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Lawmakers barred from diamond field

by Tafirei Shumba Thursday 01 April 2010

MUTARE - Police have barred a group of 18 lawmakers from a parliamentary
committee on mining from visiting the controversial Marange diamond field on
a fact-finding tour of the expansive field.

The parliamentarians had travelled from Harare on Tuesday primarily to
undertake a tour of the field, also known as Chiadzwa, for purposes of
acquainting themselves with operations of two firms exploiting the resource
and to convene a public hearing with the locals.

But upon arrival in the city of Mutare the police advised the legislators
that they did not have the authority to proceed to Marange - a protected
area - without police clearance.

Apparently when the parliamentarians left Harare they had been advised that
written authority would follow but were surprised when Mutare police
professed ignorance of that arrangement with Police General Headquarters in
the capital.

Mutare police referred all press inquiries to police headquarters in Harare
where the relevant officers could not be reached.

The leader of the delegation and chairperson of the mines portfolio
committee Edward Chindori Chininga refused to address the press.

"Parliament will issue a statement in due course," is all he could say.

The lawmakers attracted huge public interest as they milled around a city
hotel for nearly six hours, while Parliament of Zimbabwe officials
negotiated unsuccessfully with the police for the clearance.

Parliament officials, who asked not to be named as they are not authorised
to speak to the press, told ZimOnline they were taken aback by the decision
by the police to bar the lawmakers.

"Rules of Parliament don't say parliamentarians must seek police authority
to visit such areas of public interest. Where do the police get the powers
to sanction a visit by a body representing the Legislature? We only inform
the police about such visits but not to seek their permission. There is no
such thing as seeking police permission when legislators are on fact-finding
tours like now," said a Parliament official.

"The parliamentarians said amongst themselves that they were now fully
convinced there is quite a lot which the Executive, the military and the
police want to hide from lawmakers at the diamond fields. The
parliamentarians felt there is an underhand at play insofar as the ban of
their tour is concerned," said the official.

The official said the lawmakers had indicated they would raise a motion in
the House of Assembly following police interference in purely legislative

But the parliamentarians, however, drew some solace after their public
hearing on the Marange diamond field set for today in the eastern border
city was approved.

Marange is one of the world's most controversial diamond fields following
allegations of human rights violations against illegal miners and local
communities since the government took over the operations at the fields from
British mining firm African Consolidated Resources in 2006 when soldiers
were sent to seal-off the area.
World diamond watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP), last year gave the
government until June this year to regularise operations in line with the KP
requirements. - ZimOnline

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KP monitor set to decide on Marange diamonds

by Clara Smith Thursday 01 April 2010

HARARE - The Kimberly Process' Zimbabwe monitor, Abbey Chikane, will next
week visit the country to inspect diamonds mined at the controversial
Marange diamond field and confirm whether they were produced and prepared in
accordance with the world diamond watchdog's requirements.

In a preliminary internal report prepared by Chikane after his visit to
Zimbabwe four weeks ago, the monitor said he will use next week's visit to
"thoroughly examine" the production of diamonds at Marange and their
shipment to storage facilities in Harare and ascertain whether the stones
could be certified as clean under the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme.

"The KP Monitor is available to visit Zimbabwe from 6-8 April 2010. The
purpose of the visit is to conduct a thorough examination of individual
shipments from any producing area in Marange and their chain of custody to
confirm whether rough diamonds selected for shipment were produced and
prepared in accordance with Kimberley Process Certification Scheme minimum
requirements," reads the report shown to ZimOnline on Wednesday.

If satisfied that KP standards were met Chikane will issue a certificate
allowing release of the stockpiled diamonds onto the international market.

Diamonds from Marange (also known as Chiadzwa) require a certificate from
the KP to be sold on the international market under an agreement between
Harare and the diamond watchdog meant to end human rights abuses and other
illegal activities at the notorious diamond field in eastern Zimbabwe.

Sources said Chikane, who will bring with him to Harare a diamond expert to
help him scrutinise the Marange stones, was most likely to certify the
diamonds, especially the lot produced by Mbada Investments, which is one of
two firms contracted to exploit the Marange claims.

"Mbada has to meet only a few requirements but their operation shows they
are heavily capitalised, their equipment is new and their operations and
infrastructure compare favourably with the operations of middle to
large-scale miners in Botswana and Namibia," said a source.

The source said Canadile Miners, the second firm operating Marange, might
struggle to convince Chikane to authorise them to sell diamonds.

A senior government official who spoke to ZimOnline last week said the KP
had already indicated that it was going to issue a certificate of compliance
allowing Mbada to sell the 2.5 million carats it says it has stockpiled
since it entered Marange last year.

Where Chikane declines to certify a particular lot of diamonds he will issue
a report to the government detailing what measures must be implemented
before that lot can be certified clean and fit for sale.

Marange is one of the world's most controversial diamond fields with reports
that soldiers sent to guard the claims after the government took over the
field in October 2006 from a British firm that owned the deposits committed
gross human rights abuses against illegal miners who had descended on the

Human rights groups have been pushing for a ban on diamonds from Marange but
last November, the country escaped a KP ban with the global body giving
Harare a June 2010 deadline to make reforms to comply with its regulations.

Meanwhile our sources say Chikane has asked for the establishment of a full
time secretariat to help him monitor  activities at Marange. - ZimOnline

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Facilitators getting tough on negotiators

March 31, 2010

By Our Correspondent

JOHANNESBURG: The South African team facilitating talks to break the
political deadlock in Zimbabwe yesterday appeared to be working on
instructions not to let political negotiators in Harare off the hook by
presenting a report with issues that were agreed on when the SADC appointed
facilitator, Jacob Zuma, visited two weeks ago, still unresolved.

The facilitating team told The Daily News Wednesday evening that they would
not act like a "post box" by merely receiving a report without questioning
its content.

"Facilitating is not a simple act of just receiving a report like a post
box. We will receive and engage the negotiators on issues," said Lindiwe
Zulu, the spokesperson of the three-member facilitating team, falling short
of saying her team would not receive a report that does not recognise
agreements that were made when Zuma recently visited Harare.

Speaking to his Zanu-PF party members last week President Robert Mugabe said
nothing had been agreed and nothing would until sanctions imposed on him and
his top officials by western countries are removed. One of he party's two
representative in the inter-party talks, Patrick Chinamasa buttressed Mugabe's
statement by telling the media that nothing was agreed during Zuma's visit.

But the MDC accused Zanu-PF of making a major U-turn aimed at undoing the
progress that has been made in the talks so far with Tsvangirai saying he
would ask Zuma and the SADC to intervene to unlock the deadlock.

Zimbabwe's coalition government, which was formed last February with
Tsvangirai as Premier, is credited with stabilising the economy and bringing
about change in the lives of ordinary people. But continuing bickering over
executive political positions is threatening to undo whatever progress has
been made.

The facilitating team is said to be taking a hard-line stance on Harare, in
what analysts say is a huge shift from previous facilitator, Thabo Mbeki's
policy of quiet diplomacy.

The team was to meet the negotiators of the three Zimbabwean parties
Wednesday evening at a Harare hotel to get a report and discuss the nagging
points before travelling back to South Africa Thursday to present the report
to Zuma.

Tsvangirai's MDC party wants Mugabe to rescind a decision to unilaterally
appoint the Attorney General and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor. In
addition it also wants its senior officials to be appointed as provincial
governors and the dropping of terrorism charges against Roy Bennett the
party's treasurer general. Bennett has not been sworn in as Deputy Minister
of Agriculture for more than a year because of the court case.

On its part Zanu-PF wants MDC to call for the lifting of targeted sanctions
on Mugabe and other members of the party as well as cause the closure of
so-called pirate radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe from abroad.

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Bennett accused of hoarding maize in 2001

March 31, 2010

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - The ongoing case of embattled MDC treasurer general, Roy Bennett,
took a rather bizarre twist in the High Court Wednesday - he was slapped
with brand new,  if somewhat outdated criminal charges.

MDC treasurer general Roy Bennett addresses the journalists outside the High
Court Wednesday

The State now alleges that the MDC legislator failed to declare stocks of
maize which he produced on his farm back in 2001.

Bennett will appear before a Chipinge magistrate's court on April 6 to
answer to charges of violating a section of the Grain Marketing Board Act.

"On the 22nd of October 2001 and at Charleswood Estate, Chimanimani Roy
Leslie Bennett wrongfully and unlawfully was found in possession of 92 289
metric tonnes of maize which he did not declare to the authorities in terms
of the Act," reads the summons.

The MDC top official, who is on trial for attempting to overthrow President
Robert Mugabe, was handed the new summons shortly before he appeared at the
High Court for the latest hearing of his terrorism trial on Wednesday

It was an offence in Zimbabwe for one to hold on to stocks of the staple
maize grain in a country battling massive starvation. While it was an
offence back in 2001 for anyone to hold quantities of maize without making a
declaration to the authorities, the law changed last year when government
scrapped the GMB's monopoly as the sole procurer of grain in Zimbabwe.

"How can they bring a case, nine years later about me holding maize on my
own farm, maize that I produced myself?" a dismayed Bennett said to
reporters Wednesday afternoon.

"I have to drive to Chipinge and see what the issue is about because surely
if I don't arrive they will arrest me."

The MDC immediately condemned the move, saying the charges against Bennett
were trumped up.

"The MDC views the latest charge on Hon Bennett as a contrived political
plot to haunt him and prevent him from taking up his post as deputy minister
of Agriculture," said the party in a statement Wednesday.

"The latest so-called charge is the height of persecution of a man whose
only crime is that he is white and he is MDC.

"Last Friday, state security agents  blocked Sen. Bennett and his wife,
Heather from proceeding to Charleswood Estate despite being granted
permission to collect his personal property including the remains of his

"Attorney-General Johannes Tomana has once again proved why he is an
outstanding issue. His blatant abuse of office to persecute an innocent man
has reached ridiculous heights and there is no wonder why there is a
national call for him to be investigated for abuse of office."

Meanwhile, High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu on Wednesday further deferred
his judgement in a matter in which Bennett is seeking acquittal on his
terrorism charges.

The State alleges Bennett connived with Peter Michael Hitschmann, a firearms
dealer, to purchase weapons with the hope of overthrowing President Mugabe's
old administration.

But Bennett vehemently denies the charges, which carry a death sentence on

Bennett, through his lawyers, filed for a discharge of his charges early in
March arguing that the state had failed to produce incriminating evidence
that should warrant his being called to his defence.

Bhunu said he was not yet ready with his judgement. He postponed the matter
to May 10 this year.

