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US$1 billion Marange diamonds looted

by Moses Chingoma, Owen Munemo and Mufaro Hove     Friday 10 December 2010

HARARE -- Diamonds worth as much as US$ 1 billion could have been illegally
mined at the Marange fields, mostly by the Zimbabwean army and the proceeds
used to partly finance a campaign of violence to keep Mugabe in power while
some were pocketed by members of Zimbabwe’s top military brass, ministers
and President Mugabe and his wife.

While the true extent of theft of diamonds from Marange and the identities
of all involved in the looting will probably never be known in the absence
of an independent commission of inquiry, however, extensive investigations
by ZimOnline have shown the military at the center of a well-orchestrated
scheme to siphon gems from the controversial fields (also known as Chiadzwa)
for delivery on the international black market for precious stones.

According to our investigations, including interviews with well-placed
sources in the army, police and at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), most
of the diamonds illicitly mined at Marange from 2006 to 2008 by the Zimbabwe
National Army, after it evicted illegal panners and took control of the rich
alluvial deposits were largely smuggled to India and Dubai and proceeds were
laundered into offshore accounts and others held at the RBZ.

The black market sales were done outside the Kimberly Process, which
certifies diamonds for sale on the international market.

Investigations show that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, through its governor
and Mugabe’s private banker Gideon Gono, was central in facilitating the
movement of proceeds from the illegal mining activities and their diversions
into various accounts.

After Mugabe’s ZANU PF lost the parliamentary and presidential elections in
March 2008 to Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, the Joint Operations Command (JOC),
the secretive committee of securocrats running Zimbabwe convened to map a
violent strategy to ensure that Mugabe would win the run-off presidential

The JOC includes the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF)’s top military commander
General Constantine Chiwenga, army commander Philip Sibanda, air force
commander Perence Shiri, police chief Augustine Chihuri, secret service
director general Happyton Bonyongwe and prisons commander Paradzai Zimondi.

Electoral violence

What followed the committee’s meeting was probably the worst electoral
violence ever seen in Zimbabwe.

Despite not being a military man, Gono sat on the JOC and ensured that money
from illegal diamond proceeds was funnelled to fund a violent campaign which
saw more than 220 senior army officers being deployed across the country to
coordinate the campaign of violence towards the bloody presidential run-off
on June 27, 2008 won by Mugabe.

Two senior army officers were posted per each district to coordinate the
violence which involved ZANU PF youths, police, and ordinary soldiers.

The seniors were later rewarded handsomely with some getting as much as
US$20 000 each long before Zimbabwe introduced dollarisation. Despite the
foreign currency shortages then, plenty cash remained available to fund
those key senior army officers central to Mugabe’s power grabbing plans.

The ensuing violence forced Morgan Tsvangirai – who analysts had tipped to
win the second round ballot after defeating Mugabe in the first round
vote -- to withdraw from the presidential run-off. The MDC claims more than
200 of its supporters were killed, some burnt alive, while tens of thousands
were left homeless or injured.

ZimOnline is also authoritatively informed that it was via money from the
diamond proceeds that Gono funnelled millions of dollars to accounts held by
Grace Mugabe in Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Mugabe’s wife travels frequently to Hong Kong where the first family has
invested in a lavish lifestyle including a mansion in which their daughter,
Bona, who has been attending university there lives.  They also own
properties in Malaysia.

After her shopping trips to Harrods in the United Kingdom and choice shops
in France, Italy and Spain were curtailed by European Union sanctions
imposed over human rights abuses,  Mrs Mugabe had shifted her shopping
sprees to Asia, particularly Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Chiwenga and Shiri, one of Mugabe’s most trusted allies, Zimondi, the late
Vitalis Zvinavashe, Chiwenga’s predecessor at the helm of the ZDF, various
heads of key military brigades, senior CIO officials had handsomely
benefited from the proceeds of smuggled Marange diamonds.

“The same way the military top brass used Harare as a transit route for
diamonds smuggled out of the Congo when Zimbabwe deployed troops there in
the late 1990s replayed itself with Marange diamonds....,” said a military
source, speaking on condition he was not named for fear of possible

One retired senior Zimbabwe army official is said to have moved more than
R40 million to a South African bank from proceeds of Marange diamonds sold
illegally in India.  This particular official and the bank concerned, one of
the major four concerned cannot be named for legal reasons.

But it is common cause that some ministers, particularly Mines Minister
Obert Mpofu, who has been regularly linked to shady deals at Marange, are
now fabulously rich owning vast properties around Zimbabwe which cannot be
afforded by their measly salaries as government officials.

Tendai Biti, the Minister of Finance in the unity government recently
complained that US$ 30 million raised sales of diamonds of Marange stones
could not be accounted for.

But sources say the amount identified by Biti as missing was only the tip of
the iceberg and that the Finance Minister would never be able to know the
exact figure involved because of the sophisticated laundering that took

Private jets

On several occasions, private jets of wealthy Indians would land at Harare
International Airport to pick up diamonds mined from Marange. The payments
would then be done offshore. No documentation would be left making it near
impossible to trace the illegal exports.

“If you consider all the rot that Mugabe has allowed his top military men to
get away with, it all then explains why they want him to die in power  and
their legendary resistance to Tsvangirai,” said one source close to the RBZ.

The looting of the Marange diamonds continued when the army started ceding
control of the Marange fields to the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
(ZMDC) until the mining rights over Marange were granted to two companies,
Canadile and Mbada Diamonds, both with no traceable credentials in the
diamond mining trade.

But while some ZMDC officials are now in court over their alleged looting,
sources say Zimbabweans should not expect the senior army officials, and
other politicians who benefited from the looting of Marange diamonds to ever
be seen in the dock – at least not when they are still the bedrock of Mugabe’s

The six ZMDC mining executives arraigned in court are accused of stealing
US$10 million from Marange proceeds through fraud and misrepresentations of
diamond sales. Another US$33 million could also have been lost in the

These disclosures also came against a background that one of the mining
companies in Chiadzwa, Canadile Miners, which has since been booted out of
the contested diamond fields, has been smuggling diamonds out of Marange
through Mozambique and selling them on the black market.

Ironically, government blames Canadile directors for smuggling diamonds out
of the country mainly through Mozambique to sell them in the black market in
Dubai, India and China, the key markets  for the Marange gems.

September fallout

Canadile was recommended to Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC)
executives by Mines Minister Mpofu who in turn urged Mugabe to approve its
mining deal.

Mugabe and Mpofu defended the company until there was a fallout over the
control of the mining and sale of the diamonds in September between Canadile
deputy chairman Lovemore Kurotwi and the minister.

Mpofu was accused by Kurotwi in a meeting with Mugabe in September of
soliciting for bribes. Mpofu acknowledged in a meeting with ZMDC officials
on September 20 that he was accused by Kurotwi of asking for bribes, but
tried to pre-empt speculation that he was receiving bribes and a lot of
corrupt payments to facilitate mining deals.

Aware that people were accusing him of taking bribes and corruptly enriching
himself through the Chiadzwa diamonds, Mpofu himself said there was a
“plethora of rumours, insinuations and allegations being leveled against
 him” and the ZMDC board.

Mpofu has been on a buying spree, purchasing real estate and housing
properties mainly in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria falls. This invited
suspicions from the public and members of a parliamentary portfolio
committee which investigated the Marange diamonds affairs earlier this year.

Mpofu has bought one of the tallest buildings in Bulawayo –York House – and
has splashed thousands of dollars on high-value properties in Victoria Falls
and Bulawayo.

Two cruise boats

A document listing Mpofu’s properties shows that he bought a supermarket in
Victoria Falls’ Chinotimba high density suburb, three houses in a
medium-density area, two cruise boats on the Zambezi, five houses in
Mkhosana high density suburb, three houses in Chinotimba, two industrial
stands, one large stand in Chisuma, one big industrial stand next to
Chinotimba stadium, four industrial stands on the Airport road, and four
medium density plots.

Mpofu reportedly bought all these properties for cash!

Even though he has a farm and supermarkets, sources close to him say that he
has no such financial capacity to buy all these properties, especially for
cash. Before dollarisation, he earned largely worthless Zimbabwe dollars
after the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar in 1997. After dollarisation
Mpofu – like all civil servants – earns a little more than US$300.

Mpofu has however denied he was using diamonds proceeds to buy personal
properties. He said he got a US$1 million loan from the Commerciial Bank of
Zimbabwe  through his company Trebo and Khays Pvt Ltd.

Documents show that Mpofu indeed got a loan from CBZ. This is contained in a
facility letter dated October 26 2009. Mpofu the signed a loan agreement for
and on behalf of Trebo and Khays (Pvt) Ltd with a woman named Sikhanyisiwe
Mpofu, presumably his wife or daughter.

The loan agreement was signed on December 2 2009 and expired on October 31
this year by which date all the monies due should have been repaid.

Mpofu has reportedly repaid the loan, raising further questions about his
sources of income which appears well beyond his means. In any event, the CBZ
loan, now Jewel Bank, was very inadequate to enable Mpofu to purchase all
the properties that is registered in the names of his entities and a
plethora of others he has registered in the names of relatives.

The purpose of the loan was given as to finance capital expenditure
requirements. However, sources said the loan was used to mask his source of
income because growing suspicions he was minting at Chiadzwa, together with
other politicians and their business cronies.

The security for the loan – which represented a line of credit - included:
Trebo and Khays directors’ personal guarantees for all sums due supported by
first mortgage bond for US$1,4 million over stand 12265A in Bulawayo;
cession of insurance policy covering the mortgaged property and cession of
revenue generated from property lease rental income valued at US$82 000.

Mpofu gave his address of service as Stand 123, 4th Avenue and Fife Street,
Bulawayo, a hint at the various properties he owns in the Bulawayo and
elsewhere. Mpofu has mansions in Harare and Bulawayo, placing himself well
above the level of prosperity of an ordinary minister and even businessman.

