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Secret airstrip built at Zimbabwe diamond field

A secret airstrip is being built in a diamond field illegally seized by the Zimbabwean army 14 months ago which would enable clandestine weapons shipments.
Secret airstrip in Zimbabwe's diamond field
Aerial pictures show construction work is well under way, with a newly built control tower apparently complete and the runway nearly ready for surfacing

Diplomats and analysts believe that the mile-long runway is intended for arms shipments, probably from China, for which troops loyal to President Robert Mugabe would pay on the spot with gemstones from the Chiadzwa diamond mines.

Aerial pictures show construction work is well under way, with a newly built control tower apparently complete and the runway nearly ready for surfacing.

There are other airfields within a short distance of the mining area, and no obvious need for a runway long enough for transport planes to take off and land even closer to the mines. A Western diplomat said the existence of the runway, out of sight except from the air, was "extremely" worrying.

The images also show what appears to be a tented army camp in the diamond fields, which would be in violation of Zimbabwean court orders and of an undertaking to the Kimberley Process, which was set up to prevent "blood diamonds" from conflict zones entering the global gem trade.

According to human rights groups, hundreds of independent miners were killed when soldiers seized control of the Chiadzwa area in November 2008, since when others have been compelled to work for only a fraction of the value of the diamonds they unearth. Officers use the proceeds from their sale to enhance their meagre pay - a ploy encouraged by Mr Mugabe's henchmen to help ensure the army's continued loyalty.

But the construction of the runway suggests that the army has now widened its ambition and wants to use its access to the raw diamonds - whose production is worth an estimated £125 million a month - to obtain goods from abroad, in particular weapons.

The revelation comes at a highly sensitive moment for Zimbabwe, where the future of joint government by Mr Mugabe's ruthless Zanu-PF party and the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister, hangs in the balance.

Last week Mr Tsvangirai was in Europe to press for international sanctions against Zimbabwe to be eased, despite continued repression of opponents by state security forces and the refusal by Zanu-PF to honour all the elements of its agreement with the MDC.

The MDC leader was briefed about the continued presence of the army at the diamond fields and the construction of the secret runway. A party insider said: "We know about it and it is extremely sensitive. We are very worried about what we have found out this week."

China has long been Zimbabwe's main source of arms, but delivery has been more difficult since a shipment was blocked in South Africa three years ago.

Other deliveries have come in through the Mozambican port of Beira, but government officials in the country's capital, Maputo, have expressed concern over the issue.

The army has also been frustrated in its attempts to buy weapons by Zimbabwe's finance minister, Tendai Biti, a member of the MDC who has blocked new arms purchases since taking control of the treasury under last year's power-sharing deal.

But the new facility would give Zimbabwe's Joint Operations Command, the military top brass who long swore they would never recognise Mr Tsvangirai's authority, a way to obtain weapons independently.

A Western diplomat claimed the head of Zimbabwe's armed forces, Constantine Chiwenga, had been "very busy" with the Chinese recently, adding: "We are concerned he is buying weapons."

A senior political source who has seen the pictures said: "Zanu-PF believes these diamond fields will allow it to continue to defy outstanding issues of the political agreement.

"Zanu-PF only went into the inclusive government because it lost the elections but it has no intention of fulfilling the political agreement, and wants to go it alone. But it needs an income to ensure loyalty among soldiers and other security forces."

The source said building such a runway in the mining zone did not otherwise make sense, adding: "We should all be very worried about this."

The diamond fields, in Marange district in eastern Zimbabwe, could be worth billions of pounds and make a vital contribution to rebuilding a country brought to ruin by Mr Mugabe's economic mismanagement. Tens of millions of pounds worth of the gems are smuggled into nearby Mozambique each month, to be bought by dealers from Lebanon, Belgium, Iraq, Mauritania and the Balkans - many of them with the connivance of the army and police.

The mines, whose rough diamonds have a characteristic and unappealing grey appearance, cover an area of 10 square miles. A British company, African Consolidated Resources (ACR), has a legal claim to them under a deal originally struck with the Zimbabwean government, but in 2006 the Mugabe regime went back on the agreement and declared the mines open to all comers.

Thousands of desperate Zimbabweans descended on the area to pan for diamonds among the soft red mud, and police exploitation and corruption soared.

Then, towards the end of 2008, hundreds of soldiers were sent in to evict the miners by force and take control for the army. Human rights groups estimate that between 200 and 400 were shot dead, and many more were beaten, tear-gassed, mauled by dogs or raped.

The international diamond watchdog, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, has been urged to suspend Zimbabwe over the violence and allegations of continuing violance at the mines - a move which would make the trade in Zimbabwean diamonds illegal. But at a meeting in Namibia in November the body decided to give Zimbabwe until June to improve, to the fury of campaigners who said the mines' output should be considered "blood diamonds" and banned.

Mark Canning, Britain's ambassador to Zimbabwe, confirmed that diplomats are closely watching developments in the diamond fields, including apparent construction of a 2,000-yard runway.

"The situation in Marange is of continual concern," he said. "What this particular facility [the runway] is, at this stage is anyone's guess, but it's crystal clear that the proceeds of a rich diamond field which has the potential to transform the fortunes of this country are being channelled into a handful of well lined pockets."

The Zanu-PF defence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, denied knowing of any runway under construction in the area. "Ask the mining ministry or home affairs, they might know about it," he said.

The mining minister, Obert Mpofu, who is also a member of Mr Mugabe's party, said he was on holiday and therefore could not comment.

The government says the army has withdrawn from the mining concession area and the mines are now being run by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), ignoring a high court order granting that right to ACR, the company which says it has the licence.

One of the mining companies involved in the development says that it is building the runway in order to comply with Kimberley Process rules that diamonds be transported in the most secure way possible, and that a private contractor is responsible for security.

ACR's chief executive Andrew Cranswick said: "We are certain the majority of valuable stones from our sites have been and are being smuggled out of Zimbabwe."

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No one monitoring airlifting of Chiadzwa diamonds

by Own Correspondents Tuesday 02 February 2010

HARARE - Controversial mining house Mbada Diamonds has airlifted diamonds
from Chiadzwa to Harare without monitoring by the Mineral Marketing
Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), police or any other authority in the
country, in what appears a clear violation of Kimberley Process (KP) calls
for maximum transparency at the notorious diamond field.

Acting head of marketing at the MMCZ - the sole marketing and selling agent
of all minerals produced in the country - Masimba Chandavengerwa told
Parliament's mines and energy committee that although his organisation
evaluates and monitors the diamonds, it has not been represented when the
gems are airlifted from Mutare to Harare.

Asked by ZANU PF legislator Simbaneuta Mudarikwa if the MMCZ was aware of
the airlifting of diamonds from Chiadzwa, Chandavengerwa stunned the
committee saying: "At the moment, (the airlifting is being done) without our

The MMCZ acting boss also conceded that handling of diamonds at Chiadzwa,
also known as Marange, still fell short of KP standards - two months after
Harare promised to act to review operations at the diamond field to ensure
compliance with the requirements of the world diamond industry watchdog.

Chandavengerwa said: "In terms of systems there is work that has to be done
to meet the KP" standards. He however ruled out under-invoicing of diamonds
by Mbada saying "our own evaluators did the evaluation. Mbada also did their
own, (whose results) which were very, very close".

Mbada Investments is a joint-venture formed last year by the government's
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Grandwell of South Africa
to mine diamonds at Chiadzwa.

