The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Mugabe threatens to defy diamond trade standards

By Alex Bell
17 February 2010

Robert Mugabe has threatened to defy the diamond trade standards laid out by
the international trade watchdog the Kimberley Process, saying the country's
gems can be sold 'elsewhere'.

Mugabe was speaking at the Tourism and Infrastructure Investment conference
which is underway in Harare, at which the country has been trying to market
itself as a safe tourism and investment zone. The ageing dictator told
journalists that the country's diamonds would be sold, regardless of the
Kimberley Process, which has set Zimbabwe the task of complying with
international diamond trade standards.

"We are trying to play it their own way, that is following the KP but we can
do it otherwise and we can sell our own diamonds elsewhere," Mugabe said.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa reported from the conference
venue that Mugabe's comments will further dissuade already sceptical donors,
many of whom had shown interest in investing in Zimbabwe's diamond sector.
Muchemwa called Mugabe's comments 'disturbing', adding that "no one will
want to invest in mining if the government can't respect international

Mugabe also lashed out at the European Union (EU), which on Tuesday extended
targeted sanctions against the Mugabe regime for another year. The 27-member
bloc said travel bans and asset freezes against Mugabe and about 100 of his
cohorts would be extended for another 12 months, but the names of six
individuals and nine companies were removed from the sanctions list. Mugabe
said he was not surprised by the EU decision, and lashed out at the EU for
being 'jealous' of the country's natural resources.

"We know their attitude. They don't want anyone, any country in the
developing world, to make any meaningful developmental strides," Mugabe

The Kimberley Process, which has been tasked with ending the global trade in
'blood diamonds', has given Zimbabwe until June to fall in line with
international trade standards. The move was in place of the country's widely
supported ban from trade, over abuses at the Chiadzwa diamond fields where
the military's brutal control in the name of the state is still ongoing. But
the Kimberley Process refused to ban the country, hiding behind an excuse
that Zimbabwe's diamonds are not 'blood diamonds'. Instead, Zimbabwe as been
ordered to follow a set of guidelines approved by the Kimberley Process to
attempt to bring the country back in line with international standards.

The guidelines include the demilitarisation of the diamond fields, which has
not happened, and rights groups are still reporting that there is strict
military control of Chiadzwa and the villagers there. According to the
guidelines there is also supposed to be an independent monitor in place to
oversee the sale of all stones from Chiadzwa. A monitor has only just been
agreed on, after four months of stalling. Mines Minister Obert Mpofu was
quoted in the state-run Herald newspaper as saying the government had
accepted Abbey Chikane, the head of the South African Diamond Board and a
former chairman of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, as monitor
for the diamond fields.

In the meantime there has been no way to control the illegal sale of the
gems that are being airlifted out of Chiadzwa with no authorisation from the
Kimberley Process. An official from the Minerals Marketing Corporation of
Zimbabwe (MMCZ) made the shock admittance in parliament earlier this month
that diamonds were being airlifted from Chiadzwa to Harare without police or
Kimberley Process supervision. Masimba Chandavengerwa, the MMCZ's acting
head of marketing, told a parliamentary committee on mines and energy: "At
the moment, the airlifting is being done without our knowledge."

Meanwhile, the UK firm that holds the legal rights to mine Chiadzwa has had
its mining licence cancelled in Zimbabwe. Africa Consolidated Resources
(ACR) is in the middle of an ownership fight with the state authorised
company currently mining the diamond claim - Mbada diamonds. ACR which holds
the legal title to the diamond claim in Chiadzwa was evicted at gunpoint
from the claim in 2006; a move that a High Court judge last year ruled was
illegal. The government has appealed this ruling.

"My clients received a letter last week informing them of the intention to
cancel their licence," the firm's lawyer Jonathan Samkange is quoted as
saying. "We were given up to March 10 to appeal against the decision."


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Robert Mugabe responds to more sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's leader hits back at plans by the EU to increase sanctions because of a lack of progress in moving forward politically and also responds to claims he may start selling diamonds outside the industry's governing body.

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 Arrests in Mutare - urgent action required


Events have turned bad following the peaceful Valentine's day demonstrations in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare 
with WOZA 'testing' the democratic space in the country at the anniversary of the power sharing agreement between MDC and ZANU PF.

Please note the appeal below from WOZA in Zimbabwe. The fact that police are acting after demonstrations and in a way that normal press 
coverage is sinister and sadly indicates that, in terms of democracy and human rights, there has been little progress under the power-
sharing government.

URGENT ACTION REQUIRED - arrests taking place in Mutare

Two women, Sibongile Matupe and Rose Rukwewo, an elderly woman, were
arrested in Mutare earlier today and taken to Mutare Central Police
Station. Police are apparently going door-to-door in townships in
Sakubva searching for people who took part in yesterday’s peaceful
protest action. How police are identifying participants or why these
two particular women have been arrested is unknown. Lawyers have been
deployed to Mutare Central Police Station.

Please call Mutare Central to protest the arrest of these women and to
demand their immediate release on (+263 20) 31543 or 64212 or 63813/4.

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Zimbabwe agrees to Kimberley Process monitor for Chiadzwa diamonds

Feb 17, 2010, 11:38 GMT

Harare - A key step has been made toward Zimbabwe exporting its diamonds
from the controversial Chiadzwa claims as authorities said Wednesday they
had accepted the nomination of a prominent South African figure as monitor
on behalf of an international trade watchdog.

Zimbabwe's Mines Minister Obert Mpofu was quoted in the state-run Herald
newspaper as saying the government had accepted Abbey Chikane, the head of
the South African Diamond Board and a former chairman of the Kimberley
Process Certification Scheme (KP) as monitor for the eastern diamond fields.

A meeting of the KP, made up of diamond-producing countries, representatives
of the world diamond trade and civil society bodies in November had ruled
that Chiadzwa diamonds could only be exported after being certified by a
KP-appointed monitor.

The KP laid down the condition after the organization received reports of
brutal military control over the fields and rampant exploitation and
smuggling from the alluvial find, estimated by experts to be the biggest in
a century.

The appointment of a monitor was blocked for four months by disputes between
KP and Harare over the names put forward by both sides.

Chikane is also a director of the World Diamond Council, which has been
highly critical of Zimbabwe's lack of transparency in Chiadzwa, and accused
the KP of not being firm in its dealings with Zimbabwe.

In terms of a 'joint work plan' set out by the KP at the November meeting,
the monitor is to have 'full and unhindered access' to all aspects of
Chiadzwa output, the report said.

Analysts saw however that Zimbabwe still falls short of meeting its
obligations under the work plan, including the withdrawal of the military
from the site, and unchecked smuggling.

There are also questions over two South African-based companies that have
been awarded licenses to mine the diamonds in a joint venture with the
state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

The companies were given the go-ahead to dig for gems despite a court order
declaring that the claim belongs to London-listed African Consolidated

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Minister urges dialogue on empowerment laws

by Brian Chiwara Wednesday 17 February 2010

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Tourism Minister Walter Muzembi on Tuesday urged Harare
coalition partners to engage constructively on the country's controversial
empowerment laws announced last week compelling foreign-owned firms to cede
controlling stake to locals.

The new set of empowerment regulations have sent foreign-owned firms into
panic with threats of imprisonment for foreign shareholders (or presumably
their local representatives) who fail to sell 51 percent stake to indigenous
Zimbabweans within the next five years.

The announcement of the regulations by Indigenisation Minister Saviour
Kasukuwere triggered an uproar from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC
party which said such policies were supposed to be negotiated under the
terms of a September 2008 power-sharing agreement that set up the country's
unity government.

But Muzembi, aware of the damage publication of the regulations has done to
his efforts to lure investors back to Zimbabwe's tourism sector, appealed
for further engagement among all stakeholders to come up with an agreed

"Whilst we are aware of the ongoing debate around the investment legislation
for Zimbabwe, we believe that all that might actually be required is further
engagement on the part of stakeholders," Muzembi told delegates to the
Tourism Investment Conference that opened in Harare yesterday.

"We are confident that clarification on certain aspects of the legislation,
explaining areas of apparent contradiction and insensitivity to valid
concerns of some stakeholders, will bring about consensus," said Muzembi.

"Happily, 80 percent of the tourism sector is already in indigenous hands
and therefore it has scope for greater external shareholding, as well as for
other innovative models that can give comfort to the external investor, than
might be the case in other sectors. But for us, the ability and willingness
to engage is key."

Zimbabwe seeks to use the conference - which has attracted 1 000 delegates
from across the world, including the World Tourism Organisation, the
Regional Tourist Organisation of Southern Africa, and tourism ministers from
African countries including Ghana, Zambia, Sierra Leone and Cameroon - to
drum up foreign investment inflows for the tourism industry.

The troubled southern African country's tourism image has suffered from
intense bad publicity since President Robert Mugabe embarked on his violent
farm seizures in 2000 displacing white commercial farmers and replacing them
with landless blacks.

Tourist arrivals plunged from 2,5 million in 2007 to 1,9 million in 2008.

Zimbabwe's business leaders - no doubt driven by a desire to avoid the chaos
that befell agriculture - are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to
forestall the threatened company seizures.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Kumbirai Katsande last
week said business would lobby the government over the new regulations that
Kasukuwere said will be come effective on March 1.

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

The regulations are seen as a potentially fatal blow to efforts to woo
foreign investors to help rebuild the country's economy shattered by 10
years of political turmoil and acute recession. - ZimOnline

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‘Harare to get water once every three days’

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Herald Reporters

HARARE and surrounding towns will experience erratic water supplies with
most suburbs getting supplies at least once in three days, a senior
municipal official has said.

Large swathes of the city, Chitungwiza, Norton and Ruwa have had
intermittent water supplies over the past week and the situation will not
improve in the near future because there are no solutions in sight, Harare
Town Clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi said on Monday.

Dr Mahachi and the director of water Engineer Christopher Zvobgo said this
during a tour of Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant by the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Urban and Rural Development and the
Thematic Committee on Gender and Development. The Parliamentary committee is
chaired by Chimanimani West House of Asse-mbly representative Mrs Lynette
Karenyi (MDC-T), while Mrs Enna Chitsa (MDC-T), the Senator for Masotsha
Ndlovu, chairs the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development.

