- Fragile political environment
- Springtime – Eddie Cross
- Gender Disparity in Zimbabwe Parliament Upsets Women
- Sanctions – then and now
- ZANU PF renews ‘retaliation’ threat over sanctions
- Power sector will not improve under indigenization policy
- ZRP silent on roadblock petition
- Hope beyond SADC: Chamisa
- MDC cries foul over SADC endorsement of elections
- Gukurahundi : How Zimbabwe assisted apartheid South Africa
- Remember the totemless ones?
- MDC statement on SEOM report
- Kenyan lawmakers debate ICC pullout
- Kenya votes to quit ICC, days before deputy president’s trial
- COURT WATCH 14/2013
- 90 special ballots went missing: Lawyer
- Mudenda to resign from rights commission
- Zanu (PF) militia behind bars
- Air Zim’s new routes | The Zimbabwean
- Silos empty as farmers battle for inputs
- Zimbabwe chief prosecutor orders MDC lawyers probe
- Elephant Cyanide Poisoning Could Kill Hundreds
- Poachers poison 41 elephants in Hwange
- Bakers’ benevolence
- Residents blast councillors’ inauguration delays
- Zanu-PF speaks on amending Constitution
The future begins now by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via The future begins now | The Zimbabwean by Vince Musewe The mental abuse that we Zimbabweans experienced, first through colonialism and now through our politics, has conditioned us to accept abuse. The reason Zimbabwe is where it is now is because we have put our politicians on a pedestal and they have become too central in our lives. We have given them the power to determine almost everything that affects us. As a result, we have limited ourselves as a people. We stroke their despicable egos in every sense – and any human whose ego is needlessly inflated, will tend to be abusive towards others. I must dwell on these things because I am of the opinion that we must first psychologically diminish the power that we have given to others in order to empower ourselves. We must stop complaining about our circumstances and take our power back before we can even think of creating a modern democracy. That is why an elected President can threaten to punish those in Harare and in Bulawayo because they did not vote for him and it is acceptable. This is clearly against the constitution, which he swore to adhere to not so long ago. This led me to think about whether we really need central government at all. Imagine, for example, if we decided to run Harare without central government interference? That could be the best thing that ever happened! Many readers continue to ask me what we must do now. My advice to them is very clear; refuse to accept abuse – first in your mind. Remove that throne you have created within you for anyone in your life that abuses or does not respect who you are. Take back your personal power so that you may become who you truly are. Once you do that, you will be amazed at who you can become. The limits we have are imagined and we must break those limits first, in order to change our circumstances. You see, these things start in our homes. I continue to see people who are in abusive relationships who are not happy and are not living to their full potential, but still stay in these relationships. They have mentally accepted to be treated just as our politicians and even our police continue to treat us: with no respect and with no dignity. Our children also face the same issues, especially the girl child. This culture of abuse is found in homes, at work, in business, at hospitals, at the passport office, at schools and in all places where we interact with each other. We have become so used to abuse that if we don’t get it we feel that something is missing. That is wrong. In my opinion, you cannot have democracy in a home where you are abused and therefore, you will never have democracy in a society or country where people are generally abused as is the case in Zimbabwe. These are the reasons that we rejected colonialism and racial discrimination in the first place. Our history of colonialism is still within us and we seem to have learnt it well – where those with position almost have a right to abuse or mistreat those under them. You just have to talk to some maids and hear how their black madams treat them. Talk to lodgers and see how their landlords treat them. Talk to workers and see how their managers mistreat them. See how young males treat their girlfriends who accept violence and then say it is because of love. What rubbish. Unfortunately these habits have permeated all our public and private institutions and become our “normal” way of life. Our leaders use this against us to strengthen their hold on power. This mental abuse has conditioned us to accept the myth that we are indeed second class citizens, whose only use is to deliver the vote. We must be intelligent and eradicate this abuse. We must change how we think as a society. This, of course, will take generations and a concerted effort by each and every one of us, to ensure that we are proud enough, strong enough and fearless enough to claim our space. We must imagine a different Zimbabwe first before it can come to pass. As within, so without. I challenge you my readers today, to look deep within you and begin to remove in your mind and imagination those things that are preventing us from creating what we desire in Zimbabwe. It is not about what the politicians may say or do, it is about the power we have given them, in our minds. Once we realise that, nobody can ever threaten us to vote for them in the future because we will simply reject that. We are the captains of our destiny. Asijiki. – Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare; you may contact him on email@example.com
Fragile political environment by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Fragile political environment | The Zimbabwean by Adrian Mutigwe As Zimbabwe’s new legislature officially assumed office this week – a precursor to the appointment of a Cabinet and the swearing into office of local authority councillors – peace monitors are anxious that the country is on a political and economic knife-edge. Despite the relative peace witnessed in the run-up, during and after the July 31 poll, the situation remains fragile unless political leaders find a common ground, says the Zimbabwe Peace Project, a peace monitoring organisation. “The conduct of each and every Zimbabwean matters most in ensuring there is harmony,” said Lindani Dube, the Secretary General of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and a ZPP board member.A hard hat area In its July report released recently, the ZPP observed: “Elections in Zimbabwe are a ‘hard hat’ area where the strong and mighty rule the roost at the expense of the weak and poor. “We call upon all citizens to put the interest of the nation first and implore political parties in their diversity to observe peace, tolerance and love as they conclude their campaigns across the country.” President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party won the July 31 election by a two-thirds Parliamentary majority in circumstances disputed by his main rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC. ‘The journey towards the elections was long and arduous’ Tsvangirai initially filed a court challenge of the result citing what he said was a surfeit of electoral malpractices and irregularities. He later abandoned that route, arguing that he was being legally obstructed from accessing key evidence he needed to mount a credible case. Tsvangirai’s actions followed a High Court order denying him an earlier plea to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release voting records and materials he intended to use to put together a body of evidence against Mugabe and Zanu (PF)’s declared victory. Consequences While Mugabe’s inaugural speech when he took the Oath of Office was largely conciliatory, he turned the corner barely a week afterwards threatening his opponents, especially residents of Harare and Bulawayo, to brace themselves for the consequences of voting for Tsvangirai and the MDC-T. Zimbabwe has a clear history of post-election violence and retribution. In the 1985, the late Joshua Nkomo’s supporters were severely attacked in most urban areas even after he had lost to Zanu (PF) by a huge margin. Twenty years later, Mugabe displaced more than a million people, and destroyed their homes and businesses under the guise of clearing urban blight in an act of retribution code-named Operation Murambatsvina. This was after Zanu (PF) claimed a two-thirds Parliamentary majority in March 2005. Political intoleranceIntolerance to alternative views continued into 2008 after Mugabe lost to Tsvangirai in the March general election. Hundreds of MDC-T activists were murdered and hounded from their homes as a result. Of late, Mugabe has renewed his attacks on both the opposition and on Western countries for what he described as their refusal to endorse his victory and for questioning the legitimacy of the electoral outcome. At the burial of Mike Karakadzai, declared a national hero for participating in the liberation war, Mugabe further took a swipe against Western companies in Zimbabwe for their slow response to open up their ownership to indigenous people. A few days later, at a similar ceremony to honour the late nationalist, Enos Nkala, Mugabe was unkind to Tsvangirai describing him as a “buffoon” devoid of any political depth to warrant a national leadership position Zimbabwe requires. An arduous journey The ZPP says it recorded human rights violations, though on a reduced scale, in almost all the districts before the election. The existence of the violations showed that peace remained fragile. “The journey towards the July 31 elections was long and arduous; and has had a heavy toll on the economy, social cohesion and political environment in the country,” said a ZPP representative. “As the Zimbabwe Peace Project we urge citizens to maintain and retain their humane and peaceful nature and desist from all activities that may hurt fellow citizens.”
