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The polarised lives of Zimbabwe's rich and poor

http://news.bbc.co.uk
Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Sue Lloyd-Roberts visits Philip Chiyangwa, the millionaire businessman nephew of Robert Mugabe, at his opulent Zimbabwe home full of deluxe cars

By Sue Lloyd-Roberts
BBC Newsnight, Zimbabwe

Thursday marks the first anniversary of Zimbabwe's so-called "inclusive government".

It has been a year since President Robert Mugabe swore in his former political rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, as Prime Minister and the two agreed to a series of conditions enshrined in the Global Political Agreement and to work on a new constitution which would pave the way to free and fair elections.

Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe
It is a year since Zimbabwe's former political rivals struck a deal

So what has been achieved?

"The inclusive government has bought peace and there is food in the shops," Julius, a 35-year-old teacher said. "Anytime you get a dollar, you can rest assured that you will find something to buy."

The problem is getting a dollar. Teachers like Julius will mark the anniversary by going on strike this week.

He said he welcomes the fact that the coalition government has restored peace to the country, but complained that he still cannot feed his family.

Julius takes homes $150 (£96) a month. Over $100 goes on renting two rooms in a house, which leaves him with a little more than a dollar a day to spend on food.

Reminder of past pain

We followed him to the supermarket where the shelves were stocked high. He bought one loaf of white bread - "our weekly treat" he explained - and then walked outside to a market stall to purchase his family's more regular fare - 1kg (2lb) of potatoes.

When she was born, we had no food at all. She went for hours without food. She is three years old but looks like a two-year-old.
Julius, teacher talking about his daughter

He took us home to meet his wife and two daughters.

"Of course, things are better than they were," he said, pointing to his younger daughter. "When she was born, we had no food at all. She went for hours without food. She is three years old but looks like a two-year-old.

"I feel like crying every time I look at my daughter - it reminds me of the history I don't want to remember," he said.

He is right. Things were a lot worse.

I have travelled to Zimbabwe regularly over the last tumultuous decade and, if I were to write a report card at the end of this, the first year of the inclusive government, it would read: "A good start, could do better, but with a very uncertain future."

Mass rallies

The timetable for political reform has slipped badly.

An armed guard at teh gates of a farm in Chegutu, file image
Four thousand white commercial farmers have had farms seized

Only the former opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), have been holding outreach meetings with their supporters to discuss a new constitution, which is meant to pave the way for free and fair elections.

These meetings should have been concluded last November.

At a rowdy, dancing and singing MDC gathering two hours' drive east of Harare which I went to, people were celebrating that they are able to meet at all.

"It was horrible before," Susan, a local party organiser, said. "Zanu PF thugs would come and beat people. Now, we thank God that we can move freely and meet together."

The meeting was addressed by the MDC deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe.

To cheers, she told the crowds that her party wants to restore political power to the prime minister and to parliament.

Zanu PF are not holding mass, outreach meetings.

Asset control

Back in Harare I found Paul Mangwana, Zanu PF's constitutional expert, at his legal practice putting finishing touches to what his party believe should be the shape of the new constitution - to put the power firmly in the hands of the one executive authority because of Zimbabwe's wealth.

Philip
Mr Mugabe's nephew Philip Chiyangwa has fared well in Zimbabwe

"We have a rich inheritance - nickel, platinum, diamonds - every mineral known in the world," he said. "We need to concentrate power in one, strong individual to safeguard those resources and protect them from being taken by foreigners."

Indigenisation is the key to the Zanu PF political philosophy, a philosophy which would appear to exclude white Zimbabweans.

Four thousand white commercial farmers have now had their farms confiscated and given to supporters of Mr Mugabe.

A diamond mine has been taken from its white Zimbabwean owner and is being operated by a government-owned company, protected by soldiers.

From 1 March, any company operating in Zimbabwe must ensure that the majority of shareholders are indigenous Zimbabweans.

Luxury lifestyle

My "minder" at the Ministry of Information was very keen that I should meet someone he believes is a model of a successful businessman in Zimbabwe today.

Philip Chiyangwa, Mr Mugabe's nephew, bought several companies at a time when high inflation, price controls and shrinking demand made it difficult for them to operate in Zimbabwe.

Now a millionaire, he displays the full list in his "Native Investments" portfolio on full-length wall charts.

It encompasses everything from luxury hotels, foodstuffs to the window frame company he says he bought from Roland "Tiny" Rowlands.