Dr Mahachi said Morton Jaffray and Prince Edward Water Treatment Plants’
combined pumping capacity was 60 percent per day and 40 percent of the
pumped water was lost to leakage.

"At the moment there is no answer to the water challenges but there have
been some improvements in the supplies since we took over from Zinwa. Morton
Jaffray and Prince Edward Water Treatment Plants’ combined capacity stand at
705 megalitres per day against a demand of over 1 000 megalitres for Greater

"Zinwa used to pump a combined capacity of 390 megalitres per day but it’s
now 600 megalitres per day. Morton Jaffray pumps 530 megalitres against a
capacity of 614 while Prince Edward has 70 megalitres out of a capacity of
90 megalitres per day. If we try to pump at full capacity at Prince Edward
we are afraid we will drain Harava Dam," Dr Mahachi said.

He said council had received US$3,6 million in the 2010 National Budget and
had used it to renovate pipes and equipment, which saw them reclaiming 50
megalitres. Eng Zvobgo added: "Even if we renovate everything and we pump
water at 100 percent, water rationing will continue for some time because
our total capacity cannot match demand. Water is life therefore, we have to
make sure everyone gets it and at the moment the only way to address that
challenge is rationing the water. People should at least get water once
every three days. We need a new water source because the sources that we
currently have cannot meet demand for the whole of Greater Harare," Eng
Zvobgo said.

He bemoaned the lack of follow-up by policymakers; saying if Kunzvi and
Musami dams had been completed water challenges would have been addressed.

Morton Jaffray senior superintendent Mr Paul Chabata said the water was

"Raw water from Lake Chivero is highly polluted and to make it clean we are
using at least eight chemicals to purify it. The water we are pumping meets
World Health Organisation standards and our quality control personnel are
always checking the water to make sure people do not get contaminated water.
We can boldly say we are happy with the quality of the water," he said.

Dr Mahachi said the city council was using about US$2 million per month for
the eight chemicals, some of which are imported.

"City of Harare is footing 60 percent of the chemicals bill while 40 percent
is from UNICEF at least until the end of the year."

Harare recently received a US$150 million loan from China’s Exim Bank to
improve water infrastructure but Water Resources Minister Samuel Sipepa
Nkomo says about US$250 million is needed.

Yesterday, residents of Crowborough and Kuwadzana said they had not had
running water for the past three days and were relying on unprotected
sources in Cold Comfort.

Residents said there were few boreholes in Crowborough meaning they had to
walk about three kilometres to find water.

"It is much wiser that the council restore service early in our area because
of the lack of safe water sources in our neighbourhood. We fear cholera,"
said Joice Mabhunu.

Enoch Saruchera added: "The situation is bad and we are being forced to
fetch water from unsafe sources. The municipality should address the problem
early. They are saying there is a problem with the pipe that supplies
Crowborough with water but three days is too long a period to repair a

Another resident, Tatenda Mbona, said, "Council is charging a lot for water
and they are quick to disconnect their services if the bills are not settled
on time. If the speed they used in disconnecting their services was the same
effort they would put in restoring services to us we would not have problems
with that."

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Mugabe defends local takeover of Zimbabwean firms

Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:13pm GMT

By Nelson Banya

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe defended on Wednesday
his government's drive to transfer majority control of foreign-owned firms
to local blacks, saying wise investors would continue to put money into the

Minister of Indigenisation and Empowerment Saviour Kasukuwere, a Mugabe ally
in Zimbabwe's fractious unity government, told foreign firms last week to
present plans on how they would transfer 51 percent shareholdings to local
blacks within 45 days from March 1.

Mugabe rejected suggestions that implementation of an indigenisation law
passed in 2007 would frighten off foreign investors, saying they could still
hold large stakes in local companies.

"Forty-nine percent is a hell lot of equity, it is only the foolish ones who
will say so," he told reporters. "Wise ones will take it up."

By contrast, Mugabe's political rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said
last week that the regulations were null and void because they had been
published without being reviewed by him or the cabinet.

Analysts say the dispute shows rising tension in the year-old coalition
government, which has failed to attract much-needed foreign aid and
investment due to frequent wrangles over reforms.

This week the European Union extended sanctions on Zimbabwe for another 12
months, citing a lack of progress in fulfilling the power-sharing pact.

Mugabe earlier told an international tourism investment conference, hosted
by his government, that foreign investors should partner African states to
develop the sector.

The veteran leader, who turns 86 on Sunday, slammed the EU's decision to
extend the sanctions, which he says are meant to punish him for his seizure
of white commercial farms to resettle landless blacks.

"We know their attitude, they don't want anyone, any country in the
developing world, to make any meaningful developmental strides," Mugabe

"That attitude is more pronounced even in regard to Zimbabwe. When they make
those noises, it is because they lost that which they occupied illegally,
which is now in our possession," he said referring to his land seizure

Mugabe said Zimbabwe was co-operating with the Kimberley Process -- a
certification scheme set up to monitor diamond trades following wars
financed by the gems -- to reform diamond mining at its Marange diamond

However, he added: "We are trying to play it their way, that is following
the Kimberley Process, but we can do it otherwise and we can sell our own
diamonds elsewhere."

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Cost of living up by 10%

Written by Paul Ndlovu
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 06:48
HARARE - As industry struggles to recover, the high cost of locally
producing goods has pushed the cost of living up by 10 per cent and the
breadbasket by 3 per cent, according to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe
Rosemary Siyachitema, the executive director of CCZ, said the cost of food
increased in January this year compared to December last year. CCZ said the
total breadbasket for January 2010 cost US$520,53 compared to US$488,11 for
December 2009.
Siyachitema attributed the increase to the festive season and the
anticipation that teachers' salaries would be put up. The disorder in the
utilities institutions, such as the long periods of electricity load
shedding, has lead to confusion of bills and ridiculously high charges that
has pushed the cost of living high.
"There is a need for capacity utilisation to be upgraded so that
manufacturers have inputs that will enable production to improve. Due to
small capacity unity cost of their goods it becomes high thus it leads to
high cost of living," she said.
Prices are still high compared to the regional prices. Imported products
dominate the local market, as the local industry is still under-producing.
There is a national crisis when it comes to producing. The local producers
cannot meet demand.

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National healing elusive, as torture bases re-emerge

Written by Radio VOP
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 11:56
HARARE - The signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) by Zanu (PF)
and two formations of the MDC last February not only brought hope but relief
to many Zimbabweans who had been living in fear of their lives due to
political violence. (Pictured: Robert Mugabe & Morgan Tsvangirai)
The three political parties quickly set up a national healing ministry,
headed by top officials from the three parties, to spearhead a national
healing process and promote re-building of the country hit by political
strife and economic decline for a decade. These were Ministers John Nkomo
(Zanu (PF)) (now Vice President), Gibson Sibanda (MDC-M) and Sekai Holland.
A year later, Zimbabweans are becoming disillusioned, as healing appears
Civil Society organisations fear another escalation of political violence if
the new unity government does not reform the uniformed forces and state
security departments.
"With the increasingly polarized political landscape, a resurgence of is
institutionalized human rights violations, particularly in regard to
harassment of  human rights activists and  increased use of repressive
legislation are expected. And if Zimbabwe is not to return to the pre-June
2008 era, there is an urgent need for institutional reforms," warns the
Civil Society Monitoring Mechanisation (CISOMM).
CISOMM is a grouping of civil society organisations independently monitoring
and evaluating the performance of the inclusive government.
"The conduct of the Police, Army and Prison officials has remained in breach
of the spirit of the Inclusive Government intended to reform these and
inculcate a culture of respect for human rights. At the same time these
institutions have not yet received any of the human rights training that was
also a requirement of the GPA," it says.
"This is disappointing, given the shared responsibility of the Ministry of
Home Affairs by MDC and Zanu (PF) Ministers. Training curriculum for the
uniformed forces should be urgently revised, with the inclusion of experts
from the civil society and implementation to be monitored. This will bring
an immediate halt to political violence and intimidation and harassment of
political activists, lawyers and journalists. This will also see an
increased respect for the freedoms of assembly and association by
uninterrupted political rallies, meetings, and workshops of all kinds."

Unaware of healing
A recent survey has shown that most rural Zimbabweans are unaware of the
healing process. The survey conducted in all the country's 10 provinces by
the Mass Public Opinion Institute, said 65 percent of the rural population
interviewed said they had never heard of the National Healing Organ and its
They said they had no clue about the programme. It also came out in the
report that 62 percent of f Zanu (PF) supporters wanted perpetrators of
political violence to be given an amnesty, while 59 percent of MDC
supporters demanded an immediate arrest of the perpetrators of the June 2008
political violence.
"We are surprised that the programme of national healing is talked of in
hotels, leaving out the rural areas where the victims are. The other problem
is that some of the people who were appointed to spearhead the programme are
politicians who were the initiators of political violence. To them it makes
no sense to denounce political violence. We must remember that political
violence is always initiated by politicians who mobilise people for their
political gains and its difficult for the same people to de-campaign the
act, says an observer, Bernard Kwangwari.
"This responsibility was supposed to be given to the churches as they are
known for praying for peace not some of these politicians who are
 murderers," commented Sheila Kamangira, another observer.

Torture bases
There have been reports that torture bases have been set up in Nyanga North,
Makoni, Chegutu farms, and Gokwe Gumunyu. These are said to be manned by
armed personnel and youth militia. Some villagers have been threatened with
death if they refuse to support the Kariba Draft when the constitution
making teams visit them to solicit their ideas.
CISOMM says it is concerned at the re-emergency of militia controlled
torture bases in rural areas ahead of the country's constitution making
process, harassment of human rights activists, journalists and the few
remaining white commercial  farmers.
Fresh fears have gripped Zimbabwe's media fraternity following the arrest of
distributors of The Zimbabwean ******, an independent newspaper published in
the United Kingdom but widely distributed across Zimbabwe.
The director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe
chapter, Nhlanhla Ngwenya, said the arrests betrayed the inclusive
government's lack of commitment to open up media space.
"We have to bear it in mind that this incident comes just a few weeks after
journalist Stanley Kwenda fled the country after receiving death threats,
and the brief detention of another journalist, Adrison Manyere," says

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Cholera kills 9 in Zimbabwe


Health officials in Zimbabwe said Wednesday cholera had killed nine people
in the southern district of Mwenezi, and that it appeared to be spreading to
neighbouring regions.

