by Simplicious Chirinda Monday 15 February 2010
JOHANNESBURG - A team appointed by South African President Jacob Zuma to
mediate in the Zimbabwe political dialogue on Sunday said the Harare
coalition partners were still in negotiations, appearing to dismiss Friday's
announcement of a deadlock by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party.
"We were in Zimbabwe last week and had very good meetings. We are going to
report to President Zuma either today (Sunday) or tomorrow," Zuma's
International Relations Adviser, Lindiwe Zulu who was part of the team to
Zimbabwe told ZimOnline.
Asked to respond to the mainstream MDC's announcement last Friday that the
political talks had reached a deadlock and now require the intervention of
the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Zulu said, "I am not sure
why he is saying that because we haven't reported to President Zuma and we
are also yet to receive a report from the negotiating parties to that
The MDC said the talks that resume today are dead with party spokesman
Nelson Chamisa at the weekend telling reporters in Harare that the parties
should use today's meeting to formally a declare a deadlock.
But Zulu said: "They are still meeting and chances are that they will
continuing doing so. As you might remember when we first visited Zimbabwe
there were 27 issues on the table and 16 of those have been dealt with. The
most outstanding issues are the big four issues."
The talks to iron out issues still outstanding from a 2008 power-sharing
agreement (GPA) between ZANU PF and the two former opposition MDC formations
have dragged on since the former foes agreed to join hands 12 months ago in
a coalition government that has been credited with stabilising the country's
economy to improve the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.
Contacted for a comment the head of the South African facilitating team,
former minister Charles Nqakula, said that he will present the report to
Zuma who will in turn make presentations to SADC before any decision on
Zimbabwe is made.
"I report to President Zuma and he himself upon receiving my report will in
turn report to SADC," said Nqakula who refused to reveal whether there any
progress in the last round of negotiations.
"Unfortunately I cannot tell whether there is any progress or not because I
report to President Zuma and him alone and do not do so through the media."
The South African facilitating team also made up of anti-apartheid stalwart
Mac Maharaj spent the better part of last week in Zimbabwe trying to bring
together the political parties and end the political bickering.
President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai are engaged in a bitter dispute over
how to share executive power, the appointment of senior government officials
and the removal of Western sanctions.
The MDC accuses Mugabe of refusing to swear-in party treasurer-general Roy
Bennett as deputy agriculture minister, appoint five provincial governors
from the party and end the tenure of the attorney general and the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe governor.
Mugabe in turn says Bennett would be sworn in only if he is acquitted of
terrorism and banditry charges he is facing and that the MDC should lobby
its allies in the West for the removal of sanctions imposed on the veteran
leader and his inner circle.
He also says Tsvangirai should convince what he says are private radio
stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe from outside the country to stop
disseminating "propaganda" messages into Zimbabwe.
While analysts are confident the unity government will not collapse, they
say unending bickering among coalition partners could cripple the
administration and render it ineffective. - ZimOnline
by Own Correspondent Monday 15 February 2010
HARARE – Human Rights Watch (HRW) has described Zimbabwe’s transitional
government as a “sham”, saying Harare’s protracted year-long administration
has not made any real progress in implementing much-needed political
HRW director for Africa Georgette Gagnon at the weekend said the
power-sharing government has demonstrated little political will or capacity
to enact meaningful changes to improve the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.
"The transitional power-sharing government is a sham...From a human rights
perspective, nothing has changed for the better. Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF
are still fully in control," Gagnon said.
She accused parties to the global political agreement (GPA) of lack of
seriousness in implementing provisions of the pact they signed in September
2008 which led to the formation of the inclusive government last February.
She cited the lack of movement on issues where there is already consensus
between ZANU PF and the two MDC formations as clear evidence that the
parties lacked political will to move the country forward.
These include the appointment of new provincial governors and the swearing
in of members of constitutional commissions to oversee media, electoral and
human rights reforms.
To divert scrutiny of the continuing political instability and the failure
to carry out the agreement, parties in the power-sharing government instead
overemphasize the significance of efforts made to stabilise the economy, she
HRW called for parties to the government to begin preparations for holding
internationally supervised free, fair, and credible elections that will lead
to a legitimate and democratic government with the political will to bring
"The power-sharing government experiment is not working," Gagnon said,
adding "Without political stability and rights reforms, any progress on
economic recovery won't last."
The HRW official urged the government to take immediate steps to end abuses
and create the necessary constitutional and electoral framework to ensure
free, fair, and credible elections, as envisaged in the GPA.
She observed that ZANU PF continued to engage in political violence against
perceived opponents, with groups of war veterans and youth militias who have
been deployed in the past to target the opposition remaining intact.
ZANU PF still uses elements in the security forces as instruments of
repression. Military-led violent invasions of commercial farms continue.
In the first week of February 2010, police disrupted MDC-organized
constitutional reform meetings, beat up participants and arbitrarily
arrested 43 people in Binga, 48 in Masvingo, and 52 in Mt. Darwin.
Zimbabwe’s media remains muzzled although the global political agreement
recognizes the importance of the rights to freedom of expression and
There are no private daily newspapers or privately owned radio stations.
Public information remains under the firm control of ZANU PF.
Not a single licence for independent media outlets has been issued since the
power-sharing government was formed.
ZANU PF has also resisted complying with the rule of law and declared at its
December 2009 congress that it would not allow security forces to be
subjected to reform.
The security sector is deeply embedded in the political affairs of the
By SINIKIWE MPALA
Published on: 14th February, 2010
HARARE – ZIMBABWE’S biggest international investment conference since the
formation of the inclusive Government, the Africa investor (Ai) Pan-African
Tourism and Infrastructure Investment Summit starts in Harare today, with 14
African government ministers, international bankers and 32 chief executive
officers of international investment financiers attending.