It is a gift from God. It is a blessing from God. I know people are hungry and we are very grateful for what has been done for us.
Elizabeth Chiyangwa
Married to President Mugabe's nephew

He was optimistic about Zimbabwe's future: "It is in our hands to take the country wherever it needs to go. Look at me - I have never left Zim for any other country, I don't intend to leave this country, I am doing business here and I am successful here.

"If I want to buy a jet tomorrow, I will do it here. If I want to buy a Rolls Royce, I have one. If I want to drive a Bentley then I have one. If it's a beautiful mansion house, I bought one. I built it myself," he said.

Mr Chiyangwa invited me to visit the 35-room mansion where his wife, Elizabeth, showed me around the family car collection - her husband's Rolls Royce and Bentley, her Mercedes and their daughter's sports cars.

I asked her whether she feels comfortable with such wealth when people in her country are starving.

"It is a gift from God," she replied, "it is a blessing from God. I know people are hungry and we are very grateful for what has been done for us".

As Julius puts his children to bed that night, after another meal of potatoes, he could be forgiven for wondering whether it is not his turn, and the turn of millions like him in Zimbabwe, to receive such gifts and blessings.

Watch Sue Lloyd-Roberts' full report on Newsnight at 10.30pm on Wednesday 10 February 2010 on BBC Two, then afterwards on the BBC iPlayer and Newsnight website.




Business wants empowerment laws shelved

http://www.zimonline.co.za/

by Own Correspondent Thursday 11 February 2010

HARARE - Zimbabwe business leaders say they will ask the government to
shelve implementing new empowerment regulations compelling foreign-owned
firms to cede controlling stake to locals to allow more consultations on the
matter.

The Indigenisation and Empowerment Ministry on Tuesday announced through
state media a new set of empowerment regulations that sent foreign-owned
firms into panic with threats of imprisonment for foreign shareholders (or
presumably their local representatives) who fail to sell 51 percent stake to
indigenous Zimbabweans within the next five years.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, keen to present Zimbabwe as an
investor-friendly country, immediately attempted to shoot down the
indigenisation regulations saying they were invalid because they were never
discussed and adopted by Cabinet.

But business leaders - no doubt driven by a desire to avoid the chaos that
befell agriculture after a similar government programme to empower blacks
saw white-owned commercial farms seized without compensation - are leaving
no stone unturned in their bid to forestall the threatened company seizures.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Kumbirai Katsande told
ZimOnline on Wednesday that business would lobby the government over the new
regulations that Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere
said will be come effective on March 1.

He said: "We are not against indigensation but any policy must be
coordinated and not scare away investors. We need clarity on the policy and
the policy must not be done in any partisan manner that benefits individuals
or certain people at the expense of the country . . . (business) is asking
legitimate questions on the (regulations)."

Under the empowerment regulations foreign-owned businesses operating in
Zimbabwe, including banks, mines and factories will be forced to sell a
majority stake to locals by March 2015.

The regulations that do not say where impoverished local Zimbabweans will
get money to pay for stake in large mines and industries owned by foreigners
are seen as a potentially fatal blow to efforts to woo foreign investors to
help rebuild the country's economy shattered by 10 years of political
turmoil and acute recession.

Tsvangirai, acutely aware of the damage publication of the regulations has
done to his campaign to woo investors back to Zimbabwe, quickly moved to
calm the business community.

The Prime Minister declared the new rules a nullity because they were:
"published without due process as detailed in the global political agreement
(GPA) and the Constitution and they are therefore null and void".

But Tsvangirai's words are likely to be little reassurance to business
leaders who are only too aware of how hardliners in Mugabe's ZANU PF party
who include Kasukuwere have brazenly ignored the GPA or power-sharing
agreement to continue political violence and seizing white-owned private
farms including some protected under bilateral agreements between Zimbabwe
and other nations.

In addition business leaders will also be quick to remember the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill passed by the then
ZANUPF-controlled Parliament in 2007 and signed into law by Mugabe in March
2008.
The legislation provides for foreigners to be compelled to sell stake to
local Zimbabweans although many had hoped the law and other controversial
laws including repressive press and security laws to be repealed following
formation of the power-sharing government. - ZimOnline


South Africa alarmed at Zimbabwe's new business policy

http://www.afriquejet.com

There has been widespread reaction in South Africa to reports that white
businessmen in Zimbabwe who do not cede control of their companies to black
partners, could face jail sentences under a law coming in to effect next
month.