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

Harare agreed at the KP meeting in Namibia last November that all shipments
from all production sites in the Marange field will be "subject to
examination and certification by a KP monitor prior to export to ensure that
the production and export of rough diamonds is compliant with the minimum
standards of the KP".

But the Zimbabwean government and the KP are yet to agree on a monitor to
keep an eye on the Chiadzwa operation with reports that Harare insists the
monitor must be a citizen of an African country. Apparently, the KP had
proposed to send a diamond expert from Europe to monitor the Chiadzwa

A planned sale of 300 000 carats of diamonds by Mbada was aborted last month
because of the absence of a KP monitor and also because the mining firm had
failed to inform relevant government departments including the MMCZ.

The KP is a joint government, industry and civil society initiative to stop
trade in conflict diamonds - rough diamonds used by rebel movements and
other rouge groups to finance wars against legitimate governments.

Under a set of measures meant to bring Zimbabwe's controversial diamond
industry in line with KP standards, the diamond watchdog must monitor
production and sales of diamonds from Chiadzwa field where the army has been
accused of rights abuses against civilians.

International rights groups have been pushing for a world ban on Zimbabwe
diamonds until Harare acts to ensure mining at Chiadzwa is in full
compliance with KP standards.

The southern African nation however escaped a KP ban last November but the
global body gave Harare a June 2010 deadline to make reforms to comply with
its regulations.

Meanwhile a ZMDC official refused to disclose to the parliamentary committee
the names of members of Mbada Investments board.
Little is known of the diamond miner except that its chairman Robert Mhlanga
has strong links to Zimbabwe's military establishment that is accused of
accused of stealing millions of dollars worth of diamonds from Chiadzwa and
offloading them onto the foreign black market for precious stones. -

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Zimbabwe Attorney General admits abuse of section 121

ZLHR LogoZLHR Press Release - 1 Feb: Attorney General (AG) Johannes Tomana on Monday 1 February 2010 conceded that his law officers and prosecutors had at times misjudged when they unnecessarily invoked section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) to effectively reverse the granting of bail to accused persons.

Prosecutors and law officers from the AG's Office have on numerous occasions abused a controversial provision of the CPEA by invoking section 121 to keep accused persons in custody despite them being granted bail by the courts. This practice has had the effect of keeping individuals in custody for a further seven days to allow the State time to appeal the granting of bail. In almost all cases the appeals were either never filed, or were dismissed by the superior courts.

Because of this practice Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) had, in recent months, protested that the section was being used selectively and unlawfully by the AG's office against human rights defenders and legitimate political activists in order to persecute these individuals, even where courts have found no evidence that they would pose a threat to the interests of justice, society or the State, if they were to be released on bail.

Tomana told the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, chaired by Masvingo Urban legislator Hon. Tongai Matutu, when he appeared before it today, that he could not rule out malice, corruption, misjudgment and human error on the part of his law officers in invoking section 121.

Tomana is the first and highest ranking State legal officer to admit the abuse of section 121 which ZLHR contends has been invoked on numerous occasions merely to punish or further harass human rights defenders and continue the incarceration of such individuals in appalling conditions of detention, and not because an appeal would have prospects of success.

Already prominent human rights lawyer and ZLHR member Alec Muchadehama is awaiting a determination from the Supreme Court on his application challenging the constitutionality of section 121 of the CPEA.

Evidence compiled by ZLHR makes it clear that, in the majority of the cases recorded, the State had not filed an appeal after the expiry of the statutory seven days. In the isolated cases in which an appeal was pursued, not one appeal filed by the AG's office has succeeded.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) feels that there is an urgent need for intervention in order for such repressive and unconstitutional practices to be brought to an end and for accused persons to be afforded their basic rights and freedoms. The exposure of such practices in public hearings is the first step in this process, but requires that further corrective measures to be taken, together with a change of attitude on the part of the AG and his subordinates, including the Director of Public Prosecutions, if it is to have any real meaning for those who have fallen, or may fall, victim to such abuse.

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Zanu PF’s dirty tactics in Zimbabwe’s constitution making process
Section of leaked Zanu PF document

Section of leaked Zanu PF document

Recent media reports have argued that the Zanu PF party has “no intention whatsoever of sharing power in the future”. The reports refer to an internal Zanu PF strategic working document drafted by the ‘Zanu PF Constitution Making Process Working Group’ in November last year, which was apparently ‘leaked’ to the media in January this year. You can download a copy of the leaked document here (PDF – 41 pages in length, 3.13 MB).

The document outlines different positions on a future constitution between the Zanu PF and MDC parties. Some of the perceived differences of opinion are subjective, and there is not necessarily any evidence that the MDC party does think the way Zanu PF assumes it does. The purpose of the document is clear: it is “to enable Zanu PF political mobilisation teams to concentrate on the issues that are likely to be contested in the constitution-making process” – and as becomes obvious in the reading of the text, to give those teams the arguments for the Zanu PF position.

On individual human rights:

The authors of the strategic document outline several fundamental rights which they state the MDC will seek to include in a future constitution that the Zanu PF has not listed as individual human rights. These are:

  1. Right to health care, food, water, and social security
  2. Right to education
  3. Worker rights
  4. The right to a clean environment
  5. Freedom of speech and expression
  6. Minority rights

The justification for the exclusion of rights 1-4 above is that these fall under ‘national objectives’, and therefore are not in themselves individual human rights. However the authors acknowledge that the party may need to re-think this view.

On the ‘right to freedom of speech and expression’, the Zanu PF authors argue that these rights include the media, and they accordingly argue that they do not fall within the remit of ‘individual human rights’ under a future constitution.

The authors do not acknowledge that excluding ‘the right to freedom of expression’ as an individual human right allows for the infringement on many aspects of individual expression. Both the Kariba Draft and NCA Draft (2001) detail what freedom of expression includes:

  1. freedom to hold opinions;
  2. freedom to seek, receive and communicate ideas and information regardless of frontiers;
  3. freedom of the press and other media of communication;
  4. freedom of artistic creativity;
  5. freedom from interference with correspondence or other forms of communication, including electronic and telephonic communication; and
  6. academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.

Zanu PF’s historical issues with a free press and their efforts to control and curtail the media have always been unacceptable. Their position is made doubly unacceptable when their political desire to control the media is allowed to infringe on the protection of individual freedoms and rights as well.

The working document reveals several lines of strategic controversial attacks that the Zanu PF party plans to employ against the MDC party in the constitution-making process.

The document suggests to its political mobilisation teams that the MDC party wants to include abortion rights in a future constitution. It is important to note that this claim is assumed by the authors and not necessarily a statement on the MDC parties position. This is  clearly seen in the language used by the authors – their inference italicised for emphasis:

Equality of women to men and equal enjoyment with men of fundamental human rights and freedoms [...] and that in addition a women must have preference over her own body (i.e. the Constitution must legalise a women’s right to abortion for any reason the women might deem fit) (Page 8-9).

In fact, without a clear position statement from the MDC parties, we can make no such assumption at all. It is reasonable and fair that a woman must have preference over her own body – she has, for a example, a right not to be raped or abused! The authors of the document extrapolate their assumption of what “preference over her own body” might mean to undermine their view of the MDC’s position on ‘the right to life’. They say that the MDC seeks ”the right to life to be absolute” – i.e. an abolishment of capital punishment. They then comment that the MDC’s favouring of a ‘right to abortion’ contradicts the MDC’s position on the abolishment of capital punishment.

