By Tererai Karimakwenda
28 September 2012
The MDC-T Deputy Organiser for Bulawayo, Tsepiso Mpofu and eight other party
activists were arrested and briefly detained by riot police in Bulawayo on
Thursday, which the party said highlights partisan police actions and
selective application of the law.
The others were released soon after the arrest. But Mpofu was charged with
“aggressive behavior towards police” and made to pay an admission of guilt
fine before being released four hours later.
SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme said the police also
confiscated posters that the MDC-T activists were distributing ahead of the
party’s 13th anniversary celebrations, which are to be held at White City
Stadium in Bulawayo on Saturday.
“They were driving around distributing flyers for the Saturday celebrations
when they were approached by plain clothes officers who said the driver had
no license. So the driver produced a license. Then they accused them of
breaching POSA by having too many people in the car,” Saungweme said.
Saungweme reported that the police officers began quarrelling with the MDC-T
activists and officials, which led to their arrest and charges of “improper
conduct against the police”.
“A Constable Dube was behind the arrests together with known members of the
CIO & anti-riot police officers who had come to reinforce their colleagues.
They arrested Tsepiso and eight others with no specific charges,” Saungweme
The MDC-T anniversary rally is set to be held amidst water shortages that
have plagued Bulawayo recently. Saungweme said: “The high density areas have
been hit the hardest. But the mayor told the MDC leadership four bowsers
would be provided to avoid a health disaster at White City Stadium.”
Senior MDC-T officials, including party president Morgan Tsvangirai and
secretary general Tendai Biti will address the supporters at the rally,
highlighting the abuses the party has been forced to endure since its
formation in 1999.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
28 September 2012
The 2nd All Stakeholders Conference and the entire constitutional reform
exercise have been dismissed as pointless by the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), which has been advocating a more people –driven process.
The group’s information director, Blessing Vava, told SW Radio Africa that
the three political parties hijacked the process from the very beginning and
have been the ones drafting, negotiating and organizing events around the
“Apart from the process being chaotic, the draft constitution itself is a
deviation from what Zimbabweans said during the outreach programme. And now
people are not being given ample time and opportunity to study the draft
that will be tabled at the Stakeholders Conference,” Chivasa explained.
He added that Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement, which deals with
the constitutional reform process, is not clear on what the purpose is for
holding the Conference. The select committee in charge, COPAC, have said
there will be no drafting or changes made to the current draft, but comments
will be considered.
A fuming Vava said: “The comments and recommendations will be considered by
the same three political parties who drafted the document. It will then be
tabled in parliament where the same people decide what changes are to be
In addition, Vava said the majority of legislative seats that are vacant due
to the death of an official are seats that belonged to the MDC formations.
The structure of parliament is currently different from the time when the
coalition government was created.
Regarding reports and speculation suggesting that ZANU PF was planning to
disrupt the Stakeholders Conference, Vava said there were rumours
circulating which implicated ZANU PF in a plot to use the Chipangano gang
from Mbare as delegates at the Conference.
COPAC announced this week that the date for the Conference will be sometime
before the end of October. The venue and location have not yet been revealed
or decided on. Some reports have hinted at Bulawayo as a possibility.
Vava said it will be extremely difficult to manage an event of this
magnitude, especially with 1100 delegates trying to make sure their views
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) meanhwile have published a
“Summarised Analysis” of the COPAC draft constitution, saying Zimbabweans
need to educate themselves on its content in order to make informed
decisions when they vote at the upcoming referendum.
28 SEP 2012 08:39 - RAY NDLOVU
Zimbabwe's constitution-drafting process has been hijacked by the country's
political parties. The draft will be debated by more than 1 000 delegates.
The contest to control Zimbabwe's drafting of a new constitution will heat
up next week when the draft produced by the constitutional parliamentary
committee (Copac) is taken to a second stakeholders conference.
The draft will be debated by more than 1000 delegates, including
businesspeople and representatives from churches, non-governmental
organisations and political parties in Harare from October 4 to 6.
The two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties have so far resisted
efforts by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party to include nearly 266
amendments to the draft.
Zanu-PF has objected to a number of proposals in the draft, including the
clipping of the president's executive powers, security sector reforms, dual
citizenship and the devolution of power from central government.
Zanu-PF is opposed to the formation of a national prosecuting authority to
replace the office of the attorney general. The former ruling party is also
keen to retain the death penalty, which the MDC parties are keen to have
repealed. After the second stakeholders' conference, the draft will be taken
to Parliament, where, after approval by legislators, it will then be put to
There are signs, however, that Zanu-PF will not allow the draft to go
unchallenged. The party plans to discredit the draft and show how Copac
"ignored the people's views" by demanding that the national report – which
details information gathered during the constitutional outreach exercise –
be supplied to delegates alongside the draft.
Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu-PF spokesperson, said this was merely part of its
election mobilisation campaign and there was nothing untoward about it. "We
want our members to speak ... with one voice … We have said as a party that
we will go to the second all-stakeholders' conference with the Copac draft,
but the national report should be printed before the conference so that
everyone can have a copy and compare it with the Copac draft," said Gumbo.
Douglas Mwonzora, spokesperson of the MDC faction led by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, said that Zanu-PF's latest demands were misplaced and
undermined the authority of Parliament.
Political analyst Trevor Maisiri, from the International Crisis Group, said
"Zanu-PF may actually want to discredit the current draft constitution by
showing the glaring differences between the compromises in the draft against
what may be contained in the national report".
Meanwhile, civil society groups remain opposed to the draft constitution
process, which, they argue, has seen the affair become a battlefield for the
country's three main political parties. Philani Zamchiya, the regional
director of Crisis in Coalition of Zimbabwe, said: "We are concerned that
the three main political parties have once again decided to make this
important process a political party event, while excluding the voice of the
people," said Zamchiya. "We are convinced that the second stakeholders
conference is a space for ordinary people and hence must not be hijacked by
political players who have been active in the constitution-making process
for the past three and half years."
MDC slams referendum and election dates
President Robert Mugabe on Thursday set out plans for a constitutional
referendum in November and elections in March, a timetable that was quickly
denounced by the opposition as "unrealistic".
In a High Court filing, Mugabe set out his most concrete timetable to date
for two votes that are key to a bipartisan deal designed to stop Zimbabwe
from descending further into political violence.
Mugabe listed a "referendum, expected to take place during the first week of
November" and the plan to "hold the harmonised elections in the last week of
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said "the
dates being proposed are clearly not feasible", adding that the election
date was "unilateral [and] unrealistic".
Mwonzora said that the MDC was more concerned about conditions under which
the vote would takes place rather than the date. "For us to meet those
dates, Zanu-PF has to change drastically." – AFP
Friday, 28 September 2012 08:53
Clemence Manyukwe, Political Editor
SENSING the end could be nigh before sanity prevails at Save Valley
Conservancy in Masvingo Province, ZANU-PF bigwigs have heightened poaching
activities at the animal sanctuary in disregard of a directive by President
Robert Mugabe to cease illegal activities there pending a decision on the
saga by the party’s supreme decision-making body in between congresses — the
The illegal hunting frenzy is threatening to wipe out game in the
conservancy, hitherto of interest only to safari operators until controversy
set in after it was allocated to ZANU-PF heavyweights from the politically
restive province, some of who have no clue about hunting.
The primitive accumulation of wealth through rampant poaching ahead of a
decision on the matter by ZANU-PF’s Soviet-style Politburo has alarmed
conservationists who fear that the animal population at Save Valley could
decline rapidly if nothing is done to restore order.
Villagers around the conservancy were left shell-shocked recently after a
senior ZANU-PF official pledged two buffalo bulls as relish to a
constituency of a political friend in the province on the day reports from
South Africa indicated that a buffalo had been auctioned for a whooping 26
The incident alarmed the powers-that-be who now fear that uncontrolled
hunting in the area could compound the country’s foreign currency woes.
Hunting and safari has been a significant contributor to Zimbabwe’s foreign
The issuance of hunting leases to ZANU-PF members at the game refuge has
opened a new front for disharmony in President Mugabe’s party, forcing the
incumbent to direct Environment Minister Francis Nhema to revisit his
decision, compelling existing ranchers to partner the so-called “Masvingo
Resultantly, the party’s politburo appointed a four-member panel consisting
Nhema; Tourism and Hospitality Minister, Walter Mzembi; the party’s
secretary for lands, Ignatius Chombo as well as Land Reform and Resettlement
Minister, Herbert Murerwa to recommend the course of action to take.
The committee, which is still to meet as some of its members are out of the
country on business, was tasked to look into the possibility of turning the
conservancy into a national park, among other available options, effectively
reversing the issuance of the leases.
Those who were handed leases at Save Valley include war veterans leader,
Joseph Chinotimba; Major General Gibson Mashin-gaidze; Major General
Engelbert Rugeje; Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister Titus Maluleke;
ZANU-PF Masvingo provincial chairperson Lovemore Matuke; Higher Education
Minister Stan Mudenge; Health Deputy Minister Douglas Mombeshora; ZANU-PF
central committee member Enock Porusingazi and Members of Parliament Ailess
Baloyi, Abraham Sithole, Samson Mukanduri and Noel Mandebvu.
Former lawmaker, Shuvai Mahofa was also handed a conservancy in the area.
