaco) to
conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA), environmental groups have
warned explorations would be ecologically devastating to Mana Pools.
The Zambezi Society has since engaged Impaco, Environmental Management
Agency (EMA), Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe (SOAZ), National
Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe, Lower Zambezi Tour Operators and Unesco
national commission in a bid to save the area from mining invasions. A
committee has been set up to deal with the issue.

So much is at stake in this dispute. Habbard wants to make a fortune through
heavy mineral sand deposits while environmentalists, who are also
benefitting, want to protect their treasure.

Mana Pools is a wildlife conservation area in northern Zimbabwe constituting
a national park. It is a region of the lower Zambezi River where the flood
plain turns into a broad expanse of lakes after each rainy season.

As the lakes gradually dry up and recede, the region attracts many large
animals in search of water, making it one of Africa’s most renowned game
viewing regions.

The area covers 2 500-square kilometres of river frontage, islands,
sandbanks and pools, flanked by forests of mahogany, wild figs, ebonies and
baobabs, and is one of the least developed national parks in Zimbabwe and
the region. It has four pools which are part of an extensive 10 500-square
kilometre national parks and wildlife reserves.

This unique park is a Unesco World Heritage Site, based on its wildness and
splendour, together with the wide range of animals, over 350 bird species
and aquatic wildlife.

It was saved from a hydro-electric scheme in the early 1980s which would
have seen the flooding of this world heritage site with the country’s
biggest concentration of hippopotamuses, crocodiles and large dry season
populations of elephants, buffaloes and other animals.

The spoiling of the Zambezi River itself is also an issue in this dispute.
The river is Africa’s fourth largest and one of the finest and least spoilt
in the world. Its basin is larger than the Sahara Desert and flows through
eight countries in central and southern Africa.

It is rich in biological diversity. Its wetlands, aquatic systems, riverine
woodlands, montane forests, dry forests and savannahs are all complex
eco-systems which support abundant wildlife and a great diversity of trees
and plants; some species are native only to the Zambezi region. It has
magnificent wilderness values which are becoming increasingly attractive to
the international tourism market.

However, these valuable national resources are now at risk.

Zambezi Society says on September 10 last year, the Ministry of Mines and
Mining Development issued two exploration licences to Habbard which intends
to prospect for copper, lead, titanium and other minerals along the banks of
Ruckomechi and Chewore rivers which feed into the Zambezi.

Habbard claims to be the first in Zimbabwe to attempt sand mineral
exploration along the 45-km long Rukomechi and 65-km long Chewore rivers. It
says an EIA to determine economic viability and ecological sustainability of
the projects currently being undertaken by Impaco, a Harare-based
environmental consultancy firm.

“Habbard Investments is required by law, to undertake a series of
environmental impact assessments. These assessments seek to establish the
likely impacts of mineral exploration activities and to recommend how
proposed operations should minimise such impacts,” Chimbodza said recently.

Although Zambezi Society claims that up until July Impaco was not listed as
a consultancy approved to carry out EIA by EMA, an Impaco employee told the
Independent this week an assessment was currently taking place.

Habbard convened a stakeholders meeting in Harare on August 31 attended by
representatives from over 50 public and private sector organisations to
discuss the issue. It explained to stakeholders its proposed mining methods.

“Excavation of one-metre deep pits in the sand of the rivers; drilling of
augur holes every 1km down the centre of the riverbed, Habbard is not
insensitive to the environment and fragile nature of Mana Pools,” Chimbodza
said.

The Zambezi River basin contains mineral-rich sand eroded from higher plains
and while Chimbodza says Habbard will only go down one metre, copies of a
2011 exploration licence for Ruckomechi River show the company could
potentially excavate as deep as five to 16 metres.

Zambezi Society said on August 12 Habbard’s operations would pose too great
a threat to flora and fauna in the World Heritage Site.

“We believe that there should be no mining (prospecting or exploration
included) in this area because of potential impacts on its biodiversity,
wildlife and sensitive eco-systems, which are globally important, and on its
wilderness areas which are valuable to international tourism,” Zambezi
Society spokesperson Sally Win said.

“Furthermore, World Heritage status is not awarded lightly. There are less
than 200 sites worldwide on Unesco’s ‘natural sites’ listing; and in the
society’s view, Zimbabwe’s national interests will be best served by
maintaining the integrity of the area, and prohibiting activities such as
mining that will result in its degradation and possible loss of its World
Heritage status.”

Zimbabwe currently holds five World Heritage Site titles for man-made and
natural historic sites, which include Great Zimbabwe, Khami Ruins, Mana
Pools, Matobo Hills and Victoria Falls.

Unesco programme specialist in natural sciences in Harare, Guy Broucke, said
on Tuesday the World Heritage Committee had contacted the Zimbabwean
government over the highly controversial issue.


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Ministers in massive double-dipping: report

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in News
CABINET ministers have been accused of siphoning cash and grabbing vehicles
from line parastatals despite receiving the same benefits from central
government in a damning preliminary report by the Comptroller and
Auditor-General, a cabinet minister has said.

Report by Herbert Moyo
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent State Enterprises and
Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo said preliminary reports from the Auditor
and Comptroller-General’s office on the operations of parastatals for 2011
contains evidence of massive double-dipping in state enterprises by cabinet
ministers.

“There is fraud involving ministers and deputy ministers particularly with
respect to travelling expenses which they claim from parastatals even though
they get the same from Treasury. They even claim vehicles as well and this
is double-dipping which contravenes the Public Finance Management Act,” Moyo
said.

Although Moyo refused to disclose any names, ministries or details of the
irregularities, impeccable sources told this paper that the report showed
that the Home Affairs, Transport and Mines and Water ministries were among
those allegedly involved in commandeering fuel and cars from the Central
Mechanical Equipment Department.

Moyo condemned the ministers’ behaviour saying it undermines the work his
ministry has been undertaking to make State Enterprises and Parastatals
profitable through policies premised on good corporate governance and
restructuring under a turnaround framework adopted in 2010. His revelations
come after his recent presentation to cabinet suggesting parastatals have
been performing dismally with the majority making losses amounting to
millions of dollars in 2011 due to under-capitalisation, high overheads and
lack of customer confidence.

Moyo said his ministry would not spare any efforts to deal with the culprits
and would engage President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and the Anti-Corruption Commission over the matter.


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Clash in cabinet over referendum Bill

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in News
ZANU PF ministers clashed with their MDC counterparts in cabinet this week
over the Referendum Amendment Bill with President Robert Mugabe and allies
rejecting the diaspora vote and a proposal to allow the public to petition
for a referendum on any contentious issue.

Report by Brian Chitemba
Impeccable sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that the coalition
government partners engaged in a fierce clash over clauses of the Referendum
Amendment Bill.

The Bill, according to officials who attended the meeting on Tuesday, was
later accepted with Zanu PF rejecting critical issues like the diaspora vote
which it fears.

The meeting discussed the Referendum Act Amendment Bill ahead of the second
all-stakeholders’ conference as pressure mounts for the unity government
partners to conclude the constitution-making process.

Zanu PF, critics say, fears the diaspora vote because millions of
Zimbabweans who are living abroad fled political and economic turmoil
created by Mugabe’s authoritarian regime mainly from 2000.

“MDC formations’ ministers argued every Zimbabwean, local or foreign-based,
should be allowed to vote, but Zanu PF rejected the amendment since they
have their own fears,” a minister said.

Zanu PF ministers further opposed MDCs’ moves to empower citizens to demand
a referendum on any contentious issues like devolution through a petition.
This, some ministers said, was mainly intended to preserve Mugabe’s sole
authority in deciding when and how to call for a referendum as stipulated in
the current Act.

Ministers agreed that voters in the referendum should not be registered
voters as is the case in elections, but every Zimbabwean with an identity
card would be allowed to cast the ballot.

“It’s unfortunate that in an inclusive government, when there is no
consensus, an issue is rejected despite the fact that other parties want
it,” said the minister.

The second all-stakeholders’ conference is expected next month to pave way
for a referendum on the Copac draft.

Zanu PF, which made 266 amendments to the latest Copac draft, claims the new
draft does not incorporate people’s views gathered during the outreach
programme.

Copac says over 2 000 delegates are expected to attend the second
all-stakeholders’ conference with Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC seconding 600
representatives.


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Zim under pressure over IMF debt

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in News
GOVERNMENT will today come under increasing pressure to settle its debt with
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) amid indications three countries,
including Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe, as at June-end owed the
international financial institution Special Drawing Rights (SDR)1,3 billion
(US$2,007 billion at the rate of SDR1:US$1,54228 yesterday) in overdue
arrears collectively.

Report by Tendai Marima
The IMF will meet authorities today to discuss the Zimbabwe situation at a
time when Harare’s cooperation on policies with the Bretton Woods
institution has weakened.

The IMF says three members — Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe — remain in
protracted arrears to the fund. Somalia and Sudan have accumulated arrears
dating back to the mid-1980s, accounting for 18% and 76% of the total US$2
billion arrears, respectively. Zimbabwe, which has been in arrears to the
Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) since February 2001, accounts for
the remaining 6%.

The IMF executive board reviewed Zimbabwe’s overdue financial obligations to
the PRGT in September 2011 and subsequently in April this year.

It said Zimbabwe’s cooperation with the fund on policies had weakened. The
board said the authorities must align the execution of the 2012 budget with
realistic revenue forecasts in order to return to a path towards medium-term
fiscal and external sustainability and to increase economic resilience to
shocks by improving expenditure management, further strengthening financial
sector prudential regulations and their enforcement and improving the
business climate.

The directors underscored the importance of refraining from incurring
non-concessional liabilities, including using SDR resources, to prevent the
further exacerbation of debt distress and unsustainable widening of external
imbalances.

They also emphasised the need to demonstrate the capacity and commitments to
implement strengthened policies under an IMF staff-monitored programme,
including continuing timely data reporting, adopting remedial measures to
resolve irregularities in employment practices, controlling the payroll,
improving transparency in diamond revenues and taking additional actions to
reduce financial sector risks.

An IMF report Review of the Fund’s Strategy on Overdue Financial Obligations
released last week shows that by June-end, Zimbabwe owed the IMF’s PRGT
SDR85,9 million (US$132,6 million). Most of the debt overdue to the PRGT
facility is held by Sudan and Somalia who owe SDR983,3 million (US$1,5
billion) and SDR233,1 million (US$359,3), respectively.