Springtime – Eddie Cross by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via email In the northern hemisphere the last days of summer have come and gone. I once asked a Canadian when they thought summer was and he replied – “I think we had summer last year on the 17th of August”. He came from Calgary and they have a mean variation in temperatures from mid-summer to mid winter of over 60 degrees Celsius. Beautiful place: lousy weather. Many people say we have the best weather in the World in Zimbabwe, our Winters are chilly at night, but warm and dry in the day, our summers are wet and warm – but humidity is never a real problem and you can play golf just about every day of the year. Perhaps the worst season is spring – hot days, zero humidity, often there is a thick blanket of smoke and dust haze, wind and glorious sunsets. But every season has its compensations and ours in spring are the flowering trees and shrubs. The Jacaranda trees, an import from Brazil, are coming into flower and soon the avenues will be a blue and purple haze with a carpet of flowers in the early morning. In the lowveld there is a tiny shrub which is absolutely nothing to look at but which bursts into a blaze of yellow in spring – yellow so rich it defies description. Then there are our other flowering shrubs and creepers and the amazing variety of pastel colors in the Msasa and Mountain Acacia forests. In the hotter and drier regions the Knobthorn comes out in a mass of pale yellow flowers – so thick that they seem to provide a cloud of color along the river banks. We were in the Matopo National park recently on a clear blue sky day, warm and mild and just magnificent. The trees in their new foliage and the grass yellow and white, birds active with nesting and the granite hills basking in the sun, showing no sign of life but simply hibernating and waiting for the first rains when they will come to life overnight. But something is missing – the farms are silent, desecrated and abandoned. In earlier days when the country was just as much in crisis as it is today (was it ever any different?) we could always retreat to the rural areas where the farmers were out in their fields, plowing and planting, sprinklers running on newly planted crops. Cattle were out on the veld – cows dropping their calves and everyone racing against the time when the first rains would fall, that marvelous smell of fresh earth and rain that comes with it and the fact that we could all look forward to another year. Somehow you knew that if a farmer was doing his land preparation that he would be there in a year’s time. You knew that if he was planting trees he would be there in 10 to 20 years. If he was building a dam or a new homestead that he was thinking of the next generation. They were symbols of the fact that life goes on and that faith in the future is not displaced. Somehow this year is worse than before and there is very little in the way of land preparation under way anywhere. Zimbabwe is waking up to the fact that this is not the spring we all hoped for and expected. Yesterday I went to Parliament to e sworn in for my second five year term to be confronted by hordes of people clad in yellow and green and waving their fists at me. I ignored them, went into the House, had my name called and then took the oath of office with other members. When I signed my name in the huge register, I could not help feeling that I was doing so after all who had gone before, Ian Smith once stood here, Garfield Todd, Lord Malvern who had been Prime Minister for 35 years. We left Parliament two months ago – then holding a majority in the lower House, have come back as the Opposition with 72 seats in a House of 270 Members. Unable to block legislation if we want to but providing a voice for the majority in this beautiful, but broken land. After 13 years of struggle, 5 elections and 4 years of the GNU we are no further forward than we were in 2000, in fact we are further back than we were then. Now we know that the regions commitment to democratic norms and values is seriously compromised and that they are not prepared to support the rule of law in regional States if it encumbers the entrenched oligarchies that control power and privilege. Our major achievement in the last four years was to win the new Constitution – only to have this great advance compromised by the blatant manipulation of the Constitutional Court, the very Court that is charged with interpreting and protecting the Constitution in our society. Despite their clear obligation to do so, ZEC still refuses to release an electronic version of the voters roll used in the past election or the records created on the day and now stored in some 30 000 boxes in a State warehouse. Both are “smoking guns” and would give us the story of what happened in the elections and how the peoples will was subverted. We now face many challenges – failed agricultural reform, dying industry and fragile banks, a huge import bill for everything from bread to toothpaste, collapsed infrastructure – Gweru has not had water for a week; Bulawayo is running out of water, half of all residents in Harare, one of the great cities of Africa have no water. The State is bankrupt, our foreign relations non-existent and there is no confidence in any of our institutions or future. Capital flight is rampant and investor inflows frozen in its tracks by renewed threats of indigenisation and expropriation of private assets. This situation is not made any better or easier by the deepening crisis in South Africa where a quarter of a million workers are on strike, the loss of incomes must be running at $100 million a day and confidence is declining rapidly in all sectors. Suddenly the ANC looks insecure and although they are unlikely to be unseated in 2014, 2018 looms large and threatening with the possible emergence of a new, leftist workers Party which will seek to challenge the ANC. The “Arab Spring” is rapidly turning into a long winter’s night in the Middle East and any military strike in Syria is unlikely to speed the dawn of a better day. The same threats apply in Zimbabwe and it is time for leadership; leadership that will recognise that if Africa is going to find its spring, that we need to end our long winters night. Our people are weary and dispirited, they need direction and hope and so far both are absent. Eddie Cross Harare 4th September 2013
Gender Disparity in Zimbabwe Parliament Upsets Women by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Gender Disparity in Zimbabwe Parliament Upsets Women The eighth parliament of Zimbabwe was expected to set a record in the region and the world over by achieving a 50-50 representation in the July harmonised elections. Many in the women’s movement were angered by political parties in the country failing to field more women candidates, especially when the constitution advocates for such representation in all political offices in the country. Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change formations fielded a combined 90 women compared to 663 males who participated in the elections, a far cry from equal representation. But more women were able to win parliamentary seats, thanks to the proportional representation system. To map the way forward the new women lawmakers met in the capital this week to strategise on how they can make an impact in the next five years. Meeting under the banner of the Women in Politics Support Unit (WIPSU), the women parliamentarians agreed there was an urgent need to start restrategising for the 2018 elections as they failed dismally this year to increase the number of women in the august house in line with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol on gender and development. They want the government and political parties to support women’s participation in politics. Their argument is that women can contribute more to development of the country, a senior official with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has said. WIPSU programmes manager Patricia Muwandi says her organisation brought the women lawmakers together at the meeting at the Harare International Conference Centre to create a platform for them to reflect on the July 31 elections, share experiences and strategise for the future. Muwandi said women are disappointed with the low number of women who participated in the just-ended elections, adding not much was done by all the major political parties in the country to implement the 50-50 representation policy, serve for verbal promises. WIPSU, which over the years has been supporting women politicians in the country, is disappointed by political parties fielding fewer women in the July elections preferring to allow female candidates to go into parliament through the proportional representation system where 60 seats were set aside for women. Outgoing Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister, Olivia Muchena, said the women who made it into parliament were nevertheless celebrating their success, irrespective of political affiliation. WIPSU works with women from across the political divide under the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, leading discussions on issues affecting women’s participation in politics, including helping them raise their debating skills and related issues. The organisation is now working on developing what it says is a women’s agenda to be used by all women parliamentarians to push policies that will encourage female participation in politics and also to ensure that whatever they agree on in the women’s caucus carries the day in the house.
Sanctions – then and now by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Sanctions – then and now | The Zimbabwean by Magari Mandebvu Some readers have asked about the sanctions we had before independence. Those were real sanctions, even if they weren’t complete. British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s 1960 speech in Cape Town on a “wind of change blowing in Africa” speeded independence for Britain’s African colonies. The then Rhodesia already had a parliament, but it only represented the white minority (240,000 out of a population of 4 million). Successive British governments insisted that there must be “No Independence Before Majority African Rule”. The white settlers did not accept this. Ian Smith became Prime Minister by a coup within the Rhodesian Front party and tried to lead Rhodesia to independence under white control. In November 1965 he declared independence unilaterally (UDI). Britain insisted that this was an act of rebellion; the UN objected especially to the racist character of the rebel regime and called on member states to sever economic ties with Rhodesia, recommending sanctions barring members from selling petroleum products and military hardware to the rebels. In December 1966, the UN imposed a ban on these and on the purchase of Rhodesian tobacco, chrome, copper, asbestos, sugar, meat and hides. No international government recognised the rebel Rhodesian regime as legitimate, though South Africa and Portugal, which then ruled Mozambique, broke the sanctions. Britain imposed more sanctions of its own, making it difficult to replace or repair industrial equipment in Rhodesia. It also sent a naval squadron to the Mozambique Channel to monitor oil deliveries in Beira, to the pipeline to Umtali (Mutare), and to deter “by force, if necessary, vessels reasonably believed to be carrying oil destined for (Southern) Rhodesia”. Switzerland and West Germany, which were not UN members, did business with Rhodesia. Japan continued to accept more Rhodesian exports than any other nation, and Iran provided oil. A 1971 US law amendment permitted American firms to go on importing Rhodesian chromium and nickel because of their “strategic importance.” So there were big holes in the sanctions, but nobody, not even the South Africans, would defy the UN by openly recognising “independent Rhodesia”. In 1970, the US government declared that UDI would not be recognised “under any circumstances”. Sanctions did force Rhodesia to ration petrol and reduced tobacco exports to a trickle, which made commercial farmers turn to maize as a crop they could market at home. This benefited the entire population, as maize meal became plentiful and cheap. In spite of ingenious “import substitution” manufacturing equipment was growing old, threatening industry with collapse in the long run. Rhodesians could only travel to South Africa, Portugal and its colonies, and non-members of the UN; the British government cancelled any passports they found, but gave “UK & Colonies” passports to opponents of the regime. The war added to the pressure on the rebels. During the 1970s half the white schoolchildren left the country; official migration statistics did not record how many adults “took the gap”, but this suggests half the parents went also. Those sanctions were a far cry from today’s British and EU personal measures that only prevent some of the Zanu (PF) elite from travelling to those countries and accessing their foreign bank accounts. It is the land grabs by the chefs, not their inability to shop in Oxford Street or New York’s Fifth Avenue, that hurt us. Of course, nobody will do business with people who don’t pay their debts or keep their promises, but that is not “sanctions”; it’s just sensible if you want to survive in business.
ZANU PF renews ‘retaliation’ threat over sanctions by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via ZANU PF renews ‘retaliation’ threat over sanctions | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell ZANU PF has echoed threats voiced by its leader Robert Mugabe, to seek retaliatory action for the Western sanctions still in place against him and members of his regime. Mugabe last month threatened “tit for tat” action against Zim based companies from Britain and the US, if the Western powers maintained their targeted restrictive measures against his regime. The threat was then renewed this week by the ZANU PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, in reaction to the US position that its sanctions policy will not be reviewed. In a statement to the NewsDay newspaper on Wednesday, US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton said his government did not agree with the regional SADC Election Observer Mission report, which hailed the July 31st polls as “generally credible” and an “expression of the will of the people”. ZANU PF’s Gumbo was then quoted by the same newspaper as saying that his party was “not worried” about the sanctions. He then echoed Mugabe’s retaliation threat, saying: “When we take action on their companies, we will tell you.” Australia and the European Union (EU) have said they would only reconsider their sanctions policies after going through the full election reports by SADC and the African Union. Political analyst Clifford Mashiri told SW Radio Africa that he doubted that the other western nations would divert away from the US position, especially since the measures were imposed for issues like vote rigging, “These elections are not credible and you don’t need to look too closely to see that the elections were rigged. So the US position is the right one. The EU did say before that it would be guided by SADC, but that was just politicking and in this case they will not go against the US,” Mashiri said.
Power sector will not improve under indigenization policy by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Power sector will not improve under indigenization policy | SW Radio Africa by Tichaona Sibanda The only way Zimbabwe’s power sector can improve is through a massive flow of investment for infrastructure expansion and refurbishment, an MDC-T MP said on Thursday. Settlement Chikwinya, who was re-elected MP for Mbizo in KweKwe in the July 31st poll, said he does not see the country managing to expand the power generating infrastructure as there is no money for it. Power in Zimbabwe is primarily generated from thermal and hydro energy. The country needs in excess of $4 billion for the development of adequate electricity infrastructure which is essential for sustained growth of the economy. The power sector is considered to be a core industry as it facilitates development across various sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing, agriculture, commercial enterprises and transport. ‘Since power generation, transmission and electrification projects are extremely costly; one cannot adequately develop the electricity infrastructure in a large country like ours, without massive investments. ‘Zimbabwe is currently not the best placed investment option because of ZANU PF’s indigenization and empowerment policy. This is a policy which is retrogressive, a policy which is anti-investment,’ said Chikwinya. During the Ian Smith regime, the country generated 2,200 megawatts of electricity but since Independence in 1980, the power generating capacity has dropped to between 1,200-1,600 MW. This has left consumers grappling with massive power cuts for the last decade. This week the power utility company, ZESA issued a warning that the situation will persist unchecked for another next five years, until it completes new generation projects, subject to availability of funding. Lack of development in the sector has seen ZESA being forced to introduce load shedding, something that has made life difficult for ordinary citizens and businesses. On Wednesday ZESA warned Zimbabweans that the current load shedding was set to increase. ‘We have this dire prognosis from ZESA and the only sensible thing the government can do now is to revisit its policies that infringe our capacity to attract Foreign Direct Investment,’ Chikwinya said. Last week, NMBZ Holdings chief executive officer James Mushore warned that the cancellation of domestic consumers’ debts owed to local authorities and plans to write off more utility bills may worsen the liquidity crisis. This populist campaign promise by ZANU PF, which has been implemented by many local authorities, has had an adverse effect on ZESA as most of their customers have resorted to boycotting paying their bills. Government departments, the private sector and ordinary consumers owe ZESA more than $400 million, an amount, if recouped in the next month, would see the company breathe a new lease of life into its operations and refurbishment agenda. Outgoing Enery and Power Minister Elton Mangoma pointed out earlier this year that there were plans to revamp Kariba’s hydro-power station and Hwange thermal station to increase power generation to 2,200 megawatts of electricity at peak consumption. Currently the country relies on imports to cover the gap. Already, ZESA has drawn up plans to offload and place the Harare thermal power station onto the open market for private energy investors. They are also running a rigorous marketing crusade to implore defaulters to meet their payment obligations. But these are being undermined by ZANU PF’s policies.