An official notice of Tuesday states that the law will be enforced from 1
March, to impose jail sentences of up to five years for violators. It gives
companie s worth US$ 500,000 or more, 45 days to submit compliance
proposals.

Foreign investors also need to meet an "empowerment quota".

But the regulations have been summarily dismissed as "null and void" by
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

In South Africa, political analysts say the promulgation of the law appears
to be a deliberate strategy by Mugabe's Zanu-PF party to try and shore up
its shrinking support among the electorate.

AfriForum's legal representative, Willie Spies, said in a statement that the
new development called for more drastic measures by the South African
government to assist its citizens affected by Mugabe's controversial
policies.

He said the well-known South-African farmer and businessman, Crawford von
Abo, succeeded last week with a court application to declare the South
African government liable for constitutional damages due to its failure to
grant diplomatic protection to South African investors in Zimbabwe.

"AfriForum will also approach the High Court later this month to have a
ruling by the tribunal of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
against Zimbabwe, registered in a South African Court," Spies said.

Cape Town - Pana 10/02/2010


Law Society mulls Zimbabwe protest

http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/

Thursday 11 February 2010 by Jonathan Rayner

The Law Society is considering intervening in the case of a solicitor who
was imprisoned by the Zimbabwe authorities for asserting that evidence
incriminating his client was obtained under torture.

Zimbabwean solicitor Mordecai Mahlangu was arrested when acting for Roy
Bennett, a Zimbabwean farmer of European descent and member of parliament
for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Bennett is facing the death sentence or life imprisonment for alleged
treason against president Robert Mugabe's regime. Mahlangu argued that the
charges were based on testimony from another European, who had been tortured
and whose evidence was therefore inadmissible. Mahlangu was arrested for
obstructing the course of justice. He has since been released, but is still
under threat of further action. Bennett's trial has been suspended.

Edward Mapara, secretary of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, who is currently at
Chancery Lane taking part in the 2010 Commonwealth Professional Fellowship
Programme, told the Gazette that defending political detainees like Mahlangu
was a 'nightmare' in Zimbabwe.

'Lawyers are associated with the "crimes" of their clients, and so
Mahlangu - and other defence lawyers - stand accused of disloyalty to the
state. He could be rearrested at any time.'

Mapara said that there were also doubts about the impartiality of many
judges. 'They have accepted formerly white-owned farms seized by the
government and so there is an obvious conflict of interest.'

A Law Society spokesman said Chancery Lane was considering intervening on
behalf of Mahlangu, but this could be viewed by the Zimbabwe government as
interference by a past colonial power. He said: 'Interventions can give a
pretext for attacking lawyers and cause more harm than good.'

A spokesman for the Zimbabwe High Commission in London said he had been
'unable to authenticate the details' of the case. He alleged that the
'dispute' between Zimbabwe and the UK had led some journalists to publish
'juicy news' at the expense of the truth.


Tsvangirai seeks meeting over indigenisation law

http://www.legalbrief.co.za
Published in: Legalbrief Today
Date: Thu 11 February 2010
Category: Legislation
Issue No: 2498



Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called an urgent meeting with the Minister Savior Kasukuwere to discuss a controversial indigenisation law requiring all business to 'cede' at least 51% of all companies to 'indigenous Zimbabweans'.

According to a Beeld report, Tsvangirai assured white business executives they wouldn't be jailed if they did not comply with the law. A Government Gazette announcement says the law will be implemented on 1 March.
Full Beeld report


Two Diamond Bosses Arrested

http://www.herald.co.zw/

11 February 2010

Harare - TWO South African directors of Canadile Miners, one of two firms
extracting diamonds at the Chiadzwa fields, have been arrested on
allegations of illegally possessing the precious stones.

Komilan Packirisamy (37) and Viyandrakumar Naidoo (46) were arrested on
Tuesday last week after company employees tipped off police that the two had
diamonds in their car.

They were arrested at a roadblock near Hot Springs as they drove from the
diamond fields.

A police search led to the discovery of 57 stones valued at US$28 000 in the
car.

On Saturday, they appeared before Mutare provincial magistrate Mrs
Lucie-Anne Mungwari and were charged under the Precious Stones Trade Act,
which prohibits the unlawful possession and trade in valuable minerals.