Sceptics amongst us will remember the many times the Zanu PF party has hauled opposition members – including Morgan Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti – into court on ‘treason charges’. Treason carries a penalty of death, so its a useful threat and the ultimate tool for political harassment and intimidation. One can’t help wonder if the convoluted argument on the ‘right to life’, built on nothing more than a baseless assumption, doesn’t have more to do with Zanu PF trying to find any kind of justification to keep capital punishment in the constitution to ensure its favourite weapon of choice is ready to be used against future political opponents.

There is another assumption contained in this document on yet another explosive social issue in Zimbabwe. The authors write (their assumption italicised again) that the MDC wants

Freedom from discrimination to be broad to include the protection of personal preferences (i.e. gays and lesbians should be protected by the Constitution)

Again, this is not a stated MDC position so we do not know if this is the case. All we know is that Nelson Chamisa was quoted last month, saying:

Zanu PF is peddling a lot of lies about the party of excellence, the MDC. They are going around telling people that our party supports homosexuality and abortion. These are all lies meant to disturb the masses attention on the new constitution process (Zimbabwe Mail).

Regardless of the MDC’s position – stated or otherwise – there is no question that there is massive prejudice against homosexuality in Zimbabwe. Abortion too is a contentious issue in any nation in the world. The fact that the authors have sought to find  tenuous reasons to muddy the waters with these volatile issues by putting unproven ideas into the minds of their political mobilisation teams suggests that the party’s intention is more to stir up public controversy and prejudice than it is to have a meaningful debate on a new constitution.

There is another right that Zanu PF note that they have not included in the list of individual human rights: these are ‘Minority rights’. To justify this exclusion, the authors write:

This reminds one of the minority rights included in the Lancaster House Constitution that guaranteed them a number of seats in parliament that was larger than their proportion of the population and that protected them against expropriation of land by the State to redress colonial injustices and imbalances.

As the real owners of the MDC are the whites the Minority Rights which the MDC refer to must be those that were entrenched in the Lancaster House Constitution and which could not be amended for ten years after independence in order to protect white colonial interests.

This is not acceptable to the people of Zimbabwe. They did not engage in an armed liberation struggle in order to protect the British and white colonial interests that subjected them to tyranny, racial domination, oppression and exploitation.

The Zanu PF authors fail to acknowledge that ‘whites’ are not the only minority group in Zimbabwe. So the party’s personal hatred and racism towards all white people – unacceptable enough as it is -  is allowed to have an impact on all other minority groups as well.

This kind of self-serving agenda suggests that the Zanu PF party does not understand that the only qualifier for having a human right is to be human! If they understand this but ignore it anyway, then we can assume that the Zanu PF does not take these profound social values seriously at all.

Ultimately, the document’s stance on individual human rights, and its manipulation of facts and argument, suggests that party’s intention is to serve itself in the constitution-making process, and not the people of Zimbabwe.

You can browse through individual human rights using the menu on our constitution resource page. This is being updated with new content from different draft constitutions all the time.

On citizenship:

Comments left on Sokwanele’s constitution resource reveals that ‘Citizenship‘ is a major concern for many Zimbabweans. The Zanu PF document highlights some key difference of perceived opinion between the MDC and Zanu PF parties.

On ‘citizenship by birth’, the MDC, the document argues, wants everyone born in Zimbabwe to be a citizen of Zimbabwe; Zanu PF, however, will only afford citizenship to the individual if the person is born in Zimbabwe to parents who are citizens  at the time of his/her birth.

Zanu PF believes that the MDC would like the rights to dual citizenship to be enshrined in a future constitution; Zanu PF will allow for an Act of Parliament prohibiting dual citizenship.

According to this document, the MDC party will seek to guarantee the right to citizenship acquired through secondary means (marriage, descent etc); Zanu PF however do not support those guarantees, and will allow for an Act of Parliament that provides for the circumstances in which people can lose their citizenship.

On executive powers:

Zanu PF is keen for full executive authority to be retained by the President and the authors of this strategic text go so far as to describe the Prime Minister as “only a senior minister appointed and accountable to the President”.

It is much easier for executive power to be streamlined into one office, that of the President. It is unworkable for executive authority to be divided between Prime Minister and President.  The experience of the people of Zimbabwe with the inclusive government since February 2009 has shown that a sharing of executive power by a President and Prime Minister will result in there being always a fight for power rather than progress.

If there has to be a Prime Minister, he does not have executive authority. He is only a senior minister appointed and accountable to the President. In the SADC region, the prevalent arrangement is Head of State and leader of government (Page 16).

Presidential immunity is another point of conflict for Zanu PF: “No contestations except on [...] immunity of the President from prosecution during Presidential tenure which the MDC want removed” (Page 17 – see relevant clauses in Sokwanele’s constitution resource here).

Zanu PF also wants to restrict any constitutional clause that allows for the impeachment of the President. The document notes that the MDC wants parliament to “have oversight on executive powers and have the right to impeach the President” while Zanu PF  argues

Parliament may pass a vote of no confidence in Government though a resolution passed by at least two thirds of members of parliament at a joint sitting of both Houses (Page 19).

(Clauses on ‘removing the President from office’ here, and on  ‘vote of no confidence’ here in our constitution resource.)

On Presidential powers:

The document states that there are ‘no contestations’ between the MDC and Zanu PF on ‘The Legislature’ “except on the appointment of Members of Parliament by the President which the MDC does not want” (Page 20).

Zanu PF also want to retain the President’s right to appoint the Commissioner General of Police. The document states that the MDC position is “The appointments of service Chiefs should be approved by parliament after recommendation by the executive”. ZANU PF argue instead that: “The Commissioner General of Police should be appointed by the President”. They hold the same view for the appointments of the Commissioner of Prisons and the Auditor General. (Relevant clauses in our constitution resource: Commissioner of Police here, Commissioner of Prisons here, and Auditor General here).

Zanu PF wants to retain the President’s right to appoint the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (albeit on consultation with two other commissions), while the MDC, according to the authors of this strategic document, wants Members of Parliament to select the Chairperson after a series of interviews. Zanu PF aims to retain the President’s right to appoint all other members on the commissions, from a list presented to him. (For an insight into the various Commissions proposed and/or included in the constitution, select ‘Independent Commissions’ from the menu bar on our constitution resource page).

The Zanu PF document notes too that the “MDC may be opposed to the appointment of Provincial Governors by the President”. The Zanu Pf position is that this is not a matter for the constitution, but “should be detailed in an Act of parliament” instead (Page 38-39).

On Independent Commissions:

On the subject of independent commissions, Zanu PF’s working document reveals their perception that the MDC wants a ‘Land Commission’ included in a future constitution, as well as a ‘Labour Commission’ and a ‘Children’s Right’s Commission’;  however, Zanu PF does not want these (Page 34-35).

According to the authors of the document, the MDC seeks a ‘Land Commission’ on the grounds that the land reform programme has not achieved a perfect outcome and there is a need for a land audit; for individual rights and property rights to be upheld; for just and fair compensation paid by the State; and for unfettered rights of farmers to approach the courts. The document infers that Zanu PF does not see a need for a land commission because

All land acquired by the acquiring authority and listed in the Gazette remains State land. No compensation shall be paid over that land and the improvements effected on it. No court shall have jurisdiction to entertain and challenge to the land acquisition (Page 10).

