The ZIMBABWE Situation
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GPA talks doomed because of widening differences

By Tichaona Sibanda
16 February 2010

The SADC mediated Global Political Agreement talks between ZANU PF and the
two MDC formations appear to be on the brink of collapse again, sources said
on Tuesday.

The talks failed to take off once again on Monday but resumed on Tuesday
evening, according to a senior MDC official who confirmed the talks had
begun at a Harare hotel.

According to the sources, ZANU PF and the MDC-T will never shift their
positions over the appointments of Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana as the
Reserve Bank governor and Attorney-General.

The MDC-T is demanding that the appointments be reversed but ZANU PF insists
that this will not happen. In light of this dispute, the MDC-T has said the
negotiations, being held in Harare, will fail to come up with a compromise
and want the talks declared a deadlock. They also want SADC to intervene.

A source told us on Tuesday that it was common knowledge that ZANU PF felt
their hold on to power was hanging by a thread and were thus delaying the
full implementation of the GPA. 'ZANU is stalling, they are reluctant to
implement the GPA because they know once they do that they will be half way
down the home stretch to getting themselves out of power,' our source said.
The source also accused the MDC-M of playing ball with ZANU PF by prolonging
the talks, in order to extend their time in government.

All along the MDC-M chief negotiator, Welshman Ncube, had maintained a ZANU
PF stance that talks were making progress, only for him to admit this
weekend that negotiators have failed to make any headway since the talks
resumed last week.

'Nothing is moving and it is useless for us to continue telling the nation
that there is no progress while they are looking to us as government to
deliver,' Ncube reportedly told the Herald.

The state controlled newspaper reported on Tuesday that negotiations to
thrash out remaining issues in the GPA would start in the evening in the
capital, after stalling again on Monday when Welshman Ncube arrived late.
Contrary to reports, attributed to Ncube, that talks on Monday were
postponed due to the unavailability of Tendai Biti, all the other five
negotiators did meet, except Ncube.

Ncube told journalists that the Finance Minister and chief negotiator from
the MDC-T had traveled to Tunisia. But it turned out that Biti was in fact
in Harare and went to the talks' venue, only to leave two hours later after
it became apparent that Ncube was going to be very late.

Biti told journalists in Harare that they had waited for their MDC colleague
for two hours before deciding to defer the meeting. The six negotiators only
resumed discussions last week after once again adjourning the talks in
Janaury this year.

While the three principals, Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara,
have endorsed nominations for the media, human rights and electoral
commissions, the government has yet to implement what has been agreed.

Luke Zunga, a leading economist based in South Africa, told SW Radio Africa
on Tuesday that Zimbabweans should demand that the government put an end to
the political uncertainty by fully disclosing the state of the talks. The
endless inter-party talks have been ongoing for the last two years now.

Zunga said a year since the formation of the transitional, power-sharing
government, the political rivals have done little to institute promised
major political reforms.

'The leaders in government should ensure that the country embraces
progressive and sustainable change. If not, the country risks sliding back
into a political mess. In this environment of uncertainty there is no way
that economic activity will bolster or blossom because nobody can make a
proper plan when they don't know what is likely to happen,' Zunga said.


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European Union extends targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe - with names of those delisted

By Violet Gonda
16 February 2010

The European Union has extended targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe for a further
period of 12 months, but has removed six individuals and nine companies from
the list. The European Union said on Tuesday it chose to extend the measures
because of 'lack of progress in the implementation of the Global Political
Agreement signed in September 2008'.

Most of the people delisted, such as Vitalis Zvinavashe, Richard Hove and
Joseph Msika, are deceased. Journalist Basildon Peta who has been in
Brussels in the EU says out of the nine companies removed, most of them are
public companies and not ZANU PF. They include Zimre Reinsurance Company, ZB
Financial Holdings Ltd (Finhold) and the Industrial Development Corporation
of Zimbabwe. The EU said there were no longer any grounds to keep them on
the sanctions list.

Another company that has been delisted is the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel
Company. It is reported the Zimbabwean government has been urging the EU to
remove this company from the sanctions list as it is trying to sell this
company. One of the interested buyers is ArcelorMittal, the South African
subsidiary of an Indian steelmaker, who recently voiced concerns about
Zimbabwe's new indigenisation regulation saying the law will be a
significant obstacle.

But one of the companies that has been delisted is the controversial mining
firm Oryx Diamonds Ltd (Oryx Natural Resources), which was allegedly linked
to ZANU PF chef Emmerson Mnangagwa and was at one time said to have been
used to exploit minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Peta said Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been urging the EU to remove
the sanctions to give impetus to the negotiations betweens the partners in
the inclusive government.

Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party have threatened that they will make no
GPA 'concessions' until the sanctions have been removed. But Peta said those
in ZANU PF deserved to be under targeted sanctions and pointed out that even
if the restrictions had been removed there was no guarantee that the former
ruling party would behave. He said the coalition government will remain
fragile as Mugabe does not know how to share power and is succeeding in
'neutralising' the MDC.

More than 200 individuals linked to the Mugabe regime and 40 companies were
targeted when the EU imposed the sanctions in 2004.

Full list of those delisted are:
PERSONS: no 3 Al Shanfari, Thamer Bin; no 39 Dabengwa, Dumiso; no 54 Hove,
Richard; no 57 Jangara (a.k.a. Changara), Thomsen; no 113 Msika, Joseph W. ;
no 203 Zvinavashe, Vitalis
ENTITIES: no 16 Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe; no 17
Intermarket Holdings Ltd; no 22 Oryx Diamonds Ltd (a.k.a. Oryx Natural
Resources); no 27 Scotfin Ltd; no 33 ZB Financial Holdings Ltd (a.k.a.
Finhold); no 34 ZB Holdings Ltd; no 37 Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company
(a.k.a. Zisco, Ziscosteel); no 39 Zimre Holdings Ltd; no 40 Zimre
Reinsurance Company (PVT) Ltd .

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Mugabe's party 'not worried' by renewed EU sanctions

16 February 2010, 17:07 CET

(HARARE) - President Robert Mugabe's ruling party brushed off the extension
Tuesday of most EU sanctions on Zimbabwe, accusing their partner in a unity
government of backing the measures.

"We are not worried by their extension. It's a continuation of the struggle,
just like the liberation struggle. We are our own liberators. Why should we
worry?" said Rugare Gumbo, spokesman for Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

Gumbo accused the Movement of Democratic Change (MDC), the party of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, of backing the sanctions against Mugabe and
about 100 of his cohorts.

"We have always maintained that the sanctions were foisted by the MDC,"
Gumbo said.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a unity government one year ago, aiming to end
political unrest targeting mainly MDC supporters and to curb an economic

Last September the EU sent a delegation to Zimbabwe, and found that
benchmarks for reforms have not been met.

Human Rights Watch had called for extending the sanctions, accusing ZANU-PF
of continuing to abduct and kill MDC activists without punishment.
Oppressive media laws remained unchanged, and little progress has been made
in protecting human rights, the group said.

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Indigenisation bill threatens investment conference

By Alex Bell
16 February 2010

The controversial indigenisation bill which was published last week is
threatening an investment conference currently underway in Harare, with
sceptical delegates questioning Zimbabwe as a safe investment zone.

The Pan-African Tourism and Infrastructure Investment conference which got
under way on Tuesday, has been labelled as an opportunity for Zimbabwe to
reassert itself as a leading tourism destination. The conference ends
Thursday and will see Zimbabwe explaining its case to international
investors and tour operators to convince them that it remains one of Africa's
safest investment and tourism destinations. With the football World Cup set
to begin in just over three months, Zimbabwe's tourism officials have been
trying to market the country to investors, knowing that investment will be
key to rebuilding the tourism sector.

But these efforts, like so many other attempts to encourage foreign
investment, have been undermined by the draconian indigenisation bill
published last week. The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment
regulations, passed under a two year old legislation adopted by the ZANU PF
government, requires businesses to inform the government of the racial
make-up of their shareholders by mid-April. From there, the unity government
would determine how much of their shareholding would need to be ceded to
'indigenous' Zimbabweans. The government would make this choice from a
pre-decided list of 'suitable' indigenous shareholders, and business owners
could face jail time if they don't comply.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa reported on Tuesday that it is
this bill that has dissuaded many formerly interested potential investors
from even attending the Investment Conference. He explained that the
majority of top international business delegates who have been flying into
the country since last week, did not turn up to day one of the conference,
and those who did remained 'suspicious' of investing. Delegates trying to
get clarification on how the indigenisation bill would affect their
potential investments also received little guidance, with the conference
"trying to avoid all questions about Zimbabwe's politics and things like the

"This indigenisation bill is just one of the many things threatening
investment, like the farm invasions and the political uncertainty," Muchemwa
Muchemwa explained that the conference has become a 'fundraising exercise'
for the tourism ministry, with Minister Walter Mzembi openly appealing for
funding to help the country's premier tourism destinations be ready for the
World Cup. The Minister said that an estimated billion dollars would be
needed to help Zimbabwe get ready to receive tourists at Victoria Falls, the
only destination considered as a tourist hot spot. Muchemwa said there is
widespread criticism over the fact that the government has the gall to ask
for money, a week after the controversial indigenisation bill was announced.