Ministers have since last year been earning a paltry US$350 a month, after
it was increased from the US$150.  Even those with farms and safari
concessions seized from white farmers like Mpofu have been struggling due to
lower productivity and poor management.  So there is simply no way Mpofu’s
wealth could have been generated from any viable business he controls.

Massive looting

The government took over the Marange fields ostensibly to ensure revenue
from the diamonds is channeled into public coffers. But those in the know
say the involvement of the government and particularly the army has only
helped to give a cover of legitimacy to massive looting of a key national

Independent mining executives estimate that diamonds worth more than US$1
billion could have been smuggled out of the country and sold in the black
market over the  years including after  the arrival of the  two dubious
South African companies to partner government in the Marange diamond
ventures. "Diamonds worth more than US$1 billion have been looted in Marange
since 2006," a senior mining executive said.

"The pillaging was done by the soldiers, the diamond exploration and mining
companies and artisanal miners; other state security agents; politicians,
dealers, crooks and criminals."

Well places sources interviewed described the Chiadzwa diamond mining story
as a tale of fraud, smuggling, bribery and outright theft. It is riddled
with corruption, including buying-offs and paying-off of dodgy mining
dealers, smugglers and politicians, and a scandalous waste of public funds.
The Zimbabwean public has not benefitted in a meaningful way from the
Marange diamonds.

Mbada is a joint venture between the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation (ZMDC)’s wholly-owned subsidiary Marange Resources and South
Africa’s New Reclamation Group special purpose vehicle, Grandwell Holdings
registered in Mauritius.

Canadile was a joint venture between ZMDC’s Marange Resources and South
Africa’s Core Mining and Minerals.

ZMDC, through Marange Resources, concluded Memoranda of Agreement with New
Reclamation Group and Core Mining for exploration of the Marange diamonds in
July last year. The agreements were transitory for a period of three months
within which the investors were to mobilise money and equipment to fulfill
certain conditions precedent.

Even though New Reclamation and Core Mining failed to fulfill their
promises, especially of investing US$100 million each, they were allowed in
and continued to extract and sell the diamonds mainly for their benefit.
Even some basic tenets of the agreements were violated such as making
retired Air Vice-Marshal Robert Mhlanga the chairman of Mbada when the
agreement said the chairman would come from ZMDC.

Scrap metal dealers

During parliamentary hearings into the Chiadzwa mining issues this earlier
this year, it became clear that so many things, including Mhlanga being
Mbada chairman, were imposed by government for reasons never explained.

Despite all the information and credibility gaps of the individuals and
companies trying to mine in Marange, the shareholders’ agreement between
ZMDC and New Reclamation was signed on August 14, 2009, while the one
between ZMDC and Core Mining was signed on August 14, 2009.

The companies were given permission to mine the Marange mining title which
covers 66 000 hectares. There is an attempt to increase the area to cover a
vast 123 000 hectares.

The companies initially shortlisted to partner ZMDC included Benny Steinmetz
Group Resources Limited (BSGR), New Reclamation Group, Southern African
Investment and Infrastructure Company and Namakwa Diamonds. Other companies
also engaged over the diamond investment issues include Community Energy,
WMJ Lotter Consultants and Elkhart Mining.

However, New Reclamation and Core Mining were chosen even though Core Mining
was not even initially on the shortlist. What was surprising was that the
South African companies – which had no mining experience and capacity - were
chosen ahead of several other more qualified candidates.

New Reclamation Group is a scrap metal company which a dubious record, while
Core Mining is a shady company whose directors have been linked to smuggling
in Angola and Mozambique and other sleazy activities like mercenary
operations in Sierra Leone.

South Africa's highest competition authority, the Competition Tribunal, in
2008 fined New Reclamation R145 million for its involvement in collusion and
price fixing in the ferrous and nonferrous scrap metals.

Part II: Complex plots and sub-plots

The Chiadzwa diamond mining saga has complex plots and sub-plots. It
involves a chain of companies and individuals with a shady past and whose
records are difficult to trace — in some cases for that reason.

The issue has its genesis in 2002 when South African diamond mining giant De
Beers’ subsidiary, Kimberlitic Searches (Pvt) Ltd, was granted a four-year
Exclusive Prospecting Order (EPO) in Chiadzwa. The EPO expired on March 28

Africa Consolidated Resources (ACR), which is registered in the London Stock
Exchange, has been fighting ZMDC in the courts over the Chiadzwa diamond
concessions. The fight has had many twists and turns and remains in the
courts despite that in the last round that High Court judge, Justice Charles
Hungwe had ruled in favour of ZMDC after reversing his own earlier ruling
made last year.

The history of the fight between ZMDC and ACR is intriguing.

After Kimberlitic Searches’ EPO had expired, ACR proceeded to peg claims in
the disputed area (EOP 1523) and applied for registration of numerous blocks
of claims in the names of Canape Investments (Pvt) Ltd, Dashaloo
Investments, Possession Investments, Heavy Stuff Investment and Olebile

ACR was then granted a diamond prospecting licence on April 4 2006.  On July
21 2006 a Mutare assistant mining commissioner wrote to ACR saying their
claims had been cancelled because Kimberlitic Searches had already submitted
an application for an extension of the EPO.

On September 15 the Mining Commissioner in Harare wrote to ACR saying the
letter rescinding their claims was incorrect and that the claims were still

In August 2006 the then Mines minister Amos Midzi reserved an area which
included ACR claims.

In September the minister wrote to MMCZ advising them that he had reserved
an area incorporating ACR claims to prevent illegal activities. He also said
MMCZ must facilitate investment with local and foreign companies.

Later in the same month Midzi visited the area with MMCZ officials and
addressed illegal miners telling them that MMCZ was the only authority
lawfully permitted on the site.

Boxes of diamonds

In October he warned ACR to stop clearing and fencing the claims. In
November the assistant mining commissioner for Mutare told ACR that he had
been instructed by his head office to cancel their claims.

In January 2007 ACR chief executive Andrew Cranswick was summoned to
Borrowdale police station in Harare where police seized three sealed boxes
containing 129 400 carats of diamonds.

These are the diamonds the Supreme Court in January ruled should be kept at
the Reserve Bank until the case is finalised. Police had seized the diamonds
in violation of the Supreme Court ruling.

Mugabe and Mines Minister Mpofu defended the move, risking criminal contempt
of court charges.

Mineral claims are easy to change ownership because the Mines ministry is
riddled with corruption and EPOs are granted and cancelled sometimes
depending on who pays the highest “facilitation fee”!

Missing US$30 ml

Before August last year, and particularly before government started mining
in Marange, smuggling was the order of the day after villagers invaded
Chiadzwa. A thriving diamond underworld market ran unchallenged there since
the discovery of diamonds by villagers in 2006. Prior to that there were
exploration companies on the ground which were also accused of smuggling as
well. So smuggling has been going on for years.

However, the situation took a new and dramatic twist since government’s
involvement. Public officials, including politicians, are now directly
involved supposedly to protect public resources and public interest, but not
much has changed. Smuggling and stealing is still rife.

There has even been controversy about the official sale of diamonds recently
under the supervision of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
Initial reports said US$72 million worth of diamonds were sold but later
government claimed it had only sold gems worth US$56 million. It was never
clarified why there were two different figures.

Finance Minister Biti in July raised alarm over some US$30 million realised
from diamonds which he said was never declared to Treasury. Mpofu tried to
downplay the issue but it was never resolved.

It later resurfaced during internal ZMDC after the company’s directors
failed to account for the figure.

Documents show that there was a recent ZMDC inquiry on the usage of US$30
million earned from diamond sales between October 2008 and April this year.

Biti had announced on July 14 during the presentation of his mid-year fiscal
policy review statement in parliament that US$30 million realised from
diamond sales was missing.

“According to the KPCS monitor, Zimbabwe recently sold at least US$30
million worth of diamonds from Marange which Treasury and ZIMRA (Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority) have no record or knowledge of,” Biti said.

KPCS has been involved in trying to ensure Zimbabwe did not trade diamonds
outside its processes. Although the KPCS has backed Zimbabwe to export
diamonds, Harare’s diamond sales are still conditional and monitored. The
KPCS banned Zimbabwe from selling diamonds in May after it was discovered
the country was exporting gems illegally, mainly to Dubai.

Government illegally exported diamonds through the back door to Dubai,
United Arab Emirates (UAE), in violation of the January Supreme Court ruling
which ordered a freeze in all mining activities at the controversial
Chiadzwa diamond fields.

Most of the funds obtained from the controversial Dubai diamonds sales were
also wired through telegraphic transfers and received through the RBZ, some
through CBZ Bank and  ABC Bank in Zimbabwe while some of the money was
simply stashed offshore.

Evidence show that some of the beneficiaries of the diamond transactions
were ZMDC’s Sandawana Mines and Lesley Faye Marsh Jewellers (Pvt) Ltd which
trade as Premier Diamonds. It is not clear to whom Premier really belongs

Hot air

Mpofu has denied that the US$30 money had vanished and dismissed Biti’s
statement as “hot air” but failed to produce evidence to rebut the finance
Minister’s claims.

Mpofu said a forensic audit of diamonds mined in the controversial Marange
fields was under way and would prove Biti wrong.

But investigations showed  that Biti was right after all, except that the
figure he mentioned was only the “tip of the iceberg”, according to some key

ZMDC documents say the company’s management recently told board members that
ZMDC had sold diamonds worth US$30 million between October 2008 and April

However, when the board demanded documents to support the assertion and
account for the money, the records only showed revenues amounting to US$22
584 347.11. The difference of US$7 415 653.89 was not accounted for.

The issue of how Mbada and Canadile came into the fray has always been

Documents at hand show that after a due diligence between August 4-6 last
year by ZMDC’s select board committee, which included the company’s
executive Dominic Mubaiwa, board chairperson Gloria Mawarire, chairperson of
the finance and investment committee Ashton Ndlovu, board member Mark
Tsomondo and company secretary Tichaona Muhonde, shareholders’ agreements
were signed but so many questions remained lingering.