On the law:

The 41 page working document ends with the authors infusing more ideology and hate-speech into their discussion of allegedly differing positions between the parties of the law to be administered in Zimbabwe, especially with regards African customary law. They highlight the section in Zimbabwe’s constitution which says that African customary law is not inconsistent with the constitution or any law in Zimbabwe (see here), and then state that there have been

No publically stated contestations [on this point between Zanu PF and the MDC] although the conduct and behaviour of the MDC suggests that their favoured position is that customary International Law should take precedence over the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and laws made thereunder. This demonstrates that they have not recovered from colonial brainwashing and indoctrination leading to their acceptance of the notion of superiority of the white race to the black race in furtherance of neo-colonial and imperialist ideology and interests of the former colonial power in Zimbabwe and its Rhodesian kith and kin.

The fact that there have been “no publically stated contestations on this point”, but the authors nevertheless made their own presumptions and launched into an astonishing rant – employing classic Zanu PF anti-imperialist propaganda and race hate speech – is a warning sign of how Zanu PF may seek to colour and influence the constitution making debate. This type of irrational rhetoric has typically been used by Zanu Pf in the past on emotive issues among Zimbabwean audiences  – most notably the land issue. In the process, the hate-speech and anti-imperialist rant has tacitly justified Zanu PF’s stranglehold on democracy and freedom in Zimbabwe (for example, through top-heavy Presidential powers) as rightful in a nation ‘fighting imperialism’.

Zimbabweans should be mindful of what we have gone through in the last ten years in the struggle for meaningful freedom and democracy, and we should not be distracted by hate-speech. Our task is to ensure we have a future constitution which enshrines fundamental values and rights, protects democracy, and ensure peace.

Zimbabweans should also critically engage with any kind of propaganda rhetoric. For example, this particular rant by Zanu PF authors belies inherent contradictions within Zanu PF’s own position. One should note that the Zanu PF document allows for the inclusion of a ‘Gender Commission’, something that is not included in the current constitution. (One hopes they have done so because the party acknowledges there is gender inequity in Zimbabwe and not because they want to white wash this deep rooted issue).  African customary law – ostensibly a beacon of fairness in the eyes of the authors of this document – sometimes erodes gender rights. WOZA point to this in their guidebook on helping Zimbabweans to understand and write their own constitution. They write: “Some forms of discrimination are allowed in family and personal matters or on the application of customary law”. Writing specifically on the issue of a “Right to equality”, WOZA say

The constitution now allows discrimination against women in some situations in which customary law is applied. We may want to remove this. We may want to strengthen the right of women to access land, especially in communal areas (page 7).

The point being that criticising or seeking to amend customary law is not evidence of anything other than a natural step for a forward thinking nation to take in seeking to address fundamental issues in a modern era. It is extremely self-serving for Zanu PF to argue that this is evidence of “white supremacy”, “brainwashing” and “indoctrination”. It also begs the question that if this is the way Zanu PF really think, how committed will they be to fundamental issues of equality that may be undermined by customary law?

Similarly, seeking to amend the constitution is a necessity for our country to be genuinely free. The constitution is not a tool to strengthen one or another political party, and Zimbabweans must collectively work hard against allowing that to happen.

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Magistrate’s conflict of interest exposed in land case

By Violet Gonda
1 February 2010

Samuel Zuze, the Chipinge magistrate, who found four farmers guilty of
refusing to leave their properties last Tuesday, has presided over a case in
which he has a vested interest. He is the alleged beneficiary of a farm
owned by one of the white commercial farmers he convicted last week.

The magistrate convicted and sentenced Algernon Taffs, Mr Z.F Joubert, Mike
Odendaal and Mike Jahme to pay $800 fines and vacate their properties within
24 hours, but failed to declare that he was an interested party.

Former Commercial Farmers Union President Trevor Gifford, who was arrested
last Thursday in connection with the conviction, told SW Radio Africa upon
his release on Monday that the Magistrate was given an ‘Offer Letter’ to
take over Mike Jahme’s farm.

Gifford said the ‘Offer Letter’, signed by Lands Minister Herbert Murerwa,
is for Lot 8 of Newcastle, which is owned by Jahme’s Silverton Estates. He
said: “This is one of the farms which he (Zuze) presided over and did not
announce he was an interested party. It just shows the corrupt manner in
which this whole case has been handled.”

The ‘Offer Letter’ is dated 13 November 2009. This is despite government
claims that  there were no new ‘Offer Letters’  being given out to ZANU PF
beneficiaries, including Ministers, judges and magistrates.

Gifford said he was also shocked to see a magistrate of the lower court
refusing to accept an order by the High Court.

The four farmers’ lawyer had made an urgent High Court application a day
after they were convicted. The High Court ruled the farmers could stay on
the farms until the appeal against their conviction and sentences were
concluded, but Magistrate Zuze refused to accept the order, when Gifford and
others tried to deliver it, last Thursday.

This is when the former CFU president was arrested, together with one of the
convicted farmers’ son, Dawie Joubert. The two, who are facing contempt of
court charges, were released on bail on Monday. They are expected back in
court on the 16th.

Gifford, who is also facing similar charges of contravening the Gazetted
Land (Consequential Provisions) Act, will be in front of the same judge on
February 24 for refusing to leave his farm. These are the same charges
facing more than 150 of the country’s remaining white commercial farmers who
have tried to hang on to their properties.

Gifford said the situation in Chipinge, Manicaland province, is very tense
with militia and war veterans not listening to the High Court. He said the
local police are not helping either, so the farmers are expected to travel
to Harare on Tuesday to appeal to the police headquarters, to enact the
judgement from the High Court, which allows the farms to go back on the
farms until their appeal has been heard.

The farmer said the Global Political Agreement, signed by the partners in
the inclusive government, is still not being put into practise and ‘people
continue to disrupt the prospects of Zimbabwe’s recovery’.


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Constitutional process suffering from partisan media coverage

By Lance Guma
01 February 2010

Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Jessie Majome has said the
country's efforts to craft a new constitution are being hampered by negative
and partisan media coverage from the state media. Speaking on our Rules for
our Rulers constitutional programme Majome said the state media was failing
to appreciate that a tripartite government was in place and their coverage
was not reflecting this.

This week Constitutional Parliamentary Committee co-chair Paul Mangwana from
ZANU PF accused Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga of delaying
the outreach programme. He claimed Matinenga had entered into an agreement
with the main donor, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) without
the knowledge and consent of cabinet. Mangwana claimed there were a lot of
'offending' clauses in the agreement and this created delays.

Majome who is the chairperson of the Sub Committee on Information and
Publicity in the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee however said at no
point had the committee debated the matter and arrived at Mangwana's
conclusion. "The Select Committee has not dealt with this issue. I was at
the last meeting and do not recall it ever being raised. The committee makes
decisions by resolutions and at no point was the matter raised for debate.
Mangwana was probably airing his views," she argued.

Majome complained that co-chairperson Paul Mangwana from ZANU PF was being
given a dominant voice in the state media and yet there was 'no ranking' in
the Select Committee. Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) and Edward Mkhosi (MDC-M) are
the other co-chairs in COPAC and are meant to be on an equal ranking with
their ZANU PF counterpart. Majome's Sub Committee met with the Minister of
Information and Publicity to voice their concerns and were given assurances
the state media would try and give a 'national' outlook to their partisan
reportage. However, nothing has changed.