Provincial medical director Robert Mudyiradima said medical teams had been
dispatched to the district and surrounding areas to contain the disease.

He said a further eight cases of cholera were under treatment in Mwenezi,
and there were signs the disease was spreading.

"We are doing all that we can to make sure that the situation is under
control and at the moment we have been disinfecting several wells in areas
affected by the outbreak," he said.

Last year, cholera killed more than 4,000 people and infected over 100,000
others in an outbreak which drew the attention of the whole world.

The latest outbreak is suspected to have been caused by drinking dirty water
from unprotected sources.

Harare - Pana 17/02/2010

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Tollgates net US$7m in 4 months

Controversial ... Tollgates unpopular with Zimbabwe motorists

17/02/2010 00:00:00
by Lebo Nkatazo

CONTROVERSIAL tollgates on Zimbabwe's major roads are earning the government US$1,7 million every month, Transport Minister Nicholas Goche told parliament on Wednesday.

Goche revealed close to US$7 million was raised in the first four months of the toll gates being introduced.

The minister told MPs the money was being used to repair roads and buy rain-coats for police officers helping with security at the tollgates.

Goche said: "For the period from 18 August 2008 to 31st December 2009, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authourity (Zimra) collected a total of US$6,746,496 on the 22 tollgate sites.

"After a 10 percent deduction for Zimra's administration fees, US$2 million was disbursed to eight provinces for the maintenance of regional, primary and a limited secondary road network."

The minister said US$280,000 had been invested in the resurfacing of the Bulawayo-Beitbridge highway, while US$500,000 had been allocated for the resurfacing of the Harare-Norton road, starting from the Kuwadzana round-about and stretching to the old Snake Park.

Works are in progress, Goche said.
The money for road-works is being channelled through the state-owned Zimbabwe National Road Authority (ZINARA).

The tollgates have beeing criticised by motorists who say they have not seen the benefits, with most of the country's roads in a poor state of repair.

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Obama dispatches US politicians to Harare

February 16, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - President Barack Obama of the United States of America will this
week dispatch a five-member delegation of US congressmen led by
Representative Gregory Meeks.

Meeks to assess progress in Zimbabwe's inclusive government which turned one
year old last week.

"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," Tim Gerhardson, Public
Affairs Officer at the US embassy said in a statement Tuesday.

While in Zimbabwe on Thursday, said Gerhardson, the delegation will meet
with senior government officials from the major political parties and
leaders from non-governmental organizations.

Gregory Meeks, a Democrat from New York, will be accompanied by
Representatives Melvin Watt (Democrat, North Carolina), André Carson
(Democrat, Indiana) and Jack Kingston (Republican, Georgia).

This will be the second visit to Zimbabwe in six months for Congressmen
Meeks, Watt and Kingston.

In September last year, 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 Constitution.

The delegation would be the third high level delegation since the onset of
Zimbabwe's diplomatic stand-off with the US nine years ago.

The first high level visit was that of US congressman Donald Payne in July
last year.

Payne chairs the US Congress' House Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Sub-Committee on Africa and Global Health.

He was allegedly involved in the crafting of the controversial Zimbabwe
Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) in 2001-2002.

Little however is expected to come out of Thursday's visit by the American
delegation as parties to Zimbabwe's coalition government have refused to
compromise on their positions while trading accusations for the slow
implantation of the GPA.

President Mugabe's Zanu PF has refused to make further concessions to the
GPA saying the MDC should first influence the lifting of western imposed
sanctions on Zimbabwe.

The visit is also likely to be met with hardening attitudes from Zanu-PF
whose hopes of seeing the sanctions go were dashed by a European Union
declaration this week that sanctions must continue until Zimbabweans
complied with the GPA.

The EU on Monday extended sanctions on Zimbabwe for another 12 months,
citing a lack of progress in implementing the power-sharing accord signed by
Zanu-PF and the two MDC parties in September 2008.

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Journo wrongfully arrested in Zim

    February 17 2010 at 10:19AM

Harare - Zimbabwe's security agencies are thwarting attempts to boost
tourism to the cash-strapped country during the World Cup in neighbouring
South Africa, a government minister complained.

Zimbabwe's Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi told journalists he was "extremely
concerned" after a Mexican journalist, who had been specially accredited by
authorities to make a documentary on tourist sites in southern Zimbabwe, was
wrongfully arrested.

Mexico is one of the 32 teams participating in the tournament.

The documentary aims to show Mexicans how and where to travel in Zimbabwe
between their side's matches.

"We approve a journalist from Mexico to go and film in (the town of)
Masvingo and he was arrested," he said.

"The same journalist with my driver, my car, and a government letter, was

Masvingo is famous for an ancient stone city and a society that flourished
there about 800 years ago, known as Great Zimbabwe.

"We cannot attract tourists if we do not look at our law and order," said
Mzembi, who is from President Robert Mugabe's half of the country's year-old
power-sharing government.

The coalition administration between Mugabe and former opposition leader,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, is charged with abolishing draconian laws
that have severely restricted media freedom for the last decade, when
Mugabe's Zanu-PF governed alone.

While the regulations have been relaxed and a number of previously banned
media outlets, such as the BBC, have been allowed to report in Zimbabwe over
the past year, police harassment of journalists is still widespread.

Mzembi did not name the Mexican journalist, and calls to the Mexican embassy
went unanswered. The journalist was released after the minister's

"He has understood that we are in transition, and we have said it will not
happen again," Mzembi said. - Sapa-dpa


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Mugabe finally appoints five MDC ambassadors

By Tichaona Sibanda
17 February 2010

Five new ambassadors and high commissioners from the MDC were on Wednesday
officially appointed by Robert Mugabe, to represent Zimbabwe in different

The three women and two men received their letters of credential from Robert
Mugabe when they took the oath of allegiance and the oath of secrecy,
administered at State House on Wednesday. The new envoys will serve a
minimum four years on tour of duty at their stations. All five completed a
three months diplomatic training course in Harare in October last year.

A letter of credential is an official document conveying the credentials of
a diplomatic envoy to a foreign government. The envoys are Hebson Makuvise
who goes to Germany, Hilda Suka-Mafudze (Sudan), Jacqueline Nomhla Zwambila
(Australia), Mabed Khumbulani (Nigeria) (all from MDC-T) and MDC-M's Trudy
Stevenson, who will take up her post in Senegal.

This is the first time since Independence 30 years ago that ambassadors
outside ZANU PF circles have been appointed by Mugabe. The appointments were
made possible by the signing of the Global Political Agreement that gave
birth to the inclusive government. The three principals to the GPA, Mugabe,
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, agreed that the MDC formations
nominate five ambassadors-designates for posting to Zimbabwean missions

One of the new ambassadors, Trudy Stevenson, told SW Radio Africa that at
times she had felt 'dispirited and demoralised' by the long time it has
taken Mugabe to finally appoint them as ambassadors. The five new envoys
were nominated by their parties in August last year and it has taken Mugabe
six months to present them with their' letters of credence'.

Ambassador Stevenson said as the only white envoy among the five, she was
particularly honoured to be representing the country in Senegal, a French
speaking country. She speaks fluent French and will fly to Dakar next week

'This shows that white people still have a major role to play in the
rebuilding of Zimbabwe. I'm also particularly pleased that I will be able to
rebuild the good relations that existed between Senegal and Zimbabwe before
2002 when we closed down our embassy in Dakar due to financial constraints.
Being a French speaker, I think I will find it easy to start normalising
relations between the two countries,' Stevenson said.

Makuvise, the new envoy to Berlin in Germany, expressed appreciation to the
three principals in the inclusive government and pledged to live up to the

The former MDC-T chief representative to London, who takes up his posting in
early March, said he will strive to work hard to woo more investors into
Zimbabwe and create a market for Zimbabwean goods in Germany.

Zwambila, the new ambassador to Australia, was due to fly out of Harare on
Wednesday evening for Canberra to take up her posting. Envoys to Sudan and
Nigeria will be leaving Harare next week.

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Drug dealers on Zim diamond boards: MP

by Sebastian Nyamangambiri Wednesday 17 February 2010

HARARE - Some members of the boards of two firms mining diamonds at Zimbabwe's
controversial Marange diamond field were once illegal drug and diamond
dealers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sierra Leone, a
parliamentarian has said.

Members of Parliament's special committee on energy and mines also accused
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu of illegally appointing members to the board of
one of the two mining firms formed last year to exploit diamonds deposits at
Marange in the east of the country.

The government-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) last
year partnered little known Grandwell of South Africa to form Mbada
Investments which is mining diamonds at the Marange field that is also known
as Chiadzwa.

The ZMDC also partnered another little known South African firm Core Mining
and Minerals in a joint-venture operation trading as Canadile Miners to
exploit the Marange deposits.

Kimberley Process

The joint ventures were formed as part of measures to bring mining of
diamonds at Marange in line with standards stipulated by world diamond
industry watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP).

However in an example of how operations at Marange remain at best murky and
shadowy despite KP pressure for transparency, legislator for Bikita East
constituency Edmore Marima accused ZMDC of failure to diligently vet people
before forming partnerships with them to mine the Marange diamonds.

Marima, from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party, said some members
of boards of Mbada and Canadile were "drug dealers and diamond dealers in
DRC and Sierra Leone."

The legislator did not give names of the board members that he claimed
trafficked drugs and diamonds in the two countries that have over the years
seen war and strife in part fuelled by their vast diamond resources that
rebels mined to fund conflict.

ZMDC acting chairwoman Gloria Mawarire denied that there were former illegal
drug and diamond dealers on the board of the two firms. She said research by
ZMDC did not yield any information to suggest that members of the Mbada and
Canadile boards once pushed illegal drugs and diamonds.