ZRP silent on roadblock petition by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via ZRP silent on roadblock petition | The Zimbabwean by Edgar Gweshe. The Zimbabwe Republic Police’s silence on a petition challenging them to declare money being collected from police roadblocks is a serious cause for concern, a local lobby group has said. CAC want the ZRP to be transparent about the money it receives from roadblocks. The Coalition Against Corruption in September last year petitioned the Police Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri, to account for the money collected from police roadblocks around the country. The CAC said the petition was meant to ensure transparency and accountability within the police force. This came in the wake of reports by the then-Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, that the money was not being remitted to Treasury. Officially opening the 13th Zanu (PF) Annual National People’s Conference in Gweru in December last year, President Robert Mugabe bemoaned the high levels of corruption in the ZRP as well as the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority. Chihuri is on record warning his subordinates against engaging in corrupt activities. There have been reports of traffic police officers getting rich on bribes from commuter omnibus operators. CAC National Coordinator, Regis Chingawo, told The Zimbabwean that efforts to get a feedback from the police regarding their petition had been unsuccessful. He said it was the public’s right to know where the revenue from police roadblocks was being channeled. “We delivered the petition last year but we are yet to get any feedback from the police. The public has the right to know and that is one sure way of promoting transparency and accountability in the country,” said Chingawo. He said CAC would continue to push the ZRP to declare money from police roadblocks. “We will continue pushing them so that they respond to our petition and make the information public,” said Chingawo. When contacted for comment, police national spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, said: “Who are you to ask that question. Are you trying to speak on their (CAC) behalf? Tell them to come to the Police General Headquarters if they need a reply”.
Hope beyond SADC: Chamisa by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Hope beyond SADC: Chamisa | The Zimbabwean by Brenna Matendere Munyati The next elections must be conducted electronically and in line with emerging universal electoral trends to avoid rigging and ballot stuffing, says Nelson Chamisa, the MDC-T organising secretary. He told The Zimbabwean after a series of meetings with his party structures at the weekend that more information was now available on how the election outcome was stolen. “The meetings we are conducting countrywide are strengthening our case on the election rigging. The information is shocking,” he said. “After the exercise, the position of the party is that Zimbabwe must have another round of elections on a digital platform.” He said at the moment the Southern African Development Community had a limited mandate to determine Zimbabwe’s future beyond the benchmarks the country’s citizens set for themselves. A satisfactory and lasting solution to the national crisis, he believes, rests with the people of Zimbabwe as they define their own destiny. Chamisa said his party’s hope for resolving the disputed election outcome was still alive despite SADC’s findings and declarations. At the recent SADC Heads of State summit held in Malawi, the regional body disregarded alternative viewpoints and observations from civil society, the opposition and the West on the credibility and legitimacy of the July 31 election and endorsed the disputed outcome. “What is interesting is that SADC knows the elections in Zimbabwe wereâ€¨rigged,” said Chamisa. “Against that background, what we are saying is that SADC is not Zimbabwe.”
MDC cries foul over SADC endorsement of elections by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via MDC cries foul over SADC endorsement of elections | The Zimbabwean The Movement for Democratic Change has accused the Southern Africa Development Community of setting a bad precedent for the promotion of democratic principles in the region following recent announcements by its head of Election Observer Mission, Bernard Mwembe, endorsing the recent elections as credible, free and fair. Addressing journalists at the party’s headquarters in Harare today, Secretary General Tendai Biti said his party had written to SADC seeking a retraction of Mwembe’s statements after consultations with the SADC Secretariat, South Africa and other countries in the region had revealed that Mwembe’s statement was not in tandem with the final report that is yet to be released. “His (Mwembe)’s credibility is questionable considering that SADC as an association has not yet finished compiling the final report regarding the just ended harmonised elections. His statements are based on the preliminary report that was released by SADC on August, 2,” he said. SADC deployed 573 election observers from its affiliate member states during the polls: the biggest deployment in the history of the regional bloc. Biti said the sudden u-turn by SADC to endorse the elections was reflective that there was ‘fear among member states that they cannot let their nationalist brother (President Robert Mugabe) down’. He revealed that his party had consulted with the SADC Secretariat in Botswana, South Africa and other neighbours who had confirmed that Mwembe’s statement was not endorsed by other African countries making up the election observer mission. “Endorsing this sham process is lowering the standards of democratic elections not only for the MDC but for Africans especially those that are set to hold their polls in the near future such as Malawi and South Africa,” said Biti. The MDC accused Mwembe of delivering a report that was not accurate, not comprehensive and which failed to address the fundamental issues that determine the freeness, fairness and credibility of the polls. “The recent released summary of the report is not a SADC report but one emanating from the Tanzanian minister of Foreign Affairs,” said Biti. “It is self-contradictory, inconsistent and incoherent considering that it does not address the SADC guidelines governing the conduct of democratic elections. Since the announcement of election results proclaiming Mugabe as the ultimate winner of the July 31 elections, opposition parties have come out guns blazing describing the whole electoral process as ‘flawed by serious irreguralities hence compromising the election outcome’.
Gukurahundi : How Zimbabwe assisted apartheid South Africa by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Gukurahundi : How Zimbabwe assisted apartheid South AfricaThe Zimbabwe Independent. IN the aftermath of Zanu PF founder and former minister Enos Nkala’s death, debate has been raging about his role in Zimbabwe’s political history, particularly the liberation struggle, as well as his contribution to nation-building, and also repression in the mid-south-western regions immediately after Independence in 1980. In a bid to shed more light on events during the dark era of state-sponsored killings in the Midlands and the South-West –– the Gukurahundi period, in which Nkala was actively involved despite his denials –– we publish an insightful piece by Kent State University’s Professor Timothy Scarnecchia, an expert on Zimbabwean and African history. THIS article examines the role of diplomatic relations during the first stages of the 1983 Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe. Based on a preliminary reading of South African Department of Foreign Affairs files for 1983, the article suggests that Cold War relations between Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom helped to provide cover for the Zimbabwean National Army’s Fifth Brigade’s campaign of terror. Similarly, American support for President Robert Mugabe’s claims to be a pro-Western leader committed to non-racialism helped provide international cover for the atrocities. At the same time, evidence shows high-ranking Zanu PF officials negotiated with the South African Defence Forces in 1983 to cooperate in their efforts to keep Zapu from supporting South Africa’s ANC operations in Zimbabwe. The 5th Brigade’s campaign therefore served a purpose for apartheid South Africa, even as Zanu PF officials rationalised the Gukurahundi violence in international and anti-apartheid circles as a campaign against South African destabilisation. The article suggests that the diplomatic history of the Gukurahundi can provide a useful lens for understanding the tragedy in both regional and international Cold War contexts. Mugabe relations with West In her popular book Dinner with Mugabe, Heidi Holland includes a quote from Mugabe where he accuses some factions in Zanu PF of “cutting deals with the British and Americans” after the 2005 elections. Mugabe asks: “Since when have the British, the Americans, been friends with Zanu PF?” Mugabe’s often repeated claim that the United States and the United Kingdom are the enemies of Zanu PF and hence of Zimbabwe does not stand up well to historical scrutiny. A party which is 50 years old has experienced a number of victories, and many of these were partly the result of American and British assistance, both directly and indirectly. There are at least four periods in the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe during which the US and the UK offered opportunities to Mugabe and his allies to attain power and then consolidate it. The first was in 1963 in Tanzania after the formation of Zanu. The second was during Henry Kissinger’s 1976 shuttle diplomacy and the subsequent removal of radical forces from Zipa following the talks. The third period was during the elections after the Lancaster House Agreement when the British, under American pressure, rushed an election and peace settlement in order to pre-empt further Soviet and Cuban involvement in Zimbabwe, which resulted in a victory for Mugabe. Mugabe received extensive support from the UK and US governments, while simultaneously portraying his government as a leading Frontline state in the anti-apartheid struggle. However, the anti-apartheid efforts of Zanu PF were constrained by the realities of regional power. Faced with a much more powerful South African military and economy, Mugabe found it more convenient to cooperate with the apartheid South African Defence Forces against Joshua Nkomo’s Zapu given the historic ties between Zapu and South Africa’s ANC. Cold War realities meant that Mugabe could benefit from his rivals’ longstanding support from the Soviets and the links between Soviet support for Zapu and the ANC. Mugabe and others in Zimbabwe’s new government therefore worked with South Africa to keep Zapu from providing bases for the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto weSizwe in Zimbabwe. This article will take a preliminary look at a fourth period, which took place during 1983, and examine how the Cold War offered Mugabe and Zanu PF the international cover to carry out atrocities against Zimbabwean civilians in a campaign known as the Gukurahundi. This military campaign, which began in January 1983 and then returned before, during, and after the 1985 elections, cost the lives of thousands of Zimbabweans. Those involved as perpetrators of the violence were granted a blanket amnesty after the creation of a new unity government in 1987, and thus far calls for a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address this violence have not been answered. The archival documents for early 1980s’ diplomatic history with Zimbabwe are just becoming available in the US and the UK, and more documents will be released over the next few years. Some very helpful evidence is now available in the South African Department of Foreign Affairs files for 1983 in Pretoria. Based on the latter, this article outlines some of the difficult issues historians of foreign relations will confront as more diplomatic sources become available. As there already exists a large amount of writing in the state formation literature on Zimbabwe’s first few years, and the ways in which Zanu PF consolidated power at the expense of Zapu, this article will examine this period through the lens of diplomacy. The Cold War gave extraordinary powers to small states and allowed African nationalist leaders to manipulate their often-precarious ties to a mass base through the rhetoric of anti-imperialism, socialism and the non-aligned movement. It appears that all sides, while recognising the relative imbalances of power, nevertheless understood there were times when intransigency on international issues gave Mugabe and the Zanu PF elites greater bargaining power than would have been possible without the threat of Cold War co-operation with the Soviets and Cubans. The violence created by Cold War interventions into decolonisation from 1960 to the early 1990s was tragic and costly to southern Africa’s populations, although one cannot forget that for certain elites this offered room to manoeuvre against their rivals and to benefit directly from attendant foreign aid. Given this hot Cold War in southern Africa, as Vladimir Shubin has called it, Mugabe, like other Frontline State leaders, was able to have both American and Soviet support for the new nation. The Soviets, who had previously supported Mugabe’s rival Nkomo and Zapu, realised it would be better to try and influence policies in Harare directly through Mugabe and those in Zanu PF who were ostensibly pro-Soviet. Because of Western pressure on Mugabe to show his anti-communist credentials in exchange for direct financial aid, the Soviet embassy was the last embassy to be opened in Harare after Independence, and despite inroads in terms of technical and some military support, the Soviets were not made to feel welcome in the early 1980s. Part of the agreement to establish relations with the Soviets included the insistence that the Soviet Union breaks ties with Zapu and deal only with Zanu PF. According to Shubin, the Soviets had already stopped their material support to Zapu “immediately after the political settlement was reached”, but Zanu PF wanted to rule out any future Soviet aid to