Despite the negative reporting Majome is convinced the process is on the
right track. She said it was an 'ambitious, open-ended process, designed for
maximum input and it was not easy to manage a mass based project.' Given the
backdrop of the country's economic situation the delays were
'understandable.' She contrasted the way Zimbabwe was drafting its
constitution with the way similar documents were drafted in South Africa,
Namibia and Uganda. In those countries a small group of experts played a
more prominent role as opposed to Zimbabwe's 'mass based approach.'

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Zimbabwe Prison Boss blocks land audit

By Gerald Chateta

Published: January 31, 2010

Harare  -  Zimbabwe Prison Chief Paradzai Zimondi has invited  prison
officers to forward their names for land  redistribution to be facilitated
by his office flouting the Global Political Agreement which says no land
should  be  distributed until  a comprehensive land  audit  has been carried

Zimondi has since circulated a memo to all prisons in which he is
encouraging all officers to submit their names for land acquisition.

One of the memos, dated and seen by ZimEye at Harare's Remand Prison reads

"Those without land and willing to have should submit their names and
preferred provinces in which they want to be allocated land to the
administration as soon as possible. Those  with offer letters  need  not
apply as they  should  come  direct  to the headquarters with the letters,
"reads  the  notice.

Officers at one of the Harare prisons said they were being used for
political gains.

"This is not new to us. In 2000 we were even victimized for not submitting
names to the same political gimmick. None of us benefited for our names
which we submitted at that time. This made  us to  think  that our  names
were  used to acquire  land  for  politicians whom we hear  that they  have
more than one  farm. We are tired of being used, "said officers.

In 2000 during the  peak of the country's  controversial land  reform
program, ZPS  chief  delegated  a  team which  was  led by one Nyashero to
force  prison officers to apply for land.

Any officer who resisted submitting his name was labeled an MDC supporter
and was not legible for further promotions.

The move  by Zimondi is anti  the spirit  of the Inclusive Government which
says  no one  should  be  given land until a  land  audit  has been  done.

Observers say the Prison Chief is forwarding ZANU-PF party's agenda of
blocking land audit.

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Zimbabwe gov’t, workers in crunch talks to avert strike

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) The Zimbabwe government on Tuesday will convene
make-or-break talks with unions representing civil servants in a last-ditch
effort to avert a strike due to start later this week.

Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro and his education counterpart
David Coltart will meet negotiators from unions for teachers, health workers
and other civil servants to try and break a stalemate over salary increases.

Government workers have set Tuesday as the deadline for their employer to
respond positively to their demands for higher salaries or risk a crippling
nationwide strike.

A spokesman for the Progressive Teachers Union said teachers would down
their tools in the event of a deadlock on Tuesday over wage negotiations.
Many teachers at Zimbabwe’s public schools have been on a “go-slow” since
the beginning of the 2010 academic year on 12 January.

They want their salaries, currently pegged at US$165 a month, reviewed
upwards to US$600 which they say was the country’s poverty datum line.

However, figures from the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe put the poverty datum
line at just over US$400 a month.

The government has said it is broke and cannot afford the hikes being
demanded by its 80,000-plus employees.


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Battle for Chiadzwa continues

Monday, 01 February 2010 15:28

ARC accuses govt of sneaking in new evidence

HARARE - The battle for control of Zimbabwe's disputed Chiadzwa diamonds
assumed a new twist last week amid revelations by the British firm which
legally owns the diamond claim that the government was trying to sneak in
fresh evidence challenging the company's title.African Consolidated
Resources (ACR) said the Harare authorities were trying to bring new
evidence to justify their decision to dispossess the British firm of its
legal right to the Chiadzwa claim, also known as Marange claim.
"There are many legal and judicial processes currently ongoing. These
include a recent attempt to introduce new evidence questioning the company's
title, which was not produced at the hearing before the 25 September
Judgement and which is strongly disputed by the company," ACR said.
It did not disclose what new evidence the state wanted to bring before the
courts, only saying it would continue to take all necessary steps to protect
its rights and to regain possession of the Marange claims.
ACR holds right of title to claims on the Marange diamond field that was
seized by the Harare government in October 2006. The company's right to the
Marange title was confirmed by Zimbabwe's High Court in a landmark September
2009 ruling.
Harare has however engaged two private firms to partner state-owned Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) in mining the claims despite the High
Court ruling.
The government has said it will appeal against the High Court ruling while
ACR has vowed to fight in the courts any attempt to strip the firm of its
rights over the diamond claims.
The revelation by ACR came barely a week after Zimbabwe's Supreme Court
ordered that diamonds seized from the company in January 2007 and all
diamonds acquired from the Marange claims be surrendered to the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe pending the determination of the government appeal.
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
committed gross human rights abuses including murder against illegal miners
who had descended on the field following the expulsion of ACR.
A team from the Kimberley Process (KP), the world diamond industry watchdog,
that visited Zimbabwe at the end of last June condemned rights violations
and rampant smuggling of diamonds that it said were being committed by
soldiers based at Marange.
But a KP meeting in Namibia about three weeks ago decided against banning
Zimbabwe diamonds from the world market and instead agreed to give Harare
more time to review operations at Marange and improve security arrangements
to comply with the organisation's standards.
However a leading international diamond trading network has banned members
from trading in diamonds from Marange, citing concerns over "severe human
rights violations" at the diamond field.
The Rapaport Diamond Trading Network that connects thousands of some of the
best diamond suppliers and buyers around the world has said that members
found dealing in diamonds from Marange would be denied access to the
Zimbabwean diamonds not sourced from Marange are not banned.

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Soldier jailed 35 years for arms theft

February 1, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - A serving soldier with the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has been
sentenced to 35 years imprisonment by an army judge-advocate after pleading
guilty to conniving to steal 21 AK-47 rifles from Harare's Pomona Barracks
Armoury in October last year.

Baureni Mafara, who worked under the ZNA's Construction Regiment, earned the
harsh sentence after being court-martialled, along with two army deserters.

A Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) judge-advocate who presided over the trial,
sentenced Mafara to 35 years in jail, but suspended five years on condition
of good behaviour.

Meanwhile, the two deserters Marksist Mwaruta and Chenjerai Gwirizha, will
each serve 23 months imprisonment for terminating their service illegally.
They will be arraigned before a criminal court on completion of their
current sentences.

The ZDF court-martial could not charge the two with the theft of weapons
under military law since they were no longer serving in the army.

In passing sentence the judge-advocate also discharged Mafara from the army
with no benefits.

Mwaruta was based at Presidential Guard Headquarters, while Gwirizha was
working in the electrical and mechanical engineering directorate at the KG
VI Barracks, before they deserted the army.

MDC transport manager Pasco Gwezere, currently out on $500 bail, is also
charged with the offence of theft of arms.

Gwezere was seized from his Mufakose home on October 27 last year and
detained at Marimba Police Station.

He was later transported while blindfolded to Harare Central Police Station
where police and state security agents allegedly took turns to assault him.

One Emmanuel Mashiri (36), a mechanic, was last year also sentenced to a
20-year jail term after he pleaded guilty to the offence.

He was allegedly found in possession of some of the firearms.

It is alleged sometime in October last year, Mashiri who was in the company
of Mafara, Chenjerai Gwirizha, Mwaruta, Gwezere and Stanley Marange hatched
a plan to steal firearms from One Engineers Regiments Armoury at Pomona.

Marange provided the vehicle used as a getaway car, while the others
provided information pertaining to the security at the Pomona Barracks.