Tourism in Zimbabwe has declined almost completely as a result of the
violent farm seizures which began in  2000, as well as ongoing human rights
violations and the complete disregard for the rule of the law. These same
issues have been standing in the way of potential investment in the country,
which is still to see any real change, more than a year since the formation
of the unity government. Minister Mzembi told reporters at a pre-conference
meeting in Harare last Friday that his strategy was to make 2010 the year of
investment after what he called the "year of reengagement in 2009."

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AAG vows to force foreign firms to comply

February 16, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has issued an ominous warning
to foreign companies opposed to the controversial indigenization law ,
saying that the organization will assist the government to ensure compliance
with the new legislation.

The law prescribes that foreign companies cede 51 percent of their stake to
black Zimbabweans.

The indigenization lobbying group also rebuked Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai who last week declared as null and void what he described as the
unilateral application of the law by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu- PF

"The law is law now, and any companies that do not abide by the law will be
dealt with accordingly," AAG secretary-general Tafadzwa Musarara told
journalists in Harare Monday.

"AAG is the vanguard of broad-based black economic empowerment. We shall
help the ministry to police where possible.

"The doctrine of clean hands is clear at law; you comply first then you go
and complain. Until such a time when the minister shall rescind it or the
courts shall see fit to overturn it, the law is operational."

Saviour Kasukuwere's Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenization and
Empowerment published the new Economic Empowerment (General) Regulations of
2010, dated January 29, and spelling out the country's indigenization

The regulations are set to take effect shortly on March 1.

The gazetting of the regulations immediately sparked a fresh dispute within
the country's inclusive government. Tsvangirai said the regulations were
published without due process as detailed in the constitution.

He said the law was short-sighted and destructive as it would scare away
potential investors who were willing to give the inclusive government the
benefit of doubt.

The MDC views the law as too harsh for a country that still needs to attract
foreign investment and recover from a decade long unprecedented economic

The MDC blames the collapse of the economy on what it describes as Zanu-PF's
populist policies.

"We are perturbed now by certain voices coming from different political
formations that seek to shoot down this Act without necessarily providing a
counter proposal," said Musarara.

Musarara was adamant foreign investors were reluctant to come and set up
businesses in Zimbabwe because of Western-imposed sanctions alleged by
Zanu-PF to have been invited on the country by the MDC.

"Investors have not shied away because of this law but (because of)
sanctions," said Musarara. "We have had sanctions affecting us for the last
10 years; that affected key institutions like the banking sector, the Grain
Marketing Board and influential leaders to fully execute the duties that
they are expected to ."

The AAG, which threatened to seize milk processing company, Nestle, after
the company terminated a milk procurement contract with Gushungo Dairy Farm,
denied it was an appendage of Zanu-PF.  The farm is owned by President
Mugabe and his family.

Musarara said it was a mere coincidence that the AAG articulated the same
views as Zanu-PF.

Speaking at the same occasion, AAG vice president Themba Mliswa said the
business people who stood to be affected by the law should not be misled by

"The law has nothing to do with which side you are on politically," said
Mliswa. "As Zimbabweans, we must abide by the law. I think it's better for
people to comply with the law and follow the due process.

"The law said white farmers must go and white farmer went and more white
farmers are still going."

The Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act was passed by the previous
Parliament when Zanu-PF enjoyed the two thirds majority required for a law
to be enacted

The MDC, then a minority opposition party, failed to block the law.

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Zimbabwe Pressure Group Plans Xenophobic Attacks

16/02/2010 14:30:00

Harare, February 16, 2010 - Zimbabwe's militant black empowerment group, the
Affirmative Action Group (AAG) on Monday said they will use force to rid of
all Nigerians running businesses in the country's cities and towns to pave
the way for black Zimbabweans.

The group said the Nigerians were running business operations which should
be run by black Zimbabweans and therefore they should be forced to leave to
allow locals to enjoy the privilege.

The AAG Harare regional president, Charles Nyachowa, told reporters in
Harare the radical group would ensure foreigners, especially Nigerians, move
out of their businesses and allow locals to own and run them.

Nyachowa said they have already approached government and presented their
position with regards to the mushrooming of businesses run by Nigerians in
Harare and other cities and towns.

He said the group will also deal decisively with Zimbabweans that connive
with the foreigners to frustrate their efforts.

"The Nigerians are using Zimbabweans as fronts because if these businesses
are registered in the names of Zimbabweans but yet they are run by
Nigerians," Nyachowa said.

He said Zimbabweans were actually forcing their daughters and sisters to
marry Nigerians in return for cash and other favours.

Lately Nigerian nationals and those from other West African countries such
as Senegal and Guinea have flooded Zimbabwe's major cities and towns running
business ventures ranging from clothing retail, electrical shops and selling
cell phone gadgets and accessories.

Nyachowa said such businesses should be owned and run by disadvantaged black
Zimbabweans instead of foreigners.

He said foreigners should bring machines to manufacture goods and
sophicicated technical expertise into the country.

Nyachowa was speaking at press conference called by the AAG to announce its
support for the new Act that compels foreign owned companies to cede a 51
percent shareholding to black Zimbabweans.

The AAG secretary general, Tafadzwa Musarara, said the group would move
door-to-door to check whether companies are complying with the new laws.

He said his group will deal with any company that fails to comply with the
provision of the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act.

Controversial fitness trainer, Temba Mliswa, the AAG vice-president also
attended the press conference urging Zimbabweans to embrace the new Act
saying it was "meant to empower" every Zimbabwean.

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Investors evicted from hotel parking by armed police

Written by Staff Reporter
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 10:13
Harare - local and foreign investors attending the Pan African Tourism
Investment conference on Investment Opportunities in Tourism in Harare were
on Monday night refused entry into the hotel parking area by armed police
keeping the vast secure parking space for, Vice President John Nkomo.
Journalists were also denied entry to cover the event by the conference
organizers. The  Vice President was the guest at the opening ceremony last
night at Crown Plaza hotel in Harare. Visitors   had to look for alternative
parking space  around town where they paid for parking space and come on
foot to attend the function, after armed police cleared the whole hotel
parking space for Nkomo. This was not expected at an important event which,
according to ZTA, was attended by more than 600 local and foreigners who had
come to find business opportunities.
Visitors were heard arguing with the police. "How can you (police) spare the
entire parking space for one person at the expense of all the delegates whom
the country has invited? Who is the owner of this conference, us visitors or
the Vice President? Where do you want us to park our cars and are you aware
that there are visitors who do not know this country," asked angry delegates
who had no choice but to comply.
Harare has record of dangerous car hijackers and the move by the police, to
refuse delegates guarded hotel parking space exposed foreigners to a great
security risk and further tarnishes the country's battered image.
Journalists who had come to cover the event were refused entry by officials
from a company called Ai africainvestor, because they were not accredited. A
ZTA official said they were not in-charge of the conference before ordering
the affected journalists to visit their (ZTA) offices in the capital on
"If you have been  denied entry to cover the  night  event  please come  and
register  tomorrow because we are equally  powerless at the moment," said
the official who requested anonymity saying that she  was not allowed to
talk to the media. Efforts by this publication to get an official comment
from Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter Mzembi were fruitless as his
mobile phone was not reachable.

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Divided loyalties stall regional economic integration

Posted by Own Staff  Wednesday ,17 February 2010 02:01

PROGRESS in moving towards higher levels of economic integration has been
very slow in both Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and
Southern African Development Community (SADC) regions due to conflicting
loyalties and commitments of member states, the Director in the Ministry of
Regional Integration and International Co-operation has said.

In an interview on the sidelines of a workshop conducted by the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Mr Angelica Katuruza said the
slow progress had also been due to the fact that the two organisations had
different approaches.

"In terms of regional integration progression, the two organisations, COMESA
and SADC have each adopted different approaches to the regional integration
process. COMESA drives integration through trade with much focus on tariffs
and other trade impediments, while on the other hand, SADC's integration
agenda is premised on principles of co-operation and development," he said.

Katuruza also said regional integration efforts in East and Southern Africa
were faced with the problem of multiple memberships, as 18 countries, with
the exception of Mozambique, belonged to at least two organizations aimed at
establishing free trade areas (FTA) and customs unions (CU).

"This multiplicity has resulted in extra burden being placed on most
countries as those countries have to meet the obligation from the more than
one group they belong to," he said.

Most of these countries, including Zimbabwe, stand to benefit a lot from the
Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that involve countries in COMESA and

"The agreements provides for duty and quota free market access, duty free
and quota free market access on 100% exportable products into EU, duty free
quota free market access on 80% exportable products into Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe
to gradually liberalise 80% of tradable products into Zimbabwe, EU to offer
immediate market access, 20% of tradable goods in the list of sensitive
products in the case of Zimbabwe. The agreement also allows for development
co-operation and reciprocity," said Katuruza.

This development has a positive implication on Zimbabwe as it will have
preference erosion (sugar and beef), duty free access by EU products onto
Zimbabwe market.

Katuruza added that it was therefore important for Zimbabwe to make some
innovative changes in its industries.

"Zimbabwe industries should now develop measures to make our industries
competitive, for example, in packaging; industry must modernise (antiquated
equipment). In addition, Government should also put up deliberate assistance
to industry, for example, Support low interest rates loans. Industry itself
must be made aware of these developments and should be assisted to export.
There is also a need for an attitude change on the part of both industry and
Government as well as to seek assistance from co-operating partners for the
industry," he said.