Although the IMF noted a slight reduction in Zimbabwe’s arrears, it said the
country has a poor record of repayment. The report, prepared by directors
from the IMF’s finance, legal and policy strategy departments, also stresses
the urgency of Zimbabwe settling its outstanding arrears.

“Zimbabwe’s arrears to the PRGT have declined slightly. Cooperation with the
fund on payments remains poor and Zimbabwe was strongly encouraged to make
regular and timely payments to the fund and to increase them as the payment
capacity improves,” it said.

Minister of Finance Tendai Biti said yesterday Treasury, IMF and World Bank
officials would meet today to discuss the situation. Biti held a video
conference call on Wednesday with IMF officials to discuss the issue.

“Zimbabwe is not in arrears with the IMF. Zimbabwe owes money to the IMF,
the World Bank and other creditors. We are up to date with our payments to
the IMF,” Biti said.

“The Ministry of Finance is in intense discussions with the IMF and the
World Bank and we going to have a meeting with them tomorrow. We are going
have another one next month.”

Apart from its US$132,6 million IMF debt at June-end, Zimbabwe also owed
SDR614,6 million (US$947,9million) to the World Bank and SDR376,2 million
(US$580,2 million) to the African Development Bank.

The IMF says Zimbabwe could be eligible for debt relief under the Highly
Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, but Harare has refused to accept
HIPC approach, claiming it would be used to interfere in internal affairs.

As an alternative, the Ministry of Finance launched the Zimbabwe:
Accelerated Arrears Clearance, Debt and Development Strategy in March this
year, a plan detailing how the country intends to pay off its liabilities
through a combination of debt relief and concessional loans or grants from
its development partners. Zimbabwe’s total debt is currently US$10,7
billion.

On re-engagement with the IMF, Biti said Zimbabwe does not have the means to
settle its debt and alternative sources would have to be found. “Zimbabwe
does not have the capacity to pay off the IMF from its own resources.

In this regard, the country will need to request cooperating partners for a
concessional bridging loan or a grant to settle arrears to the fund,” he
said.

“Clearance of Extended Credit Facility arrears will unlock new financing
arrangements from the IMF, within the context of a fund-supported financial
arrangement, which will then be used to repay the bridging loan obtained
from the co-operating partners.”

The IMF said Zimbabwe would need international assistance, but the country
must find ways of resolving problems of ghost workers on the payroll,
opaqueness in diamond revenues and taking effective steps to minimise
exposing the financial sector to systemic risks. “Zimbabwe faces an
unsustainable debt situation, and may at some point need comprehensive debt
relief from the international community,” it said.


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MDC-T grills Bhebhe over utterances

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in News
THE MDC-T leadership has grilled its deputy organising secretary Abednico
Bhebhe to explain his public utterances that the party would write a new
constitution if it gets into power.

Repport by Brian Chitemba
Bhebhe reportedly told party supporters in Umzingwane, Matabeleland South,
about two weeks ago that his party made many concessions in the Copac draft
constitution just to ensure free and fair elections and would revisit the
charter once it comes to power.

The MDC-T swiftly issued a statement distancing itself from Bhebhe’s claims,
saying the party had no intention of re-writing the constitution. Party
insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent Bhebhe was grilled and asked to
explain his utterances by party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora.

Although Bhebhe denied that he was questioned about his statements, sources
said Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was angered by Bhebhe’s speech.

Mwonzora denied Bhebhe was summoned, but admitted he was taken to task over
the statement.

“I talked to him (Bhebhe) about the speech,” said Mwonzora. “He denied ever
saying the party would re-write the constitution and blamed journalists for
misquoting him.”


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‘Referendum doubtful’

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in News
CONSTITUTIONAL and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga says
Zimbabwe is unlikely to hold a referendum on the new Copac draft this year
as haggling among coalition partners means the document cannot be taken to
the second All Stakeholders’ Conference before consensus.

Report by Faith Zaba/Paidamoyo Muzulu
Matinenga told the Zimbabwe Independent in an interview that as long as the
process has not been agreed by the three political parties, the draft would
not be taken to the conference.

“We cannot proceed to the second stakeholders’ conference without getting
all things in order,” said Matinenga. “We need to get all our ducks in a row
before then otherwise we would get nothing out of it.”

In terms of the GPA Article VI, the draft should now be taken to the second
stakeholders’ conference and then parliament. The draft may be amended at
both stages thus cooperation and consensus among the parties is paramount.

President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday
agreed that they must consult Copac on the future of the constitution-making
process ahead of the second all-stakeholders’ conference.
Matinenga could not rule out the possibility of parties manipulating the
outcome of the stakeholders’ conference to suit their interests.

The two MDC formations have vowed not to reopen negotiations with Zanu PF
over its proposed amendments to the draft.

Zanu PF wants any reference to devolution completely removed from the draft.
It also wants the imperial presidency retained; the running mates clause
removed and key state appointments to be the prerogative of the president,
among other things.

Matinenga said the process has become a charade because the draft has not
been tabled for discussion in cabinet since it was released on July 18.
“The issue (draft constitution) in the main has been removed from the
government work programme and it’s only being played out at a political
level,” said Matinenga.

He ruled out the possibility of two drafts being taken to a referendum,
saying this would spark violence along party lines.

Meanwhile, the Zanu PF politburo insists it would continue pushing for its
amendments to be inserted into the draft and said if the principals do not
reach consensus, the party would take the national statistical report to the
stakeholders’ conference for them to decide.

The politburo resolved last week to allow the Copac draft to be taken to the
conference without the party’s proposed 266 amendments. It also wants the
national statistical report to be published in all media and copies given to
delegates at the second all stakeholders’ conference.

Contrary to assertions that this was a climb-down by Zanu PF, party insiders
said the game was not yet over as they would still push for the
incorporation of their amendments during the principals’ meetings, the
stakeholder’s conference and in parliament.

“Our position has not changed,” a politburo source said. “We will not
support a draft that does not incorporate our amendments. There are still
stages during which we can ensure that the amendments are incorporated.
People are forgetting that you need a two-thirds majority vote in
parliament — so we need each other at the end of the day.”

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said his party has not conceded defeat.“The
principals are consulting now and the draft will be taken to the second
stakeholder’s conference. It must be made abundantly clear that the draft
and the national statistical report should be given to the people so that
they have an opportunity to evaluate and assess whether what was said during
the outreach meetings is incorporated in the draft,” he said.


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Tsvangirai’s wedding: A new life of luxury

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in News
THE weather was as fine as one could hope for on such a day, while the
atmosphere which engulfed Raintree — upmarket venue of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Elizabeth Macheka’s marriage ceremony in leafy Umwinsidale in
Harare — was heavenly, a far cry from the hellish if dramatic events which
had ensued during the course of the week.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

Raintree, nestled in Umwinsidale valley, offers a breathtaking vista with
pine forests, landscaped gardens and sweeping lawns that roll down to meet
the Umwinsi River, which cascades over a granite rock waterfall to settle in
an idyllic pool below. Overlooking this beautiful venue is a Msasa woodland
where it is not uncommon to see the odd giraffe and buffalo as they idle
away the day and perchance to hear the call of a fish eagle echoing from
within the serene valley.

Glittering across the parking area were top-of-the- range car marques for
the high-flying who-is-who; the latest Range Rovers, Cadillacs, Bentleys,
Escalades, Mercedes Benz and BMWs.

The wedding scene showed Tsvangirai — who recently moved into a US$3 million
Highlands mansion and has been gallivanting on holidays — is now living a
high-class lifestyle compared to millions of his poverty-stricken
supporters. Security was tight, as one would imagine.

Guests had to go through vigorous checks before being allowed into the
venue.

The organisers were not leaving anything to chance – those not on the guest
list were quickly turned away.

Following a hectic week at the courts fighting to save his wedding,
gatecrashers were the last thing Tsvangirai and his bride wanted at the
occasion reduced to a customary affair after ex-lovers Locardia
Karimatsenga-Tembo and Nosipho Regina Shilubane from South Africa filed
separate urgent applications at the Harare Magistrates’ Court in a bid to
halt the event.

Karimatenga-Tembo successfully challenged the planned civil wedding after
the courts ruled that Tsvangirai was still married to her and a marriage
licence issued by the court last month was revoked at the eleventh hour.
However, at Raintree the tumultuous events which unfolded during the week
seemed like a galaxy away. The glitzy wedding convoy consisting of a
limousine and equally imposing Mercedes Benz and SUVs arrived with the St
Johns College Pipe band playing ever-so-softly in the background.

Both groom and bride strolled on the red carpet to the magnificent and
colourful marquee set by the river-side, after Tsvangirai’s mother Lydia,
Elizabeth’s father Joseph Macheka and his wife, bridal team and best man
Zambian minister of Labour Fackson Shamenda had led the way and taken their
seats.

Elizabeth was dressed in a beautiful white gown, with a choker and jewelry
on her forehead like an Indian Tikka and huge earrings, while the groom was
clad in a black suit and black and grey bowtie. The bridesmaids were dressed
in turquoise blue gowns, tight-fitting from top to just above the knee, and
flared like a fish tail with little silver crowns.

The male bridal team, which included State Enterprises minister Gorden Moyo,
donned black suits and turquoise blue cravats. The attire would have won the
approval of any stylish fashionista.

After telling the bride and groom to stand, Catholic priest Father Patrick
Makaka quickly explained that the wedding was only a traditional ceremony
bringing the two together and civil proceedings would take place after
Tsvangirai had sorted out the legal matters with Karimatsenga-Tembo. He said
love, not a signed marriage certificate, was what should forever bind
Tsvangirai’s and his wife.

The couple then exchanged gold rings after which guests made a beeline to
congratulate them before they left for Glamis Arena in a convoy of 15 to 20
cars, where MDC-T supporters were celebrating the union. Notables at the
wedding included swimming sensation Kirsty Coventry who was dressed in a
short green dress with beige shoes and was with fiancÚ Tyrone Seward. Harare
mayor Muchadei Masunda and his wife also graced the event as did Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and wife.

Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe and deputy minister of Women’s Affairs
Jessie Majome wore “African attires”, while Finance minister Tendai Biti was
clad in a grey silver suit and his wife a maroon dress. The wedding party
arrived to blaring music from Brenda Fassie’s Wedding Song as more than 800
guests ululated, cheered and whistled in appreciation.

MDC-T chief Whip Innocent Gonese, deputy secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada
and party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora set the dance floor alight, as they
cheered on the bridal party. Entertainment was provided by veteran
disc-jockeys Kudzie Marudza and Witness Matema, while Barry Manandi and Mike
Madhodha were the masters of ceremonies.

At the high table, Tsvangirai and his bride were flanked by Mutambara and
his wife, Khupe, Moyo, the best man and maid of honour. Reverend Chisvo
opened the celebrations with a prayer, while Desire Moyo recited a poem
hailing Tsvangirai for overcoming hurdles that threatened to stop his
wedding. Speeches and presents followed.

Revellers later danced the night away to old skool songs like the classic
Solo na Mutsai , Rudo imoto and Chitekete. Guests were treated to food and
drink galore, while superstar Oliver Mtukudzi strummed romantic ballades in
the background. After dinner Tsvangirai and his bride danced to Mtukudzi’s
romantic hit Svovi Yangu.

Romance was evidently in the air.

Tsvangirai delighted guests when he danced to P Square’s song Chop My Money.
As if not to be outdone by the guests, the bride and her bridal team danced
to blazing South African house music before she changed into a pink gown.
The revelry continued as the wedding party went on until the early hours of
Sunday.

In the end, Tsvangirai’s wedding was a symbol of his new-found life of
luxury.


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Harmonise mining laws regime –– Mutsinya

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in Business
ZIMBABWE needs to codify legislation governing mining operations in the
country in order to attract investors and manage the sector effectively,
Liberation Mining technical director Peter Mutsinya said.
Mutsinya told businessdigest in an interview this week that mining companies
faced a lot of legal hurdles in setting up mines because of the number of
laws relating to the industry.
Mutsinya said that Zimbabwe had 45 legal Acts which interact on the mining
sector, 60 different statutory instruments/regulations, 15 ministries and 20
local governing bodies that are directly or indirectly involved in the
business.

“There is need to codify the pieces of legislation governing mining so that
the laws are harmonised. Government, together with the mining industry,
should come up with a mining code or national mineral policy for the
purposes of smoothly operationalising the sector,” Mutsinya said.

“We should come up with a mining administrative and operating procedure
manual. At the moment you can imagine dealing with 15 ministries, 45 acts,
and 60 different statutory instruments. On top of that, they are 20 local
boards.”

He said his company, Liberation Mining, required a capital outlay of
US$369,3 million to start mining on the Lubimbi coal project in Matabeleland
North. The Liberation Mining project is situated about 60km south of Binga
in the Gwayi-Shangani catchment area and 80km east of Hwange town.

The nearest suitable railway siding from the proposed working site is Dete,
which is 54km from Gwayi.

Mutsinya said the company had completed feasibility studies on the coal
mining project, adding a total US$138,8 million would be needed in the first
year for pre-stripping, open cast mining, engineering and infrastructure
capital as well as indirect costs.

A further US$79,6 million would be required in the second year, which would
be enough to get the mine to a desirable output.

Mutsinya said that with at least more than five power generation licences
issued out to date and two coal to liquid plants scheduled for production in
the next two-three years, coal demand would outstrip supply, which is
currently forecast at 5 million tonnes/year.

He said this would move to between 12-15 million tonnes/year in the next 5
years and to 20 million tonnes per annum by 2030.

Zimbabwe has a total 30 230 million metric tonnes in reserves.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme Collaborating Centre
on Energy and Environment, Lubimbi has the highest coal reserves at 11, 8
billion metric tonnes followed by Hankano at 7,8 billion metric tonnes and
Mkushwe at 4,3 billion metric tonnes. Hwange is the sixth largest with 480
million metric tonnes while Sengwa, which has 480 million metric tonnes,
is the eighth largest.

The project consists of the A/B export grade with 15-30% yield, the power
station coal product with 50-60% yield and coking coal product with a 3-10%
yield.

Mutsinya said there is a potential to produce oil from lower grade and coal
shale by Fischer method based on historical assessment and information on
the Lubimbi coalfield studies.

The average oil content ranges from 3-8% in the deeper remaining areas four
seams namely B,C,D and E can be mined by underground mining methods which
could produce the total tonnage which is well above 1 billion metric tonnes
of similar or better products than those described above for the open
castable area.

Mutsinya said there were other project development options and
opportunities. He said the company would look at alternative energy sources
as well as coal gasification opportunities.

A 2000 MW Power station can also be developed in partnership with major
energy mining firms while there was the potential of an 80 000 barrels per
day coal-to-liquids factory.
To date the company had surveyed 70km, completed 233 beacons and drilled 250
boreholes.

In terms of exploration diamond drilling, phase 1 (consisting of 850ha) had
shown an estimated insitu reserve of 600 million tonnes inferred. This had
been done in 2010. The latest exploration phase conducted in 2011 and
covering 11 000 hectares had shown 1 billion tonnes of indicated resource.

Challenges that had been brought to the fore by an EnvironmentaI Impact
Assessment report the company had undertook was that they would have to
co-exist with the Zambezi Water Project and the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, the wall
of which will be 32km downstream.

“We will have to contend with mine flooding if the dam reaches full height
post mine life,” he said.

Mutsinya said that would be contaminated through cracks and there was need
for acid drain management.


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Economic growth forecast revised

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in Business
ZIMBABWE has slipped into a mild recession due to a lack of growth in the
economy as the liquidity situation remains dire. Figures released by the
Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstats) showed that annual inflation
for August was down to 3,63% from 3,9% in July as demand for goods and
services remained constrained. The low inflation makes economic recovery
slower. Already, Finance minister Tendai Biti revised downwards this year’s
economic growth forecast to 5,6% from 9,4% last year.

Report by Our Staff Writer

Against the backdrop of a waning growth momentum and continued low
confidence because of the various unpopular policies, real GDP is expected
to stagnate after the downward revision in the growth forecast. Analysts say
that these are signs of a mild recession.

Market analyst Jerome Negonde said the economy was now characterised by
stagnant salaries and wages, with minimal adjustments being made as this
whould leave less money for working capital.
Negonde said stagnant salaries discouraged spending and the point extended
to the larger purchases like cars and homes that generally depend on loans
as it was becoming increasingly difficult to access cheaper funding.

In countries which use their own currencies, when inflation is relatively
low the printing press is activated to add to the money supply (quantitative
easing) as a way of stimulating demand for goods and services.

Economic analyst Eric Bloch said the downward trend in inflation was
attributed to fluctuations in real demand for goods and services largely
because of low disposable incomes in the majority of the public.

This he attributed to the persistent liquidity crunch in the economy which
was resulting in limited cashflows.

“The slowdown in inflation is due to the fact that the demand side of the
economy has been depressed since the beginning of the year and this is
reflected through reduced appetite for goods and services,” said Bloch.

He however said the country was facing significant inflationary pressures
emanating from a poor harvest in the last season, demand for rental
accommodation and increasing utility prices.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages in the period remained the major inflation
drivers recorded and were at 4,2% and 3,8%, respectively.

The month-on-month food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation stood
at -0,11% in August 2012, shedding 0,09% points from the -0,02% recorded in
July.

The month-on-month non-food inflation stood at -0,21%, shedding 0,54% points
on the July rate of 0,33%.


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IDBZ raises US$60m for Zesa’s meters

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in Business
THE Industrial Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) is raising US$60 million
to partner the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) in the ongoing
implementation of the prepaid metering project, IDBZ acting director Alex
Machimbirike said.

Report by Staff Writer

He said US$30 million would be raised through IDBZ infrastructure bonds and
syndication arrangements.

Under the scheme, Zesa plans to install 600 000 prepaid meters countrywide
as part of the first stage to effectively phase out its conventional
shambolic post payment billing system which resulted in it accumulating more
than US$600 million in unpaid bills.

Zesa last week began rolling out pre-paid meter system in Harare and the
project is expected to spread to other parts of the country next year.

Zimbabwe continues to battle with power deficits and currently generates
1000 MW against a demand of 2200 MW, hence the resultant erratic power
supply hampering local industry.

Machimbirike said his bank has so far disbursed US$58 million towards the
refurbishment of Hwange, Kariba, Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo power stations
in order to up power generation.
What exacerbates power deficits in Zimbabwe are lack of maintenance of
ageing equipment and lack of investment in the sector.

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera), however, last week
announced that it had licensed electricity generation projects worth US$10,1
billion, a development likely to address the power deficit in the
country.

Zera said the licensed projects would have capacity to bring in 5 400 MW
onto the national grid.

The projects would use mini-hydro, biogas, wood waste, coal-fired and solar
technologies.

The energy regulator said it licensed a 250 MW solar project worth US$750
million, which is currently at the development phase.

Four investors had been licensed to develop coal-fired electricity in
projects worth US$9,3 billion.

The projects include RioZim’s Sengwa, Essar and China Africa.

Border Timbers has also injected US$1,6 million for a woodwaste project
which will bring in 500KW for the group’s own use.

The three biogas projects to generate 96MW are in Triangle, Hippo Valley and
Chisumbanje.

Plans are still on the cards to expand capacity at Batoka to 800MW by 2020
and Kariba South to 300MW by 2016.

Zera is assisting the development of the Renewable Energy Policy framework
and drafting the Feed-in-Tariff framework for renewable energy technologies.

The energy regulator is also working on the Energy Efficiency Policy
framework to advise both producers and consumers to ensure optimisation of
energy resources.


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Stakeholders’ forum: A recipe for disaster

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in Opinion
FOLLOWING the release of the shoddy, if controversial, Copac draft
constitution produced by the three political parties in the coalition
government through an inherently-flawed and non-inclusive process on July
18, so much has been happening.
The draft has been subjected to close scrutiny mainly in elite circles and
found to be inadequate in many respects, despite attempts by its architects
to defend it. It is, of course, better than the current compromise Lancaster
House constitution, although it is clearly defective and substandard. The
three parties conspired to exclude other key stakeholders from the
parliament-driven process and inevitably produced a contentious document.

The situation has been exacerbated by the Zanu PF politburo’s attempts to
rewrite the Copac draft, something that will make it worse. After some
wrangling, principals met on Wednesday to discuss possible dates for the
second all-stakeholders’ conference.