At the barracks, Marange remained in the car while Mashiri and the others
went to the armoury.

Using a bolt cutter, Mafara and Mwaruta broke the screen door padlocks
securing the armoury and gained entry.

Mashiri and Gwarizha stood outside as sentinels while Mafara and Mwaruta
stole six AK 47 magazines, one of which had 27 live rounds, 20 AK 47 rifles
and one shotgun.

The gang took the loot to their waiting getaway car and drove to a house in
Westlea where they shared the guns.

The saga has also claimed the life of one Major Maxwell Samudzi who
reportedly committed suicide last year under unclear circumstances while in
army detention.

Samudzi, who was Deputy Officer Commanding One Engineers Support Regiment at
Pomona Barracks, was found lying dead on the floor the following morning
with a black electrical code tied around his neck while blood was oozing
from his nose and mouth.

He allegedly carried three packets containing cotrimohazole aspirin and
nevirapine in his left trousers pocket.

The names of the other soldiers also facing the same offence are Sungiso
Musa, Darlington Kanyingwe, Nyaruwata Lawyers, Charles Muzondo, Dzingai T
Chibutwaka, Stanley Mvindwa, Chamunorwa Chinyere, Cosmore Mangenda, Misheck
Kangwa, Callistus Mutero, David Hamandishe and Farai Chitsiko.

Reports say the soldiers were initially thrown into the Harare Remand Prison
by a joint group comprising members of the army's military intelligence, the
military police and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) two days
after the guns disappeared.

Ten junior officers were arrested over the same case. Their whereabouts have
remained a mystery since their arrest.

Following the alleged theft of the firearms, the police raided a house
belonging to MDC secretary general and Zimbabwe's Finance Minister, Tendai

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Zimbabwe's farmers warn of huge grain deficit

Mon Feb 1, 2010 10:46am GMT

* Country would need to import over 1 million T of maize

* Union says Zimbabwe 'lucky' if yield exceeds 500,000 T

* Extended dry spell damages crops

By Nelson Banya

HARARE, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe may have to import over half the maize it
needs this year to cover a deficit after drought has destroyed crops and
left the country facing a severe food shortage, a farmers' group said on

The former regional bread basket has relied on food aid and imports since
2001, after President Robert Mugabe's government seized commercial farms
from whites to resettle landless blacks, most of whom were poorly equipped
and underfunded.

Zimbabwe's unity government, set up by Mugabe and his rival, Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, had projected a return to food self-sufficiency this year
with maize output of 2.5 million tonnes, double last year's yield.

But both black and white farmers' unions have forecast production of maize,
a staple in the nation's diet, will be nowhere near this figure.

"All indications are that this season will be a total disaster. We will be
very lucky if we get more than 500,000 tonnes," Deon Theron, president of
the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), which represents the 500 remaining white
farmers, told Reuters.

"We need about 1.8 million tonnes of maize, so over a million tonnes will
have to be made up by imports."

The government has also indicated the current season would be poor, but has
not revised its output target, saying it will soon carry out a nationwide
crop assessment.

Theron said apart from the drought, which affected much of the late planted
crop, poor preparations and continued disturbances on white farms had also
contributed to another poor season.

"We predicted the dry conditions affecting the crop now and advised farmers
to plant early, but a lot of our farmers who were going to put seed in the
ground early were being harassed," Theron said.

"Producing adequate food for ourselves is going to be a problem as long as
we don't find a way forward and resolve the disputes on the farms for the
benefit of the country."

The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union (ZCFU), which represents most of the
newly resettled black farmers, also gave a grim assessment of the current
agricultural season.

"We are likely to have a food deficit and we are now appealing to the
government and other stakeholders to start preparing to deal with the food
deficit," ZCFU president William Nyabonda told state media.

"It is time for the government to start crafting a budget to source
additional grain from neighbouring countries."

Zimbabwe's unity government, which says it needs at least $10 billion to
reconstruct the battered economy, is battling to raise funds and grain
imports will exert added pressure on its limited resources.

Western donors, seen as key to Zimbabwe's economic recovery, are holding
back on funding the government, and have insisted on signs that Mugabe is
willing to genuinely share power with the former opposition and institute
broad reforms.

Critics blame Mugabe's land seizures for the country's political and
economic crisis. But Mugabe, 85, and in power since independence from
Britain in 1980, says the country's problems have been mainly due to
intermittent droughts, Western sanctions and sabotage by those opposed to
his land redistribution programme.

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On anniversary of power-sharing, Britain firm on Zimbabwe sanctions

Feb 1, 2010, 16:44 GMT

Harare - A senior British politician visiting Zimbabwe Monday made clear
Britain would not buckle to pressure to lift sanctions on the cash-strapped
country in the run-up to the first anniversary of Zimbabwe's
power-sharing government.

'The British Government has already made clear that the key to having the
EU's restrictive measures lifted is for those blocking progress in Zimbabwe
to implement the commitments they signed up to ... and to stop using
sanctions as an excuse,' Malcolm Bruce, the chairman of the House of Commons
International Development Committee said in a statement on arrival in

Bruce is in Zimbabwe, together with seven other British parliamentarians on
a four-day visit to review the effectiveness of Britain's aid programme.

The visit comes as the country prepares to mark the one-year anniversary on
February 11 of a power-sharing government
formed by arch-rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, formerly the opposition leader.

The power-sharing deal, which ended months of post-election violence against
opposition supporters, has been marred by disagreement between the two, with
Mugabe refusing to appoint some of Tsvangirai's allies to senior government

Mugabe, for his part, accuses Tsvangirai of failing to convince the West to
lift sanctions it imposed on the 86-year old leader and his cronies in 2002
following a spate of human rights abuses and a rigged election.

Reacting to Bruce's comments, Ephraim Masawi, spokesman for Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party, said: 'The issue of sanctions is now clear. MDC (Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change party) is not playing its role to have them

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the British House of Commons
last month that London was awaiting an update from the MDC before deciding
whether the targeted travel and trading bans could be lifted.

The European Union is this month also expected to decide whether to renew
its restrictive measures against Mugabe and scores of his allies.


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CFU Press Statement


Commercial Farmers’ Union – Zimbabwe

1 February 2010

Zimbabwe: Commercial Farmers’ Union condemns Chipinge evictions and arrests

The Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) of Zimbabwe condemns the arrest of two
more commercial farmers from the Chipinge district in the eastern highlands,
south of Mutare, and the conviction of four others for refusing to leave
their properties.

On Tuesday, Mutare Magistrate Samuel Zuze found the four farmers, Algernon
Taffs (Chiriga Estates), Z.F. Joubert (Stilfontein of Umzila), Mike Jahme
(Silverton Estates) and Mike Odendaal (Hillcrest), a South African citizen,
guilty of failing to leave their properties.

Each received a US$800.00 fine and suspended sentences. Odendaal was given a
month to pack up his belongings, while the other three farmers were
instructed to vacate their properties by 5pm the next day.

The magistrate ruled that the farmers would be jailed for two years each if
they did not comply with the ruling. The four were also denied their basic
right to appeal against the judgement, stating there was 'no doubt' in his

A last minute stay of eviction was granted by the High Court on Wednesday
after the farmer’s legal representatives filed an urgent application shortly
after their sentencing. But Magistrate Zuze on Thursday refused to recognise
the ruling, and ordered the arrest of Joubert’s son, Dawie, and former
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) President Trevor Gifford when they tried to
deliver a letter to Zuze clarifying the High Court’s position.