Packirisamy was remanded out of custody on US$2 700 bail and his trial date
has been set for February 23.

The charges against Naidoo were withdrawn before plea and the State will
proceed by way of summons should it decide to pursue the matter in future.

Appearing for the State, chief law officer Mr Michael Mugabe told the court
that on January 27 Packirisamy and Naidoo were intercepted at the roadblock
following a tip-off by some of the company's employees who knew they were in
possession of the diamonds.

Naidoo was reportedly driving the vehicle when the two were stopped.

Mr Mugabe said police found 57 precious stones stashed in a plastic
container.

Mr Mugabe alleges that police discovered the diamonds had not been
registered with Canadile Miners as required by law.

Mr Misheck Mugadza and Victor Mazengero of Mugadza, Mazengero, Dhliwayo
Legal Practitioners represented the duo.

The Hot Springs area was one of the largest markets for diamonds illegally
mined from the Chiadzwa fields before Government moved in to restore
normalcy.

Diamond dealers from across the country were nabbed at Hot Springs after
security agents had moved in to secure the fields.

Canadile Miners is one of the two companies that have gone into partnership
with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation to exploit the Chiadzwa
diamond resource.

Canadile and Mbada Holdings have invested more than US$100 million in
equipment and security at Chiadzwa diamond fields to curb illegal mining
activities and beneficiate the resource.

The US$30 million which was invested between September and December last
year was used to set up two exploration plants and equipment at the mine as
well as putting up state-of-the-art security equipment such as cameras with
night vision.


Mutumwa Mawere's Empire Crumbles Further

http://news.radiovop.com

11/02/2010 06:11:00

Harare, February 11, 2010 - Fugitive business mogul, South African-based
Mutumwa Mawere's empire is now collapsing as Shabani Mashaba Mines (SMM)
face closure, Radio VOP can confirm.

Senior SMM management have, however, asked the Government of National Unity
(GNU) to forgive Mawere and allow him to return to Zimbabwe.
Last year Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara, who is a signatory to the
GNU, pleaded with President Robert Mugabe to allow Mawere, a one-time Zanu
PF henchman, to return scott-free.
Mawere fled Zimbabwe after his mining empire was taken away from him by
President Mugabe's Zanu PF government in 2004.
He was accused of among several other issues, owing the State huge sums of
money and being a sellout.
However, Mawere maintains that he was being victimised by Zanu PF goons who
were "trying to grab" his mining empire.
Now more than 1 000 workers at SMM have been sent on forced leave until
further notice because management claims "the mining empire has no money and
is facing viability problems due to low asbestos prices and huge electricity
costs".
Gaths Mine, the largest underground mine in Mashaba, is failing to settle a
US$1 million electricity bill.
SMM is Zimbabwe's largest asbestos producer.
"You are advised that with effect from 1 February, 2010, you are all advised
not to report for work due to viability problems," read part of the letter
sent to cash-strapped workers on January 25, 2010.
"Persistent power cuts and lack of funding have affected the company
resulting in serious cash flow problems."
Management have appealed to the Government of National Unity ((GNU) to
forgive Mawere and allow him to return to Zimbabwe and continue running his
empire.
"We are appealing to government to look for investors to chip in or just
allow former owner Mutumwa Mawere to come back,"a senior manager said.
"Under funding, low asbestos prices and power cuts have affected business."
The senior SMM manager confirmed that half of the workforce had been sent on
forced leave until "the situation improves".
Government-appointed administrator, Alfias Gwaradzimba, has remained
tight-lipped on the issue.


Farmers seek Tribunal ruling on compensation

http://www.zimonline.co.za

by Clara Smith Thursday 11 February 2010

HARARE - Zimbabwe's embattled white commercial farmers will ask the SADC
Tribunal to set guidelines on calculation of compensation due to farmers for
land lost under President Robert Mugabe's farm redistribution programme that
the regional court has ruled illegal.

The Southern African Commercial Farmers Union (SACFA), fighting for the
rights of commercial farmers mainly from South Africa and Zimbabwe, said the
South African Development Community should set guidelines of what
constitutes fair compensation and how it should be calculated.

"We are going back to the SADC Tribunal asking what fair compensation is if
we have lost everything taken from us," SACFA official Dave Connoly told
more than 100 farmers in Harare last week.