The judge however granted a request by Bennett to have his passport returned
and his reporting conditions relaxed during the period preceding his May

This was in spite of an attempt to block the move by Attorney General
Johannes Tomana, who is prosecuting the high profile matter.

Until Wednesday, Bennett was reporting every other Friday at Harare Central
Police station.

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MDC says Bennett will not be replaced

March 31, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party has dismissed as false
reports that its treasurer general, Roy Bennett, will be shunted to another
ministry as part of an alleged compromise deal brokered by South Africa
President Jacob Zuma.

Roy Bennett leaves the High Court Wednesday after his case was adjourned to
May 10.

Bennett was destined to be sworn in as deputy Minister of Agriculture in the
power-sharing unity government formed by the MDC and Mugabe's Zanu-PF, but
was detained on the day he was scheduled to be sworn in.

Mugabe has said Bennett will only be allowed to join the government if he is
cleared by the law courts where he faces charges of alleged acts of

Speaking at an MDC rally in Dzivarasekwa at the weekend, MDC spokesman
Nelson Chamisa said the party would never back down on the issue.

"Bennett is our deputy Minister of Agriculture and he will not be moved to
any other ministry," Chamisa told thousands of cheering supporters. "He will
have to serve in that capacity."

Chamisa said it was not up to Mugabe and Zanu-PF to do some form of
interrogation on its choice.

Chamisa said, "Mugabe is like a baptist at the Jordan River and it was not
up to him to determine who will be baptised or not.

"His task is simple; he should simply swear-in Bennett and not do some form
of interrogation on our candidate. He has no such powers."

Mugabe has more than a year totally ignored appeals by the MDC officials on
him to swear in Bennett.

Chamisa said SADC was aware of the matter. He said the issue would be high
on the agenda of a forthcoming SADC summit.

Chamisa let slip that there was no agreement on the matter even after a
two-day State visit by Zuma on March 16 to 18 as SADC facilitator on the
implementation of the GPA.

The talks are ongoing but the MDC's stance on Bennett and Mugabe's recent
remarks that his Zanu-PF party had not made any concessions to Tsvangirai's
party suggest little headway is being made on the many outstanding issues.

Zuma met with Bennett but the MDC treasurer says they did not discuss his
appointment or his court case. Instead he and the SADC facilitator had only
discussed matters pertaining to the Global Political Agreement.

Zuma later made a short statement at a press conference, but declined to
answer questions.  He said the parties had "agreed to a package of measures
to be implemented concurrently as per the decision of the SADC Troika in
Maputo". He said he believed the implementation of this package "will take
the process forward substantially".

Negotiating teams from the three parties in the ruling coalition met over
the weekend to attend to all outstanding matters.

Bennett returned to Zimbabwe in January 2009 after spending nearly two years
in exile in South Africa. The MDC's treasurer-general was arrested on
February 13 last year on the very day he was supposed to be sworn in. He was
accused of plotting against President Mugabe's government.

The charges were that he illegally possessed arms for the purposes of
committing acts of terrorism and banditry. Bennett denies the charges, which
carry a possible death sentence on conviction.

Bennett is currently awaiting a High Court decision on whether he will be
put on his defence over the charges of banditry, terrorism, insurgency or

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu is on Wednesday expected to rule on an application
for discharge lodged by the defence team at the close of the State case
three weeks ago that the State had failed to establish a prima facie case
that Bennett plotted to assassinate President Robert Mugabe in 2006.

The prosecution, led by Attorney General (AG) Johannes Tomana, has
vehemently opposed the application for discharge, insisting it had placed
enough evidence before the court to prove that Bennett had a case to answer.

Tomana says the fact that Bennett fled to South Africa in 2006 showed that
he had a case to answer.

In 2004 Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told Bennett in Parliament that
Bennett's Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani would be taken by the government
and resettled.

Chinamasa then said:  "Mr Bennett has not forgiven government for acquiring
his farm, but he forgets that his forefathers were thieves and murderers."

Bennett stood up and walked towards Chinamasa, shouting, "You are really
getting on my nerves; do you think I will let you get away with that?"

Bennett grabbed Chinamasa by the collar and wrestled him to the floor. He
then tried to punch then Anti-Corruption Minister, the elderly Didymus
Mutasawho responded by delivering a swift kick.

A parliamentary committee of which the MDC was part was established to
investigate the incident. It found Bennett guilty and imprisoned him for 12
months. He was released from Chikurubi Prison on June 28, 2005, after
spending eight months behind bars.

Bennett then crossed into South Africa where he was granted asylum. He
returned to Zimbabwe at the end of January 2009 to join in the deliberations
within the MDC on whether or not to agree to the power-sharing government
with Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

When the MDC ultimately decided to share power with Zanu-PF, Tsvangirai
designated Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture on February 10, 2009.

But Bennett was arrested at Harare's Charles Prince Airport on February 13,
moments before he flew out of Zimbabwe on a private plane. He was supposed
to be sworn in as deputy minister on that very day.

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Villagers in Northern Zimbabwe Flee Apparent Political Violence; Homes, Church Burned

Villagers in Muzarabani who support Prime Minister Tsvangirai's MDC
formation fled their homes on Monday night after being attacked by suspected
ZANU-PF militia who burned a church and a number of homes

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington 31 March 2010

About 16 families in Zimbabwe's Mashonaland Central province who belong to
the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai fled their homes Monday night after being attacked by suspected
ZANU-PF militia who burned a church and homes, MDC sources said.

Party sources said the attacks came after the villagers attended an MDC
rally addressed by Co-Minister for National Healing Sekai Holland on Sunday.

Muzarabani South MDC District Chairman Fred Matonhodze told VOA Studio 7
reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that villagers walked long distances to Saint
Albert's Business Centre to seek refuge.

Most parts of Zimbabwe have experienced such violence reminiscent of the
2008 election period since the formation of a unity government in 2009. But
there has been talk of new elections in 2011 and debate over the revision of
the constitution has also revived political tensions in hotly contested

VOA was unable to obtain comment from ZANU-PF officials in Mashonaland
Central or Harare.

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ANC urges followers to defy ban on song
South Africa's ruling African National Congress has been accused of inciting the murder of white people after it urged the public to ignore a court ruling that an anti-apartheid song featuring the words "Kill the Boer" was "illegal hate speech".
Julius Malema addressing students in Johannesburg
Julius Malema addressing students in Johannesburg Photo: GETTY

The struggle song, entitled Ayesaba Amagwala (The Cowards are Scared), was sung at political rallies during the time of racial segregation but was recently resurrected by Julius Malema, the leader of the ANC's youth league at a student meeting.

But with the word Boer meaning farmer in Afrikaans, the murder of white farmers in rural areas on the increase and talk by the government of nationalising productive farms raising fears of a new Zimbabwe, his choice of anthem provoked an outcry. 

A subsequent court ruling that the phrase was illegal has done little to dampen the row.

With the ANC insisting South Africans should ignore the ban and defend their cultural heritage, there are now accusations that it too is inciting violence.

Mr Malema, tipped by President Jacob Zuma as his heir apparent, has been labelled "an accessory to the wiping out of farmers in South Africa" by Freedom Front Plus, a party protecting the rights of Afrikaners.

Earlier this month, 29-year-old Mr Malema was found guilty of a hate crime after he said that a woman who accused Mr Zuma of rape "had a nice time" because she stayed for breakfast.

The ANC said the phrase dubul ibhunu (Kill the Boer) was a figurative reference to the injustices of apartheid in general rather than the Afrikaner community specifically and claimed it had been deliberately misinterpreted to incite "certain" communities.

But on Friday, South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg ruled that it was illegal and anyone using it could be charged with a criminal offence. This week, Gwede Mantashe, the ANC secretary-general, said the judgment was "unenforceable and unimplementable" and promised to challenge it at the country's Constitutional Court. "For this nation to be confident about the future, it must be confident about where it comes from," he said. "This democracy is a product of a long struggle for liberation. That must never be hidden from younger generations.

"Those songs must be sung to remind us that it is determination, perseverance and patience that will ultimately give us full freedom in our country."

Opposition parties have criticised the government's defiant stance.

Helen Zille, the Democratic Alliance leader, said the ANC risked destroying the legacy of reconciliation started by former president Nelson Mandela.

"There can only be one conclusion: that the ANC is justifying incitement to murder people on the basis of their race in the new South Africa," she said.

"We recall President Mandela and the national executive committee of the ANC rebuking Peter Mokaba when he sang these words in the mid-1990s.

"The fact that the ANC is seeking to defend this hate speech today shows how far that organisation has deviated from President Mandela's vision."

At least two white farmers or family members are murdered every week in South Africa and last year alone, 120 were killed.

Marius Roodt, a researcher at the South African Institute of Race Relations, said: "Most people realise that this is a struggle song but many whites cannot help but feel that they are being targeted."

Jackson Mthembu, an ANC spokesman, insisted that there was "no correlation" between the singing of the song and any attacks on farmers and no evidence had been produced of any link.

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Zimbabwe Mining Body Proposes 10 Percent Stake for Blacks Under Indigenization

Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Christopher Hokonya said selling
instead of ceding share stakes could allow international financial
institutions to fund the acquisition of equity in mines by ordinary

Gibbs Dube | Washington 31 March 2010

The Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of
Indigenization under which foreign-owned mining companies would set aside 10
percent of their equity shares for indigenous blacks under the
indigenization program.

Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Christopher Hokonya said most mining
concerns are willing to set up special shareholding structures for blacks to
comply with the 2007 Indigenization Act.

"We believe that there is no one who has the capital to buy anything up to
51 percent of shares in mining companies and this is the reason why we have
made this proposal," said Hokonya.

He told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that these proposals could allow
international financial institutions to fund the acquisition of equity
shares in mines by ordinary Zimbabweans.

Economist Rejoice Ngwenya said the Chamber of Mines proposals set the stage
for a positive revision of controversial indigenization regulations, which
have caused concern among foreign investors.

Ngwenya said a 10 percent equity stake for local blacks is a reasonable
figure for foreign-owned companies to consider given that they are also
expected to provide development aid to local communities.

"If companies are reminded of their corporate social responsibilities, they
are likely to comply with some provisions of the indigenization act as long
as shares are not ceded to indigenous people or groups," he said.

The indigenization regulations stipulate that foreign-owned companies with
assets of at US$500,000 or more must make over a controlling stake of not
less than 51 percent to Zimbabwean blacks. But the means by which such
control would be transferred, or the compensation mechanism, is not clear.