Zapu. The Americans viewed Mugabe and Zimbabwe as a non-Soviet southern African state that with sufficient funding and support could help maintain a balance against Soviet and Cuban influence in Angola, Mozambique and to a certain extent in Zambia. However, Cold War interests were not the only factor influencing American diplomatic views of Mugabe. American opinion favoured seeing Mugabe’s new state as a victim of past racial oppression. Therefore Mugabe’s strategy to reconcile with white farmers by allowing them to remain on their land and with white owners of businesses was very popular with American diplomats and a non-racial reconciliation made Mugabe popular in Washington. As Nancy Mitchell argues, the Carter administration had feared direct Cuban and Soviet involvement in Zimbabwe that would likely lead to a war between South Africa and the Frontline states. In order to avoid such a conflict, the Americans pressured the British to work with Mugabe rather than Nkomo and Bishop Abel Muzorewa as the leader of the Patriotic Front preferred by America. The British and the South Africans were less convinced than the Americans of Mugabe’s non-racialism, given their substantial personal and financial ties to white-controlled interests in Rhodesia, but Mugabe’s peaceful transition to power in 1980 became a major foreign policy success for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during her first term in office. As Chris Saunders and Sue Onslow suggest, the Americans saw the peaceful transition to Zimbabwe brokered by the British as “the greatest reverse the Russians have suffered in Africa for years”. Saunders and Onslow point out that “much of this was, in reality, the West being purblind in the context of the Cold War, for Mugabe continued to use violence to achieve political goals in independent Zimbabwe.” The West responded to the “success” of Zimbabwean Independence with development funds, both as a Cold War strategy and because it served to reward Mugabe for reconciliation and racial tolerance in 1980. There was a hope that Zimbabwe would stand as a model for transition in Namibia and South Africa in order to avoid further Cold War conflicts. The amount of Cold War funding for Zimbabwe was quite sizeable. In 1981, the Zimcord meeting produced an impressive commitment from numerous donors to assist Zimbabwe. “At current exchange rates the total aid attracted by Zimbabwe now amounts to US$1,95 billion. This is more than the US$1,5 billion suggested –– over five years –– by Dr Henry Kissinger as part of the 1976 settlement package. Furthermore, the Zimcord aid refers only to a three-year period,” the meeting concluded. Just prior to the Zimcord conference, which was to include representatives from 40 countries, 16 United Nations organisations, and 10 international agencies, Mugabe linked development funding to the South African threat. “We call on the international community to show its fullest practical support for our nonracial democratic system and put into practical effect its abhorrence and repugnance of the apartheid system in South Africa,” Mugabe said. “Failure to give Zimbabwe support for its reconstruction and development plans would bolster the evil designs of the apartheid regime in South Africa to hold our economy to ransom and destabilise our political system.” This strategy succeeded for the first few years of Zimbabwe’s existence, but the Cold War-funded security state did not in itself sufficiently enrich the Zanu PF elites, as Norma Kriger demonstrates, given the continued domination of white businesses and farms, and white control over key government bureaucracies. Mugabe and his colleagues in Zanu PF decided to take action to gain access to wealth for party elites, but they were constrained by the international perception of non-racial reconciliation, which made it difficult to attack white business and farming interests. Faced with entrenched opposition, Mugabe and Zanu PF looked to ex-guerrilla war veterans as their main patronage group. At first this included both Zanla and Zipra, but by 1981 the ruling party, Zanu PF, and its Zanla guerrillas could not conceal their preference for building power on an exclusively Zanla guerrilla base and for using only Zanla’s guerrilla struggle for legitimacy. The resulting attacks on Zapu’s political organisation, former Zipra ex-combatants, economic assets, and civilian base became the fundamental basis for Operation Gukurahundi in 1983. To be continued… Scarnecchia is the author of The Urban Roots Democracy and Political Violence in Zimbabwe: Harare and Highfield, 1940-1964 and many other works on this country.
Remember the totemless ones? by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Remember the totemless ones ? | The Zimbabwean by Tawanda Majoni I have unpacked four possible reasons why President Robert Mugabe disowned Harare and Bulawayo for overwhelmingly voting MDC-T. Mugabe appears convinced that threats and scorn can work wonders to sway the electorate towards him. The Old Man, in all his Zanunised wisdom, has drawn inspiration from what he said more than a decade ago, when he referred to the hapless Mbare citizenry as totemless. Despite that disparaging reference, the people of Mbare allegedly voted for Mugabe’s candidate, Hubert Nyanhongo, and for him – meaning that the message had sunk in very well. I am amused by the fact that Zanu (PF) purportedly won in the July 31 polls when a new constitution had restored the right of migrant citizens to vote. They must, surely, have learnt the good lesson that you don’t vote against Zanu (PF) as they had done in 2000, 2002 and 2008 -and get away with it just like that. Remember, these so-called totemless people, whose origins are in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, etc, spent over 10 years wandering in No Man’s Land because their citizenship had been withdrawn. Therefore, Mugabe must be hoping that the generality of the electorate in Bulawayo and Harare will bear in mind what happened to the totemless ones, and desist from voting for MDC-T in the future. Second, Mugabe could just have tried to divert our attention, and seems to have scored a landslide victory in that regard. Telling the Harare and Bulawayo metropolitan electorates to go and seek salvation at Harvest House, instead of from the looming Zanu (PF) government, must have been strategically designed to send us barking up the wrong tree. Here is how: There has been a ringing chorus that the polls were rigged. By openly disowning Harare and Bulawayo, Mugabe could thus have wanted to create the impression that he genuinely knows or believes that the polls were properly conducted, and thus fair. Demonstrably, many people, including an amazing number in MDC-T who should reason better, took that path, as evidenced by the fact that they became busy lambasting him for making that statement against the two metropols. Attention effectively shifted from whether or not the polls were rigged to the crudeness of the President, Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces and Head of the Judiciary, Parliament and Cabinet disowning his own people. What people have failed to see is that, by reacting to his remarks, they are actually legitimising the polls. Instead of crying foul over the purported exclusion of Harare and Bulawayo from national governance, critics must have questioned why Mugabe thought it was only Harare and Bulawayo, and not Masvingo, Mat South and North, Manicaland or Midlands that had voted for him and his party, considering all the talk of massive rigging. Third, Mugabe spoke under the captivity of the military. This makes sound sense when you consider the context in which the burial at which he made the comments was taking place. Karakadzai was a former (if ever there is anything like that in Zimbabwe) top military man whom Mugabe, on his own admission during the same occasion, had head-hunted to strangle the National Railways of Zimbabwe. The military obviously played an active role in shaping Mugabe’s tone and I wouldn’t be surprised if his speech actually came from Defence House. In a clear departure from the magnanimity he had just shown at his own inauguration, the hard core in the Old Man manifested itself during Karakadzai’s burial, and the hard core is a military factor. Last, Mugabe’s ill-advised broadside at MDC-T voters possibly betrays his hurt ego. I still believe he wanted to take Morgan Tsvangirai and others from MDC-T on board in the new government. Tsvangirai snubbed his overtures and that drove him mad. I noticed that, all through the post-election period until the Karakadzai burial, Mugabe hardly spoke ill of MDC-T. Talk of roping in a group from MDC-T was gathering increasing currency. Mugabe only changed his tune and came out with all guns blazing when he realised he could not use MDC-T as lipstick on his impending cabinet. This becomes clearer when you consider that at Saturday’s burial of Kumbirai Kangai, Mugabe took his verbal arsenal to a new frontier, daring MDC-T to bury its “minnows” at all the anthills dotted around the country. He is angry and we will not see him let up on MDC-T any time soon. – For feedback, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
MDC statement on SEOM report by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
Statement on the summary of the SADC election observer mission (SEOM) report to the Zimbabwe 31 July harmonised elections The MDC has noted the summary of the SADC Election Observer Mission report that was presented in Harare on Monday 2 September 2013. The MDC notes with grave concern that the report is not comprehensive, is inaccurate and dismally fails to address fundamental issues that are critical in determining the freeness, fairness and credibility of the elections. Thus the MDC makes the following conclusions; 1. The recently released summary of the report is not a SADC report but one emanating from the Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Bernard Membe, which the full Sadc Observer Mission has not endorsed. We have inquired with a number of SADC countries and the SADC Secretariat who have professed ignorance to the existence of this report. Further, Mr. Membe makes reference to a full report of SADC which he was summarizing from. However, this full report is still to be produced. 2. SADC met on the 15th of June 2013 in Maputo and agreed that the conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe were not conducive for the conduct of a free, fair and credible election. To this extent, SADC advised the Zimbabwe government to seek an extension on the date of the election to allow reforms to be implemented. However, the extension was not granted and Zimbabwe proceeded to conduct an election under the same skewed conditions. It is sad how this report can now conclude that an election held in an environment that needed reforms can be said to be free, peaceful and credible. 3. A report of any SADC Election Observer Mission is supposed to make reference to the SADC Guidelines Governing the Conduct of Democratic Elections, which are supposed to act as the basis for judging the freeness, fairness and credibility of the election. Regrettably the SADC Election Observer Mission report is silent on the Guidelines governing the conduct of democratic election. Its conclusion therefore that the Zimbabwe election satisfied SADC guidelines defies simple logic. 4. The report is self contradictory, inconsistent and incoherent. It raises issues that render the 31 July 2013 election unfair and not credible and at the same time concludes and “elevate” the election to a credible one. For example, the report states “… the provision of Voters roll in time goes to the very heart of fairness in the election process. If the voters roll is not made available on time, the fairness of the election is brought into question…” Having made this point the Observer Mission also notes that the voters roll was not made available on time and yet still makes the conclusion that the election was free, peaceful and credible. We have made it clear that the failure by ZEC to provide us with a copy of the roll as required by the law was a well-calculated ploy to mask several irregularities that were deliberately orchestrated by the Registrar General, Nikuv and the military intelligence. For SADC to conclude that an election in which other parties had no access to the voters roll is baffling. 5. The report makes aconclusion that the election was free. It states “despite the shortcomings that have been annotated in the grand report, we said and we want to reiterate that elections that took place on 31st July, 2013 were free. Free in the sense that our Observers noted that candidates were free to campaign, free to associate, free to express their views and the voters were free to cast their vote.” This is erroneous. While there were some cases of genuine illiteracy, the report fails to acknowledge the unprecedented number of assisted voters who were clearly intimidated into faking illiteracy so they could be assisted. In the July 31 Election, even according to ZEC’s suspicious and conservative figures,over 200 000 people, including teachers, headmasters and nurses, were assisted to vote because they were known to be MDC supporters. 6. The report is also conspicuously silent on the record number of voters that were turned away on polling day. Over 300 000 potential voters, according to ZEC, were deliberately disenfranchised due to deliberate tampering with the roll which resulted in either voters names not appearing at all on the voters roll or names having been transferred to different wards, constituencies or provinces. This was a serious violation of the people’s right to vote and the SADC Election Observer Mission Report is does not mention this. 7. Another disturbing fact is that the report makes a comparison between the standards, events and environment of the July 31 election with that of June 27, 2008 and the inference that one can draw is that SADC’s conclusion that the election was free, fair and generally credible is because conditions in 2013 were significantly better than those in 2008. This is a very dangerous precedent being set in terms of measuring the quality of elections not only in Zimbabwe but also in the SADC region. One cannot say because there was absence of violence as compared to 2008 therefore the election was peaceful. The July 31 election was marred by sporadic cases of physical violence and pervasive psychological violence. Under ZANU (PF)’s “Harvest of Fear” strategy traditional leaders and members of the uniformed forces were at the epicenter of instilling fear particularly in rural areas. Villagers were threatened with violence synonymous with June 2008 run-off farce. 