HARARE: A fresh confrontation is looming in Zimbabwe's shaky power sharing
government after President Robert Mugabe reportedly ordered all ministers to
stop reporting to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai but to the two Zanu PF
Vice-Presidents in a bid to demote the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Highly placed government sources have told Radio VOP that the Mugabe issued
the directive through a memo written and signed by the country's chief
secretary to the president and cabinet Misheck Sibanda last week.
The controversial directive by Mugabe, which goes against the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) which gave power to Tsvangirai, is likely to
escalate tensions in the transitional government following last week's
collapse of talks between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.
"The directive from Mugabe came as a surprise to us, and in the letter he
does not explain where he is getting the orders but it is clearly a Zanu PF
and Mugabe ploy to create problems in the unity government. It's yet another
attempt by Mugabe to abuse his powers and ostracise the prime minister.
"Mugabe's strategy in this issue is clear. He is aware that the issue will
rejected outright by the MDC and but he wants it referred to the principals
as an outstanding issue where it will take long to be resolved. In the
meantime, Mugabe's ministers will find an excuse not to report to Tsvangirai
arguing that the issue has not be resolved," said an MDC minister.
According to information at hand, the minister of state in the Prime
Minister's office, Gorden Moyo wrote back to Sibanda seeking clarification
but the chief secretary to the cabinet responded by saying that if there
were problems with the new directive, it had to be resolved by Mugabe,
Tsvangirai and deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara who are the principals
in the GPA.
Although it was not clear at the time of going to press what the MDC was
planning to do to hit back to the ploy to usurp Tsvangirai's powers, Radio
VOP understands that a showdown meeting of the principals is expected when
Mugabe returns from the African Union summit in Ethiopia.
Sources also said talks facilitator, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa
has also been made aware of Mugabe's latest maneuvers and is expected to
brief colleagues in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) before
engaging the 85-year-old Zimbabwe leader.
Since the Zanu PF congress in December last year, the party has taken a
hardline stance in the inclusive government including ordering their
negotiators not to give in to any demands from the MDC until sanctions are
The latest move is seen by observers as an attempt by Mugabe to give his
vice presidents Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo some powers after the GPA
effectively rendered them ceremonial with no job to do except attending
functions. The GPA through Amendment 19 of the constitution gives powers to
the Prime Minister with all ministers expected to report to him.
Tsvangirai also has powers to formulate and implement policy and is the one
who is supposed to define the mandates of the ministers. He also chairs the
council of ministers.
By Alex Bell
02 February 2010
Yet another South African farming family whose property has been targeted
for forced takeover is seeking the help of its own government, with the
Zimbabwean army reportedly being enlisted to drive the family off their
The Du Toits from Excelsior Farm in the Nyazura district have this week
informed the South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe in an urgent email that
they will soon be forced off their land by soldiers. Mrs Alida Du Toit sent
the message to Mlungisi Makalima this weekend after being visited twice by
police officials who warned that the army had been enlisted to ensure their
removal from the farm. According to South Africa's Beeld newspaper, the army's
involvement is the work of Air Commodore Innocent Chiganze who has claimed
that he is the new owner of the farm.
The Du Toits have only just returned to the property after being forced to
leave amid threats and intimidation by land invaders two weeks ago.
According to the Beeld, Mrs Du Toit said the police appeared concerned at
the warnings of the army's involvement, threats she said she had also heard
from other sources.
Makalima meanwhile has already been forced to intervene on a number of
occasions in recent weeks, because of the ongoing spate of land seizures
targeting South African farmers. In the past few days Mike Odendaal, also a
South African citizen, was forced to leave his farm, Hillcrest, in the
Chipinge district. The Du Doit's original eviction from their property came
in the wake of two other evictions, including that of Manda Farm's Ray
Finaughty, who fled his home with his family on Christmas Eve amid
increasing violence by land invaders.
The evictions have come just weeks after South Africa and Zimbabwe signed a
bilateral investment protection agreement, meant to offer the farmers some
form of protection against invasion. Pressure group AfriForum had originally
tried to stop the signing of the document, over fears it would fail those
South African farmers whose land had already been expropriated under the
land grab campaign. But the South African government made assurances that it
would protect its citizens in Zimbabwe, and as a result the investment pact
was eventually signed. Both governments have since argued that the document
is not yet valid because it hasn't been ratified in the Zimbabwe Parliament,
leaving the South African farmers with no legal protection.