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Bulawayo to spend more money on expensive cars

By Thembani Gasela

Published: March 31, 2010

Bulawayo   - Barely a month after widespread complaints over the purchase of
an expensive car for the Bulawayo Mayor Thaba Moyo,the city's authorities
have threatened to buy even more expensive cars for managers.

Addressing a press briefing at the council chambers Wednesday, Town Clerk
Middleton Nyoni revealed plans to buy Toyota Prados for directors.

The council has a director of finance, health services, Town Clerk, Chamber
Secretary, director of Housing as well as director of Engineering Services.

Nyoni said managers would buy the Prados after council advances loans in the
near future.

Bulawayo city council spent US$65 000 on Mayor's Dodge Journey and residents
attacked council for misplacing priorities.

"We are buying the Prados, which are even more expensive," said Nyoni.

The new cars are likely to cause furore in Bulawayo as residents complain
bitterly about lack of good service delivery.

The city's lighting system has come under scrutiny and the acting director
of engineering Job Jika Ndebele said about 60 percent of the public lighting
was working instead of 88 percent.

Ndebele said the sewer and water infrastructure had collapsed citing ageing
equipment that is more than 50 years old.

There is need to install new pipes. Financial constraints remain a major
challenge," he said.

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Zimbabwe Weekly Update – Number 12

Posted by ZDN on March 30, 2010
• Pretoria said it would not accept the report required by President Jacob
Zuma from the inter-party negotiators on March 31 if it fails to incorporate
agreements that were reached with Zuma during his visit earlier this month.
The announcement was in response to remarks by Zanu-PF’s chief negotiator,
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, claiming the negotiators had reached no
agreements with Zuma.
• South African International Relations Adviser, Lindiwe Sisulu, said the
bottom line is that the situation in Zimbabwe is affecting South Africa and
the region.  “We are going to hold everyone to the promise that were made
when we were here,” she said.
• Zanu-PF’s politburo on Wednesday said it would not make any concessions in
the inter-party talks until targeted sanctions are lifted.
• President Robert Mugabe said last week that Reserve Bank Governor Gideon
Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana would not go since they were not
part of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
• Zuma said on Friday travel restrictions on Zanu-PF officials should be
lifted to help the unity government function effectively. Speaking at the
end of a visit to Uganda, Zuma said it was problematic that the MDC could
travel all they wanted, while Zanu-PF could not.
• Controversial African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) chairman
Julius Malema is expected in Zimbabwe on Friday to show his support for the
ANCYL’s counterparts in Zimbabwe.  He will meet with Youth Development
Minister Saviour Kasukuwere (Zanu PF) who last year admitted that the former
ruling party deployed militias to spearhead its violent 2008 election
campaign.  Malema will address a number of rallies and meetings during his
four-day visit.
• MDC supporters on Thursday set secret Zanu-PF torture bases on fire, in
retaliation following intimidation by Zanu-PF youth.
• Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a coalition of non-governmental
organizations, on Thursday said calls by Tsvangirai and Mugabe for new
elections are premature.  Credible polls are possible only after a complete
overhaul of the country’s distorted voters’ roll and a review of electoral,
security and media laws, it said.

• The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said it is seeking a boycott of Air
Zimbabwe flights by the International Transport Workers Federation on all of
its routes, seeking to force the carrier to reinstate some 400 workers it
laid off in 2009.
• Members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces have been awarded salary increments
of up to 75 percent, from US$150 per month to US$270.
• The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a statement Tuesday that
more reforms are needed in the country’s central bank, and that new loans
are still not available for Zimbabwe.
• The Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe called Wednesday for a new
national youth service, which does not perpetuate youth rights abuses, to
replace the so-called Border Gezi militia, implicated in the 2008 election
• German dairy equipment supply company Guth South Africa has breached the
EU targeted measures against Mugabe and his wife by building a
state-of-the-art dairy processing plant to process milk from Gushungo Dairy
Estates.  This is one of several farms seized by the Mugabes.
• The Zimbabwe government has barred Engen & Kobil from acquiring the local
assets of BP and Shell, which are withdrawing from the Zimbabwean market.
The deal is the first to be barred under the new indigenisation law.
• Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere has slammed
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono for criticising the
indigenisation law. He said Gono is exploiting the issue to “seek relevance”.
• Two South African seed companies have obtained orders from Zimbabwe’s High
Court to attach assets of the RBZ to settle debts totaling US$5 million.
Central bank property was already being auctioned off in a separate case to
cover a US$2.1 million debt owed by the RBZ.
• The 175-member Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
(CITES) has given Zimbabwe permission to continue trading in ivory despite
attempts by some African countries to have a 20-year moratorium.
• The Zimbabwe government announced Wednesday it was offering a 49 percent
stake in state-controlled People’s Own Savings Bank to private investors, as
part of a major privatisation programme intended to raise revenue. The bank
is one of Zimbabwe’s oldest and largest banks.

• Finance Minister Tendai Biti survived a car crash Tuesday near Chegutu,
Mashonaland West province.  His vehicle was side-swiped by a 30 tonne truck
carrying coal.
• The indigenisation law has adversely affected insurance companies’
investment portfolios on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), with almost all
making losses in investment income since the regulation was gazetted.
• Electricity shortages and lack of access to capital are threatening the
recovery of Zimbabwe’s mining sector, while uncertainty over empowerment
laws is keeping investors away, the mining chamber said on Tuesday.
• Zimbabwe’s consumer price deflation eased in February, with prices falling
just 0.7 percent in February, compared to a 4.8 percent drop in January.
• Coal reserves at Hwange’s dragline pit, which supplies the country’s
largest thermal power station, will run out by 2012. The dragline could have
run out by the end of last year had the company been operating at 100%, but
it has been operating at between 50% and 60% for nearly two years.
• European and US companies continue to snub the Zimbabwe International
Trade Fair (ZITF), with only one exhibitor from the UK at this year’s trade
• A new geological survey has revealed that there are millions of tons of
untapped tin ore reserves at the Kamativi Tin Mine, which was decommissioned
by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation almost a decade ago.
• South African civil rights initiative, Afriforum, has instructed the
Sheriff of Cape Town to attach a luxury property owned by the Zimbabwean
government.  If the government does not respond within two months, the
property will be auctioned off to cover a SADC Tribunal contempt ruling and
costs order levied in June 2009 and registered by the High Court in Pretoria
in February.
• The British Parliament’s Africa All-party Group’s latest report, “Land in
Zimbabwe: Past Mistakes, Future Prospects” claims that Britain never made
nor betrayed any promises on land reform made at Lancaster House, as
asserted by Mugabe.
• Local government minister Ignatius Chombo and property mogul Phillip
Chiyangwa have been named in a Harare City Council special investigation
report, which exposes how influential people corruptly acquired land from
the municipality. The land scandal involves prime property in Harare worth
millions of US dollars.
• An alleged property-buying spree by Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has
attracted the interest of the parliamentary committee investigating the
plunder of the Chiadzwa diamond fields. The committee is trying to establish
how Mpofu allegedly acquired at least 27 properties in Victoria Falls in the
last few months.
• The Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund) has
called off its proposed US$1.5 million in the agricultural sector in
Zimbabwe in response to the new indigenisation law.
• The High Court has ruled against investors from Malaysia in a dispute over
an invaded banana plantation, in a move that will further sour diplomatic
relations between the two countries. The property, owned by the Malaysian
and Dutch farming entity Matanuska, was invaded during December by Zimbabwe’s
ambassador to Tanzania, former army general Edzai Chimonyo.  Chimonyo is
harvesting and selling bananas estimated to be worth US$40 000 a week.
• A group of armed officers from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on
Friday briefly detained MDC deputy agriculture minister (designate) Roy
Bennett for yet unknown reasons. The party’s spokesperson Nelson Chamisa
confirmed that Bennett was also blocked from entering his home town of
• Two MDC members of the human rights group Restoration for Human Rights
(ROHR) were arrested on Thursday, in separate incidents, on allegations of
undermining the office of the President.
• The police have for the past two weeks arrested scores of MDC supporters
across the country on trumped-up charges, amid reports that Zanu
PF-instigated violence against MDC members is on the increase.
• Well-known artist Owen Maseko and Voti Thebe, manager of Bulawayo National
Arts Gallery, were arrested on Friday, a day after they launched an
exhibition of paintings about the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s.
• Zimbabwe students are planning to stage protests countrywide on Monday to
try to push the unity government to implement policies to raise the standard
of education in the country.
• Zimbabwe drastically reduced funding for education from about US$6 per
child in the first two decades of independence to US$0.70 last year as
political leaders diverted resources to consolidating power, Tsvangirai said
on Wednesday.

• UK aid has helped deliver progress in Zimbabwe since the formation of the
unity government, but governance, human rights and provision of basic
services are still falling well below the needs of the people, said a report
published Friday by the International Development Select Committee.
• Zimbabwe’s National Aids Council (NAC) said it would use half of the US$5
million collected from aids tax to buy testing equipment and life prolonging
anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) for patients.
• Villagers in Zimbabwe’s rural areas have now been reduced to engaging in
barter trade in order to access health facilities due to a widespread lack
of foreign currency, a parliamentary report presented in the House of
Assembly on Thursday disclosed.
• The South African government is looking at tightening its immigration laws
to try to limit the continued influx of foreign nationals, South Africa’s
Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said last week. South Africa
is the preferred choice of illegal immigrants, especially those from
Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
• Zimbabweans topped the list of nationalities seeking asylum in the UK for
the second year running, with a total of 7,420 asylum applications in 2009,
according to the UNHCR’s latest statistical report.
• Finance Minister Tendai Biti told a pan-African journalists’ conference on
Saturday that Zimbabwe should speed up registration of newspapers to aid
democratic reforms. He warned Zimbabwe lagged behind other countries in
establishing a legal and political environment conducive for a free press.
• Zimbabwean freelance journalist Nunurai Jena was briefly detained on March
21 by security personnel after they discovered he had tape-recorded Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority officials as they searched and questioned bus travellers,
the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said.
• Tsvangirai on Wednesday officially opened a photo exhibition at Delta
Gallery showcasing gruesome pictures of victims of the 2008 election
violence, and condemned police attempts to ban the display. Zimbabwean
police had earlier in the day returned the photos to the art gallery after
raiding it 24 hours previously.
• The MDC has said it is demanding prosecution of people who committed acts
violence during the 2008 elections. Four sitting Zanu-PF parliamentarians
and a losing parliamentary candidate have been named in the first of a
series of forthcoming disclosures by the MDC of perpetrators of the election
• Machete-wielding war veterans on Thursday descended on former Chiredzi
crocodile farmer Digby Nesbitt’s homestead and ordered him to sell his over
8 000 crocodiles worth about US$1,5 million for just US$150 000, or risk
watching them slaughtered.
• Zanu-PF officials at Hopley Farm are allegedly shielding a political
activist from justice after he raped a 13-year-old girl on three occasions
at the compound.  Hopley Farm is an informal camp on the outskirts of Harare
established after the destruction of the Porta Farm community during
Operation Murambatsvina which took place in winter 2005.
• Zimbabwe has cancelled UK-based African Consolidated Resources (ACR)’s
diamond mining licence, saying it had been pegged in a reserved area. The
company had its licence cancelled in February but appealed the sentence.
• Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has admitted he didn’t follow proper procedure
when he allowed two mining firms to operate at Chiadzwa, confirming reports
that the mining permits were issued fraudulently. Mpofu was giving evidence
at a parliamentary committee hearing set up to investigate operations at
• Kimberly Process (KP) has granted Mbada Investments permission to sell 2.5
million carats of diamonds mined from Chiadzwa, a senior government official
said on Friday.
The Good News
• Japan said on Friday it had extended US$13.3 million in grants to help
Zimbabwe’s flailing economy fight hunger in rural communities where crops
have failed. The grants will also aid in improving Zimbabwe’s education
sector, health delivery and capacity building in midwifery training.
• The European Union (EU) on Wednesday gave $10.6 million to Zimbabwe to buy
textbooks for primary schools.
Source:  Zimbabwe Democracy Now
Click here for back copies of the Zimbabwe Weekly Update