8. The report fails to acknowledge the plethora of irregularities in the special vote process and its implications on the outcome of the July 31 election. It is fact that no one knows how many people voted during the “three” days of special voting. The report also fails to capture rigging that took place on July 31 whereupon thousands of people were bussed into constituencies such as Mount Pleasant, Harare East, Mbare and Epworth. Its credibility is therefore questionable. 9. While the report runs away from the word fair in its description of the election, it makes an unequivocal position that its was unfair and ignores the fundamental fact that it is more than four weeks after the election and the full results of the same have not been made public. We do not have figures for the actual number of people who participated in this election, we do not have figures of spoilt papers, we do not have figures of people that voted using voter registration slips. It fails to acknowledge the two court applications that were lodged by the MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai in which he sought to compel ZEC to avail the materials used during the 31st of July and to have the results of the presidential election nullified due to numerous irregularities that he cited. 10. Further, instead of dwelling on factors that affected the quality of the election, the report delves into non-election matters including that of sanctions. The fact is that while this is a matter between ZANU (PF) and those countries that imposed restrictions on certain individuals, the MDC was part of a tripartite lobby team that engaged Western governments on the matter. 11. On the media, the report makes a wrongful conclusion that the polarity of the media was balanced by the existence of what it termed ‘pirate radio stations’. If fails to acknowledge that the existence of these radio stations is indicative of an environment in which media space is closed. Moreover, the report fails to distinguish between the public media, which has a statutory obligation to report factually and impartially, and other media. The public media was blatantly biased before, during and after the July 31 election and SADC’s conclusion that there was balance is misplaced. It should be placed on record that the public media, particularly the ZBC, did not air advertisements that we paid for and which the state broadcaster itself had approved. No reason has been given. 12. The report concludes that the election was “generally credible”. With all due respect, the people of Zimbabwe need a free, fair and credible election that allows them to move forward not an election that is “generally” credible. An election is ‘generally’ credible is new lexicon in the field of election monitoring. 13. The report sets a very petrifying precedent for Sadc if this is the quality of observation that is satisfactory for the region. SADC has clearly stipulated principles that govern democratic elections. The fundamental question is why would an election that deviates from these principles be declared free and credible. What is the point of having guidelines when they are not adhered to? 14. As you may be aware, there will be three run-off elections for councilors in wards of Kadoma Central, Kusile RDC and Mutasa RDC on 9 September 2013. Regrettably the same irregularities that plagued that July 312 Election are still with us today. We have requested, from the RG’s office, soft copies of the voters roll for these wards butthe authorities are adamant that they will not avail these voters’ rolls to us. Thus the freeness, fairness and credibility of these elections is already in doubt.Conclusion We call upon progressive members of SADC to do the right thing and come out in the open in condemning the electoral farce that we saw in Zimbabwe on July 31. We know that this report has not been universally endorsed by all SADC member states and that there were dissenting voices even in the Observer Mission itself. While we are dismayed by the conclusions that the SADC Election Observer Mission Report on the July 31 Election in Zimbabwe, we are encouraged by the fact that the resolve of Zimbabwean citizens to deliver change remains unshaken and as a party we will continue to fight for a better Zimbabwe in which citizens rights, including that of electing leaders of their choice, are accorded due respect.
Kenyan lawmakers debate ICC pullout by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Kenyan lawmakers debate ICC pullout – Times LIVE Parliamentary majority leader Aden Duale said leaving the ICC would “redeem the image of Kenya” as he introduced the motion “to suspend any links, cooperation and assistance” to the world court. He also proposed a bill to formalise a withdrawal within 30 days. Should Kenya choose to leave the ICC – the first country potentially to do so – it will be more of a symbolic vote of defiance and would not affect upcoming trials of the east African nation’s leadership, since legal proceedings have already started. On Tuesday, vice-president Ruto will be in The Hague to face three counts of crimes against humanity for allegedly organising 2007 to 2008 post-election unrest that killed at least 1 100 people and displaced more than 600 000. Ruto’s trial comes about two months ahead of that of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces five charges of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, persecution and deportation. Both Kenyatta and Ruto have said they will cooperate fully with the court and deny the charges against them. Also due to appear in The Hague is radio boss Joshua Arap Sang, accused of inciting violence. Many Kenyan politicians have branded the ICC a “neo-colonialist” institution that only targets Africans, prompting the debate on a possible departure from the Rome Statute of the ICC. One MP urged colleagues to condemn the ICC to “the cesspool of history”. Duale called on the government to “urgently undertake measures to immediately withdraw” from the Rome Statute. “I am setting a stage to defend the constitution of Kenya…it will set the stage for the end to the culture of impunity both at home and abroad,” he added. The Jubilee Coalition of Kenyatta and Ruto dominate both Kenya’s National Assembly and Senate. “Any law in this country or internationally like the Rome Statute can be repealed and can be amended,” said Asman Kamama, one of the lawmakers supporting a pull-out. “It is not cast in stone and we want to be the trail blazers in the continent.” But opposition leader Francis Nyenze opposed any pullout, saying it would cast Kenya in a poor light internationally. “What message are we sending to the ICC?” Nyenze said, noting that any parliamentary decision does not impact upcoming trials. “It is not good for the country to be seen to hostile to the court.” The Hague-based court was set up in 2002 to try the world’s worst crimes, and countries voluntarily sign up to join. Any actual withdrawal requires the submission of a formal request to the United Nations, a process that would take at least a year. A withdrawal could however preclude the ICC from investigating and prosecuting any future crimes. Cases could then only be brought before the court if the government decides to accept ICC jurisdiction or the UN Security Council makes a referral. Amnesty International condemned the move. “This move is just the latest in a series of disturbing initiatives to undermine the work of the ICC in Kenya and across the continent,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty’s Africa director. The rights group called on “each and every parliamentarian to stand against impunity and reject this proposal,” warning that “a withdrawal would strip the Kenyan people of one of the most important human rights protections and potentially allow crimes to be committed with impunity in the future.” Kenya’s 2007 elections were marred by allegations of vote rigging, but what began as political riots quickly turned into ethnic killings and reprisal attacks, plunging Kenya into its worst wave of violence since independence in 1963. Kenyatta and Ruto were fierce rivals in the 2007 vote, but teamed up together and were elected in March in peaceful polls.
Kenya votes to quit ICC, days before deputy president’s trial by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Kenya votes to quit global court, days before deputy president’s trial | Reuters By Thomas Escritt and James Macharia Kenya’s parliament voted on Thursday to quit the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, but the Hague-based tribunal said it would press ahead anyway with the trials of the country’s president and his deputy. Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are accused of orchestrating violence after elections in 2007. About 1,200 people were killed in ethnic blood-letting that plunged east Africa’s biggest economy into crisis. Both men had promised to cooperate with the global court before the vote, a position echoed by Ruto’s lawyer just before the decision on Thursday. But neither were available for comment on whether that was still their position after the decision. The parliamentary motion underlined mounting hostility against the court among politicians in Kenya and across Africa who have accused it of bias as all its suspects to date have been from the continent. Ruto’s trial starts on Tuesday and Kenyatta’s in November, despite Kenyan efforts to have the cases dropped or moved nearer home. Both have denied the charges. Parliament, dominated by the alliance that brought Kenyatta to power in a peaceful election in March, voted to tell the government to withdraw from the ICC. “I am setting the stage to redeem the image of the Republic of Kenya,” Aden Duale, the majority leader from Kenyatta’s Jubilee coalition, said on behalf of the motion. Opposing him, minority leader Francis Nyenze warned: “We’ll be seen as a pariah state, we’ll be seen as people who are reactionary and who want to have their way.” Under parliamentary procedure, the government will now introduce a bill to cut ties with the court formally. The ICC said any departure would take at least a year and it would have no effect on running cases. COOPERATION Chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said earlier on Thursday both cases would go ahead. She said there had been repeated threats and bribes aimed at persuading relatives of witnesses in the cases to disclose their whereabouts. “Witnesses have gone to great lengths to risk their lives and the lives of their relatives to support our investigations and prosecutions,” the prosecutor said on the court’s website. ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah said Kenya, by withdrawing from the court, would prevent the court giving “legal protection to the Kenyan population for potential crimes in the future”. Human Rights Watch said Kenya’s “political establishment” was denying Kenyans the right to the justice their courts have failed to deliver. Kenyan legal expert George Kegoro said the main danger would be if the vote was used to “shield” suspects. Defying the court can be costly. Sudan’s isolation by the West deepened after an arrest warrant was issued for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir over charges of genocide in Darfur. But Bashir’s warrant has not stopped his travels, including to African signatory states and China which has not signed. Others who have not signed include the United States and Israel. Kenya ratified the Rome Statutes in 2005, but Western diplomats have said the cooperation of the Kenyan authorities with the court has often been limited – “wafer thin” according to one senior diplomat in Nairobi. That highlights of the biggest challenges for the ICC that it must rely on the good will of countries where it works to gather evidence. It has secured only one conviction to date, Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga. Analysts say the ICC must do more to address African concerns that it has become a tool for world powers. “In the early years, Africa welcomed the attention (from the court), but that started to tip about five years ago when the Africans realized the court had become a very loyal partner of the U.N. Security Council,” said Bill Schabas, professor of international law at Britain’s Middlesex University. At the time of the 2007 vote, Kenyatta from Kenya’s biggest Kikuyu ethnic group was a rival to Ruto, a Kalenjin. After that vote was disputed, machete-wielding members from their groups were blamed for much of the post-election bloodshed. (Additional reporting by George Obulutsa; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Sara Webb and Andrew Heavens)
COURT WATCH 14/2013 by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
COURT WATCH 14/2013
[5th September 2013]
Pre-Referendum and Pre-Election Challenges
Part IV – Voting Rights, Postal Voting and Voters Roll Cases
Part I [Court Watch 11/2013 of 15th August] of this series covered the dismissal by the courts of cases challenging the short notice and handling of the Constitutional Referendum of 16th March Part II [Court Watch 12/2013 of 3rd September] covered Constitutional Court cases applying for an extension of the election date. Part III [Court Watch 13/2013 of 4th September] covered pre-election cases complaining about the nomination process for the harmonised elections and a case raising the issue of State funding for political parties not represented in Parliament. This bulletin, Part IV, covers cases taken to the Constitutional Court and the High Court on voting rights and special voting. All the cases bar one were dismissed and the one successful case asking for electronic copies of the voters roll has still not been complied with Note: Unless otherwise indicated, references to the Constitution are to the new Constitution, the relevant provisions of which came into operation on 22nd May, as explained in Constitution Watch 29/2013 of 22nd May.