Ever since the allocation of the hunting quotas was announced last month,
fierce resistance against the new order has emerged from the conservators,
Mzembi, Chiredzi chiefs and members of the Parliamentary Committee on
On Tuesday, Chino-timba, confirmed there was poaching at Save, but blamed it
on white ranchers, adding that even though he has not yet set his foot at
the animal sanctuary since the Politburo meeting, it was worth noting that
any decision by ZANU-PF was not the end in itself as whatever the party
decides still needed to be endorsed by Cabinet to have any effect.
Chinotimba, who spearheaded the chaotic land seizures in 2000, said the new
beneficiaries still have a right to continue hunting animals as they have
legally binding leases issued by the Environment Minister.To my knowledge
those whites are the ones who are poaching, despite the fact that they don’t
have quotas. If you want to know who is poaching ask Karikoga Kaseke (the
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer), I took him there and he
saw for himself,” he said.
“The Politburo decision is not the end of the story. The government has its
own resolution, which gave us quotas through the Ministry of Environment,
which is headed by Nhema. We have the right to be hunting.”
Chinotimba said his partners at Save have refused to meet him and so far he
has only managed to hold meetings with the managers.
Mzembi also confirmed receiving reports about rampant poaching activities at
Save Valley Conservancy.
In an earlier interview with The Financial Gazette, Mzembi said while it
takes one gunshot to eliminate an animal for individual benefit, the same
can pose danger for hundreds of photographic shots, whose income can sustain
a community for a lengthy period.
He said the continued lawlessness at the animal haven has a deeper meaning
politically, saying the Save saga was symbolic of the greatest test to
ideological correctness and aptitude by those who should be discharging the
values that ZANU-PF stood for at independence in 1980.
“That behaviour smacks of a psychology-driven by the ‘last harvest’
mentality before a drought. Political, in this sense: It is very dangerous
for us who still want to serve the party for the next 30 years. That’s what
makes our fight and defence of old ZANU-PF values now more generational than
ever. And on this even if I remain in the majority of one, it’s the
principles and values that I am prepared to defend. People first!” said
This week, Nhema said he could not comment on poaching reports because if
they were any they should have been dealt with administratively by the
Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
Parks spokesperson, Caroline Washaya, could not respond immediately to a
request for statistics on poaching at the animal sanctuary.
Former ZANU-PF Manicaland provincial chairperson and leader of Save Valley
Conservancy, Basil Nyabadza, who attempted to use his political clout to
have the 25-year leases reversed, said he would be getting statistics on
poaching activities in the area in due course.
“The people doing this are taking the law into their own hands. The brand
Zimbabwe must not suffer because of the pursuit of selfish gains. Those that
do not respect the will of our leadership must bear the consequences,” said
The forced imposition of partners on Save Valley, some of whom have no
knowledge of the safari industry also exposes the dangers faced as a result
of the white farmers’ failure to share resources in their possession with
disadvantaged groups, leaving the door open to opportunists.
Prior to the year 2000 when the land reforms started, most white farmers
clung to their properties when the majority of people were landless only to
suffer from a process they had no input or control over, resulting in
disastrous consequences not only to them, but to the entire country.
Blessing Zulu, Gibbs Dube
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has expressed serious concern over the chaos at
the Save Valley Conservancy saying it has the potential to scuttle Zimbabwe’s
chances of getting debt forgiveness from the Mnternational Monetary Fund
(IMF), and the African Development Bank and other interntional finance
Senior Zanu PF officials, war vet veterans and army generals last month
invaded the money-spinning safari landholdings in the treasured conservancy,
the largest private wildlife sanctuary in the world.
President Robert Mugabe, cabinet and the Zanu PF politibuto have tried to
intervene but the invaders remain defiant.
Those who were handed leases at Save Valley Conservancy include war veterans
leader Joseph Chinotimba; Major General Gibson Mashingaidze; Major General
Engelbert Rugeje; Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister Titus Maluleke;
Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairperson Lovemore Matuke and Higher Education
Minister Stan Mudenge.
In its annual review of the Zimbabwean ecoomy, the IMF said Zimbabwe’s debt
which stands at $10.7 billion remains a major impediment for the country’s
It said the large debt overhang remains a serious stumbling block to
medium-term fiscal and external sustainability.
“The external position remained precaurious, albeit with some recent
moderation in the current account deficit and despite higher exports, the
current account defiint widened to 36 percent of GDP in 2011 from 29 percent
of GDP in 2010 due to in part to a spike in imports associated with some
one-off factors,” said the IMF.
The IMF said it projects that the country’s economy will slow down to 5
percent this year after growing by 9.6 percent in 2010 and 9.4 in 2011.
According to the IMF the slow down reflects the impact of the adverse
weather conditions on agriculture, erratic electricity supply and tight
“Mining production is expected to benefit from the lifting of restrictions
on diamond exports from the Marange fields as a result of certification by
the Kimberley process. Inflation slowed down to 4 percent in June 2012 from
4.9 percent in December 2011, reflecting in part some moderation in imported
goods inflation,” said the IMF.
The IMF met last Friday to discuss the debt situation amid indications three
countries - Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe - as at the end of June this year,
owed the international financial institution special drawing rights worth
over a total of $2 billion in overdue arrears.
Biti said Harare’s chances of debt forgiveness were high before what “the
madness started at the Save Conservancy.”
Environment Minister Francis Nhema said that Harare is trying to bring order
to the conservancy.
Economist Rejoice Ngwenya of Liberal Market Solutions noted that Zimbabwe is
always committing mistakes at the wrong time and as a result the invasion of
the conservancy will spell doom to the country’s attempts of reviving its
A cabinet minister says top military commanders and senior Zanu PF officials
who recently invaded the wildlife-rich Save Valley Conservancy are greedy
and selfish people who are derailing the rebranding of Zimbabwe as one of
the best tourism destinations in Africa.
Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said the 37 people who recently occupied the
conservancy have seriously dented the image of the country, still recovering
from a decade of economic decline.
Mzembi said the invaders, who include Major-General Gibson Mashingaidze,
Major-General Engelbert Rugeje, Masvingo Governor Titus Maluleke, Education
Minister Stan Mudenge and several others, are decimating protected wildlife
in the conservancy.
President Robert Mugabe has protested over the invasion of the
money-spinning conservancy which has attracted funding from the World
Wildlife Fund and investors from Europe and the United States.
Mzembi said he would fight tooth and nail to ensure that the invaders are
evicted. ‘If this is a fight that shall bring me into a minority against my
provincial colleagues, so be it,” said Mzembi.
Prominent commercial farmer Themba Dlodlo said invasion of the wildlife
conservancy is embarassing Zimbabwe set to host the World Tourism
Organization’s general assembly.
Other Zanu PF and military elites who seized the conservancy are
Lieutenant-Colonel David Moyo, Retired Colonel Claudius Makova, Assistant
Police Commissioner Connel Dube, Masvingo Provincial Intelligence Officer
Shaderick Chibaya, Brigadier-General Livingstone Chineka, Health Deputy
Minister Douglas Mombeshora and Zanu PF central committee members Shuvai
Mahofa and Enock Porusingazi and legislators Ailess Baloyi, Abraham Sithole,
Samson Mukanduri, Noel Mandebvu and Ronald Mandava.
By Alex Bell
28 September 2012
A Harare based company that was raided by police for providing news content
for an externally based television channel has insisted it is properly
registered and has not broken Zimbabwe’s broadcasting laws.
The company, Afromedia, said Thursday that it is registered as a news agency
in Zimbabwe. This was after its offices in Belgravia were raided by police
on Wednesday as part of investigations into their operations. The police
have said the investigations have been prompted by information that the
Afromedia group were operating illegally.
Afromedia supplies news content to the UK based A TV channel, which then
broadcasts on free-to-air satellite. This news can be picked up in Zimbabwe
with a free-to-air satellite decoder and can also be viewed on YouTube.
According to SW Radio Africa’s Harare correspondent, Simon Muchemwa, the
police seized some equipment from the Afromedia premises, including a number
of the Wiztech satellite decoders. Muchemwa reported that the police are
allegedly trying to charge Afromedia with not having the proper paperwork to
distribute such equipment.
“This is harassment of the media ahead of elections and it is an attempt to
stop people accessing independent media. This is really a censorship move by
the police,” Muchemwa said.
A number of journalists who work with Afromedia were arrested but have since
been released. It’s understood these reporters will face more questioning on
Irwin Chifera, Tatenda Gumbo
Media organisations have attacked the timing and arrest of journalists
working for a foreign-linked news agency at a time Zimbabwe is set to host
the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly next August.
The hosting of the event was largely seen as an opprtunity to spruce up
Zimbabwe’s battered image after years of recession, violent elections and
massive human rights abuses.
The arrest of eight journalists last night of the United Kingdom based Afro
News Agency Broadcasting or ATV has sparked anger among local journalists.
The arrested journalists spent the whole day Thursday being questioned at
Harare Central Police Station.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists secretary general Foster Dongozi said the
arrest is as good as shooting oneself in the foot.
Zimbabwe has been desperate for foreign direct investment but largely
remains a hardsell abroad given the negative publicity the country has
received mainly due to some disturbing events associated with President
Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.
Media Institute of Zimbabwe director, Nhlahla Ngwenya, condemned the arrest
saying they expect more arrests as the country prepares for a crucial
consitutional indaba and general elections.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe All Media Products Survey has released its quarterly
survey indicating that all state-run media are the most listened to and read
in the country.
The survey found that the Herald maintained its pole position as the most
read paper by at least 31 percent of the population with News Day and the
Daily News tied at 22 percent.