Mubaiwa, Mawarire, Ndlovu, Tsomondo and Muhonde were last week arrested on
charges of fraud relating to this due diligence exercise and other issues,
including the misappropriation of US$10 million and potentially prejudicing
ZMDC of US$33 million.

Canadlie deputy chairman Lovemore Kurotwi, who is also the chairman of Core
Mining, was also arrested for allegedly obtaining the diamond mining
concessions in a fraudulent manner.

Kurotwi is accused of lying that Core Mining was a special purpose vehicle
of global mining giant Benny Steinmetz Group Resources Limited (BSG
Resources Ltd) when it was not.

Kurotwi was arrested after he recently accused Mpofu in front of Mugabe of
soliciting bribes during the cutting of the controversial diamond deals.

Minutes of a meeting between Mpofu and ZMDC board members held on September
20 at the Mines ministry’s board room say that the minister confirmed that
Kurotwi had personally accused him of soliciting bribes in front of Mugabe.

This, among other grounds including fraudulent misrepresentation of Core
Mining and Minerals’ corporate profile and investment portfolio, was said to
be the reason behind Kurotwi’s arrest.

Obedient Son

Mpofu –– who signed off his letters to Mugabe as “your ever obedient son” ––
had initially in the meeting with ZMDC board members started with a
disclaimer that there were “rumours, insinuations and allegations” of
corruption levelled against him and the board.

He went on to narrate to ZMDC board members his encounter with Kurotwi in a
meeting with Mugabe.

“The minister noted that in his meeting with His Excellency (Mugabe), Mr
Kurotwi made a number of allegations against him and against the board
members,” minutes of the September 20 meeting say.

“Mr Kurotwi alleged that the minister was being a stumbling block to the
setting up of the Zimbabwe Diamond Technology Centre which he incorrectly
alleges was part of the original joint venture agreement,” the minutes say.

They also say “that board members of the (Zimbabwe) Mining Development
Corporation were working in cahoots with the minister against Canadile
Miners, that the minister is directing the board to work against him
(Kurotwi), that there were attempts from the minister to solicit bribes from
him and to divide Core (Mining) shareholders and turn them against Mr

Minutes say Kurotwi had accused Mpofu of asking for bribes and trying to
divide Core Mining shareholders and turn them against him as the main

Kurotwi grilled

The minutes say instead of confronting Mpofu over Kurotwi’s sensational
allegations, Mugabe actually turned against the Canadile and Core Mining
executive, grilling him over many issues.

The fallout between Mugabe and Mpofu on the one hand and Kurotwi on the
other mostly exposed Mugabe because as he had staked his reputation as
president in March this year, claiming the issuing of mining contracts and
concessions to what government claimed were “approved strategic investors”
in Marange was above board.

When MPs tried to investigate the issue earlier this year, Mugabe in March
intervened personally making a spirited defence and justification of the
dubious diamond mining arrangements.

“We had a list of companies applying. Finally two of them, Mbada and
Canadile, were chosen. They were recommended and I was shown the papers and
their proposals. The ministry (of mines) then decided that for now they were
preferable to the rest. We said fine. There are the ones who there for now,”
Mugabe said.

However, Mugabe’s encounter with Mpofu and Kurotwi reveals that either he
just believed what he was told and did not read the “papers and proposals”
he said he was shown or he was hoodwinked. It is also possible that are
other unknown reasons why Mugabe defended Mbada and Canadile.

During his meeting with Mpofu and Kurotwi in September, Mugabe found himself
in an invidious position.

Documents show that after Kurotwi accused Mpofu of soliciting bribes,
Mugabe,  instead of confronting Mpofu over the sensational allegations,
actually turned against Kurotwi and started grilling him over issues which
the president himself  initially claimed were above board.

Mugabe to the defence

Mugabe asked Kurotwi about Core Mining’s corporate profile, its
incorporation and whether it was true that the company was backed by BSG
Resources Ltd.

Kurotwi approached Mpofu in March last year saying he was a representative
of BSG Resources when he was not.

He then wrote a letter to Mpofu saying he represented Core Mining,
purportedly a special purpose vehicle for BSGR which wanted to invest US$2
billion in Marange diamonds.

Kurotwi and ZMDC officials were arrested over this issue over which they are
accused of fraudulent misrepresentations and prejudicing ZMDC of US$10
million and trying to defraud the company of US$33 million.

Mugabe, according to the minutes, also asked Kurotwi about his educational
background and mining experience. The president also asked him how he
expected Mpofu to sanction construction of the diamond centre without
approval from his office, showing Mugabe is closely involved in the Chiadzwa
diamond mining activities.

Mugabe also queried Kurotwi over the ownership of the land on which the
diamond centre was to be built.

Further, Mugabe asked how much Core Mining had invested and why it was
unable to bring the US$100 million it promised, as well as why the company
had borrowed US$1,5 million from Agribank.

Minutes say Kurotwi did not give Mugabe “credible answers”. After that
meeting Mugabe ordered an internal ZMDC investigation which led to the
arrest of Kurotwi and five ZMDC officials.

But no one in the know about the Marange affairs expects the army of the law
to be long enough to reach, Mugabe, his wife, his army generals and CIO
officials who sources allege looted the alluvial deposits the most. –

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Mbare residents forced to join ZANU PF protest march

By Tichaona Sibanda
10 December 2010

ZANU PF youths rampaged through Mbare on Friday, forcing residents and
market stall holders to join them in a protest march to Town House in the
centre of the capital, Harare.

Almost all market holders were ordered to close their businesses, and were
force-marched to protest against recent council hikes. The Harare City
Council is MDC led and ZANU PF was trying to boost numbers of people taking
part in the protest march, according to the MDC-T MP for the area, Piniel

The legislator described the protest march as a failure, saying it was a
politically motivated protest aimed only at discrediting MDC councillors.

‘When the city council falls short in service delivery, they raise a lot of
noise. When the same council remedies the situation by raising rates to
ensure there is enough money to keep the city clean and functioning, they
still make noise. You always get this from ZANU PF because they cannot
stomach being dictated to,’ The MP said.

Denga suggested people in his constituency were targeted on Friday because
of their close proximity to the city centre, a walking distance of about 20

‘They were really struggling for numbers and as a last resort decided to
force residents and market holders to join them. A few market holders simply
defied instructions to join the march, fearing they would find their stalls
looted in their absence,’ Denga said.

‘If you think you have the support as ZANU PF claims why do you then force
people to protest on your behalf? Asked the MP, who added that Mbare was
fast becoming a political battleground between the MDC and ZANU PF.

The MP said ZANU PF is now so desperate for votes they are resorting to
violence and coercion even in urban areas, strongholds of the MDC. He said
what made things worse on Friday was that police stood by while people were
being violated and forced into the march by the unruly youths.
‘The police even provided an escort for them because it’s ZANU PF. I’ll bet
if it was the MDC, the police would have either blocked or refused to
provide an escort. This is because we have police officers, who are in the
structures of ZANU PF and cannot separate the two,’ Denga said.

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MPs pass Biti budget amid reports of threats

By Tererai Karimakwenda
10 December, 2010

Members of parliament from ZANU PF and the MDC-T, who had threatened to vote
against Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s 2011 budget, voted to pass it without
any debate on Wednesday. A local newspaper reported that the MPs were
ordered to do so by Biti himself and by Vice President Joice Mujuru, through
the use of threats and promises. But the MDC-T chief whip told SW Radio
Africa on Friday that no threats were made and events were ‘exaggerated’.

The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper reported that Biti held several meetings
with the MDC-T and ZANU PF legislators on Tuesday and Wednesday, and made it
clear that they would be expelled from their party if they blocked his
budget. The paper said the minister also promised to give them luxury cars
next year and to write off their other car loans if the budget passed.

Just before the debate on Wednesday, Vice President Mujuru reportedly sent a
‘chilling’ message through the former Health Minister, David Parirenyatwa,
with orders for her party’s MPs to vote for the budget without amendments.

The report said that MPs were demanding at least $200,000 each for their
constituencies and a huge increase in their personal salaries. They are
currently paid $400 a month and were demanding a rise to at least $3,000,
saying that their wages are the lowest in the region. They also reportedly
said they would demand compensation if their terms were cut short to make
way for elections, which would prematurely end their five year terms.

But MDC-T parliamentary chief whip, Innocent Gonese, denied the allegations
that MPs had been threatened and promised new cars. He told SW Radio Africa
that the Independent report was ‘not a reflection of what transpired’ and
had been ‘totally blown out of proportion’.

Gonese explained that MPs had raised ‘legitimate concerns’ regarding
salaries and conditions of service, which he said were the lowest in the
region. He confirmed that MPs earned $400 a month and said this was before

“Minister Biti understood our situation and agreed that government workers
were not well paid,” said Gonese. “The challenge was to make sure the
economy performed better and there is a lot of money that can be made from
the sale diamonds,” he added.

Regarding the promise of new cars, Gonese said it was one of the avenues
being pursued to address the conditions of service of MPs. He explained that
MPs needed to get around in their constituencies and they are expected to
assist people. New vehicles would be provided ‘when it becomes practical to
do so’.

The demands set out by the MPs managed to close political ranks between Biti
as the MDC-T secretary general, and Vice President Mujuru, a ZANU PF
politburo member and presidential contender. Their two parties are usually
on opposite sides regarding parliamentary issues.

The budget now needs to be approved by the Senate before it can be adopted.
The Senate resumed sitting again this week after breaking for a month due to
protests by MPs from the MDC-T, who did not want the participation of
provincial governors, unilaterally appointed by Robert Mugabe.

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Tsvangirai orders Zim Army To Stop Harassing Villagers

10/12/2010 16:06:00

Harare, December 10, 2010 - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have urged
Zimbabweans to protest against any violation of their human rights and
called on soldiers and police members deployed in rural areas to pull out
and stop harassing the people.