Voting Rights of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora
ZEC, Registrar-General of Voters, Ministers of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and of Justice and Legal Affairs
The applicant is a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth, currently residing in South Africa for economic reasons. He is a registered voter. He lodged an application in October 2012 at the Supreme Court, which at that time was empowered by the former Constitution to handle direct applications on constitutional issues, to enforce his right to vote from outside the country. He cited section 23A of the Constitution, added by Constitution Amendment No. 19 in early 2009, which gave every adult Zimbabwean the right to vote in referendums and elections. However, he was prohibited from voting from outside Zimbabwe by the continued residence requirement in section 23(3) of the Electoral Act, and by the fact that the postal voting provision in section 71 of that Act only benefited servicemen, election officers, and civil servants deployed abroad, as well as their spouses. He argued that he could not be excluded from exercising his constitutional right to vote on the basis of exclusionary provisions in an Act of Parliament that were inconsistent with the Constitution. He submitted that these provisions should be struck down or amended to allow for an inclusive approach, ensuring that all citizens could enjoy their constitutional right to vote. As the case had not been dealt with by the 22nd May, it became the responsibility of the newly constituted Constitutional Court. The case was set down for hearing in the Constitutional Court on 4th July 2013. Advocate David Ochieng represented Mr Bukaibenyu. The State opposed the application, arguing that there were insufficient resources to set up a system for citizens to vote from the Diaspora. Application Dismissed After hearing argument from both sides, the court, apparently accepting the State’s argument, dismissed the application. Written judgment Reasons for judgment have not yet been released. Comment: This decision is at odds with the provisional ruling handed down in February 2013 by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in the case of Gabriel Shumba and Others, represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights v Republic of Zimbabwe. This case was brought by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to establish their right to vote from the Diaspora. The ruling ordered Zimbabwe to allow Zimbabweans living abroad to vote in the Referendum of 16 March 2013 and the general elections thereafter, whether or not they are in the service of the Government, and to “provide all eligible voters the same voting facilities it affords to Zimbabweans working abroad in the service of the Government”, i.e., by postal vote. According to the African Commission’s rules of procedure a provisional ruling is binding pending final determination of the case. Other sectors of the population – such as prisoners, workers in essential services [railways, hospitals, power stations], residents in old age homes, patients in hospitals, clinics etc. were also excluded from participating in the elections as no arrangements were made for them by ZEC. Section 155(2)(b) of the Constitution obliges the State: to “ensure that every citizen who is eligible to vote in an election has an opportunity to cast a vote”
Journalists’ Bid for Early Voting Privileges
Michael Kudakwashe Chideme, Zvamaida Murwira and Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
ZEC, the President, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General
The application was filed in the Constitutional Court on 19th July, twelve days before polling day. The applicants argued that their right to vote in terms of section 175 of the Constitution would be breached if they were not granted an opportunity to cast their vote before 31st July 2013 under a special voting procedure. The individual applicants claimed that they and other members of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists who were registered voters, would be deployed in various areas on polling day and as a result would not be able to vote in their own constituencies. They accordingly requested the court to grant an order compelling ZEC to grant the applicants, and all ZUJ members, a special vote in terms of section 81 of the Electoral Act by allowing them to vote on the 30th July, a day before the proclaimed polling day. Application Dismissed The application was heard and dismissed on 26th July. Written judgment Reasons for judgment have not yet been released.
High Court Case to Nullify Special Voting
On 14th July, the MDC-T filed an urgent application in the High Court to nullify the early special voting exercise for members of the uniformed forces, scheduled for 14th and 15th July. The MDC-T contested the number of attested members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police who had been accepted by ZEC as qualifying to cast their votes in terms of the special voting procedure prescribed by section 81 of the Electoral Act. The MDC-T argued that the figure of 69 222 police officers which had been presented by the police, and accepted by ZEC, was inflated when compared to the 44 113 confirmed by the Ministry of Finance as being on the official police payroll. In addition to seeking an order to have the special voting process nullified, MDC-T also, once the hearing was delayed, wanted ZEC to provide them with a list of all the officers who had cast their vote during the special voting exercise, and a copy of the voters roll for the special voting. The case was heard on 17th July in chambers and under conditions of secrecy – and the lawyers involved were told not to divulge information on the case. Justice Chiweshe directed the Attorney-General to investigate and report back to the court on the number of police officers in the country, and this was apparently done.Application Dismissed On 19th July 2013, Justice Chiweshe dismissed the application. Written judgment Reasons for judgment have not yet been released. Comment: Although the special voting went ahead, ZEC turned out to be inadequately prepared for it and as a result over 40% of the authorised special voters were unable to vote on the two special voting days. The Constitutional Court hastily granted ZEC’s application for it to allow frustrated special voters to vote with other voters on 31st July, notwithstanding an Electoral Act provision expressly prohibiting this. Whether or not ZEC could and did ensure that this remedy did not result in double voting remained an unanswered question, and therefore a cause for complaint about the reliability of the poll.
Case to Force ZEC and Registrar-General to Produce Voters Roll
Section 21 of the Electoral Act obliges ZEC, within a reasonable period of time after nomination day, to provide every nominated candidate with a free electronic copy of the constituency voters roll in a format that “allows its contents to be searched and analysed”; and, for a fee, a printed copy of the voters roll. When this provision had not been complied with by late afternoon on 30th July, the eve of polling on 31st July, MDC-T went to the High Court for an order compelling ZEC to comply immediately. ZEC pleaded inability to supply the electronic roll because of a “technical fault”. The court ordered ZEC to supply the printed roll by midnight that day and the electronic roll as soon as it was able to. Printed copies were made generally available to candidates on the eve of polling day. The court order to supply the electronic copies of the rolls was not complied with. The absence of an up-to-date electronic copy of the voters roll is a major complaint of those dissatisfied with the poll result. Note: the order to supply the electronic voters roll has still not been complied with – thus hampering candidates who have lodged election petitions challenging the results.
This is the last of the series of pre-election court cases.
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90 special ballots went missing: Lawyer by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via 90 special ballots went missing: Lawyer – DailyNews Live by Tendai Kamhungira MDC chief election officer Morgen Komichi’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, has said that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) gave people ballot papers on the streets, while 90 other envelopes went missing. Komichi is accused of fraud and contravening the Electoral Act. He was arrested after he allegedly presented to Zec, a ballot paper that had been found in a dustbin at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), the electoral body’s command centre. He denies the charges. Muchadehama said: “I put it to you that Zec was just giving these papers to anyone even in the streets to vote. “My instructions are that at the place where the ballots were being sorted out, there were 300 people.” Muchadehama was cross-examining Zec deputy chief election officer Utoile Silaigwana. He further said according to instructions from his client, about 90 envelopes could not be accounted for during a reconciliation process. He said this suggests that the envelopes were being thrown away by those that were sorting out the papers, arguing that the envelope that was given to Komichi could have been part of the 90 that disappeared. Muchadehama said Zec appeared to be panicking when Komichi brought the envelope, “that they had thrown away”. “Are you aware that 90 envelopes disappeared, another 60 emerged from nowhere?” Muchadehama asked. However, Silaigwana denied all the allegations levelled against Zec and said the election process was properly held. He said he was not aware of such reports. Silaigwana said Komichi had admitted to opening the ballot papers, thereby contravening the Electoral Act. Under cross-examination, Zec deputy director of public relations Tendai Pamire, who was the second State witness, said Komichi opened an envelope containing Mugove Chiginya’s ballot papers. “I started knowing the accused in 2008 and interacted on a frequent basis with him. He indicated he opened the envelope out of curiosity and according to law they are supposed to be opened by the voter,” Pamire said. Asked if there was anything amiss on Komichi coming to Zec with the envelope containing ballot papers, Pamire said, “I did not see anything amiss on him coming to the commission with the issue since he did present many issues during the national multi-party liaison committee meetings.” He said Komichi did not disclose the person who picked up the ballot papers. Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe postponed the trial to next Monday.
Mudenda to resign from rights commission by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Mudenda to resign from rights commission – DailyNews Live by Chengetai Zvauya Jacob Mudenda, the newly-elected Speaker of the National Assembly has technically resigned as chairperson for Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC). The 67-year-old Mudenda was on Tuesday elected to be the Speaker of the 8th Zimbabwe Parliament, with Mabel Chinomona as his deputy. Mudenda has served as chair of the ZHRC since March this year following the resignation of Reg Austin. Mudenda, a lawyer by profession, told the Daily News that he had no choice but quit heading the first body tasked with investigating human rights violations to take up his legislative role. “I have technically resigned from the ZHRC, however, I still have 21 days to write my resignation letter and hand it to the responsible minister once he is in place,” Mudenda told the Daily News. Ellen Sithole, Mudenda’s deputy at the ZHRC, was tipped to take over as chairperson. During the election of the presiding officers in Parliament on Tuesday, MDC legislators absconded, leaving the chamber just after they had finished taking oath of office. Mudenda and Chinomona were elected unopposed, as the MDC did not field candidates and did not vote in the secret ballot. Asked whether he was happy to be elected to be Speaker by Zanu PF legislators only, Mudenda said the question can best be answered by MDC legislators. “Who stopped the MDC members from participating in the elections? You can ask them that question, not me,” Mudenda said. Mudenda took oath before Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku. Zanu PF dominates the 8th Parliament with 197 legislators in the National Assembly compared to MDC’s 70 seats, with the smaller MDC with two seats and one independent legislator Jonathan Samukange. The Senate has 37 Zanu PF members, 21 MDC seats, 18 chiefs and people with disabilities represented by two seats. In the Senate, Zanu PF members Edna Madzongwe and Chenhamo Chimutengwende were elected president and deputy president of the Senate unopposed as MDC senators boycotted the vote.