It also found that Power FM remained on top with new industry players Star
FM and ZiFM closely behind.
Readership of newspapers, according to the survey, has declined as many
Zimbabweans now have access to the Internet, through mobile phones, and
utilize newspapers online to access information.
The survey was carried out from July to September focusing on urban
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe director Andrew Moyse said media trends in
Zimbabwe have remained roughly the same, even in the age of new media.
Friday, 28 September 2012 08:40
Njabulo Ncube, Assistant Editor
A HIGH Court judge has slammed attempts by government officials to forcibly
evict more than 30 black farmers from a prime farm without a court order to
pave the way for the resettlement of a chief in President Robert Mugabe’s
home area of Zvimba, in Mashonaland West.
Justice Happious Zhou last week upheld an interdict restraining Herbert
Murerwa, the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Masho-naland West
Provincial Governor Faber Chidarikire, Stanley Mhondoro, aka Chief Zvimba,
the district administrator (DA) for Zvimba and the officer commanding
Mashonaland West, from evicting 31 resettled farmers at Lion Kopje Farm.
The resettled black farmers were allocated plots on Lion Kopje Farm by the
government in 2004 under President Mugabe’s controversial land reform
Apparently, the new farmers and their families were already staying at the
farm, having moved onto the property at the height of the land invasions in
The farmers were notified that the offer of plots on Lion Kopje Farm was
being withdrawn and that they were being relocated to another unidentified
farm through a letter dated August 1,2012.
The reason given for their eviction from Lion Kopje farm was that the
property had been allocated to Chief Zvimba, who is the fourth respondent in
A letter dated July 16, 2012 shows that Murerwa had offered Chief Zvimba
Lion Kopje Farm but the chief had not signed the letter by August 7, 2012 to
signify his acceptance of the offer. Court documents show that on August 6,
2012, the resettled farmers were notified by a delegation which comprised a
chief lands officer, a Mr Vambe, Chidarikire, the DA and Chief Zvimba
himself, that they were to vacate the farm and abandon their homes by August
The delegation, according to court documents, stated that if the new farmers
failed to vacate the farm, riot police would be unleashed to forcibly eject
them from Lion Kopje farm.
Government officials, including Chief Zvimba, argued that the resettled
farmers, applicants in the matter, were in breach of the law by remaining in
occupation of the farm after their right to occupy the property was
Judge Zhou said the respondents, Murerwa, Chief Zvimba and others, contended
that the farmers’ occupation of the farm became unlawful in 2006 after the
Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act was enacted.
The government officials had argued that the farmers knew that they were
supposed to vacate the farm at that stage.
But Zhou in his judgment which The Financial Gazette has a copy of, said it
was far from the truth.
“That argument is not supported by the facts on the case. The application
was precipitated by the withdrawal of the applicants’ (new farmers) right to
occupy the plots allocated to them on Lion Kopje Farm and the subsequent
demand, accompanied by threat to invoke the force of the riot police, that
they abandon their homes of more than 10 years within a week,” said Zhou.
The Judge noted that Chief Zvimba admitted that indeed he intended enlisting
the force of the police to remove the resettled farmers from Lion Kopje Farm
without an order of court. He further went on to lash out at the conduct of
all the respondents, including Murerwa, Chief Zvimba, Chidarikire and the
police, saying their conduct constituted a threat to disturb the new farmers
without an order of court.
“Such conduct cannot be countenanced by the court, as it amounts to
self-help. This court has stated that even where a person has been issued
with an offer letter in respect of land they may not, without an order of
court, take the law into their own hands by just moving onto the farm and
forcibly ejecting those in occupation,” he said.
Zhou disagreed with the respondents’ contention that the farmers were in
breach of the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions Act Chapter 20:28) by
remaining in occupation of the property after their right to occupation was
withdrawn when they were offered alternative land, saying the government
allowed them to remain in occupation after it had been gazetted.
“The applicants occupied the plots, which were allocated to them and on
which they built homes. The withdrawal of their right to remain on those
plots is not pursuant to the gazetting of the land. It is merely because the
farm has been allocated to the fourth respondent (Chief Zvimba). The letter
dated 1 August, 2012 states that the withdrawal of the land offer and
relocation offer were necessitated by the allocation of the farm to the
fourth respondent,” said Zhou.
The judge said any attempts to eject the resettled farmers from their plots
without an order of the court would be unlawful. He added: “In any event, it
is unreasonable to expect persons who have built homes on a farm at which
they have been residing for more than 10 years to vacate the farm and
relocate to another place within a week.”
Zhou proceeded to grant an interim relief barring government officials from
evicting the resettled farmers from the farm without an order from the court
pending a determination on the matter. The farmers are further seeking a
final order stopping the government officials from evicting them from the
farm until after April 30, 2013.
Friday, 28 September 2012 12:50
HARARE - A Police officer who arrested 29 MDC activists accused of murdering
a police inspector last year in May refused to divulge the names of his
informants in court.
This emerged at the ongoing trial of the MDC activists arrested for the
murder of police inspector Petros Mutedza in Glen View last year. The
activists have been languishing in prison for the past 16 months.
High court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu was presiding over the case.
The arresting officer Detective Chief Inspector Obert Maida, who is a state
witness, said he did not give the names of his “informants” to the
He claimed his informants had told him the three Maengehama brothers were
involved in the murder.
He refused to divulge his sources in court.
Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa asked if there was a way of verifying the
existence or credibility of the information supplied by the arresting
“No,” Maida responded.
Mtetwa then asked if Maida wanted the accused to be tried based on
information supplied by “faceless, nameless” sources that could not be
He refused to comment on Mtetwa’s query.
Maida also told the court he recovered two MDC T-shirts at the Maengehama
home in Glen View and took them as evidence under the assumption they
belonged to the owner of the house Last Maengahama.
The detective inspector, who said he was officer in charge homicide Harare,
said he did not enquire further.
He said he was also the one who arrested the driver of a company vehicle
that was said to have been seen at the murder scene in Glen View but could
not verify if the accused Phineas Nhatarikwa was the one driving the vehicle
on the day.
Maida, who is the 11th state witness to testify, said he was not aware if
there was a connection at all between the accused and the murder case.
“My duty was to receive information, effect arrests and hand them to the
investigating officer (Clever Ntini), there were other teams responsible for
investigating and recording statements,” Maida said.
However, the State team represented by Edmore Nyazamba was accused of
deliberately employing delaying tactics. - Bridget Mananavire
By Alex Bell
28 September 2012
The Zimbabwean government is planning yet another appeal against a landmark
decision in a South African court, to uphold the regional Tribunal ruling
that the Zim land grab was unlawful.
Attorney General Johannes Tomana has said he is preparing to file an appeal
at South Africa’s Constitutional Court, after the Supreme Court of Appeal
last week dismissed the Zim government’s original appeal against the North
Gauteng High Court decision in 2010. That High Court decision was the result
of a legal challenge lodged by farmers who lost land in Zimbabwe during the
land grab, and who were forced to turn to South Africa for assistance when
Zimbabwe refused to honour the regional human rights Tribunal.
“We have spent a lot of money fighting in the South African courts and it
all comes down to the fact that SA is disrespecting the diplomatic immunity
that governs relations between sovereign states and is defying a directive
by regional leaders to stop the work of the Tribunal,” Tomana said.
ZANU PF Minister Didymus Mutasa has said that the government will call on
South Africa’s ruling ANC party to make a political decision and block
ruling, which will result in the auction of property belonging to the Zim
government in Cape Town.
Lawyer Willie Spies, representing the farmers, told SW Radio Africa that he
hopes South Africa’s commitments to human and rights and democracy, as
enshrined in the country’s constitution, will be upheld in this case.
“These principals must be protected at all cost because they are fundamental
to a good democracy and if tampered with this becomes a threat to a good
democracy,” Spies said.
He meanwhile dismissed arguments by a member of the Zim government’s legal
team, Martin Dinha that the South African ruling goes against international
laws, particularly the Vienna Convention.
“A critical aspect of the Vienna convention is that a country can’t call on
its sovereignty to justify or protect itself against the consequences of
human rights violations. This is an important principal of the convention
which the Zimbabwean authorities are ignoring,” Spies said.
Friday, 28 September 2012 12:59
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called for the prosecution of
the previous National Social Security Authority (Nssa) board and management
after a State enquiry exposed a myriad of white-collar crimes, including
corruption, tax fraud, and bribery.
Nssa is a statutory body established in 1989 to handle pension savings for
better old age.
An 18-page report by the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate (Neci)
brought stark new evidence of massive corruption by the Albert Nhau-led Nssa
board with stunning revelations about pension fund theft that has shocked
and outraged the nation.
Top Harare lawyer Innocent Chagonda took over in 2010 from Nhau as Nssa
Tsvangirai’s office has written to Paurina Mpariwa, minister of Labour and
Social Services to hand the Neci report to the Anti-Corruption Commission
and to the police.
The Neci probe was commissioned by Mpariwa, and it uncovered massive
corruption, theft, criminal abuse of office by Nssa board members and
management and other employees at Nssa.
The depth and breadth of the Nssa corruption, enabled by senior officials,
is simply beyond the scale of organised criminal organisations.
“The (PM)’s Office has noted with concern that though this Neci report was
finalised one-and-half years ago, it appears that no meaningful effort has
been expended to act on its findings,” said a September 7, 2012 letter to
Mpariwa from Ian Makone, the chief secretary in the PM’s office.