The Zanu PF politburo — which recently spent close to 50 hours day and night
revising the draft — met again last week and agreed the constitution-making
process must proceed to the stakeholders’ conference, which might come early
next month after President Robert Mugabe’s return from United Nations
General Assembly in New York. However, principals will have to sort out the
situation before that to avoid chaos.

This brings us to the issue of the stakeholders’ conference. What is the
real purpose of the meeting in the first place, apart from fulfilling a
Global Political Agreement (GPA) obligation and trying to purchase
legitimacy for the unsound draft through the backdoor? If the three parties
wanted an inclusive process, what stopped them from ensuring that at the
beginning?

Even though Copac is set to take its charade — costly as it is shambolic —
to the conference where its dubious 150-page draft constitution would come
under scrutiny from about 2 000 delegates, there is no hope of progress
after that.
The exercise, characterised by partisan political interests, inordinate
delays, organisational ineptitude and weak leadership, could be heading for
yet another round of chaos. The stakeholders’ conference is likely to be
worse than the first one in July 2009.

The three parties will head to the conference geared for a fight. The two
MDC formations seem to be fighting from the same corner after endorsing the
draft and launching a “Vote Yes” campaign while Zanu PF is preparing for
battle at the meeting where it might unleash mayhem.

In 2009, Zanu PF and MDC officials and supporters clashed, throwing chairs
and glasses all over the show even when the process was at its inception.
Now that the situation has changed and so much is at stake politically and
battle lines are drawn, there are likely to be bitter wrangles at the
conference. The dispute over the national report is also likely to explode
there. Zanu PF wants to take the report to the conference to back its demand
for amendments to the draft, but the other parties are resisting it, saying
that would take the process rearward and create new problems.

It is against such an ominous background that the stakeholders’ conference
will come. Throw in a hitherto excluded civil society representation
expected to make up 70% of the delegates and a Zanu PF itching to impose its
266 amendments — designed to restore the constitutional status quo and allow
President Robert Mugabe to keep his imperial powers ahead of elections — you
have a perfect recipe for another high-profile Copac fiasco in the waiting.
The conference is likely to explode into a political disaster, with
far-reaching consequences to preparations for free and fair elections.

How Copac expects so many delegates to negotiate a disputed document, over a
day or two and reach anything remotely resembling consensus is a mystery,
especially given that the three parties, through their principals and
negotiators, can now hardly agree on anything with elections approaching.

If the parties take an already agreed-upon draft — within the admittedly
self-serving framework of Copac — to the conference, it would simply further
confirm the process is not inclusive as other stakeholders, who are just
window-dressers anyway, would be presented with a fait accompli.

In July 2009, when the stakes were much lower, drama unfolded when Zanu PF
thugs disrupted the first all-stakeholders’ conference at a local hotel,
throwing furniture and missiles around, hurling abuse and singing party
songs and chanting party slogans; all this in front of police who stood by
and watched the political drama. It is clear we are heading in the same
direction.


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New draft constitution guarantees change

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in Opinion
THIS is the last in a series of articles by MDC-T secretary-general and
Finance minister Tendai Biti — who is a lawyer by profession — on the
consitution-making process, content and output.

Report by Tendai Biti

Devolution is reinforced by the obligation in Article 17.4 of the same which
ensures that there is an equitable allocation of capital grants to provinces
and that not less than 5% of the budget is allocated to the provinces.

Another important developmental issue dealt with in the constitution is the
land question. While in Article 4.29 the land reform programme is made
permanent, in chapter 16 of the same, the land reform programme is now
democratised that all Zimbabweans, irrespective of race, tribe or colour,
can be beneficiaries of the same. Thus security of tenure is now bestowed on
everyone and any person in Zimbabwe has the right to own, sell, lease,
hypothecate or transmit any land right.

From an economic point of view, this is critical. The constitution now
allows the restoration of a private property market in Zimbabwe that will
transform current agricultural land from a dead into a live asset.

Farmers will now be able to capitalise on their farms and the majority who
are now farmers can sell or lease to better-equipped Zimbabweans of any race
or tribe who can use this land productively. Chapter 16 thus allows this
country to put a decisive full-stop on the land question.

Does it create mechanisms for state and generational succession and
regeneration?

Yes. The constitution provides for harmonised elections every five years.
Unlike in the present position, elections can only be held in the last 30
days of the term of office of the existing parliament. Thus no one can be
taken by surprise.

In addition, by defining free and fair elections and the orderly transfer of
power as a founding principle, this constitution is predicating stability
and evolution of state power.

More importantly, by placing term limits on the president, securocrats and
top government heads, this constitution is guaranteeing evolution. More so
given that these provisions cannot be amended without a referendum and even
when they are amended, they will not benefit the serving incumbent.

By providing for two running mates, the constitution is also dealing with
the fundamental disease in Africa. The founding fathers of Africa, be it
Siad Baare, Julius Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta, President Robert Mugabe or Kwame
Nkrumah, had and have one disease — that of predatory permanents.

The issue of running mates thus provides the basis for an orderly transition
as we happily saw in Malawi, Ghana and now Ethiopia.

Where Africa’s big men had no orderly succession, the nation state hardly
survived after them. Somalia, Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of
Congo are living examples of this.

The long and short of the above is that while the Copac draft is not the
best constitution Zimbabweans could have written, it represents a major
starting point and a point of departure from the status quo. That is why
some of us who have spent all their life fighting for a new order in
Zimbabwe will support it.


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Mana Pools is a national heritage

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in Opinion
MANY would have read with alarm that one Habbard Investments (Pvt) Ltd, a
subsidiary of Geo Associates (Pvt) Ltd, intends to explore the two rivers
dissecting Mana Pools, one of Zimbabwe’s five heritage sites, for an array
of heavy mineral sands deposits.

Report by Itai Masuku

Alarm because the last well-publicised such adventure took place barely two
decades ago and was conducted by the world’s biggest oil company, Exxon
Mobil of the US.

In fact, this is not the only time that there has been an attempt to carry
out mining activities in the Zambezi Valley. Ever since the river has been a
major waterway for southern African trade long before the arrival of the
first European settlers on the continent, there have been several
exploration missions for minerals, particularly gold in and around the
Zambezi Valley.

In books such as the Rivers of Gold, one can see that there was much
activity along the Zambezi, with major Arab and then later Portuguese
trading posts dotted along the river, some famous ones of which are Zumbo,
believed to be present-day Kanyemba and the ancient settlement at Ingombe
Ilede near Chirundu. Goods would find their way to the sea at ancient ports
as Pemba and Sofala on the Indian Ocean.

The Zambezi River is Africa’s only major river that flows into the Indian
Ocean, having also flowed to the Atlantic in pre-historic times.

Fortunately, the number of people and in particular the means of extraction
and transport in earlier times did not adversely affect the ecology. It was
good old pick and shovel, and the silent barges and canoes. Fast forward to
the late 1980s to early 1990s, when Exxon Mobil scanned the area around Mana
Pools for black gold (oil) and possibly methane gas. The exploration took
nearly five years, but at the end of it all, we were told the studies
yielded nothing.

However, some who claim to know better say the black gold was discovered,
but it was felt this wasn’t yet the opportune moment to exploit the resource
in much the same way Anglo Amercian Corporation is said to have discovered
platinum at Unki way back in the 60s, but held on to full exploitation. Or
the case of De Beers in Chiadzwa.

There was, however, hue and cry from environmentalists and other concerned
citizens, and rightly so over the then Exxon Mobil exploration. Ecologists
know that it is not easy to be awarded World Heritage Site status by Unesco
and Zimbabwe is unique to have five such sites, the others being the
Victoria Falls, Matobo Hills and the man-made Great Zimbabwe and Khami
monuments.
Just as memories of the Exxon Mobil attempt were beginning to dim, we hear
of yet another attempt to disrupt the tranquility at Mana Pools.

We are once again confronted with the situation where environmental
interests and the extractive industries clash. Those in support of the
exploitation of the Zambezi Valley’s potential minerals may cite the
economic benefits that come from there, given the high prices of minerals on
the international markets and the demand for carbon fuels, etc.

The Exxon Mobil exploration sparked a lot of controversy, with
environmentalists severely objecting to one of Africa’s remaning pristine
ecological sites being disrupted for hydrocarbon fuels that are also known
to be very detrimental to the environment, especially the protective ozone
layer. At least the Exxon Mobil exploration was done in a more
environmentally-friendly manner, given the resources at the disposal of the
giant multinational corporation.

As for this group that is currently exploring the area for other minerals,
one is not sure whether they have adequate resources to do an effective
Environmental Impact Assessment and other eco-friendly measures. The reason
we very much doubt that is of late mining concessions in Zimbabwe are not
given on meritorious grounds. We know that in business it’s now who you
know, rather than who has the capacity or means.

We commend the Zambezi Society for once again standing up for the
environment. We expect that some will cry foul, citing all sorts of
pretexts, including indigenisation. But Exxon Mobil is not indigenous and
the society led a spirited objection then as now.

And quite honestly, in spite of all the minerals being mined in Zimbabwe,
the country paradoxically remains poor. This is despite that we have some of
the key minerals in the world such diamonds and platinum. So what makes
anyone think those generally unknown minerals will have an impact on our
society?
After destroying the environment, we will still have nothing to show for it.
So let’s leave Mana Pools alone. It’s a national heritage.

After all, when it comes to minerals, Zimbabwe has enough to cobble dogs
with. So why not concentrate on tourism, which has a multiplier effect
across the economy?


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Zim Media Council out to muzzle press

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in Opinion
GOVERNMENT, through the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), has created the
Zimbabwe Media Council, a statutory regulatory body which seeks to establish
a code of conduct and ethics for journalists in order to serve the interests
of power rather than the democratic role of the media.

Report by Pedzisai Ruhanya
The core of this proposal is not to protect and promote the democratic
practice of journalism, especially if one looks at the powers of the
Zimbabwe Media Commission as provided for under the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) where journalists could be cautioned,
suspended, deleted from the roll of journalists and referred for prosecution
in cases of breaches of the code, among other punitive measures.