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Constitution process grinds to a halt again

Wednesday, 31 March 2010 22:37

PUBLIC consultations on the constitution are likely to be further delayed
after government failed to raise US$7 million additional funds to the US$14
million promised by donors.

Co-chairperson of the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac) Paul
Mangwana told the Zimbabwe Independent that donors indicated that they would
only release their US$14 million when government foots the remainder of the
required US$21 million.

Mangwana said on Tuesday the constitution-making process has once again
ground to a halt until they get the funding from government and donors.

He said the donors only pledged to provide 70% of the required US$21 million
while the government is expected to chip in 30% of the total funding.

"The donors pledged funds for the outreach programme but they have now
turned around and want the government to also commit themselves to the
constitution-making process and they want the Zimbabwean government to fund
30% of the constitution-making process while they fund the 70%," said

Meanwhile, sources close to the constitution-making process said the donors
have also indicated that they would not fund allowances and any per-diems
for the outreach teams during the process.

"Donors were dismayed with reports that the parliamentarians involved in the
process were paying themselves hefty allowances for doing the constitutional
work and most of the donors felt that they will not fund anything outside of
the actual constitution-making process," said the source, who preferred

The constitution-making process hit a snag in January after the
constitution-making management committee demanded a revision of the
agreement signed between the government and the UNDP.

But there was hope in February when government and UNDP signed the
agreement, which was supposed to pave way for the release of the funds.

The outreach teams were scheduled for deployment this month. Training of the
rapporteurs would only be done when funds are available.

 "Before embarking on the outreach programme, the next stage we have to
undertake is the training of the rapporteurs and we expect that to be done
immediately we get funds from the donors," Mangwana said.

He said the Ministry of Finance has indicated to them that it did not have
any funds.

"The crisis we have at the moment is that the Ministry of Finance has also
indicated that it does not have the funds to avail to the
constitution-making process and as things stand at the moment we are stuck,"
Mangwana said.

The constitution-making process is marred in controversy after reports
emerged that the committees and MPs involved in the process were paying
themselves hefty allowances during the training period. -- Staff Writer.

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Rape, sexual abuse Zanu PF’s poll weapons — report

Wednesday, 31 March 2010 21:56

ZANU PF allegedly used rape and other forms of sexual abuse against women
between 2000 and 2008 as punishment for those perceived to have voted
against it, a National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) report has said.

This was revealed in a report titled Fighting for a New Constitution: Human
Rights Violations Experienced by Female Members of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) launched last week in Harare.

The report stated that of all the gross human rights violations it is rape
and sexual abuse that is particularly inflicted upon women and it is of
concern that so little is accurately known about the prevalence of rape and
sexual abuse in the country.

 “There is a strong link between elections and sexual violence with sexual
violence being used as a political weapon to silence dissent or intimidate
opponents,” reads the report adding that the elections that were held in
2008 point as evidence to the proposition.

The report was a study based on views from 231 women from various high
density suburbs of Harare, Rusape, Mutare, Masvingo, Bindura, Headlands and
Shamva who pointed fingers at war veterans and youth militia as primarily
responsible for intimidation and torture.

Base stations created by Zanu PF militia and war veterans were labelled as
the most “odious” of places, where most of these alleged human rights
violations against women activists were perpetrated.

The women alleged various forms of abuse at the hands of the perpetrators
which include severe bruising, fractures, back injuries and lacerations.

“Two women reported having miscarriages as a result of the ill treatment and
six women reported being raped, three of these reported contracting HIV as a
consequence and another suffered vaginal injuries,” read the report.

Of the perpetrators political party members constituted the majority with
93%, war veterans 84%, youth militia 72%, police in uniform 39%, riot police
20% and CID 11%.

“It is probable that these were members of Zanu PF in common with most human
rights reports since 2000,” the report said.

It is alleged that the injuries were as a result of the use of baton sticks,
booted feet, sticks, whips, being slapped by open palms and rape.

The study also showed that women in most cases did not willingly want to
attend political meetings, with 94% of the group confirming that they were
forced to attend meetings while many suffered emotional stress of abduction
of self and family members and death threats.

Victimisation, according to 75% of the women interviewed, was a result of
their own active involvement in politics, while 56% reported that they had
also been victimised because a member of their family was involved in

The report concluded that being a female and a civic or political activist
comes with severe risks and recommended that women activists should
participate in any civil society activities without fear of reprisal and
brutal treatment from law enforcement agents.

Due to the suffering, the women further said they would not entertain
conversations of national healing and reconciliation unless central issues
of the abuse they went through in the period 2000 to 2008 were addressed.

The women interviewed were strongly against amnesty with only 4% feeling
that amnesty should be given to people who have committed politically
motivated crimes or crimes against humanity.

A large number of the women (90%) felt that a truth and reconciliation
commission should be established and 98% were of the opinion that people who
committed violence against women should be prosecuted, while 94% felt that
people who committed violence against women should be compelled to publicly
admit their crimes before the truth commission.

In a speech read on behalf of NCA chairperson Lovemore Madhuku by the
organisation’s spokesperson Madock Chivasa, Madhuku acknowledged the role
women have played in the country’s struggle for democracy and a new

He said: “Zimbabwean women have been the bedrock of our struggle for
democracy. Our mothers and sisters have refused to just sit and let a despot
have his way.”

“Whilst the report documents human rights violations, it also tells the
story of women standing up to injustice and boldly declaring that they too
will, through peaceful action, add their voice to the building of
participatory social democracy.  Their vulnerability is supposed to send an
unambiguous message to all who seek participation in the fight for
democratic reforms.”

Wongai Zhangazha

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Zanu PF employing theatrics to buy time –– analysts

Wednesday, 31 March 2010 20:47

WHEN South African President Jacob Zuma told journalists two weeks ago that
the three parties to the global political agreement had agreed to a package
of measures to be implemented, they waited with bated breath for the list of
concessions made that would resolve the country’s decade-long political

But to their disappointment he did not disclose details of the package and
refused to take any questions from the journalists.
His one-page statement to the media was ambiguous and to this date no one
has divulged any details of what Zuma persuaded Zanu PF and the two MDC
formations to do.
All Zuma said was: “I am very encouraged by the spirit of cooperation
displayed by the leaders and all the parties. The parties have agreed to a
package of measures to be implemented concurrently as per the decision of
the Sadc Troika in Maputo.”
Now that the deadline is expiring today, Zimbabweans are waiting for some
disclosure on whether the negotiations have finally been concluded more than
18 months after the three political parties signed the global political
Zuma is expected any time from now to present a comprehensive progress
report to the chairperson of the Sadc Troika, Mozambican President Armando
But what Zimbabweans want to know now is what package Zuma was referring to.
Recent statements from Zanu PF have compounded the confusion, with some
people now beginning to question whether there was any package after all or
whether Zuma was misled into believing that the three political parties were
in agreement and close to concluding the talks and only needed to work out a
matrix for implementation.
President Robert Mugabe told the Zanu PF central committee last Friday that
his party would not reach an agreement with the MDC formations until
sanctions are lifted.
“The position is that there cannot be any further concessions from us unless
the illegal sanctions are gone. They are just paying lip service to the
issue of sanctions and they need to do more,” he stated in a stance which
Zanu PF’s politburo agreed on last Wednesday.
Analysts have however dismissed Mugabe’s utterances and the politburo’s
position as mere grandstanding.
For Zuma to announce that there was a package, they believe that there must
have been some agreed positions and Mugabe was just playing hard ball to
give an impression to his supporters that he was not going to easily concede
to the MDC-T.
The analysts pointed out that Mugabe would not deliberately try to humiliate
his South African counterpart by reneging on concessions made during Zuma’s
three-day working visit.
National Constitutional Assembly director Ernest Mudzengi pointed out that:
“I don’t think that Zuma lied but could have been misled. Zanu PF may be
playing games to mislead the nation. It’s a question of Mugabe trying to
balance three balls in the air.
“These are just Zanu PF’s theatrics, well calculated tricks to create
confusion and a way for Zanu PF to buy time.”
Leading political analyst Eldred Masunungure believes that Zanu PF is just
“I suspect that after making certain concessions to the other side, Mugabe
may have been castigated by some hardliners in the politburo. This is part
of grandstanding to his Zanu PF public to keep his audience appeased. He
must have made some concessions but he has to adjust his language when
relating to his public,” he said.
Musunungure said Mugabe would not want to undermine Zanu PF and would also
not want to humiliate Zuma.
“I don’t think Zuma was misled. At his press briefing he was vague and
ambiguous. They must have discussed and agreed on a number of things. I
believe the package is there. I am cautiously hopeful but I think it is just
a question of timing of implementation,” he said.
Mudzengi said there was some ray of hope judging by Zanu PF chief negotiator
Patrick Chinamasa’s statement at the weekend in the state media that
negotiations would be concluded one way or the other and that a matrix of
implementation of the agreed points would be agreed upon.
However, political analyst with the African Reform Institute Trevor Maisiri
said Mugabe was no longer the sole voice of Zanu PF, who in the past used to
have the last word which represented the party’s position and perception.
“What we have realised is that Zanu PF goes to the talks and agrees on
certain frameworks but the moment there is internal consultations within the
structures of the party, they then either reverse the points of agreement or
simply stall implementation by throwing diversionary angles to the political
scenario,” he said.
Maisiri pointed out that the politburo has become one of the power-broking
mechanisms of the party.
“Mugabe and his negotiators no longer have the muscle to push through
whatever they agree to at the talks as the politburo is the last checking
mechanism before implementation. In most cases, it has come to reject
whatever Mugabe and his negotiators will have signed and agreed to,” he
This is not the first time that the politburo has directed its negotiators
not to make any more concessions. Talks stalled after the Zanu PF congress
in December resolved that the party negotiators would not make any further
concessions until the MDC factions removed sanctions and stopped foreign
radio broadcasts into Zimbabwe.
By meeting with Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and state security
minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Maisiri said Zuma was trying to shrewdly unlock
the deadlock by tracing the “real and foundational power base in the party”.
“When Zuma had his talks, ironically he had to meet with the ministers of
defence and state security. What this basically exhibits is that the
negotiation power in Zanu PF does not entirely lie in the president’s hands
anymore,” he pointed out.
Leaks to the media were that the three parties had agreed on the appointment
of at least four MDC-T officials as provincial governors
On the governors, the negotiating teams were supposed to agree on a formula
of selecting the resident ministers — either through popular vote or by the
number of total seats in the House of Assembly and Senate.

