The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Independent

Arms ban hits security forces
Shakeman Mugari
EUROPEAN sanctions on Zimbabwe have begun to take their toll on the
country's defence system, with revelations this week that Zimbabwe's
security forces are phasing out machinery manufactured in European Union
states, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

The Independent heard that the army and the police have begun to phase out
vehicles, planes, guns and other military hardware manufactured in Europe as
the country cannot obtain spare parts under the sanctions regime. Parliament
heard last month that there was a need to engage dependable suppliers "in
the face of crippling sanctions by erstwhile suppliers like the United

Before the diplomatic fall-out Zimbabwe received British-manufactured Hawk
fighter/trainer planes, bombs and missiles. These planes are no longer in
use after Britain imposed an arms embargo two years ago barring Zimbabwe
from receiving any military assistance from the UK. Government is mulling
the purchase of aircraft and other equipment from China, one of Zimbabwe's
most trusted allies, according to a parliamentary report.

The Independent has also established that the famous police Land Rover
Defender trucks which were supplied under a bilateral agreement with Britain
are also being phased out.

That arrangement is now on ice after Zimbabwe fell out with Britain over
human rights abuses. Most of the Defender trucks have since ground to a halt
as the police cannot obtain spare parts from Britain.

The ZRP has since last year been purchasing Mazda pick-up trucks to replace
the Land Rovers.

ZRP spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena last week said the
purchase of new vehicles had nothing to do with sanctions.

"The phasing out has nothing to do with sanctions," said Bvudzijena, "In
fact the sanctions are coming when the Defenders are nearing the end of
their lifespan. Whether there are sanctions or not it won't dent our

"Just like what happened with the Santana, the Defender is being phased out
due to age. Our fleet is between three and five years old and we should
realise that the vehicles are operating 24 hours a day."

However, dealers who service Land Rover Defenders said the vehicle has an
average lifespan of 10 years. Many are in service much longer.

The Independent also heard that the army was struggling to service Acmat and
Steyr troop carriers purchased from France and Austria respectively. The
first delivery of the trucks was around 1998.

However, ZDF spokesperson Col Ben Ncube disputed that sanctions were
affecting the armed forces.

"The Hawks were affected way back when we were in the Democratic Republic of
Congo," said Ncube. "It has nothing to do with the sanctions. It is not even
a new issue to Zimbabweans. How is that news?"

Ncube said the current fleet of troop carriers purchased from Europe was
still operational.

"All we can say is that the Steyr and Acmat are still functioning and we are
happy with them," said Ncube.

Asked whether sanctions had affected the ZDF in any way, he declined to
comment saying it was not a public issue.

The ZDF has also resolved to phase out British-manufactured minor
accessories such as radios and photographic equipment.

So far ZDF has acquired a new fleet of Mazda T35 three-tonne trucks from
Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries. Ncube however said these were not
replacements for military vehicles.

"The T35s are not a replacement of the current fleet, they are just an
administrative vehicle. They are certainly not for carrying troops," he

An official at Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries confirmed that the police
and the army had acquired a number of Mazda B1800 (LWB) vehicles. Since
November last year government orders accounted for about 38% of Willowvale's
vehicle sales, said the official.

Police currently have about 1 500 vehicles but need more than 7 000 to
operate efficiently.

Military sources this week said Zimbabwe used to get helicopter spare parts
from Italy. The EU slapped Zimbabwe with an arms embargo in 2002. The
sanctions effectively prevented Zimbabwe from receiving any military aid
from EU countries.

In December the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home
Affairs after its tour of defence installations and barracks around the
country concluded that Zimbabwe needed to look elsewhere for military

The report exposed the effects of the sanctions on functions of
European-made aircraft, vehicles and ammunition. The committee, under

the chairmanship of Zanu PF Mt Darwin MP Saviour Kasukuwere, admitted in its
report that sanctions had adversely affected the security forces.

The report "noted the need for the Airforce of Zimbabwe to engage dependable
suppliers of equipment in the face of crippling sanctions by erstwhile
suppliers like the United Kingdom which has seen a number of aircraft
grounded due to lack of spares," Kasukuwere told parliament last month.

As a follow-up to the report, Kasukuwere together with MDC Mutare MP Jairos
Mutsekwa of the same committee visited China on a sponsored trip to learn
about the country's military industry.

The three-member delegation was in China for five days. Kasukuwere said in
his report to parliament the tour "highlighted the kind of technology that
Zimbabwe could import for the use of defence forces".

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Zim Independent

More Mugabe cronies put on EU travel list
Dumisani Muleya
THE European Union (EU) has included a number of prominent Zimbabwean
officials regarded as associates of President Robert Mugabe's regime on its
revised list of those subject to its travel ban. The move comes ahead of its
key foreign ministers meeting in Brussels next week.

Diplomatic sources said this week names on the extended list of persons
banned from entering the 15-member bloc's territory are - barring
last-minute changes - likely to include Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede,
Electoral Supervisory Commission chair Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, new Zimbabwe
Liberation War Veterans Association chair Jabulani Sibanda, and Media and
Information Commission chair Tafataona Mahoso.

Provincial governors who were previously omitted would now be included on
the list which has grown from 72 to 90 people. The list includes Mugabe and
his wife Grace, ministers, deputy ministers, politburo members of the ruling
Zanu PF, and security chiefs.

Also included are Information department permanent secretary George
Charamba, secretary to the president and cabinet Misheck Sibanda and his
predecessor Charles Utete, and Special Affairs senior secretary Willard

Sources said the list would be revisited again following the cabinet
reshuffle this week.

"The new list has four new prominent people in their personal capacities and
governors who were previously not included," a source said. "It will be
revised again because of the cabinet reshuffle. Those who have died will be
taken off, while former ministers will remain banned from the EU."

The sources said the secretariat of the European Commission was currently
working on the list on advice from EU heads of mission based in Harare. They
said the EU could not include business executives on its list, as the
Americans have done, "because it is difficult to classify businessmen in
terms of their political affiliation".

The EU imposed travel sanctions on Mugabe's regime in February 2002 due to
repression and human rights abuses associated with elections and the chaotic
land reform programme.

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Zim Independent

Inflation breaches 620% mark
Staff Writers
ZIMBABWE'S inflation this week broke the 620% barrier surging from 598% to
622,8%. Effectively inflation has gained 24,1 percentage points in the last
30 days.

The latest development comes hard on the heels of the firming of the US
dollar on the auction floors yesterday.

The inflation figure for the month of January released yesterday suggests
that the euphoria surrounding the "drop" for December was nothing more than
a statistical aberration, more so given the fact that the impact of monetary
or fiscal policy on an economy is never instant but gradual, something which
the governor of the Reserve Bank concurred with this week.

Year-on--year inflation increased by 24,1 percentage points to 622,8% which
is a new record high.

Food inflation gained 30,1 percentage points on the December 2003 figure to
665,7% while non-food or core inflation gained 20,9 percentage points to

Yesterday, the greenback firmed against the Zimbabwe dollar, closing the day
on US$1 to $3 775,63, up from $3 581.

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Zim Independent

Gono puts damper on Zim's economic recovery claims
Shakeman Mugari
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono has poured cold water on
sensational claims by government and state media that his monetary policy,
barely two months old, has turned the economy around.

Addressing delegates to a monetary policy seminar hosted by the Institute of
Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe on Tuesday, Gono said monetary policy
could not be credited for the slight drop in the galloping inflation rate.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," he said. "We still believe
inflation will go above 600% but should come down from March."

He was referring to the growing claims in government circles and the state
media that the policy presented in December had already produced results on
the inflation front.

"Do not give us credit when we do not deserve it," said Gono. "What we have
achieved so far, I have not done it alone but through everyone's input."

Gono said the Reserve Bank expects inflation to rise above 600% but to start
coming down from March. The inflation figure for December dropped to 598%
from 620% in November. The state media immediately went into a frenzy
heaping praise on both the government and the central bank governor. But
this week the reputable banker said he would not take credit yet for the
limited signs of recovery seen in the last few weeks.

"The sooner we regard this as a national blueprint and not a Gono blueprint
the better," he said. "I take full responsibility for any negative impact
but the credit should go to the rightful people," he said. - (See

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Zim Independent

Harare to hike water charges despite USAid grant
Augustine Mukaro
HARARE City Council still wants to hike its water charges by an average 4
000% despite receiving US$200 000 from the United States government through
USAid for the purchase of water treatment chemicals.

UNDP documents seen by the Zimbabwe Independent show the money was passed to
the local authority through the United Nations Development Programme office
in Harare at the end of December.

"The money was administered by UNDP, who have facilitated purchase of liquid
aluminum sulphate from Zimphos," a UN humanitarian situation report for
January said.

"UNDP signed a contract with Zimphos to supply City of Harare with 1 462
tonnes of chemicals commencing December 29, 2003," the report said.

By January 5 this year council had received 1 162 tonnes of chemicals while
the last consignment was delivered two weeks later.

"The grant means that council is now saving about $150 million a day which
would have been drawn from the budget towards the purchase of the
chemicals," it said.

Harare now requires not less than 120 milligrams of aluminium sulphate to
treat a litre of water because of high levels of pollution in its main

Despite the USAid grant council has proceeded to submit its $1,3 trillion
budget for approval to Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo without
taking the new development into consideration.

The budget would be financed by hiking of rates by an average 1 500% in all
services provided by the council.

According to the budget proposal, by October this year water rates for
domestic use would rise by 4 100%, fixed charges by 7 000% while water to
satellite towns would go up by 8 877%.

Harare residents are demanding the suspension of the council's 2004 budget
proposals to allow the review of the figures in line with economic
constraints and stakeholder inputs as well as donor intervention.