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MDC official remains locked up in Bindura

By Alex Bell
16 February 2010

An MDC official who was arrested over the weekend for 'insulting the office
of the president' is still behind bars in Bindura, with the civil servants
strike preventing him from seeing the inside of a court.

Godfrey Chimombe, the MDC provincial vice chairman for Mashonaland Central,
was arrested over the weekend for allegedly 'insulting the president' at a
political rally earlier this month. He faces a jail sentence of up to two
years if convicted, but no court date has yet been set as a result of the
civil servants strike, which has seen court officials across the country
down tools.

Bindura police say Chimombe 'insulted the office of the president' when he
chanted out the slogan, "Mugabe Mudenga muroverei pasi" - an MDC slogan
suggesting the party can bring Mugabe 'down' from power.  He was addressing
an MDC rally at Mapfura stadium in Mt Darwin.
The Zimbabwe chapter of the pressure group Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR
Zimbabwe) has condemned the arrest. The group's Chief Executive Tichanzii
Gandanga said in a statement that the arrest and ongoing detention of the
MDC official is "controversial and unlawful."
"It appears security agents are on a mission to create an impression that
there is a cult of holy leaders among those serving in public office who are
exempt from criticism and scrutiny," said Gandanga, who added, "Under normal
circumstance politicians should not be persecuted for utterances made at
political rallies."


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Zimbabwe's tobacco sales marked by higher production

February 16, 2010

Zimbabwe's annual tobacco selling season began on an upbeat note Tuesday
when a bumper crop went under the hammer, attributed by industry officials
to good prices and more farmers.

In all, 77 million kilogrammes (77 000 metric tonnes) of tobacco were sold,
an increase from 56 million sold last year, officials said.

Njodzi Machirori, chairman of the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board, said
higher production was due to firming prices in the industry and an increase
in the number of farmers.

"Last year, tobacco was the only crop that paid out well compared to others
and as a result we have more new farmers," Machirori told AFP. "We also
anticipate that by the end of the season the actual production might reach
85 million kilogrammes."

Small scale growers produced 35 million kilogrammes while the remainder came
from large scale growers, Machirori said.

Elton Moyo, a newly resettled farmer who was growing tobacco for the first
time and came to the auction with nine bales, said he was pleased with the
first day of trading.

"The pricing was good and I do not regret venturing into tobacco industry,"
he told AFP. "The sector is well supported when compared to other commercial
crops. My tobacco was sold for a good price."

Over the years, tobacco production and earnings declined due to President
Robert Mugabe's controversial land reforms, which he said were meant to
address colonial imbalances between white landowners and the black majority.

Production has also suffered as a result of successive years of drought.

Traditionally, tobacco sales start in April but this year they were brought
forward at the request of small scale growers, who said they needed the
money from the sales to finance their next crop.

Last year, tobacco earnings contributed 26 percent towards Zimbabwe's gross
domestic product, but the figure is expected to be higher this year. -

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Plans for all-night Robert Mugabe birthday party 'are insensitive'

Opponents condemn proposals to mark Zimbabwean president's 86th birthday as unemployment reaches nine in 10

Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe: His 86th birthday is set to be celebrated with an all-night party. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Plans to hold a lavish all-night birthday party for the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, were today condemned as insensitive to the suffering of the country's people.

Mugabe's 86th birthday will be celebrated next week with an "extravagant overnight gala" starring local and international musicians, the Zimbabwe Times reported.

The paper said Anywhere Mutambudzi, a retired army major who is an official with the information ministry, would organise the event - being held in Bulawayo - which would run from 6pm on 26 February until 6am the following day.

It quoted Mutambudzi as telling state television: "The gala will feature all major local, as well as some foreign, musicians from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa."

Mugabe, whose birthday is on 21 February, shows no signs of slowing down or willingness to relinquish power to Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), his rival in Zimbabwe's unity government.

Opponents criticised the party plans at a time when Zimbabwe's teachers are on strike over pay and around nine in 10 people are unemployed.

Simba Makoni, a former senior member of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, said: "I'm not aware of the source of the money, but I suspect that state resources will be funnelled to this event improperly.

"If they use state funds for a private citizen's birthday when basic services are starved of funding, it would be the worst degree of insensitivity and disregard for the needs of the people of Zimbabwe.

"It would be an act of gross negligence and incompetence ... no competent state would do such a thing."

David Coltart, the education minister in the power-sharing government, said: "If this is private money, it's none of my business.

"However, if it's government money then it's better spent on school textbooks."

Coltart, a member of the MDC, added that "all the most flamboyant displays of wealth are inappropriate" at a time when government spending on education was paltry.

Raymond Majongwe, the secretary general of the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe, said he did not object to the celebration in principle but added that an extravagant cost would "not be in order" when the union's members were being forced to take industrial action.

Since 1986, Mugabe's birthday celebrations have been organised by a Zanu-PF youth group called the 21 February Movement, initially modelled on scouting and aimed at promoting children's rights.

Last year, the president celebrated his 85th birthday with a week of parties costing hundreds of thousands of US dollars.

The events included a banquet, a gala dinner, a public feast and a concert at which dozens of animals were slaughtered.

More pomp and ceremony is expected for the 30th anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in April - also signifying Mugabe's 30 years in power.

The MDC said last week that fresh elections may be needed after the latest efforts to end deadlock with Mugabe in the one-year-old unity government ended in failure.

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Zimbabwe cancels British diamond miner's licence

HARARE, Feb 16 (AFP)

Zimbabwe has cancelled a British firm's mining license, the company's lawyer
said Tuesday, in the latest tussle over diamond fields plagued by human
rights abuses.

The decision to cancel the license of African Consolidated Resources to mine
the eastern Marange fields came days after government unveiled new
regulations to force foreign firms to give locals a majority stake in major

"My clients received a letter last week informing them of the intention to
cancel their licence," the firm's lawyer Jonathan Samkange told AFP.

"We were given up to March 10 to appeal against the decision."

The London Stock Exchange-listed ACR has been embroiled in a legal fight
with mining authorities after it was ordered in 2006 to suspend its
operations in Marange.

The minefields then fell to illegal miners including foreign nationals.
Security agents used brutal force to evict the diamond panners, resulting in
deaths and serious injuries.

Reports by rights groups and mining watchdogs implicated security forces in
human rights violations including detaining and forcing people to use bare
hands to refill holes left by the illegal miners.

A probe by the global diamond regulator Kimberley Processes censured the
government over the rights violations and ordered the withdrawal of security

Samkange said ACR would press ahead with its legal battle to win back its
mining rights, in a case now before Zimbabwe's Supreme Court.

Last month the Supreme Court ordered ordered the central bank to keep
129,400 carats of diamonds, seized from ACR in 2007, until the courts make a
final determination in the case.

Zimbabwe last week published new regulations to give local investors a 51
percent stake in major corporations such as banks and mines.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the regulations which are to take
effect in March were invalid as they were not discussed and approved by
cabinet, highlight tensions in Zimbabwe's strained unity government.

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Prison Officer missing after trial

By Gerald Chateta

Published: February 16, 2010

Mutare - A prison officer based in Mutare is missing after receiving threats
from the   dreaded CIO and the police, despite his acquittal by the courts
for charges of replacing ZANU-PF posters in 2008.

The officer Cleopas Zvaita is said to have disappeared from his work place
accommodation after receiving some tip offs from colleagues in the CIO and
police that they had been directed to monitor his movements.

Zvaita who was facing charges of replacing ZANU-PF posters with MDC-T's was
on the 4th of February 2010 acquitted by the courts.

He however is still on suspension despite being acquitted.

Officers at the Prison said the move by the Zimbabwe Prison Service not to
reinstate Zvaita was a deliberate ploy to further victimize him.

"This is not surprising, because ZPS is being run on partisan basis. We have
a number of officers who were dismissed from the service for supporting
certain political parties," said officers who denied to be named for fear of

In 2008 presidential elections, prison officers were ordered to vote for
ZANU-PF presidential candidate Robert Mugabe

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Civil Servants protest rallies suspended

By Privilege Musvanhiri

Published: February 16, 2010

Harare  -  Civil servants union leaders have suspended outreach rallies
meant to drum up support for the on going strike action following
revelations that the industrial action is now 'turning political'.

A rally scheduled for Marondera today (Tuesday) has been suspended.

Some union leaders are blaming Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Finance
Minister Tendai Biti for failing to address the plight of the civil

Last week, Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Manuel Nyawo
accused Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Mutare for running a parallel
government whose workers are alleged to be earning a hefty $7 000 compared
to low wages of between $122 and $236 being offered by government to other
civil servants.

Nyawo said PM Tsvangirai should redirect money being spent on parallel
government staff to genuine civil servants. He said the Prime Minister
should divert money running the alleged parallel government to treasury
saying he was creating divisions among civil servants.

Addressing civil servants who gathered at a workers rally in Chinhoyi on
Monday, the Secretary General of the Progressive Teachers Union in Zimbabwe
said some people are blaming the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister for
failing to address the workers plight.

Raymond Majongwe said the blame must not be put on individuals but the
entire government for the responsibility of addressing the workers plight.

"Some of our comrades are bringing in unnecessary accusations against
personalities in government.

"It would be a tragedy to continue blaming people whom we know are not
ultimately responsible. There has been accusations on the Prime Minister for
allegedly running a parallel government whose workers are paid handsomely.
Some of the ascensions have not been substantiated at all," Majongwe said.