The code is being proposed in circumstances where the history against the
democratic practice of journalism in Zimbabwe is littered with numerous
cases of media stifling and muzzling by the state in order to impede its key
role of making public and private corporate institutions and their leaders
accountable.

However, the problems of statutory regulation do not mean the alternative,
which is the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) offers the best
practice. The setting up of VMCZ suggests no regulation at all. It purports
to be self-regulatory yet quite a number of its constituencies are not
journalists. At best it is co-regulation. There is also a misguided
appreciation of statutory regulation in this group to connote state
interference when numerous examples both locally and abroad show a
professional body can be statutory, but still remains autonomous of the
state.

One fundamental area in the self-regulation of the media that should be
captured is the public interest role of the media. In attempting to regulate
the media, a distinction should be drawn between regulating media content
which is unacceptable in plural and democratic societies and regulating
media processes which could be desirable and acceptable as a means of
ensuring transparency for the audiences as well as accountability of the
powerful.

The ZMC is interested in regulating content, which is undemocratic and
outrageous. Regulating the process by which fairness, accuracy, respect for
privacy and redress for journalistic malpractices are properly implemented
by the press need not be a constraint on the media’s freedom to publish.

This is what VMCZ entails but lacks an independent statutory enforcement,
but much better than ZMC. The government proposal is therefore mala fide
(done in bad faith or malicious in intent) in terms of safeguarding the
public and journalistic interests. It serves the interests of power, yet the
media is supposed to make politicians accountable to the public.

As part of this idea, the concept of protecting and promoting journalism “in
the public interest”, is a framework which should be determined by
parliament not under the framework of ZMC. This framework should not be
prescriptive and like all laws, would inevitably require interpretation and
refinement through the courts.

The critical issue which the ZMC, through Aippa, misses by a wide margin is
that the framework should enshrine the fundamental importance of journalism’s
watchdog role, and could therefore serve to liberate rather than restrict
the very idea which proponents for self-regulation suggest would be
endangered.

An independent statutory body must safeguard the absolute right to
publication in the case of exposing wrongdoing, injustice or incompetence
among the private or public officials in positions of responsibility, and
revealing information which fulfils a democratic role in advancing a better
understanding of important issues or assists the public to come to electoral
or other decisions of crucial importance.

These issues are omitted by the ZMC because it critically aims to control
the media content — not process — to serve the interests of the political
elite, the interests of power.

The ZMC is the worst body we can have. However, the VMCZ is not a perfect
alternative.

Given the failure of like-minded self-regulatory or co-regulatory bodies
such as the United Kingdom’s Press Complaints Commission (PCC) in the wake
of the phone-hacking scandal that is currently under inquiry by Lord Justice
Leveson, VMCZ should move to have a statutory-backed regulator with a
broader cross-section of media stakeholders and enhanced powers to advance
the practice of journalism and not criminalise the same as the ZMC seeks to
do.

The VMCZ should be statutory, but independent where direct government
involvement is only necessary and minimal. It should be independent of the
government and publishers as well for it to be effective.

Under current discussions in the UK to remodel the PCC in the wake of
Hackgate, it has been argued that if media self or co-regulated, bodies such
as the VMCZ may herald a new age of good journalistic standards;
publications themselves will be required to adopt robust internal
accountability systems, policed by a new regulator to make sure they are
effective and meet minimum ethical standards set up by the professionals
themselves, not a government body that seeks to promote the interests of
the political elite or by publishers who seek to promote their corporate
financial interests.

Taking the PCC as an example, one can draw the lesson that self-regulation,
though critical and at the heart of regulating the media, will not work
alone.

From the phone-hacking revelations by Rupert Murdoch’s News International
Corporation and the manifest failure of the PCC to deal with journalistic
malpractices, there is need for Zimbabwean journalists to scrutinise and
revisit self-regulation which currently is not statutory. There is also need
to appreciate that not everything that is legal has inherent state
interference.

As suggested by Steven Barnett, a media scholar, after interrogating the
failures of the PCC, it is critical and necessary to introduce a backstop
body given powers by parliament that provides regulation with real teeth and
creates proper accountability of the media to society and the public, not to
serve the interests of political and corporate power.

Without such a body, and only using the VMCZ framework for those who abhor
government interference, it will not be possible to levy fines or to ensure
that an ombudsman is genuinely independent from the industry. Barnett argued
that in order to gain public confidence in the case of the PCC following the
phone-hacking scandal and to ensure that the powerful corporate interests
are not allowed to dictate the terms of regulation, such reserve statutory
powers are essential.

The point being made is that a self-regulatory media body must not only
protect its members from state power, but also corporate power and
interference, as well as donor power, something that the VMCZ should take
note of. ZMC is out.

Ruhanya is a PhD candidate at Communication and Media Research Institute,
University of Westminster, London.


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Copac draft: Don’t stop the train

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in Opinion
THE recent Zanu PF climbdown on the constitution-making process is not
surprising as it was expected by those who understood that factionalism and
the resultant turmoil in the party have made it difficult for the party to
be coherent and cohesive in its engagement on the issue.

Report by Qhubani Moyo
It is known to all, including Zanu PF people, that the outcome of the
constitution-making process is not what all Zimbabweans are particularly
happy with. It was never going to be possible to craft a document that
appeals to all individuals and group interests, yet it was necessary to
produce a document that will capture the collective interests of all
Zimbabweans.

It is thus obstreperous for Zanu PF to now try to cause a debate on the
national report at the all-stakeholders’ conference as the basis of
discussion when they know that at all levels the draft constitution had to
be changed several times to accommodate their unending demands which were
largely a result of their internal contradictions and fractures.

It is important for Zanu PF to understand the function of the
all-stakeholders’ conference. Its purpose is to discuss the draft
constitution and not go back to the national report, a move which may result
in the revisiting of the whole process right back to the outreach programme.

At the rate we are going, it won’t be surprising to hear demands for videos
of proceedings of some outreach meetings under trees all over the country.
The trouble is that Zanu PF factions are using the constitution-making
process to try to outmanoeuvre each other, hence their endless demands for
changes. If one faction is not happy, it will seek to secure revisions and
this has been going on for months now.

That is why it is now important to push the process forward to the
all-stakeholders’ conference and then referendum. Zanu PF has a
responsibility to work with others as it is clear this process is based on
compromise and consensus.

The national report issue is now inconsequential because it was compromised
by them in the first place. Besides, anyone with basic understanding of
research methodology will know that the Copac process by any standards can
never qualify to be called a quantitative or a qualitative research process.

It was never even a triangulation because there was no structured formula
for mixing the research approaches. The instrument that was used for the
enquiry, with due respect, was neither a questionnaire nor an interview
schedule. It had what were called talking points that were never designed
methodologically to meet any of the simplest tenets of research methodology.

The process of enquiry itself which some ignoramuses want to argue was a
focus group approach was never anywhere near that. It is important for the
public to know that if you intend to use a particular research methodology,
you should from the very beginning design your sample and instruments to
meet the frame of that method. You don’t just gather people without a
formula and then decide they are a focus group and start saying that
frequencies on a subject matter represent a quantitative result. This can
only be done by a party with leaders who believe diesel can ooze out of
rocks!

The only justifiable quantitative scrutiny of the draft constitution will be
a referendum because it is by its nature quantitative. If Zanu PF wants a
quantitative approach to analysis of the draft constitution then it must go
to the referendum.

What is desirable now is for the people of this country to go through the
draft so that they get an understanding of what is contained in it. If the
citizens of this country get an uninterrupted opportunity to scrutinise the
draft, they will be able to identify the good, the bad and the ugly in the
document and make informed decisions at the referendum.

But what are the fears which Zanu PF has that have caused them to work
tirelessly to try and suffocate the document which they partially produced?
First, it was always never in the interest of Zanu PF hardliners to embrace
any sort of reform, including constitutional review, and that ’s why they
were dragged screaming and kicking into the constitution-making process.

Zanu PF leaders, especially hardliners, are dead scared of a new
constitution as it might result in their heavy defeat and the only way to
ensure self-preservation is to resist the process to ensure the country goes
to elections under the current constitution and environment in which they
can repeat the brutality of June 2008 and ballot theft.

It is those in Zanu PF who want to preserve the current dictatorship and
scorched-earth policy approach towards elections by blocking a new
constitution through frivolous and vexatious amendments which have no
enlightenment value as they are simply designed to restore the despotic
status quo.

The reason why Zanu PF reactionaries and intransigents are angry about the
Copac draft constitution is not so much its flaws, which admittedly are
there, but the new power structure and checks and balances it introduces.
The tragedy of Zanu PF amendments is that they are just designed to defend
the imperial powers of an individual and his party at the expense of the
nation.

The Copac draft provides a healthy balance in the exercise of executive
power between the president, cabinet and other state institutions. It
further provides for clearly defined separation of powers. The era of
imperial presidents with all the powers is over. The draft provides a
workable framework for redefining our social relations and new governance
architecture for the country.

The draft, in line with other progressive constitutions, provides a balanced
executive presidency, term limits, smooth succession, a beefed up Bill of
Rights, devolution, women’s rights, important commissions, new institutions,
structures for good governance, accountability and transparency and
protection of Zimbabwe’s languages, among other things. It offers a new
beginning. That’s why Zanu PF doesn’t want it!

The all-stakeholders’ conference must debate this draft rather than engage
in reactionary quarrels about past issues.

Moyo is the director of policy and research co-ordination in the MDC led by
Professor Welshman Ncube. He is contactable on: mdcpolicyguru@yahoo.co.uk


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Settling scores under guise of indigenisation

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in Opinion
MEDIA, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu last week gave what
he said was his final warning to the private media for criticising President
Robert Mugabe.

Report by MuckRaker
“There is no need of attacking the president or the leadership for no
reason,” Shamu said. “This is an abuse of the freedom that has been given to
them.
“We will work together with the Zimbabwe Media Commission to revoke those
licences because we cannot watch while the country’s leadership is
assaulted,” he warned.

It seems Shamu’s self-righteous indignation is unhelpful considering we have
heard no complaints from him when the state-controlled media goes into
overdrive in its coverage of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s love life
and other things.

The Saturday Herald and Sunday Mail should have carried X-rated content
warnings considering the obscene torrent they spewed on Tsvangirai. Without
doubt Nathaniel Manheru and Jonathan Moyo’s mudslinging will have given
H-Metro scribes a good run for their money.