Joubert and Gifford were transferred Friday to the Mutare magistrate’s court
after the Chipinge court refused to deal with them. They are facing dubious
‘contempt of court’ charges.

CFU is extremely concerned that Magistrate Zuze, who is being accused of
“grossly exceeding his jurisdiction,” is a beneficiary of Jahme’s farm. CFU
obtained a copy of an offer letter to Zuze, offering him Jahme’s Newcastle
Farm. It is unacceptable for a magistrate to preside over a trial in which
he holds a personal stake. Furthermore, before court proceedings had been
concluded, supporters and hired thugs were already on two of the farms.

The looting of the main workshop on the Joubert’s farm and the police’s
refusal so far to intervene further points to the complete lawlessness that
continues to abound against commercial farmers in Zimbabwe.
The eviction of Odendaal, a South African citizen, again indicates the
government’s total disregard for the Bilateral Investment Promotion and
Protection Agreement (BIPPA), signed November 27, which protects South
African citizens’ land in Zimbabwe. Attacks on South African nationals
operating commercial farms in this country have in fact increased since the
signing of the agreement.

The effects of these latest evictions on Zimbabwe’s economy and agricultural
sector will be devastating. Joubert is a highly respected Brahman breeder in
Zimbabwe. His cattle, which have top American and South African genetics,
will likely be slaughtered out, adding to the horrific amount of breeding
stock that have already been slaughtered since the land invasions began in
February 2000. Two dairy herds will also be slaughtered out.

Approximately 350 ha of macadamia nuts, 400 ha maize, 140 ha avocados, 80 ha
tea and 50 ha coffee will also be directly affected.

There will also be approximately US$3 million loss in export earnings due to
this exercise. That is a staggering amount, particularly in a debt-ridden
country like Zimbabwe that desperately needs revenue. Prior to the land
invasions, agriculture was the second largest foreign currency-earning
sector of the economy, surpassed only by mining.

The Zimbabwean people are also in desperate need of food security. The
United Nations’ Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) said in its
latest report that close to 2.2 million Zimbabweans will be food insecure
between January and March this year, which is up from last year's estimates
of 1.7 million people needing food aid.  Independent population estimates
are between 6 and 7 million people, down from 12.5 million in 2000.

This is completely unacceptable in a country that has the capacity to
abundantly feed itself as well as provide additional food for the region.

The land invasions have intensified in the past year, with the forced
seizure of more than 80 farms since last February. 152 of the 300 farms
still in operation are now being targeted for eviction.

The CFU deplores the government’s failure to stop the ongoing violence
against farmers and their workers, and for allowing a handful of thugs to
operate with complete impunity. The ongoing attacks violate the basic
principles of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

We implore the unity government to take a stand and halt the land invasions,
so that we can start the process of rebuilding our agricultural sector for
the sake of the entire country.

For further information:

Deon Theron
Commercial Farmers’ Union – Zimbabwe
Tel:  +263 4 309 800 (CFU – Harare)
Zim Cell: +263 912 246 233


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Embattled cleric denies supporting gays

February 1, 2010

Bishop Chad Gandiya is escorted by Bishop Godfrey Tawonezvi of the Diocese of Masvingo at the end of the service.

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Embattled Anglican Bishop Chad Gandiya, who is locked in a bitter dispute with fellow cleric Nolbert Kunonga, has denied claims by his rival that his Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) supports homosexuality.

Gandiya has also denied that his church is opposed to President Robert Mugabe's rule, as alleged by Kunonga.

Kunonga has enjoyed the backing of the police and Zanu-PF in his protracted fight against Gandiya because Kunonga's stance is in line with Mugabe's publicly expressed disdain for homosexuals.

"Contrary to any accusations against us," Bishop Gandiya said Sunday, "We as a Diocese don't support homosexuality. We are very clear on that."

Gandiya led thousands of Anglican Church worshippers who staged an open air sermon at the Africa Unity Square in central Harare Sunday to protest against persistent police harassment.

The harassment has often been at the behest of ousted Kunonga, a dedicated supporter of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Kunonga pulled out of the main Anglican Church Province of Central Africa to form his Anglican Church of Zimbabwe, which enjoys the support of Zanu PF.

He attributed the split to what he claimed as the support of homosexuality by the Anglican Church. Kunonga has, however, failed to draw meaningful support for his church.

Since 2008, Kunonga and a handful of his followers have been locked in a bitter battle with Gandiya's mainstream Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) for control of the church's assets.

They have also disrupted services and locked out congregations across the diocese loyal to Gandiya's church.

Police have barred Gandiya's group from using the church premises in Harare in spite of a High Court order by Justice Rita Makarau which directed the feuding parties to share the church premises until a permanent solution was reached.

The struggle for control of the church and its assets has often resulted in wild skirmishes in which dozens have been injured.

"Contrary again to false accusations about us as the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa," Bishop Gandiya said, "We support our government in spite of all that is playing on; we are not fighting government, far from it."

The purpose for Sunday's gathering, said Gandiya, "was to make known our plight and it also gives me the opportunity to encourage my flock when they are all together".

The sermon drew more than 3 000 worshippers from most of the church's parishes in greater Harare. They looked unperturbed as they went about the sermon.

Unlike in earlier demonstrations, there were no uniformed and baton-wielding police officers to monitor the two-hour proceedings.

Gandiya, who said he did not view President Mugabe as sympathetic to any faction, said they had invited him as head of state to grace the occasion and also to draw his attention to their plight.

Mugabe flew off Saturday to attend an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, apparently without the courtesy of responding to the church's invitation.

"I had no reason to believe he was not going to come," said Gandiya.

"I have faith that if things were normal, he would have come. I understand that he has left the country for an AU summit and obviously that takes precedence.

"It is courtesy on our part to invite the head of state."

Asked if they will invite him again if the occasion arose, Gandiya said, "Yes, why not? He is our President."

But critics say it was highly unlikely the Zimbabwean President, a Catholic and strong critic of homosexuality, would attend a sermon with people who have shown tacit resentment for his controversial rule.

Gandiya said his church had no hard feeling towards the Kunonga group.

"There are no hard feelings," he said, "Justice should be done and we pray and long for peace in the church."

But the Kunonga group vowed in a statement published in this week's Sunday Mail newspaper they would not allow supporters of homosexuality to use the church premises.

"No one is being banished from worshipping but those who support homosexuals or indulge in this act are not welcome," read the statement.

"Those who preach politics and denounce their own government are also not welcome as the church is purely for worshiping without reservations.

"The dispute in the Anglican church is about homosexuality. CPCA has bishops who openly support homosexuality and we will never share the same premises and place of worship.

"Homosexuality is an abomination as scriptures are against such practices. Morally, culturally and spiritually homosexuality is not permissible."

Kunonga's church is adamant the Makarau ruling no longer has any legal force as it was annulled by their appeal against it on April 7, 2008. They accuse Home Affairs Co-Minister Giles Mutsekwa of bias against them.

Mutsekwa belongs to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC.

"The Honourable minister should follow court proceedings on a daily basis if he wants to be abreast of the current court rulings. He seems to be relying on outdated information supplied to him by those who have no current orders.

"The Honorable minister has taken the Anglican dispute personally.

"He is the one who is dragging the government into church issues.we are not bound by ministerial resolutions when there are court orders.

"He is prepared to work with anyone who is opposed to Zanu-PF as he has stated in The Standard. He should not drag the government and political parties into a church dispute. Why is he not concerned about the people who are going around damaging church properties?"