He added: "What is it (fair compensation) in monetary terms can be regarded
as fair compensation. The initial SADC ruling gives us legal title to land
and therefore a right to compensation. The Tribunal should decide the method
of valuation."

In a November 2008 ruling on an application brought by 79 white Zimbabwean
farmers facing seizure of the farms under Mugabe's land reforms, the
Tribunal declared the Zimbabwean leader's farm reforms discriminatory,
racist and illegal under the SADC Treaty.

The regional court barred Harare from seizing land from the 79 farmers and
to compensate those whose properties it had already taken.

Mugabe has Tribunal ruling as "nonsense and of no consequence" while his
supporters have continued to seize more land owned by the white farmers who
are protected by the judgment.

A Harare High Court judge a fortnight ago dismissed an application by white
farmers to have the Tribunal ruling registered - and pave way for its
enforcement in Zimbabwe - saying enforcing the regional court's judgment
would be against public policy in the country.

There is clearly little hope the Tribunal rulings will be upheld by the
present government in Zimbabwe which remains dominated by Mugabe despite the
veteran leader agreeing to cede some of his powers to Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai in a power-sharing agreement that gave birth to their unity
government last February.

But more Tribunal rulings are likely to be more useful in the future when
and if political power changes hands in Harare.

Mugabe's decade-long farm invasions that the President says were necessary
to ensure blacks also had access to arable land that they were denied by
previous white-led governments have been blamed for plunging Zimbabwe into
food shortages.

Once a net food exporter Zimbabwe has avoided mass starvation over the past
decade only because international relief agencies were quick to chip in with
food handouts. Mugabe denies his farm redistribution policies are to blame
for hunger.
The Zimbabwean leader instead claims food shortages were a because of
erratic weather and economic sabotage by his Western enemies that he says
crippled the economy's capacity to produce key inputs such as seed and
fertilizers† . - ZimOnline


We’re not here to punish Harare: CITES chief

http://www.zimonline.co.za/

by Own Correspondent Thursday 11 February 2010

HARARE – CITES secretary general Willem Wijnstekers on Wednesday said his
visit to Zimbabwe is meant to help rather than punish Harare, as he began
his official business in the southern African country.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES) chief jetted into Harare late Monday accompanied by the
conservation watchdog’s chief enforcement officer responsible for providing
technical advice and support in relation to the enforcement of the
Convention, John Sellar.

“We are not here to punish but to help,” said Wijnstekers, adding that he
wanted to get first hand information on poaching statistics which have been
circulated in the media.

Wijnstekers will hold meetings with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Tourism Minister Francis Nhema, police
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri and other top government officials to
discuss the high levels of poaching in the country.

He also said his visit to Save Conservancy after his arrival was on the
invitation of the owner of Sango Ranch. The CITES boss was accompanied to
Save Conservancy by European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe Xavier Machal and
Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Director General Morris Mtsambiwa.

Zimbabwean officials had last week expressed displeasure that the CITES
chief would tour the white-owned game conservancy during his visit to the
country, saying it would influence his assessment of the country’s wildlife
situation in favour of private interests.

Parks and Wildlife Management Authority director for conservation Vitalis
Chadenga also welcomed the visit to the country by Wijnstekers saying it
helps to put the poaching speculation to rest.

‘‘We welcome the SG’s visit as it affords us an opportunity to put the
record straight concerning poaching particularly of Black Rhinos," he said.

"While the country has witnessed poaching cases some media reports were
clearly exaggerated and it is critically important that we separate the
facts from fiction."

Wijnstekers is expected to announce the findings of his visit today.

Poaching has been rife in Zimbabwe since landless black villagers began
invading – with tacit approval from the government – white-owned farms and
game conservancies over the past nine years.

There has also been an upsurge in the poaching of endangered species such as
the rhino targeted for its horn that is exported mainly to China and Vietnam
where it is in huge demand.

The situation has not been helped by reports of illegal and uncontrolled
trophy hunting on former white-owned conservancies now controlled by
powerful government officials and ZANU PF politicians although the
government denies politicians are illegally hunting game and insists it
still has poaching under control. – ZimOnline


Bulawayo buildings have no toilets

http://www.zimeye.org/?p=13142

By Thembani Gasela

Published: February 10, 2010

Bulawayo - Strategic and convenience buildings in Zimbabwe's second capital
city have no toilet facilities, it has emerged. A school has been closed, a
hospital given 60 days to reform, and the city's Registrar General's offices
been condemned after being found without a single toilet for the public.