Mawarire and Deputy Mines Minister Murisi Zwizwai appeared before the
parliamentary committee on Monday. Mpofu is expected to come before the same
committee next week.

Illegal appointments

Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, an MP from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF Party
quizzed Mawarire why Mpofu appointed three people to sit on the board of
Mbada, including the chairman of the board, when the law does not permit him
to do so.

The ZMDC chairwoman said she was powerless to stop the appointments. "I was
a mere recipient of the letter (announcing the board appointments by Mpofu).
It is unfair to ask me to respond to that. Maybe it was a matter of the
minister misinterpreting the Act," Mawarire said.

Under the law, Mpofu can appoint the chairperson and deputy of the ZMDC
board but has no authority to name people to sit on boards of joint venture
companies formed by the state mining corporation and other entities.

Committee chairman Edward Chindori-Chininga quizzed Mawarire why former
Airforce of Zimbabwe helicopter pilot Robert Mhlanga -- who has interests in
Grandwell -- was named by Mpofu to represent the ZMDC on the Mbada board as

"When he is on the Mbada board .. whose interests will he be representing,
will he be representing himself or the ZMDC," asked Chindori-Chininga.

In response Mawarire at first said the ZMDC informed Mpofu about the
"irregular or uncomfortable" situation of having Mhlanga representing the
state firm on the Mbada board.

Helicopter pilot

But she later claimed ignorance, saying at the time Mbada was formed and its
board appointed the ZMDC did not know that Mhlanga was part of a company
called Lipam which teamed-up with another firm called New Reclamation to
form Grandwell.

According to, Mhlanga was Zimbabwe's first black helicopter
pilot and worked as a courier for Mugabe's late first wife, Sally.

Mhlanga is said to have made a fortune through various projects in Africa
and was active in the DRC's diamond trade when Zimbabwean troops fought

The Mbada chairman is known to have close ties with Zimbabwe's military
establishment that is accused of accused of stealing millions of dollars
worth of diamonds from Marange and offloading them onto the foreign black
market for precious stones.

Mhlanga was a key witness in an attempt to frame then-opposition leader
Tsvangirai for treason in 2003, testifying that he had contact with an
Israeli spy who claimed he was hired by the MDC leader to kill Mugabe.

Tsvangirai, who was cleared of treason by the courts, later became Zimbabwe's
Prime Minister after forming a power-sharing government with Mugabe last

Zwizwai told the parliamentary committee that one of the people appointed to
the Mbada board by Mpofu was in fact the mines minister's personal
assistant. Zwizwai, who told the committee he preferred appearing before it
in the presence of the Mpofu, also said the mines minister had no legal
authority to appoint people to the Mbada board.

Scrap metal

The deputy mines minister said Mpofu never consulted him on issues regarding
the Marange diamond claims and denied ever taking bribes from firms seeking
permission to mine diamonds.

The parliamentary committee is expected to quiz Mpofu about the apparently
illegal board appointments on his orders to the ZMDC directing the
corporation to form joint ventures with no other firm except Grandwell and

The two firms are not known names in the diamond industry with for example
Grandwell known to have been involved in scrap metal dealing in South Africa
before they came to mine diamonds at Marange.

Marange is one of the world's most controversial diamond fields with reports
that soldiers sent to guard the claims after the government took over the
field in October 2006 from a British firm that owned the deposits committed
gross human rights abuses against illegal miners who had descended on the

Human rights groups have been pushing for a ban on Zimbabwean diamonds but
last November, the country escaped a KP ban with the global body giving
Harare a June 2010 deadline to make reforms to comply with its
regulations. - ZimOnline.

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EU is insincere: ZANU PF

by Own Correspondent Wednesday 17 February 2010

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party has accused the European
Union (EU) of insincerity after the bloc extended sanctions on the veteran
leader and his top officials citing lack of progress in implementing the
September 2008 global political agreement (GPA).

The EU which imposed sanctions against Mugabe eight years ago as punishment
for failure to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law on Monday
extended the targeted sanctions for another 12 months.

"The EU is insincere, we as ZANU PF support the GPA and we have done our
part to fulfil it," ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said, adding; "We support
the coalition agreement. The EU is not being sincere and honest, but we don't
pay a lot of attention to what they say, we will rally our people to
understand the problems of sanctions."

The GPA is the power-sharing agreement signed by Mugabe and former
opposition leader and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the behest of
southern African leaders and which last February gave birth to the Harare
coalition government.

The EU, however, lifted sanctions on some individuals and companies,
including Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company and the Industrial Development
Corporation of Zimbabwe saying there was no longer any reason to keep them
on the list.

More than 200 individuals and 40 companies with ties to Mugabe's ZANU POF
party are now targeted because of their suspected links to human rights

The West blames the veteran leader's policies such as his haphazard and
often violent land reform that has destroyed commercial agriculture, for the
collapse of the southern African nation's economy.

But Mugabe, Zimbabwe's sole ruler since independence from Britain in 1980
blames his country's problems on the sanctions that he says are meant to
remove him from power for seizing white-owned farms for landless blacks.

Mugabe's unity government with Tsvangirai has succeeded in stabilising
Zimbabwe's economy but has made no real progress in implementing political
reforms and ending human rights abuses.

Incessant bickering between the former foes over how to equally share
executive power, the appointment of senior government officials and the
removal of Western sanctions threaten to cripple the government and render
it ineffective in the long run. - ZimOnline

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Demystifying 'Sanctions'

16 February 2010


Washington, DC - The European Union formally decided on February 15 to lift restrictive measures against 6 individuals and 9 companies in Zimbabwe that were previously subject to travel bans and asset freezes, but continued the measures for another year on the majority of the 203 individuals and 40 companies on the list.

The EU cited the lack of progress in implementation of the Global Political Agreement of September 2008 as the reason for continued measures. Companies removed included the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company.

The measure comes amid continued debate among the parties in the Zimbabwean government on "sanctions." But much of the debate, both in Zimbabwe and internationally, fails to specify what sanctions (or "restrictive measures") are actually in place and which should be removed.

The principal measure in place are the European measures targeted at specific individuals and companies, as well as parallel measures decided by U.S. executive order. In addition, the U.S. Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 requires the U.S. to oppose multilateral debt relief and refinancing from international financial institutions until certain conditions are met or the President decides to waive the conditions.

But there are no general trade or investment sanctions against Zimbabwe in place comparable to those imposed on apartheid South Africa or white-minority Rhodesia in earlier periods.

The United States and Great Britain have recently expressed support for restoration of voting rights for Zimbabwe in the International Monetary Fund, which may be decided later this month. Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who is also secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-Tsvangirai), has expressed confidence that this will make possible a restructuring of external financial support.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from comments on sanctions from Zimbabweans on the SW Africa Radio Hot Seat program on February 5, 2010 (The full text is available on

In the discussion, commentators make a clear distinction between "sanctions" on individuals responsible for human rights abuses and blocking democratization and measures that impact the Zimbabawean economy more generally. As I confirmed in a visit to Zimbabwe in December, civil society activists strongly urge continuation of the "targeted" measures. At the same time they stressed that it was important to encourage, not to discourage, the flow of resources to Zimbabwe that could strengthen the economy.

The European Union sanctions in force are detailed in the Official Journal of the European Union ( / direct link: See also updates for 2009 ( and 2010 (

Information on the U.S. executive order identifying persons and companies subject to asset restrictions related to Zimbabwe / direct link at

The full text of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 is available at

Senate Hearings in September 2009 on U.S. Zimbabwe relations

Africa Action, Zimbabwe Solidarity Update, Feb. 1, 2010

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on Zimbabwe, visit

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UNHCR's help for displaced Zimbabweans produces tangible results

17 Feb 2010 16:33:41 GMT
Source: UNHCR

MUTARE, Zimbabwe, February 17 (UNHCR) - The 16-year-old girl was elated as
she held up a document that will open up a whole new world of opportunity
and have an impact on the rest of her life.

After waiting for hours outside a government registry office in the eastern
Zimbabwe town of Mutare, Florence Nawengo had just been given a birth
certificate, which will enable her to get an all-important national identity

Until that moment, she was at risk of becoming one of an estimated 12
million stateless people around the world. They do not possess a nationality
nor enjoy its legal benefits. This often leaves them unable to do the basic
things most people take for granted, such as registering the birth of a
child, travelling, going to school, accessing health care, opening a bank
account or owning property.

And Florence might still be facing these challenges but for a UNHCR
programme to support internally displaced people (IDP), many of whom lacked
important documentation, in the eastern Zimbabwe province of Manicaland.

This programme, implemented by local aid group, Christian Care, was set up
last August to assist Zimbabweans uprooted from their homes. It helped some
220 people in Manicaland last year and UNHCR is expanding the programme to
cover the whole country this year.

Florence and her mother were displaced as a result of slum clearance in 2005
and now live in a large former bar owned by the municipality in Mutare.
UNHCR and Christian Care are helping the more than 100 displaced people who
are sheltering there.

"Many of these people have lost their identity documents or had them stolen
during displacement. They cannot afford the cost of replacing them,"
explained Jane Madzivaidze, a legal officer with Christian Care. "Through
our mobile legal clinics, we advise them of their right to obtain birth
certificates and identity documents and let them know that we can help cover
the cost with funds provided by UNHCR."

Florence never had a birth certificate in the first place. Her Zimbabwean
parents separated soon after she was born and her mother never went to
register her birth because, under the law, the father must be present and
show his ID card.

The lack of a birth certificate did not have a major impact on Florence's
early life, but from the age of 16 onwards it becomes an issue in Zimbabwe,
where people need to have a national identity card as proof of citizenship.
UNHCR experts said that people without a birth certificate and/or national
ID card were at risk of statelessness, particularly if they are of foreign

Florence realized that to pursue a higher education, and more particularly
to sit final exams at secondary school, she needed to have a national
identity card, and to get this she would have to present a birth

Things were looking bleak until the UNHCR programme for IDPs was launched in
Manicaland. "When Christian Care came to explain to me that I could get a
birth certificate under my mother's name, as long we brought a witness to my
birth, I was filled with hope," Florence recalled. "I had longed to get a
birth certificate so that I could continue with my education, but I didn't
have the money and I did not know where to find my father. Here is my
chance, I thought."