The Zimbabwe government is now set to be sued by Afriforum over the illegal
and ongoing seizure of South African owned land. Last month the group won a
high court bid to serve papers on Zimbabwe, in an effort to enforce a 2008
regional ruling declaring the Robert Mugabe's land 'reform' exercise as
unlawful. The ruling was passed by the human rights court of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC), which ordered the government to
protect white farmers and the rights to their land. But the ruling has been
ignored and the High Court last week dismissed it, refusing to register it
within Zimbabwe. AfriForum is seeking to have the ruling enforced from
within South Africa instead.
The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) has this week renewed its calls for the
unity government to intervene to stop the land attacks, which it says is
further damaging the already battered agriculture sector. The CFU said in a
statement Monday that it lamented the government's 'failure to stop ongoing
violence against farmers.' It warned that an impending drought and the
ongoing disruptions of productive farming activity would limit the 2010
maize harvest to less than a quarter of the national requirement.
A statement from the CFU stated, "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."
Eyewitness News | 3 Hours Ago
The magistrate who ordered the eviction of four white farmers from Chipinge
last week has a personal interest in the case.
It has emerged that the judge has been offered one of the farms whose owners
he ordered off.
Human rights lawyers have said this is a "scandal".
Magistrate Samuel Zuze last week convicted Chipinge farmer Mike Jahme and
three others of illegally staying on their farms.
He gave them 24 hours to get off their land, or face two-year jail terms.
He also refused to recognise a high court ruling stopping the evictions.
What was not known at the time was that Magistrate Zuze actually has an
offer letter officially allocating him Jahme's farm, according to human
rights lawyers on Tuesday.
Defence lawyer Trust Maanda said this was a clear abuse of the justice
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said Zuze was the same judge who last year
convicted two Chipinge Movement for Democratic Change MPs on charges of
public violence, resulting in their suspension from parliament.
From Beeld (SA) (translated), 2 February
Sarel van der Walt
A South African farmer's wife in the Nyazura district of Zimbabwe yesterday
warned the South African Ambassador in Harare in a urgent email that
Zimbabwean soldiers are apparently going to drive them from their farm. Mrs
Alida du Toit of Excelsior Farm sent the email to Professor Mlungisi
Makalima, the Ambassador. In it she said that the Zimbabwean police visited
them twice yesterday after they had heard that Air Commodore Innocent
Chiganze â€“ the Zimbabwean Airforce officer who has claimed that he is the
new owner of their farm â€“ had enlisted the help of the Zimbabwean army to
drive the Du Toits from their farm. Last week the Du Toits returned to their
farm after they had been forced to leave the farm two weeks previously. Du
Toit said the police appeared concerned at the warnings, which she had also
heard from other sources. Makalima has recently already been in talks with
the Zimbabwe authorities over South African farmers in Zimbabwe who had been
driven from their farms.
In the past few days Mr Mike Odendaal, also a South African citizen, was
forced to leave his farm, Hillcrest, in the Chipinge district. The court in
Chipinge last week gave three other farmers orders to leave their farms on
the grounds that they were unlawfully occupying them, while Mr Dawie Joubert
and Mr Trevor Gifford, formerly president of the Commercial Farmers' Union
(CFU) in Zimbabwe were arrested after they tried to deliver am attorney's
letter to the magistrate in the case. In the letter the magistrate â€“ Mr S
Zuze â€“ was given notice that the High Court in Harare has decided that the
farm invasions must be suspended until the CFU's appeal is heard against the
court's decision not to register an order of the SADC tribunal. Joubert and
Gifford were yesterday released on bail of $200 and must report once a week
to the police. Beeld has received a copy of a letter in which Mr H M
Murerwa, Zimbabwean minister of lands and resettlement, last year notified
the magistrate that his application to take over part of Newcastle Farm had
been approved. The authenticity of the letter could bot be verified.
Newcastle Farm belongs to Mr Mike Jahme, who last week was ordered to leave
his farm by the same magistrate. Mr Cois Joubert, Joubert's father, is a
highly respected Brahman breeder, according to Mr Deon Theron, president of
the CFU. Joubert's wife, Ceylonia, is a South African citizen.