Speaking at the Africa Unity Square in central Harare to commemorate,
International Human Rights day Tsvangirai said: "We are seeing that in rural
areas people are deploying soldiers and the police to harass people. That
should not be accepted."

"The army is not there to abuse people, the army is there to protect people.
The police are there to protect the people and not to harass people and so
are the CIO's. Our vision for Zimbabwe is to restore human dignity."

"If electricity goes up, people should protest, if maize go up people should
protest. It must be known that what we don't want we must protest,"
Tsvangirai said.

"Workers should demand their rights, women should demand their rights,
children should demand their rights, students should also demand their
rights on a daily basis. Government must be accountable to the people and
not that the people must be accountable to the government."

Tsvangirai said the government of national unity must learn to be
accountable to its people and not vice versa.

"Gone are the days when the government was not accountable to its people it
is now history."

The Prime Minister urged Zimbabweans to be "calm and collected" as it gears
towards elections scheduled for next year.

He said he was happy that the economy was slowly improving but that a few
things still needed to be sorted out by the GNU so that "everyone is happy
in a liberated Zimbabwe".

"Independence came but this does not mean that it ends there," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara told the same gathering: "The mandate
of this inclusive government is to create conditions for free and fair
elections. If we rush to an election, we go back to June 27, (2008)."

In 2008, almost 200 people believed to be supporters of the MDC lost their
lives due to violence.

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Zim Villagers Forced To Attend Night Vigils

10/12/2010 10:45:00

Mberengwa, December 10, 2010 - As preparations for next year elections have
began war veterans in Mberengwa district in the Midlands Province have
started pungwe (night vigils) meetings where villagers are forced to attend.

The war veterans in the district led by Sayinai Madhaka and Tariro Shoko,
Zanu (PF) Ward Chairman for Mataruse area are forcing villagers especially
MDC supporters to attend these pungwe which are held on Sunday, Wednesday,
Friday and Saturday night every week.

Edius Moyo the mainstream MDC chairman for Mberengwa district told Radio VOP
that Madhaka and Shoko are directing the pungwe meetings and are sending
Zanu (PF) youths to threaten villagers who don’t come to these meetings.

“These guys are ruthless. This is the time of the year when most people
spent the day busy in the fields but they can’t do that because they are
being forced to attend pungwe meetings in the evening. Last week there were
holding the pungwe meetings near Ruvuraugwi primary school and now have
moved to Murongwe area,”said Moyo.

Moyo said the war veterans are even getting the blessing of Chief John
Bhera-Mataruse a known Zanu (PF) activist to hold the pungwe meetings.

“At the pungwe meetings the villagers will be taught about the history of
the liberation struggle and also forced to sing Chimurenga songs half the
night,” he said.

The Mberengwa pungwe meetings have come at a time when Zanu (PF) youths and
local leadership in Gokwe district in the same Midlands province have
introduced operation Jongwe Ngarichengetwe Mumusha which means that Zanu
(PF) leader President Robert Mugabe should be re-elected to head the

Villagers of Charama, 100 kilometres south of Gokwe town last week told
Radio VOP that they were being harassed with the youth who were going around
asking what should be done to a cock if it gets old.

The villagers said they were expected to respond by saying an old cock
should be respected and kept safe in the home.

Zanu (PF) uses a cock as its symbol and Mugabe, 87 next February, is often
referred to as the cock (jongwe) by his supporters.

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Zim Diamond Monitor Denies Authorising Illegal Sale Of Diamonds

10/12/2010 16:04:00

The Kimberly Process (KP) monitor for Zimbabwe Abbey Chikane has denied
authorising a secret sale of Zimbabwe diamonds.

The former South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) military
intelligence operative told Radio VOP: “I will not be at liberty to comment
on whether I presided over an illegal sale but I can tell you that what
everything that I did was above board.”

Recent media reports suggested that Chikane authorised a secret sale of
diamonds by Zimbabwe to India in a deal worth US$160 million despite
continuing accusations of human rights violations and illegal practises in
the extraction of the precious stones in the controversial Marange diamond

This action by the South African monitor the media said came despite the
failure by KP participants to agree on trade in Marange stone during a
meeting in Jerusalem last month.

Zimbabwe’s is not allowed to freely trade in diamonds on the international
market until it meets a Joint Work Plan (JWP) agreed by both parties at a
plenary meeting held in Namibia last November.

Chikane said a decision was made at a recent KP meeting which was held in
Jerusalem, Israel but is yet to be made public.

“I am confident that Zimbabwe will soon be able to sell its diamonds. A
document with the decision on whether Zimbabwe should be allowed to sell its
diamonds has been prepared and is yet to be made public, I am not quite sure
if the Zimbabwean government has received it,” said Chikane in a telephone
interview from his Johannesburg base.

Under the JWP, Zimbabwe committed to a phased withdrawal of the armed forces
from the diamond fields and for a monitor to examine and certify that all
shipments of diamonds from Marange met KP standards.

Zimbabwe was granted more time to fall in line with the minimum
international standards of diamond trade. But there are still ongoing
reports of brutal military control of the diamond fields and smuggling.

At a special meeting in Russia in July, KP members agreed to permit Zimbabwe
to export two shipments of diamonds under supervision of the body's
monitors, on condition that the body would investigate conditions in the
Marange fields.

The agreement also tied all future exports of diamonds to clear and
measurable progress in ending smuggling and abuses, and allowed for local
civil society groups to participate in monitoring progress in the fields.

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ZAPU power struggles escalates

10 December, 2010 10:56:00    bY Nkululeko Ndlovu

BULAWAYO – The revival of ZAPU by former Home Affairs Minister Dumiso
Dabengwa is struggling to take shape as power struggles rock the party amid
reports of bitter infighting which have spilled into its branches in the

At the centre of the power struggles are two centres of power, one led by
Dabengwa who anointed himself party President at a disputed congress and the
other faction led by former Speaker to the Parliament Cyril Ndebele.

The two rival factions have caused so much damage in the rank and file
resulting in bad blood amongst party faithful.

Every member vying for a party position has been labelled Zanu PF or MDC
agent and this has caused deep rooted problems rendering the party’s
activities none existent.

This week, a website linked to the party’s functionary has exposed the level
of internal party skulduggery as members take pop shots at each resulting in
the alleged dismissal of the United Kingdom party chairman.

The website reported that ZAPU-UK chairman Arthur Molife was suspended by
senior party officials with immediate effect, less than three months after
he was elected into office.

"Molife was informed yesterday afternoon of his suspension following
intervention by ZAPU leadership in Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom.

In line with the party’s constitution Council of Elders chairman Brian
Muvirimi served Molife with his suspension after two weeks of dramatic
developments that saw the Legal Affairs Secretary Lloyd Msipa tendering his
resignation from his position," the report said.

The outspoken Lloyd Msipa is the son of Zanu PF stalwart and former cabinet
Minister and Governor of midlands Cephas Msipa.

The cocky London based lawyer has recently been on the fore-front of
below-the-belt media attacks on the MDC-T, writing obituaries on Tsvangirai’s
political career.

Also on the receiving end was the self proclaimed Iron Lady Manchester based
Barbara Nyagomo who was recruited into ZAPU through Facebook.

There have been heated "in-your-face" cat-fights between Mr Molife and his
vice-chair Barbara Nyagomo, with the former accusing the later of being an
MDC agent.

So far the website revealed that: the party’s national leadership has
refused to accept Msipa’s resignations following confrontation with Molife.

"All executive decisions made by Molife during his short-lived tenure are
now null and void", the report said.

"The leader of the Council of Elders in the European province Mr Brian
Muvirimi has temporarily taken over the party’s chairmanship in line with
the ZAPU’s constitution."

Dabengwa is being accused of turning the so-called Council of Elders or
Kitchen Cabinet into Zanu PF’s communist styled Politburo.

The Council of Elders has been used to expel party elements perceived to be
harbouring leadership ambitions.

This morning, a party functionary linked to Mr. Molife has dismissed the
claims of his suspension and accused Msipa and his Facebook sidekick Barbara
Nyagomo of working to destroy the party in the interests their principles in
Zanu PF and the MDC.

"According to insiders, ZAPU leadership had attempted behind the scene to
tame Molife, but they say, he could not take any advice from his superiors
opting to listen to his powerless confidantes," the report in the website

"The Zim Diaspora exclusively understands that the party’s national
leadership has suggested abolishing the executive provincial committee in
the UK, instead replace it with an administrative one which would be
directly answerable to the national leadership. This would give the
leadership ability to intervene at any stage as opposed to a situation of an
executive province."

"It is understood the measure is to minimise problems that had blighted the
province since Milton Keynes."

"However, insiders say Molife authored his own misery as it has also been
revealed that several certain senior party officials attempted to advise him
on how to handle the volatile situation. They say Molife was extremely
arrogant and resorted to antagonising those who questioned his clumsy
leadership style."

"He had set up factions against those who disagree with him and had
literally antagonised them with many party officials. He would call
individual officials in the PEC including others and spend time demonise
people who are supposed to be his team," an insider said.

"If there were any disciplinary issues the party constitution is clear on
that. It’s not up to him Molife, not even the PEC to start disciplining
off-rails members, which is the work of the Council of Elders. We reserve
the constitutional right to intervene and suspend a chairman who after being
voted into office decides to be hot-headed. For Molife to try to be a
disciplinarian was a grave breach of the constitution among other things. At
the end we had no choice but to relieve him of party duties as his approach
was not helpful to ZAPU."

"As a result, Molife leaves a deeply divided province, in which he had
successfully mobilised many individuals to his short-sighted cause," the
report said.

However, The Zimbabwe Mail understand that the bitter infighting in the ZAPU
UK branch is caused by factions in Bulawayo and they’re also linked to the
long standing problem that affected MDC-UK – control of party subscription
funds from the members.