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), the umbrella body
representing the residents association in the capital want the Harare City
budget for 2004 to be suspended because it was a result of an unacceptable
process that did not seek comprehensive input from the residents.

Suspended mayor Elias Mudzuri has supported CHRA in its stand.

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Zim Independent

Zim to set up negotiating commission for talks
Vincent Kahiya
THE Zimbabwe government should develop an institutional framework to
administer a negotiated settlement between feuding political parties in the
country, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.

The framework of the envisaged commission would be along the same lines as
South Africa's Codesa and would be responsible for setting out the agenda
for the talks, deciding on the process and directing the course of

Codesa negotiations among the key South African parties took place from 1991
to 1993 in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, and drafted the transition from
apartheid to all party elections in 1994.

In an interview with the South African press this week, South African
Foreign Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said her government was
waiting for Zimbabwe to set up the commission.

Formal talks between the Zimbabwe government and the MDC, she said, will
only take place after the commission was set up and informal talks had been
completed. Zuma did not speculate on when this would happen. This is the
first reference made to the commission.

South African President Thabo Mbeki last Sunday said the government of
Zimbabwe and the opposition had agreed on an agenda for negotiations geared
toward holding parliamentary elections.

However, both Zanu PF and the MDC this week said they knew nothing about the
formation of the commission.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube on Tuesday said his party was not aware
of the commission.

"I have not the slightest idea what this is about," said Ncube. "The only
thing I know is that we are waiting for Zanu PF to come to the negotiating

Zanu PF secretary for Information and Publicity Dr Nathan Shamuyarira on
Wednesday also said he was not aware of the formation of the commission.

"We do not know where that is coming from," said Shamuyarira. When told that
Zuma had made the reference in a press report this week, Shamuyarira said:
"You can give her (Zuma) a call and they can give you the details".

South African Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa in a telephone
interview on Wednesday however said his government stood by the assertion
that the parties were talking.

"The minister (Zuma) was reiterating what the president (Mbeki) said - that
both parties had agreed to a transition into formal talks," said Mamoepa.

"We stand by the minister's statement and that of our president. You will
remembers that last year they denied that they were talking until the
president (Mbeki) visited (Harare) in December," he said. - additional
reporting by Sapa.

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Zim Independent

Kondozi workers seek chief's help
Augustine Mukaro/Godfrey Marawanyika
WORKERS at the Export Processing Zone-registered firm Kondozi farm in Odzi
last week sought the help of Chief Marange in its dispute with Agriculture
minister Joseph Made.

Made had used Agricultural Rural Development Authority officials and Zanu PF
youths to invade the farm prompting the workers to seek the chief's
intervention for the farm to be spared acquisition.

Although the workers met with the chief, he could not provide an immediate
solution to the problem which has bedevilled the project since mid last

Despite an initial High Court ruling which barred the continued disruption
of farming activities and attempts to grab equipment at the farm, the
government has continued to seek possession of the project.

Edwin Moyo, the major shareholder, confirmed that the workers had met Chief
Marange to seek assistance.

"The workers went and met the chief some time last week," Moyo said

"I would need to check with guys in Odzi on what was the progress of their

Moyo had not yet clarified the outcome of the meeting with the chief this
week as he later flew out of the country.

However, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week that although the chief
had met with the workers he had since referred them to the region's District
Administrator for arbitration.

On Christmas Eve last year Made led Arda boss Joseph Matowanyika and
minister Chris Mushowe together with Zanu PF youths in an occupation of

Kondozi exports fresh vegetables and flowers to Europe and South Africa.

Meanwhile Sheni Chimbarara, a farm worker at Charleswood Estate in
Chimanimani, was shot dead by soldiers on Sunday night according to the
estate's manager. Another worker John Kaitano was also shot and injured the
same day.

Charleswood Estate is owned by MDC MP for Chimanimani, Roy Bennett.

According to James Mukwaya, Charleswood Estate operations manager, the
deceased was not killed as he tried to disarm a soldier as reported in the
official media, but was shot from an estimated 40-metre distance.

"There was no contact whatsoever between Chimbarara and the soldier who shot
him," Mukwaya said.

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Zim Independent

MDC squabbles over Zengeza
Itai Dzamara
A STORM is brewing in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) following an
attempt to impose a candidate for a pending by-election in Zengeza without
having primary elections.

Four members had submitted their names for the right to contest on the MDC
ticket but the Zengeza executive has been attempting to impose one
candidate. Women and youth league members in the constituency, who are
backing the other three candidates, have expressed dissatisfaction.

The Zengeza seat became vacant following the absence of MDC MP Tafadzwa
Musekiwa who went into self-exile in 2002.

The byelection is set for the end of next month and is likely to be a
gruelling battle between the MDC and Zanu PF. Zanu Ndonga, which has
promised to field a candidate has limited chances.

MDC Zengeza district chairman, Stanford Mashumba in letters to MDC national
chairman Isaac Matongo said the district committee favoured the candidacy of
James Makore. Mashumba said the others, Charlton Hwende, Lloyd Damba and
Goodrich Chambaira, were not eligible to stand as party candidates.

Matongo on Wednesday reacted angrily to questions by this paper. "Ask

the spokesman of the party (Paul) Themba Nyathi about the candidate,"
Matongo said. "How did you get those letters? Ask those who gave you the
letters which were addressed to me. They must be the ones with the answers,
I don't have the answers."

MDC spokesman Themba Nyathi retorted: "I propose that you ask the head of
the election directorate. I haven't kept myself abreast on that issue."

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Zim Independent

Anglo's bid to save plantations fails
Staff Writer
ANGLO American Corporation's attempt to save its sugar plantations in the
South-Eastern Lowveld has suffered a setback following government's refusal
to reverse the compulsory acquisition of the estates.

Parliament recently passed the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill which
empowered the government to acquire for resettlement plantations, forests
and land protected under government-to-government agreements.

Last week the Independent learnt that the government which has been in talks
with Anglo had refused to back down on its decision.

"It looks like the government has already made up its mind on the two
estates because people have already started to be resettled there," said an
agronomist in the area.

In written responses to the Independent last week Anglo-Zimbabwe spokesman
Ezra Kanganga confirmed the designation of Hippo Valley and Mkwasine.

"Hippo Valley and Mkwasine estates have been designated and formal and legal
objections have been lodged with the appropriate authorities," said
Kanganga. "Hippo management is in discussion with local land committee
officials. As we await clarity on the issue from the government of Zimbabwe,
we have no further comment to make."

The government threatened to seize the plantation in 2000 but the company
won a reprieve. The amendment of the Land Act and the subsequent repealing
of the Hippo Valley Act has put paid to any chances of salvaging the
billion-dollar properties from ruin.

It is understood that demarcation of the estates into small 20/26 hectare
plots has already started and new landowners, mainly members of the army,
have already moved in.

In some instances the new settlers have taken over mature sugarcane which
has been delivered to mills at Hippo Valley and Triangle.

Experts have said the estates with sophisticated gravity irrigation systems
were designed to operate as large-scale irrigation systems.

"The simple fact is that the estates were designed to be operated as
large-scale units and require a vast array of agricultural, engineering and
administrative expertise to work at all, let alone efficiently," said a
former manager at one of the estates.

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Zim Independent

6 ministries already in budget troubles
Shakeman Mugari/Blessing Zulu
LESS than two months into the year, six ministries are already in trouble
after they exhausted their budget allocations, the Zimbabwe Independent head
this week.

Last Thursday, a number of cabinet ministers were reportedly involved in a
marathon budget meeting where they are understood to have discussed the
plight of ministries that had overshot their budget votes.

The situation has been compounded by the introduction of three more
portfolios that were unbudgeted for by then minister of Finance and Economic
Development, Herbert Murerwa. The ministers of state for Policy
Implementation (Webster Shamu) and Indigenisation and Empowerment (Josiah
Tungamirai) come into offices without budgets.

Also unaccounted for is the new portfolio of Anti-Corruption and
Anti-Monopolies (Didymus Mutasa).

The new department heads will require a fully-fledged office, personnel and
the usual expensive cars.

Ministries in dire straits include Health, Labour, Defence, Home Affairs and
Education. The ministry of Youth, Gender and Employment Creation has also
exceeded its budget allocation for this year. The six ministries, which are
central to government operations, are understood to have applied to the
Finance ministry for more funds to supplement their empty coffers.

The Ministry of Labour is the most seriously affected with revelations this
week that July Moyo's former ministry was sinking into debt. The ministry is
faced with a massive wage bill. In his budget presentation last year,
Murerwa allocated $3,18 trillion to the Public Service Commission, an amount
which sources say did not take into account the January windfall given to
civil servants.

The precarious situation has been aggravated by the fact that the civil
servants are demanding an additional 400% salary adjustment. The situation
has forced government to review its salaries for doctors. The Labour
ministry is understood to be making final touches to its supplementary
budget that they intend to present to government in the next three weeks.
The Youth ministry, used to train the notorious green bombers, has been hit
by desertions due to food shortages in the camps.

The sharp increase in the cost of drugs has seen the Health ministry
struggling to acquire essential supplies. In a bid to retain staff the
Health and Education Ministries have been forced to increase salaries and
allowances to staff thereby overshooting their budgets. The Home Affairs
ministry has reportedly gone on a spending spree acquiring more vehicles.
According to sources the new fleet of vehicles is unbudgeted for.

Most of these ministries were already in arrears when the budget was
announced last year. Analysts predict that another trillion-dollar
supplementary budget is likely to be announced before June. This flies in
the face of Murerwa's demand that ministries should live within their means
in the current fiscal year.