By Violet Gonda
2 February 2010
22 members of the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were
arrested while holding a structural meeting on the constitutional reform
process in a private home in Bulawayo on Tuesday. Three days before, 52 MDC
activists were arrested in Mt Darwin, Mashonaland Central province, when
police broke up an MDC meeting called to discuss the party's position on the
The WOZA members were later released without charge after spending two hours
in police custody. WOZA Coordinator Magodonga Mahlangu told SW Radio Africa
that documentation and other materials to do with the constitution-making
process were confiscated by the police. However, she said the officer in
Charge at Pumula police station was 'very apologetic' and said there was a
'communication breakdown,' claiming the police did not realise the women
were members of the pressure group.
Mahlangu said the police should stop their selective application of the law
and the arbitrary arrest of Zimbabweans, whether they are WOZA members or
not. She said the meeting was a private gathering of members and was
therefore exempt under all public order laws. The pressure group said it is
concerned their discussion was disrupted at a time when people are supposed
to be discussing and sharing ideas in light of the new constitution that is
supposed to be consulted upon.
Meanwhile in Mt Darwin, the MDC said 'gun-toting' police officers disrupted
the meeting which was held at the party's district office last Saturday. The
meeting was to appraise party structures of the MDC's position on the
constitution-making process. It is reported the party's provincial vehicle,
party position papers on the constitution-making process and about 500
copies of MDC's The Changing Times newsletter were impounded by the police.
The Changing Times said in Tuesday's newsletter: 'There was commotion as
police officers force-marched the 52 to the police station, with the
activists vigorously resisting arrest. The officers viciously assaulted the
activists, but released some without charge. At least 11 were detained, with
police accusing them of being ring-leaders.'
The 11, including MDC Provincial Secretary Jonathan Kapasi and Provincial
vice Youth Chairman Norbert Dhokotera, were detained at Mt Darwin Police
Station but were later transferred to the Law and Order Section at Bindura
Police Station. They are accused of breaching security laws.
The MDC says: 'The meeting in question was lawful in all constitutional
respects because it was an indoor meeting for the MDC, which even under the
draconian Public Order and Security Act requires no prior clearance by the
police. There are fears that this could mark the beginning of a campaign by
ZANU PF to abuse state machinery to stifle the constitution making process.'
The MDC has said its efforts to participate in this process are being
frustrated, despite being a partner in the inclusive government, while,
reportedly, ZANU PF is able to launch its own parallel processes countrywide
without any hindrance.
The MDC paper went on to claim: "20 brand new Nissan twin cab vehicles have
been deployed (by ZANU PF) in the province to ferry thugs who are
intimidating people in the rural and farming community of the province
against participating in the constitutional outreach meetings due to
MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti issued a strongly worded statement on
Tuesday saying there has been an acceleration of destruction and insanity on
the part of the former ruling party. He said: "ZANU PF continues to use the
public media, the constitutional process, the commercial farms, the diamond
mines and the civil service as the battlefields for its destructive agenda
aimed at perpetuating their selfish grip on power. Their determination to
enrich themselves at the expense of national development risks keeping all
our citizens mired in poverty."
Biti added: "It is clear to us that ZANU PF are making a case for the
establishment of irreconcilable differences amongst the parties, leading to
a total breakdown of this relationship."
The MDC Secretary General went on to say the onus is now on ZANU PF to cease
their violations of the laws and implement the commitments they signed up to
in the Global Political Agreement. He said if the former party is not
willing to change 'then bring on the election'.
By Lance Guma
02 February 2010
Around 4000 Anglican parishioners thronged Africa Unity Square in Harare
over the weekend to hold an open air protest prayer against police
harassment. The church is locked in a bitter dispute over its property with
the pro-Mugabe Bishop Nolbert Kunonga who was excommunicated in 2007 after
attempting to unilaterally withdraw the Diocese of Harare from the Central
In February 2008 Bishop Sebastian Bakare replaced Kunonga as head of the
church in Harare before the current Bishop Chad Gandiya took over in 2009.