So much for “family” newspapers!

Most of what they wrote cannot be repeated in the private media lest the
Zimbabwe Media Commission comes knocking. Indeed some animals are more equal
than others.

Meanwhile, it seems Zanu PF central committee member and former Chitungwiza
executive mayor Joseph Macheka has been downgraded from a comrade to a mere
“mister” after giving away his daughter, Elizabeth, to Tsvangirai on
Saturday.

Before that, the Sunday Mail and other state-controlled media prefixed
Macheka’s name with “Cde”. All this changed on Saturday, with the Sunday
Mail settling for the less revolutionary title of “Mr” Macheka.
That’s the way it is now.

There is no end in sight to the wrangle pitting Tsvangirai and his ex-lover
Locardia Karimatsenga-Tembo. Despite Tsvangirai’s earlier claims that he
never paid bride price for Locardia, a video showing what looked like
marriage negotiations between the Tembo and Tsvangirai families suggests
otherwise.

This week Lorcadia took a dig at “playboy” Tsvangirai, saying she is still
pursuing her US$15 000 a month maintenance bid and insisting she remains the
PM’s wife until he officially divorces her.

Conspiracy theories aside, the premier got himself in a morass for which
only he should shoulder the blame.

Even bunga bunga maestro, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi
would be green with envy at Tsvangirai’s “sexcapades” as alleged by his
ex-lovers.

Clearly, Tsvangirai has not learned any lessons from the days of Ari
Ben-Menashe where it became manifest he was under surveillance from state
agents wherever he goes.

Muckraker was amused by Zanu PF apologists who opted to take the moral high
ground over Tsvangirai’s love saga. No women’s rights groups, “analysts”
whined, have condemned Tsvangirai’s actions. Curiously, some notorious
wife-bashers and womanisers also joined the fray crying louder than the
bereaved.

Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere has made another about turn, this
time saying Chinese companies involved in agriculture are immune from the
indigenisation law that requires foreign-owned firms to cede 51% of their
shareholding.

According to the Standard, Kasukuwere said the companies had made “cash
injections and this is the kind of investment that I want and I don’t
apologise”.
Yet Kasukuwere has been shouting himself hoarse saying even investors from
countries with friendly relations with Zimbabwe will not be exempted from
disposing majority shareholding to locals.

“The Act will be implemented without fear or favour,” Kasukuwere said in
August in response to Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono’s call for a more
flexible approach to indigenising the banking sector.

“Where foreign investors bring in clear long-term benefits to the country, a
reasonable degree of flexibility ought to be exercised in allowing investors
to hold at least in the initial stages, majority shareholding so as to
deliberately accord them escalated dividends that enable them to plough back
their initial investments outlays,” Gono had said.

Gono has accused Kasukuwere of arbitrarily applying the indigenisation law.
But Kasukuwere hit back at Gono’s “profane language” declaring: “Individual
views should remain so, but the law of the land should remain supreme.”

Now Kasukuwere is singing a different tune. He has decided to exempt Chinese
companies because “they have brought in millions of dollars, (and)
sub-contracted our small-scale farmers in this country”.

The millions of dollars invested and jobs created by other foreign companies
are inconsequential in Kasukuwere’s book. Undeterred by this glaring case of
double standards, Kasukuwere took another opportunity to threaten
foreign-owned banks.

“If they are thinking that one day they will get out of this problem, then
they are like ostriches hiding their heads in the sand thinking that nobody
is seeing them,” he said.

“Can Barclays Bank tell me how many farmers they have supported? Can
Standard Bank tell me how many farmers they have supported?” Kasukuwere
wanted to know.

Maybe it’s because the farmers have leases, not title deeds, which are not
bankable and have led to banks like Agribank hitting hard times after
politicians masquerading as farmers defaulted on their loan repayments.

Kasukuwere’s crusade against foreign-owned banks is relentless despite being
a significant shareholder in the ill-fated Genesis Investment Bank before
its demise. He now wants to mastermind the failure of the entire financial
sector by indigenising banks when most of the institutions are already under
the control of locals.

Said Kasukuwere before Genesis went bust: “Here is a company (Genesis) which
has gone under not because of mismanagement, but purely because of
sanctions.”

He recently declared that “foreign banks whose parentage in any case
continues to attack and affect our people with illegal sanctions cannot be
defended by any logical Zimbabwean”.

So it is all about fixing the West for the “illegal” sanctions then, not
applying the law.

Developing countries have been urged to unite and speak with one voice in
order to be heard in a world dominated by the West which invests heavily in
its propaganda machinery, ZBC reports.

This was said by China’s Director of the Information Office of the State
Council, Hu we Ping at the closing ceremony of a seminar for media officers
from Zimbabwe in Beijing.

Only last year, the United States poured in excess of US$10 billion in its
mouthpiece, Voice of America, to “drown” voices of the majority poor in the
world, Hu said.

Does he not mean it the other way round considering listeners run away from
such archaic and partisan broadcasters as ZBC to tune in to the so-called
“pirate” radio stations which offer an alternative to Zanu PF propaganda?
Ironically Chinese radio jamming equipment is used to drown out the “pirate”
radio stations’ signal.

The fallout over President Robert Mugabe’s comment on Jamaicans continued
unabated in the island nation. The Jamaican Observer opined that Mugabe’s
tirade against Jamaican men might have been stirred by comments made in July
by former Jamaican Prime Minister P J Patterson.

Patterson, who bestowed the honorary Order of Jamaica title on Mugabe in
1996, made some not so flattering remarks about Mugabe and his government in
response to questions by journalists.

The former premier made the trip to Zimbabwe with reggae superstar Bob
Marley for the Independence celebrations in 1980. He was recently asked to
give his opinion on Mugabe.

“We feel, certainly the rest of the world that has supported Zimbabwe all
along in the struggle, we would wish that even at this late hour we would
see some sort of shift back towards the fundamental principles of freedom,
particularly for the press, and respect for the judicial process,” Patterson
said.

Patterson also spoke about allegations Mugabe had rigged the 2002
presidential elections which brought about Zimbabwe’s 12-month suspension
from the Commonwealth. Harare then pulled out of the grouping after refusing
to accept its decision to maintain an indefinite suspension.

The former Jamaican prime minister chaired that meeting in the Nigerian
capital Abuja in December 2003.

“We actually were doing everything to afford Zimbabwe some opportunity of
getting back in line with the principles that govern membership of the
Commonwealth. We were very disappointed, quite frankly, that President
Mugabe chose not to respond to our overtures,” he said.

According to the Observer, Jamaica is now awaiting a clarification or
apology from Mugabe for broad-brush criticism of Jamaican men.

The Zimbabwe Development Party (ZDP), of the
elections-should-be-held-this-year without-a-new-constitution fame, has sent
a letter to South African President Jacob Zuma imploring him to end the
impasse between the parties in the GNU.

Fronted by Kissnot Mukwazhi, the ZDP sent a lengthy but typo-ridden letter
asking Zuma to “help us to stop gossiping, (and) cooking stories about each
other”.

“We don’t want in strongest terms bombs to enhance power transfer,” the ZDP
asserted.

“This is not a call for interference to our home affair, but a call to help
your needy small brother Zimbabwe to be economically, political and socially
stabilise.”

The ZDP also asks Zuma to help Zimbabwe become “a member of the gold Brick
just like yours”, referring to the acronym Brics; an association of leading
emerging economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

They go on to appeal for Zuma to remind his “counterparty (sic) our
President Cde RG Mugabe that he has done a lot of good to us as his children
as Zimbabweans, but his further stay in power will erode more of our
independency (sic) gain”.

With such poor communication skills, Mukwazhi can kiss any chances of being
taken seriously goodbye!

Finally The Zimbabwean reports that President Robert Mugabe has urged the
nation to embrace Western music. Speaking at the official opening of the
Research and Intellectual Expo where he also made the now infamous Jamaica
comments Mugabe said:“I was watching TV and saw people in DRC having an
orchestra while here we still like to play our marimbas. But we used to have
such music here and I remember very well that I was a conductor of an
orchestra during my school days.”

That surely cannot be a vote of confidence for the rump-shaking Mbare
Chimurenga Choir or the Born Free Crew. Clearly the president expects better
and we hope Cdes Shamu and Amos Mahendere have taken a cue.

And when the president says orchestra he is not referring to Alick Macheso’s
Orchestra Mberikwazvo!


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Accelerating tourism growth

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in Opinion
ZIMBABWE is blessed with an extraordinary wealth of spectacular tourism
attractions. Not many countries can offer tourists so many exceptional and
varied sights to marvel at and enjoy.

Report by Eric Bloch

The remarkable tourist drawcards range from the magnificence of the Victoria
Falls and Zambezi River, to the finest wildlife parks and reserves on the
continent of Africa, from the splendour of the Matobo Hills to the mystic
Great Zimbabwe and Khami Ruins, from the beauty of Chimanimani and the
Bvumba to that of Nyanga, to the astounding sunsets of Lake Kariba and Mana
pools, to name but a few of what Zimbabwe has to offer the tourist.

In addition, Zimbabwe has noteworthy art galleries and museums, ethnic art
centres, and much, much more.

The past year has evidenced some significant growth in tourist arrivals, but
nevertheless the numbers are far below those Zimbabwe could achieve.

All international tourist destinations sustained a decrease in numbers of
visitors during the period 2008 to 2011, because of the financial crisis in
US and Europe, but progressively tourist numbers have been increasing.
Zimbabwe could draw more visitors than it is currently, which would impact
markedly on its troubled economy.

Growth in the tourism sector generates increased employment, not only within
the sector, but also downstream among suppliers to the tourist operators.
That growth enhances inflows of much-needed foreign exchange, thereby
reducing Zimbabwe’s massive balance of payments deficits.

However, it does not suffice just to have diverse, appealing drawcards to
achieve significant increases in tourist arrivals. Much else is needed.
First and foremost, the intending visitors need assurance of security and
safety.

But that assurance does not exist for so long as the war veterans and others
continue to invade farms, frequently resorting to pronounced violence in
order to evict the farm occupants.

Security concerns are also intensified by the extensive escalation in crime
in recent years — a reaction to massive poverty that afflicts Zimbabweans
and the enforced return to Zimbabwe of thousands who illegally emigrated to
other countries, who upon return, are unable to obtain gainful employment.