"Unbudgeted expenditures will only be restricted to national emergencies.
Ministries will be expected to live within their budget provisions," said
Murerwa in the budget statement.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono also made clear in his policy
statement that the central bank would not tolerate excessive expenditure by
government ministries. He said fiscal discipline is important in the fight
against inflation. The upcoming supplementary budget would exacerbate the
budget deficit as government goes on a borrowing spree to quench its
increasing thirst for funds.

Zimbabwe's domestic debt stood at $574,5 billion and is threatening to
increase further if the government bulges to accommodate new ministries.

The Independent could not obtain a comment from Murerwa who referred the
paper to his successor Christopher Kuruneri.

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Zim Independent

UZ sued for $170 million
Blessing Zulu
THE University of Zimbabwe (UZ) is being sued for $170 million for the
"unilateral and unlawful" cancellation of a contract for the repair of halls
of residence.

Twinstock Construction (Pvt) Ltd, the company that had been contracted by
the UZ in October last year through their lawyers Gutu & Chikowore, filed
papers in the High Court recently challenging the cancellation of the
contract. The company is claiming $170 million from the UZ for damages
suffered as a result of the cancellation.

It said it won a tender to renovate eight halls of residence at the UZ
campus. The award was as follows: Swinton Hall $26 million, Manfred Hodson
Hall $46 million, Complex I $20 million, Complex II $20 million, Complex III
$20 million, Complex IV $22 million, Carr Saunders Hall $20 million, and New
Hall $7 million.

The company said after the tender was awarded the Director of Works and
Estates at the UZ requested that it purchase all the required materials to
ensure the contract price did not shoot up due to inflation. The company in
its summons said it purchased materials worth $118 million and commenced the
renovation work. UZ is said to have paid only $15 million for the purchase
of materials and not the full amount of $185 million, which could have been
paid if the company had completed its work.

The court papers said UZ vice chancellor, Professor Levy Nyagura then
terminated the contract saying the company's "renovation work was grossly
sub-standard in terms of quality". Nyagura also said the director of works
and estates had acted outside his mandate by authorising the purchase of

The UZ through its lawyers, Ziumbe & Mutambanengwe, has notified the court
that it will defend its case.

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Zim Independent

Makamba's fate uncertain
Staff Writer
THE fate of Zanu PF stalwart James Makamba who was arrested on Monday on
charges of externalising forex remained unclear last night as neither the
police nor his lawyer could shed light on his predicament.

The businessman who is a major shareholder in cellphone company Telecel was
arrested on charges of "externalising foreign currency" and he has since
then not appeared in court.

His lawyer, Thakor Kewada of Scanlen & Holderness, yesterday at first could
not provide details of Makamba's case. He could only say: "I have been in
meetings all day, I think I can only make a statement tomorrow."

When he was first arrested Makamba was taken to Goromonzi police station.

But late yesterday evening Kewada told the Independent that Makamba was at
Harare Central. He would only say he was speaking to police there.

Police spokesman Assistant Commission Wayne Bvudzijena last night could also
not shed light on Makamba.

"All I can say is that we are still carrying out our investigations and Mr
Makamba is assisting us," said Bvudzijena.

Asked whether Makamba was in police custody or not, Bvudzijena said: "I do
not have that information."

Makamba, a former MP, is the second high-profile business and political
figure to be arrested following a policy decision by new Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono to rid the financial sector of corruption and stem the
decline of the dollar.

Chinhoyi legislator and businessman Philip Chiyangwa has been drawn into the
US$66 million ENG Capital Asset Management scandal after allegedly
attempting to obstruct the course of justice by withholding evidence.

President Robert Mugabe warned Makamba last month after he built a
supermarket on a farm in the Mazowe area without a council permit and other
relevant papers that he should follow procedures.

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Zim Independent

Media/civic groups criticise court ruling
Dumisani Muleya/ Blessing Zulu
MEDIA organisations and civic groups have reacted strongly to the Supreme
Court's controversial ruling upholding the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act which carries severe criminal sanctions against
journalists working without being accredited by the government-appointed
Media and Information Commission.

The New York-based Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) said
the ruling would further narrow down the frontiers of press freedom and
restrict independent journalists.

"This is a heavy blow to press freedom in Zimbabwe and sends a chilling
message to the country's independent journalists," CPJ executive director
Ann Cooper said.

University of Zimbabwe law lecturer Lovemore Madhuku said the ruling was
"patently wrong".

"The judgement was patently wrong as a matter of law," Madhuku said.

"Instead of defending freedom, the judges leaned on the side of oppression."

The General Council of the Bar of South Africa said the judgement was a
double blow to justice and press freedom."This latest assault on freedom of
expression in Zimbabwe is all the more disconcerting for it being
perpetrated in a judgement written by the Chief Justice of that country,"
the council said. "The judgement is not only a blow to freedom of
expression, but also to the independence of the judiciary, and is to be
doubly deprecated."

The bar council urged civil rights groups within and outside Zimbabwe and
all voluntary associations of lawyers to vigorously oppose the ruling by all
reasonable means.

The South African National Editors Forum said the judgement not only
contravened the freedom of expression principle in Zimbabwe's constitution
but also protocols on press freedom adopted by the Southern African
Development Community and the African Union.

However, South African Foreign Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on
Monday said there was nothing wrong with Zimbabwe's media laws.

"I don't see how that (ruling) would in itself translate to control of the
media, unless we could say how the government has refused a legal
application," she said.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an alliance of civic groups, also slammed the

It said the problem with the legislation was not only that it was
unconstitutional "but was being selectively applied against independent

"The press law has created two media worlds in Zimbabwe," it said. "One
world is that of the independent media which are continuously arraigned
before the courts on trumped-up charges and the other world of the public
media that is yet to feel the bite of the same law."

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Zim Independent

Nhema faces legal challenge
Loughty Dube
A SAFARI operator from the prime hunting and photographic concessions in
Matabeleland North has threatened to take Environment and Tourism minister
Francis Nhema to court over the allocation of a hunting concession to a new
farmer without going to tender.

The lawsuit follows allegations that Nhema granted concessions in Parks and
Wildlife areas around Deka, Gwayi Valley, Hwange, Victoria Falls and Binga
to Zanu PF officials.

The safari operator, Headman Sibanda of Nyala Safaris in the Deka Safari
area, wants the award of the concession to Mabel Dete of Asitroc Investments
reversed and the whole process done through an open tender system.

Sibanda, through his lawyers Coghlan, Welsh & Guest, has already written to
Minister Nhema on the matter.

"We are instructed that Treasury Regulations were flouted when Asitroc
Investments was granted the concession as it was never put to tender. In the
circumstances our client challenges the validity of the contract and should
you be unable to agree with us on that point we have instructions to bring
an application to court," reads the letter to Nhema from the lawyers.

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Zim Independent

      Mahoso gets muscle to lean on media

      Dumisani Muleya

      THE Supreme Court ruling which last week upheld provisions of the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) will have a
chilling effect on journalism as it criminalises the practice of the
profession by those not accredited by the Media and Information Commission
whose members are appointed by Information minister Jonathan Moyo.

      Media groups said the judgement, which immediately forced the
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of the Daily News and
Daily News on Sunday, to indefinitely suspend operations last Friday, will
“chill to the marrow” Zimbabwe’s embattled independent journalists.

      Analysts said Zimbabwe’s private press, currently under political
siege, now faces a further risk as the ripple effects of the court ruling
wave through the increasingly hazardous media landscape.

      They criticised Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s ruling, saying it
would effectively consolidate media tyranny, which is growing at an alarming

      Since Aippa was enacted in March 2002, scores of independent
journalists have been arrested and detained for allegedly “abusing
journalistic privilege” — an offence which has now been found to be
blatantly unconstitutional — while their government counterparts have been
allowed to get away scot-free even though they are perhaps the biggest
offenders under the draconian law.

      Chidyausiku’s ruling upheld sections 79, 83, and 85 of Aippa, which
from the start loomed as a lethal weapon designed to attack private media
journalists for exposing government incompetence and corruption. The media
has also been at the forefront of exposing government’s failure to properly
run the economy and Zimbabwe’s chronic political repression.

      Analysts say there could be no doubt that the independent press is a
great inconvenience to the incumbent regime’s blossoming career in material
self-aggrandisement and ruling by all means necessary, including through the
use of coercion.

      Section 79 of the law makes it mandatory for journalists to accredit
with the government-appointed MIC headed by Tafataona Mahoso; Section 83
outlaws the practice of journalism without a licence, while Section 85
provides for the punishment of journalists deemed to have breached any
section of Aippa.

      Section 85 provides for the drafting of a Code of Conduct for
journalists by the MIC in consultation with interested parties. It also
confers disciplinary powers on the MIC and provides guidelines on sanctions
for misconduct.

      Chidyausiku, whose judgement on September 11 last year led to closure
of the Daily News, ruled that the contested provisions of media legislation
were constitutional as they were intended to maintain “public order”.

      While conceding that Section 20 (1) of the constitution, which
protects freedom of expression, also subsumes freedom of the press,
Chidyausiku ruled that the licensing of the media was constitutional because
it fell under permissible derogation of the conferred right in the same

      “The authorities clearly establish that licensing of the media fall
under the exception of public order,” Chidyausiku said. “I find myself in
agreement with the proposition that a law providing for the licensing of the
media falls under the exception of a law providing for public order.”

      However, in a strong dissenting judgement, Zimbabwe’s longest-serving
Supreme Court judge, Justice Wilson Sandura, said “it is clear beyond doubt
that the legislative objective given for the enactment (purportedly to make
journalists accountable) is not sufficiently important to justify limiting
the fundamental right to freedom of expression”.

      Sandura said he could not see “any rational connection” between the
need for a journalist to register and Moyo’s claimed objective of making
journalists accountable.