“It is the considered view of this office that all the issues raised in this
report need to be thoroughly investigated by law enforcement agents of the
State. The Prime Minister has instructed me to request your office to refer
the issues raised in the Neci report to Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission
without further notice.”
The Neci unearthed fraudulent management of several millions of dollars in
pensioners’ funds, and the PM wants the board to stand trial for the
large-scale fraud and embezzlement of funds.
The corruption exposed includes rigging of tender processes, corrupt real
estate projects including houses and hotels, vehicle schemes, wheat trade,
fraudulent arbitration costs, investing in shares, banking, including the
money market, and flawed recruitment of directors and other managerial
Nssa directors and management funded a luxury lifestyle, riding in cars
worth between $100 000 and $230 000. They splashed out on exclusive homes
and various high-performance cars, including Mercedes Benz S350 and Jeep
Cherokees. - Gift Phiri
28 SEP 2012 11:43 - TAWANDA KAROMBO
As usage outstrips supply, electricity outages are hobbling the country's
corporate sector, writes Tawanda Karombo.
Zimbabwe is pinning its hopes on measures such as a Chinese-funded power
plant to boost the country's electricity generation capacity and offset a
crippling energy supply situation.
The shortfall has led to escalating operational costs for several companies,
many of which have been forced to resort to high-voltage diesel generators
during extended power outages. The situation has been further compounded by
rising consumption, which has in recent years outstripped supply.
The state power utility, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa),
has instituted load-shedding to manage the growing supply-demand mismatch.
This has led to suppressed production capacity for Zimbabwe's corporate
sector, with industry, manufacturing and mining companies being the most
A recent research report on Zimbabwe's electricity crisis by Business
Monitor International (BMI) noted: "Zimbabwe is in the midst of an energy
crisis. With peak energy consumption requirements of 2 200MW and domestic
generating capacity of around 1300MW, outages are commonplace in the
Tafadzwa Manyara, a local engineer, said that Zimbabwe "needs close to 2
500MW, yet we are generating less than 1 500MW". Analysts blame the power
utility for the country's electricity supply woes, but Zesa counters that
corporate and individual consumers are not paying their bills. Powerful
individuals, among them high-ranking government officials, are said to owe
Various initiatives are now underway to try to boost Zimbabwe's electricity
generation capacity. Among these are plans by a Chinese company, the
Guangdong Bureau of Coal Geology, to invest about $3.5billion to fund the
construction of a 1200MW thermal power plant.
Chinese investors receive special concessions from President Robert Mugabe's
government and sources say they will not be required to cede a 51% majority
shareholding to locals under the government's controversial indigenisation
policy. Other foreign investors are buckling under government pressure to
cede majority stakes to black Zimbabwean groups or risk being kicked out of
the country without compensation.
Platinum miner Zimplats has had to advance a $25million loan facility to
Zesa. The power company has used the money to reduce arrears it owes to
Mozambique's Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa, enabling the resumption of
electricity imports. In return, Zimplats will receive guaranteed power
supplies for the next three years.
Other mining companies are reportedly paying more for guaranteed electricity
supplies. However, most businesses in Zimbabwe have to deal with the regular
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said that Zimbabwe is negotiating a
$350million loan to expand the Kariba South power station to provide an
additional 300MW of electricity.
Other reports suggested that a French investment consortium had been granted
a licence to build a 2000MW thermal power plant in a deal reportedly worth
about $3billion. Zimbabwe also has vast coal resources that could help to
generate more power to offset the supply gap.
Engineer Manyara said the country needs to "invest in power generation" and
"allow private players in the power generation field". He said there was
also a need for a "good revenue collection strategy, like prepaid meters"
and urged more usage of other energy sources such as natural gases, solar
power, wind power and uranium.
Johannes Kwangwari, an economic analyst, said that additional operational
costs incurred by companies running generators were forcing them to raise
the prices of goods and commodities. "The companies have to recover their
costs, and the ultimate impact will be on inflation and price distortions,"
Researchers at BMI, however, said that Zimbabwe's overall power generation
will increase by an annual average of 12.6% between now and 2016, to reach
16.23 terawatt hours. "The biggest contributor to this increase will be
coal-fired power generation, which is to increase by an annual average of
22.8% over this period" because of expansion at the Hwange thermal power
"Hydropower generation is due to increase by a much more modest 3% per
annum, despite increased capacity planned for the Kariba South hydroelectric
plant and a new plant planned on the Gairezi River. However, this growth in
energy provision will not be enough to grant Zimbabwe energy
self-sufficiency," the report noted.
Friday, 28 September 2012 12:42
HARARE - The Chinese government has availed a $14 million food donation to
Zimbabwe that will ease shortages affecting most parts of the country.
The food consignment comprising 10 tonnes of wheat and five tonnes rice
arrived in the country a few months ago.
Economic and Commercial Counsellor of Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe, Deng Jian
told the Daily News at the weekend that the donation’s delay was caused by
transport logistics to the respective 60 identified destinations before the
food can be handed over to the Zimbabwean government.
“We are hoping that within the next two months we will be able to have the
donations handed over to the Zimbabwean government that will distribute to
respective areas. Our concern was to make sure there were enough resources
to make logistical arrangements easier,” said Jing.
Late last month Vice President Joice Mujuru opened up on the country’s food
insecurity when she said close to two million Zimbabweans were in desperate
need of food aid this year. - Alfred Tembo
Friday, 28 September 2012 11:23
BULAWAYO - Dutch ambassador to Zimbabwe, Barbara Joziasse, says ongoing farm
invasions in the country are fueling unemployment while worsening the plight
of ordinary citizens.
The country's unemployment rate, currently estimated at over 80 percent, has
been rising since the 2000 land invasions, which saw thousands losing their
Recently, ZANU-PF bigwigs in Masvingo invaded the Save Conservancy under the
controversial indigenisation and black economic empowerment crusade, a move,
however, condemned by Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Walter
Speaking at a Press conference in Bulawayo last Thursday, Joziasse said
there was nothing wrong with empowerment as long as it created more jobs and
enabled citizens to enjoy their civil and economic rights.
She, howeve,r said the "illegal seizures" had brought more harm than good to
the Zimbabwean economy.
"More importantly, even I think there are economic damages that are caused
by these illegal seizures and what I have seen over last year that I have
been here is that usually employment goes down; people lose their jobs," she
Condemning the controversial takeover of white-owned farms, Joziasse added:
"The assets are sold close to nothing and at the end of the day it is the
people looking for jobs and decent income that are bearing the brunt of
these illegal seizures."
The Netherlands envoy said forceful transfer of ownership from one hand to
another undermined investor confidence in the country.
"I don't believe that people are more empowered if no investment is coming
to the country, I don't believe it. The economic cake has to grow so that
everyone can enjoy it," she said.
Joziasse said her country was also "deeply concerned" with property seizures
as she felt the Bilateral Investment Promotion Agreement treaty with
Zimbabwe was not being respected.
She added that her government had engaged its Zimbabwean counterpart on the
matter, but nothing significant to date had come out of those engagements.
The Netherlands, through the Dutch Development Bank, invested US$40 million
into Zimbabwe last year, US$2 million of which went towards food security.
By Alex Bell
28 September 2012
An application by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, to have a maintenance
claim by his former lover Locadia Karimatsenga struck off the court roll has
Provincial magistrate Reuben Mukavi on Thursday dismissed the application,
which was filed on the basis that Karimatsenga’s claim did not comply with
But, Karimatsenga’s lawyer Everson Samukange opposed Tsvangirai’s bid
arguing it was a ‘mischievous’ application.
“The application before this court was done properly by the clerk of court
after an application by applicant (Karimatsenga). It has an affidavit which
constitutes the applicant’s oath. This application complies with regulations
of the Maintenance Act,” Samukange said.
Karimatsenga wants the Prime Minister to contribute US15,000 a month towards
her upkeep, insisting she is used to the high standard of living that
Tsvangirai had introduced to her. Karimatsenga still insists Tsvangirai is
her husband under customary law after he paid lobola to her parents in
November last year. The Prime Minister denies this.
The matter has been postponed to October 15.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
27 September 2012
A high level delegation from the European Union is reported to be in
Zimbabwe for critical talks to re-establish financial aid and cooperation,
which were suspended in 2002 when targeted sanctions were placed on the
According to the Daily News newspaper the team arrived Tuesday for talks,
which are part of ongoing political dialogue that started in 2009 when the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) was signed. The GPA called for the
coalition government to restore links that were severed by the targeted
The last such meeting took place in 2009 when the coalition government was
established. At the time the EU Aid and Development Commissioner Karel De
Gucht and a Swedish delegation reportedly met with all the Principals in
government. It is not clear who will meet the EU delegation this time
Three members of Zimbabwe’s re-engagement team travelled to Brussels in May
for talks to restore billions of dollars in investment funds, and to call
for a removal of the targeted sanctions. The delegation was comprised of
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC-N), Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) and ZANU PF’s
Then in July the EU suspended the measures restricting development aid. This
was hailed as a positive sign by the EU ambassador to Zim, Aldo Dell’Ariccia.
But the takeover of white owned businesses and farms has continued under the
guise of indigenization and empowerment, which could lead to the restrictive
measures being reinforced.
In addition, a group of senior ZANU PF officials were recently granted
concessions and hunting licenses in the Save Valley Conservancy, ignoring
warnings that their actions would endanger the country’s precious wildlife.