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Gono adviser accused of raping 11 year old girl

By Lance Guma
10 December 2010

Dr Munyaradzi Kereke, an advisor to Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, has been accused of raping an 11 year old girl at his home in the Vainona suburb of Harare. Despite medical and police records confirming this, he continues to walk the streets a free man.

Speaking on SW Radio Africa’s Question Time programme, Girl Child Network founder Betty Makoni said; “He took a gun and pointed it to an 11 year old girl at 3 am, and this girl’s mother and father are not in the country. His wife is actually an auntie to this girl and it’s a big shame because the child trusted him.”

Makoni said medical investigations into the case showed the girl had indeed been raped and ‘right now she has locked herself in the house and is refusing to go to school since September.’ Makoni and her organization have since started a facebook and internet campaign to name and shame Dr Kereke.

“We want an answer from him. Our client has all the facts about what happened. Our campaign is meant to tell every Zimbabwean going to his surgery/clinic, it’s called Kereke Rock Foundation in Mount Pleasant (Harare).” She said people should not use his clinic as they will be financially supporting a rapist.

It’s also alleged Dr Kereke might have raped the 11 year old girl’s sister, aged 15. Makoni says as the Girl Child Network they have the documents needed to cause the arrest of Dr Kereke, but nothing has happened to him so far. She says her organization has handled many cases of high profile individuals whose cases never get anywhere near the courts and if they do, they get thrown out.

‘In the likely event that Zimbabwean courts don’t get to prosecute Dr Munyaradzi Kereke, it means many high profile rapists will be on the loose and this will result in many girls being raped and silenced. With the HIV and AIDS scourge this should be classified as a crime against humanity and also referred to regional or international courts’ she said.

In December last year Dr Kereke was one of 75 officials linked to the Mugabe regime who were placed on targeted travel and financial restrictions by the European Union, United States and Australian government.

To listen to the full interview with Betty Makoni on Question Time Click here


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Police Hunt For Six MDC MPs

10/12/2010 16:00:00

Masvingo, December 10, 2010 - Six Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
legislators in Masvingo are being hunted by the police here for allegedly
disrupting a Zanu (PF) meeting in Bikita at Makotore ward centre on 7 August
this year.

The six are Masvingo Urban constituency MP Tongai Matutu, Bikita West
legislator Heya Shoko, Edmore Marima for Bikita East, Zaka North’s Ernest
Mudavanhu, Bikita South Jani Varandeni and Senator Misheck Marava. Bikita
district organising secretary Vincent Jaricha is also on the wanted list.

Their lawyer Martin Mureri of Makutu and Kwirira legal practitioners
confirmed that his clients were being hunted for disrupting a gathering as
defined in section 44(b) of the criminal law Codification and Reform Act.

“It’s true that the police want to arrest these MPs for a case which is not
clear. They are just politicising everything because in as far as we know;
these MPs have no case to answer. If they disrupted a Zanu (PF) meeting in
August, why did they take long to arrest them?” asked

Meanwhile the Matabeleland Civic Society Consortium (MCSC) has started
mobilizing its structures to resist next year’s elections unless there have
been key reforms in the constitution and security sector as well as
electoral legislative and media sectors.

Addressing journalists in Bulawayo on Friday, the Chairperson of MCSC
Dumisani Nkomo said: “The Matabeleland Civic Society Consortium has been
monitoring with grave concern the call for elections in 2011 without a clear
broad democratic roadmap that guarantees peace and progress beyond the
elections. We call upon the political leadership of this country and SADC to
fully implement the GPA before any elections are held.”

“Our democratic space must fully give space and expression to the numerous
interest groups that have been previously hugely marginalised. These groups
include women, young people, the minority groups and people with
disabilities as well as civic groups who have for a long time been victims
of a democracy deficit created and sustained by this controlled, restrictive
political space” he said.

Nkomo said MCSC included among other organisations, Bulawayo Agenda,
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association, Habakkuk Trust, Radio Dialogue
and the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance.

He said MCSC is also seriously engaging the three political parties in the
inclusive government and SADC over the issue.

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Church Expells MDC Members

10/12/2010 16:03:00

Gokwe, December 10, 2010 - The Johane Marange Apostolic Church has allegedly
expelled several people for being members of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC).

A church official confirmed the incident saying this was because the church
wanted to remain apolitical.

"The people you are talking about were not expelled from the church but
instead they withdrew themselves because they breached the rules of the
church willingly, said the leader of the church in Gokwe, Muvhangeir Elisha
Mutembeleki. "Our church does not entertain politicians, but we pray for
them to prosper. These people are aware of that fact but they persisted
doing politics."

Movement for Democratic Change Midlands Provincial Chairman Cephas Zimuti, a
councillor Marisa, party member Wondor Gomba and several others were
believed to have been ejected from the church recently.

“I was told by church leaders here that I was no longer allowed to attend
church with them because I belong to MDC," said Zimuti.

He said the expelled members had started to pray together separately from
the church.

Mid this year Zanu (PF) President Robert Mugabe visited the Johanne Marange
Apostolic sect in Manicaland in an effort to garner political support.

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Mugabe reaches out to business

10 December, 2010 08:02:00    JASON MOYO - M&G

President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF, which has long cast itself as the party
of the poor, has begun reaching out to big business in the hope of winning
its support and financial backing.

While Zanu-PF counts many of the country's wealthiest among its members, it
has never publicly reached out to large businesses, which have long been
seen as a bedrock of financial support for Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC.

Now Zanu-PF has begun a charm offensive to wrest this ground from the MDC
and get those involved in business to open their wallets.

On Wednesday, the who's who of Harare's business sector gathered at a
conference hall in Harare's plush Borrowdale suburb, far from Zanu-PF's
usual rural haunts.

For an audience with vice-president Joice Mujuru, listed on the programme as
"guest listener", each executive paid hundreds of dollars to the organisers.

Over sandwiches, croissants and tea, senior executives from the country's
largest banks, mines and industries exchanged exaggerated laughter and light
banter with top members of the Zanu-PF politburo.

At the meeting, dubbed "Business Talks to Zanu-PF", Mujuru and other senior
Zanu-PF members sat behind a table and listened as business executives
moaned about the state of the economy, while taking care not to lay any
direct blame on the party.

Sensing the tension between the two groups, organiser Ray Kaukonde, a
wealthy Zanu-PF supporter who has interests in agriculture and runs the Spar
franchises, stood up to goad the cowering businesspeople into frank

"Speak freely. Don't try to please us here," Kaukonde said.

Relations with business people

Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the meetings were meant to give business
people access to senior party leaders so as to influence policy. But there
is little doubt Zanu-PF would like to see the business elite do much more
than that.

Zanu-PF chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo told the businessmen: "You have always
been a major source of funding for us. Not because you were compelled to do
so, but because you felt you had a duty to see the party move forward for
the benefit not only of yourselves, but our people."

Last week, at a Harare hotel, Zanu-PF attracted a full house at a
fundraiser, where the entertainment came from a choir singing Mugabe's

According to Noah Mangondo, who heads Zanu-PF's fundraising committee, the
dinners "provide a platform for those wishing to partner with Zanu-PF to
come forward and participate".

The party wants to raise at least $3-million to host its conference next
week, and by last week, had raised more than half that amount from donors,
Mangondo said.

At the Zanu-PF conference, companies will pay the party to exhibit at an
expo that will run alongside the meeting.

"It is a great opportunity for companies to market their products," Mangondo

'Zanu-PF is an unstoppable machine'

At last week's fundraiser, Moyo told guests: "Zanu-PF is an unstoppable
machine. For those who are not Zanu-PF as yet, it is not too late for you."
Next week's conference would be "a revolutionary conference, a turning point
that is going to change our lives".

Many businessmen have a lot riding on Zanu-PF remaining in power and, for
them, declaring public loyalty to Mugabe is good for business.

One of them is Philip Chiyangwa, a brash property baron who claims a distant
relationship with Mugabe and was once arrested on allegations that he had
sold Zanu-PF secrets to South African spies.

"I have assets worth about $200-million. If it means selling everything to
ensure that the MDC does not get into power, let it be," Chiyangwa declared,
handing a $100 000 donation to Zanu-PF.

According to Chiyangwa, Mugabe is a "selfless leader" who should be "the
life president of this country".

For all its socialist mantras, Zanu-PF is a major player in the business
world and on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, where it has a large investment

Through a maze of investment vehicles, most prominently Zidco Holdings and
M&S Syndicate, it has interests ranging from banking and insurance to
hardware, catering and tourism.

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Bus shortages complicate Zimbabwean migrants' hopes of going home for Christmas

Zimbabwean migrant workers in South Africa who head home every Christmas are
joined this year by thousands who need to leave the country to renew their
asylum status.

By Savious Kwinika, Correspondent / December 10, 2010
Johannesburg, South Africa

Even in South Africa, stores are adorned this time of year with holly,
tinsel, and fake snow. But the real sign here that it’s getting close to
Christmas is when the immigrant-packed neighborhoods of Hillbrow, Berea,
Yeoville, Braamfontein, and downtown Johannesburg itself start to empty out.

Thousands of Zimbabweans migrant annually from their jobs in South Africa to
their homes in Zimbabwe, often bringing paychecks, gifts, and new children
to meet their extended families back home at Christmastime.

This year, the Zimbabwe to which they return is likely to feel more
prosperous than the one they left. A year or so of the Unity Government
between President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s MDC party has seen an influx of investment, a drop in the 1
million percent inflation rate, and a certain degree of political freedom.

The big concern is how to get there. There is a shortage of buses due to an
apparently heavier demand than in past years. Johannesburg’s Park Station
has turned into a kind of squatter camp, with hundreds of Zimbabweans
sleeping on sidewalks and doorways, awaking just in time to stand in line
once more to queue up for bus tickets.

"Most buses have been booked a month ago, and we have a serious transport
crisis to Zimbabwe,” says Derrick Makurumidze, who plans to return to
Chitungwiza in Zimbabwe. “We have been here outside Park Station for two
days now. But thank God, today [Friday] we are going home. We managed to get
a bus, though it never looks road worthy."