Faith Zaba

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Farmers file contempt of court charges against govt

Friday, 26 March 2010 11:52

A GROUP of white commercial farmers who were dispossessed of their land
during the chaotic land reform programme have filed an urgent application
with the Sadc Tribunal against the government for contempt of court. The
commercial farmers want the Sadc Tribunal to grant an enforcement order
urging Sadc leaders to take measures that might include the suspension or
expulsion of Zimbabwe from the regional bloc.

The Sadc Tribunal ruling allowed white farmers, whose farms were acquired by
government for resettlement purposes, to remain on the farms because they
had legal title to them.

Justice Luis Mondlane, the president of the Tribunal, ruled in 2008 that the
white farmers had a clear legal title to their farms and should receive fair
compensation from government for the properties lost during the land reform

The farmers' application to the Tribunal comes barely a month after the
Pretoria High Court ruled that the farmers could attach Zimbabwe government
properties in South Africa and have them auctioned to get their

The lawyer representing the commercial farmers, Norman Tjombe, said in a
statement released on Wednesday that they will push ahead with the case
until a judgment has been granted in favour of the farmers.

"The case is essentially another contempt application against the Zimbabwe
government and against the High Court of Zimbabwe which refused to register
the Sadc Tribunal judgment on the basis that it was against public policy,"
Tjombe said. "We were also asking for an enforcement order from the Tribunal
that would have urged the Sadc leaders to take measures that might involve
suspension or expulsion of Zimbabwe from Sadc."

The three white commercial farmers who took the Zimbabwe government to the
Sadc Tribunal are Louis Fick, Mike Campbell and Richard Etheredge.

Last month the Pretoria High Court ruled that the white commercial farmers
have a right to approach courts in South Africa to seek redress over the
land issue.

Four properties belonging to the Zimbabwean government were identified and
were set to be auctioned to recover their money for the land and
developments on the farms acquired during the controversial land reform

According to reports in the South African media, AfriForum, a civil rights
group that brought the application on behalf of the farmers, the properties
are in Zonnebloem, Wynberg and Kenilworth in Cape Town.

The properties were bought for between R525 000 and R1 million by the
government in 1995. Reports from South Africa said deeds records show that
the properties are registered under the name of the Government of the
Republic of Zimbabwe.

The properties are non-diplomatic and are therefore not protected by any
immunity from legal action. The Pretoria High Court judgment however does
not affect properties that are being used by the Zimbabwean Embassy in South
Africa as they are protected by diplomatic immunity.

Loughty Dube

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Hwange Colliery pays contractors with coke

Wednesday, 31 March 2010 20:40

HWANGE Colliery Company Ltd (HCCL) will have to pay two South African
companies it contracted to repair its oven battery with coke valued at US$4
million due to financial problems.

Under the deal, Hwange Colliery will pay Force Bell and Otto Simon and
Fosbel companies for repairing its 32-coke oven battery, after it starts
working and producing the coke.
Hwange Colliery public relations manager, Burzil Dube confirmed that they
were using coal as payment for the repair of the oven battery but could not
go into more details about the transaction
"Due to the financial constraints we made arrangements to pay the companies
rebuilding the battery with coke, it is nothing unusual. We have paid other
services with coal before," he said.
 "The 32-coke oven battery is currently under corrective maintenance as it
was due for a major rebuild and a team of experts from the United Kingdom
and South Africa have been brought in who are expected to give it another
life of between five to ten years. About US$4 million is needed to repair
the battery."
Coke is a solid carbonaceous residue derived from low-ash, low-sulfur
bituminous coal from which the volatile constituents are driven off by
baking in an oven without oxygen at temperatures as high as 1 000 °C so that
the fixed carbon and residual ash are fused together.
Metallurgical coke is used as a fuel and as a reducing agent in smelting
iron ore in a blast furnace. The product is too rich in dissolved carbon and
must be treated further to make steel.
Coke from coal is grey, hard, and porous and has a heating value of US$24,8
million. Some coke making processes produce valuable by-products that
include coal tar, ammonia, light oils and coal gas.
"The battery is currently on a two-month shut down window period and during
this phase significant revenue will be lost hence some employees including
management will be paid two weeks wages as part of efforts of cash
conservation and cost management," Dube said.
Management at Hwange said the battery had been down for six weeks.
"The battery had not been working for a year. It only started working again
end of November last year but broke down after three months. We are having
to rely on the Hwange Gasification which was built and is being run by
Chinese nationals," a Hwange Colliery official said.
The colliery company has 25% shareholding under a Build Operate and Transfer
process in Hwange Coal Gasification Company.
The official said: "They are expensive but doing a good job. Their payment
(in coke) might start end of May or early June since the battery will be
repaired for nearly three months."
The breakdown of the Oven battery has forced Hwange Colliery to introduce a
short working month for its workers across the board because of the
financial challenges.
Workers are being paid for the two weeks they report for duty in a month.
Insiders at the company said while the coal miner had reduced working days
for its 3 000 workers, it had hired eleven contractors from South Africa who
where being paid US$50 per hour.
Hwange Colliery has three operational mines namely JKL Opencast (widely
known as the dragline pit), Chaba Opencast and 3 Main underground Mine. The
coal reserves at the dragline pit are expected to have depleted within the
next two years while those at Chaba and 3 Main in will last for 17 years.
"We are currently operating at 60% of our capacity which is also subject to
our customers' demand," Dube said.
According to documents a company called Colbro had been given a contract to
transport coal for Hwange at a cost US2,97c/ tonnes, while other companies
such as Clidder was offering the same services at US$1,80c. The deal was
"temporarily stopped after the 32-coke oven battery broke down.
Documents seen by businessdigest show that the company recently acquired
six-40 tonne dump trucks and two excavators on credit facility at a cost of
US$5 million.
The debt is currently being serviced at a cost of about US$800 000 per
"The colliery company's business plan is to diversify and also to intensify
export penetration, increase in volumes, and responsible corporate citizen
among others," Dube told businessdigest.
"This can be achieved through effective planning of operational skills while
on the other hand seeking top improve on our logistics," he said
Dube said the company was currently into coal bed methane gas and
investigative work with a leading international firm was already in
progress. Applications for multi million dollar projects have already been
submitted to the relevant authorities.
 "Most of the projects currently being done at the mine are financed through
the company's own resources while negotiations are at an advanced stage with
some regional financial institutions," Dube said.

Paul Nyakazeya


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Muckraker: Hawkins called it like it is

Wednesday, 31 March 2010 20:52

CONGRATULATIONS to Tony Hawkins for calling it like it is.

The Indigenisation regulatons are most certainly "racist and backward" and
deserve to be likened to apartheid laws in South Africa.
Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere walked out of a conference at the
Rainbow Towers because of sentiments expressed that he took exception to, we
are told by the Sunday Mail.
Why is it okay for Kasukuwere to call opponents of his scheme "racist" but
then demonstrates pique when the same is said of him?
If he can't stand the heat he should stay out of the kitchen. Did he not
read what Zanu PF loyalist Gideon Gono said about his warped proposals? That
they were racist and harmful to the economy? We never thought we would
concur so heartily with the Reserve Bank governor but he was 100% right on
this one.
South Africa has black empowerment enabling laws in place. But their
measures are largely the product of national consensus. They are only too
aware that investors have a choice where to go. Zanu PF is oblivious to that
reality. Kasukuwere said it was "shocking" that there were still "some
elements in society who were blatantly racist" -- just because they believe
his regulations are damaging to the economy and detrimental to investment.
Isn't that just about what everybody thinks?

Zanu PF's habit of calling anybody who opposes them "racist" needs to be
challenged. Hawkins is one of the country's leading economists and knows
what he is talking about. Kasukuwere evidently doesn't.
What was not reported in the Sunday Mail was Kasukuwere arriving two hours
late for the conference and then taking a seat at the back of the room so he
could undertake his obviously stage-managed walk-out. Businessmen who had
been waiting to hear his address were evicted to make room for the minister
and his delegation.
It had all the hallmarks of an  orchestrated event.
The game was given away by AAG secretary-general Tafadzwa Musarara who said
his members walked out "in solidarity with the minister". Musarara left
before presenting his paper we are told.
That's a pity because his paper was very amusing. It was headed
"Empowerment, my divine rights restored".
Evidently we have another Louis XIV in our midst! It would be unfair to draw
attention to his spelling of indigenous. But we must challenge his claim
that "sadza is indigenous and hence it has no name". Has he not heard of
maize that has its origins in Central America?
"We have mangos, cats, peaches and others that have remained classified
exotic," he claimed.
We also have dimwits who remain classified as daft. We note that Musarara's
claim that "blacks are the indigenous people of Africa" neatly airbrushed
the San and Khoi from the picture.
What is not spelt out in this debate is the self-appointed role of Sadc in
preventing Zanu PF from destroying the economy. That's why they instigated
the inter-party talks in the first place.
Now we have a minister who is determined to behave like a school-yard bully
brandishing policies that are bound to jeopardise investment and
Just watch this tragedy unfold. It's another Zanu PF own goal just as the
green shoots of recovery were visible.