The chaos and lack of respect for the rule of law are likely to be
considered when the EU team evaluates the situation in Zimbabwe. And more
political and economic reforms are expected of the coalition government,
before the restrictive measures are relaxed further.
Harare, September 28, 2012: United States Ambassador Designate to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, says he is excited about the prospect of returning to Zimbabwe and looks forward to meeting, learning about and working with all sectors of Zimbabwean society.
“My family lived, worked and learned in Zimbabwe a decade ago and returning will be a new stage in our lives,” said Wharton in a recorded message released by the U.S Embassy on Friday (See: http://soundcloud.com/zimpas/us-embassy-amb-wharton-long). “We are excited about this opportunity to work with all of you again. I will need your help to know Zimbabwe of today. Americans and Zimbabweans have so much in common, family, faith hard work and love of the land which sustains our shared agricultural roots.”
Wharton, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, was previously Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of African Affairs at the Department of State. He joined the Bureau of African Affairs in 2009 as Director of the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, after a two-year assignment as Deputy Coordinator of the Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs.
The message from Wharton represents a new trend in diplomacy which has seen diplomats use new media tools to reach out to audiences. Previous U.S. Ambassador Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, was active on Facebook, while many U.S. ambassadors such as those in Thailand, Libya and India have engaged local populations via YouTube and other social media sites.
“Americans and Zimbabweans share a hunger for knowledge,” said Wharton. “The Library of Congress is the world’s greatest library, the most complete collection of what human beings know. It is available in Washington and online around the world for anyone who needs it. This freedom to organize and share information is essential to progress.”
A member of the Foreign Service since 1985, Mr. Wharton’s additional overseas assignments include posts in Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and South Africa.
“Many Americans have roots in Africa, and many Americans have an appreciation of African history, culture, and art on our society. I grew up in a home filled with African art, so the National Museum of African Art is one of my favorite places in Washington,” said Wharton.
Ambassador Wharton was sworn in on September 10th and is expected in the country next week. “If confirmed,” Wharton told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, “I will work to enable Zimbabwe to become a just, prosperous and democratic state that meets the needs of its people, contributes to development in the region, and plays an important role in world affairs.” In his message, he cites justice as one of the most important pillars to achieve this.
“We all deserve it and we all need strong institutions to defend and administer it,” said Wharton. “Nations prosper when all people are equal before the law. Zimbabweans and Americans have both fought for justice, know how important it is and know that it requires constant nurturing.”
# # #
ZimPAS is a product of the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section. Comments and queries should be directed to Sharon Hudson Dean, Counselor for Public Affairs, email@example.com Url: http://harare.usembassy.gov
24 September 2012
Jeremy Gauntlett on the region's destruction of the SADC Tribunal
SPEECH BY JEREMY GAUNTLETT SC TO THE MIDDLE TEMPLE SOUTH AFRICA CONFERENCE, SEPTEMBER 23 2012
A COURT TOO FAR?
REGIONAL COURTS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA AND EUROPE
There are three ways to view the advent of international courts - ‘Community law', as some style it - in Europe and Southern Africa.
The first is suggested by the title for this session: a noble dream (in the phrase Nicola Lacey has so tellingly used in her biography of HLA Hart), but one which wakes to disillusion, or dysfunction, or both.
The second is Lacey's antithesis: nightmare. There are two variants of this.
The first is that projected in Southern Africa by Zimbabwe, and other countries which (as I shall describe) have flocked to its standard. This nightmare asserts that decisions of the region's international law court stand to trump its domestic courts, and worse: the ultimate effect of an international court with final jurisdiction over separate nation-states is to destroy their autonomy, as inevitably it dislodges the constitutional cornerstone of each. That is because (the nightmare is elaborate) the price paid is the loss of parliamentary sovereignty and the simultaneous subordination of the nation-state's own highest law and own highest court.
It is only two decades since Sir William Wade proposed a requiem in modern constitutional law for terms like prerogative and sovereignty. But what today's discussion highlights is that they are resurgent. Their adherents (certainly in Southern Africa) include those who stand to lose most from their demise, or at least attenuation. Their scholarship is necessarily nostalgic. They explicitly hark back to these words of Dicey:
"The principle of parliamentary sovereignty means neither more nor less than this, namely, that Parliament thus defined, has, under the English constitution, the right to make or unmake any law whatever, and, further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament".
Of course for the developed notion of the rule of law, the first proposition is now anathema - as well as anachronism. Parliament, under the justiciable constitutions of countries in my region, is in principle not free ‘to make or unmake any law whatever', in the sense Dicey intimates. But it is the second proposition on which the focus today should fall: that there is no sense in which a domestic law can be trumped.
In Southern Africa, in quite a dramatic way in recent weeks, the nightmare has won through in a second form and the dream dispelled. Last month the Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) took place in Maputo. The Summit - a treaty organ comprising the heads of state of the 14 members of SADC - issued a communiqué announcing that it intended dismantling the current SADC Tribunal. This the sequel to the Summit's suspension of the Tribunal last year.
In its place will be put a new Tribunal, permitting no individuals access. The Tribunal will be stripped of its current jurisdiction which allows that. It will become an adjudicator of inter-state disputes. In the past 20 years these have comprised a dispute first between South Africa and Namibia, then Angola and Namibia, over the emergence of sandbanks in the estuaries of the meandering rivers which mark both borders; a similar squabble between Botswana and Namibia over a less evanescent but equally minute island in the middle of a similar river-border; and now a dispute whether by colonial treaty Malawi truly owns Lake Malawi (not one yet evinced by the phlegmatic inhabitants of the latter).
No international human rights issues in any of these instances. No access to the SADC Tribunal by any individual in any member state, in any of these circumstances. Those who drew the colonial borders in Bismarck's music room on the Wilhelmstrasse at the Congress of Berlin in 1848 would view such a body with equanimity, familiarity and even pride. Plus ca change....
The road to this terminus in Maputo for regional human rights and international law needs explanation.
Did the setting up of the SADC institutions mimic those for the EU, the visitor will first ask? Not quite. Lord Steyn describes the effect of the United Kingdom entering into the European Community in 1973 as achieving a divided concept of legal sovereignty:
"The European Communities Act 1972 is a truly fundamental law. Community law is a higher legal order than domestic law and within its sphere the Luxembourg court is the supreme judicial authority in our country. That was vividly illustrated in 1991 by the second Factortame case. There was a clash between community law and a later Act of the United Kingdom Parliament. The House of Lords granted an injunction to forbid a minister from obeying an Act of Parliament. The Act was disapplied. This decision sent seismic shockwaves through our legal system".
As we shall see, the seismic waves for SADC came after much the same period, and in much the same way, but with different and catastrophic results.
On 17 August 1992, the heads of state of the 14 members of SADC signed the SADC treaty. This itself provided (in Article 16 read with Article 9(1)(g)) for the setting up of the Tribunal. All the member states signed and ratified it.
Crucially for the dispute which followed, the Treaty also provided (Article 16(2)) that the composition, powers, functions, procedures and other related matters governing the Tribunal shall be as prescribed in a protocol. Later Article 16 was amended to make it clear that this protocol, the Protocol on the SADC Tribunal, was an integral part of the original Treaty, requiring no further ratification.
The amendment, all commentators to my knowledge (bar those writing in recent aid of Zimbabwe) accept, was purely declaratory, effecting no substantive change. Zimbabwe - although itself appointing a judge as a member of the Tribunal and repeatedly appearing before it, until awards were made against it - has come to challenge the Tribunal and its awards as a nullity, on the basis that it itself has not ratified the Protocol on the Tribunal.
Zimbabwe's legal contentions have been resoundingly rejected, most notably by an independent legal review commissioned by SADC and carried out by Cambridge's Dr Bartells. But through a campaign of incremental mobilisation of support for its antipathy for the Tribunal, it has brought home to other leaders in the region the implications of Tribunal rulings being made progressively against them. The result is the Maputo communiqué by the Summit, stripping the Tribunal of its human rights jurisdiction.
Let me give you three examples of the kind of work the SADC Tribunal has done in the short period of three years in which it effectively functioned. They serve to explain what turned Zimbabwe from a member state supporting the Tribunal to one asserting that it is a chimera and its rulings mere vapour.
The first concerns a man called Luke Tembani, the first black Zimbabwean ever to obtain freehold title to agricultural land in that country. He did that in 1980, at independence. He built up a considerable and successful farming enterprise, employing many, and with enough of a sense of community as to build a school on his farm providing education for over 300 children in the district. His misfortune was to borrow some money from Zimbabwe's Land Bank.
He was troubled, but not initially, when the onset of hyperinflation from 2000 saw monthly statements in which the interest on his debt achieved absurd proportions. Shortly the interest exceeded the (considerable) market capital value of his thriving farm. He tried to negotiate, but the Land Bank's calculator was inexorable. (Behind the calculator, it seems, there was a roving eye which had fallen on his farm). What was invoked against him was a statutory provision very similar to the one which has been struck down by the South African Constitutional Court.
The offensive provision was that the Land Bank was given the power by statute to determine in its backrooms an amount said to be owing, and then have this certified as a judgment debt. Under such measures, the courts are completely bypassed. Invoking the right to access to courts protected under the SADC Treaty, it was possible to obtain an order from the Tribunal that the provision was inconsistent with Zimbabwe's Treaty obligations.