The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has ordered repairs at the Old
Memorial Hospital be carried out within 60 days, failure of which would lead
to legal action being taken against the relevant authorities.

ZimEye is in possession of reports signed by Bulawayo provincial health
officer Onias Guzuwe and addressed to the Matabeleland South Provincial
Medical Director's Office.

In condemning the buildings the inspection team comprising Medicine Shonai
and Fundani Sibanda, environmental health officers and officials from the
Bulawayo City Council Health Department noted that the Ministry of Public
Works had failed to maintain State infrastructure.

"The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare conducted an inspection of the
above-mentioned premises which were found not meeting the minimum health
standards for failure to provide functional toilets, allowing the existence
of non-functional staff toilets and unavailability of public toilets in
contravention of provisions of section 82 of the Public Health Act Chapter
15:09 (1996)," read the report.

The ministry said the unavailability of public toilets at the
Registrar-General's Office was a cause for concern.

"There were no public toilets provided for use by the public. The scenario
was a public health nuisance in terms of sub-paragraph (ii) C and D of
paragraph (f) of section 85 of the Public Health Act Chapter 15:09 (1996),"
read the report.

"The situation was exacerbated by the fact that the premises are a public
facility as defined under section 2 of the Public Health Act Chapter 15:09
(1996) and due to the nature of the service provided at the premises,
service seekers spend long periods waiting obviously requiring the use of
sanitary conveniences. By not providing the basic sanitary facilities, the
responsible authority contravened the Public Health Act."

The ministry ordered that public toilets must be provided within 60 days of
the issue of the report.

"Public toilets must be provided (eight water closets for females, six water
closets for males including a urinal trough within a period of 60 days
failure of which legal action will be instituted in terms of provisions of
section 87 of the Public Health Act Chapter 15:09 (1996)," said the Ministry
of Health and Child Welfare.

The ministry also noted that the buildings were not in a position to deal
with fire outbreaks as fire extinquishers were last serviced in 1992.

However, Tredgold Building, which houses the Bulawayo Magistrates' Courts,
met the minimum standards with the inspection team noting that street
vendors had invaded the building's toilets.

"The toilets were reasonably clean, street vendors were reported to be using
the same facilities and this caused unnecessary pressure on the facilities.

"There is a need for dialogue among stakeholders on the invasion of toilets
provided at the premises by street vendors," read the report.

Recently the ministry ordered the suspension of classes at Coghlan Primary
School after the inspection team reported that toilets were enough to cater
for only 475 pupils out of a total population of more than 1 000.


WOZA release report on state of democracy in Zimbabwe one year after formation of GNU

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by WOZA
Thursday, 11 February 2010 06:17

Press statement from Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
In 2009, WOZA started discussions on what we think the building blocks of
democracy are .........

with over 11,000 members, urban and rural, through workshops and a booklet -
Building democracy with WOZA. The objective was to raise awareness that
Zimbabwe needs a democratic form of government committed to making sure that
all the building blocks of democracy are in place for all citizens to enjoy
social justice.

As 2009 closed, we conducted a further consultation of the state of our
democracy after the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU).
4,016 people gave us their views. The results have been released in a report
entitled, 'Hearts starve as well as bodies - give us bread but give us roses
too! Democratising Zimbabwe - an opportunity to shine! A WOZA perspective on
the state of democracy in Zimbabwe.' The report is a snapshot of our
community activists' views on the state of democracy in Zimbabwe one year
after the GNU was formed.

The main findings of the report include:

∑†††††††† The belief that the power-sharing government has decreased
democratic space in Zimbabwe.

∑†††††††† There has been some change for those who are rich but for the poor
nothing has changed. It has remained survival of the fittest. The
dollarisation of the economy stabilised prices and the economy in general
but the gap between rich and poor widened.

∑†††††††† Many expressed no confidence in an election before the
constitutional process is complete.

∑†††††††† People want to give their views and write their own constitution
but worry that the current consultation process has too many loopholes that
can be manipulated to change their views into those wanted by politicians.

∑†††††††† Most agree that they believe that public funds should go through
the Ministry of Finance but the Minister must also be transparent about what
he does with it.

∑†††††††† The personal security situation for ordinary people is still very
insecure.

∑†††††††† Most people polled believe that the rule of law in the country has
worsened.