The secretary for the APEX board responsible for public service salary
negotiations Tendai Chikowore added that workers problems must be addressed
by the entire government and not to pick on individuals.

Workers rallies which began in Harare on the 5th of February have been held
in the country's major towns.

Public service workers went on strike a fortnight ago to press for a decent
wage which they want to be pegged at $630 but government says it has no

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Congressional delegation visits Zimbabwe


U.S. Embassy Harare
Public Affairs Office

Press Release: Congressional delegation visits Zimbabwe

A five-member congressional delegation of the U.S. House of Representatives
will visit Zimbabwe February 18th 2010 to assess progress in the
implementation of the Global Political Agreement, economic reforms and visit
U.S. funded humanitarian assistance projects.

While in Zimbabwe the Congressional delegation, led by Representative
Gregory Meeks (D-New York) and Representative Melvin Watt (D-North
Carolina), plans to meet with senior government officials from the major
political parties and leaders from non-governmental organizations.  Other
members of the delegation include Representatives André Carson (D-Indiana)
and Jack Kingston (R-Georgia).

This is the second visit to Zimbabwe in six months for Congressmen Meeks,
Watt and Kingston.  In September 2009, Congressman Meeks led a five-member
delegation that met with President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo and the
tri-partite chairs of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the

# # #

Issued by Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs Officer, February 16, 2010


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Speaker Moyo lashes out at The Herald

February 16, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo has lashed out at the
state- controlled Herald newspaper for alleged bias against his office,
while magnifying what he described as perceived differences between him and
Austin Zvoma, the Clerk of Parliament.

Speaking through his spokesperson Xolani Zitha on Tuesday, Moyo dismissed
the said clashes between him and Zvoma as was reported in Tuesday's issue of
The Herald.

"We are not dealing with a credible paper which seeks to observe ethical
practice in its journalism," Zitha told The Zimbabwe Times.

"We see rather attempts to paint the Speaker consistently in bad light. The
Herald is not a credible publication onto whose words we should all hang as
if they are said by people who are virtuous."

In its Tuesday edition, the Herald stated in a front-page lead article that
Moyo and Zvoma had clashed over procedures pertaining to the presentation of
motions for debate in the House.

According to the Herald, the clash had been sparked by a motion moved by
Zanu-PF MP for Mwenezi East, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, two weeks ago on the need
for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC to call for the lifting of the sanctions
on Zimbabwe by western nations.

Zanu-PF argues that the sanctions were imposed at the instigation of the
MDC, now a partner in the inclusive government.

The Herald reported that the motion had "ignited the latest spat, with the
two arguing on how it should have been brought before the House".

The motion had reportedly caused the premature adjournment of Parliament
after MDC tried to block the motion saying it was not introduced

The MDC further alleged the motion was not in the spirit of the Global
Political Agreement signed in September 2008 by Zanu- PF and the two MDC

But Nomalanga Khumalo, then acting speaker, allowed the controversial motion
to pass after she had concurred with Zvoma.

Commenting on the incident, Zitha said the Herald had in fact phoned Moyo
last week to seek his opinion on the matter to which Moyo responded by
referring them back to Khumalo, who presided over the proceedings.

Said Zitha, "There is no war between the Speaker and the Clerk of
Parliament, as is reported in The Herald. This is a side show which The
Herald seeks to give prominence and one does not know whether they are
running out of news or not."

Commenting on an earlier fallout between Moyo and Zvoma also published in
The Herald, Zitha said the Speaker was surprised that correspondence that
was exchanged between him and Zvoma had been leaked to the Herald which went
on to publish an article about Zvoma apparently lashing out at Moyo for
allegedly seeking to interfere with the Speaker's duties.

"Clearly there is politics around that and we don't know by whom and for
what interest," said Zitha.

Zitha complained that the Herald had given Zvoma, Zimbabwe's long-serving
Clerk of Parliament, acres of space to present his case but failed to do the
same for Moyo.

Responding to a question  on the nature of relations between Moyo and Zvoma,
Zitha responded, "We are managing to work together but it is not easy".

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UNICEF stops water chemical supplies to urban councils

Posted by Own Staff Wednesday, 17 February 2010 01:53

The United Nations International Children's Education Fund (UNICEF)has said
that it will stop its supplying local authorities with water purification
chemicals in March this year on un clear circumstances.

The organisation intervened to bail out Zimbabwe's urban councils at the
height of the economic crisis in 2008. The Bulawayo City Council (BCC)'s
acting Finance Director, Kempton Ndimande said in an interview that the
local authority's work and financial
demands had been made light by UNICEF's donations, but ratepayers who could
hardly pay their debts made it difficult for the local authority to deliver.

"UNICEF last donated to us in September last year and in addition to that
they have indicated that they are stopping supplies next
month. This means now the local authority will have to revert to the  duty
of also buying chemicals which had become the duty of UNICEF since it
intervened. With the ratepayers reluctant to pay for council services it
will be a difficult task for us to accomplish," said Ndimande.

Efforts to get a comment from UNICEF's Zimbabwe Chapter Director from Harare
were fruitless by the time of going to the press. However, the council
official confirmed the developments saying he would only give an update if
there would be any other new developments on the issue.

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Zimbabwe's RTG plans to double room capacity

Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:04pm GMT

* RTG plans to double room capacity

* Plans to expand in Zambia's Copperbelt, Mozambique

HARARE, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's second largest hotelier Rainbow
Tourism Group (RTG.ZI: Quote) plans to double its room capacity in the next
two years to take advantage of an expected rise in the number of visitors to
the region, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

RTG's Chipo Mtasa said the hotel group, which specialises in three-star
business hotels but also has luxury lodges in some of Zimbabwe's tourist
resorts, was looking to expand into Zambia's Copperbelt region and
Mozambique's east coast, areas which she said were not dominated by large
hotel groups.

"By focusing on countries that are closer to us, we can grow our base and
brand before we expand into the rest of Africa," Mtasa told Reuters.

Mtasa declined to comment on how much the hotel group would spend on the
expansion because the company was in a restricted period in the run-up to
reporting earnings.

Industry sources estimate RTG, which already has 1,000 rooms, would need to
invest up to $100 million.

Zimbabwe has struggled to attract tourists in the last decade as it made
headlines with violent seizures of white-owned farms to election violence
and political repression to the world's highest rate of hyper-inflation at
one time.

Tourist income fell from $360 million at its peak in 1999 to only $29
million in 2008.

But since last year's formation of a coalition government between President
Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai the situation has
improved and official figures show that tourism could be on a rebound with
an expected growth of 10 percent this year, up from 6.5 percent in 2009.

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Do white Africans exist?

By Haru Mutasa

 February 16th, 2010

President Robert Mugabe wants all businesses operating in the country to be
51 per cent owned by black Zimbabweans, not white. It seems being white and
African is a foreign concept.

It depends on which side of the fence one is standing on - and it's a topic
that's become very pertinent in Zimbabwe.

President Robert Mugabe wants all businesses operating in the country to be
51 per cent owned by black Zimbabweans, not white. It seems being white and
African is a foreign concept.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai, from the opposition party the Movement for
Democratic Change, is trying to fight the bill saying it's unlawful and will
scare away foreign investors. The matter has also not been approved by

So while Zimbabwean politicians bicker again, white Zimbabweans are left
wondering HOW they will be affected. They are not dark enough to be seen as
Africans by some on the continent.

Mugabe's argument

Put aside theories that he may be trying to garner up more support, or he is
just out to grab lucrative resources or he is just trying to reward
loyalists within his party - Mugabe argues he wants to empower poor black

His argument seems to be historical. White settlers came to what was then
called Rhodesia in the 1800s. They carved out all the good farming land for
themselves, pushed blacks onto infertile areas of the country where space
was limited.

Blacks were subjected to cruel suppressive racial laws that saw them being
treated as second class citizens. They weren't even allowed to vote and have
a say in the running of their country.

Mugabe is saying its payback time. Whites have been living relatively better
than the black majority - and a shift in wealth is long overdue.

On paper I believe this makes a lot of sense. It isn't morally right that a
majority in a country are the poorest. Indigenisation or empowerment is
necessary and long overdue in Africa BUT it has to be done properly.

South Africa is talking about one day nationalising mines and other
businesses, so indigenisation is nothing new on the African continent.

But remember Zimbabwe's land reform policy that so far hasn't achieved what
it set out to achieve.

White Zimbabweans?

Mugabe argues whites in the country are trespassing. They came from Europe
mainly looking for a fresh start and fortune; many of them found both. He
believes they've stolen enough over the years and it's time for them to go
home - wherever that is.

White Zimbabweans, many of them third or fourth generation, say Africa is
home and they have no ties to Europe anymore. They grew up in Zimbabwe and
that way of life is the only life they know.

They say they made their wealth through hard work and generations of toiling
on the farms and businesses, and that is why they are now reaping the

Nothing was stolen they argue - they worked for it.

They argue whites who were allegedly cruel and racist to black Zimbabweans
before independence in 1980 were a tiny number. Others say they were caught
up in a system where they were forced to treat blacks in a degrading way
because if they didn't their families would be targeted by Ian Smith's
minority government.

Clearly both sides are embellishing the truth.