A second case concerned a Zimbabwean human rights non-governmental organisation, which painstakingly assembled a group of over 40 litigants. They had succeeded in obtaining final judgments for damages from Zimbabwean courts, but the judgments were simply ignored by the government of Zimbabwe. The claims arose from assaults, and even torture, by members of the security forces of Zimbabwe.
The government sought to justify its failure to honour the judgments by invoking before the Tribunal the contention that Zimbabwe lacked the means to meet them. The Tribunal would have no truck with this. It granted an order holding the government of Zimbabwe in this respect too to be in breach of its obligations under the Treaty to provide access to justice for its citizens. The Tribunal ordered the government of Zimbabwe not only to honour its own judgments; it set in place a mechanism to have the awards revalorised so as to address the delay and the ravages of inflation.
The third instance is the best known, the ‘Campbell case'. It concerned first one, then ultimately 78, commercial farmers. They were Zimbabwean citizens, nearly all having obtained their farms on the open market after independence in 1980, many of them doing so on "certificates of no interest" by the Zimbabwean government. In 2005 amendment 17 to the Constitution of Zimbabwe was adopted.
It effected a radical change to the property clause in the Bill of Rights authorising the government Zimbabwe by ministerial decree to gazette such land as it wished to pass by that simple act from the private owner to the State for further distribution as it wished. It contained for good measure an ouster clause: any challenge to the provision or any act of execution under it was ousted from adjudication by any court. (Disturbingly, exactly that provision has in recent weeks been transferred to the new draft constitution for Zimbabwe. Like the Bourbon kings, Zimbabwe's constitution-writers have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing.)
The case takes its name from the lead farmer, Michael Campbell. Halfway through the rather drawn-out proceedings, he and his wife - both in their late 70's - and his son-in-law were abducted from their farm. They were beaten to such an extent that the son-in-law nearly lost his eye while Michael Campbell himself sustained head injuries from which last year he died. Into the mouth of his wife was placed a burning ember and she was required to sign a waiver of a claim then proceeding before the Tribunal.
Whether she did so is uncertain, because at some stage of her beatings, she lapsed into unconsciousness and the government of Zimbabwe in any event seems to have thought better of tendering it in evidence. Despite this, the litigation continued. Members of the family appeared, one in a wheelchair and with his head bandaged. The merits stage of the argument was reached. The government of Zimbabwe's legal team, which had procured a number of postponements, tried for one more.
The next senior judge, Dr Alberto Luis Mondlane - scion of a famous Mozambican revolutionary family - said, very quietly, in response to the application: "We are trying to build a house of justice in this region". The Tribunal (presided over by the Chief Justice of Mauritius) directed that the case continue. The Zimbabwean High Commissioner in Windhoek directed the legal team to withdraw. The court sat in silence as they did so, thereafter continuing with the proceedings.
A month or two later the Tribunal delivered an award which is available on the SADC Tribunal's website. It sustained the attack on the land seizure measure on all three bases argued. It held that the measures were arbitrary and affronted the rule of law, in the purported ouster of access to the courts. It held secondly that the measures were arbitrary in providing for a mere seizure, with no justiciable measure of compensation at all.
And thirdly, it held that the measures constituted discrimination in conflict with the requirements of the Treaty. This was because, although the race of those affected was never mentioned in the privative instruments, the seizure was only from people who happened to be white, and not because they were absentee or bad farmers, or because their landholdings were by some measure excessive, or by any other impartial criterion.
Concomitantly the measures benefitted only a class of political chefs, as they are known in Central Africa: the well-connected, the WaBenzi as East Africans express it in Swahili, by reference to the desired mode of transport. And so it happened that a courtroom containing predominantly white litigants who had said privately that they did not expect justice in Africa, but still hoped against reason for it, found it at the dispassionate and adept hands of a team of senior black judges from across the region.
The government of Zimbabwe at first ignored the Tribunal's award. Then successively the Minister of Justice and President attacked it. They were followed, unusually, by the Deputy Chief Justice of Zimbabwe taking the occasion of the official opening of the courts in 2009 - a ceremonial occasion usually confined to ritualistic exhortations to judicial officers to work harder and practitioners to speak and charge less - to deny the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.
This to an audience of magistrates and judges, and in the knowledge that the issue was likely to come not only to them but to him, too, in due course. It may be noted that every member of Zimbabwe's Supreme Court (following the departure last year of the last survivor of the Gubbay court, Wilson Sandura, who to his credit refused the offer) has accepted at least one confiscated farm from the government (with an all-terrain car in addition to the de rigeur Mercedes), yet continues to sit in land cases.
The Protocol on the Tribunal provides for the registration of its awards by domestic courts, so as to make them executable under local law. We proceeded with such an application. The allocated High Court judge (Patel J) just happened to be a former Attorney-General of Zimbabwe and thus a member of Cabinet, who as a member of the executive had been directly engaged in Zimbabwe's dealings with SADC on jurisdictional issues.
He considered this ambidexterity not to disqualify him. He disallowed the (usually very pro forma) interlocutory application for our ad hoc recognition as counsel in Zimbabwe for the purposes of the case - although such application had been granted to us many times in other matters before. Able Zimbabwean counsel however stepped into the breach, and delivered the argument which had been prepared. Interestingly, Patel J rejected the contention by the Zimbabwean government that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction over it.
Less surprisingly he dismissed the application for registration in Zimbabwe. He contrived to do so on the grounds that that would be "contrary to public policy" - because it would contradict what the domestic law and courts had authorised. That, of course, is Kafkaesque: the whole point of going to the International Tribunal was that the laws and court orders of the country had authorised that which was in conflict with Zimbabwe's international law obligation.
We pressed on. To the consternation of the government of Zimbabwe, we applied for registration of the Tribunal award in the High Court in Pretoria. The Zimbabwe government has assets in South Africa against which the costs order made by the Tribunal - given the conduct of Zimbabwe before it - could be executed. The Protocol authorises enforcement in all member states. Again, the government of Zimbabwe resorted to withdrawal from those proceedings too. But we said that it was too late, because it had already entered opposition, without any associated step of a special plea regarding jurisdiction, and by so doing, had consented to jurisdiction in South Africa.
In any event, we showed that in terms of Article 32 of the Protocol, jurisdiction existed to obtain such an order against any member state of SADC in another. The High Court upheld us. We proceeded to attach Zimbabwean government property in South Africa. Regrettably, the one executable asset for which we had hoped, an aircraft registered directly in the name of the government of Zimbabwe and on a state visit to the Jimmy Choo shop in Sandton, is yet to materialise.
An appeal by Zimbabwe against the Pretoria High Court order enforcing the award in South Africa was heard two weeks ago in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. The outcome is awaited, and accordingly I should not say anything further about that.
We return to Maputo, last month, to the heads of state gathered at the SADC Summit. Their conclave took place on the day of the deaths at the Marikana mine in South Africa, which has served to bury the news and avert the deserved international outcry.
The preceding 18 months had first seen SADC's Council of Ministers - its ministers of justice and attorneys-general - at Zimbabwe's prodding in effect suspend the operation of the Tribunal, at least as regards taking new cases. But that was not enough for Zimbabwe, because cases against it had already been lodged and were up for listing. The initial compromise was the commissioning of the independent review by Dr Bartells, to which I have referred. This reported in overwhelmingly favourable terms, as regards the Tribunal's jurisdiction (particularly its international human rights jurisdiction in respect of all individuals in SADC states) and functioning.
This was clearly not the desired answer, at least so far as Zimbabwe was concerned. The Council of Ministers, nonetheless, did not recommend to Summit the abolition of the crucial human rights jurisdiction. Yet the Summit overruled the Council, and that is why this result came to pass in Maputo. Why?
I venture two answers. One owes more to The Prince than a fraying allegiance to Dicey. This is realpolitik. It must have been explained to a country such as Botswana (or perhaps the other shoe dropped) that its manner of treatment of the San people - thanks to the rather discredited writings of Sir Lourens van der Post still better known by the rather derogatory term, ‘Bushmen of the Kalahari' - would be set to be challenged, soon, before the Tribunal.
Botswana's own courts have upheld its government's actions; it is open to question whether those actions would pass muster in terms of Botswana's human rights obligations under the Treaty. Or take Malawi: like Uganda (not a SADC member) entrenched criminal law provisions and discrimination enforced, often brutally, against gay people. Or Rwanda. Or South Africa itself, justly proud of a flagship constitution, but with a recurrent nostalgia for old ways of controlling the media and the legal profession, or subjecting rural women, bearing the greatest burdens of poverty and marginalisation, to a regime of customary law and traditional courts. These are just a few illustrative examples.
All power, George Orwell paraphrasing Lord Acton, is delightful: absolute power is absolutely delightful. Where countries function under own constitutions, with own courts, selected by own processes, why would leaders want to subject themselves to any further and less manageable constraint? What part of this, Machiavelli would ask, do we not follow?
The second answer is more rooted in legal reasoning. Lord Steyn has suggested that the European Communities Act 1972 ‘is a truly fundamental law': Community law ‘is a higher legal order than domestic law and within its sphere the Luxembourg court is the supreme judicial authority in our country'. Perhaps Tim Dutton will indicate whether he thinks that is accurate. For me, in relation to SADC, it is not - and indeed is a false argument seized upon to rally opposition to the Tribunal.
You see, it is said, for this mess of international potage you have sold out (sellout is the ultimate term of opprobrium in the region) on sovereignty. That you cannot do: the member state's constitution is the highest law. If it permits involuntary polygamy or circumcision at customary law, or active discrimination against or prosecution of homosexuals, or for that matter, genocide, there can in logic be no higher recourse.