Christian Care was able to fast-track her application through the registry
office while UNHCR covered the US$4.50 cost of obtaining her birth
certificate. She was told to return later to pick up her national ID card.
The cost might seem small, but to many displaced Zimbabweans it is a

Florence has a more positive future - and a big grin across her face. "Now I
can go to school," the excited teenager cried.

By Tina Ghelli in Mutare, Zimbabwe.

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Chiyangwa named in Zimbabwe Tourism Authority US$33 000 debt

By Gerald Chateta

Published: February 17, 2010

Harare  - Flamboyant businessman, Phillip Chiyangwa has been named in a debt
payment probe in which the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) failed to pay
$33 000 it owes to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). The debt was
incured when the broadcaster live-screened the Miss Tourism 2008.

An investigation by ZimEye has revealed that ZTA was reluctant to settle the
two year old bill as it had been instructed not to by one of ZBC's
creditors, Phillip Chiyangwa who it says is owed hundreds of American
dollars by the state broadcaster.

"We have referred ZBC to Mr. Chiyangwa who is owed by the state broadcaster,
and they are not willing to approach him. Mr Chiyangwa has ordered us not to
pay the amount till ZBC settles his bill," said the official.

Chiyangwa (pictured) who recently appeared on a BBC documentary displaying
his wealth is a private business partner of ZTA's chief, Karikoga Kaseke.

ZBC generates revenue through radio and television listeners and viewers'
license fees as well as adverts from corporate world.

The state's propaganda machinery has failed to attract advertisers due to
poor programming which has resulted in viewers shunning its services to
alternative satellite radio and television channels.

According to the ZTA source ZBC was supposed to convert Chiyangwa's debt
into advertising air time.

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Leaders of Striking Zimbabwean Civil Servants Take Bearings in Harare Meeting

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe President Takavafira Zhou told VOA
that unions and other representative organizations meeting in Harare agreed
their target is the state employer, not any single political party

Jonga Kandemiiri & Arthur Chigoriwa | Washington 16 February 2010

Unions and other organizations representing Zimbabwe's striking civil
servants met in Harare on Tuesday to evaluate the industrial action by
public employees called on February 5 to back demands for salary increases.

Sources said the meeting also took up the issue of political partisanship
that was threatening to derail the strike following charges that some
organizations representing civil servants were aligning with political

Civil servants are demanding an entry salary of US$630 a month, but the
government says it cannot afford to effect such an increase.

Reached by VOA, the government's chief representative in the talks, Youth
Ministry Permanent Secretary Prince Mupazviriho, said that as a civil
servant he could not discuss the current state of labor discussions.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe President Takavafira Zhou told VOA
Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that participants in the meeting agreed
that their target is the state employer, not any single political party.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Arthur Chigoriwa reported from Chinhoyi, the
capital of Mashonaland West province, that civil servants there have vowed
to continue with their strike until the government agrees to give them
living wages, but that some divisions within the movement have appeared.

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Oh, please shut up AGO, you embarrass Welsh

Written by John Makumbe
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 11:36

One of Zimbabwe's Deputy Prime Ministers, Arthur Mutambara (pictured), has
been bad-mouthing both this nation and its popular Prime Minister, Morgan
Tsvangirai. This article is a rebuttal to Mutambara's vituperations as
published in the Zanu (PF) mouthpiece, the Herald of Saturday 13 February
Mutambara castigated the PM for referring to the targeted sanctions as
restrictive measures, and claimed that this country is under full sanctions.
If that is the case, how then is it possible to do trade with both the UK
and the EU as has recently been disclosed in the media? Mutambara is
obviously doing his best to demonstrate that he is a much better bootlicker
for Mugabe than all of his underlings in Zanu (PF) put together.
Mutambara is likely to be of the opinion that Mugabe is still the old
kingmaker that he used to be several years ago. He fails to realize that the
geriatric is clearly washed out like a used tea bag. Thank God, no one in
the West bothers to pay any real attention to Mutambara. Whether they are
sanctions or restrictive measures, they must stay firmly in place until
Mugabe and Zanu (PF) behave themselves properly in the political arena.
"Yes, we have challenges in the GPA but we are having a new dispensation.
What is the man talking about? These are not challenges but serious
problems. There is no new dispensation compared to what was obtaining in
2008 Ago. A new dispensation is not defined by the simple fact that you and
a few others are now part and parcel of the Mugabe regime. What Zimbabwe
needs is regime change, and that has not yet been realized.
Mr. DPM, with due respect, with reference to the British Foreign secretary's
recent comments about asking the MDC-T view on the removal of sanctions,
Mutambara was understandably livid. Milliband did not indicate that the
British government would also ask AGO's tiny MDC-M about the issue. Our
honourable DPM fails to appreciate that the British government would need to
ask the majority political party in the GNU, the party that won the
presidential election of 2008. And all along I thought the good Professor
understood such simple politics.
The DPM's praise and worship of China and Mugabe's look east policy are
probably the best indicators to date of Mutambara's desperation to become
one of Mugabe's quislings. The DPM fails to appreciate the damage that China
and Chinese cheap goods have wrought on our economy. Our textile industry
has literally collapsed in the face of cheap and poor standard clothes from
China. Yet the Professor thinks that we need to attract investors from the
West as well as get close to the Chinese in order to be prosperous.
How many Chinese investors have ever bothered to visit Zimbabwe since the
formation of the GNU? Is it not true that the Chinese are only interested in
selling us guns and ammunition so we can kill each other more effectively?
Is it not true, Prof. that the Chinese are good at building us stadia, which
are the least productive structures any country can ever spend money on. In
doing so, the Chinese prefer to send their own people rather than employ any
of ours.
In the end, AGO admitted that the Chinese were still communists and not
democrats. Then he goes on to state some of the most vicious statements any
civic leader in this country will love with a passion. The best ones
include: "When you are successful, no one thinks about your democracy or
lack of it"; "In terms of economic dynamics, seek the kingdom of prosperity
and democracy will follow"; and the clincher, "At times democracy, human
rights, etc. are not necessary."
And all along I thought Robert Mugabe was bad news for this nation. Wait
till AGO ascends to the throne. May God help us all.

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When the Birthday Boy Is a Ruthless Dictator
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Mara Gay Contributor
(Feb. 16) -- This month, Zimbabweans are wishing President Robert Mugabe a very, very happy birthday. Not that they have a choice. The notorious dictator turns 86 on Feb. 21, and plans are in the works to celebrate with an extravagant, all-night bash, an event Mugabe's political opponents called "insensitive" and others called "insane."

Suffering from widespread hunger and an unemployment rate of about 90 percent, and recovering from a cholera epidemic, Zimbabwe may not be in the mood to celebrate. "Many Zimbabweans have been critical of Mugabe's lavish birthday celebrations, dismissing them as unnecessary in a country where the majority of citizens languish in poverty," one anonymous correspondent reported for The Zimbabwe Times.
Reports say that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe plans to use government funds to pay for a lavish birthday celebration later this month. Here, he attends the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last year.

That may be an understatement. In a country where the average life expectancy is 34 years for men and 33 years for women, some say Mugabe's 86th birthday celebration is especially cruel. Simba Makoni, a former member of Mugabe's political party, told The Guardian that using state funds for the birthday celebration "when basic services are starved of funding" would be "the worst degree of insensitivity and disregard for the needs of the people of Zimbabwe." Makoni said it's likely "state resources will be funneled to this event improperly."

According to The Zimbabwe Times, retired Maj. Anywhere Mutambudzi, an information ministry official, is this year's party planner. He told Zimbabwe's state-run news outlet Friday that "the gala will feature all major local as well as some foreign musicians from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa."

An attempt to contact Mutambudzi on his Facebook page was unsuccessful, and there were no signs of Mugabe's upcoming party on his news feed. Instead, there was this quote by Mahatma Gandhi: "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." And another quote Mutambudzi seems to have written on his own: "Peace is the key ingredient to Happiness. Peace within means peace without. Learn Peace -- Teach Peace!"

Some things just get better with age. Mugabe celebrated his 85th birthday with a $250,000 party, complete with international musicians and diplomats, and the slaughter of dozens of animals. Last year, Mugabe's political party reportedly asked for donations to help pay for the gala. What was on the list? According to The Times of London, it included "2,000 bottles of champagne (Moët & Chandon or '61 Bollinger preferred); 8,000 lobsters; 100kg of prawns; 4,000 portions of caviar; 8,000 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates; 3,000 ducks; and much else besides."

On Twitter today, some had a very different kind of birthday wish for Mugabe. "One year closer to what we're all hoping for," one man tweeted.

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The perfect cop out

Written by Editor
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 13:20
The European Commission this week renewed the targeted measures against
Robert Mugabe (pictured) and his henchmen. At this time, this is the right
thing to do.
The Government of National Unity has not done enough to warrant a reward.
More than a year after the signing of the agreement, Zanu (PF) continues
steadfastly to refuse any form of meaningful power sharing.
Draconian legislation is still in place, denying Zimbabweans their rights to
assembly, freedom of speech, access to information and many under
fundamental rights.
Zanu (PF) thugs are still roaming the countryside beating up opposition
supporters, assisted by the army and the police - who, with a few notable
exceptions, continue to operate as a Zanu (PF) militia. It is pleasing to
receive reports every now and again indicating that not every soldier or
policeman is a bad egg. But certainly the hierarchy is still very rotten.
Zanu (PF) keeps harping on about how it will make "no more concessions to
the MDC" unless "sanctions are lifted".
No one is asking them to make concessions to the MDC! Zimbabweans, and
indeed the international community, simply expect them to implement the
terms of  the agreement their leader, Robert Mugabe, signed last year of his
own free will.
The agreement itself actually favours Zanu (PF). We said at the time that
MDC had made too many concessions, especially in the wake of the results of
the March 2008 elections, which it won convincingly. Despite this, they
agreed to play second fiddle in the so-called unity government.
In some ways we believe that Zanu (PF) actually prefers to have the targeted
measures in place. It gives them an excuse for not implementing the power
sharing agreement. It is the perfect cop out.
They know very well that if they implement in full the terms of the
agreement, and bring about true democracy with free and fair elections -
they will never win.
The present chaos suits them. They continue to rule by default - and to
enrich themselves beyond all our wildest dreams.
This is the Catch 22 situation in which Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
finds himself and which has exercised all friends of Zimbabwe - including
the nations of the European Union - for some time now.
Our position is - the targeted measures must remain until the GPA is
implemented - and not the other way around. Mugabe has fooled too many
people for too long now.