We wish to congratulate the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists for successfully
hosting the second congress of the Federation of African Journalists. At
least they put their differences aside and hosted journalists from across
the continent.
What caught our attention were Webster Shamu's attempts to mislead the
visiting journalists.
He told them during a reception hosted by his ministry that journalists
should not be arrested for telling the truth.
"No journalist should be arrested for telling the truth," Shamu said on
He forgot to explain to the visitors that it is Zanu PF ministers who decide
whether a newspaper is telling the truth. Under the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act a journalist can be arrested for criticising
the president. Ordinary citizens can be prosecuted under the same law for
making remarks about the president in the back of a kombi!
Zimbabwe is ranked among the worst violators of press freedom on the
Perhaps this could have been the perfect platform for Shamu to give an
update on progress regarding the abolition of Aippa and licensing of
newspapers and radio stations.

We also congratulate the Sunday Mail for telling the truth about the state
of the education sector in the country. The paper ran a feature highlighting
the plight of pupils and teachers at Marongwe Primary School in Mt Darwin.
The "school" is made up of nine blocks of wooden poles which are thatched
with grass, the paper reported.
Under the headline "School or refugee camp?" pupils at the school and
teachers are quoted expressing their anger at the failure by authorities to
build a proper school for them.
"It seems as if we are trapped," said Takesure Gatsi, a Grade six pupil. "We
cannot learn well but we cannot leave the school because it is the nearest
we have. Other schools are so far away that going there is simply a waste of
Edgar Gumbo, the deputy headmaster, weighed in: "We have to keep an eye each
time on the kids to ensure that the mischievous ones do not light up the
school. But our major problems come during the rainy season. We literally
have to close the school because the thatching grass will be leaking water
into the 'classroom'."
The paper also quoted Dickson Mafios, MP for Mt Darwin, lamenting the
conditions at the "school" and calling on the donor community to assist.
"It pains me that children are learning in these structures," Mafios said.
Are we not constantly told that one of President Mugabe's major achievements
since Independence in 1980 is the education sector?
And as for MP Mafios' appeal to donors to assist building proper structures
at the "school", should donors come in to help at the convenience of Zanu PF
and President Mugabe?
Can someone tell him that the thousands spent during the 21st February
Movement celebrations at the Trade Fair in Bulawayo could have gone a long
way in helping solve the problems at Marongwe?
We also hope the same "donors" who splashed the nation's cash paying Sizzla
to come to Zimbabwe to fire up the celebrations, will rise to the occasion
and save the children of Mt Darwin the trouble they are going through. Where
is Saviour Kasukuwere in all this?

Our attention was captured by King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo of the Abathembu
in South Africa who says he wants to rule like President Mugabe, whom he
considers a "role model" for Africa's political leaders.
The Herald dutifully carried the story in its Monday edition telling us: "I
don't mind to rule like (President) Mugabe and tell (President) Zuma to keep
his South Africa and let me keep my Thembuland. No man will be allowed to
sleep with another man in my state."
The traditional leader told a symposium at Walter Sisulu University that in
his "ideal state", homosexuality would be outlawed and the example of
President Mugabe followed.
We know that King Dalindyebo does not only agree with President Mugabe on
his resolve to outlaw gay rights but the king also wants to rule until
kingdom come.
Still on the subject of gays, a journalist from Uganda, Stephen Ouma Bwire,
gave us an interesting insight on the situation in his country regarding gay
rights and the media which dovetails well with events at Herald House.
"The Ugandan media has decided to impose self-censorship in a bid to evade
dangers of falling into trouble with the authorities over reportage that can
be construed to mean promoting the condemned practice in the country," he
said during the Federation of African Journalists congress held in Harare
last weekend.
"The media is only interested in reporting on negativities on homosexuality
in a bid to satisfy authorities and society in which they live."
He did not end there.
"What is clear today in Uganda is that attempts by any journalist to exhibit
objectivity on matters pertaining to homosexuality will brand him or her a
practitioner of the condemned practice.
"Ethical journalism will remain a far-fetched practice while reporting on
controversial issues like homosexuality unless the journalists themselves
desist from taking sides."

African National Congress Youth League chairman Julius Malema will be in
Zimbabwe from Friday to "show solidarity with the people and their fight for
full economic independence".
The ANC youth leader is expected to address a number of rallies and meetings
during his four-day visit, the Herald said on Monday.
Indigenisation minister Kasukuwere described Malema as a "vibrant young
political leader with a passion for genuine development".
"Cde Malema is clear on the new phase of economic revolution underway that
is targeting the participation of young people in national development," he
"Cde Malema is a strong advocate of indigenisation and this ties in well
with Zimbabwe's efforts to empower its indigenous people."
Fair and fine Kasukuwere.  But you forgot to tell us that Malema is
frantically fending off allegations that he manipulated tender procedures in
Limpopo Province for his own benefit. That he became rich overnight.
Attempts by Malema to defend himself drew more curiosity when he made the
absurd claim that he "lived on hand-outs" from friends.

In an interview with the Mail & Guardian at his Sandton, Johannesburg home,
Malema said: "I am not rich. I do not have millions as reported.
"All my houses have got bonds. They are financed by banks. I've never got
any lucrative tender from anybody, including the company called SGL.
"I live on handouts most of the time. If I don't have food to eat, I can
call Cassel Mathale (premier of Limpopo) and say: 'Chief, can you help me? I've
got nothing here'.
"I can call Thaba Mufamadi (Limpopo MEC), I can call Pule Mabe (ANCYL
treasurer general) or Mbalula (Fikile Mbalula, deputy minister of police).
They all do the same with me. That's how we have come to relate to each
"That's why at times you can't even see our poverty because we cover each
other's back. As comrades we have always supported each other like that."
Malema added that if anyone had concrete evidence that he manipulated tender
processes in Limpopo they should report him to the police.
If the state found millions in his account, they should take them and give
them to institutions that help poor children, he said.
Let's see what Kasukuwere learns from Malema. One thing's for sure.
President Zuma won't exactly be comfortable with this ill-considered visit
just as he is trying to promote harmony between the two sides in Zimbabwe.
And Malema can be relied on to say something stupid.
Meanwhile, what will he be teaching Kasukuwere? How to live on handouts
after indigenistion fails? Or how to get rich quick? Or has he already done

Finally, we were amused by Ignatious Chombo's remarks in Shamva at a very
late celebration of the president's birthday.
"You must ask yourselves what it is that makes the nation celebrate Cde
Mugabe's birthday?" he asked.
That's easy. It's Zanu PF that makes the nation celebrate Cde Mugabe's

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Eric Bloch: Privatisation pros and cons

Wednesday, 31 March 2010 20:49

ON innumerable occasions over the last 30 years, various Zimbabwean
governments have declared intents to privatise many of the country's
parastatals, wholly or partially.

This was a policy statement in the first National Economic Development Plan
in the immediately post-Independence era, in the 1990 Economic Structural
Adjustment Programme and in various subsequent programmes.  But, save for a
few privatisations in the late 1990s, the intents have never converted to
action, notwithstanding that those few privatisations of a little more than
a decade ago were most successful. Declarations of privatisation intentions
have largely been naught but empty words, wholly devoid of requisite action.
Recently, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Welshman Ncube, the Minister
of Economic Planning and Development, Elton Mangoma and the Minister of
Finance, Tendai Biti, have all alluded to privatisation of certain
parastatals being one of the many policies to be pursued in driving towards
a substantive and enduring economic recovery.  Their statements have
provoked very conflicting reactions from diverse sectors of the Zimbabwean
population, many being very supportive of the declared intent, whilst others
have vigorously voiced their opposition to privatisation.
The most vociferous of the opponents of  privatisation found their
opposition primarily upon the contention that doing so would result in
massive exploitation of consumers by parastatals.  They found this belief on
the fact that the majority of the parastatals are monopolies which would, if
in private sector hands, exploit the absence of competition and consumer
dependency upon those goods and services by excessive charges and prices far
beyond the means of most Zimbabweans.  This claim is specious, on two
On the one hand, it is as easy for a parastatal to exploit the absence of
competition as it is for a privately owned enterprise.  That this is so has
been irrefutably proven by the horrendously high charges by Zesa for
electricity supplied (on the relatively rare occasions that such supplies
are forthcoming!), by TelOne for its telecommunication services, by Zinwa
for water, and by many urban local authorities for the diverse services
provided (sometimes!) by them.  Such charges have generally been at rates
considerably greater than prevailing for like services elsewhere within the
southern African region.  Hence, state-ownership has in no manner whatsoever
protected the consumer.  In fact, government itself has set the example to
its parastatals of imposition of punitively high charges, with
extortionately high charges for passports, for registration of higher
education service providers, and for many other governmental services.
On the other hand, the prospects of consumer exploitation by privatised
parastatals are also minimised and contained by the operations of the
Competition and Tariffs Commission, whose function is to ensure that undue
exploitation of monopolistic circumstances do not occur.  That commission is
supposed to address excessive pricing, and contain it, irrespective of
whether the entity applying exorbitant pricing policies is a parastatal or a
private sector entity.
There is, therefore no credible foundation for opposition to privatisation
of parastatals on grounds of alleged consumer protection by
non-privatisation.  In contradistinction, the benefits of privatisation are
many.  That this is so is not merely theory, for it has been proven by many
successful privatisations in a lot of countries.  The privatisation, decades
ago, of railways and telecommunications in the USA resulted in markedly
improved services, in development of competition and concomitant lowering of
costs to consumers whilst generating profits for the owners, with resultant
fiscal inflows for the state by taxation of those profits. Those
privatisations also yielded improved quality of service delivery to
consumers.  There was similar experience in the UK with British Telecom,
British Gas and British Water (and, until recently, British Airways), as
well as many other formerly government-owned enterprises.  Privatisation in
France, in Italy, and elsewhere in Europe was similarly effective.  This has
also been the case closer to home, with various previously state-owned
enterprises in South Africa having been successfully and beneficially
Contrary to the misplaced fears of privatisation, the benefits of doing so
can be considerable especially under current Zimbabwean circumstances.
Almost every one of the country's parastatals is grossly undercapitalised.
This is due, in part, to governments of old not adequately capitalising
them, exacerbated by years of operating losses, and compounded by the
erosion of capital through hyperinflation and associated recurrent currency
redenominations and eventual currency demonetisation.  By its own admission,
government is bankrupt.  Therefore, it does not have the resources to
capitalise the parastatals adequately, if at all.   However, privatisation
would give the parastatals access to required capital.
Secondly, government would partially diminish its own straitened
circumstances by the realisation of some value for the assets of the
parastatals.  Of particular import is that, in common with many other
enterprises, most parastatals have lost the greater substance of their
technically, administratively and managerially skilled employees.  However,
if privatisation is pursued with appropriate regional and international
strategic parties, the parastatals would gain access to required capital and
to necessary skills, would be able to rehabilitate, refurbish, and enhance
their operational infrastructures, operate viably, and provide
critically-needed, reliable services to the Zimbabwean economy, thereby
aiding and furthering its recovery.
With government's recent statement that it now intends to energetically and
rapidly formulate and implement a Medium-Term Economic Recovery Programme to
build on the small recoveries achieved in 2009, one of the many big elements
of that programme needs to be substantive and rapid privatisation of many
parastatals, including Zesa, TelOne, Air Zimbabwe, National Railways of
Zimbabwe. The primary focus of that privatisation should be on appropriate
international strategic partners with necessary financial and technological
resources, although an element of indigenisation can be progressively
pursued thereafter through equity listings on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange,
provided that the strategic partners are accorded guaranteed assurances of
retention of their equity holdings.
Government must not heed the unfounded claims that privatisations will be
nationally prejudicial, and instead must courageously, effectively and
timeously turn the oft-declared privatisation intents into reality.