      “In his opposing affidavit the first respondent (Moyo) does not say
how the two are connected,” he said. In other words Sandura said he does not
see how compulsory accreditation would make a journalist accountable.

      However, Chidyausiku argued that the provision was “rationally
connected” to the objective of the legislation.

      In answering the question whether the means used to limit the freedom
of expression were the least drastic, Chidyausiku said he was satisfied with
the method because Section 79 “is essentially an enabling provision”.

      But Sandura said: “There can be no doubt that the answer to that
question is a negative one because the provisions of common law and criminal
law adequately make a journalist accountable for his actions.”

      He said the provisions of Section 79 are “not reasonably justifiable
in a democratic society”.

      Chidyausiku said the issue of accreditation could not be considered
restrictive because Section 20 of the constitution “does not, expressly or
implicitly, prohibit preventive restriction”. He said although freedom of
expression is protected in the constitution, the exercise of that right was
not expressly guaranteed “through any means of one’s choice”.

      “I see nothing in the language of Section 20 (1) that suggests that
legislature intend to confer on an individual a constitutional entitlement
to work as a journalist,” he said.

      Sandura said accreditation was restrictive because it was not a “mere
formality” as it required the approval of Moyo — who has the final say in
the matter.

      University of Zimbabwe constitutional lawyer Dr Lovemore Madhuku said
Chidyausiku’s argument was “nonsensical” because “freedom would have no
meaning if it did not relate to the freedom of choice as to the medium to be
used to exercise that right”.

      “The constitution assumes you can use any means to enjoy freedom of
expression. Although the term journalist is not used in the constitutional
section on freedom of expression it is certainly implied through use of
words like ‘the right to receive and impart information’,” he said.
“Chidyausiku has no argument on that issue.”

      On Section 80 (1) (a) and (b) which provided that a journalist who
falsifies or fabricates information and publishes falsehoods is guilty of a
criminal offence, Chidyausiku said the provisions were unconstitutional
because they “create strict criminal liability and are so broad in their

      “Criminalising such conduct has a chilling and intimidating effect on
journalists,” he said, adding the issue of journalists freelancing without
their employers’ permission could not be made a criminal offence.

      On the issue of punishing journalists for an alleged “abuse of
journalistic privilege”, Chidyausiku said this was plainly unlawful because
“freedom of the press is a constitutionally guaranteed right and not a

      Sandura agreed with Chidyausiku on these issues but added the
provisions dealing with “falsehoods” were unconstitutional “simply because
the publication of false statements is protected in Section 20 (1) of the

      Quoting from another judgement, Sandura said thus “a law which forbids
expression of a minority or ‘false’ view on the pain of prosecution or
imprisonment, on its face, offends the very purpose of the guarantee of free

      On Section 83 which deals with criminalising the practice of
journalism without accreditation, Chidyausiku said it was constitutional as
it was meant to maintain “public order”. Sandura said it was not because it
contravened the freedom of expression provision in the constitution.

      While Chidyausiku upheld the MIC’s powers to punish journalists for
violating its Code of Conduct — which has yet to be produced — and
contravening any part of Aippa, Sandura said this was wrong because
journalists could in certain circumstances be punished for exercising their
legitimate rights under the constitution.

      Although Chidyausiku’s ruling provides the official lawful position on
the issues at contest, public debate on the merits of the case is likely to

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Zim Independent


‘Public Order’ becoming an end in itself

“IT is vital and indeed critical to the proper functioning of the press that
the legal framework should ensure and enhance the independence of the press
from both governmental and commercial control… Enactments that unduly
undermine the independence of the press will not pass the laid down test for
the constitutionality of such enactments.”
These words came from Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice in his recent judgement on
the constitutional case lodged in July 2002 by the Independent Journalists
Association of Zimbabwe challenging the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act.
Does his judgement meet this test?
With the agreement of three colleagues he has approved a law giving a
commission chosen by a minister enormous control over the press. They
approved powers letting it decide who may work in the media and who may not.
It has the power also to “discipline” journalists and revoke their right to
speak out.
The Supreme Court majority chose to see it as an independent body. But is
In Zimbabwe a minister given any power to appoint someone is also given the
power to remove or suspend him, to replace him or act instead of him, and
not just to fix or vary his remuneration but to withhold it in whole or in
part during any time he suspends him.
Such terms and conditions are automatically written into any appointment by
a minister. Those still accepting such appointments implicitly agree to be
put on a leash. What the independent journalists objected to was being told
to put themselves on a leash too, or to abandon their right to impart ideas
and information to the general public without interference.
The guardians of our constitutional liberties invoked Ian Smith’s old mantra
of “public order” to restrict fundamental — and on their own admission —
essential rights.
Smith and his colleagues used these for years to defend an illegal minority
regime. Make a law; then say everyone must obey it or we’ll have a breakdown
of law and order. The mere existence of the law finally justifies itself.
That of course was also what the Supreme Court said last September 11 when
it told ANZ to obey whatever law had been published before they would hear
their argument on whether it was constitutional, because otherwise the court
would be tolerating “lawlessness”.
“Public order” appears also in our current constitution as a reason to strip
people of their property, of their protection of person and property from
arbitrary search or entry, their freedom of conscience and their freedoms of
assembly, association, and movement. In a totalitarian state “Public Order”
becomes an end in itself.
As Judge Sandura noted, it must be a democratic public order; but after
invoking the mantras of law and order, the Chief Justice stopped there. He
did not consider in total whether the infringements were reasonably
justifiable in a democratic society, although the constitution does not
allow infringements on grounds of   “order” unless they can also pass that
particular test.
He followed instead another route, finding that as the journalists had not
objected to the existence of a commission or any code of conduct written by
it, they had “tacitly” accepted others regulating their conduct through
those means, and accepted that it was constitutionally permissible to
regulate the press.
Was there room for finding such “tacit concessions”? It was their express
open  rejection of such controls which had brought the journalists before
the court, asking it to remove the teeth by which they could be hurt.
If those teeth were to be removed, they could have no objection to the
animal itself remaining. It would become irrelevant to them. The journalists
did not object to all existence of any such mechanisms — only to being
compelled to submit to them. The court could not have failed to appreciate
As Sandura noted, the State’s suggestion that these controls were there to
“help” journalists could never provide a reason to force them to accept
Justice Sandura referred to freedom of expression as a cornerstone on which
the very existence of a democratic society rests, and refused to condone
this law’s interference with that.  Regrettably the majority of the judges
on the bench decided otherwise.
In the week since then, Minister Moyo’s watchdogs have confirmed Sandura’s
warning: “The compulsory accreditation of journalists in terms of Section 79
is not a mere formality. It was obviously intended to exclude some persons
from practising as journalists.”
Courts have often recognised that freedom of expression is protective of all
other rights.  When people are tortured or killed, or when judges are taken
away in the middle of the night, it is the free press, the independent
press, that is often their best friend or their families’ best hope for
securing help or justice.
We should remember that as our liberties are stripped away one by one.

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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Zimbabwe: a land of plenty
IN many statements by the then newly-appointed Prime Minister of Zimbabwe,
Robert Mugabe, in 1980 the populace were assured that the country would be
radically transformed.

 He assured the people that under his leadership and that of his political
colleagues Zimbabwe would become a land of plenty.

He and his minions have fulfilled their promises. None can credibly argue
that the Zimbabwe of 2004 is not a land of plenty. It is a land of plenty,
but of plenty of what? Most of all, Zimbabwe has plenty of poverty.

Of a resident population of approximately 12 million people, almost seven
and a half million will be without food this year unless they are provided
that food by the world’s generous donors who, despite their anathema for the
Zimbabwean government, are sympathetic to the plight of the people and,
driven by humanitarian concerns, are forthcoming with much food largesse.
Some food will probably also be supplied by the government, but it is so
bankrupt that its ability to fund food imports is greatly constrained.

Those same seven and a half million people are also without the wherewithal
for their other daily needs. They cannot live in even the slightest
semblance of comfort, cannot afford to obtain health care or educate their
children. They rely almost wholly upon the remarkable “extended family”
concept that so admirably prevails in Zimbabwe, whereby the few with
resources will, no matter how little those resources may be, strive to
support even the most distant of relatives. Zimbabwe is a land of plenty —
of poverty!

Zimbabwe is a land of plenty of unemployment. Almost four fifths of the
employable population are unemployed. Over 300 000 farm workers have been
deprived of attaining a livelihood, due solely to the foolhardy, bigoted,
unjust, racially-driven destruction of agriculture by an ill-conceived,
destructive programme of land “reform”, instead of one which could have been
equitable and constructive. Thousands of others have lost their employment
in industry and in commerce as a result of some enterprises being closed as
a consequence of governmental mismanagement of the economy, and of many
others having to contract and to “downsize” their labour forces in order to
survive. There are at least twice as many Zimbabweans working abroad than
there are Zimbabweans employed in their home country! Zimbabwe is a land of
plenty — of joblessness!

Zimbabwe is a land of plenty of shortages. It has a massive lack of
essential agricultural inputs, be they fertilisers and chemicals, seeds,
agricultural equipment, coal required in tobacco curing barns, or of any
other needs for viable agricultural production. The shortages of drugs and
medications, other health care requisites, and of operational equipment are
critical in almost all of Zimbabwe’s hospitals. Moreover, their ability to
serve the needs of an ever greater number of ill and frail (in many
instances due to malnutrition and inability to fund basic living standards
necessary for good health, and in numerous other instances due to Aids) is
worsened by a continuing loss of nurses, doctors and other health workers.
Unwilling to work without the necessary resources, and drastically
underpaid, there has been a vast relocation of nurses, doctors,
radiographers, physiotherapists and others essential to sound functioning of
hospitals and medical centres beyond Zimbabwe’s borders.