A second major deterrent to patronising the tourist resources that Zimbabwe
has to offer is the intensity of bureaucracy and incompetence confronting
arrivals at the country’s border posts.

It is untenable that visitors arriving at Beitbridge border post are often
obliged to queue for more than four hours in order to gain entry into the
country (unless they are willing to pay the touts who can facilitate rapid
entry).

Then, after finally gaining entry into the country, the tourist can be
stopped between 10 to 15 times at police roadblocks between Beitbridge and
Bulawayo, and another six times between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, or
similarly when travelling from Beitbridge to the Eastern Districts and to
Harare.

Surely the first of the roadblocks could issue the tourist with a car
sticker authorising clearance at all further roadblocks encountered on that
day? In like manner, prolonged delays in obtaining entry visas at the
country’s airports are a major aggravation to the arriving tourist.

The intending tourist is also understandably very concerned about air
services to and from Zimbabwe, owing to Air Zimbabwe’s inability to
service domestic and regional routes.

Those who are prepared to travel to and from Zimbabwe by air are also
recurrently frustrated by the appalling inadequacy of airport terminal
buildings. It is now more that seven years since the new terminal at
Bulawayo was scheduled for completion, during which time the tourist has had
to tolerate the “temporary” terminal, with an insufficiency of seating,
dilapidated toilets, inadequate check-in desks, paucity of vehicle parking
facilities, and may other deficiencies.

To some extent similar faults are found at the terminal at Victoria Falls,
the refurbishment and extension thereof also having been scheduled for very
long ago, but still not completed.

Exacerbating the reservations and concerns of intending visitors are
frequent non-availability of essential utilities, including energy supplies,
water supplies in various parts of the country, unreliable
telecommunications and internet services. While some of Zimbabwe’s roads
have been rehabilitated, many remain in appalling states of disrepair, with
innumerable potholes and unsafe kerbs. All of these factors militate
against Zimbabwe enjoying tourist patronage.

In August 2013 Zimbabwe and Zambia will be co-hosting the United Nations
World Tourism Organisation Congress, which will bring thousands of
international visitors and delegates to Zimbabwe in general and Victoria
Falls in particular, and those visitors will include many from the
international media.

If Zimbabwe gears itself up to making good the innumerable issues that are
currently tourist deterrents, and ensure unqualified success of the congress
and of its attendees’ visits to the vast range of tourist attractions
available, those thousands can become leading ambassadors and marketers of
Zimbabwe as a “must visit” destination for tourists. Doing so will yield
enormous benefits to the future economy and, therefore, to Zimbabweans in
general.

However, in addition to ensuring that easy arrivals and departures are
facilitated, that extensive but non-intrusive security prevails for all the
tourists and that a total sufficiency of utilities and other resources
prevail. Zimbabwe must also focus intensively upon improving its currently
very negative international image. Political stability is a must, as also
Zimbabwe must discontinue its repeated haranguing and castigation of many
countries, and instead must vigorously pursue harmonious reconciliation,
co-operation and collaboration.

If Government would now focus on putting right all that has been deterring
tourist patronage heretofore, not only will there be a very substantial
increase in tourism earnings, and hence economic enhancement, but some of
the tourists would become investors in the many opportunities Zimbabwe has
to offer, thereby further beneficiating the economy and improving the
presently embattled lot of many Zimbabweans.


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Battle rages over Save Conservancy

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in Opinion
WHILE some stakeholders have with cautious optimism welcomed President
Robert Mugabe’s resolve to deal with the latest demonstration of greed by
senior Zanu PF officials and army commanders who have grabbed wildlife
conservancies, uncertainty lingers over the fate of Save Valley Conservancy.

Report by Herbert Moyo
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi must have felt a deep sense of vindication
after Mugabe reportedly tore into army commanders and senior Zanu PF
officials at a recent politburo meeting for grabbing lucrative safari
landholdings in the Save Valley Conservancy, the largest private wildlife
sanctuary in the world, for self-aggrandisement.

Mugabe ordered all army commanders and senior party officials who invaded
conservancies to move out immediately, while demanding that all
conservancies must now be turned into national parks.

Consequently, there would be massive evictions of army commanders,
ministers, senior civil servants and top Zanu PF officials from safari areas
across the country which they had expropriated and are making a killing
through hunting activities and even slaughtering animals to sell meat.

Mugabe reportedly described the bigwigs as “greedy”, and his choice of words
was in sync with Mzembi who was criticised by his Zanu PF colleagues for
daring to say the latest land seizures were counterproductive and would dent
the country’s image ahead of next year’s United Nations World Tourism
Organisation Conference.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed the politburo had set up a
committee including Environment minister Francis Nhema, Mzembi, Lands
minister Herbert Murerwa and Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to
look into the feasibility of turning the conservancies into national parks,
and also propose models that ensure communities also benefit.

While players in the country’s tourism industry — showing signs of recovery
following Zimbabwe’s prolonged socio-economic meltdown accompanied by
near-pariah status — have applauded Mugabe for putting his foot firmly down
on the wildlife land grab, they are wary the decision to transform the
conservancies into national parks, which like other parastatals have been
performing dismally, a move they fear would be ruinous to the
conservancies.

Given that infrastructure in national parks is run-down and rampant poaching
is the order of the day, it is difficult to appreciate how turning
conservancies, which have been well run by a combination of foreign
investors and locals, into national parks would assist costly conservation
efforts, continue to attract much-needed tourists and benefit local
communities.

Sources in the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) board told the Zimbabwe
Independent this week the department of national parks and wildlife recently
admitted in a board meeting they have failed to run national parks. The
Ministry of Tourism and the ZTA are now advocating a broad-based approach,
which would ensure continued investment into the conservancies in
partnership with local communities.

Mzembi, who has been fighting for the reversal of Nhema’s controversial
“wildlife reform” policy, was thrilled by the president’s decision to
withdraw the leases from “greedy” individuals, saying it demonstrated
commitment by the government and Zanu PF to empower local communities,
preserve wildlife and promote tourism.

“Without being briefed on the policy outcome including the terms of
reference, if what is being reported that there has been a policy shift from
empowering individuals to a broad-based approach is true, then this is
exactly what we have been fighting for,” Mzembi told the Independent this
week.

ZTA boss Karikoga Kaseke said his organisation supports broad-based
initiatives and expressed eagerness to appear before the committee to make
recommendations on the suitability of transforming conservancies into
national parks.

However, MDC-T Masvingo provincial secretary Tongai Matutu blasted Zanu PF,
pointing out it should have been cabinet, not the politburo to decide on the
conservancy battle. He described the decision to convert all conservancies
into national parks as “tantamount to nationalisation which is not part of
government policy”.

“It will only accelerate looting, poaching and other forms of asset
stripping,” he warned, “as national parks are a parastatal headed by
political appointees who have no culture of transparency in their operations
but sing for their supper,” he said.

For Matutu, the best way forward would be to adopt a model which facilitates
the empowerment of local communities, like the share-ownership trusts, in
partnership with foreign entrepreneurs. Chiredzi chiefs Tshovani and Gudo
have concurred, accusing Nhema and Masvingo governor Titus Maluleke of going
against the concept of broad-based empowerment by prioritising a few
individuals and falsely claiming chiefs had endorsed the appropriation of
conservancies.

Vice-chairman of the Save Valley Conservancy Wilfried Pabst also agreed with
the chiefs.

Pabst said they had already fully complied with indigenisation because
two-thirds of all properties in the conservancy have indigenous partners and
they had the full support of another parastatal, Arda.

“The chairman of Arda, who has a property within Save, is also the chairman
of Save and I am the vice-chair,” he said.

“The wildlife-based land reform policy Maluleke refers to and which has been
waved in our face for years does not exist. However, Save Conservancy
general manager David Goosen said there should be a balance of interests in
handling the issue. “This is obviously something big and it has to be
debated because there are a lot of factors to consider including balancing
the government’s desire for indigenisation against the need to attract and
retain foreign investors, as well as ensuring local communities benefit from
the proceeds of conservancies in their areas, in addition to ensuring
sustainable conservation of wildlife resources.”

Goosen said the country should be looking at crafting policies to turn more
of Zimbabwe’s arid areas in natural farming regions four and five into
conservancies, noting this would not only promote tourism and conserve
wildlife, but also ensure employment for thousands of jobless locals.

So while some will breathe a sigh of relief at the eviction of “greedy” Zanu
PF heavyweights whose presence in conservancies was threatening to decimate
flora and fauna and cause environmental degradation, there is still
uncertainty on what will happen to world-renowned Save Valley Conservancy.


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Zanu PF succession in practice

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in Opinion
IN this eighth instalment of his article on succession and the Zanu PF
constitution, Derek Matyszak looks at how the succession issue has played
out in Zanu PF and the overlap between the party constitution with the state
constitution.

Report by Derek Matyszak

In order to consider how the succession to the presidency within Zanu PF
might unfold, it is instructive to look at past successions to positions
within the presidium.

Fault lines
The conventional wisdom in Zimbabwe is that there are two main factions
within Zanu PF contending for the presidency on President Robert Mugabe’s
departure: Those who grouped around the late army commander General Solomon
Mujuru, now grouped around his wife Joice, who is Vice-President; and those
grouped around Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Each of these has advanced differing and expedient perspectives on the
manner in which the presidium is to be constituted to advance the cause of
favoured candidates to the posts.

The blurring of the lines between Zanu PF as a party and the state has been
a hallmark of Zimbabwe’s polity since 1980, and is reflected in the Zanu PF
party constitution. A manifestation of this is the confluence of the party
presidium and state presidium. The state and Zanu PF constitution both
establish the posts of a president and two vice-presidents.

Those holding the posts under the state constitution have always been the
same individuals who hold the posts under the party constitution. With
Mugabe having the unfettered discretion to appoint both vice-presidents
under the state constitution, this power impacts upon the processes under
the party constitution.

No term limits are prescribed for those holding the positions of president
and vice-president under the state constitution.

Combined with the fact there is no unequivocal statement of term limits for
the presidium under the Zanu PF constitution, a sector within Zanu PF, and
particularly the presidium itself, which of course, includes Mujuru, has
advanced the notion that unless there is a “vacancy” in the presidium, the
nominations from the provinces prior to congress for the top three positions
are a mere formality, in the same way as the people’s conference is required
yearly to declare the president of the party as the Zanu PF candidate for
state president.