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Kasukuwere on indigenisation: Emotion, style but no substance

Wednesday, 31 March 2010 20:44

I HOLD no brief for Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono but
what he has been consistently saying of late about the emotive
indigenisation issue strikes me as something being said by a man who
genuinely wants to see an economy that is terminally ill get back on its
feet again.

Powerful, thoughtful and completely convincing - that is how I would
describe the important truths that Gono has told us - the kind of truths
that we can only ignore at our peril.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Saviour Kasukuwere, the Minister
of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment. Kasukuwere's
demolition job on Gono in this newspaper last Friday was rather thoughtless
and immature to say the least.
Once honest dissent is attacked and its attackers left unchallenged, there
is no holding back the forces of reaction. Like any creative person, Gono
has done a lot of wrong things in the past but that is no reason not to give
credit where credit is due on a particular issue of national importance. I
do not know what "relevance" Gono is currently seeking but who can quarrel
with him when he says:
"There should not be and will not be farm- type Jambanja (the violent and
disorderly fast track land reform) this time around as we indigenise and
empower our people. We are all witnesses to what can inadvertently happen
when that is allowed to take place and we cannot be a people who do not
learn from yesterday's implementation shortcomings."
In an impassioned and thoughtful way he added: "Why don't we, as
Zimbabweans, learn to take constructive criticism from well meaning fellow
Zimbabweans? Do we think that we can increase the country's wealth and
improve the welfare of our people by simply tearing apart the small cake
that is in place? The answer is no."
Kasukuwere describes this as "megaphone advice", whatever that means. Words,
just words signifying nothing! If what Gono said is not good advice, then I
do not know what is. Who does not know that right from day one of the land
reform programme in the agriculture sector it has been a cocktail of
disaster? The once buoyant sector has been virtually destroyed. There is no
Zimbabwean in his or her right mind who disagreed with the programme, but it
was really the methodology that most of us took issue with. Order, order and
more order is what we called for just like what Gono is emphasising in the
whole indigenisation agenda.
There is nothing wrong with reflecting and questioning what we are doing as
a people. This reflection and questioning is the basis for further progress
as we go about reviving our economy. Zimbabwe is our country too. It belongs
to all of us, not just to Kasukuwere and Zanu PF. The warnings from
well-meaning Zimbabweans and non-Zimbabweans alike against the folly and
consequences of government action must not fall on deaf ears.
Emotion, theatre and style will not take us anywhere. That is what
Kasukuwere is doing. Zimbabweans yearn for ministers who are fastidious in
their search for facts, not emotions and political rhetoric. Kasukuwere and
others of like mind are demonstrating once again that in this country there
is over-indulgence in personality politics and conversely under-indulgence
on issues of substance and sound policy. When people describe a man who says
that the struggle for empowerment must be driven by sector-specific,
tailor-made and suitable interventions that recognise the timidity of
capital as an "attention-seeking lame duck governor keen on scoring
political points"! then I do not know where this country is heading.
We really need calm debate on this indigenisation issue. More wishful
thinking than pragmatic assessment of our economic situation will not help
us. Granted that the mindset of those in power is not easy to change, they
must nevertheless listen to what people of this country are saying. It is
indeed an irony that at a time when most countries are opening their
frontiers completely, we still talk about sovereignty as if we are an island
unto ourselves. Sovereignty yes, but not sovereignty for poverty - but for
prosperity and development.
If, for instance an investor - local or international - is confident that he
will get just returns for his investment in this country (not cede 51%), the
donor trusts that his money will not be stolen or misused by the
kleptomaniacs in government, and everyone else is convinced that their
efforts will not be hindered by partisan exigencies, then there is no reason
why the fresh flood pumped into an anorexic economy like ours cannot revive
it. The solution to our economic woes can be encapsulated in three terms:
confidence, trust and bipartisan support.
We are creating a monster in the so-called Indigenisation law. The law and
indigenisation regulations as presently crafted are not the right medicine.
We need to reflect on our experiences of the chaotic and disorderly land
reform programme. We must beware of the dangers of all of us being sucked
into a consensus view. Gono has obviously taken a good and hard look at the
whole question of indigenisation and made a very solid case for a way to
improve the lot of our people in this country, not just the tiny fraction of
fat cats who are already fat anyway
Perhaps in fairness to Kasukuwere, I must say that when ideas compete in the
market place for acceptance, full and free discussion exposes the false and
they gain few adherents, if at all. As Edward Achorn, a columnist writing in
2000 in the Providence Journal in the United States said: "Freedom requires
a certain kind of fortitude: the courage to be insulted and hurt, to put up
with the propagation of deeply offensive ideas, to open one's mind, to argue
back, to trust that the best ideas emerge from the clash of opinion. This
kind of openness allows facts to be discovered, truth to break free and
contradictions to crumble of their own weight."
No wonder therefore people like Gono do not lose sleep over such things
while others like Kasukuwere storm out of meetings.

Bornwell Chakaodza is a political analyst and media consultant.

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‘Reforms critical for free and fair elections’— Zesn

Wednesday, 31 March 2010 20:43

THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn), a network of 30
non-governmental organisations promoting democratic elections in Zimbabwe,
has noted pronouncements by senior politicians on the holding of elections
in 2011.

These calls for elections come amid the constitutional reform process which
has the potential to alter Zimbabwe’s political landscape. These
developments have given Zesn the impetus to call for minimum conditions for
free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
There is need for concerted efforts to address a number of outstanding
issues that have a bearing on the conduct of democratic elections. Zesn
urges all Zimbabweans and key stakeholders to start not only preparing for
elections, but to also call for critical reforms now.
The signing of the unity government seemed to provide space for reforms yet
substantive reforms have not been realised. Zesn is of the view that there
are basic issues that need to be addressed if Zimbabwe is to have a free and
fair election
The following is a summary of issues that the government, civil society and
Zimbabweans need to take cognisance of if we are to have democratic
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission:
Zesn has continually expressed concern about the running of elections by
Zimbabwe’s election management body.  The capacity of the ZEC to efficiently
and effectively run elections has been questioned.
Over the years, civic society and political parties have queried the
independence of the ZEC as it has consistently failed to be accountable to
the electorate. Previous experience has shown that ZEC does not have
adequate human and financial resources to efficiently and effectively run
The recent appointment of the chair of the commission, Justice Simpson
Mutambanengwe, is a welcome development but Zesn is concerned about the
indications that he will be based in Namibia. This is a disturbing issue as
Zimbabwe prepares for elections, and his presence on the ground would enable
better preparations for elections.
Zesn proposes that the election management body needs to be capacitated and
resourced to improve its ability to manage elections efficiently and
effectively. Zesn continues to advocate for the creation of a truly
independent election management body that includes commissioners and
secretariat that people can trust in order to protect the integrity of the
Voters’ roll
Zesn is concerned about the state of the voters’ roll which is an important
component in the conduct of free and fair elections. Zesn has repeatedly
called for the cleaning of the voters roll in order to rectify errors that
have been noted over the years. Thus an imperfect voters’ roll can
disenfranchise the electorate.
Zesn has repeatedly called for the removal of the voter registration process
from the registrar-general’s office to ZEC. Zesn proposes that the voters’
roll be over-hauled and the country adopts the biometric voter registration
method which includes photographs of the voters in the roll.
Conducive environment
Zesn is concerned about an electoral environment in which Posa and Aippa are
still operational and work to reduce freedoms of association, assembly as
well as restricting media openness. Zesn’s long-term observers have reported
incidents of violence, intimidation and harassment in some areas. The safety
of human rights defenders and activists remains an issue of concern as this
curtails the oversight function of civic society.
Our observers’ reports show continued politicisation of food aid and
agricultural aid on partisan lines. These developments are inimical to the
creation of an environment that fosters an atmosphere conducive for the
conduct of democratic elections.
It is also imperative to put in place institutional, security and
legislative reforms before the next elections. Some of the issues include
the removal of the police from inside the polling station and from assisting
voters. Assisted voters should be allowed to choose a friend or relative to
assist them.
In addition, the Electoral Act should also specify a timely period in which
election results will be announced. The constitution should enshrine the
time frame for the conduct of elections in Zimbabwe.
Furthermore, it is worrying that while the country is signatory to a number
of international and regional protocols that govern the conduct of
elections, these have not been domesticated to make them enforceable.
Furthermore, Zesn urges Zimbabwe to sign the African Charter on Democracy
and Elections.
Despite the recognition in Article 19 of the global political agreement of
the importance of the right to freedom of expression and the importance of
the media in a multiparty democracy, Zesn notes slow progress in the
implementation and operationalisation of these prescriptions agreed to in
this document.
Zesn recognises the important role played by the media in elections and
therefore re-emphasises the need for significant and timely reforms to the
Broadcasting Services Act and Aippa and the promotion of media pluralism.
Election observation
Election observation is a critical element in the conduct of free and fair
elections, thus there is need for reforms that provide for the safety of
local and international observers. Zesn is concerned about the “cherry
picking” of observers in past elections.
In addition, the role of inviting observers and other election related
functions should fall under the election management body. Adequate numbers
of observers need to be accredited early and deployed to all areas of the
country for them to observe the elections.
This brings to the fore the need for early invitations to all stakeholders
interested in observing the election so that the pre and post-election
environment is adequately observed.
In light of previous experiences and concerns, Zesn recommends that the
election be supervised by regional and international bodies such as the
United Nations and African Union.
Zesn believes that for elections to be free and fair there is need for
transparency in all processes of the elections which include among others
results management, transparency in the processing of postal votes,
inclusion of the diaspora vote, the review of the voting rights in the
citizenship act and the provision of privacy and secrecy to special needs
groups such as the elderly and “assisted voters”.
With a view to improving future elections, Zesn proposes that reforms are a
matter of urgency and imperative before elections are held. The present
environment though relatively calm does not provide a conducive environment
for the holding of democratic elections.
Zesn  reiterates its position of having substantive and meaningful reforms
to the architecture and operations of elections in Zimbabwe. There is need
for wholesome electoral reforms that will create a new culture of
transparency, inclusiveness, fairness and openness to ensure that the
outcome of the election is legitimate and acceptable.