A big worry to all in the country should be what will foreign investors
think about this latest move. Ziimbabwe's politicians are travelling the
globe, begging the international community for money and investment. This
move could end any trade agreements on the cards.

Why can't people just be Zimbabweans and not be classified into black and
white? When will Africa's hang ups over race finally end?

And when will the colour of one's skin stop being used as a way to empower
or dispossess one of his or her wealth?

And on a continent where there is such an overwhelming majority of black
people is there really such a thing as white Africans?

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HOT SEAT: Indigenisation debate


HOT SEAT: Indigenisation debate with Supa Mandiwanzira the President of the Affirmative Action Group, businessman Mutumwa Mawere, economist Daniel Ndlela and journalist Peta Thornycroft

BROADCAST: 12 February 2010

VIOLET GONDA: Last week the government passed a new regulation which requires businesses to hand over at least 51 per cent ownership to indigenous Zimbabweans. It is said the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment regulation is meant to benefit ‘indigenous’ Zimbabweans who were disadvantaged before independence in 1980 but there have been mixed reactions about this.  Some have said it may give marginalised groups a chance in the competitive job market but others say the move sends a very wrong message to much needed potential investors and could lead to chaos similar to the seizure of white commercial farms in Zimbabwe. Furthermore, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai revealed the move had been made without his knowledge, even though he is in charge of all policy formulations by cabinet. To discuss these latest developments my guests on the programme Hot Seat are Supa Mandiwanzira the President of the Affirmative Action Group, businessman Mutumwa Mawere, economist Daniel Ndlela and journalist Peta Thornycroft. Let me start by getting your views on this new law, let’s start with Supa.

SUPA MANDIWANZIRA : Well my views are that this is the most exciting development that has taken place in Zimbabwe. In fact when the regulations were gazetted last Friday you could just equate the excitement to that of 18 April 1980.

GONDA: Mutumwa Mawere?

MUTUMWA MAWERE I think if you are blind, anything is exciting but if you recognise what time it is and what is required to advance the country’s interest and what has made other countries progress and if you are looking at social and economic change then you have to pause and reflect and actually try to locate what is required to move forward.

GONDA: Daniel Ndlela?

DANIEL NDLELA: Well to me this law in fact, is not exciting at all because at this stage Zimbabwe is the one that needs investors. The existing investors and those investors that are still coming and given the fact that the law is actually saying that Zimbabwe is not a favourable destination on Earth, is not an attractive destination on Earth, it is not going to be exciting to the majority of Zimbabweans. It might actually be exciting to a few who can actually get their share of where they have not sown.

GONDA: Right, and Peta?

PETA THORNYCROFT: My first reaction was good, this is a jolly good story, I’m going to make some money today and then I started phoning people and I spoke to Dr Ndlela first and he gave me such a great quote. And then I phoned around and I then was landed up being of the opinion that this is an appalling set of regulations which are way in advance in their effect from regulations that what was in the regulations should have been included in the Act in Parliament.

GONDA: Let me go back to Supa who has said that he was so excited when he heard about this but according to the general feeling on this panel; it’s an appalling set of regulations which could drive away investors. What can you say about this Supa?

MANDIWANZIRA : I think that with all due respect to the other panellists, I think that there’s a complete misunderstanding of the intentions and what the objectives of these regulations are. First and foremost, a law was passed in the Parliament of Zimbabwe, in a parliament that was represented by ZANU PF, the MDC and others, what has now taken place are moves or steps towards implementation of that law - because if you put together a law, the next thing, it must be implemented, so this is the whole process that was started a long time ago that people shouldn’t be surprised about. But if people are also honest, all investors have been sitting on the fence looking at Zimbabwe because the argument has been ‘we’re not sure where Zimbabwe is going, we’re not sure what the Indigenisation laws are, we’re not sure whether if we come in with our money it’s not going to be expropriated and things like that’. What this does is actually manna for the investors because it clarifies the situation, so any investor sitting in South Africa, London, New York or Japan will now know what is on the table and make a decision, corporate decision to say I’m not putting my money there or I’m putting my money there because things have been put on the table and they have been clarified.

GONDA: Mr Mawere, do you agree with this, that investors have been sitting on the fence and this will actually help investors decide on what they need to do on the issue of investing in Zimbabwe?

MAWERE: Not necessarily, I think nation building is an enterprise that has its own foundational principles. If you were to locate a Zimbabwean and say this is a previously disadvantaged, you are after 30 years of Independence, how do you proceed on that enterprise? Who would be included, who would not be included? If I am white, I came in to Zimbabwe when the flag was raised in 1980 and I invested, I made my money, how can you distinguish me with somebody who was born in the country, maybe on the same day that I was born and then you build a foundation on that basis.

Yes in Zimbabwe has an ugly past, but how best can it be resolved? Through shared transfer of schemes and to what benefit? So if a bad law doesn’t become a good law because instruments have been gazetted, a bad law has to stand on its own and a good law can stand on its own. If Zimbabwe were to speak, would it speak in the voice of Supa and who would be Supa representing? That is a question that he can answer but to develop a country, it’s really an idea and Zimbabwe can advance its course if it is welcoming other people. And those who do nothing, the minerals are where God left them. I can’t say because I was born in Zimbabwe the minerals belong to me merely because I was born. Then I’d be playing God myself.

But the minerals are there, somebody has to apply his or her mind, put capital to uplift the minerals where they are and convey them to a marketplace. Minerals in the ground are God’s creation and on what basis would then I come in and say because I’m in this generation, my neighbour has found a way to extract the minerals and makes money in it out of an exchange of a mineral metal into cash, but if the market collapses, that person also can collapse. There’s no guarantee that what you uplift you will be able to convey to market profitably. But if you do so, you have to spend money in Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe benefits in that enterprise so it requires a much more careful consideration than just say oh this is an extension of something that was approved by parliament or the Act exists. It is important that we do reflect on Zimbabwe the person that requires the investment.

GONDA: Let me go back to Supa and find out from him to what extent this law discriminates against whites. Does it discriminate against whites? Is this a racially targeted manoeuvre to completely clear out white people from Zimbabwe? What are your thoughts on this?

MANDIWANZIRA: I think that the interpretation of this Law and the Regulations as an attempt by government to disempower the whites in Zimbabwe is obviously being driven by people who have an agenda against Zimbabwe and its readmission into the community of nations, so we can do business with others. Because there’s nowhere in the law where it says that whites are not allowed to own businesses, that this law is targeting whites. I would challenge everybody on the panel to please highlight the section that talks about white Zimbabweans being excluded.

I hear Mr Mawere’s argument that we must look at the interests of Zimbabwe and we must welcome anyone who wants to bring in their money into Zimbabwe. Indeed this law is welcoming anyone who wants to bring in money into Zimbabwe but it is giving them the expectation of the Zimbabwean people - that within five years of your investment you must achieve a certain ownership that is indigenous, but if you cannot do so in five years, tell us and we will give you more time but ultimately we would like you to achieve this. The law is very clear, it does not discriminate against white people.

The law is simply saying we are aware the indigenous population was discriminated against prior to Independence in 1980 and to give them a leap forward so they can catch up with those that perpetrated this disadvantage, let’s give them also these advantages. So I would like to hear from those on the panel who feel that this is discriminatory to explain where they were before 1980 when the majority was discriminated against.

MAWERE: But Supa, your definition of indigenous means what?

MANDIWANZIRA: My definition of indigenous is the legal definition of indigenous here in Zimbabwe which is anyone who was disadvantaged before Independence in 1980. So whether you are Indian, you are white, you are coloured, you are any other colour, as long as you were disadvantaged before Independence in 1980 you qualify. You just have to prove that you…

MAWERE: So if I set up my business in 1980, I should give up my shares?

MANDIWANZIRA : Well I think…

MAWERE: Is that what you are saying?

MANDIWANZIRA: There is no-one who is saying give up. People are simply saying find an investor who is Zimbabwean who was disadvantaged before Independence who will buy your shares at an agreed price, government is not determining the price.

GONDA: Let me ask Peta Thornycroft for her thoughts on this. To your understanding, does this law discriminate against white people first of all?

THORNYCROFT: Well I think there are so few white people left in Zimbabwe that it really makes little difference, any issue about race. Section Nine of the regulation does exclude 14 sectors of the economy for previously disadvantaged people and certainly black people were previously disadvantaged before 1980 so I think that has an element in it that someone could go to the Constitutional Court in Zimbabwe and challenge that.

It’s not about white people per se, it’s about reaping where you have not sown and therefore as you have seen with the Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa, and I’ve been away from South Africa for ten years so I haven’t followed its ins and outs, but what I know is that those investments that took place, people paid for them. They didn’t get 51%, they negotiated the percentage and that they were done with, some of it with great thought and care. What worries me with these regulations is that they are in the hands of Saviour Kasukuwere, a ZANU PF MP, a ZANU PF person, who might say ‘OK we’re actually going collecting for the February 21 st Movement at the moment and if we don’t get a donation from you I’m afraid that’s your 51%’. And it’s no good saying people don’t behave like that, we all know ahead of ZANU PF congresses over many years, businessmen have been forced to invest in the ZANU PF congress for fear of their business, they’ve done it to protect themselves. And I could give you a string of names if I had permission in advance to demonstrate this. These regulations give far too much power to the Minister, his discretion is absolutely enormous.