Why Lord Steyn's hierarchy is false for SADC is this. The Treaty and Protocol create no appellate court. Their first premise is the exhaustion of any remedy in domestic law before the domestic court. Their second premise entails the inquiry whether the international-law obligation created for a member state in favour of individuals resident within it gives another remedy. That is not at the level of municipal law. It is not immediately exigible in the domestic court. It arises only on award by the Tribunal.
At this critical juncture the SADC Treaty learnt from the long litany of failures in enforcing international law obligations. How is the international-law pronouncement by the Tribunal at its seat in Windhoek to make an iota of practical difference in Chinhoyi or Lilongwe or the Kgalagadi Pans?
The Treaty firstly makes the Protocol an integral part of the Treaty itself (defeating in anticipation a drawing back by a member state, as Zimbabwe has done, from ratification of the Protocol). It secondly creates a mechanism (in Article 32 of the Protocol) for the registration in member states of awards, as if they were ordinary foreign judgments.
And so the international law award is not left to languish. It is domesticated. Its breach gives rise not only to the prospect of international sanctions against the member state by the Summit (which Art 33 of the Treaty read with Art 32 of the Protocol authorises), but also to the consequences which defiance of any domestic court order should attract, in any country where the domestic courts are truly courts and their judges truly judges.
This is not to make the SADC Tribunal ‘the highest judicial authority'. It is a different judicial authority. Its jurisdiction only exists in international law. It accepts as the premise for its own authority that in the domestic law of the member state a particular statute or executive action is lawful. But it asserts and enforces a different competence, one to which each member state bent its knee, pre-emptively and for the life of its membership of the community of states, on its ratification of the Treaty. It simultaneously agreed (through the Protocol incorporated via Article 16 of the Treaty) to the mechanism (Article 32 of the Protocol) which permits registration, and hence domestication, of the international award.
This is, of course, the particular nightmare of the rogue state. It may take great care, as Zimbabwe has done, to amendments (21, at last count) to its Lancaster House Constitution of 1980, and to the Bill of Rights itself. Both to emasculate it and then to prohibit court challenges to the emasculation. The rogue state may be even more fastidious in its selection of its own judges: quis custodiet custodes ipsos, after all? (To which, Machiavelli, his patience with our naivete now running out, would say - read, if nothing else, the title of my book. Or - if he were prescient - read Bush v Gore).
Hence the road to Maputo. A great triumph for our region's rogue state. A great setback for the rule of law, and for international human rights. The SADC Treaty, the Protocol on the Tribunal and the Tribunal - Justice Mondlane's ‘house of justice in the region' - are all eviscerated. Impunity is entrenched.
The Tribunal is overwhelmingly supported by donor aid, particularly from the member states of the EU. There is no reason why this should continue, for it expensively to adjudicate title to sandbanks in rivers, or tiffs over uninhabited atolls, or for its (now more carefully chosen) members to decorate international law gatherings.
Many of us in this room have lived through sanctions, used ultimately and cumulatively to great effect on the legal orders which once prevailed across several countries in the region. I would suggest that this Conference express itself on what has happened in Maputo, and call for the suspension of all funding of the Tribunal, and other organs of SADC, until once again individuals are able to access it.
Only then might Community law promise anything for a region of deep inequality, and uneven and only partial constitutionalism. The Tribunal, as a consequence of the Summit's decision at Maputo to reject the Council's recommendation, is a travesty. The last President of the Tribunal, Chief Justice Ariranga Pillay of Mauritius, said this after the Maputo Summit himself. There is no reason for bodies, people and states concerned about the rule of law, and the rights of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world, to be parties to the continued subventing of it.
Only if the jurisdiction of the Tribunal is restored might the SADC Treaty, like the Treaty of Rome in Lord Denning MR's arresting metaphor, be ‘like an incoming tide. It flows into the estuaries and up the rivers. It cannot be held back....'.
SC BA LLB (Stell) BCL (Oxon)
Member of the Cape and Johannesburg Bars, and of Brick Court Chambers, London
Bencher of the Middle Temple
 Dicey Introduction to the Law of the Constitution (8th ed) 3.
 Ex parte Secretary of State: R v Factortame Ltd (2)  1 AC 603.
 Johan Steyn Democracy through Law: Selected Speeches and Judgments (2004) xvi.
 Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
 An award-winning (shortlisted at Cannes and for a documentary Oscar) channel 4 documentary, Mugabe and the White African, has been made about the Campbell family and the SADC litigation, and is also available through Amazon.
 http://sadc-tribunal.org./ See too http://www/chr.up.ac.za/
 The panel comprised Pillay P (Mauritius), Motambo J (Zambia), Mondlane J (Mozambique), Kambovo J (Angola) and Tshosa J (Botswana).
 Gramara (Pvt) Ltd and Colin Bailie Cloete v Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Attorney-General of Zimbabwe Case no. HC33/2009 (24 November 2009) unreported.
 Johan Steyn op cit xvi
 Bulmer Limited v Bollinger  Ch 401 at 418.
By Alex Magaisa
I stayed up last night to watch live the speech by President Mugabe at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York. When I was a boy, we would walk for miles to go and listen to Mugabe. In those days, he was eloquent, sharp and promising.
Last night was a grim reminder that time is a relentless warrior.
The speech itself was not unpredictable – we expected the rant against the West; the castigation of sanctions, etc. In many ways, President Mugabe speaks very passionately for the African continent; for the small nations – against the big lads on the international playground.
He revels in that role and in recent years, isolated by the West, he has found it easier to throw the away the garb of diplomacy and does not hesitate to call a spade by its proper name, a circumstance that endears him so well to those who feel trampled upon and ignored by the bigger boys; to the “others” of this world.
No one can seriously argue with his statements about the apparent injustice of a UN system in which the Security Council is dominated by only a few powerful states; in which Africa and indeed the rest of the developing world does not have permanent representation or veto power and the General Assembly is no more than a talk shop.
These are things that matter to small, marginalised countries and President Mugabe is always ready to stand up for them and one might add, that’s not a bad thing to do. The playground always does need the fellow who, feeling there is nothing to lose, stands up to the big boys.
Nevertheless, the irony of it all does not and cannot escape us. As I listened to the castigation of unilateralism; of bullies and war-mongers on the international stage, I thought to myself, does President Mugabe realise when he complains about these things on the international stage that these are exactly the same things that his opponents complain of on the national stage?
Does it ever occur to the President that when he asks for multilateralism, cooperation, peace, decency and fairness, that is exactly what his opponents ask of him on the national stage; that the frustration that he feels and expresses so eloquently regarding the arrogance of his nemeses on the international stage is exactly the same frustration that his opponents feel and express so loudly regarding his party’s arrogance on the national stage?
Does it occur that when he exhorts the international community to adhere to the values and principles of the UN Charter that is exactly what his partners under the Global Political Agreement (GPA) ask of him regarding the need for respect of the principles and values of that agreement?
So I thought, let us have a look at his speech and just turn the words slightly, so that where he refers to the “United Nations” we refer to the “Government of Zimbabwe”; where he refers to the “international” we refer to the “national”; where he refers to the “global” we refer to the “national” and where he refers to the “UN Charter” we refer to the “Constitution” or the GPA and see how that reads as an alternative national speech.