Also represented at the conference, that runs until Thursday, are the United
Nations World Tourism Organisation, the World Bank, International Monetary
Fund and the African Development Bank.
President Mugabe is expected to officially open the summit while Prime
Minister Mor-gan Tsvangirai and his deputies Arthur Mutambara and Thokozani
Khupe are expected to give keynote addresses.
Ai, a leading international investment research and communications company,
is partnering the Government, through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, in
hosting the conference which will discuss tourism strategies, investment
opportunities and tourism infrastructure development that should make
Zimbabwe maximise gains expected to accrue from the 2010 Soccer World Cup
Africa investor is a specialist investment communications firm advising
governments, international organisations and businesses on communication
strategies for capital market and foreign direct investments in Africa.
Ai is bringing investors, project promoters and city planning officials to
discuss the role of the World Cup in supporting tourism investment in
The conference will include interviews with leading investors, hoteliers,
forecasts from top economists, panel discussions on the latest developments,
trends and best practices in the tourism investment and city planning
Another key event at the summit is the Ministerial Roundtable that will
feature Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministers from Zimbabwe, Zambia,
Sierra Leone, Namibia, Botswana, and Ghana.
Other speakers include American Sister Cities International Global Envoy
Nancy M. Huppert, Mr Kevin Teeroovengadum, Director, Actis; and Mr Godfrey
Tapela, Senior Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation.
Minister Mzembi said the summit was Zimbabwe’s mega investment event before
the 2010 World Cup finals to be held in June in South Africa.
The summit will coincide with the prestigious Africa investor Tourism
Investment Awards, which will be announced tomorrow evening during the
summit’s gala dinner, organised in recognition of the companies being
awarded for their excellence in the industry.
The summit brings together tourism and infrastructure project promoters with
private and institutional investors with interests in Africa. Africa
investor will also facilitate pre-arranged one-on-one meetings between
investors and project promoters.
This year’s summit will be examining major tourism infrastructure investment
and privatisation opportunities across Africa. On the second day, Africa
investor will host the first Infrastructure and Tourism Investment
Roundtable with the Government of Zimbabwe, to showcase their portfolio of
privatisation, infrastructure, tourism and mining investment opportunities
for the first time.
Commenting on the awards, Professor Geoffrey Lipman, Special Advisor to the
Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organisation and speaker at the
summit, said the awards were recognition of Africa’s most innovative.
“These awards are the only initiative designed to recognise the achievement
of those businesses, governments, organisations and individuals who have
made an outstanding contribution to the growth of sustainable tourism
investment in Africa,” said Mr Lipman.
Summit sponsors and partners include the Government of Zimbabwe, the ZTA,
African Export-Import Bank, African Sun, Meikles, Rani Investment Group,
Native Investment, Cresta Hotel Group, CNN International, Sister Cities
International, the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa
(Retosa), Nepad Business Group, NEPAD, Modern Ghana, United Nations
Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), Africa Project Access, Africa
Travel Channel, Reconnect Africa and The Standard.
by Nokuthula Sibanda Monday 15 February 2010
HARARE -- Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile phone operator Econet Wireless is asking
its more than three million subscribers to help raise aid for hundreds of
thousands of victims of the Haiti earthquake.
In an appeal titled "send help to Haiti", Econet which is already assisting
more than 100.000 school going children in the country through a Trust and
the Joshua Nkomo Fund, appealed to its clients “to participate in helping
the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.”
Subscribers wishing to assist will donate US$0.89 for every text message
sent the firm said, adding that donations shall be audited publicly.
Haiti, a country mostly made up of descendents of former slaves was last
month plunged into a crisis following an earthquake which ripped through the
island resulting in the deaths of more than 200 000 people.
The appeal by Econet effectively makes it the first public listed Zimbabwean
firm to join hands with international relief agencies and activists in
trying to raise support for the Haitians.
In 1996 the Strive Masiyiwa-led firm formed the Capernaum Trust meant “to
transform the lives of orphaned children in economically destitute
situations, to help them to become self-reliant individuals.
“It offers love, hope and inspiration through the provision of scholarships,
food packs and life skills training to over 25 000 orphans nationwide,”
Econet said in it's profile.
Nine years later, the company formed the Joshua Nkomo Fund, which was
launched in 2005, and issued its first scholarships in 2006. The Fund is
administered through a registered Trust that is governed by a board of
trustees who are independent of Econet and its Management.
It was not immediately clear how much Econet intends to raise for Haiti as
it’s spokesman and other senior company officials were not immediately
available to take questions from the Press.
February 14, 2010
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO – The week-long industrial action by civil servants has allegedly
been high jacked by suspected Zanu-PF youths acting in conjunction with
members of the army amid reports that state security agents raided several
schools and government run institutions in Masvingo Province where they
forced workers who had reported for duty to join the strike.
The suspected Zanu-PF youths, accompanied by soldiers clad in full military
gear raided several schools in Masvingo city and parts of Gutu District
threatening to beat up teachers and other government workers who had
reported for duty on Friday last week.
A group of suspected Zanu-PF youths descended at Victoria High School in
Masvingo City on Friday and locked gates while threatening to beat up anyone
who reported for duty.
“We just found the gates locked when we reported for duty on Friday”, said a
teacher at Victoria High School who requested no to be named. “A group of
youths stood by the gate and advised us not to report for duty.”
Meanwhile, a group of soldiers clad in full military gear descended Mucheke
High School and threatened to beat up teachers who had reported for duty.