GONDA: Would you not agree though with those who argue that this law seeks to enable previously disadvantaged people to enter business and not simply as workers but as owners?

THORNYCROFT: What worries me about anyone going into any business is that will they know anything about that business when they go in, so if you’ve suddenly got a guy who’s got 51% shareholding and he can appoint directors, how do we know he’s going to appoint directors that are going to contribute to the company’s wellbeing? So let’s go back to the land, because I know a lot about that. What… (interrupted)

MANDIWANZIRA : Violet, Violet, we need to be fair to this law…

GONDA: Hold on, hold on Supa. Sorry Peta, go on.

THORNYCROFT: OK, let’s take the issue of land and try and take the race out of it. What you had there was about 4,500 mostly not all, but mostly extremely efficient and productive farmers who produced 40% of foreign currency. Maybe they made it look too easy. When that land has been taken over and handed to people who had no experience in commercial farming and who didn’t have title deeds to raise money to grow their crops - and of course Agritex by this stage has virtually collapsed - but what you have had is a catastrophic collapse of the economy because land was handed to people who didn’t know how to make the best of it and why would this not happen with the companies? If you are going to have people who know nothing about heavy engineering, there’s one heavy engineering company left in Zimbabwe, in Bulawayo. If you go into that company, it’s an extraordinary place and why would that company want to have somebody on their, with 51% owning who may appoint a board of directors who know nothing about that company? We’re just going to see those companies collapse as we saw the farms collapse, not all of the farms but most of the farms.

GONDA: Before I get a reaction from Supa, let me go to Daniel. First of all, as an economist, what will be the real impact of this and how different are these guidelines from the land reform programme?

NDLELA: Thank you very much. The point here is, let me go back a little bit and say who in fact are these ‘indigenous Zimbabweans’ that will benefit from this law? The letter of the law simply says that the people who registered their names with the Minister and there will be an allocation procedure. Definitely this is patronage, it is a continuation of patronage as we have seen it in Zimbabwe and that those who will benefit are people in the gravy train in the patronage system. This letter of the law is quite clear that if you don’t comply, five years in prison, if you don’t do this, five years in prison. The issue here from an economist’s point of view is if you want investments from your own country, existing investments or/and new investments out there, you are not going to threaten people that come here, invest but if you don’t comply you are going into prison for five years. From an economist’s point of view, you’ll not have any investors coming into this country.

The spirit of the law itself, not the letter of the law, the spirit of the law itself has a morality element that does not really auger well with all investments internationally because you really don’t have a situation where there’s an allocation of your shares via a Minister at this point in time. In other words, from an economic point of view, the existing investors will lose interest in their businesses. They will run down the businesses in the five years so that by the five years actually you are taking on something that is no longer at its best, they are not going to invest in the five years, during this period and the enterprises that will be there will be enterprises that are really down. The new investors will not be persuaded bring in their technologies, bring in their money here. Supa says that the people out there now will know the rules of the game, if they don’t want, they are not going to come, and if they want they are going to come. I want to ask Supa himself that if he has a million dollars will he go to a country where he will actually end up in five years with a share value of $49,000. He would be very benevolent indeed…

MANDIWANZIRA : Let me take the opportunity to respond there…

NDLELA: …because I’ll not do that, I’ll not actually go to a country where they want my 100 dollars and then tell me at the end of the day, you are going to remain with 49, the 51 will go to the locals, so I will stay in my own place.

GONDA: Supa, can you respond?

MANDIWANZIRA: Well unfortunately it appears that both Daniel and Peta are scaremongering. I am not sure to what extent they have gone through both the Law and the Regulation because what they are basically saying does not exist in the Law and does not exist in the Regulation. They are scaring people unnecessarily and they must begin to be honest with themselves and honest with your listeners that what they are saying is actually not true.

You cannot draw parallels of this Indigenisation Economic Empowerment Act and the Regulations to the Land Reform Programme. The Land Reform Programme started with the Svosve people occupying land outside any structured way by government. Here is something that is being done legally, lawfully by starting to promulgate the law in parliament, debating it, and then approving it and now implementation of the Regulations. So there’s a difference with the Land Reform Bill so you cannot draw parallels to that process.

The second important thing, Peta makes this argument that if people are going to be allowed to buy 51% they will run down those companies and they will appoint the wrong people and, listen, let’s be very clear, the Law simply says if you do not qualify to be indigenous, please find yourself some partners, those partners do not come and take your shares for free and there’s no stupid investor who will buy 51% of a business and put the wrong people to run that business, you will be silly to do that. Anyone who buys 51% must create and get value out of that 51% and it is completely disrespectful of the indigenous people if that is the suggestion these guys are putting on the table - that the indigenous people will spend money to buy 51% of businesses that they will run down. It’s nonsensical, there’s no sane business person who will do that.

Do I take a million dollars and put it in a country where I will eventually end up owning 51% - yes if I’m going to get value for my investment and I’m going to put a price to it, I will. There’s this misconception that 51%, owning more than 51% is the most profitable, is the most best thing, we all know that even some of the richest people control 12% of the companies that have made them rich, so we must not be hamstrung on this issue of percentage ownership. We must look at the value of the businesses, the value of the assets that Zimbabweans have, whether they’ve been exploited or not exploited, the value that they have by just being Zimbabwean.

GONDA: Peta, can you respond? Are you scaremongering?

THORNYCROFT: I don’t think I’m scaremongering. I’m personally not a legislator or an expert on legislation or statutory instruments, I phoned others and I’ve got the regulations, I had them, I read them, I phoned and I asked questions of people like Daniel Ndlela who is an economist and who deals in these fields, that’s his life’s work and he said, he told me the 49 and 100 dollars story; I spoke to John Robertson, I spoke to businessmen who had read the Regulations and they said these are extremely anti-friendly towards investment.

Zimbabwe is not a prize place to invest in the first place. The infrastructure is so broken, why would investors really want to come here in the first place, so we’ve got to make it look really attractive to get investment in the first place, then we are going to dictate to these investors, percentages. That’s the first point I have.

The second point I have is I can’t understand why anyone wants to tamper with companies that maybe running successfully already, why not start a new one? Why not expand it rather than messing up what, if any business has survived the last ten years, particularly say the last five years in this country, my goodness they should get a business Oscar for having survived the chaos of hyperinflation and money printing. If they’ve survived, leave them alone, we’ve got so few industries left. Start new ones. Why don’t previously disadvantaged people of whatever colour start a new business? Shouldn’t government be looking to assist new business establishment rather than tampering with what is already there - because it wouldn’t matter how you wrote the story about those Regulations, the percentage is there and in 400 words when you write that story, that is what the world reads and I’m afraid that is the impression that has been created and it’s not going to go away.

ZANU PF has an extremely poor record in the last few years of leaving businesses alone, leaving people to decide their own future, deciding how they are going to survive. They are an extremely interfering political party and this is headed up by one of them who has this enormous discretion and as Daniel Ndlela said, you know you start sticking in jail sentences, then come on, come on – there’s the headline.

GONDA: Mutumwa, what are your thoughts on this and Peta says perhaps it’s time that the government started providing an environment where people actually start their own businesses, but those in favour of this new Law say that it targets industries like the mining industry where these mines already have claims and it’s difficult for locals, or indigenous people to enter into these industries, so how do the locals buy or enter into these competitive markets?

MAWERE: I think it’s always a complex issue what makes enterprises succeed, what makes nations win. Some people believe that Zimbabwe belongs to people who look like myself or Supa or Peta and I can build a Zimbabwe that is like that. But imagine you are driving your car and you are told that you need three passengers in the car and you are moving from Point A to Point B. Whether you’ve three passengers or you don’t, you still get to Point B; it doesn’t really make a difference in terms of driving and enterprise. There are people who follow, who will work for the enterprise. Shareholding itself is like being a parent. You spend school fees on your children but you can’t invoice them. So really for somebody to say I own and know that I’m going to die anyway is to accept that the proceeds of your effort may go to the next generation, who may not necessarily be qualified or whatever, but they have to inherit what you have. But if you build now and say the success of an enterprise is based on parents, merely that the shares, the holder of the share can decide whether the company succeeds or not.

DRC has minerals, 100% are indigenous but there’s no activity taking place in some of those minerals. You can equally convert Zimbabwe into 100% title and nothing takes place. What is good for Zimbabwe? Is it for people to sit to play God and say I own 100% of Zimbabwe but I don’t have the means, or I own 100% of the car but I don’t have fuel? Their car may be worth 100,000 US dollars but if you don’t have one litre of fuel, the car won’t move. So we can end up with cars that provide no motion to it. And equally somebody who has turned 30 years now who was born in 1980 who is white, how are we going to face that person? Born in Zimbabwe 1980, was not part of the previous story, now does it mean that that business ought to carry three passengers or four passengers for it to pass through a toll gate where Supa or the Minister is a Toll Gate Inspector?

NDLELA: Can I come in there?

GONDA: Yes Daniel.

NDLELA: It’s really, if Zimbabwe, if the legislators in Zimbabwe, if the policy makers in Zimbabwe were honest that theirs is promoting indigenous Zimbabweans, they should really be honest about that - and for instance in the mining sector, countries that have gained from the mining sectors, countries that have made government itself go 50/50% with foreigners and so that the rewards of the ventures come back to the poor people of that particular country, not the business of actually lifting patronage business people when in fact the sister is getting nothing.