Zimbabwe has shortages of chemicals to treat water for human consumption. It
has shortages of funds required by local authorities to maintain roads,
street lighting, sewerage works, water distribution infrastructure, and all
else which they are responsible for in their cities and towns. Zimbabwe has
grievous shortages of effective, fully-operational telecommunications, the
collapsing infrastructure hindering commercial activity and necessary

Zimbabwe is a land of plenty of corruption. Dishonesty has become the order
of the day. Public and private sector officials unhesitatingly demand
blatant bribes to assure that contracts are awarded to those corrupt enough
to pay such bribes. Law enforcement officers allege crimes and offences
which have not been committed in order to receive unreceipted “spot fines”,
and unhesitatingly confiscate foreign currencies and imported goods without
lawful grounds.

Financial institutions, licenced and unlicenced, sprung up endlessly in
recent years, in many instances promoted by entrepreneurs devoid of skills,
capital or probity, skirting the periphery of fiscal laws, diverting funds
to own use, and engaging in unacceptable speculative activity. In many
instances they shielded behind politicians and other politically-influential
to avoid the constraints of law. Zimbabwe is a land of plenty — of

And Zimbabwe is a land with an abundance of crime. In recent years,
partially driven by poverty, partially by expertise gained by Zimbabweans in
South Africa, and partially by the pronounced ineffectiveness of Zimbabwean
law enforcement to contain criminality, the incidence of crime has been
increasing exponentially. Car-jackings are now an almost daily occurrence in
Harare and Bulawayo as are armed robberies, and house-breakings are numerous
and associated with intensifying violence. Not a single business can
credibly claim to be immune from pilferage and theft, misappropriation of
goods and equipment by employees, and from wide-scale white-collar fraud.
Zimbabwe is a land of plenty — of crime!

Zimbabwe has a myriad of cabinet ministers to govern it. It has more
ministers than the USA where a single city has as great a population than
all Zimbabwe. It has more ministers than the United Kingdom and more than
almost all other countries in the European Union, virtually all of which are
considerably greater in numbers of citizens than is Zimbabwe. And in
contrast to most, or at least many of the ministers of other countries, few
of Zimbabwe’s ministers demonstrate an ability to advance Zimbabwe and its
people. Instead, it has a Minister of Land, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement who has effectively destroyed most of agriculture and reduced
his country to beggar-status for food from others.

It has a Minister of Education who, ignoring the fact that his government
has afflicted the economy to an extent that inflation exceeds 600%,
castigates schools that increases fees to enable then to continue to educate
the country’s youth. Disregarding that none of the schools operate for
profit and for individual gain, but only to provide high standards of
education in lieu of those that he does not provide, he initiates
prosecutions and other measures which can only collapse the schools
(whereafter he will undoubtably take them over and ruin them or bring them
down to the lower standards which are characteristics of many governmental
schools). He also forces scholars to write Zimbabwean school-leaving
examinations, instead of those accorded international recognition.

And Zimbabwe has a Minister of Information who despises freedom of speech
and freedom of the press and does all he can to ensure absolute control
thereon by the state. He also has a remarkable knack of interpretation of
facts, events, statements and the like to cast his government in the most
favourable light and to blacken the image of others, and yet continuously
fails in those endeavours. Zimbabwe is a land of plenty — of ministers who
do not, or cannot, minister!

Yes, President Mugabe and those led by him have kept their promises. They
have turned Zimbabwe into a land of plenty! A land of plenty of poverty,
plenty of unemployment, plenty of shortages, plenty of corruption, plenty of
crime, plenty of inept government, plenty of stress, misery and economic and
other ills. And yet, Zimbabwe could be a land of plenty of much else,
instead of these undesired “plenties”.

It could be a land of plenty of wealth, of well-being for all its people, of
harmony and friendship with most nations, of democracy, of good governance,
of peace and national unity. Transformation of Zimbabwe to such a land of
plenty requires a transformation of political ideology, of political will,
of political and economic policy. Such transformation can be by change of
government, or by change in government. Either can turn Zimbabwe into a
genuine land of plenty, a land of plenty as implied by Robert Mugabe 24
years ago, in contradistinction to today’s land of plenty.
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Zim Independent


New wood or dead wood in Cabinet reshuffle?
“MUGABE reshuffles dead wood” should have been the Herald’s front-page story
on Tuesday. In comes delusional Didymus Mutasa as Minister of Special
Affairs in charge of the anti-corruption drive. Out goes one of the few
ministers with a grasp of how a modern economy works, Edward
Chindori-Chininga, and shuffled to a less important post is Herbert Murerwa
who at least understood what has to be done if Zimbabwe is to be readmitted
to the Bretton Woods lending system. Chindori-Chininga has also, as Mines
minister, been tackling illicit gold trading in the Midlands.

President Mugabe has appointed governors for Harare and Bulawayo so those
two cities which have decisively rejected Zanu PF at the polls will be
subject to the whims of unelected and unpopular rulers. They will of course
be furnished with offices, staff, and vehicles in addition to their

And what will Elliot Manyika be doing as Minister Without Portfolio? Is that
not a post designed to assist the ruling party’s electioneering? Curiously
Paul Mangwana does not seem to have been given the post of Attorney-General
which Nathaniel Manheru said last June he was “certain to land unless
something goes horribly wrong”, moving instead to Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare.

There is not even a hint of fresh air about the moves. Mutasa “bounces back”
, the Herald told us. Does it really think Mutasa is capable of “bouncing”
anywhere? And Christopher Mushowe, who warned that Zimbabwe’s enemies could
take advantage of cloud-seeding, has been rewarded with the Transport and
Communications ministry. What message will an ex-military Minister of
Indigenisation (Josiah Tungamirai) send to investors?

What the reshuffle tells us is that this is a hidebound party incapable of
reforming itself. The MDC’s Paul Themba Nyathi put it neatly: “For the
suffering people of Zimbabwe, the reshuffle isa non-event. The cabinet
continues to consist of ministers who have presided over the collapse of
ourhospitals, the collapse of our schools, and the collapse of our economy
and the erosion of ourdemocratic rights. The only thing they have been able
to deliver is a chronic shortage of jobs and food andthe acceleration of our
descent into poverty.”

Is there nobody at the Herald, by the way, who can go through the names
ensuring they are spelt the same way in the captions and box as in the copy!

So it’s now dog eat dog at Zimpapers is it? Or to change the metaphor, the
rats are gnawing at each other as officers aboard the ship of state squabble
over their divergent charts.

Last Saturday the Herald entertained us with yet another Philip Chiyangwa

“Chiyangwa faces fresh charges — Businessman accused of mishandling public
funds”, the government’s flagship paper declared.

But the next day it was a different story. “Chiyangwa not facing fresh
charges: Moyo.”

The Information minister was at his tongue-lashing best saying the story was
“not just false but …based on a falsehood bordering on either sponsored or
calculated mischief disguised to cause and spread political confusion in the
vain hope of derailing government’s determined, focused and unwavering war
against corruption and economic sabotage that has been taking place in the
financial sector”.

Phew! All that in one sentence? But what’s really going on here?

The police were said in the Herald story to be quizzing the Chinhoyi MP in
connection with the alleged mishandling of $36 million meant for public
works programmes in the Mash West capital. There was no case, the Sunday
Mail reported.

The Herald, normally seen as a pliant instrument of ministerial wishes,
appears to have stepped out of line in a big way. Philip Chiyangwa has been
the favourite whipping boy of the official media as it trumpets Gideon Gono’
s crackdown in the financial sector. The MP’s incarceration and public
humiliation were designed to show the state’s seriousness about all the
things it has been accused of not being serious about in the past. So what
explains this sudden contradiction?

“The use of the media to peddle political confusion will not be tolerated,”
Moyo admonished, “and those behind it will be held accountable.”

This is the sort of stuff normally reserved for our paper. But we can safely
conclude this is a family row. There is not much chance of the Herald’s
editor being carted off to jail for what looks like a simple miscalculation
on his part. But, given the Herald’s predilection for carrying stories with
bold headings about “fabrications” and “falsehoods” in the independent
press, a little schadenfreude may not be altogether out of place when the
biter is bit!

 Still on the subject of fabrications, we were surprised to see a story in
the Herald saying the Department of Information in the Office of the
President had complained to Associated Press about “a false and fabricated”
statement attributing to the minister remarks that he did not make in the
Ijaz case.

Moyo had not commented on the verdict of the Supreme Court in the
accreditation case last Thursday, the AP bureau chief Angus Shaw was told.

“We are thoroughly dismayed at the words attributed to Professor Moyo in
your AP story as published in the Guardian,” Shaw was told in a letter. “We
therefore demand that you effect urgently a retraction of the false and
fabricated statement attributed to the minister and advise us that such a
correction has been done.”

The offending article quoted Moyo as having said that while all other
professional groupings had their own independent self-appointed regulatory
bodies, “journalists now have the distinction of being placed under the
control of central government”.

Moyo did not say that. Nor did AP report him as having said that. The
Guardian, in editing the AP copy, was responsible for mixing up the
statements, a genuine error as another Moyo, Sternford Moyo who represented
Ijaz, was also quoted in the AP report. It was his statement that got
misaligned by the Guardian. We are only relieved Gugulethu Moyo didn’t come
into the story anywhere just to confuse things!

 But what is significant in all this is that although Shaw was able to show
that his report for AP made the correct attributions and that the fault for
the mix-up lay elsewhere, he was still accused of writing a “false and
fabricated” story.  The Guardian duly corrected its error.