“A group of soldiers came to the school and advised us not to report for
work “, said a teacher at the school. “They told us not to go back to work
since all civil servants were on strike’
Nurses at Chitando Clinic in Gutu District were chased away from the health
institution by suspected Zanu-PF youths for reporting for duty.
The youths also chased away government workers from Benjamin Burombo
Building which houses several government departments in the city
Although education and army officials here refused to comment on the issue
MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the week-long industrial action by the
civil servants had now been politicised.
“We have heard that some people are forcing civil servants to go on strike
and we believe that they are Zanu -PF supporters who think that they may
discredit our party by forcing the workers to go on strike”, said Chamisa.
The country’s civil servants have been on strike since February 5 and have
vowed not to go back to work until their grievances are met.
The striking civil servants are demanding a minimum salary of USD 502 a
month. Most of the civil servants currently earn about USD 150 a month.
The government has since declared the strike illegal and urged all
government workers to report for duty this week.
The chairman of the public service commission Mariyawanda Nzuwa said they
strike by the civil servants was illegal since negotiations were still in
Written by Radio VOP
Sunday, 14 February 2010 12:51
Masvingo, - Riot police had running battles with Robert Mugabe's war
veterans on Friday night who were digging up one of the world's historical
monuments, The Zimbabwe Ruins, to exhume remains of bodies of fighters of
the liberation struggle, which they said had been buried there.
They said they wanted the bones of their colleagues reburied. The Great
Zimbabwe is one of the world's major tourist attractions and foreign
currency earner for Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is hoping to make a fortune out of
the historical site in June as the world descend in neighboring South Africa
for the 2010 World Soccer Cup.
Led by self styled war vets leader Francis Zimuto, popularly known as Black
Jesus, who pioneered the bloody 2000 land grab from white commercial
farmers, the ageing former guerrillas descended upon the monument at around
midnight with spirit mediums armed with shovels and picks, provincial police
spokesperson, Inspector Tinaye Matake told Radio VOP.
"We were called by the officials at the site that the war vets had started
digging an area where they claimed 'lay the bones' of some war fighters. We
rushed before they had done much damage, as you know that the monuments are
protected, and that the war vets had not notified anyone, much as their idea
might sound good," Inspector Matake said.
He added that ten of the war vets were arrested after they tried to resist
police orders. "Ten war veterans are arrested as we speak, but I cannot give
you the names. They had failed to comply with the police orders."
Sources however said that among the arrested are the notorious former
provincial war vets leader, Isaiah Muzenda, who a fortnight ago staged a
sit-in in governor Titus Maluleke's office in protest over alleged
re-allocation of their tractors for non productivity, as well as Western
Ezra, who last year invaded a city lodge, claiming that it was his as it is
built on 'his' land.
Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association secretary general retired army
major Alex Mudavanhu, also confirmed the arrest. "They wanted to dig up for
bones for reburial, but they did not follow procedures. There should have
been a way worked out on how they would do that, especially at the monuments
where tourists visit."
In another incident in Gwanda self-styled war veterans who occupied Ridden
Ranches in the area during the peak of the land invasions in 2003 have
returned back to their original rural homes because of disillusionment.
Scores of Zanu (PF) supporters from Mberengwa , Gwanda and Beitbridge
invaded the cattle ranches and chased away white commercial farmers who used
to own the land.
The ranches, one of the largest cattle producers in the province before the
land invasions are located on the borders of Midlands and Matabeleland South
province. The invaders named the area "Kujambanja" ( a place of violence ).
" I went to Ridden in 2003 during the height of the land invasions .At
first I was sceptical about Kujambanja , but when I saw a significant number
of my neighbours leaving , I decided to join the trek," said Churu.
Disilluisionment set in when he discovered the area did not have good soils
and is only suitable for cattle ranching. "There is no way anybody can get a
good harvest at Ridden. The soils are poor and they are just as bad if not
worse that where I come from. I wasted my time and resources leaving my
He accused Zanu (PF) of moving people in unsuitable land in return for
votes during election times. " There were no health and shopping centre
facilities at Kujambanja. Transport was also a major problem as one was
forced to walk for a distance of more than 30 kilometres to the nearest bus
stop," said another settler, Kennedy Mhlanga, who has also turned his back
on Ridden and has since returned to his rural home in Gwanda.
Some of the land occupiers have resorted to gold panning in the Shangani
river as a means of survival.A Matebeleleland South provincial lands
committee member, Silas Ndou admitted that soils in the area were poor. "
Infact , the problem of poor soils is not peculiar to ranches in the Ridden
area alone. Matabeleland South is largely a wildlife and cattle rearing
region. Securing fertile land for our people in the province has been a
major headache," he said.
February 14, 2010
By Our Correspondent
HARARE -President Robert Mugabe will this year mark his birthday with an
extravagant overnight gala in Bulawayo which will feature both local and
Mugabe, Zimbabwe's only leader since independence in 1980, turns 86 years of
age this month.
Retired Major Anywhere Mutambudzi, an official with the information
ministry, has reportedly been tasked with organizing the birthday bash.
Mutambudzi told state controlled ZBC TV that the celebrations to be held at
the Trade Fair grounds will start at 6 pm on 26 February 26 and end at 6 am
the following day.
"The gala will feature all major local as well as some foreign musicians
from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa," said the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation Friday evening.
While Mugabe's birthday has been celebrated every year, the idea of an all
night gala is original.
It will also mark the return of the galas which had disappeared a few years
ago, once popularized by former Information Minister, Prof Jonathan Moyo,
who organized them to commemorate Zimbabwe's national days.