Kunonga, who was excommunicated from CPCA and the Anglican Communion in May 2008, has 38 charges against him, including incitement to murder.

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Rampant poaching in Nyanga

Written by Marcus Tawona
Monday, 01 February 2010 12:53
NYANGA - Wildlife in most tourist resort areas in the province is under
threat as Zanu (PF) supporters and war veterans resettled under the
controversial land reform programme continue their poaching activities

Parks and Wildlife Authority officials told The Zimbabwean last week that
the poachers were targeting kudus, zebras and antelopes.
They said that although they had arrested some poachers in recent weeks,
some of them are walking scot-free as they have strong links with top Zanu
(PF) officials. who provide a ready market for the meat.
"The poachers, mainly resettled farmers, are wreaking havoc and we need
extra manpower to curb the rampant poaching in the area. We urge the police
to take stern measures against the Zanu (PF) officials and war veterans who
are believed to be behind this poaching," said the official.
"The rate at which wildlife is being poached is alarming. We use to have a
lot of zebras but we have only one left here," he added.
Safari operators confirmed massive poaching of wildlife on their ranches.

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Chaos at Zanu PF victory celebrations

31/01/2010 21:25:00

MASVINGO- January 31, 2010- It was Zanu PF versus Zanu PF on Saturday at
Masvingo polytechnic college when rivalry factions in the party clashed at
Masvingo Senator Maina Mandava's belated victory celebrations.

Rowdy youths who were believed to have been sent by the pro- Mujuru
faction arrived at the venue clad in party regalia and started to
heckle at everyone who wanted to address the delegates who were
invited from the seven districts of the whole province.
Minister of Higher and Tertiary education Stan Gorerazvo Mudenge who
was the guest of honour had to cut his speech early to avoid
embarrassment as the youths who were in the benches continued to tell
him that he was useless in the party.
"We do not know the actual role you are playing in the party, you are
very selfish and you have totally failed to represent Masvingo in the
politburo.minister, explain why you are failing to represent the
Karanga." the youths said as they interjected continuously.
Though Zanu PF provincial chairman Lovemore Matuke had advised that
the youths be ignored to avoid serious clashes, their continuous
interjections forced the delegates to fast track their activities so
that they would end earlier than planned.
Very few ate the food which was prepared for the delegates as there
were suspicions of food poisoning possibilities.
In his speech, Mudenge, said he was not shocked because he knew some
detractors have penetrated the party structures in Masvingo but was
quick to point out that the people who are fueling confusion and
factionalism were going to be dealt with sooner than later.
"This does not surprise me. There are some detractors who have
penetrated our party structures, we know the people who want to bring
confusion here but I promise you that very soon, we are going to deal
with those unrepentant individuals," Mudenge said amid heckling.
Senator Mandava who does not see eye to eye with Zanu PF politburo
member Dzikamai Mavhaire whom she contested with during party primary
elections in 2008 openly said the youths were sent by Mavhaire.
"We did not invite Mavhaire's people here, why did these youths come
here, I think they must be chased away by the police," said Mandava
who was visibly angry.
Mavhaire denied sending people to disturb celebrations

"I do not know why they suspect that I hate them. Of course they
rigged the election and made her (Mandava) Senator but I am just
quite. I am not fighting anyone," said Mavhaire.

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By email

 We are helping a woman in Zimbabwe (US citizen) who runs an
orphanage near Mutare.  She needs to find one or two couples to
assist her and eventually take over the orphanage. We would like to
post this as a job listing and wondered if your mailings to members
included a place to list a job posting.  This would be a paid
position.  If you have any other ideas as to how we would find such a
person in Zimbabwe please let me know.  The government isn't issuing
long term visas as you probably know so it would need to be someone
that can legally live there long term.  Thank you for your help.

If anyone is interested in this, please contact  Nancy Noble

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Bill Watch Special of 1st Febraury 2010[Parliamentary Committee Meetings for 1st - 5th February]


[1st February 2010]

House of Assembly Portfolio Committees and Senate Thematic Committees

1st to 5th February January 2010

The meetings listed below are open to members of the public, but as observers only, not as participants.  [See note at the end of this bulletin on public attendance/participation at different types of committee meetings.]  

Meetings of wide public interest are the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs in which they will be hearing oral evidence from the Chief Magistrate and Attorney General on the state of the justice delivery system;  and, the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy in which they will be meeting with the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, Minerals Unit Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

Monday 1st February at 10 am

Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development

Meeting with CMED

Committee Room No. 1

Chairperson:  Hon Chebundo                          Clerk:  Ms Macheza

Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and Defence

Briefing from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Committee Room No. 2

Chairperson:  Hon Madzore                             Clerk:  Mr Daniel

Portfolio Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism

Oral evidence from Ministry officials on the 2010 budget priorities and targets

Committee Room No. 311

Chairperson:  Hon P. Dube                              Clerk: Mr Ndlovu

Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy

Meeting with Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, Minerals Unit Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation

Committee Room No. 413

Chairperson:  Hon Chindori-Chininga             Clerk:  Mr Manhivi

Monday 1st February at 2 pm

Thematic Committee on HIV/AIDS

Oral evidence from Zimbabwe AIDS Network

Government Caucus Room

Chairperson: Hon D. Khumalo                         Clerk: Mr Ndlovu

Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare

Oral evidence from NSSA Officials

Committee Room No. 1

Chairperson: Hon Zinyemba                            Clerk: Ms Mushunje

Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion

Oral evidence from the Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals.

Committee Room No. 4

Chairperson: Hon Zhanda                                Clerk:  Mrs Nyawo

Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs

Oral evidence from the Chief Magistrate and Attorney General on the state of the justice delivery system

Committee Room No. 413

Chairperson: Hon T. Matutu                             Clerk:  Ms Zenda

Portfolio Committee on Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare

Stakeholders consultative meeting on the Committee's work plan

Committee Room No. 1

Chairperson: Hon Parirenyatwa                       Clerk:  Ms Mukono

Tuesday 2nd February at 10 am

Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Water, Lands and Resettlement

Brief from former employee (Mr. Mvududu) from ARDA

Committee Room No. 4

Chairperson: Hon Jiri                                         Clerk:  Mr Ndlovu

Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce

Oral evidence from the Zimbabwe Leather Association and Beverage Manufacturers

Committee Room No. 311

Chairperson: Hon Mutomba                             Clerk:  Mr Ratsakatika

Thursday 4th February at 10 am

Portfolio Committee onMedia, Information and Communication Technology

Oral evidence from Econet

Chairperson: Hon Chimanikire                         Clerk: Mrs Nyawo

Public Attendance at and Participation in Committee Meetings

These portfolio and thematic committee meetings are open to the public to attend as observers only.  Members of the public wishing to attend a meeting should telephone Parliament first [on Harare 700181], to check with the relevant committee clerk that the meeting has not been cancelled.  If you are attending, please use the Kwame Nkrumah Avenue entrance to Parliament.  IDs must be produced.

Members of the public are only free to participate when committees call public hearings.  Veritas will send out separate notices of these public hearings and outline the procedures.  Committees also sometimes have meetings where invited stakeholders [and those who notify Parliament that they consider themselves stakeholders and are accepted as such] are able to make representations and ask questions.  These meetings will be highlighted in these notices.  Portfolio and thematic committees meetings for deliberations are not open to the public, and these are not listed in these notices.


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



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