 Then there was the story about the donkeys. The Herald reported last Friday
that the Combined Harare Ratepayers’ Association (CHRA) had dismissed MDC
councillors as “a bunch of donkeys” who should not be allowed a second term
owing to their incompetence.

“Harare MDC councillors donkeys, say residents,” the headline ran.

The remark it turns out came from one CHRA member, a Mr Fitzpatrick, who
started off in the Herald account as Mr Fitz Patrick and mutated to Mr Firtz
Patrick the following day when his remarks were condemned by councillors.
But the story had by that time been consigned to Page 13!

Should the Herald get away with publishing a front-page story comparing MDC
councillors to donkeys?

Can the editor of the Herald expect a letter from the MIC casting aspersions
upon the credentials of the paper and referring at length to the South
African Human Rights Commission findings? Somehow we doubt it!

 In our response to MIC chair Tafataona Mahoso last week, we said we also
subscribed to the UN declaration against racism, xenophobia, and other forms
of discrimination which Mahoso had cited.

“Obviously, you subscribe to the wrong thing since no such declaration
exists in the history of the UN,” an eagle-eyed Europe-based reader replied.

“Would you, by any chance, be referring to the United Nations Declaration on
the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of November 20 1963,
or the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination of March 7, 1966? Or might you be referring to the Durban
Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference against Racism,
Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, adopted at Durban
in September 2001?”

Um, er, dunno!

“ In my view”, our rigorous reader insists, “the only thing worse than
subscribing to a non-existent declaration is to want others to subscribe to
it as well.”


 Last week we pandered to the whims of the legion of anti-Bush readers out
there with some harsh new publications blasting the US presidential
incumbent. Now, we learn, John le Carré, arguably Britain’s foremost
novelist, smuggled this damning indictment into the mouth of one of his
characters in his latest book, Absolute Friends: “That war on Iraq was
illegitimate…It was a criminal and immoral conspiracy. No provocation, no
link with al-Qaeda, no weapons of Armageddon. Tales of complicity and Osama
were self-serving bulls..t. It was an old colonial war dressed up as a
crusade for Western life and liberty, and it was launched by a clique of
war-hungry Judaeo-Christian geo-political fantasists who hijacked the media
and exploited America’s post-Nine Eleven psychopathy.”

Now if only our own anti-American fulminators could write like that they may
be taken more seriously!

Having failed to get us into the Portuguese empire, Stan Mudenge now seems
to be knocking at the door of the Iranians. He was reported as tracing the
historical links between Zimbabwe and Iran at a one-day seminar in the
capital last week. The two countries shared a common background, he said.

Education, Sports and Culture minister Aeneas Chigwedere “took participants
down memory lane” explaining the origins of barter trade and mutual
cooperation between the two countries.

Iranian ambassador Hamid Moayyer spoke of Zimbabwe’s need to “look towards
the east and recognise their true friends”.

Iranians once had control over the Sofala gold fields, he claimed, before
the Portuguese arrived and took over. Iranians participated in the trade at
Great Zimbabwe, Moayyer reminded his audience. Chigwedere said descendents
of Moslems from Iran who still live in Zimbabwe include the Suleman
(Seremani) and Saidi people.

Muckraker wants to know what Zimbabwe is proposing to barter with Iran as we
revert to a medieval economy? There’s not much tobacco left. And the
Iranians have been insisting on cash up front for oil.

And does one-time Iranian control over Sofala provide a sufficient excuse
for latter-day Iranian ambitions now Zimbabwe lies prostrate? A quick call
to our old friend Bill Saidi as to what we can expect as subjects of the
mullahs might be timely!

By the way, how is Chigwedere coming along with all those school
name-changes? Having lost the battle for control of the Warriors he seems to
be harassing schools which are trying to stay in business as inflation eats
away at their foundations.

 In a scornful editorial last Friday, the Herald mocked Lovemore Madhuku
suggesting the NCA chairman led a group of 50 demonstrators in a bid for
“cheap martyrdom”.

On Page 4 of the same edition a report said: “More than 100 demonstrators of
the NCA who were arrested by police for an illegal demonstration on
Wednesday were released yesterday after paying admission of guilt fines”.

This casual approach to numbers reminds us of reports of the number of
people resettled!

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Zim Independent

RBZ caught in own blitz
Shakeman Mugari
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has been caught up in a web of its own
making after revelations this week that its wholly-owned subsidiary company,
Finance Trust of Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd (Fintrust) has been struck off the
companies' register after failing to pay the $30 000 statutory fee.

It also emerged this week that the RBZ company has been operating without
registration and a valid certificate of incorporation for the past month.

The company was then declared defunct by the Registrar of Companies in the
Government Gazette of January 16.

The firm appears among some 162 companies that were struck off the companies
register under Section 320 of the Companies Act (Chapter 24:03).

According to details from the Deeds Office, Fintrust was struck off after
"proper communication" between the central bank and the Registrar of

Fintrust was registered in 1987 as company number 167/87. The company was
set up to oversee investments on behalf of government.

It owns millions of shares in three listed companies - Tractive Power, Astra
Tractive and Cairns Holdings - where it owns stakes ranging from 60% to 67%.
Sources said Fintrust's deregistration meant the firm's billions worth of
investment in the listed companies was now illegal because it was an
unregistered entity.

An RBZ statement confirmed that the company was no longer registered.

"We are aware that the company was struck off the register of companies due
to failure to file statutory returns, and the necessary action has been
taken to restore it to the register of companies," the RBZ statement to
businessdigest said.

It said Fintrust was under the directorship of deputy governor Charles
Chikaura, director of finance and administration Peter Mujaya, director of
economic research Edward Mashiringwani and Prince Machaya, secretary to the
board and legal council.

The directors of the company were this week making frantic efforts to return
the company to the register after being alerted by questions from this

Section 320 of the Companies Act says that a company is deregistered when
there are reasonable grounds to indicate that it is defunct or when it fails
to pay annual returns to the office of the Companies Registrar.

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Zim Independent

Emcoz/ZCTU clash on collective bargaining
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) and the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU) have clashed over labour's demand of $500 000 a month as
the poverty datum line.

Labour also proposed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which employers
have shot down.

The CBA model seeks to harmonise collective bargaining standards in

The standards are to be used as a guiding document for unions during
collective bargaining.

However, employers feel that the CBA cannot be a conduct since it is a
bargaining position.

The ZCTU's position paper on collective bargaining says since the current
minimum wage of $98 000 is now lower than the relevant Poverty Datum Line
(PDL) of $325 450,53 it would be prudent to have the PDL above $500 000.

"If month-on-month inflation, which is calculated by the movement in the
Consumer Price Index, was to rise at a rate of 40% between November and
December 2003, the PDL would reach $357 735,05," ZCTU said.

"Adding a 50% increase in prices for January prices would give a PDL of $536
602,79. According to the basket of goods released by the Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe (CCZ), a family of six currently requires over $645 000 to purchase
basic commodities at the market prices."

For the first quarter of this year, the ZCTU says the workers' position was
to at least achieve the relevant PDL of $540 000 for January and to update
allowances accordingly that reflect reality.

"The figure is based on projections based on conservative CSO figures. What
this means therefore is that the minimum wage will be raised to the relevant
PDL for January, with the differentials worked out for the rest of the
grades," the ZCTU said.

"After the negotiations for the first quarter, the second quarter review
will have to be done before April focusing on wages and allowances. The
review will focus on the adjustments to match inflation."

Emcoz president Mike Bimha said the issues raised by the ZCTU were
unrealistic since Zimbabwe's economy was still limping, a trend which has
been worsened by soaring inflation.

"Labour's concerns to the employer which includes issues such as housing,
transport, accommodation and various other allowances which are not part of
the salary are not justified," said Bimha.

"Employers are not ready for that because the economy is not yet right. We
have problems such as inflation and foreign exchange shortages. But the
ZCTU's bargain agreement paper cannot be a proposal but a bargaining

Bimha said there were a number of instances in the "model" where the model
makes reference to a condition of employment as if "it is a minimum
condition as laid down in the Labour Relations Act when it is not,"

"This is regrettable and needs to be corrected without delay to preserve
good industrial relations," he said.

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Zim Independent

Furniture retailers shift to cash sales
Shakeman Mugari
AS the inflation rate continues on a high note, most furniture retail
companies now prefer cash sales as opposed to credit facilities.

Most of the established furniture companies have also increased their
interest charges on credit sales while others are now offering hire purchase
schemes during promotional periods.

Pelhams Ltd is one of the companies that are now focusing on cash sales.

Chief executive officer Dave Whatman said the company was offering credit
sales on promotional basis.

"We are still offering credit sales but at promotion periods. We are moving
more towards cash sales because of the prevailing inflationary situation in
the country," said Whatman. "Most companies have since removed the credit
scheme altogether. We still have it on our six-week promotion period and
after that we can review the situation."

He said the company had made it attractive for customers to opt for cash

Pelhams is charging an interest rate of 75% per annum, a figure Whatman said
was "not so lucrative in light of the high inflation rate".

Zimbabwe Furnitures is another company preferring cash as opposed to credit
on its furniture sales.

Managing director Percy Kadziyanike said although the group was still
offering credit facilities there was now a deliberate policy to encourage
cash sales. "Ours was a deliberate move to try and accommodate all
customers, and in this case the main target was the informal sector," said
Kadziyanike. "It was not necessitated by the inflation increase."

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Zim Independent


Herald editorial could qualify as a falsehood

THE self-righteous tone of the editorial in the Herald of February 11 is

This newspaper is the flagship of the governments publishing conglomerate,
Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Ltd. It falls under the Department of Information
and Publicity in the President's Office. The Minister of State in charge of
that department is Professor Jonathan Moyo, the architect of the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa).