Mugabe and his supporters have thus adopted the refrain that “there is no
vacancy in the presidium”. This assumption of the right to office by the
incumbents is disputed and contested by those aligned to the two factions,
who contend that fresh elections to all posts within the presidium must take
place every five years at congress by way of nominations from the provinces.
These nominations are not to be merely a formal and automatic endorsement of
the incumbents.

A second fault line dividing the Mujuru and Mnangagwa camps is a result of
the Unity Accord, which absorbed the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s PF
Zapu party into Zanu PF in December 1987. One section of Zanu PF claims an
unwritten term of the unity accord is that the four posts in the presidium
will be divided between Zanu PF and PF Zapu, with Zanu PF holding the
presidency and a vice-presidential post and PF Zapu holding the other
vice-presidential position and national chairmanship.

Since the power base of PF Zapu is in Matabeleland, the further inference by
some is that the PF Zapu posts will be held by members of the ethnic Ndebele
group from Matabeleland.

However, many of those aligned to the Mnangagwa camp have taken the
understanding concerning the distribution of posts within the presidium
along ethnic lines further, and maintain it ought to be party policy that
all the major ethnic groups in Zimbabwe — the Zezuru, Manyika, Karanga, and
Ndebele — will be represented in the presidium.

Military factor
The ethnic analysis of Zanu PF’s succession battle views the contest as
between the Zezuru (represented by the Mujuru faction) and the Karanga
(represented by Mnangagwa). Both are seen as periodically endeavouring to
forge alliances with the Manyika and Ndebele groupings.

It certainly seems to be outside any coincidence that the head of state,
Mugabe, vice-president (Mujuru), the head of the judiciary Godfrey
Chidyausiku, the head of the defence forces Constantine Chiwenga, the head
of the air force Perence Shiri, the head of police Augustine Chihuri, and
the Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede are all Zezuru. None of the four
cabinet ministers excluded from the politburo are Zezuru. Masvingo and
Midlands provinces, home to the Karanga, have consistently opposed
nominations to the presidium comprising people of Zezuru and Ndebele
backgrounds only. The most contentious of the District Co-ordinating
Committee elections took place in Masvingo and Manicaland.

However, while some factions within Zanu PF might wish to exploit ethnic
considerations, several political observers have cautioned against using
ethnicity as an analytical lens through which the internal dynamics of Zanu
PF may be viewed. For several years, and most obviously, in the aftermath of
Mugabe’s electoral defeat in March 2008 (when those heading the security
sectors stepped in to ensure Mugabe’s “victory” in the presidential run-off
election in June), it has been evident that the president and any aspirant
to the presidency are heavily dependent upon support from the security
sector.

Zanu PF succession politics may be conceptualised in terms of the extent to
which the wooing of securocrats has been accepted or rebuffed, and the
extent to which the securocrats believe which of the three — Mugabe, Mujuru
or Mnangagwa — are best able to safeguard their positions, interests and the
status quo. This in turn infers the extent to which each of these are
prepared to protect the positions of the Zanu PF old guard, most of whom,
having played prominent roles in the “liberation war”, believe in “rule by
entitlement”.

Early manoeuvring
From the time the executive presidency was created, and the unity accord
signed, there was little challenge to the triumvirate of Mugabe as president
and Joshua Nkomo and Simon Muzenda as vice-presidents. The only position
which admitted any fluidity was that of national chairman, a possible future
stepping stone to the vice-presidency on the demise of any one of the two
vice-presidents.

Positioning and manoeuvring around the issue of succession to Mugabe began
as early as 1999, when sectors within Zanu PF were, correctly as it
transpired, beginning to view Mugabe as an electoral liability. The Mujuru
and Mnangagwa factions first locked horns following the death, on July 1
1999, of Joshua Nkomo, then the PF Zapu-nominated vice-president.

Pursuant to what one PF Zapu member has described as a series of “secret
meetings”, the late national party chairman, Joseph Msika was “elected” as
the new vice-president by congress which convened in December 1999. Although
a member of PF Zapu, and raised in Matabeleland, Msika was Zezuru, the same
ethnic group as Mugabe. This caused disgruntlement within PF Zapu who felt
that Msika had been imposed from above, and, not being Ndebele, was not an
appropriate representative of the Matabeleland provinces.

However, being fourth in the presidium hierarchy, and previously
second-in-command to Joshua Nkomo within Zapu, his elevation to the
vice-presidency was not overtly contentious.

Matyszak is a former University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, constitutional
expert and researcher with the Research and Advocacy Unit.


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‘Fear factor’ in Zim polls

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

September 21, 2012 in Opinion
ONE of the under-reported but critically significant findings of the Freedom
House public opinion poll survey is that the “fear factor” remains a major
issue in Zimbabwean politics, particularly as the country approaches crucial
elections.

Report by Alex T Magaisa
This “fear factor” arises from political violence and intimidation and the
negative impact they have had on the realisation of free and fair elections
in Zimbabwe.

Unless measures are taken to address this issue, the next elections are at
serious risk of being compromised by the “fear factor” once again. Having
analysed the Freedom House survey report, there are some important aspects
that we learn about the influence and incidence of fear on the political
landscape.

First, the most serious statistic is that 66% of respondents in the survey
agreed that “fear of violence and intimidation make people vote for parties
or candidates other than the ones they prefer”. This means generally, voters’
choices are not free. They respond to fear by voting for candidates that
they would otherwise not vote for.

If this is an accurate reflection of general public opinion, it means
two-thirds of Zimbabweans believe that fear induces people to make forced
electoral choices. Such elections cannot be described as being free and
fair.

Election observers will have to be on the lookout for incidents of violence
and intimidation given that their impact is to prevent voters from making
free political choices. High incidents of violence and intimidation would
fundamentally affect the credibility and legitimacy of elections and the
outcome.

Second, the survey confirms a continuing fear among voters of a rise in
politically-motivated violence and intimidation in the run-up to elections.
We observe that in this survey, 72% of respondents either agreed or strongly
agreed that “each time Zimbabwe comes to important political decisions,
violence and intimidation surface”. Although this is down from a high of 76%
in 2010, this is still an unacceptably high number of people who fear the
eruption of violence as Zimbabwe approaches elections.

This is evident in the survey itself which states: “There is consistency in
the level of belief that violence and intimidation surface when Zimbabwe
comes to important political decisions to be made, and that violence and
intimidation impact electoral choice.”

When the statistics are analysed along party lines, it is clear that the
fear of violence and intimidation is more pronounced in the MDC-T where 85%
of its supporters either agree or agree strongly that violence and
intimidation surface in Zimbabwe each time that the country approaches
important political decisions.

In addition, 76% of “secreters” — those who did not declare their political
allegiances — also either agree or agree strongly that violence and
intimidation rise towards periods of major political decisions.

By comparison, only 55% of Zanu PF supporters share the same belief. This
big difference between the MDC-T and Zanu PF supporters can be attributed to
the fact that victims of violence and intimidation are more likely to
express fear than the perpetrators and in the past it is the former
opposition (MDC-T) supporters who have largely carried the burden of
violence and intimidation.

Besides, we learn that 49% of MDC-T supporters and 43% of the “secreters” do
not feel free to express their political views. This is not unusual given
that although there are incidents of violence within and across party lines,
the weight of violence usually falls upon the MDC-T and hence its supporters
are more fearful and sceptical that the elections can be free and fair.

The survey itself confirms: “The results show that MDC-T supporters, more
than their Zanu PF counterparts, report the continuation of fearfulness in
making known their political positions. This factor thus does remain
continuously important”.

One plausible deduction that can be drawn from this is that MDC-T
supporters, fearful of making known their political position, are more
likely to constitute the larger percentage of the 47% “undecided”.

Indeed, although in one part the survey report states that “fear is not a
sufficient reason to explain non-declaration of party support intentions”,
in fact, in the above statement it seems to contradict this by stating that
“the results show that MDC-T supporters, more than their Zanu PF
counterparts, report the continuation of fearfulness in making known their
political positions”.

Clearly, if the survey found that the MDC-T supporters are more likely to
fear declaring their political positions, it is reasonable to assume that
there is likely to be more MDC-T supporters among those reluctant to
disclose their voting intentions by saying their vote is their secret, that
is to say the “secreters”.

Since the survey found Zanu PF are less likely to be fearful of declaring
their political positions, it is less likely that they would constitute a
more significant portion of those refusing to openly declare their support.

Fourth, we also learn from the survey about subtle forms of violence. The
survey reports that 56% of the respondents either agreed or strongly agreed
with the statement that “just a threat nowadays is indeed enough to bring
fear back to life again”.

Although this is a decrease from 64% recorded in 2010 on the same statement,
a telling factor is that the fear is consistently high across all parties,
including those people who did not declare party choices. This fear is more
pronounced among non-Zanu PF supporters, with 85% of the MDC-T supporters
expressing this fear compared to 55% for Zanu PF.

This raises the possibility that tactics may change from the use of physical
violence to more subtle forms of violence, including verbal and
psychological violence. This could be in the form of threats which, as the
survey confirms, are enough to trigger bouts of fear among the electorate.
What we learn from this is that political parties, civil society and
election observers have to be more vigilant and be on the lookout for subtle
forms of violence and intimidation.

There is however, one aspect that casts doubt in the credibility and
conclusions drawn from the survey which is that while 66% are recorded as
fearing that people cannot make free political choices and 72% agreed that
violence and intimidation crop up during times of major political decisions,
incredibly one other statistic seems to run completely the opposite way in
that 67% apparently expect elections to be free and fair. This is actually
an increase rise from 46% in 2010.

It is difficult to find easy reconciliation of these figures, let alone the
conclusions drawn from them: If 66% express the view that fear and
intimidation cause them to make political choices other than their own, and
72% express the fear of violence and intimidation during the run up to the
election, how does a whopping 67% supposedly believe that the elections will
nonetheless be free and fair?

Somehow the figures and conclusions drawn from them do not seem to add up
that easily. These apparent contradictions do little to enhance the
credibility of the survey.

Dr Magaisa is based at Kent Law School, the University of Kent and can be
contacted at wamagaisa@yahoo.co.uk

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