Those who manage to get a ticket often find they are being overcharged.
"Apart from experiencing transport shortage, bus operators are charging us
R500 [about $90] just one way to Harare instead of the usual R250 [about
$40],” says prospective passenger Shuvai Makahamadze. “Worse still, [bus
operators] make a huge killing on luggage, where a 30-kg bag costs R80
[about $12.50] to R120 [about $20], depending on the comfort of buses."

Bus companies admit that prices are higher this time of year, but they
defend their practices. One of the bus drivers, who requested not to be
identified, said, "This is the only time of the year where bus operators
make money. Failure to capitalize on such an opportunity which comes once a
year would be unfortunate and regrettable.

"We have been struggling from January to November to get passengers
traveling from Johannesburg to Harare, Bulawayo, or Mutare, but
Christmastime presents us with such an opportunity," said the bus driver.

At Park Station and outside the informal drop-off and pick-up points in
Braamfontein, this reporter found that most migrants were returning to
Zimbabwe to sort out their South African passports and work permits. South
Africa’s Home Affairs department set a Dec. 31 deadline for all
Zimbabweans – estimated to number 2.5 million – to renew their asylum or
work status, a deadline that will not be extended.

For weeks, many of these same Zimbabweans now queuing up at bus stations
were sleeping in lines outside of Home Affairs, waiting for a chance to
renew their asylum or work status. Now the line has simply shifted.

"I am not going home for Christmas, but to quickly submit my application for
the passport,” says Remegio Ushe, a Zimbabwean living in Durban. “I can't
imagine myself leaving South Africa, going back to work in Zimbabwe. The
economy has not yet stabilized. I need at least two to three more years in
Mzansi [South Africa]."

To meet the Dec. 31 deadline, Sox Chikohwero, chairman of the Zimbabwe
Diaspora Civil Societies Organizations, says that the Home Affairs
department will need to increase its staffing and the pace of its caseload.
At present, he says, Home Affairs serves fewer than 500 cases per day.

At that rate, Home Affairs will serve 2,500 people by the end of the week,
about 10,000 per month, and only 30,000 by Dec. 31, he says – a mere 1.2
percent of all Zimbabwean migrants here.

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Humanitarian crisis close to home


Life for migrants, both South African and foreign, in inner-city
Johannesburg is precarious: potentially hundreds of buildings in the city,
mostly inhabited by migrants, are below international health standards for
refugee camps. For foreign migrants, many of whom are undocumented or
awaiting asylum claims, dire living conditions may be exacerbated by anxiety
over their futures in South Africa.

The involvement of home affairs immigration officials in the recent police
crackdown called Operation Duty Calls and the lifting of the moratorium on
the deportations of Zimbabweans at the end of December, is heightening the
anxieties of certain health workers that improvements in foreign migrant
access to health care over recent years may be undone.

Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), which runs a clinic in the inner city and
conducts health promotion in inner-city slum buildings, has raised the alarm
about both the conditions of the buildings and the potentially adverse
consequences of the recent turn in migration policy.

Refugees live in appalling conditions
A recent MSF survey of around 500 respondents in 30 buildings gives some
indication of the extent of the health crisis in inner-city Johannesburg.
The survey showed standards well below international refugee guidelines
created by the United Nations.

The survey indicated that 38% of respondents were below water access
standards by sharing a tap with more than 200 people and 49% shared a toilet
with more than 100 people, which is below the level of an acute emergency,
and 84.5% are living below minimum standards of overcrowding.

MSF has identified 82 buildings in the inner city where an estimated 50 000
to 60 000 people, mostly foreign migrants, live in substandard conditions.
The MSF clinic in the inner city has reported high rates of respiratory and
dermatological illnesses, specifically related to poor living conditions.

"Many of the people living in these buildings have been displaced by
political violence, instability and economic crisis in their own
countries -- they have been forced to migrate to South Africa to survive,
similar to people seeking refuge in formal refugee camps around the world,"
said Lynne Wilkinson, MSF deputy head of mission.

"We need to start recognising that the majority of the building inhabitants
have nowhere else to go and are forced by circumstance to live in these
appalling conditions."

According to the city of Johannesburg's development planning and urban
management department, there are 1 305 "bad buildings" identified in the
inner city, including those abandoned by landlords or illegally occupied,
though there is no official population estimate.

The department attributes the poor health conditions primarily to the
infrastructural collapse as a result of service payment arrears. Ten of
these buildings have been targeted in Operation Duty Calls so far.
Undocumented migrants have been arrested, though the department claims that
crime, and not illegal migrants, is the primary target.

A life lived in darkness
In one building near Jeppe visited by the Mail & Guardian, the dark was
perpetual and claustrophobic. Without electricity and few windows, passages
were lit by candles, casting flickering silhouettes. The air was dense with
paraffin fumes, and burns and graffiti stained the walls. Lift shafts were
filled with garbage. Large rats prowled the waste and mosquitoes rose from
pools of stagnant water. A few hundred inhabitants — both foreign and South
African — dwell here, but only one of several floors had running water.

The experiences of a young Zimbabwean woman, Akudzwe (not her real name),
living in this building exemplify the hazards of life for foreign migrants
here. She claims to have left Harare fearing Zanu-PF political intimidation.

Arriving in South Africa with no family, she was homeless at first before
moving into the building in 2008. Residents were evicted for three days in
early 2010 and she lost her asylum-seeking papers, and remains without
documents. Though there is some support and community in the building, her
situation remains harrowing.

"Sometimes you can have bad dreams, because some [people] are dying inside,
they're not going to hospital," explained Akudzwe. "Sometimes they go to
hospital, but they can be discharged while they are still sick, and they
come back two days later and die. Some are afraid.

"Sometimes when you are going to hospital, they don't treat us well as
foreigners, but if you come [to the MSF clinic] you get treatment, but if
you go straight to Johannesburg, sometimes you can sleep on the bench and
they don't attend to you. They have that attitude of saying you are

Akudzwe fell pregnant in South Africa and was turned away from prenatal care
at a state hospital, and ended up giving birth in a stairwell of the

Migrants struggle to overcome stigma
Although even undocumented migrants in South Africa are entitled to primary
health care as well as HIV/Aids and TB treatment, many have struggled to
overcome language barriers as well as stigmatisation by government health

According to MSF and the Forced Migration Studies Programme (FMSP), however,
the situation has been improving over the past two years but challenges in
negotiating health access remain. They both warn that the present turn in
migration policy may be a significant setback to the health gains of the
past years.

"Operation Duty Calls and its associated raids in the inner city are likely
negatively affecting the health of migrant communities," said Jo Vearey of
the FMSP. "Beyond affecting healthcare access, I think there are issues of
trauma and social disruption similar to the impact of deportations."

Health promoters and foreign migrants alike fear that the intensification of
surveillance of foreign migrants and the lifting of the moratorium on
deporting Zimbabweans at the end of December may deter migrants from seeking
healthcare, exacerbating public health concerns.

In addition, deportations can disrupt both HIV/Aids and TB treatments,
leading to treatment failure and potentially the development of drug
resistance that can be spread.

Problems with regularisation
Dr Refik Bismilla, the executive director of health for the City of
Johannesburg, does not share these fears. According to Bismilla, the
regularisation of foreign migrants will help with health planning and
resource allocation.

"As long as people don’t register you don’t know the numbers you are dealing
with," said Bismilla, "By people registering you can begin to move in the
direction of planning your health services and getting the requisite

Bismilla also believes the operation will help to crack down on criminal
activities such as illegal abortions that create health problems. According
to Bismilla, migrant access to health services has been improving and the
city is undertaking projects such as the introduction of translators into
health clinics to improve access and overcome language barriers.

MSF and other groups are concerned that the present regularisation will only
cover a fraction of Zimbabweans living in the country, and that many will
not receive asylum in the coming year. In spite of differing perspectives,
MSF and the City’s health department are working together to develop a
memorandum of understanding on migrant health in the city centre.

Large-scale migration to inner-city Johannesburg has become entangled with
the perennial problems of urbanisation, housing, unemployment and service
delivery. Health challenges in the so-called "bad buildings" of the inner
city are potentially on the scale of a humanitarian crisis, and yet remain
hidden in their darkened corridors.

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Statement On Politically Motivated Rape In Zimbabwe

Source: Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR)

Date: 10 Dec 2010

The Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) and the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors
for Human Rights (ZADHR) recently concluded a study and produced the first
report coming out of Zimbabwe focussing on politically motivated rape in the
country. Since this was a clinical rather than an epidemiological study,
there was no attempt to determine either the prevalence of political rape or
to establish how representative the sample was. The aim of the study was to
provide a valid and reliable description and assessment of alleged cases of
politically motivated rape.

The study concluded that politically motivated rape has been occurring in
Zimbabwe over the last ten years with serious social, medical and
psychological impact on the survivors of these attacks. Politically
motivated sexual violence against women in Zimbabwe has taken many forms.
These include extreme violence, gang rape and insertion of objects (bottles
and sticks) into the women's genitalia.

The sample of 27 women in the study came from members of a voluntary network
(Doors of Hope Development Trust) set up to provide support for female
victims of politically motivated rape. The reported rapes occurred in 2001
[1], 2002 [1], 2003 [1], and 2008 [24]. Hence, most rapes [89%] occurred in
2008, but, of course, there is no suggestion that rape was actually more
common in 2008 than in any other year.

The rape was just as likely to have taken place at or near the victim's home
[15] as at a base [12]. Most [21] were beaten prior to rape, some quite
severely. A distressingly high number of the rapes [11] took place in
public, at or near the victim's home, and witnessed by the victim's family
and children.

Over three-quarters [21] were victims of multiple rape, with an average of
three rapists per incident. Fourteen women reported 3 or more perpetrators
to their rape.

Most [23] did not report the rape to the authorities at all. Only 4 reported
the rape.