The editor, apparently with a straight face, makes the following statement
on his papers reaction to Aippa:

"The Herald's editorial team has remained resolute in its principled
position on what it regards as the national interest. This is why we have
never made a fuss over the promulgation of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, as we viewed it as a necessary check to guard
against malicious media excesses that go beyond honest mistakes."

The editorial was prompted by what some might describe as a tiff between
Moyo and the editor over a story which followed the scandal at ENG,
involving Philip Chiyangwa, the MP and Zanu PF bigwig, recently a reluctant
resident of what has been called the government's Harare Hilton Hotel -
Harare central police station.

If there are still people out there who believe the editor of the Herald is
entitled to speak with thunderous self-righteousness of the principles of
journalism, then all some of us can say is that they thoroughly deserve each

I write as one who worked for Zimpapers for ten years and left of my own
accord. Every editor who worked for the group during that time chafed at the
relentless interference of government ministers and officials with their

The pretence that the editors were free to run their newspapers as they saw
fit was constantly being put to the test. Willie Musarurwa's ouster from the
editorship of the Sunday Mail in 1985 finally ended all speculation. The
venom with which he was attacked by the government seemed couched in
language designed to warn other like-minded editors that they too would be
given short shrift if they strayed from the gwara remusangano, which can be
liberally translated as the party path.

But Willowgate, the high-profile scandal unearthed by the Chronicle under
the editorship of Geoff Nyarota, provided the most potent evidence of the
government's intolerance of the Zimpapers editors' pretensions to autonomy.
Nyarota was virtually hounded out of Zimpapers. In many ways, he and other
editors to suffer a similar fate were persecuted for sticking to the
principles of journalism, the general one being that "comment is fair, but
facts are sacred".

Incidentally, the origin of the controversy which led to the exchanges
between Moyo and his editor is a powerful indictment of Aippa. Who can
define a "falsehood" accurately enough for it to lead to the conviction of a

Under our present, albeit defective, libel laws, "malicious intent" and
"public interest" are often cited to prove or disprove whether a crime has
been committed.

Under Aippa, nobody can be sure what really constitutes a "falsehood" crime.
From where I stand, the headline under the Herald editorial of February 11,
"We've nothing to fear from Aippa", could itself be cited as a falsehood.

Bill Saidi,


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Zim Independent


Patriotism is not blindness

THERE was an interesting letter in the Herald of January 26 entitled "All
Zimbabweans should be patriotic" by one Voice from Mbizo in Kwekwe.

I agree with the writer on the title, but unfortunately there our agreement
ends. Voice from Mbizo believes that patriotism should be shown through the
media and by not exposing the rot in our house. This friend of ours has
obviously been listening to too much of the Newshour stuff. He/she believes
that editors, particularly those in independent newspapers, should write
more about the gains we have made as a nation. Apparently our writer thinks
they do not.

My belief is he/she does not read independent newspapers. What he knows or
what they think they know about these papers, he/she got from Newshour.
Furthermore, it is clear that our writer has let the people at Pockets Hill
mislead him on the meaning of the word patriotism. I will take the patriotic
role to help!

Patriotism is love and devotion to one's country. It does not mean acting
defensive when you are messing up. It does not mean covering up. It does not
mean supporting a regime that is destroying the same nation you claim to
love. Those who love their country fight for it. They do not need to be
black or white, they need to be Zimbabweans.

Independent newspapers, contrary to what our friend from Mbizo thinks, are
not for outsiders. They are for Zimbabweans, and they are there to expose
the rot for Zimbabweans so that we may do something about our mess.

Being patriotic involves standing up for what is good - not for a small
group of aging politicians refusing to accept the logic of change, but for
the whole nation. Perhaps Mbizo would call Jonathan Moyo a patriotic man
because he says there is no crisis in Zimbabwe.

It is people like our friend Voice of Kwekwe who are the problem in this
country. You cannot solve a problem by using the same mindset you had when
you created it. We have to change from the mindset we had when we created
this monster called Zanu PF if we are to free our country from this mess.

This is not a black and white thing as some (including some foreigners, as a
matter of fact) would have you believe. This is a Zanu PF against the good
of Zimbabwe thing.

Wishing you more light.

Muchenjeri Bundo,

Ohio, USA.

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Editors divided

I HAVE been following reports in the media about the new group of editors
that has emerged to counter our own grouping, the Zimbabwe National Editors
Forum or Zinef. The new formation is called the Zimbabwe Association of
Editors and is headed by Chronicle editor Stephen Ndlovu.

The group claims to be affiliated to the Southern African Editors Forum.

I was invited by Ndlovu to participate in the inaugural meeting of the new
association. But, I was curtly informed, the purpose of the meeting would be
to duplicate and presumably absorb our existing organisation which
represents editors in the private sector. Ndlovu announced that the new
grouping would also be called Zinef and would render our group defunct by
incorporating editors from both the private and state media.

We have always held the door open to our colleagues in the state sector,
stipulating that adherence to the principle of freedom of expression was the
only criterion for membership. We recently adopted a code of conduct which
binds us to certain professional standards. About seven independent
publications make up the Zinef membership.

Apart from Ndlovu, I was approached by editors in the rival grouping to
attend their inaugural meeting held recently in Harare. There was no
intention to take over our organisation, I was assured. But in the absence
of a formal withdrawal of the proposal to adopt our name and legal identity
I felt it unwise to attend. I was supported in this by my colleagues in

After all, Zinef was already a registered trust. And all the new formation
needed was a couple of us from the independent media to be present for them
to claim that they were the authentic national editors' forum, a move that
would have been endorsed by the Southern African Editors Forum.

In the event we stayed away, Ndlovu's group evidently decided to drop its
claim to our title, and the Zimbabwe Association of Editors emerged as a
largely state-aligned body.

I gather that the original mandate from the SAEF was for a unitary body in
Zimbabwe to emerge out of dialogue between our own group and those seeking
to establish an alternative body. If that is the case, our door is open to
negotiation. But for such an umbrella body to emerge there will have to be a
change of attitude on the part of state editors. The new association says it
will promote the highest ethical and professional standards and is committed
to freedom of expression. We wait with interest to see what those standards

For instance, the Sunday Mail last weekend carried this opinion in one of
its columns: "Just when the government thought the revolution at the courts
was over, there seems to be something stinking there. Under the Surface
smells some Justice Gubbay residue and this residue stinks so bad that it is
cause for concern.

"What makes this Gubbay residue even more dangerous is that it has the

colour that we can identify with and speaks our mother language, but the
thinking stinks of colonial ideas.

"Of course, some will say let's have some democracy but why leave a snake in
the house? One day the snake will strike while we concentrate on pressing
issues and it will be too late to hit its poisonous head."

I would be interested to know how those remarks, which should be drawn to
the attention of the International Bar Association, accord with the "highest
ethical and professional standards" the new body of editors proclaims.

Last Friday, the Herald carried an editorial calling Dr Lovemore Madhuku an
"ex-convict" and "quisling" when exercising his constitutional right to
demonstrate for a new constitution. His conduct was "extremely provocative
and defiant", the Herald said. "To those in the know, Madhuku was pulling
his usual stunt and engaging in conduct that he knew would invite the
immediate and justified wrath of the law-enforcement agents.

"He did not seek permission from the police to hold the demonstration
knowing the police would move against him and his gang…Pictures of a
bandaged and blood-stained Madhuku after alleged scuffles with the police
only serve to make the ex-convict look important and look as if he has a
legitimate cause."

Is this the view of a newspaper that upholds freedom of expression? Should
we in the independent press who subscribe to freedom of expression and the
right to dissent have anything to do with an organisation that embraces
papers that conduct scurrilous attacks of this sort on jurists and civil
society leaders who display any sign of independent thought? Do we want to
be part of an organisation whose members' papers are used to advertise the
arrests of fellow journalists and appear to celebrate their incarceration?

Clearly, we have different views about freedom of expression, tolerance of

divergent views and professional standards. The Herald on Wednesday gave its
endorsement to Aippa, a law that despite the claims of its authors, has no
place in a democratic society. The Herald said the Act was "a necessary
check to guard against malicious media excesses".

We witnessed what looked like a "malicious media excess" last Saturday
concerning Philip Chiyangwa but the editor said it was all the fault of "an
over-zealous sub-editor (who) got carried away as they are inclined to do".

It would seem there is a notice on the editor's desk saying "the buck
doesn't stop here"!

Those who want to know what it's really like working as an editor in the
state media should look no further than Bill Saidi's letter on Page 7.

So you can well understand why, together with my colleagues in Zinef, I am
going to be very circumspect about the Zimbabwe Association of Editors until
we see distinct signs of change.

As for the Herald's claim that it acts in the national interest, I would be
interested to know how blind support for a regime that has crushed
democratic rights, closed newspapers and pauperised the country, driving
hundreds of thousands of citizens into exile, can remotely be seen as
serving the national interest.

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Zim Independent

      Conflicting views in media case
      By Tawanda Hondora

      IN a death blow to media freedom and the right of the public to access
information through a medium of their choice, the Supreme Court last
Thursday passed judgement in the constitutional petition filed by the
Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (Ijaz). The judgement,
written by Chief Justice Chidyausiku, to which judges Cheda, Ziyambi and
Malaba concurred, was palpably wrong.

      The majority reasoning was, with respect, contradictory. Chidyausiku
stated that the provision in the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (Aippa) which compels journalists to register with the Media and
Information Commission (MIC) as a condition to practise as journalists was
constitutional. Justice Sandura, the longest-serving judge in the Supreme
Court, in a persuasive dissenting judgement, disagreed.