Zanu (PF) militia behind bars by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Zanu (PF) militia behind bars | The Zimbabwean by Brenna Matendere A 15-member Zanu (PF) militia from Lower Gweru has been placed behind bars after it severely assaulted fellow party members over land. The incident occurred last Tuesday at Beldons Farm in Lower Gweru after the squad, which was illegally occupying the piece of land, resisted attempts by the Ministry of Lands to resettle those who had been given offer letters. This week the 15 appeared before Gweru magistrate Getrude Mayenyoso and were remanded in custody to September 10 on charges of public violence. They are Mutshumeli Nyoni (23), Nodumo Zando (46), Joshua Matonsi (37), Mahlenkosi Siziba (37), Bhekimupilo Mpofu (27), Kumbulani Nyoni (46), Janet Moyo (34), Sibadala Ngwenya (29), Sifelani Mpofu (57), Coincidence Mbambo (35), Stephen Ncube (26), George Sibanda (32), Pilate Khoza (37), Nathanil Nyoka (43) and Khukulani Simango. Prosecutor Andrew Marimo told the court that on August 27 the complainants, Justin Mazinyane, Joseph Mahara, Joseph Matsika, kelvin Musindo and Takura Gumbo who reside at Torvo 2 and Hampton farm, Maboleni, Lower Gweru went to Beldons farm in the company of one Gaihai from the ministry. The purpose for the visit was to show the five the plots allocated to them after they had been given offer letters by government. Upon arrival, the 15 accused, who had allegedly occupied the land illegally, severely assaulted them with axe handles, sticks, fists before ordering them to leave the area.
Air Zim’s new routes | The Zimbabwean by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Air Zim’s new routes | The Zimbabwean by Clayton Masekesa As demand for airline services increases, Air Zimbabwe has plans to offer flights from Harare to Durban, Lusaka and Lilongwe. In an interview last week during the United Nations World Tourism General Assembly held, the Air Zimbabwe Public Relations Manager, Shingai Taruvinga, said the airline would introduce three weekly flights on the routes. “We have done our research and we hope that by October we will be servicing the routes. Demand is at its peak,” she said. The additional routes will take Air Zimbabwe’s weekly flights to 16. The airline, which collapsed under the weight of massive debt and depleted passenger numbers in 2011, has been on an aggressive domestic and regional network expansion since November last year. Its market share on Zimbabwean destinations plunged to less than five percent in 2012, from over 10 percent in 2010. AirZim is currently servicing the Harare-Bulawayo and Harare-Victoria Falls routes in Zimbabwe. On the Harare-Johannesburg flights, introduced in November last year, AirZim has been using its recently leased Airbus. Last month, AirZim reintroduced flights on the Victoria Falls-Johannesburg route, where competition is cutthroat. Taruvinga said the airline was still finding its feet on the route. “People are still getting used to the new service on the Victoria Falls-Johannesburg route,” she said. On the Harare-Durban route, AirZim will compete with South African Express.
Silos empty as farmers battle for inputs by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Silos empty as farmers battle for inputs | The Zimbabwean by Nelson Sibanda & Edgar Gweshe As the World Food Programme prepares to feed 2 million hungry Zimbabweans this year, it has emerged that most farmers did not sell their crops to the Grain Marketing Board last season because of its failure to pay them in the past. The GMB Corporate Communications Manager, Muriel Zemura, said only about 20,000 tonnes of maize, from a projected harvest of 1,2 million tons, had been received from farmers since April. Most farmers were reluctant to sell to the board due to a poor history of payments. In addition the producer price set by government was low and many, especially in the south, experienced poor harvests. The board’s General Manager, Albert Mandizha, revealed recently that at least 10,000 tons of maize had been destroyed due to poor storage facilities at GMB depots countrywide. Apart from bad weather patterns, Zimbabwe’s 2012-2013 agricultural season was severely affected by a critical shortage of maize seed and fertiliser. Annual grain consumption is 2,2 million tons. Faced with more than a million ton shortfall, the government imported 150,000 tonnes of maize from Zambia, which it transported to hunger stricken provinces in July. In 2012, maize output went down by 26 percent to 968,000 tonnes from 1,4 million in 2011. This year, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said the area planted for major food crops fell to around 1.5 million hectares, from about 1.9 million in 2012 owing to a lack of financial support to farmers. According to a 2012 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee report, the worst-affected areas were Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South, and parts of Mashonaland, Midlands and Manicaland provinces. The food crisis is expected to start biting within the next two months and the next farming season would be worse, as experts say government has no funds to assist farmers with inputs. No clear policies have been put in place for farmers to chart the way forward. Analysts and farmers’ unions have called on government to speedily formulate investor and farmer friendly policies, to save the country from a further economic catastrophe. “The way forward is for government to come up with appetising agriculture policies and embrace acceptable banking norms. Zimbabwe should as a matter of urgency adopt new farming technology,” said the president of the Commercial Farmers Union, Charles Taffs. “The tragedy is that Zimbabwe should be a food exporting nation not an importer,” he added. In the short term, government is expected to source emergency funding for importation of 12 month food supplies. The president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, Wonder Chabikwa, urged government to step up importation of food and speedily come up with farming policies. “The dilemma is that input suppliers such as Windmill, ZFC, Omnia, Nico Orgo, Nyiombo, Seed CO, Pioneer, Pana, Arda Seeds and Trojan Seeds say they have enough stocks but could not release the inputs without government policies and directives,” he said, adding that government should provide farmers with enough inputs for 1,7 million hectares to ensure sufficient food harvests this season. Economist John Robertson suggested land be put back on the market. “Farmers should be given security over the farms so that they can borrow from banks,” he said. “Food imports are not the right solution to solve the food crisis.” Livestock will also be affected by the food shortages by November or December as the national silos are empty. Zanu (PF) spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, refused to comment on whether the traditional 20,000 ton presidential farming input scheme would bail out farmers this time around, or whether it was a political gimmick to buy votes ahead of elections. “Contact the Minister for Agriculture who is better placed to comment on the issue,” Gumbo told The Zimbabwean. Efforts to contact Made were fruitless by the time of going to print. The World Food Programme says an estimated 2.2 million people – one in four of the rural population – would need help by early next year, the highest number since early 2009 when more than half the population was affected. “Many districts, particularly in the south, harvested very little and people are already trying to stretch out their dwindling food stocks,” said country director Sory Ouane. “WFP is working closely with the Government and partners to respond to the looming food crisis and will start food and cash distributions to the most vulnerable in October.”
Zimbabwe chief prosecutor orders MDC lawyers probe by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Zimbabwe chief prosecutor orders MDC lawyers probe – Times LIVE Zimbabwe’s chief prosecutor has ordered police to investigate lawyers for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai for contempt of court over criticism of judges in a court petition that they filed, a state daily reported. “All we are doing is checking to see whether an offence was committed,” The Herald quoted Attorney General Johannes Tomana as saying. Tomana’s statement came after electoral court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu ordered that Tsvangirai’s lawyers be prosecuted for contempt of court for the criticism of senior judges contained in a court filing by Tsvangirai. “The case has been referred appropriately to an institution with the mandate to investigate and we will be guided by their investigations,” said Tomana. In a petition seeking the release of voting materials to prove alleged electoral fraud in the July 31 polls, Tsvangirai expressed reservations over senior judges who he said were too close to veteran President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. But Judge Bhunu threw out Tsvangirai’s petition and ordered the prosecution of his lawyers “for bringing the integrity of the judiciary into disrepute.” Tsvangirai appealed to the courts after he was beaten at the ballot by Mugabe. The 89-year-old Mugabe took the vote with 61 percent of the ballots, against Tsvangirai’s 34. Among a series of complaints, the opposition leader queried the suspiciously high number of voters who were turned away from polling stations in urban areas, which are considered opposition strongholds. He also charged that his party’s supporters in rural areas were intimidated by Mugabe party backers into feigning illiteracy and voting with the aid of police and election officers. But in a surprise U-turn, he later withdrew his case that challenged Mugabe’s victory, saying he would not get a fair hearing as the courts had frustrated his efforts to access election materials he wanted to use as evidence. The constitutional court went ahead and handed down a ruling in the case nonetheless, declaring Mugabe the official winner of the election.
Elephant Cyanide Poisoning Could Kill Hundreds by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Elephant Cyanide Poisoning Could Kill Hundreds Police say the poisoning of 41 elephants at a National Park in Zimbabwe could have a devastating effect on the local ecosystem. The cyanide poisoning of 41 elephants in Zimbabwe could kill hundreds of scavenger animals that feast on their remains, police have warned. Detectives say they have broken a syndicate of six poachers who allegedly added the deadly chemical to a pool used by elephants to drink. But they warned that the deaths could have far reaching consequences. Chief Inspector Muyambirwa Muzzah said: “What they were doing is very cruel because it does not end with the death of the elephants. “We have what we call the fourth generation effect due to the potency of cyanide as a poison. Animals that feed on the dead elephants will die and those that feed on the dead animals will also die. “It will go back on the food chain and hundreds of animals may end up dead.” The gang used salt laced with cyanide to kill the elephants after targeting pools of water at Hwange National Park, the Zimbabwe Chronicle claimed. After they died, their tusks would be cut off. Some 17 tusks valued at $120,000 (£76,724) have been recovered by police. According to the newspaper Chief Insp Muzzah said the accused were caught after rangers heard gunshots from the national park on August 24. He told the newspaper: “They went with the police to investigate and found two elephants that had been killed and dehorned. “On further investigation, inside the game park, they found rotting carcasses of dehorned elephants. There were tracks, made by three people near the animals and they followed those to the Mafu homestead.” Police then laid a trap for the gang members after recovering the tusks. National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrest of six men. According to the Mail and Guardian, the poaching of elephants in Africa has dramatically increased with a recent report saying at least 25,000 were killed on the continent last year. The report also said the illegal ivory trade had double since 2007.