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Zimbabwe's Controversial Land Reform Program Started 10 Years Ago

Militants led by veterans of Zimbabwe's war of independence force more than 4,000 white commercial farmers off their land

Zimbabwean commercial farmers attend a meeting in Harare to discuss compensation for seized land. President Robert Mugabe argues Zimbabwe's farmland was plundered by the country's European colonizers and needs to be redistributed, 05 Feb 2010 Photo: AP

Zimbabwean commercial farmers attend a meeting in Harare to discuss compensation for seized land. President Robert Mugabe argues Zimbabwe's farmland was plundered by the country's European colonizers and needs to be redistributed, 05 Feb 2010


This month marks ten years since the beginning of Zimbabwe's land-reform program.

In February, 2000, Zimbabweans rejected a government-backed draft constitution in a referendum.  It was the first time President Robert Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, was defeated at the polls.

One of the provisions of that draft would have allowed the government to expropriate white-owned agricultural land for the resettlement of landless blacks.

The proposal would only compensate the farmers for improvements on the farms, such as buildings and equipment. The former colonial power, Britain, would pay the farmers for the land they had lost. The British government denied that responsibility.

The rejection of the draft constitution set off what became known as the fast-track land-reform program. It was called the Third Chimurenga, or revolution in the Shona language.

The government argued that white settlers had seized the land from blacks and it was correcting a historical wrong.

Under the program, white commercial farmers were forced off their farms by militants led by veterans of Zimbabwe's war of independence.

The president of the mostly white Commercial Farmers Union, Deon Theron, tells VOA that, of the more than 4,000 white commercial farmers at the beginning of the exercise, only about 300 are still working the land.

"Very few of those 300 are operating fully.  Most of them are down 50 percent, down to about 25 percent," Theron said.

He acknowledges that land reform was necessary but laments what he calls the politicization and "racialization" of the exercise.

The former-opposition Movement for Democratic Change supports the redistribution program. But it says the exercise should be carried out in an orderly and non-violent manner.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC, told VOA recently that the program should also benefit more people.

"In principle, we have all agreed that a land audit is the first step before we can rationalize the mistakes of the land-reform program, not the reversal of it but multiple farm ownership, [the] partisan nature of land distribution, unproductive use of land, all those things have to be dealt with so that we have a permanent solution to the land problem in this country," Tsvangirai said.

Critics of the exercise have dismissed it as a disaster because the new farmers have failed to maintain production. But Professor Sam Moyo, of the African Institute of Agrarian Studies, says ten years is too short a time to judge the success or otherwise of such a large undertaking.

"There are very few countries in the world where you have had such a major land re-distribution. However, it has a number of contradictions here and there and many issues still remain to be resolved," Moyo said.

He says that, although the distribution has opened up the land to more Zimbabweans, a small group he describes as the black elite has benefited more than the majority.

He says members of this elite have taken over large white farms - some of them more than one - which was one of the complaints directed at the former white landowners.

Moyo dismisses the oft-repeated line that agricultural production has plummeted because the new black owners lack farming skills.  He says that, before land redistribution, small-scale black farmers produced the bulk of Zimbabwe's food needs.

"The real constraints are up the chain, in the supply of inputs and services to farmers because industry and some of the service sectors in the economy have been affected by the economic crisis.  At the macro level you also have a major constraint in terms of financial flows which affect the broader stability of the economy.  Interest rates are too high, 60 percent," Moyo said.

Theron says that, although some white land owners still hope they can be involved in farming in Zimbabwe in one way or another, others just want to be compensated for their losses and move on.

Moyo believes the one-year power-sharing government presents an opportunity for the compensation issue to be debated and eventually addressed, with the involvement of the international community.

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News Analysis: Zimbabwe faces daunting task of luring investors

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 6:57 AM

HARARE, Feb. 17, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- The inclusive government in
Zimbabwe could be holding investment conferences and doing all it can to
lure investors but all this could come to naught if it does not come up with
a friendly and consistent policy on investment.

The inclusive government, which marked its one year of existence at the
weekend, has failed to speak with one voice on the indigenization of the
economy, leaving potential foreign investors confused on what to do.

The then government of President Robert Mugabe enacted the Indigenization
and Economic Empowerment Act in 2007, which stipulates that foreign owned
companies must cede 51 percent of their shareholding to local Zimbabweans.

The law caused anxiety among foreign investors, who until now have remained
skeptical about investing in the country. With the formation of the
inclusive government in February last year, most foreign investors had hoped
the law would either be repealed or amended to make it friendly to

Many hoped the three political parties governing the country would not face
any difficulties in agreeing on what needs to be done to attract investment
and bring the economy back on track.

But judging from recent developments regarding the Indigenization and
Economic Empowerment Act, it appears the tripartite government is still
poles apart on how to proceed with the indigenization of the economy.

Last month, Indigenization and Economic Empowerment minister Saviour
Kasukuwere gazetted regulations which spell out how the Act will be
implemented, one of which is for the 51 percent threshold to be the achieved
within a period of five years.

Among other stipulations, the regulations, which take effect on March 1,
2010, require existing businesses with a threshold of 500, 000 U.S.
 dollars to declare their shareholding status to the Minister of
Indigenization within 45 days from March 1 and for new business to follow
suit within 60 days.

Companies not able to meet the 51 percent threshold would be required to
submit a plan on how they will meet the threshold within 45 days from March
1 while those with acceptable reasons would be given a 30-day extension.

The regulations were reported in the local media last week, and drew varied
comments from stakeholders.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, whose MDC party formed an inclusive
government with Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara's MDC, quickly moved in to reassure potential investors by
summarily dismissing the rules as "null and void".

He said the rules were published without due process as detailed in the
Global Political Agreement and the Constitution and as such, were invalid.

"I am in charge of all policy formation in cabinet and neither myself nor
the cabinet were shown these regulations before they were gazetted," said
Tsvangirai in a statement.

Tsvangirai's spokesperson James Maridadi weighed in, saying the Premier was
against the regulations as they did not reflect the beliefs and wishes of
the inclusive government.

He said Tsvangirai was not against indigenization, but was at the same time
not supportive of any policy that has the potential to scare away investors.

"There is need for a balance of policies between attracting investors and
supporting indigenization. But this bill does not have that balance,"
Maridadi said.

Debate on the regulations spilled to Parliament last Thursday, where the two
main parties of Mugabe and Tsvangirai openly showed their discord over the
indigenization law.

Economic Planning and Indigenization Minister Elton Mangoma, who is from
Tsvangirai's party, told the House of Assembly that the regulations had
caused alarm within the investor community.

"There is no reason why we should be threatening investors in this country,"
he said.

"The issue of indigenization must be handled with care. Empowering one
individual to hold 51 percent is not empowering the rest of the people of

Kasukuwere, who is from Mugabe's party differed, saying it was in the
interest of the people of Zimbabwe to become shareholders in foreign owned

He said he had the right to administer laws under his ministry' s ambit
without necessarily having to consult.

An indigenization lobby group, the Affirmative Action Group came out in
defense of the regulations. The organization's president Supa Mandiwanzira
said fears that the law scares away potential investors were misplaced.

But observers have argued that many Zimbabweans, wearied by years of
hyperinflation, have become poorer to acquire stakes in foreign owned
companies, and fear a few rich individuals would end up benefiting from the

The indigenization of Zimbabwe's economy has become a touchy issue and
naturally, the business community was concerned about the regulations.

"We are not against indigenization, but any policy must be coordinated and
not scare away investors. We need clarity on the policy..," said
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Kumbirai Katsande.

His organization brings together various businesses, including foreign owned
banks and mines that are among those affected by the indigenization law.

Katsande said his organization would lobby government over the regulations,
and it remains to be seen how far his organization would go in influencing
the government, particularly the Zanu-PF side, to make some positive changes
to the policy.

While the discord on indigenization underlines the deep-seated differences
among the three parties, what remains clear is that unless Zimbabwe
addresses its political risk, and comes up with a clean friendly investment
policy, investors will continue to sit on the fence.


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A Tribute to Mike Mason by Emma Hurd from Sky News............

They are the unsung heroes of Sky's foreign news coverage - the local fixers
without whom many of our stories would never make it to the screen.

This is a tribute to one of those fixers, a remarkable man called Mike
Mason, our fixer in Zimbabwe, who has died suddenly at the age of 49.

Mike repeatedly risked his own safety to help us report from Mugabe's
Zimbabwe at a time when all western journalists were banned, writes Sky News
Africa correspondent Emma Hurd.

He was determined to help us show what was happening to his country as the
President tried to keep the eyes of the world away.

Mike was a former white farmer who was kicked off his land by Mugabe's
henchmen. But his primary concern was not the fate of his fellow farmers but
the plight of the majority black population facing hunger and persecution.

Through his contacts, and thanks to his courage, we were able to tell their
stories through the violence of the 2008 election and beyond.

When we couldn't risk filming publicly in a country where we faced jail if
we were caught, Mike would film for us.

He brought us some of the most striking images of the disputed election -
pictures of the opposition MDC supporters who had been beaten by Zanu PF

He combined the role of cameraman with paramedic, loading the injured into
his car to take them to a safe place for treatment.

In February 2009 I accepted an award from the Royal Television Society on
behalf of all the men and women who worked with the foreign media in

It was long overdue recognition of those, like Mike, who have been so
crucial in helping us to cover one of the most important stories in Africa.
They are our eyes and ears in a country where telling the truth still has

Despite the supposed lifting of reporting restrictions a newspaper publisher
was arrested just last week for printing an article Mugabe's regime didn't

Mike never sought a career in journalism and he wasn't interested in glory
or recognition for his work. He was just a man who loved his country and
believed that the story should be told.