      What is immediately striking about the judgement is that Justices
Cheda, Ziyambi and Malaba, in such a significant constitutional matter did
not write individual opinions. Instead they merely concurred with

      Judges are civil servants whose salaries and perks come from
taxpayers' money. Why should we appoint so many judges when their opinions
on matters, some so fundamental to the country's constitutional
jurisprudence, is no more than "I agree"?

      However, this serious concern pales when one considers the manner and
grounds upon which Chidyausiku based his claim that Section 79 of Aippa -
requiring journalists to register with the MIC - is constitutional.

      Freedom of expression, of which media freedom is an integral part, is
guaranteed under Section 20(1) of the constitution. Section 20(2) of the
constitution provides the six grounds upon which this freedom, fundamental
to the system and values of democracy, may be limited by law. In his
affidavit to the Supreme Court Information minister Jonathan Moyo claimed
that it is in the national security and economic interest of Zimbabwe to
limit media freedom through a licensing system administered by him and the
MIC. In the same case, the former Attorney-General of Zimbabwe, Andrew
Chigovera, on behalf of the government claimed that the Aippa provision was
necessary in the interests of protecting the reputations, rights and
freedoms of other persons or the private lives of persons concerned in legal

      In line with established rules of law, the question before the Supreme
Court was therefore whether any of the specific but different grounds given
by Moyo and Chigovera were constitutionally valid reasons to abridge media
freedom through the MIC licensing regime? In other words: were the defences
given by the government to the Ijaz complaint about the compulsory licensing
requirement constitutionally valid?

      Chidyausiku ignored the baseless and unsubstantiated defences
proffered by the government. Instead, he declared that it is constitutional
to compulsorily license journalists through the MIC in the interests of
public order.

      Section 20(2)(a) lists public order as one of the grounds that may be
used to limit freedom of expression, but only if such limitation is
"reasonably justifiable in a democratic society". It is highly unusual for a
judge to raise to the advantage and benefit of one of the litigants a
defence that was not raised by the relevant party concerned.

      Our system of justice is adversarial and not inquisitorial in nature.
On page 17 of his judgement, Chidyausiku proclaimed that "an applicant's
case as a general rule stands or falls on his or its founding affidavit".

      Does the respondent's (or government's) defence stand or fall on its
opposing affidavit? Or is it now the rule that the court will raise defences
for and on behalf of the government, even though such defence was not
established in the papers before the court? So why did Chidyausiku, Cheda,
Malaba and Ziyambi amend one of the cardinal rules that they accept they are
obliged as judges to follow?

      In addition, Chidyausiku said that even though he considered the
requirement that accreditation of journalists must be approved by the
Minister of Information and his permanent secretary to be unconstitutional,
he would not make such a declaration because Ijaz had not sought to have the
section declared unconstitutional.

      One wonders why the judge then created a defence to the benefit of
Moyo, the MIC and the Attorney-General, which none of them had raised in
their affidavits?

      And for his unfounded proposition that the compulsory registration of
journalists as a precondition for practising was universally recognised,
Chidyausiku relied on one Sri Lankan case. He ignored cases from within the
Southern African region, which for instance declared unconstitutional the
proposed use of similar licensing systems to control the print media. To
make it worse, the Sri Lankan case did not support Chidyausiku's conclusion
that it is constitutional to limit print media freedom through a compulsory
licensing regime. It evaluated the validity of regulating the electronic and
not the print media through a licensing regime.

      Chidyausiku's reasoning on the merits of the case was even more
curious. He concluded that freedom of expression includes press freedom but
freedom of expression does not envisage a right or freedom to practise as a
journalist. I ask: how is press freedom to be exercised if not through
freedom to practise, among other things, as a journalist? He also said that
the constitution does not guarantee the individual a right to use any means
of his or her choice to exercise freedom of expression. To understand
Chidyausiku's disturbing reasoning a question must be asked: what means do
people use to exercise their freedom of expression?

      The answer is rather obvious. People use speech or correspondence,
such as newspapers, books, or any written material; and the electronic
transmission of signals such as radio, television, satellites, or even the
telephone. And he noted, somewhat blithely, that he "saw nothing in the
language of Section 20(1) of the constitution that suggests that the
legislature intended to confer on an individual a constitutional entitlement
to work as a journalist".

      I ask: does the legislature confer on an individual a constitutional
entitlement to work as a cartoonist or as an artist, or as an author of

      According to Chidyausiku the constitution does not protect the "means"
through which freedom of expression is exercised. This means the Chief
Justice believes that a person enjoys freedom of expression but not the
right to use any means of his or her choice in exercising such freedom.

      Taken to its logical conclusion, his argument represents that Section
20 of the constitution grants a theoretical freedom of expression but
without a corresponding freedom to speak or write as a means of exercising
the freedom.

      How does one receive or impart ideas if not through the use of "means"
of communication? The constitution specifically protects the individual's
freedom from interference with his or her correspondence. Isn't the use of
correspondence a means through which the exercise of freedom of expression
is manifested, specifically protected under Section 20 of the constitution?
So why does Chidyausiku claim that Section 20 does not protect the
individual's discretion to use any means of his or her choice in the
exercise of freedom of expression?

      This judgement makes a nonsense of the guarantee of freedom of
expression contained in Section 20(1) of the constitution. It has become a
disturbing habit for some judges to blithely ignore their previous
judgements. When Econet challenged the monopoly enjoyed by the Post and
Telecommunications Corporation in the provision of telephone services, the
Supreme Court declared that the monopoly violated freedom of expression. Do
we not use the telephone system as a means of exercising the self-same
freedom of expression? The same Supreme Court has even declared that it is a
violation of freedom of expression to unreasonably restrict prisoners'
rights to exercise their freedom of expression through writing and receiving
letters. Therefore in diverse previous judgements a Supreme Court bench
composed of seasoned senior judges has ruled on the need to guarantee the
right of individuals to use all lawful means to exercise their God-given
freedom to communicate.

      Chidyausiku, following on Moyo's argument in his opposing affidavit,
claimed that it is an acceptable practice to accredit journalists. What he
failed to consider is whether democracies use a politically compromised
entity such as the MIC to license journalists. Even if three members of the
MIC are appointed from a list of nominees submitted by an association of
journalists, the question remains: what security of tenure of office do such
members enjoy? Well, members of the MIC are appointed by, enjoy tenure of
office at the discretion of, and are dismissed at the instance and
discretion of, the Minister of Information.

      In addition, the Minister of Information is also in overall charge of
Zimpapers as well as the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. Does this not
qualify him as a competitor? Is it constitutional to use a competitor to
regulate companies and persons that compete against his mass media
organisations for market space, readers and advertising revenue? Further, in
a multiparty democracy, is it reasonable or fair to use a party functionary,
a politburo member of Zanu PF, to regulate and exercise disciplinary power
over both the print and electronic media?

      -Tawanda Hondora is a human rights lawyer.

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Zim Independent

Neglected sports facilities fall apart
Ndamu Sandu
MULTI-MILLION dollar sports facilities built for the 6th All Africa Games
hosted by Zimbabwe in 1995 are lying derelict and neglected, the Zimbabwe
Independent can reveal.

Government built two hockey stadia - Magamba and Khumalo, the Aquatic
complex in Chitungwiza and a netball pitch in Mbare for the games.

The facilities, property of government but run by the Sports and Recreation
Commission (SRC), have never been given attention and have started to

When government built the Aquatic Complex, one of the best water-sports
facilities on the continent, it said the complex would benefit the
surrounding areas. It was also envisaged swimming clubs would be formed in
Chitungwiza and the sport introduced in surrounding schools.

But nine years after the games, no swimming club has been formed and
national swimming events are being held at Mount Pleasant complex.

The Chitungwiza complex reflects neglect by responsible authorities. There
are three swimming pools - for international competition, practice and for

The children's pool is empty while the two other pools are quarter full and
the water has turned green and smells badly.

Pre-schools and a private college are now renting offices at the complex. A
church organisation and a bar are also occupying sports administration
offices at the complex.

SRC director general Elias Musangeya conceded this week that the facilities
needed a major facelift.

"These facilities need refurbishment and we have made a request to
government," he told the Independent. "What must be borne in mind is that we
are guided by policy of government."

Magamba Hockey Stadium is in a pathetic state unsuitable for international
matches. The astro-turf playing surface has started to peel off and hockey
clubs have been forced to play on grass.

The story of the hockey stadia is confounding especially after the SRC
refused to allow the Hockey Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) to run the
facilities as commercial entities.

The HAZ had in 1998 offered to run the stadia and generate revenue for the
upkeep of the facilities. The issue degenerated into a huge row between the
HAZ and SRC's George Chisvo who argued against the arrangement.

As the hockey facilities continue to deteriorate, efforts to secure funds
from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) hit a snag last year as there
was no commitment from government. The money was meant to refurbish the two
hockey stadia.

FIH officials were in the country in October to investigate the feasibility
of a proposed scheme.

If government had made a financial commitment FIH would have availed a US$50
000 grant to repair the two hockey stadia.

Musangeya said when officials from FIH came, SRC was already in the middle
of the financial year and could not get a supplementary grant from

HAZ has hosted international events such as the 6th All Africa Games in
1995, the Women's World Cup qualifier in 1997, Junior Africa Cup of Nations
(men and women) in 1997 and the African Cup of Nations (women) in 1998.

It has also hosted the Africa Cup of Nations (men) in 2000 and the Africa
Cup of Club Champions in 1996 and 1999.

The condition of the facilities is likely to affect Zimbabwe's preparation
for the Olympic Games in September scheduled for Greece.

The state of Magamba stadium will scupper Zimbabwe's preparations for the
Junior Africa Cup of Nations in September.

The women's tournament will be held in South Africa from September 18-26
while the men's finals are scheduled to start in Egypt on the same date.

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