The report also contains a list of steps that WOZA, the mothers of the
nation, would like to see before we can believe that democracy is alive and
well in Zimbabwe. These include:

1.††††† Elections - Before the referendum, we need to have confidence that a
voter's roll will be transparently prepared and displayed for viewing. We
need a truly independent electoral commission.

2.††††† Opposition - we need to see democracy in action - a genuine
welcoming of different political voices.

3.††††† Civil rights - we are citizens with rights and must be allowed to
enjoy all our rights without fear or harassment. We look forward to the
passing of the bill amending POSA. We need to see the promised security
sector reform with special attention on police reform because it is police
who abuse our rights on a daily basis.

4.††††† Rule of law - start to prosecute perpetrators of politically
motivated violence urgently - everyone must obey the law or be punished.

5.††††† Separation of powers - The presidential appointment of Tomana and
Gono has resulted in a further mixing up of the functions of government. For
judicial reform, Tomana and other political appointees in the Attorney
General's office must go and be replaced by professional people who will
balance the scales of our justice system.

6.††††† Equality - we are writing this into our new constitution. Please
Parliamentary Select Committee do not betray this ideal by cheating us when
we give you our views.

7.††††† Transparency and accountability - As long as we have a politically
partisan Reserve Bank governor, there will be no investor confidence, jobs
will not be available and workers receive a living wage - therefore Gono
must go. Minister Tendai Biti, we need more transparency and accountability
from you. Studying your strategy from the trenches, it looks like you want
to squeeze money out of poor people's pockets to fund the recovery. You need
to do better to cushion the poor! You must stop the police from
criminalizing informal traders. Please don't forget about the children's
education, they are our future.

8.††††† Participation of the people - our report is called hearts starve as
well as bodies - give us bread but give us roses too!† We want our 'rose',
which is our own constitution! Allow a genuine people-driven process for the
constitutional consultation for our full participation. Disband militia
camps and let our children come home. The police must stop arresting people
without good reason; police officers are crucial to allowing people to feel
free. To the three principals, you promised us a "society free of violence,
fear, intimidation, hate, patronage, corruption and founded on justice,
fairness, openness, transparency, dignity and equality." Now it is time to
deliver on what you promised.

A full copy of the report can be found on the WOZA website at
www.wozazimbabwe.org


Tell Zimbabwe Anti-Riot Police: Real Men Don’t Beat Women!

http://blog.amnestyusa.org

Africa, Individuals at Risk, Violence Against Women | Posted by: Sarah
Hager, February 11, 2010 at 1:04 AM

Pig. Fuzz. 5-0 (as in Hawaii). These are some American slang terms for
police. I won’t even get into some of the terms police are referred to
around the world. (The Moustached Pagoda? Really Canada?) Despite our
affectionate, or not so affectionate, appellations for police officers, they
are an invaluable and indispensable part of society and do far more good
than harm. Zimbabwe is no exception to this rule-really, the police are
usually the good guys. Unless they are acting under order of unscrupulous
persons desperate to hold on to power and squash dissent. Sadly, then you
see events that have unfolded all to often lately in Zimbabwe; where club
wielding anti-riot police go after protestors marching peacefully in the
streets.

On a day to day basis in Zimbabwe, police officers go about their business
preventing crime and protecting citizens; but these officers are also
deployed to repress those same citizens. Students, lawyers, trade unionists,
political activists have all felt the unrelenting force of anti-riot batons
as they violently disperse Zimbabweans gathering in the streets to demand
human rights, equitable treatment, and greater civil liberties.

Because they march so frequently, the members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA) are often the target of this violent repression. WOZA is a grass
roots movement of primarily women activists that demand a better life for
all Zimbabweans through non-violent civic activism. They are grandmothers,
sisters, daughters, aunts and cousins who sing and dance in the streets
calling for a future for their children, families, friends and neighbors
that incorporates strong human rights standards and civil liberties. And
because of this, they are frequently violently beaten by the anti-riot
police.

This Valentines Day, as WOZA marches in the streets, we are calling on the
Zimbabwe anti-riot police to treat the ladies of WOZA as they would want
their mother to be treated-with respect. As a police officer you may be
ordered to disperse a protest, but you are not required to do so with
violence. Send a valentine to the Zimbabwe anti-riot police during the month
of February and remind them that real men don’t beat women. Ever.