His friendship, humour and infectious joy for life, despite all of its
adversities, will be much missed.

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Zimbabwe Weekly Update – Number 6


• Jonathan Moyo was passed over for promotion to the new Zanu-PF Politburo
lineup. The spin-doctor was hoping to become either information secretary or
to head the party’s commissariat. The central committee was reportedly wary
of trusting political chameleon Moyo enough to be part of the party’s inner
• The EU has decided to extend targeted sanctions until 2011 against Mugabe
and Zanu-PF elite, official sources said in Brussels on Friday. The decision
was based on a “shortage of sufficient progress” in the implementation of
the GPA. But the EU food security co-coordinator in Zimbabwe Pierre-Luc
Vanhaeverbeke said it would continue to support efforts to revive Zimbabwe’s
economy and provide humanitarian assistance.
• The MDC announced on Friday the inter-party talks on the GPA had reached a
deadlock and now required the intervention of SADC. MDC spokesperson Nelson
Chamisa said if the deadlock persists, the only solution is free and fair
• But the South African mediation team contradicted this on Sunday, saying
the coalition parties were still in negotiations. President Jacob Zuma’s
International Relations Adviser and team member Lindiwe Zulu said they had
successful meetings in Zimbabwe.
• Meanwhile a new report released on Friday by the Civil Society Monitoring
Mechanism (CISOMM) said the unity government had not delivered on its
promises, failing to resolve the land dispute, transitional justice, human
rights and institutional reform. The report said the unity government has
instead become a “talk-shop”.
• Amnesty International (AI) on Wednesday called on the unity government to
fulfill its promise to reform state institutions, in a bid to end continuing
human rights abuses. AI said that without genuine reform, the abuse would
likely persist.
• President Robert Mugabe has withdrawn a directive to ministers and
permanent secretaries to report to his deputies after protests by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara when they met
last Friday. The directive was made through a circular dated January 25 by
the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda.
• The civil servants’ strike for a quadrupling of wages has reportedly been
encouraged by Zanu-PF. Off-duty officers in the armed forces and police were
ordered to join the demonstrations in civilian clothes. Zanu-PF youths and
soldiers allegedly raided several schools and government institutions in
Masvingo Province to enforce the strike. The MDC has accused Zanu-PF of
politicizing the strike in an effort to wreck the fragile coalition
government. The civil service is being paid in US$, supplemented by donor
funds to support essential services, but these funds will not cover any
increases. The civil servants say that revenue from the Marange diamond
fields should be used to improve salaries and working conditions.
• Prison labour is being exchanged for maize grain to feed inmates at Guruve
Prison. A senior prison officer said senior government officers and Zanu-PF
officials were using prisoners as ’slave’ labour on their farms in exchange
for maize. The government is mandated to provide food for prisoners.
• The government is to review the salaries of top earning parastatal bosses
in an attempt to pacify the civil servants currently on strike. The strike
has exposed some utilities who pay their employees as much as US$5 000 a
• The ongoing constitution-making process has become illegitimate and
confusing, National Constitutional Assembly Chairperson Lovemore Madhuku
said on Thursday. Madhuku said the process was not “people-driven” as
planned, criticizing politicians for their “power-hungry motives.”
• The Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is reported to have purchased
around 200 Nissan twin cab trucks for as yet unexplained reasons. Observers
say the agency spent approximately US$5 million.
• The new regulation that requires businesses to hand over at least 51 per
cent ownership to indigenous Zimbabweans will be enforced from March 1, with
jail penalties of up to five years. Minister of Indigenisation Saviour
Kasukuwere said the regulation would not be reversed, despite the MDC’s call
to withdraw the “destructive policy.” Tsvangirai allegedly said the gazette
had been made without his knowledge.
• Zimbabwe’s biggest international investment conference since the formation
of the unity government started in Harare. The Africa investor (Ai)
Pan-African Tourism and Infrastructure Investment Summit runs until
Thursday, with an aim to discuss tourism strategies, investment
opportunities and tourism infrastructure development to help Zimbabwe
benefit from the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
• The tourism sector is projected to grow by 10 percent this year,
underpinned by a stimulus package, Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter
Mzembi said on Friday. Mzembi said investment was crucial to growth.
• A project aimed at alleviating the water in shortage in Bulawayo has
finally started, but the laying of the pipeline from the 99% full Mtshabezi
Dam is underfunded by more than US$18 million. Only 2km of pipeline has been
laid of the 33km needed to connect Mtshabezi to the city’s main supply dam,
• The European Union (EU) announced a US$13 million funding scheme to assist
smallholder communal farmers. Head of the EU Delegation in Zimbabwe Xavier
Marchal said the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector is crucial to
Zimbabwe’s economic revival. The scheme will run till 2012.
• A state newspaper Manica Post said on Friday the government had allegedly
banned all food handouts by NGOs.  The decision was announced by Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made, who said the main motivation was agricultural
• Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and Information minister Webster
Shamu are allegedly leasing out their farms to former white commercial
farmers, Mashonaland West secretary for lands and resettlement Temba Mliswa
said. Chombo and Shamu are reportedly part of a scam involving senior
Zanu-PF officials subletting more than 30 farms in the province. Mliswa also
said Chombo and Shamu were multiple-farm owners.
• The Commercial Farmers Union reported that ‘at least’ 16 judges have so
far benefited from the chaotic and violent land reforms.
• Zimbabwe’s commercial farmers will ask the SADC Tribunal to set guidelines
on ‘fair compensation’ due to farmers for land lost under the land
distribution programme. The Southern African Commercial Farmers’ Union
(SACFA) supported the initiative.
• US$500 million is needed in food aid amid a serious drought that has hit
the country. Tsvangirai said a government response to the food shortage was
urgently needed. He said the government would have a mid-term plan to import
food by June or July.
• MDC transport manager Pascal Gwezere, who was recently released after
being abducted from his home in October, said he was tortured while in
custody. He said his torturers were often drunk when interrogating him, and
used a variety of torture methods such as tying his genitals with strong
cotton thread and threatening to bury him alive.
• Mugabe’s war veterans on Friday had a run in with riot police when they
were found digging up the Zimbabwe Ruins, allegedly to exhume remains of
bodies of fighters of the liberation struggle, which they said had been
buried there. The ruins are the most important historical monument in the
country and a prime tourist attraction in Masvingo.
• Two senior police officers and an ex-policeman were last week arrested
after they were accused of violating the Official Secrets Act by leaking
police information to the MDC.
• The civil servants’ strike forced the postponement of Deputy Minister of
Agriculture (designate) Roy Bennett’s treason trial. The trial was deferred
for the duration.
• Distributors of UK-based newspaper The Zimbabwean were arrested on Friday
and charged with publishing “falsehoods prejudicial to the state.” Media
groups pointed out that distributors are not publishers and have decried the
charges, saying they demonstrate the coalition government’s insincerity
about media reforms.
• A Mexican journalist was arrested Friday while filming tourist facilities
in southern Zimbabwe. Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said the unnamed
journalist had been cleared by the Zimbabwean government to film attractions
in Masvingo ahead of the FIFA World Cup.
• A three-member cabinet team led by Vice-President John Nkomo has been
tasked to summon editors from the state and independent media to urgently
discuss ‘hate speech’ in the media.
• The diamonds removed from the Reserve Bank on the orders of Mines Minister
Obert Mpofu last week are still unaccounted for. The missing diamonds are
part of a collection that was mined by the UK based mining firm Africa
Consolidated Resources. “We don’t know where they (the diamonds) are,” ACR’s
lawyer, Jonathan Samkange said, “The police robbed the central bank.”
• Zimbabwe’s House Committee on Mines warned government officials that they
risk being charged with corruption and sentenced to prison if they keep
mismanaging the Marange diamond fields.
• Two executives of Canadile Miners, a South African mining firm, were
arrested in Zimbabwe on Tuesday on charges of stealing diamonds from
Marange. They were reportedly found with 57 diamonds worth R280 000.
Canadile’s board members include diamond smugglers from the Congo and
mercenaries from Sierra Leone.
• A four-member delegation from Tanzania arrived in Zimbabwe on Sunday to
study how the country administers the Aids levy. Zimbabwe has used the
National Aids Trust Fund (NATF) – funded through a taxpayer levy in 2000 –
to implement a successful campaign against the disease. The National Aids
Council which delivers services has in the past been accused of holding on
to funds. In Zimbabwe the treatment gap is huge with only 180 000 of the 600
000 people in need of ARVs accessing the life-saving drugs.
• Zimbabwe’s Health Minister Henry Madzorera on Tuesday acknowledged
improvements in the country’s health delivery system but said it is still in
“high dependence unit” and would remain so until the international community
increased funding.
• Water Resources, Development and Management minister Samuel Nkomo has
accused two mining companies and Zesa (the electricity supply utility) of
releasing toxic waste into a Hwange river, posing a serious health hazard to
villagers, livestock and wildlife. He said he would continue to “monitor”
the situation.
• Hundreds of Zimbabweans were on Friday evicted from Chambers Building in
Johannesburg central after the property was deemed unsuitable for human
occupancy. The residents were left stranded after they were ordered to
vacate the property immediately.
• Refugee rights group PASSOP said last week that Zimbabwean refugees in
South Africa are given “selective assistance” by organisations meant to help
them. The group’s Braam Hanekom said the organisations, funded or mandated
by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), have refused to help some
Zimbabweans and acted “maliciously” towards displaced Zimbabweans in De
Doorns in the Western Cape.
• Zimbabwe could face sanctions at the upcoming Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) conference in Qatar in March for its
failure to control poaching of wildlife, especially of the endangered rhino,
the Convention’s secretary general Willem Wijnstekers warned. Wijnstekers,
in Harare after a fact-finding tour, also charged that Zimbabwean security
forces are spearheading poaching of elephants and rhinos in the country.
• The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park Initiative joining Zimbabwe,
Mozambique and South African national parks is under threat as villagers
illegally living inside Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park have vowed to
stay put, demanding compensation from Zanu-PF for broken promises. At least
1000 families have accused Zanu-PF of abusing them for political gain.
The Good News
• Nobody was arrested when members of WOZA and MOZA held their annual
Valentine’s Day march in Bulawayo and Harare, distributing ‘protest
Valentine’ cards and red roses during the peaceful march.
• Zimbabwe’s biggest cell phone operator Econet Wireless is asking its more
than three million subscribers to help raise aid for the victims of the
Haiti earthquake. Subscribers wanting to help will donate US$0.89 for every
text message sent.
• The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) last week donated
communication equipment to the government, in order to improve the response
to disease outbreaks in remote areas. The equipment will be used to bridge
the communication gap between rural health centres and district hospitals.