Poachers poison 41 elephants in Hwange by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Poachers poison 41 elephants in Hwange | The Chronicle by Temba Dube and Nqobile Tshili POLICE in Matabeleland North have smashed a six- man poaching syndicate with four of its members based in Bulawayo that allegedly poisoned and killed 41 elephants at Hwange National Park.A total of 17 tusks valued at about $120 000 were recovered. The gang would allegedly target pools frequented by elephants at the national park and use salt laced with cyanide to kill jumbos. National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrest of brothers Sipho Mafu (53) and Misheck Mafu (46) of Thula Line in Tsholotsho, Alexander Ngwenya (42) of 7654/15 Tshabalala, Farai Chitsa (34) of A6297 Old Pumula, Nqobizitha Tshuma (25) of 14 Taylor Avenue in North End and Tinashe Senwayo (22) of 2 Hofmeyer Square also in North End. In an interview yesterday, the officer-in-charge of Tsholotsho Police Station, Chief Inspector Muyambirwa Muzzah, said the parks game rangers patrolling near Pelandaba area in Tsholotsho which borders the national park, heard gunshots on 24 August and made a report to the police. “They went with the police to investigate and found two elephants that had been killed and dehorned. On further investigation, inside the game park, they found rotting carcasses of dehorned elephants. There were tracks, made by three people near the animals and they followed those to the Mafu homestead,” said Chief Insp Muzzah. He said the elder Mafu led the police to the hidden cache of 17 tusks and the police laid a trap for the rest of the gang members. “The Mafus called Chitsa on his cellphone, which was put on loudspeaker and told him to come for the stuff as it was ready. Chitsa came to the game park with the rest of the suspects in Senwayo’s kombi and they were arrested,” said Chief Insp Muzzah. He said as they were being escorted to Tsholotsho Police Station, the gang was injured when the kombi overturned, in a suspected dash for freedom. He said the police suspected that Chitsa could be the mastermind of the poaching racket as he was believed to be the one who supplied the cyanide and is thought to be the one in charge of selling the tusks. Chief Insp Muzzah said police suspected that more elephant carcasses that had not yet been discovered were in the game park. “What they were doing is very cruel because it does not end with the death of the elephants. We have what we call the fourth generation effect due to the potency of cyanide as a poison. Animals that feed on the dead elephants will die and those that feed on the dead animals will also die. It will go back on the food chain and hundreds of animals may end up dead,” said Insp Muzzah. He said sentences that were given to poachers were not deterrent. “In May we arrested some people for killing five elephants using the same modus operandi and they were each sentenced to just two years in prison. Police recovered 17 tusks weighing about 161,88 kilogrammes,” said Chief Insp Muzzah. “Police are investigating the extent to which the syndicates were involved in the poaching of elephants at Hwange and are appealing to members of the public who might have information to approach Tsholotsho Police Station.” Chief Insp Muzzah said 69 elephants were killed by poachers in the area between May and August. Today police will team up with the parks officials and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to make an environmental impact assessment of the cyanide poisoning in the area.
Bakers’ benevolence by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Bakers’ benevolence | The Zimbabwean by Clemence Machadu In his popular book, Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith writes: “It is not from the benevolence of the…baker that we expect our dinner, but from (his) regard of (his) own interest”. Smith must have been inspired to write this statement by the free market economy of that era, after observing that self-interest was the main drive for the private enterprises. In a free market economy, theory tells us, price is the fundamental aspect which takes various functions, namely signalling, rationing and incentives. MoU A few weeks ago, our local bakers and millers signed a memorandum of understanding that would see bakers purchasing the bulk of their flour from local millers. After years of fighting each other, what prompted these two to suddenly kiss and make up? Millers used to accuse bakers of buying flour from across the border, to the end that a 20 percent import duty was imposed on imported flour in August last year. Bakers complained that local wheat was too expensive and that they should be allowed to import flour duty free. What has changed? This deal makes sense as it allows millers to contract wheat farmers, thereby expanding wheat production in the country. Crops like cotton and tobacco are thriving because growers are being funded by the private sector. However, this deal is not as rosy as it looks. Being guided by Adam Smith’s wise counsel above, we should ask these two questions: What is in it for millers? What is in it for bakers? The bakers have agreed to buy a whopping 70 percent of their monthly flour requirements from local millers and a total of 220,000 tonnes of flour annually. In accounting, they have a prudence concept, which says revenue is not recognised unless it is certain and expenses are recognised while they are probable. 1.6 million loaves We require 1.6 million loaves of bread as a nation. In terms of wheat, we require 450,000 tonnes per year. We have planted a paltry 3,000 hectares this year and that will give us about 12,000 tonnes of wheat, against our requirement of 450,000 tonnes. What it simply means is that bakers and millers want to trade a product that is simply not there. Why should millers be guaranteed to supply 70 percent of flour every day, when it’s apparent that they will have to import the wheat? Will millers be interested in financing local growers, where power, water and labour are so expensive? Unlike other crops, virtually all wheat is grown under irrigation, where power and water are indispensible for any meaningful production to take place. If millers use the money they get from bakers to pay for wheat imports, they will have no money to finance local growers. The price of a loaf What will happen to the price of bread? It will go up substantially. In 2010, Bakers Inn MD, Marcus Athitakis, said flour prices had to be within $650 and $700 per tonne for the price of bread to be $1. Now, the international price of wheat has surged by 28 percent, from $223.7 in 2010 to $308.7 this year, implying that international flour prices have also gone up over the past three years. Bakers have been absorbing costs in order to be competitive. Given our obvious competitive disadvantage in wheat production, if we start to locally supply 70 percent of our expensive flour to bakers, bakers will struggle. The 70 percent quarter will benefit millers in that they will be assured of a market for their flour, whether they have imported it or sourced it locally. Given the obtaining conditions under which the MoU was signed, we might actually be promoting millers to be middlemen for flour imports, and this will put pressure on the price of flour. Non-tariff barrier The MoU between millers and bakers has been signed 10 months prior to the operationalisation of the COMESA Customs Union and 20 months prior to the operationalisation of the Tripartite Free Trade Area. These are deeper levels of regional integration that Zimbabwe has commited itself to. COMESA members, Zimbabwe included, have been eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, as a precondition to joining the Customs Union and TFTA. The ‘buy local’ MoU is therefore regarded as a non-tariff barrier to trade which should be phased out. The MoU signed between bakers and millers requires severe scrutiny. This is a bread and butter issue whose impact will be felt by ordinary people like you and me.
Residents blast councillors’ inauguration delays by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Residents blast councillors’ inauguration delays | The Zimbabwean by Thabani Dube The continued delay to inaugurate councillors is deliberately being made to further interests of looting by bureaucrats at Town House, says Combined Harare Resident Association Chairperson, Simbarashe Moyo. “The delay is not by accident but deliberate to pave way for the continued looting of council resources by bureaucrats. “As residents we continue to be in the dark as far as council operations are concerned as those left in charge are not forthcoming with information. We do not know how much council is generating from its revenue or how it is being used as service delivery plunge,” said Moyo in a telephone interview. According to the new constitution councillors must be sworn in nine days after the official announcement of local authorities’ election results. Last week, the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Permanent Secretary, Killian Mupingo gave an indefinite postponement of the swearing in of councillors a day before the inauguration. “As long as it is like this the bureaucrats are happy as it gives them time to loot council resources at the expense of service delivery,” said Moyo. On June 29 Minister of Local Government in terms of Section 80(1) of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) and Section 158 (1) of the Rural District Councils Act (29:13) dissolved all councils and appointed town clerks and provincial administrators in case of Harare and Bulawayo and district administrators in other areas as caretakers and commissioners, respectively, paving way for elections. The residents and analysts have condemned the process saying it does not protect the people’s interest but furthers the bureaucrats. “Those appointed are not answerable to the people except those who appointed them,” said Moyo. The Harare Residents Trust spokesperson, Precious Shumba said residents must always be represented by elected officials, whose loyalty was to the electorate and not individuals. “Bureaucrats are always a bit more difficult to deal with in the absence of elected representatives as there is a tendency to be their own masters, taking certain decisions that contradict the positions of the outgoing council,” said Shumba. Usually residents and other local authorities’ stakeholders are kept abreast with council businesses during full council-monthly meetings and since June there has been no any updates on the operations of councils across the country
Zanu-PF speaks on amending Constitution by ZimSitRep – 09-05-2013
via Zanu-PF speaks on amending Constitution | The Herald by Felex Share ZANU-PF is not contemplating amending the new Constitution anytime soon despite the overwhelming over two-thirds majority it enjoys in the National Assembly which gives it the power to do soThe party’s deputy secretary for Legal Affairs, Cde Patrick Chinamasa, who is also outgoing Justice and Legal Affairs Minister, dismissed claims by MDC-T that Zanu-PF wanted to use its majority in the National Assembly to make changes to the new Constitution. “We have the power to make changes anytime because we have what it takes to do that, but we have no such intentions in the interim. “We have not sat down as a party to discuss about that nor has anyone raised such an issue. “These are simply statements coming from people who fear that because they no longer have any say (in Parliament) changes might be made to the new Constitution.” Zanu-PF surpassed the two-thirds majority threshold of 180 seats in the National Assembly by clinching 197 of the 270 seats, leaving MDC-T with 70, MDC two, with the remaining seat held by independent legislator for Mudzi South Mr Jonathan Samukange, who failed to land the Zanu-PF ticket but has since professed to be de jure independent but de facto Zanu-PF. In the Upper House of 80 members, Zanu-PF accounts for 37 seats, MDC-T 21 and MDC one, with chiefs coming in with 18 members and people with disabilities being represented by two special interest senators. This effectively means the revolutionary party can amend the new Constitution if need be. Cde Chinamasa said Zanu-PF was a “very methodical” party and would not just rush to make changes to the supreme law without a valid reason. He said any changes would be done in consultation with the people as they are the owners of the Constitution. “We are a very methodical political party and we do things for a purpose,” he said. “We are the party that decides and might only amend the new Constitution if there is a good reason for doing so. “Remember, this is a Constitution for the people and on every move they have to be consulted. No one should send wrong messages to the people that Zanu-PF is changing the Constitution at the moment.” There have been concerted efforts by MDC-T and some sections of the media to create alarm and despondency in the country following President Mugabe’s crushing victory in the July 31 harmonised elections. After the massive defeat, MDC-T and its sympathisers have desperately tried to paint a gloomy outlook of the economy by claiming that the incoming Zanu-PF Government was planning to immediately reintroduce the Zimbabwe dollar. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono dismissed the claims, saying the country would use the multi-currency regime for the “foreseeable future.” He said when the time comes; the local currency would circulate alongside other existing currencies. The same pro-MDC-T websites and the party’s trolls on social media had also claimed that fuel prices had gone up and that South Africa had reintroduced visa requirements for Zimbabweans wishing to travel to that country. The reports were quashed by the respective authorities.