The findings on physical examination, objective psychological assessment,
and subjective complaints overlapped and supported each other. Hence, it was
concluded that 25 could be described as showing a clinical picture that was
either highly consistent [4] or consistent [21] with rape.

Most of the women did not receive appropriate care for the trauma that they
had experienced. A high proportion of study participants displayed symptoms
of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and some presented symptoms
suggesting psychotic depression.

Women in the study exhibited high levels of sleeplessness, nightmares,
flashbacks, and hopelessness. A third of the women reported these symptoms,
which are commonly associated with experiences of trauma. Traumatic memories
have continued for extended periods of time.


Rape has far reaching consequences for women and their families, and for
society as a whole; i.e. the danger of HIV/AIDS infection, children born as
a result of the rape, and the physical injuries as well as the psychological
trauma suffered by them and their families, particularly those that
witnessed the attacks. Although the women in the sample talked about the
need for justice, their main call is for immediate medical, social, and
psychological support.

· It is important for Zimbabwe to set up a multi-sectoral investigation into
politically motivated rape in Zimbabwe, led by the Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare, together with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Community
Development, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Home
Affairs, and the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs. This should be
undertaken on a large scale countrywide;

· There should be no impunity for perpetrators of violence. Cases of rape
should be investigated and prosecuted in keeping with the law;

· The Zimbabwean government has to ensure that national sexual violence laws
are enforced and the culture of impunity is done away with in keeping with
local, regional and international instruments. Zimbabwe is party to the SADC
Protocol on Gender and Development, in which it made commitments to "ensure
that perpetrators of gender based violence, including domestic violence,
rape, femicide, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation and all other
forms of gender-based violence are tried by a court of competent
jurisdiction." Zimbabwe's Parliament ratified the Protocol in October 2009.

For comment and further details contact:

ZADHR: +263-4-708118 / +263-772412760

RAU: +263-4-339421

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WikiLeaks Revelations Put Zimbabwe in Jeopardy of Further Instability, says Analyst

Liesl Louw-Vaudran says publication of confidential American communications about Zimbabwe ‘manna from heaven’ for President Mugabe

A leading security analyst based in southern Africa says the spilling of United States government secrets about Zimbabwe by the WikiLeaks organization is “dangerous” for the region, and could lead to instability and violence ahead of the election Harare’s expected to call next year.

“Certainly for southern Africa, the WikiLeaks Zimbabwe revelations are most significant, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say they could destabilize Zimbabwe – and thus the region - even further in the months to come,” says Liesl Louw-Vaudran, who works for one of Africa’s most respected security think-tanks, the Institute for Security Studies. It’s headquartered in Pretoria, South Africa, and has offices throughout the continent.

“I am not for one second saying WikiLeaks did not have the right to make the information public; I am merely exploring the possible ramifications now that this information is out there,” she clarifies.

ASSOCIATED PRESSZimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, described in leaked cables as "clever," "ruthless," and "a brilliant tactician."

WikiLeaks recently began publishing thousands of previously confidential communications between the US State Department in Washington, DC and its embassies around the world. Some of the documents relate to Zimbabwe. The country has been in the throes of political and economic instability for about a decade, as President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have fought a bitter and often violent battle for power.

A so-called “unity government” headed by Mr. Mugabe, of the ruling ZANU-PF party, and Mr. Tsvangirai, of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has failed to end violence, corruption and rampant unemployment there.

Mugabe’s ‘ammunition’

The New York Times has published a secret communiqué leaked to WikiLeaks, from former US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, to Washington in 2007. It reveals America’s preference for an end to Mr. Mugabe’s rule, in close cooperation with the MDC.

“We need to keep the pressure on to keep Mugabe off his game and on his back foot, relying on his own shortcomings to do him in,” Dell writes.

Louw-Vaudran says, “I do fear that the revelations (are) really going to give ammunition to President Robert Mugabe, especially while we are facing a new election in Zimbabwe next year.”

She adds Mr. Mugabe will “obviously” use the information leaked by WikiLeaks as a “political tool” to further entrench his hold on power. She says it’s now going to be “far easier” for Mugabe to “demonize” Tsvangirai as a “puppet of the Americans.”

“We are sitting with a very tense situation, very delicate, where we’ve got a dictator now for the last 25 years here in Africa, absolutely insistent that any opposition to him is being instigated by the West. And now he has that on paper, and that is dangerous,” says Louw-Vaudran.

She comments that she’s “sure Robert Mugabe is putting his feet up late at night and laughing his head off, not quite believing that such a massive boost has been given to him by his arch enemy, America, ahead of an election. It’s manna from heaven for him!”

Louw-Vaudran says “already the gloating” about “Dell’s criticisms directed at Tsvangirai” and the “vilification and mockery” of the MDC leader has started in Zimbabwe’s state-owned media. The Herald newspaper, for example, writes of the Dell memo as proof that Tsvangirai and the MDC have grown “fat on the back of engorging the West's filthy lucre over the past decade as Uncle Sam's willing cat paws.”

“The WikiLeaks information has served to make the propaganda that Mugabe has been using all along against his opposition, such as that the US is funding the MDC, so much more credible,” states Louw-Vaudran. “It’s lovely for Mugabe to actually sit back and say, ‘Listen, I told you so …’”

US and MDC relationship now ‘strained’

She says “what’s also a godsend” for Mr. Mugabe is the American ambassador’s “strong” criticism of Tsvangirai in the cable leaked to WikiLeaks, and reported by the New York Times.

Dell describes Tsvangirai as a “flawed figure, not readily open to advice, indecisive and with questionable judgment in selecting those around him” and goes on to write that while the MDC leader is “a brave democrat” and “the indispensable element for opposition success,” he is “possibly an albatross around their necks once in power….”

Dell brands the MDC “far from ideal” as opposition to ZANU-PF, and says had Washington “had different partners,” it “could have achieved more” in Zimbabwe.

In her reaction to this, Louw-Vaudran comments, “Well, whether it’s the end of Washington’s previous very close relationship with the MDC, we can’t yet say. But that would certainly be great for Mugabe and ZANU-PF. What we can be certain of is that the relationship between the US and the MDC, in the immediate future, is going to be much more strained, and that must be very pleasing to Mugabe indeed.”

She says for “poor Morgan Tsvangirai,” the spilling of the Dell secret communication to Washington “must be a low blow; it must really hurt, despite his initial reaction to laugh it off as insignificant….”

In his reaction to the WikiLeaks revelations, the MDC leader has said he’s “not bothered” and that they won’t negatively influence his relationship with America. He also claims Dell’s opinions are at odds with those of the majority of Zimbabweans, who voted for Tsvangirai in the 2008 polls – widely believed to have been “stolen” by ZANU-PF.

Included in the cables, criticism of Zimbabwean opposition leader and US partner Morgan Tsvangirai

Also in his secret dispatch to Washington, Dell writes “Robert Mugabe has survived for so long because he is more clever and more ruthless than any other politician in Zimbabwe. To give the devil his due he is a brilliant tactician.”

Such words, says Louw-Vaudran, give “tremendous encouragement and impetus” to Zimbabwe’s president. “He’s very proud of that; he’s actually thrilled to be called a shrewd tactician,” she says.

‘A dangerous secret’

A formerly secret US cable gleaned from WikiLeaks by Britain’s Guardian newspaper reveals that South Africa’s Minister of International Relations, Maite Nkoana–Mashabane, refers to Mr. Mugabe as a “crazy old man.”

Louw-Vaudran says this information is “shocking” in that Nkoana-Mashabane “isn’t exactly known for her forthright opinions on foreign affairs … Many people thought President Jacob Zuma appointed her because she would not take a strong stand on controversial issues such as Zimbabwe, because she has … very little experience [in foreign affairs].”

Nkoana-Mashabane’s statement will “certainly not please Mugabe,” says Louw-Vaudran. “That certainly won’t be very good for South Africa that’s trying to mediate (in Zimbabwe) but apparently with very little success. Mugabe still runs rings around President Jacob Zuma who he considers to be a new boy on the block.”

Liesl Louw-Vaudran of South Africa's Institute for Security Studies D. TaylorLiesl Louw-Vaudran of South Africa's Institute for Security Studies

But she adds that the South African minister’s disparaging comment about the Zimbabwean leader will “encourage people who have been despairing at South Africa’s supposed role as Mugabe’s lapdog.”

Louw-Vaudran maintains, though, that the Nkoana-Mashabane comment is “a dangerous secret to reveal given the type of character that we’re dealing with” in Mr. Mugabe.

“In southern Africa and Zimbabwe, those little gossip statements and judgments of people are not just innocent statements; people could die because of the sensitivities of this one or that one. Really, we can’t take it too lightly,” she insists.

Louw-Vaudran says the “consequences” of the revelation of “what the Americans really think of Tsvangirai, and their apparent ongoing support for the MDC,” are going to be with southern Africa “for quite some time, and could prove to be very bad” for some people.

“Already we see Mugabe’s attitude to the MDC hardening even more, with him no longer attending meetings with Tsvangirai and moaning even more about how he’s being forced to be part of an ‘illegal’ unity government.”

Louw-Vaudran says the WikiLeaks revelations have “opened up a fresh and possibly very negative angle” to Zimbabwean politics, at a time when Zimbabweans are “growing increasingly nervous” about the future.


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Law Society of Zimbabwe’s model constitution now included in Sokwanele’s online constitution resource

Law Society logoWe have just included all the content from the Model Constitution compiled by the Law Society of Zimbabwe into our indexed online constitution resource.

Visitors to our site are now able to browse through this lengthy document, section by section, easily comparing its clauses on key constitutional issues with the clauses provided by other key documents also included in our resource. The resource provides browsing and comparisons accross the following texts:

  • Law Society of Zimbabwe – Model Constitution (October 2010)
  • Constitution of Zimbabwe (at 13th February 2009)
  • Amendment 19 – Act No. 1 of 2009
  • Kariba Draft Constitution – 2007
  • National Constitional Assembly Draft Constitution – 2001

We encourage you to visit to learn more.