The Minister of Finance recently in the budget explained that he only got four million US dollars as tax revenues from the mines and yet the mines, we know very well that they are doing very well. These are foreigners, fine. The government itself must go in and then open up those shares in as public listed entities instead of going for all these small businesses and say that if you own a business worth 500,000 and above you must actually share. We have to be honest, intellectual honest and honest in terms of our morality again because who are these indigenous business people? I’m asking myself, I fought this liberation, I was out there and I don’t understand when I came back 1980 that today we are still talking about that past and at the same time we have destroyed our wealth and we are continuing to destroy the wealth for the future poverty stricken people of this country. They need jobs, they need to be empowered, not to be empowering the few people and making laws for the few people and that is what is happening here. The spirit of this Law does not really auger well with investment worldwide. We like it or not, the results will show. Investment is going to be very difficult from outside under this law.

GONDA: Those in favour of this also say that the Regulation is trying to redress a problem where foreign investors just come into a country like Zimbabwe, take what they want and then go, where they pay very little taxes and also repatriate most of the profits. Do you agree with this?

NDLELA: There is an element of that, particularly in the mining industry. Again, why is it so? It’s because of the opaque nature of those deals with government officials. All these exemptions which are given to the mining sector are done by the very indigenous Zimbabweans in government and so the opaque element, the non-transparency element is one that is actually playing up here - not because a non-Zimbabwean can just come in and invest and you take 51%. In the mining sector, of course we don’t know what is happening out there because of the opaque nature of all the deals and the mining agreements that have been done after 1980 not before 1980.

GONDA: Mutumwa, what are your thoughts on this? Is there corporate social responsibility by foreign investors?

MAWERE: It’s not enough, there’s a lot that can be done in terms of balancing the interests of the nation and the corporate citizen or the persons in corporate citizens, and it’s a continuous negotiation. If you increase tax, you discourage people; if you reduce too low then the State itself won’t have the capacity to function. But what you have is that if the unemployment is high in Zimbabwe and the people who are able and willing to offer themselves in the labour market are going elsewhere, are not in Zimbabwe and empowering themselves personally, and they see more value by being able to contract outside the State of Zimbabwe. Then if you go to Pick & Pay, more people pick and pay and Pick & Pay makes for instance makes a profit. What they do with the profit, if it’s derived from a free exchange of goods and services where the people are buying, some are exchanging money for something else, surely the discretion must be left to the person who extracts that profit in a free market but where there is no free market then one can say something else.

Equally Supa’s businesses, if you said Supa I want to join your car as a businessman and I just want 51% just because I am black or I am disabled or I’m blind, I’m sure Supa would actually tell me to go and see a psychiatrist. He’ll not be himself, if he were to show by example how he can give up his own privilege so that other people, because if he acquires that privilege through a market system, the question of corporate social responsibility yes, it’s important. Most of the people who have made money, they end up giving away because there’s no coffin that takes cash, there’s no graveyard that has an ATM machine so you know you’re going to die anyway, and your stomach can’t take anymore in a 24 hour day. So why would a rich person threaten a poor person because really they have no capacity to do so because they can only consume as human beings.

So if you don’t understand that side of nation building or corporate citizens then, if I have extra money, I apply my discretion. But then once you institutionalise this and make it a legal instrument which then forces people to say I’m driving at 70 kilometres per hour then I’m speeding and you know that people drive at 120 kilometres, then you’ve got a problem.

So I’m not too sure for whose benefit, when you know what Zimbabwe really requires today – it requires jobs and the people who have the skills are leaving the country and some of them who are there working very hard but clearly they can’t support a State that itself is not serving the growing population of employed people or people who are providing the income. Because the concept behind a government really is nothing more than somebody who has the right to tax you for your income, but somebody must generate the income.

But imagine for 2010 FIFA, Supa and myself, we sit as a committee to allocate seats for the match. It will take maybe a 100 years before we actually know who sits where but if you have a market system, this has been proved over and over, people know that if they can’t afford the game they find alternatives not because. But right now, how are you going to discriminate among maybe 12, 13 million who should get what and who should not.

And this decision is now invested in the minds of people like Supa who then have the prerogative to decide what is good for the country because right now as he is speaking on behalf of the country you’re talking about three million maybe people in South Africa – is he representing them or is he representing what he thinks Zimbabwe should be, because people daily are voting with their feet and they know what is good for them.

If what is good for them is shares, then let them create their own New Mutual instead of an Old Mutual, they create their own Standard Bank, there’s nothing standard about Standard Bank. We have created banks in Zimbabwe, those banks have people believe in, in the bank, you don’t have to go and take shares in Standard Bank. Why should I worry about what Standard Bank is doing when the people who make the bank are the customers and the customers are Zimbabwean - and you say look we are indigenous on the consumption side then we can’t decide where we want to buy, then we buy insurance from the wrong party, then we want to be insured by another party that we’re not buying insurance from.

So we have decisions to make and if time was spent on actually educating ourselves, understanding what it takes to build a winning country then we would make a better prospect than talk about someone’s corporate social responsibility, not our own responsibility.

GONDA: Next week’s discussion gets very heated when the panellists focus on the dipping of foreign accounts by the Reserve Bank, elitism in economic empowerment and who is responsible for the exploitation of Zimbabwean assets among other issues.

Feedback can be sent to

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Big mouthed Chiyangwa seals Mugabe’s targeted sanctions fate

Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF cohorts who had a window of opportunity
to have their targeted sanctions lifted should be seething with fury
at Philip Chinyangwa’s big mouth for ruining any chance of the
targeted sanctions being lifted soon. Instead the European Union
responded swiftly by maintaining these targeted sanctions on Mugabe
and his cohorts for another year sighting none compliant on the
implementations of the Global Political Agreement by the ageing
veteran leader-Robert Mugabe.The eccentric former Affirmative Action
Group guru and former ZANU PF Member of Parliament who fell out with
Mugabe sometime ago drilled the last coffin on the lifting of
sanctions argument by his childish analysis of what black
empowerment/indigenisation mean.

 In typical fashion, Chiyangwa when chosen by ZANU PF to be a living
testimony for its indigenisation policy, over zealously took the
opportunity to parrot about his ill-gotten fortune, thanks to Uncle
Bob. He took the BBC reporter to cleaners by claiming: “It is in our
hands to take the country wherever it needs to go. Look at me- I have
never left Zimbabwe for any other country, I don’t intend to leave
this country, I am doing business here and I am successful here.

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

 Just juxtapose with what Julius, a teacher in Harare says:” The
inclusive government has brought peace and there is food in the shops.
Anytime you get a dollar, you can rest assured that you will find
something to buy.” The challenge to million Zimbabweans is how to find
that elusive dollar in a country run by a minority black clique who
have enriched themselves beyond imagination and have the termerrity to
claim it to be God given wealth.

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

 “When she was born, we had no food at all. She went for hours without
food. She is three years old but looks like a two year old,” equipped

 The EU’s reply was immediate and decisive: "In view of the situation
in Zimbabwe, in particular the lack of progress in the implementation
of the Global Political Agreement signed in September 2008, the
restrictive measures . . . should be extended for a further period of
12 months," the official journal of the European Union said on

The EU, however, lifted sanctions on some individuals and companies,
including Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company and the Industrial
Development Corporation of Zimbabwe but none from Mugabe’s most inner

The BBC reporter was handed over to Mrs. Chiyangwa to show her the
family’s car collection. She was shown a total of twelve top of the
range cars with personalised number plates. “This is my daughter
Vanessa-Ellen’s car-the one who is doing her masters in the UK” said
Mrs. Chiyangwa. The BBC reporter turned to Mrs. Chiyangwa and asked
“Do you feel comfortable with all this wealth when your fellow
countrymen are living in poverty?” As if struck by a four pounds
hammer, Mrs. Chiyangwa lost temporarily before turning to God. “They
are God given possessions”, she stammered. Putting everything into

   i)            Mugabe went into Inclusive Government with Morgan
Tsvangirai not for the political crisis which was engulfing the
country because he was the architect of the crisis, but to manipulate
the West into lifting the targeted sanctions.

ii)            Targeted sanctions have been frequently used by Mugabe
and ZANU PF to demonise Tsvangirai as a puppet of the West whilst ZANU
PF naked corruption. In actual fact Mugabe and his trusted
inner-circle have replaced the white minority regime with a ruthless
and fraudulent black government whose only qualification is belonging

iii)            Tsvangirai should wake-up to reality and stop being
used as Mugabe’s PR.Instead he should wind-up these endless
negotiations and most importantly prepare for next general elections.

iv)            Indigenisation according to Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF
is only for those few well connected Zimbabweans, just like Chiyangwa,
who have been allowed to plunder the resources of Zimbabwe with

v)            Subjugate the Chinyangwa’s wealth with the daily
struggles millions of Zimbabweans face each day. What about those 700
indigenous farmers who were evicted from Nuanetsi Ranch to pave way
for Mugabe’s war of terror financier.