Source:  Zimbabwe Democracy Now


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PEACE WATCH 1/2010 of 17th February [POSA Requirements for PubicGatherings]


[17th February 2010]

Veritas has been asked to clarify what organisers must do to comply with POSA if they plan meetings, demonstrations or processions, and what the police are or are not entitled to do under the law when peaceful meetings, demonstrations or processions take place.  [POSA available on request]  The amendments proposed in the POSA Amendment Bill have not been taken into account.  If they become law Veritas will send out a notice of relevant changes.

Constitutional Right to Hold Meetings, Demonstrations and Processions in Public Places

The Constitution protects the right to hold meetings and to demonstrate in public as part of the freedoms of expression and of assembly and association [see sections 20 and 21 of the Constitution].  In this, our constitution conforms with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [Articles 19 and 20] and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights [Articles 9, 10 and 11].

These are not absolute or unqualified rights:  sections 20 and 21 of the Constitution allow Parliament to make laws limiting freedoms of expression, assembly and association “in the interests of defence, public safety, public order” and for the purpose of protecting the rights or freedoms of other persons, as long as the laws are “reasonably justifiable in a democratic society”.  Sections 20(6) and 21(4) go on to say that no one has a right to exercise their freedom of expression, assembly or association in or on “any road, street, lane, path, pavement, side-walk, thoroughfare or similar place which exists for the free passage of persons or vehicles”.  This does not mean that all processions and demonstrations in public roads and streets can be prohibited:  in 1994 the Supreme Court said that, properly construed, the sections simply state that the right to hold demonstrations and processions in public roads and streets does not give licence to interfere with or obstruct the free passage of persons or vehicles.

Comment:  So the Constitution guarantees everyone the right to hold meetings, demonstrations and processions even in public places, subject only to restrictions that are reasonably justifiable in a democratic society and so long as traffic along roads and streets is not impeded.

What restrictions are imposed on this right by the Public Order and Security Act (POSA)?

No Notice Need be Given of the Following Gatherings

The Schedule to POSA lists “gatherings” [which includes processions and demonstrations] not subject to the obligation to notify police:

ˇ        a meeting of an organ or structure of a political party or other organisation such as a trade union [but in terms of section 23(8) of POSA the police may request — though not require — an organisation to supply them with the names of people who are entitled to attend such meetings];

ˇ        a gathering held exclusively for bona fide religious, education, recreational, sporting or charitable purposes

ˇ        baptisms, weddings, funerals and cremations

ˇ        a gathering of members of professional, vocational or occupational bodies held for non-political purposes

ˇ        a gathering held by a non-political club, association or organisation where non-political matters are discussed

ˇ        a gathering held by a registered trade union for bona fide trade union purposes in order to conduct its business under the Labour Act

ˇ        a gathering for an agricultural or industrial show, or the sale of goods or animals

ˇ        a gathering for a theatre, cinema, musical or circus performance

ˇ        a gathering for lottery draws.

Comment:  Although not expressly exempted, a spontaneous gathering should be included in the exemptions because, as suggested below, POSA cannot be construed as prohibiting people from exercising their constitutional right to gather spontaneously in public.

Prohibition of All Gatherings in Certain Places

Section 27A of POSA prohibits all gatherings:

ˇ         within 20 metres of the vicinity of Parliament, without written permission from the Speaker of the House of Assembly

ˇ         within 100 metres of the vicinity of a court building without written permission from the Chief Justice or the Judge President of the High Court

ˇ         within 100 metres of a protected place or area [e.g. State House and the President’s retirement home], without written permission from the responsible authority for the place or area.

Comment:  These prohibitions — apart from being vague — are almost certainly unconstitutional.

Temporary Bans on Public Gatherings in an Entire District

Section 27 of POSA also allows a regulating authority [i.e. the police officer in command of a police district] to impose a temporary ban for not more than one month on all public gatherings in his or her district, or on specified types of public gatherings.  This can be done only if the regulating authority reasonably believes that “normal” police powers [see below] will not be sufficient to prevent public disorder.  There is a right of appeal against such a prohibition to the local magistrate under section 27B.  The ban has to be published in the Government Gazette and in a newspaper and in such other manner that will ensure it is brought to the attention of people that may be affected by the ban. 

[Note that there are no such prohibitions presently in force but this provision has been used in the past.]

Comment: Many people feel that if the police want to ban all gatherings in a district they should show due cause to a magistrate and the magistrate should decide whether such a ban is necessary, as is the case in many other countries.

Procedure to be Followed When Organising a Public Gathering

Anyone who wants to hold a public meeting [i.e., a meeting of more than 15 people in a public place or a meeting which the public is permitted to attend], or a demonstration or procession in a public place [i.e., a road, open space or other place to which the public has access] must follow the procedures laid down in POSA and outlined below.

Appointment of Convenors:  An organisation that intends to hold a demonstration or procession in a public place must appoint a convenor and deputy convenor to be responsible for all dealings with the police, including for making arrangements for the demonstration or procession, and must without delay notify the regulating authority for the police district concerned of the appointment [POSA, section 23].  Anyone who wants to convene a public meeting must appoint a “responsible person” with the same functions as a convenor, and must notify the regulating authority of the appointment without delay [section 24 of POSA].

Notice of Public Meetings, Demonstrations and Processions to Police:  Section 25 of POSA requires organisers/convenors to give at least five days’ written notice of a meeting, 7 for a demonstration or procession, to the regulating authority [the police] for the district in which the meeting is to take place; the notice can be handed in to the person in charge of the police station nearest to the venue of the meeting, procession or demonstration,

Comment:  Although this requirement may seem to render spontaneous public gatherings illegal, that cannot be the case if POSA is read in conjunction with the Constitution — as it must be.

Notice must give particulars, including:

ˇ         the convenors

ˇ         the purpose of the meeting, demonstration of procession

ˇ         times and places of assembly and dispersal

ˇ         the anticipated number of participants;

ˇ         in the case of a demonstration or procession, the route to be followed, form of the procession, e.g. whether vehicles will be used

ˇ         if a petition or similar document is to be presented, the place where and person to whom it will be presented.

Notice Not an Application for Permission:  The written notice is not an application for permission.  Contrary to popular belief, POSA does not say that police permission is required for a meeting, procession or demonstration.

Effect of Failure to Notify Police:  Failure to give notice does not make the meeting, procession or demonstration unlawful and is not in itself a reason for prohibiting it.  Nor will persons taking part be guilty of an offence simply because it was not notified.  [Although police may try and pin another offence on them – see next Peace Watch.]  The convenor, however, may be guilty of an offence under section 25(5) of POSA, which allows for a fine of up to $2000-00 or one year’s imprisonment or both, and may also be civilly liable under section 28 for loss, damage, injury or death that may occur at the meeting, procession or demonstration.

Police Responsibilities When Notified: Duty to Act in Good Faith:  On receipt of written notice of a public meeting, demonstration or procession, the police must proceed to consider whether or not it may go ahead.  In the case of a public meeting, if the convenor hears nothing from the police, he or she can assume there is no problem and the meeting can go ahead as scheduled [POSA, section 26(2)].  In the case of a demonstration or procession, if the police consider it can take place without further negotiation, they must advise the convenor accordingly [POSA, section 26(1)].  But even if they don’t advise the convenor he or she can go ahead with the demonstration or procession because the onus is on the police to convene a consultative meeting if they believe the demonstration or procession will cause any problems.

Consultative Meeting:  If the police receive credible information on oath that there is a threat that a meeting, procession or demonstration will result in serious disruption of traffic, injury to persons, extensive damage to property, or other forms of public disorder, they must promptly call a consultative meeting with the convenor to discuss how such problems can be avoided [POSA, section 26(3)]The Act specifically states that the police must ensure that discussions at the meeting take place “in good faith” [POSA section 26(4)(c)].  If no agreement can be reached on precautions to meet bona fide police concerns, the police have the power to impose conditions designed to ensure that traffic is “least impeded”, to keep rival demonstrations apart, to ensure access to property and workplaces and to prevent injury or property damage.  These conditions must be communicated to the convenor of the gathering, and must be obeyed, subject to an appeal to a magistrate, as outlined below.  See section 26(8) & (11) of POSA. 

Police Prohibition of Public Meeting, Demonstration or Procession:  If, following discussions with the convenor, the police see no way in which their concerns can be met by appropriate conditions, then — and only then — they have power to prohibit the meeting, procession or demonstration.  It is implicit in these provisions that:

ˇ        a prohibition should be resorted to reluctantly and only if genuinely essential;

ˇ        a prohibition can only be resorted to if the police have received credible information on oath that there is a threat of serious disruption of traffic, injuries, extensive property damage or public disorder.  Since the information must be on oath it should presumably be recorded as an affidavit.  Convenors should demand to see the affidavit.

An order prohibiting a public meeting, demonstration or procession must be handed to the convenor, together with the reasons for the order, and must be obeyed [POSA, section 26(10) & (11)].  If it is not possible or practicable to notify the convenor, then the police must give public notice of the order.

Appeal to Magistrate against Police Decision:  If a convenor is dissatisfied with conditions imposed by the police, or by a prohibition order, the convenor may appeal to a local magistrate.  The appeal must be dealt with before the proposed date of the meeting, demonstration or procession [POSA, section 27B].

In the Next Peace Watch:

Police powers when gatherings take place – What the police can do to disperse a gathering – Criminal offences connected with gatherings

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

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