And the following table presents a selection of nuggets from his speech. The first column captures what the President said and the second is a variation of the same which is the alternative – as it would read if it were made on the national stage, in response to local events and circumstances:
|PRESIDENT MUGABE UN SPEECH||HOW IT WOULD READ ON THE NATIONAL STAGE|
|President Mugabe:“In the quest for a more just and equitable international order, Zimbabwe strongly opposed to unilateralism, is committed to multilateralism. We therefore would like to see a United Nations that continues to be a guarantor of world peace and security, and a bulwark in the fight for justice mad equality among nations”.||The Alternative Speech:“In the quest for a more just and equitable national order, Zimbabweans are strongly opposed to unilateralism, are committed to multilateralism. We therefore would like to see a Government that continues to be a guarantor of national peace and security, and a bulwark in the fight for justice mad equality among people”.|
|President Mugabe:“Equally important, the United Nations must in future never allow itself to be abused by any member state or group of States that seeks to achieve parochial partisan goals. The Charter of the United Nations clearly stipulates it as an international body that should work for the good of all the peoples of the world”.||The Alternative Speech:“Equally important, the Government must in future never allow itself to be abused by any party or group of parties that seek to achieve parochial partisan goals. The Constitution clearly stipulates it as an national body that should work for the good of all the peoples of Zimbabwe”.|
|President Mugabe:“We have noticed, with deep regret, that the provisions of the United Nations Charter dealing with the peaceful settlement of disputes, have, on occasion, been ignored by the Security Council. In contrast, there appears to be an insatiable appetite for war, embargos, sanctions and other punitive actions, even on matters that are better resolved through multilateral cooperation”.||The Alternative Speech:“We have noticed, with deep regret, that the provisions of the GPA, have, on occasion, been ignored by the President and ZANU PF. In contrast, there appears to be an insatiable appetite for violence and other punitive actions, even on matters that are better resolved through multilateral cooperation”.|
|President Mugabe:“The warmongers of our world have done us enough harm. Wherever they have imposed themselves, chaos in place of peace has been the result”.||The Alternative Speech:“The violence-mongers of our country have done us enough harm. Wherever they have imposed themselves, chaos in place of peace has been the result”.|
|President Mugabe:“For the international community to successfully deal with global economic, social, security and environmental challenges, the existence of international institutions to handle them and a culture of genuine multilateralism are critical. The United Nations, its specialised agencies, and international financial institutions, are the only instruments available for responding effectively to the global challenges we face in this global village. It is therefore critical that these structures are reformed, and realigned in response to both global challenges and our contemporary realities, in order to better serve our collective interests.”||The Alternative Speech:“For the national community to successfully deal with national economic, social, security and environmental challenges, the existence of national institutions to handle them and a culture of genuine multilateralism are critical. The Government, its agencies and institutions are the only instruments available for responding effectively to the national challenges we face in this nation. It is therefore critical that these structures are reformed, and realigned in response to both national challenges and our contemporary realities, in order to better serve our collective interests”.|
|President Mugabe:“This august Assembly is the most representative organ within the United Nations family. We must therefore dedicate ourselves to finding consensus on measures to revitalise it, so that it fulfils its mandate in accordance with the provisions of the Charter. We wish to reiterate our deep concern that the mandate, powers and jurisdiction of the General Assembly are shrinking as a consequence of the Security Council gradually encroaching upon the Assembly’s areas of competence. This, in our view, upsets the delicate balance envisaged under the Charter, and undermines the overall effectiveness of the United Nations system. The General Assembly must remain the main deliberative, policy-making organ of the United Nations.”||The Alternative Speech:“This august Parliament is the most representative organ within the State. We must therefore dedicate ourselves to finding consensus on measures to revitalise it, so that it fulfils its mandate in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. We wish to reiterate our deep concern that the mandate, powers and jurisdiction of Parliament are shrinking as a consequence of the Government gradually encroaching upon the Parliament’s areas of competence. This, in our view, upsets the delicate balance envisaged under the Constitution, and undermines the overall effectiveness of the State system. Parliament must remain the main deliberative, law-making organ of the State”.|
|President Mugabe:“For how long, Mr President, will the international community continue to ignore the aspirations of a whole continent of fifty-four countries? We shall not be bought-off with empty promises, nor shall we accept some cosmetic tinkering of the Security Council disguised as reform”.||The Alternative Speech:“For how long, Mr President, will the Government continue to ignore the aspirations of a whole nation of 13 million people? We shall not be bought-off with empty promises, nor shall we accept some cosmetic tinkering of the Constitution disguised as reform”.|
The point quite simply is that while the President tries to make all the right noises for the small boys on the world stage, it is useful to pause and reflect upon the fact that there are also small boys on the national stage who feel exactly the same way about him and his party and try to make the right noises for the small people on the national stage.
When his Prime Minister complains about unilateralism in the appointment of Governors, Police and Military Commanders; when Welshman Ncube complains about being sidelined in the meetings of GPA Principals – they are the small boys who also feel ignored and harassed by the big boy on the national stage against the letter and spirit of the GPA.
When ZANU PF arrogantly struts on the national stage and insists on wholesale and unreasonable changes to the draft Constitution simply to suit its own views, it is the same arrogance that the President accuses of the big boys on the international stage.
In short, much of what was said has parallels on the national stage. If he can listen to his speech as if it were spoken on the national stage by one of his partners, and if he can do what he exhorts his colleagues on the international stage to do, then Zimbabwe could be in a much better place.
That certainly would be a good start because all those things makes sense on the international stage but they make sense on the national stage, too.
Dr Alex Magaisa is a Lawyer and Senior Lecturer based at the Kent Law School in the United Kingdom.
Friday, 28 September 2012 11:59
The invasion of Save Valley Conservancy has threatened the tourism sector
which has been on a rebound lately, writes Tinashe Madava
AS the largest wildlife sanctuary in the country, Save Valley Conservancy in
the restive and volatile political province of Masvingo, is a haven for a
variety of animals - the hunter and hunted alike.
From a moneymaking perspective, the rich pickings associated with such a
sanctuary are immense. The tourism safari business has a potential of raking
in a cool US$30 million per hunting season, which normally starts in April
until November, for a country hard-pressed for hard currency.
The United States is the biggest customer of the hunting industry with
trophy exports of 80 percent of total exports per any given hunting season
So, when Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Francis
Nhema issued hunting permits to 25 black farmers allocated plots at the Save
Valley Conservancy in the Lowveld, a storm was bound to erupt because the
area is a cash-cow.
Nhema's move was seen as detrimental to efforts to rebuild Zimbabwe's
tourism sector. Yet the Environment Minister had for long been seen as a
moderate in ZANU-PF, far removed from the shenanigans of some of his
colleagues in the liberation war party who have been accused of embracing a
looting culture at the expense of the majority of Zimbabweans.
The local community, conservationists as well as political foes, saw the
parceling out of the Save Valley Conservancy as nothing else but a looting
exercise by a greedy elite within ZANU-PF.
Nhema came under fire for awarding the permits while Tourism Minister,
Walter Mzembi and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) also received flak
for criticising Nhema's move.
In fact, war veterans besieged Mzembi's office led by Joseph Chinotimba, one
of the recipients of the hunting permits.
Most of the beneficiaries granted the 25 year leases at the prime wildlife
sanctuary are ZANU-PF politicians and top military officials.
These include Shuvai Mahofa, Stan Mudenge, Titus Maluleke, Lieutenant
Colonel David Moyo, Major General Gibson Mashin-gaidze, Retired Colonel
Claudius Makova, Assistant Commissioner Connel Dube, Major General Engelbert
Rugeje, Brigadier General Livingstone Chineka, and Masvingo Provincial
Intelligence Officer Chibaya.
Health Deputy Minister, Douglas Mombeshora, ZANU-PF central committee
member, Enock Porusingazi, Members of Parliament Ailess Baloyi, Abraham
Sithole, Samson Mukanduri, Noel Mandebvu, Ronald Rundava, war veteran leader
Chinotimba and the late Vice-President Simon Muzenda's son, Tongai are also
on the list of the controversial recipients.
That this came only four months after a report by the Parliamentary
Committee on Natural Resources had condemned the occupation of the
conservancy has worried many.
Legislators had recommended that conservancies must not be parceled out to
individuals at the expense of whole communities that were earmarked to
benefit in the spirit of indigenisation. They said the Natural Resources
Ministry should award leases through share transfers, joint ventures and
The conservancy engaged with the Ministry of Environment and the Zimbabwe
Parks and Wildlife Management Authority over a period of three years between
2006 and 2009 with plans to bring increased benefit to neighbouring
communities as well as to increase indigenous shareholding in the
In a statement last month, the Save Valley Conservancy said it has long held
the view that the indigenisation policy should take the form of community
involvement and benefit and hence formed the Save Valley Conservancy
Comm-unity Trust, incorporating five neighbouring rural district councils.
So, the parliamentary committee had concluded that; "These beneficiaries
were merely imposed on conservators despite assurances from the Ministry of
Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment that there was a
transparent system in place to identify indi-genous partners through the
Zimbabwe Inve-stment Authority's independent board using the databases for
both foreign and local investors."
With the hunting season running from April to November each year, critics
questioned the wisdom of awarding hunting permits in the middle of the
hunting season. They smelt a rat.
Critics point out that when the conservancy was formed in 1991 with the
approval of the government and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management
Authority, opportunities to invest were open to all. None of the ZANU-PF
bigwigs came forward.
They therefore questioned the timing of the scramble for Save Conservancy at
a time when watershed elections are expected before June next year. They say
there are elements in ZANU-PF who fear that the party might lose at the
elections and so have embarked on asset grabbing to accumulate wealth before
going out of office.
But reports indicate that the appropriation of the Save Valley Conservancy
has also ushered an era of widespread poaching in the area, especially the
rhino, whose numbers are said to be fast dwindling.
There is extensive habitat destruction as well as large-scale destruction of
the perimeter fence. Conservationists have since raised the red flag as the
Added to that, wild animals have been wreaking havoc in some communities
bordering the conservancy after breaching the perimeter fence, which is no
longer being maintained properly.
Reports say lions and elephants are killing livestock and destroying crops
from the communities. Bikita district shares a border of nearly 350
kilometres with the Save Valley Conservancy.
Hyenas, which are carriers of the deadly rabies also cross into the
communities unchecked presenting huge health risks for the livestock in the
Mzembi recently admitted that while the government has not had a wildlife
census to show the impact of the land reform exercise on the economy, the
preoccupation with Save Conservancy should alert authorities that the
wildlife inherited on the farms may already be depleted.
Although President Robert Mugabe has reportedly stepped into the fray and
ordered that all conservancies be turned into National Parks, safeguards
need to be put in place to make sure that such a scenario is not repeated.
In fact, it remains to be seen whether President Mugabe's directives would
be followed to the later.
Traditional chiefs from the area have pleaded with the President to
intervene amid concerns that communities were being marginalised and
shortchanged through the parceling out of the conservancy.
Thus President Mugabe's intervention, if it bears fruit, would be greeted
with much gratitude in the area while the party itself and most individuals
implicated in the scramble for the valley will have alienated themselves
from the majority of voters.
Either way, the invasion of Save Valley Conservancy has threatened the
tourism sector, which has been on a rebound lately.
While efforts to limit the damaged are underway, it remains to be seen
whether Save Conservancy itself would quickly recover to regain the shine it
once had as one of the world's largest wildlife sanctuaries.