 Thus Mugabe’s black empowerment programme is selective to just a few
who are either related to him or his ZANU PF inner circle. Zimbabwe is
sitting on one of the biggest diamond deposits in Southern Africa, but
because ZANU PF believes that exploitation of such resources should
only benefit the chosen few, the inclusive government cannot recoup
the most needed revenue which could be used to improve lives of

 Chiyangwa, in his usual fashion, might have sealed the fate for
Mugabe and company’s targeted sanctions in spectacular fashion. Since
the BBC was directed to Chiyangwa to be living proof of Black
empowerment, Chiyangwa did both his Uncle Robert Mugabe and his ZANU
PF cohorts a very big disservice and the EU responded in typical
fashion by retaining these targeted sanctions. One wonders whether
both ZANU PF and Chiyangwa understand what wealth creation is.

 The BBC reporter summed up: “Julius is right. Things were a lot
worse. I have travelled to Zimbabwe regularly over the last tumultuous
decade, if I were to write a report card at the end of this, the first
year of inclusive government, it would read: “A good start, could do
better, but with a very uncertain future.”

 Remember, “A fool and his money will soon part.”

Gilbert Bere

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Portfolio Committee to conduct a public hearing on service delivery


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Portfolio Committee to conduct a public hearing on service delivery


16 February 2010


The Parliamentary  Portfolio Committee  on  Local  Government, Rural  and  Urban Development  will  hold  a  Public Hearing  on the state of  service  delivery (water provision, refuse collection and roads)  on Friday the 19th of February 2010. The  public  hearing  will be conducted at the Senate  Chamber, Parliament  Building  at  1000hrs .The  Combined  Harare  Residents  Association  [CHRA]  urges  all residents of Harare  Civil Society  and other interested stakeholders to make attend the hearing and also make their submissions. CHRA has since made submissions to the Portfolio Committee which will be discussed at the hearing.

CHRA remains committed   to advocating for good, transparent and accountable local governance as well as lobbying for quality municipal services.

CHRA Information, making the implicit, explicit



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Bill Watch 15 Feb 2010 - Legislative Reform Series 1/2010 [POSA Amendment Bill]



[15th February 2010]

POSA Amendment Bill

The Bill is Now Before Parliament

The MDC-T Chief Whip, Mr Innocent Gonese, introduced a private members Bill in the House of Assembly to amend the Public Order and Security Act [POSA] on 2nd February.  The House agreed that the Bill could be introduced and it follows the procedures for all Bills – it has had its first reading and has been referred to:

·        the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] for a report on whether or not its provisions are consistent with the Constitution [The PLC has not yet met to consider the Bill]

·        the relevant House of Assembly Portfolio Committee – the Portfolio Committee [PC] on Defence and Home Affairs. The PC has had two meetings on this Bill, one on the 1st February when the Ministry of Home Affairs and the police briefed the it on their reactions to the Bill and the second a week later when Mr Gonese explained the Bill.  In addition the PC is holding a series of public hearings this week and next to ascertain public views on the Bill [for public hearing dates and venues see Bill Watch Special of 14th February].  [Veritas will make available the PLC and PC reports on the Bill as soon as they have been tabled in Parliament.]

[Documents offered: electronic versions of [1] POSA Amendment Bill, including explanatory memorandum, and [2] POSA annotated to show the effect of the amendments proposed by the Bill.]

How will the Bill Amend POSA

Clause 2New definitions of “public demonstration” and “public meeting”:  Demonstrations hit by POSA will be limited to those large enough to make it reasonably possible that they will cause public disorder, serious breaches of the peace or substantial obstruction of streets.  The new definition of “public meeting” [more than 15 persons] will make it clear that domestic meetings of political parties and trade unions are not hit by POSA, and that political parties are free to hold meetings in private places and in halls and other public places that are indoors.

Clause 3Protection of freedoms of assembly and association:  This clause requires police and others administering POSA to bear in mind the constitutional right to engage in peaceful assembly and that public meetings, demonstrations and processions may only be prohibited by a magistrate [see clauses 6 and 7 for prohibition of meetings].  The Commissioner-General must ensure that police administering the Act undergo appropriate awareness training.

Clause 5Notice of public gatherings:  this clause seeks to reduce to four days the notice that must be given to the police by organisers of public gatherings, and also to decriminalise failure to give such notice

Clauses 6 and 7Giving the courts, not the police, the power to ban public gatherings:  this clause will give magistrates the power, currently exercised by the police, to prohibit public gatherings and demonstrations.

Clause 8Repeal of ban on gatherings near Parliament, courts and protected areas:  This clause will repeal the standing ban on these gatherings, so that in future they must be dealt with like all other gatherings.

Clause 9:  Civil liability of organisers of gatherings:  Section 28 of POSA saddles the organiser of a public gathering with civil liability for damage caused by disorder resulting from the gathering in certain cases, such as where the gathering was not notified to police or police directions are not followed.  This clause will allow the organiser to escape liability for compensation where he can prove that there would probably have been disorder even if police had been notified and police directions followed.  In addition, the clause will remove a provision obliging a court to award damages to injured persons whenever convicting an organiser of breaching the Act; this will now be left to the court’s discretion.

Clause 10:  Removal of obligation to carry IDs:  The clause will repeal section 32 of POSA, which requires the carrying of IDs in public places and allows police to stop people at random and demand production of IDs. 

Criticisms of the Bill

The Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Mr Melusi Matshiya, told the PC that the Bill  “waters down the powers of the police and renders [their] operations ineffective” and a senior police officer said it would “put State security at risk”.  In particular, they were reported to have criticised the following provisions of the Bill:

Clause 5Notice of public gatherings:   Mr Matshiya is reported as saying that the current seven days’ notice is both reasonable and necessary “so that we have sufficient power to protect everybody to enjoy his or her rights”.  The senior police officer added:  “If we don’t criminalise it [the failure to  give notice] we are playing around with the security of the State.”

Clauses 6 and 7Giving the courts, not the police, the power to ban public gatherings:  Mr Matshiya said that giving magistrates the power, currently exercised by the police, to prohibit public gatherings and demonstrations will infringe the constitutional role of the Police Force:  “According to the Constitution, it is the role of the police to protect, not the courts,” he is reported as saying.

Is there any substance in these criticisms?

Clause 5:  Notice of public gatherings:  The first point to remember is that everyone has a constitutionally-guaranteed right to convene and attend public meetings and processions.  That right must not be diluted or diminished unless it is necessary to do so in the interests of public safety or public order, and any restrictions on the right must be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society [Constitution, section 22].

The second point to note is that at present section 25 of POSA requires only five days’ notice to be given of public meetings [the seven-day notice period applies only to public processions and demonstrations] and during elections the notice period for meetings is reduced to three days.

The requirement to give seven days’ notice of a procession or demonstration is onerous and not always necessary, and it prevents the holding of spontaneous demonstrations and processions.  There is no provision in the Act allowing the police to accept shorter notice.  If three days is sufficient notice for meetings during election periods, when political passions are running high, it seems unreasonable to insist on seven days for processions at other times.

Mr Matshiya’s opposition to the abolition of the crime of failing to give notice of a gathering can be countered.  The threat of criminal sanctions has not stopped unnotified demonstrations taking place and is unlikely to stop them in future.  If it does not serve its purpose, there is no point in retaining it.  Besides, anyone who suffers loss or injury from a gathering which was not notified to the police has a civil remedy against the organisers under section 28 of POSA — and Mr Gonese’s Bill will not remove that remedy.

Clauses 6 and 7Giving the courts, not the police, the power to ban public gatherings

If Mr Matshiya is correctly reported as saying that it is the constitutional role of the police, rather than the courts, to protect people, that would reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the Constitution.  In any society that respects the rule of law, the courts are there to protect fundamental rights and freedoms.  The police have the function of maintaining law and order, but the courts must ensure that they do so without infringing peoples’ rights and democratic freedoms.  It is therefore perfectly appropriate for a magistrate, rather than a police officer, to be given the task of deciding whether or not a meeting or demonstration should be allowed to take place.  The decision involves weighing the conflicting interests of freedom of assembly, on the one hand, and the maintenance of public order on the other.  That decision unquestionably falls within the role of the courts rather than the police[This is especially so in view of the police record on public gatherings.  There is an overwhelming public perception of past and present police application of POSA so as to favour the former ruling party and suppress the legitimate activities of other parties and organisations on political rather than public order grounds.] 

Clause 4Banning of Catapults and Traditional WeaponsAnother misunderstanding of the law has appeared in press reports that  clause 4 of the Bill will curtail the power of the police to ban the possession of traditional weapons by restricting that power to when there has been a serious breach of peace, whereas under POSA at present they may do so at the slightest occurrence of a breach of the peace.

In fact, section 14 of POSA allows senior police officers to ban the possession of catapults, axes and traditional weapons if they believe that carrying them is likely to cause a breach of the peace, however trivial.  There is no need for a breach of the peace to have actually occurred before the ban can be imposed; all that is necessary is for a senior police officer to believe that one is likely to occur.  Clause 4 of the Bill will simply require a police officer to foresee a serious breach of the peace before imposing a ban.

In both cases — i.e. under the present Act and under POSA as amended by the Bill — the police will retain their ordinary powers to deal with breaches of the peace, both serious and trivial, which actually occur.


·        Mr Gonese’s Bill will not reduce the ability of the police to maintain law and order.  It will simply ensure that they do not overstep their legitimate powers.

·        There are many people who would like POSA reformed more radically.  But as the Bill has to be passed by both Houses of Parliament, it needs the support of all parties, and Hon Gonese has crafted a Bill that should be acceptable to all.


Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.


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