Many Zimbabweans have been critical of Mugabe's lavish birthday
celebrations, dismissing them as unnecessary in a country where the majority
of citizens languish in poverty.
The birthday celebrations, which are often rotated among the provinces
provide followers with an opportunity to shower lavish praise on the
By Gerald Chateta
Published: February 13, 2010
Harare - National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Chairperson Dr Lovemore
Madhuku says his organization will remain visible despite media black out
'imposed' by the local media.
Madhuku told journalists at the weekend that he was not affected by lack of
media coverage his activities were receiving.
NCA is campaigning against the parliament led constitution making process,
which it says is flawed.
He is working together with Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union, and The
Zimbabwe National Students Union in the campaign they have named 'TAKE
"We are not worried by media black out. What matters to us is the fact that
the people of Zimbabwe have heard our campaign.We are using other means of
reaching out to the people. Yes we were weakened by the departure of our
partner in fighting for democracy,the MDC, but I can assure you that we are
building a strong force to spearhead the Take Charge Campaign," said
A recent survey which was conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute
(MPOI) revealed that NCA was more popular than the Parliament led
Constitution Select Committee.
MISA Zimbabwe Harare Advocacy committee chairperson Kumbirai Mafunda said
was disappointed by the way NCA was treated by the media.
"Every day the local media bombard us with the activities of the parliament
led constitution making process, but we have never seen any local story on
NCA despite the work they are doing," said Mafunda.
By Gerald Chateta
Published: February 13, 2010
Guruve - Prison labour is being exchanged for maize grain to feed inmates
at Guruve Prison, a senior Prison officer has revealed.
A senior prison officer stationed at the prison said senior government
officials and influential ZANU-Pf officials were using prisoners in their
farms in exchange for maize grain they use to feed inmates.
"Procedurally we are supposed to get inmates' rations from Bindura Prison
since we are its satellite prison, but this has not been happening for a
long time.Bindura instead give us the rations after satisfying its needs,
and we are left with no option but to hire out labour for food that would be
consumed by inmates," said the official who refused to be named.
A former prison officer also told of the desperate situation in Zimbabwe
'I have been there. I know this and I saw it. There had been times when we
could not take out prisoners to work because they had no clothes to put on.
How can you take a nude person to work. I have seen prisoners starve to
death as funds meant for the prison department are mismanaged through showdy
and nepotic allocation of tenders.'
Responding to questions asked by journalists on abuse of inmates recently,
ZPS Chief Retired Major Paradzai Zimondi said the reports were unfounded.
"The allegations of prisoners' abuse are unfounded and could have bee based
on the fact that we were hiring out prison labour to farmers and companies.
The programme has since been banned by the ministry of Justice following an
outcry by concerned partners.
"Hiring of prison labour is however common elsewhere, but the problem we
have is that Zimbabwe is on the spotlight, hence anything it does is
criticized," he told journalists recently in Harare.
The government is mandated to supply food for prisoners.
14 February 2010
Science departments in Zimbabwe's universities have been hardest hit by a
brain drain that has been blamed mostly on poor salaries. Last week low pay
prompted lectures at all state-run higher education institutions go on
strike as part of wider civil service industrial action.
The strike began after the government failed to meet civil servant -
including lecturer - demands for a salary hike. Civil servants earn less
than US$200 a month and the government has proposed increases of between $7
and $20 a month. The unions want salaries to start at $630 a month.
According to a recent report by the country's parliamentary committee on
education, universities countrywide are suffering a severe shortage of both
academic and non-academic staff as a result of the brain drain - and science
departments have been the most heavily hit.
Providing examples that it said mirror the precarious situation in all
state-run higher education instutitions, the report said that at the
University of Zimbabwe the departments of animal science, community
medicine, metallurgy and clinical pharmacology require 20, 18, 13 and 11
lecturers respectively - but have nobody in post.
Computer science and veterinary sciences both require 13 lecturers but have
only one each. Psychiatry, geo-informatics and mining engineering also have
one lecturer each but require 16, 10 and eight respectively. The department
of medicine has eight lectures but needs 26 while the anesthetic,
statistics, anatomy and hematology departments each have two lecturers
instead of 16, 11, 10 and eight respectively.
"Academics are in short supply at the institution," the parliamentary
committee pointed out.
"University infrastructure is dilapidated and this includes lecturer
theatres, halls of residence and dining halls. The university fleet is
"The government needs to priorities higher education in the fiscus for
universities to not only be fully operational, but to also ensure better
conditions for staff."
Nearly a decade of poor management and increasing oppression under 29-year
ruler President Robert Mugabe led to economic collapse, European Union and
US targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle for human rights
abuses and a flight of investors and citizens out of the country.
Many of those who left were Zimbabwe's most skilled and mobile people. Many
of them were academics and university administrators. The University of
Zimbabwe was closed for almost a year because of a long lecturer strike and
Last February a unity government was formed with Mugabe remaining president
and former opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan
Tsvangirai becoming Prime Minister. But the government has little money to
spend on anything, including education.
The unity government wants investment and funding, but donors are reluctant
to respond as long as Mugabe remains at the helm.
In an interview last week with the state media, University of Zimbabwe
Vice-chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura said even though western powers had
isolated the government, academics from countries in the West were assisting
"We even have visiting lecturers from China. You will be surprised that we
even have visiting lecturers from the US and the United Kingdom. Academics
are not like politicians, they are driven by the genuine desire to promote
the sharing of knowledge, to partner in the creation of new knowledge and to
partner in perfecting existing knowledge so that we have something we are
contributing to society," Nyagura said.