Tinoziva Bere is the chairman of Zesn.


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Candid Comment: Ideas cornerstone of a vibrant society

Wednesday, 31 March 2010 21:49

A FREE flow of ideas is the cornerstone of a strong and vibrant society.  An
informed citizenry is one of the most important guarantors of the integrity
and security of a nation.

The founding fathers of the fledgling United States of America recognised
The First Amendment to the Constitution, often called The Bill of Rights,
says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press; or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and
to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The Supreme Court has interpreted this amendment as applying to state and
local governments as well; thus, these basic freedoms to communicate and
share ideas is well enshrined in the American body politic, and often taken
for granted.
Information is power, but when it is limited its power is weakened.  Some
governments and people have the mistaken belief that power is enhanced by
controlling or stopping the free and unimpeded sharing of ideas.  Nothing
could be further from the truth.  The body can be shackled, and even
destroyed.  But, ideas cannot be forever enslaved.  Eventually, ideas leak
into the public domain.  This has been the case since the Inquisition, but
it is even more so in the modern age, when ideas and information fly around
the globe in seconds.
A nation is not strengthened by impeding the flow of information.  When
people are allowed to freely explore and exchange ideas, they are personally
strengthened, and their collective impact strengthens the nation.
Freedom of expression must be accompanied by a sense of responsibility.
Citizens should not use the cover of freedom to harm others.  But this does
not mean that unpleasant truths or ideas that contradict the orthodoxy
should be banned or shunned.  True freedom protects the idea we hate as much
as it does that with which we agree.
Ideas can be impeded, but never permanently.  There is nothing more potent
than an idea whose time has come.  The Information Superhighway is more than
just a figure of speech.  It is a broad avenue of information and ideas that
is constantly changing and moving at the speed of thought.  Those who would
stand in the middle of that highway and try to block the flow of information
run the risk of becoming road kill on the shoulders of history.

Charles Ray  is the US Ambassador to Zimbabwe.

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Comment: The coast is not clear yet

Wednesday, 31 March 2010 21:44

IT'S reporting season again and big corporates in Zimbabwe are giving their
verdict on the health of the economy.

Companies that have published their financials to date have applauded the
positive developments which have been brought about by the introduction of
the multi-currency system and concomitant spin-offs which include a stable
macro-economic operating environment characterised by low inflation.

There is no doubt that the business environment in 2009 was a huge
improvement from the grind of 2008 and a couple of years before that when
business had to endure the rigours of inflation and obtuse government
policies which manifested themselves in the form of price controls and
bonehead projects to print money to finance patronage projects in farming.

 Last year, financials were replete with commentary on the pain company
executives endured while trying to avoid arrest and other forms of
persecution by the police, the National Incomes and Pricing Commission, and
officials from the Reserve Bank.

Running a business had become an act of criminality in Zimbabwe and
investors responded with their feet. They took their business elsewhere.
Lines of credit dried up resulting in low employment of installed capacity
in the manufacturing sector and little working capital for commerce.

This yesteryear anguish is slowly evaporating. The financials published to
date are more forward - looking but a common thread is running through all
the company reports. The effects of the trauma of the country's not so
distant dark past are still with us.

The coast is not clear yet. A sample of results published this week says it
all. Engineering giant Zeco had this to say about the operating environment:
"Despite the improvements of the conditions in the operating environment,
particularly the stabilisation of the macro-economic fundamentals, business
is still facing challenges with accessing financing that is required to
restore productive capacity and improve demand for products and services to
levels necessary for a sustained increase in capacity utilisation."

Interfin Merchant Bank on the other hand said deposits were "building at a
very low pace" because of the dry market. Coal miner Hwange complained of
"limited lines of credit" and Zimre Holdings said "absence of long-term
funding negatively impacted on the productive sector activities and the
general economic performance of the country". Principal investment group in
this market Old Mutual was more direct on the causes of the problems. It
said: "The expected turnaround in the economy was slower than anticipated
due to the continued uncertainties in the political environment."

This is worrying  especially seeing the fact that the inclusive government -
whose major brief is to foster an environment of sustained economic growth -
is not moving at the required speed to solve the issues which are inhibiting
sustained economic growth.

The GPA has not yet been consummated in full as Zanu PF and the MDC do not
seem to be in any hurry to find a solution to the crisis that is still
retarding progress in this country.

In fact, since the coming in of the inclusive government, we have been
lulled into believing that the worst is over for Zimbabwe and that normalcy
has returned to this country.

It is easy to fall into this utopian mindset especially having emerged from
a situation where just getting a loaf of bread was a Herculean task. That
shops are full does not mean that the country's problems are over.

There is no relief on unemployment estimated at above 90% and social
services have remained a luxury.
Companies have reported the need to foster an environment of sustained
economic growth.

That is fundamental. We have failed to hit the higher capacity utilisation
target in industry of 60% as forecast by Finance minister Tendai Biti at the
beginning of last year because this country does not simply have the money.
It is now clear that lines of credit will not be unlocked without fixing the

This entails behavioural change on the part of our rulers who seem to derive
pleasure in flaunting their differences.

The unfortunate story of Zimbabwe is that we still have remnants of a
discredited past who continue to blight the lives of people trying to makes
an honest living. We do not require in this day and age police who harass
journalists for simply doing their job.

It was also unnecessary last week for the police to stop a photo exhibition
officially opened by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Then to top it all,
we have the indigenisation regulations which government is insisting on
implementing in the teeth of local and international condemnation.

These are the things investors look at before they bring their monies here
and there is every reason for big business to be worried.


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Editor's Memo: Zuma must unwrap

Wednesday, 31 March 2010 20:54

UTTERANCES by President Robert Mugabe at Zanu PF's central committee meeting
last Friday that South African President Jacob Zuma's working visit a
fortnight ago drew a blank in putting closure to the outstanding issues of
the global political agreement (GPA) came as a shock.

They were disingenuous because Zuma had a week earlier told the media that
his three-day intensive negotiations in Harare with partners in the
inclusive government had culminated in a "package of measures" to resolve
the sticking points. Yesterday was set as the deadline for the talks and
that a report detailing timeframes of the implementation of the measures
would be submitted to Zuma.
Mugabe adamantly told the central committee that there was no deal reached
during Zuma's visit and that Zanu PF would not concede to the demands of the
MDC formations unless and until the United States, Britain and the European
Union lift sanctions and foreign "pirate" radio stations ceased broadcasts
into the country.
In a dissembling act, the ageing leader further claimed that the
reappointment of central bank czar Gideon Gono, hiring of Attorney-General
Johannes Tomana and the appointment of provincial governors were not and
should not be outstanding issues of the GPA.
Mugabe continues to deliberately mislead not only his party supporters, but
Zimbabweans as a whole by prevaricating on agreed positions of the Sadc
facilitated GPA by clutching at straws in a desperate attempt to renegotiate
the deal in his favour.
It is common cause that Sadc held an extraordinary summit in January 2008 in
South Africa and, among other things, stated in their communiqué that Gono,
Tomona and governors were outstanding issues. This was restated at the Sadc
Troika meeting in Maputo last November.
The January 2008 summit set the timelines for the formation of the inclusive
government and the review of the GPA.
It is, therefore, insincerity and intransigence of the highest degree for
Mugabe to attempt to alter the GPA and at the same time a shameful act to
suggest that Zuma was economical with the truth when he announced to the
world that the partners in the inclusive government had agreed on a "package
of measures" to resolve the sticking issues.
Despite Mugabe's utterances and his politburo's decision on the talks, it
was strange that Zuma and his facilitation team decided to remain mum when
their reputations were on the line. Zimbabweans remain unsure who to believe
on the progress or lack of it in the negotiations between the wily old fox
Mugabe, and Zuma.
Zuma should come out in the open and shame Mugabe by announcing to the world
the "package of measures" the partners in the marriage of convenience agreed
on a fortnight ago. When dealing with people like Mugabe who have a bagful
of political tricks accumulated over 30 years of rule, megaphone diplomacy
becomes necessary so that everyone is informed.
I was disturbed when I read reports that Zuma's facilitation team currently
in Harare was unfazed by Zanu PF's statements that there was no progress at
the negotiating table. The team was reportedly adamant that an agreement in
principle was reached, but strangely they do not want to unpack the deal for
the benefit of long-suffering Zimbabweans. We need to know the nature of the
agreement and who among the partners was backtracking on its implementation.
Negotiating in secret has proved the greatest undoing in the implementation
of the GPA.
The swearing in yesterday of commissioners to serve on various
constitutional commissions by Mugabe should not be viewed as a breakthrough
in the current impasse. We should not be blinded by that move because the
commissioners were appointed last December and yesterday was just a
confirmation ceremony.
I am tempted to agree with political analysts
who think Mugabe's latest act of intransigence was a culmination of
succumbing to pressure
from hardliners in the politburo and the central committee who blindly argue
that the coming in of the MDC formations had not brought any value addition.
The hardliners - who now treat Mugabe as their prisoner - are of the view
that the introduction of multi-currencies into our payment system resulted
in the slow and painful recovery of the economy. They don't care about the
goodwill, the confidence and the political stability the inclusive
government brought.
It is the same hardliners who are pushing for elections next year despite
clear evidence on the ground that the country is not ready for early polls.
The people do not want the elections. They are afraid that as in the past,
Zanu PF will unleash violence to win at all cost.
It is common cause that since Zanu PF's formation in August 1963 it has been
consistent on one issue - violence - and will definitely unleash it because
in all fairness it will never be retained as a ruling party if elections are
free and fair.

Constantine Chimakure


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