Foreword to the Law Society’s Model Constitution by the President of the Law Society of Zimbabwe

More than a year ago, in February 2009, the Council of the Law Society of Zimbabwe decided to participate in the constitution-making process which began with the signing of the Global Political Agreement and is continuing today.

The Council’s decision was taken after careful deliberation. The Law Society represents all the lawyers in Zimbabwe. Its role, under section 53 of the Legal Practitioners Act, is to represent the views of the legal profession and to promote reforms in the law. There can be no greater reform in the law than the preparation of a new constitution, and the Law Society and its members have a vital interest in the process: the new constitution will determine whether and to what extent human rights will be respected in Zimbabwe, whether the judiciary will be independent, and whether lawyers will be free to protect their clients’ rights and interests; in short, whether the rule of law will be maintained. Moreover, the Law Society is in a unique position to aid the constitutional process. It is a non-political body, so its decisions are not affected by partisan politics. Through its members it is the greatest repository of legal skills in the country, and through its contacts with other professional bodies it can call on legal expertise from elsewhere in the region.

All this persuaded the Council that the Law Society should take the lead in putting forward proposals for the new constitution. These proposals, the Council considered, would be best presented in the form of a draft constitution.

The Law Society began the process by discussing constitutional issues with its members at the Winter School in July 2009. In August that year the Society commissioned researchers to study the 17 thematic areas that had been identified by an All-Stakeholders’ Conference organised by the Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC). After much work and debate, these themes were discussed at a conference held concurrently with the Society’s Summer School in 2009. Assisting in these debates and discussions were constitutional experts from inside and outside Zimbabwe. Of these I should particularly mention and thank Professor Christina Murray of the University of Cape Town, Professor Jeffrey Jowell Q.C., Mr Patrick M. Mtshaulana a South African advocate and Mr Mkhululi Nyathi. Their expertise and guidance were invaluable in developing and refining the Society’s proposals.

Next, the Council engaged a group of drafters from amongst its members to capture the views that had been expressed and to encapsulate them in a draft constitution. The draft they produced was discussed further at a conference in May this year and was further refined as a result of the opinions and suggestions put forward at that conference.

The result is the draft constitution which I present today.

In preparing this draft, the Law Society has tried to produce a constitution that will create a binding social contract between all the people of Zimbabwe, one which will take account of the country’s past and its present, and will endure to shape future generations.

The draft seeks to entrench multi-party democracy in Zimbabwe, with significant power devolved to the provinces. A strong Declaration of Rights and a clear separation of powers will protect peoples’ freedom against encroachment by the State, but at the same time the Government will have sufficient power to carry out its functions effectively.

Highlights of the draft constitution are as follows:

  • An enforceable Declaration of Rights will protect all internationally-recognised human rights, socioeconomic as well as civil rights. Particular protection will be given to the rights of vulnerable groups such as women, children, disabled and detained people.
  • There will be a bicameral legislature consisting of a National Assembly and a Senate. Both will be elective bodies (there will be no appointed members) and in each House half the members will be elected on a constituency basis and half by a system of proportional representation. This will give us the best of both electoral systems: close contact with local electorates and adequate representation of smaller parties.
  • Parliament will be elected for a fixed five-year term, and each House will determine its own sittings. In this important respect, therefore, Parliament will be independent of the Executive.
  • There will be a Parliamentary Appointments Committee to select candidates for appointment to constitutional posts through a fair and public selection process.
  • There will be a non-executive President as Head of State, elected by Parliament. The Prime Minister will be Head of Government, and he or she will be elected through a nation-wide ballot for a five-year term though Parliament will have power to vote him or her out of office. Ministers will be appointed by the Prime Minister, not the President.
  • The draft constitution will establish three main courts: a Constitutional Court to decide constitutional cases, a Supreme Court to deal with general appeals, and a High Court to deal with cases at first instance; there will also be magistrates courts. Special courts such as the Labour Court and the Administrative Court will be incorporated into the High Court as specialised divisions.
  • Judges will be appointed by the President on the advice of an independent Judicial Services Commission. In the case of the Chief Justice and other judges appointed to preside over courts, however, the President will act on the advice of the Prime Minister in choosing from a list of candidates put forward by the Judicial Services Commission. The appointment of all judges will be subject to approval by the Senate.
  • The security services — the Defence Forces, the Police Service, the Prison Service and any intelligence services — will be subject to civilian, and particularly parliamentary, scrutiny and control.  The commanders of each service will be appointed by the President on the advice of an independent Security Services Commission, and their appointments will be subject to approval by the Senate.
  • In addition to the Judicial Services Commission, the Public Service Commission and the Security Services Commission, there will be several other independent commissions — an Independent Electoral Commission to conduct elections; a Human Rights Commission to foster human rights generally; a Gender and Anti-Discrimination Commission to ensure gender equality and prevent unlawful discrimination; a Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Conflict Prevention Commission to provide remedies for victims of past human-rights abuses and to promote reconciliation; a Media Commission to protect media freedom; a Land Commission to administer State land and to deal with resettlement and issues of land tenure; and an Anti-Corruption Commission to deal with corruption in all spheres.
  • There will be extensive devolution of power to the provinces, with each province having its own elected governor and legislature and its own public service and police service.
  • Local government institutions — urban and rural councils — will also be recognised and given as much autonomy as is compatible with good governance.

Generally, the draft constitution attempts to capture the broad aspirations of the majority of the people in Zimbabwe while paying due regard to the views of minorities. The degree of consultation we undertook gives me the confidence to assert that the draft is a fair reflection of the people’s aspirations.

In preparing this draft constitution, the Law Society does not intend to subvert or interfere with the parliamentary constitution-making process being undertaken by COPAC. The draft is put forward as a proposal to assist COPAC in the preparation of its own draft. But bearing in mind the consultative process in which the Law Society engaged, I am sure that COPAC’s drafters will find that the Society’s draft encapsulates the views of the people of Zimbabwe.

I therefore confidently commend this draft constitution to COPAC, to Parliament and to the people of Zimbabwe.

Josephat Tshuma
Law Society President

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A letter from the diaspora

Friday, 10 December
On this Friday morning there are enough Wikileaks to sink the already
listing Zimbabwean ship of state. Revelations that the US has been funding
the MDC have apparently caused Robert Mugabe to ‘breathe fire’. There are
rumours that the MDC is about to be banned and Morgan Tsvangirai thrown into
gaol ‘for a very long time’ as one unnamed Zanu PF official commented before
rushing to an urgent meeting of top Zanu PF men and Security chiefs to
discuss the matter. Morgan Tsvangirai will apparently be charged with using
foreign funds in contravention of Zimbabwean law to support his party’s
attempts to overthrow the regime. Robert Mugabe is under pressure from
‘hardliners’ within his party, we are told, to take these drastic measures.
What the Nobel Prize ceremony in Oslo today demonstrates very dramatically
is that locking up so-called dissidents only serves to draw the world’s
attention to undemocratic regimes and their abuse of citizens’ rights. Liu
Xiabo should have been there in Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize;
instead he is serving an eleven year sentence for ‘subversion’. His empty
chair at the ceremony was a potent reminder to the world of China’s failure
to match its rapid economic growth with a similar increase in human rights.
Not only is Liu Xiabo in prison, his wife Liu Xia is under house arrest and
other less well-known dissidents are prevented from leaving China. The
result of all this was that no one from China was present in Oslo to witness
their countryman receive this prestigious award. As well as stopping their
own people travelling to the ceremony the Chinese authorities have exerted
maximum pressure on governments not to attend the ceremony. They have
condemned the award to Liu Xiabo as ‘interference in their affairs’ and
described Xiabo as a ‘criminal’.
No doubt the Mugabe regime will follow much the same propaganda line if they
do go ahead and arrest Tsvangirai and ban the MDC. Mugabe’s oft repeated
‘sovereignty’ argument will be heard again with even more vehemence.
Translated, it means “We will do what the hell we like and no one will stop
us.”  Zimbabwe, however, hardly has the economic clout of China to silence
western critics afraid of losing business opportunities to conduct lucrative
trade deals with the ‘Asian Tiger’. Imprisoning Tsvangirai will only serve
to re-focus the world’s attention on Mugabe’s thirty years of despotic rule,
not to mention the slaughter of 20.000 Ndebele people in the Gukuruhundi
massacres, the inhuman Murambatsvina campaign of 2005, the violence of the
2008 elections and present violent attacks on opposition activists,
journalists and teachers.
While earlier Wikileaks revealed the irritation of diplomats with the
Zimbabwean opposition’s failure to unite and bring about change, there is
little doubt that locking up Tsvangirai will create another martyr to join
the ranks of Aung San Su Kyi, Liu Xiabo and imprisoned activists all over
the world. It could be argued that Mugabe does not give a damn for world
opinion as long as he remains in power but saner voices may persuade him
that further international isolation will do little to ensure his chances of
survival as a part of the Government of National Unity. Robert Mugabe was
quick to congratulate Laurent Gbagbo on his so-called election victory in
the Ivory Coast. The ECOWAS acting president, the Nigerian President
Goodluck Jonathan was more forthright, “We’ve seen these governments of
national unity, it(sic) doesn’t really work. Elections have been declared,
somebody has won so he (Gbagbo) has to hand over.” Interestingly, Ivory
Coast has been suspended from the regional bloc; if the ‘hardliners’ get
their way in Harare and we  see a violent clampdown on all opposition in the
country, with the army out on the streets doing openly what they are now
doing covertly, will Mugabe still be able to count on the continuing support
of SADC?  What the Wikileaks have revealed is that governments rarely
express openly their true opinions of errant leaders of rogue states but if
the ‘little leaks’ are to be believed more than a few African leaders are
getting very fed up with Robert Mugabe’s leadership.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH. aka Pauline Henson.

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