The vice-chancellor criticized what he termed a culture of not giving back
among black Zimbabweans - alumni have failed to help the struggling
"We have made a lot of efforts to bring alumni back to the institution but
what I can say is among the black people in the country there are very few
who understand the concept of giving back. It's not part of the tradition of
the people of Zimbabwe to recognise the people and organisations that
empowered them. It does not exist."
Nyagura continued, controversially: "Such support we are getting is from
white Zimbabweans who know and have a high regard for how the institution
Vigil supporters were surprised that no celebrations appear to have been arranged for President, Head of State and Government, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces, Terror of Mankind Robert Mugabe’s 86th birthday on 21st February. So the Vigil has arranged a party for him next Saturday.
People at home might take for
granted the visionary leader who has done so much for so long to create a new
On another bitterly cold day, with a
biting wind from
We are still waiting to hear whether Mugabe will be given the expected present from the EU in the form of an easing of sanctions. There has been pressure to lift some of them in the naïve belief that appeasing Mugabe will achieve change. The Vigil would have thought that the Indigenisation Bill to take over white-owned companies and reported moves to stop NGOs from feeding the starving (see: http://www.manicapost.com/inside.aspx?sectid=234&cat=1) would have been enough to have alerted credulous EU members to the impossibility of working with Mugabe.
The Vigil was pleased to be sent a
consignment of materials from friends in
For our part the Vigil wants to
remind Zimbabweans in the
Some other points:
have dates for President Zuma’s state visit to the
· Several of our supporters again went to take part in the Swazi Vigil and they say it is causing quite a stir. See: www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
Iranian friends in
· We were pleased to be joined by Preacher Beverley Mutandiro who said prayers with Vigil supporters.
celebrated with Jenatry Muranganwa and Lungile Ncube that they have now been
given their papers to remain in the
· People looking after the register wish to point out that the register closes every Saturday at 5.30.
contacted by the former MDC MP Mike Auret this week. His book ‘From Liberator to Dictator’ is now
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/.
FOR THE RECORD: 125 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
ROHR Hayes fundraising party.
27th February from till late. Venue: Coronation Hall,
Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s
Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue:
The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre,
· Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Motherland ENT’s
videos of the Vigil
outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429
VOICE FOR DEMOCRACY
Speaking Truth to Power
The Voice for Democracy’s message to the MDC, SADC and the Friends of Zimbabwe
on the First Anniversary of the Inclusive Government
LET THE JURY OF THE PEOPLE DECIDE
The MDC did not enter into a marriage of convenience, but one of abuse. For all its goodwill, compromises and appeasement, the MDC has been repaid with contempt, provocations and lawlessness. Robert Mugabe has not just been reluctant to implement the provisions of the GPA, he has deliberately set out to sabotage and destroy it. Yet, even as he flexed his muscles and hurled abuse, a battered and deeply compromised MDC smiled for the cameras, vowing never to leave its faithless partner. The Prime Minister soothed the worries of the Friends of Zimbabwe, reassuring them that its rocky marriage was still working, that Robert Mugabe was part of the solution, and that their marriage – the Inclusive Government – should be blessed by the removal of sanctions and rewarded with development aid for its achievements.
The diplomatic dilemma
Having won the March 2008 elections, the MDC surrendered wide presidential powers to the very man, Robert Mugabe, who had brought nothing but violence, ruin and misery to the people of Zimbabwe – and left Western diplomats groping for an adequate response. How are the Friends of Zimbabwe to reward the MDC for its efforts to bring peace and recovery while pressuring Mugabe to restore human rights and the rule of law under the GPA? How can they provide development aid to the MDC while maintaining sanctions on Mugabe and ZANU(PF)? In truth, they cannot. The MDC and ZANU(PF) forged an Inclusive Government in which they became two sides of the same coin.
The International Crisis Group’s sanguine belief that increased development aid would reward the moderates while isolating the hardliners was always illusionary. As long as Mugabe maintains his grip on power, any attempts to increase development aid or foster trade and investment will inevitably be captured by ZANU(PF). Similarly, any development aid or the lifting of sanctions to reward the Inclusive Government for achieving a modicum of economic stability will send an unmistakable message to Mugabe: that he and his supporters will not be held accountable for continued human rights violations and their disregard for the rule of law. Their very impunity will be rewarded.
This conundrum for Western powers is now being played out within the EU. Divisions have emerged between Germany and the Denmark that want sanctions eased and Britain and the Netherlands that want them maintained. The expectation is that they will reach a tepid compromise and again urge the Zimbabwean parties to implement the GPA in full. Whatever their decision, the EU and the MDC should disabuse themselves of any hope that easing sanctions will coax Mugabe into meeting his GPA commitments. There is none.
Western donor countries face similar contradictions in their diplomatic relations with SADC and the African Union, which have repeatedly supported the Inclusive Government’s call for the lifting of limited sanctions and the resumption of development aid. How then do Western governments align themselves to the policies of African countries when SADC, as the guarantor of the GPA, has proved unable to enforce its provisions? Indeed, how can the donors align themselves to SADC decisions when the underlying reasons for imposing targeted sanctions in the first place remain unresolved? The question is: how can the Friends of Zimbabwe extricate themselves from these diplomatic dilemmas and realign their policies with SADC and the African Union?
International realignment behind a democratic transition
The first is to face the facts. The international donor community should resist repeating the tired mantra that the parties must implement the GPA in full. The self-evident fact is that the GPA is dead in letter and spirit. Second, they should listen carefully to the voices for democracy. When the MDC disengaged from their ‘dishonest and unreliable partner’ in October 2009, Morgan Tsvangirai said that the obvious solution would be the holding of a free and fair election to be conducted by SADC and the AU and under UN supervision. As Mugabe still refuses to comply with the GPA, Tsvangirai now says that the only solution is to agree on a road map to an election.
This presents the international donor community with an ideal opportunity to realign itself with the MDC’s democratic principles and with key advocates of a democratic transition within SADC, notably President Khama of Botswana. Given South Africa’s frustration over the painfully slow implementation of the GPA, diplomatic efforts should be redirected towards convincing an increasingly impatient President Zuma that elections provide a compelling alternative to the GPA. It would not only bring finality to a festering regional problem, but it would enable Zimbabwe’s full reengagement with the international community. Almost immediately, targeted sanctions could be lifted, debts rescheduled, and international development aid resumed. Crucially, it would bring the international community’s policy towards Zimbabwe into alignment with those of the SADC countries.
The Responsibility to Protect
Yet, for all the possibilities of democratic elections bringing peace, recovery and growth to Zimbabwe, there stands Robert Mugabe, ready to unleash his dreaded state security and militia on any who dare challenge his self-proclaimed right to rule. And here the Friends of Zimbabwe should heed the words of Finance Minister and the MDC General Secretary, Tendai Biti, when he called for the “holding of free and fair elections under the protection and supervision of SADC to ensure that the dreams of the people are never again dashed nor denied.” Unless the citizens of Zimbabwe are protected to cast their ballots in peace and security there can be no guarantee of free and fair elections: not now, not when we have a new constitution, nor in 3 or 5 years hence.
Gareth Evans, President of the International Crisis Group, has been the boldest advocate of the international community’s responsibility to protect citizens who are threatened with crimes against humanity by their own state. Having realigned themselves behind a democratic transition, western donors and SADC countries should immediately start building a ‘Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect’ that allow Zimbabwean voters to cast their ballots in peace and security during the next election.
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) has already called for the immediate deployment of a SADC delegation to secure an end to political violence. Theirs is an urgent appeal for a comprehensive, standing presence of SADC to be stationed in Zimbabwe until the draft Constitution has been submitted to a referendum and that free and fair presidential and legislative elections have been held. The Voice for Democracy has gone further. We have called for this security presence to be in place until there has been an incontrovertible and peaceful handover of power to the winners of the next election.
We the Jury
The MDC has bravely endured endless public humiliations by its arrogant and abusive partner. It must now drop any pretence that its marriage is working and file for divorce by taking its case to SADC and the international community for adjudication, who must let the jury – the people of Zimbabwe – decide on its own leaders through free and fair elections. Therein lies our hope, dignity and freedom.
Sir Ronald Sanders
Sunday, February 14, 2010
IN what is clearly an act of madness, the Robert Mugabe government in Zimbabwe published on February 9 regulations governing "Indigenization and Economic Empowerment", making it compulsory for white-owned companies in Zimbabwe to hand majority control to black persons.
Authoritative reports state that "the regulations require every existing business, partnership, association or sole proprietorship with an asset value of US$500,000 or more to submit a report to the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere by April 15, outlining their operations and plans for ensuring that they will be owned or controlled by indigenous persons within five years".
Failure to do so, after a further 30-day reminder, would render the owner of the business or every director guilty of an offence and liable to a fine and/or imprisonment for up to five years.
The new regulations demand that all foreign and locally owned companies hand over at least 51 per cent ownership to black Zimbabweans. Thousands of firms, including the Zimbabwean operations of firms such as Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and the mining company Rio Tinto, will be affected.
These developments come on top of other property seizures. Sue Lloyd Roberts of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports that in the last year, "four thousand white commercial farmers have now had their farms confiscated and given to black farmers, many of whom are supporters of Mr Mugabe. A diamond mine has been taken from its white Zimbabwean owner and is being operated by a government-owned company, protected by soldiers".
Amazingly, the prime minister in the Zimbabwe coalition government, who has responsibility for policy formulation, knew absolutely nothing about the new regulations until they were published.
The prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, who is the leader of the former opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said the move had been made without his knowledge. He said: "They were published without due process and in contravention of the global political agreement [which set up the coalition] and constitution of Zimbabwe and are therefore null and void."
Tsvangirai may consider the regulations null and void but they are being implemented anyway, demonstrating his complete impotence as prime minister and Mugabe's utter disregard for him.
This is not the first time that Mugabe has openly shown his contempt for Tsvangirai, nor is it the first time that Tsvangirai has displayed the powerlessness of his position as prime minister.
The most glaring example of Tsvangirai's weakness is the fact that a top MDC leader, Roy Bennett, is still being prosecuted on charges widely believed to be trumped up, and many other MDC members have been arrested or harassed - cases well documented by Amnesty International and human rights groups within Zimbabwe.
While some of these human rights violations strike at property owned by white people, they are perpetrated mostly against Zimbabwean blacks, including women, who are perceived to oppose the Mugabe regime, but in reality are simply fighting for better lives for their families and for an end to physical abuse by the military and gangs organised by Mugabe's ZANU-PF.
Amid the farce of a coalition government in which Mugabe is president and Tsvangirai prime minister, ZANU-PF and MDC have been holding talks to implement the "Global Political Agreement" brokered since September 2008 by South Africa's government. ZANU-PF has given nothing of any substance and MDC holds on in the hope of a breakthrough.
The South African government continues to chair the deadlocked negotiations with no favourable end in sight.
In 2009, the Zimbabwean economy, which had sunk into a deep morass with the Zimbabwean dollar less than worthless, grew by an estimated four per cent on the back of a virtual abolition of the Zimbabwe dollar and the adoption of the US dollar as its currency. Last year's growth was the first in 10 years and came after a 60 per cent decline.
Experts report that much of last year's growth was due to good rains and a decent harvest. This year the rains have been sporadic, crops are failing and a poor harvest is expected. By the end of 2010, as many as three million Zimbabweans could again be dependent on food aid.
Before the announcement of the new regulations, the Zimbabwe minister of finance, Tendai Biti, had been seeking new foreign investment in Zimbabwe. The chances of this happening now are pretty remote, except from the government of the People's Republic of China.
In November last year, the Zimbabwe government announced that China Sonangol, a Chinese-Angolan joint venture company, would invest US$8 million in five deals involving gold and platinum refining, oil and gas exploration, fuel purchase and distribution, and housing. It will be interesting to see if the Chinese-owned company will be exempt from the new regulations to give 51 per cent of foreign-owned companies to black Zimbabweans.
So where is all this going? Zimbabwe has always required a complete restructuring of land ownership. Five per cent of the Zimbabwean population, mostly white, owned 80 per cent of the arable land at the time of independence in 1981. Only the most resolute white racists would have objected to reformation of land ownership to correct the ancient wrong by which black Zimbabweans were deprived and denied land ownership in the country of their birth. The failure to achieve this reformation resides squarely with the British government and to a lesser extent the US government who reneged on their promise to provide the funding that would have effected this transformation when Mugabe was elected president in 1981.
Instead of seeking international support for his just cause against the UK and US, Mugabe turned the issue into a means of retaining domestic support in the face of his increasing unpopularity among black Zimbabweans. Two rigged elections and atrocities, including savage beatings, against his political opponents kept him in power, but not in favour with the majority of Zimbabweans.
Instead of transferring farms to capable people with the knowledge and capital to keep them productive, they were seized and given to political cronies including the top brass of the military who keep Mugabe in power. The latest regulations appear to be more of the same. It will drive even more talent, knowledge and money out of Zimbabwe and contribute little if anything to the investment of nearly US$10 billion desperately needed to reconstruct the economy.
The international community should act together to curtail Mugabe's abuse, and Morgan Tsvangirai should give them the lead. He should start by abandoning the farce that parades as a coalition government, putting an end to Mugabe's claim of racism against him and his policies. That claim seems to paralyse European governments and to limit the actions of African ones while Zimbabwe withers.
Sir Ronald Sanders is a consultant and former Caribbean diplomat.
From the inception of the provisional inclusive government, I was
among the thousands scepticals.My misgivings to this process was
mainly a founded product of years of mistrust and coersion which ZANU
PF incalculated in its subjects. However, I have come to appreciate
that there is no alternative to it and those political leaders who
advocate for it deserve our unconditional support for the sake of our
As a history academic I always believed that History would not repeat
itself-but not in Zimbabwe. In just a space of three decades we have
seen Zimbabweans turning to political unity or settlements whenever
confronted by political problems. This concept first surfaced in the
late 70s with The Internal Settlement which gave birth to
Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, Bishop Abel Mzorewa as its Prime Minister.
Although, it did not stop the war, an attempt was made to solve the
political problem of the day through inclusion of contesting political
The Unity Accord of December 1987 between ZAPU and ZANU is another
example whereby Zimbabweans used their collective efforts to solve
their political challenge/divide. Almost two decades later Zimbabwe is
under an Inclusive Government again. I am not naive to subscribe to
the notion that these collective approaches are perfect prescription
to every political challenge but acknowledge that the collective will
shown by our political leaders deserve our support. There are
unresolved issues with the potential of derailing the Inclusive
Government. Central to this is the Gono and Tomana saga and the
appointment of Provisional Governors. I do not demean the cruciality
of these issues to ZANU PF, which over the years has consolidated its
power through these institutions. However, I do buy President Jacob
Zuma's mature analysis that these issues should be shelved for
progress' sake. I was comforted by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
realisation that negotiations to these issues should be winded up and
concentrate on the road to elections next year.
Furthermore, we have the political motivated trial of Roy Bennett and
targeted sanctions to contend with. Add this up to the Constitution
making processes and the dismantling of JOC institutions (credited for
running a violent election campaign in 2008) and a partisan
war-veterans; odds are against a new political dispensation in
Zimbabwe. However, the resilience of the Zimbabwean people should not
be put to question. Instead, all these detractions could be turned
into challenges which should inspire us to up our political game to
overcome these obstacles. We did not opt out for the civil war route
at a time when it appeared as the only option open and we will not
follow it after elections next year because it is unZimbabwean.A word
of caution to those rogue military personnel who may be dreaming of
reversing our democratic political mandate next year,Zimbabweans will
not put up with a military regime.
Rather, we should acknowledge that in any family arguments are normal
but as long as we keep focused on establishing a new political order;
our sacrifice is not in vein. Detractors for the Inclusive Government
will always be there, both internally and externally but as
Zimbabweans if we continue to strive for a new Zimbabwe, victory will
be ours. Moreso, our journey to a new Zimbabwe has taught me that we
need each other more than yesterday. Guided by the Global Political
Agreement, we should build genuine bonds, surrendering personal
agendas to our ultimate mission-a free, democratic Zimbabwe. It is the
duty of every conscientious Zimbabwean to work tirelessly to be part
of the solution, focussing on the positive contributions everyone is
making rather than dwelling on the negatives.
It is upon this that I subscribe to the Inclusive Government
unreservedly and I challenge my countrymen and women to rise-up and
join me in this arduous journey to the New Zimbabwe.
Words of enrichment from 1 Kings 3: 25-27:-could be our divine
provisions "Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half
to the other." The woman whose son was alive was filled with
compassion for her son and said to the King, "Please, my LORD, give
her the living baby! Don't kill him!" But the other said, "Neither I
nor you shall have him, Cut him in two." Then the King gave his
ruling: "Give the living baby to the first woman. Don't kill him; she
is the mother."
BILL WATCH SPECIAL
[14th February 2010]
House of Assembly Portfolio Committee Public Hearings Commencing 15th February
Hearings on Public Order and Security Amendment Bill
The portfolio committee on Defence and Home Affairs will be holding public hearings on this Bill as follows:
Monday 15th February at Murehwa Centre, Murehwa, at 10 am
Tuesday 16th February at Queen’s Hall, Mutare, at 9 am
Wednesday 17th February at Masvingo Civic Centre, Masvingo, at 9 am
Thursday 18th February at Large City Hall, Bulawayo, at 9 am
Thursday 18th February at Gweru Theatre, Gweru, at 5 pm
Friday 19th February at Rimuka Hall, Kadoma, at 9 am
Monday 22nd February at Christian Jubilee Centre, Milton Park, Harare at 9 am
[Available from Veritas on request: electronic versions of the Bill and of the Public Order and Security Act annotated to show the effect of the amendments proposed by the Bill.]
Hearings on the State of Local Authority Service Delivery
The Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development will be holding public hearings on the state of service delivery by local authorities, which among other issues will touch on provision of water, collection of refuse, repair of burst water and sewer pipes, and maintenance of roads, as follows:
Monday 15th February at Dudley Hall Primary School, Norton, at 10 am
Tuesday 16th February at Unit L Hall, Chitungwiza, at 10 am
Friday 19th February in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Building, at 10 am
Public Welcome to Attend Hearings
Interested Stakeholders and members of public are invited to attend these hearings at which they will be given the opportunity to give evidence and make representations. If you are making a written submission it is advisable to take as many copies as possible for circulation at the meeting. If you are able to take a copy to Parliament before the meeting and give it to the Committee clerk [see below] she will duplicate copies for the members of the Committees.
If you want to make an oral submission signify this to the clerk so she can notify the chairperson to call on you. An oral submission is more effective if it is followed up in writing.
If you are unable to attend a hearing, written submissions and correspondence may be addressed to:
The Clerk of Parliament
Attention: Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs [or Local Government, Rural and Urban Development]
P.O. Box CY298
Contact details for Committee Clerks
Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs
Telephone nos. (04) 700181-9 252936-50 ext 2216 [Mr P Daniel]
Fax no 04 252935
Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development
Telephone nos. (04) 700181-9 252936-50 ext 2153 [Mrs N Khumalo]
Fax no 04 252935
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.
BILL WATCH SPECIAL
[14th February 2010]
House of Assembly Portfolio Committees and Senate Thematic Committees: 15th to 19th February
The meetings listed below are open to members of the public, but as observers only, not as participants. [See note at the end of this bulletin on public attendance/participation at different types of committee meetings.]
The week will also see countrywide public hearings by the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs on the Public Order and Security Amendment Bill and public hearings in Norton, Chitungwiza and Harare by the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development on local authority service delivery. [Details will be given in a separate Bill Watch Special]
A meeting of wide public interest is that of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy which will be hearing again from the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and from the Deputy Minister of Mines [see below]
Monday 15th February at 10 am
Portfolio Committee: Transport and Infrastructure Development
Oral evidence from ZINARA [Zimbabwe National Road Administration]
Committee Room No. 1
Chairperson: Hon Chebundo Clerk: Ms Macheza
Public Accounts Committee
Oral evidence from Ministries of Media, Information and Publicity, Transport and Infrastructural Development, and Labour and Social Services
Committee Room No. 4
Chairperson: Hon Mashakada Clerk: Mrs Nyawo
Portfolio Committee: Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism
Briefing from Ministry officials on 2010 Budget
Committee Room No. 311
Chairperson: Hon P. Dube Clerk: Mr Munjenge
Portfolio Committee: Mines and Energy
Oral evidence from Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development
Committee Room No. 413
Chairperson: Hon Chindori-Chininga Clerk: Mr Manhivi
Monday 15th February at 2 pm
Portfolio Committee: Budget, Finance, Economic Planning, Investment Promotion
Oral evidence from the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation
Committee Room No. 4
Chairperson: Hon Zhanda Clerk: Mr Ratsakatika
Tuesday 16th February at 10 am
Portfolio Committee: Local Government, Rural and Urban Development
Fact-finding visit and public hearings in Chitungwiza
Chairperson: Hon Karenyi Clerk: Mrs Khumalo
Thursday 18th February at 10 am
Portfolio Committee: Small and Medium Enterprises
Oral evidence from Ministry officials
Committee Room No. 1
Chairperson: Hon R. Moyo Clerk: Ms Mushunje
Portfolio Committee: Women, Youth, Gender and Community Development
Brief from Youth Empowerment and Transformation
Committee Room No. 3
Chairperson: Hon Matienga Clerk: Mrs Khumalo
Public Attendance at and Participation in Committee Meetings
These portfolio and thematic committee meetings are open to the public to attend as observers only. Members of the public wishing to attend a meeting should telephone Parliament first [on Harare 700181], to check with the relevant committee clerk that the meeting has not been cancelled. If you are attending, please use the Kwame Nkrumah Avenue entrance to Parliament. IDs must be produced. Members of the public are only free to participate when committees call public hearings. Veritas will send out separate notices of these public hearings and outline the procedures. Committees also sometimes have meetings where invited stakeholders [and those who notify Parliament that they consider themselves stakeholders and are accepted as such] are able to make representations and ask questions. These meetings will be highlighted in these notices. Portfolio and thematic committees meetings for deliberations are not open to the public, and these are not listed in these notices.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.