Using police and ZANU PF militia, the renegade Bishop has however been able
to defy the church and continue holding onto its property, despite him
claiming to have formed his own church. His small but violent group of
followers has blocked genuine parishioners from accessing church buildings
On Sunday at the service in Harare Gandiya said the police who were supposed
to be 'the custodians of the law are the ones denying us access, threatening
to arrest us or use teargas to force us out. There are church wardens who
have been arrested and some who bear marks of beatings.' He said the
parishioners were gathered out in the open and not in church because they
were being denied access. This is despite a High Court judgment ordering the
two factions to share the buildings until a final determination is made in
Bishop Gandiya meanwhile has also asked people from other churches to pray
for sanity to prevail in the Anglican Church. More shockingly he revealed
that Kunonga's faction was leasing out Anglican property to other churches
By Tichaona Sibanda
2 February 2010
The Public Order and Security Act (POSA) amendment Bill, introduced last
year as a Private Member's Bill by the MDC MP for Mutare Central, Innocent
Gonese went through its first reading in Parliament on Tuesday.
The inclusive government gazetted the POSA Bill in November 2009 to amend
the tough security laws, and curtail police powers in dealing with political
rallies and other public gatherings.
POSA has its origins in the Rhodesian Law and Order Maintenance Act; used by
the colonial government under Ian Smith to suppress political expression and
organisation by the black majority. Rather than get rid of this much reviled
law, the former ruling ZANU PF regime kept it, revised it and strengthened
it to become the POSA Bill.
When the MDC-T Chief Whip Gonese introduced the Bill to the House of
Assembly in October last year, Parliament backed his motion to amend the
draconian POSA which has been criticised for giving police sweeping powers
to ban political rallies.
It is an extensive piece of legislation, which includes provisions to
control political gatherings - it requires individuals and groups to notify
police before any gathering is held.
Fellow MDC-T MP and lawyer Tongai Matutu told SW Radio Africa this first
reading is the first stage of a Bill's passage through Parliament. It was a
mere formality and took place without debate.
The second reading of the Bill will give MPs the opportunity to debate and
vote on the main principles and purpose of the Bill, and if passed will
become law. Already there is resistance from the police not to make any
changes to POSA.
Secretary for Home Affairs, Melusi Matshiya on Monday told Parliament's
Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and Defence that amendments to POSA will
weaken the police force and make its operations ineffective. However, it's
unlikely the Bill will face any opposition in Parliament as the three
coalition parties agreed to reform security laws.
While introducing the motion last year, Gonese who has sometimes been unable
to meet his constituents in Mutare Central because of the tough law, said
the reason why he was seeking changes to POSA was because of the abuse of
the Act by the police.
"The problem we have in Zimbabwe is that the police have applied,
misinterpreted and misplaced provisions of the law . the intention of the
Bill is to limit the powers of the police in that regard," Gonese said.
Human rights defenders describe POSA as an insult to democracy. Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights in their most recent edition of 'The Legal Monitor'
highlighted a critical fact, namely that it is frequently used by pro-ZANU
PF hardliners to settle political scores against their opponents.
ZLHR say it's a known fact that no ZANU PF officials or supporters have ever
been arrested under POSA, which demonstrates that the law is little more
than a tool for political oppression against the MDC or anyone perceived to
Gonese's Bill seeks to ensure that public gatherings are regulated in a
manner that will allow Zimbabweans to fully exercise their fundamental
democratic right to engage and to express themselves through the medium of
peaceful assembly and association.
It is hoped the Bill would re-define terms, reduce police powers, transfer
the power to prohibit meetings from police to magistrates, and repeal the
provision penalising failure to carry ID documents.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Amendments to the Public Order and Security Act as proposed by MDC-T
Parliamentary Chief Whip Mr Innocent Gonese (Mutare Central, House of
Assembly) will weaken the police force and make its operations ineffective,
the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Melusi Matshiya, said yesterday.
Mr Gonese moved the Posa Amendment Bill as a private member’s Bill and
proposes wide-ranging changes to the current Act.
"It waters down the powers of the police and renders operations
ineffective," Mr Matshiya said when he appeared before the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and Defence.
Clause 5 of the Bill seeks to amend Section 25 of the Act, effectively
repealing the requirement for organisers of demonstrations or other public
gatherings to notify police of their activities.
Under the clause, organisers would merely notify police of their intentions
within four days instead of seven as stipulated in the current Act but does
not make it an offence if they choose not to do so.
"We think seven days is reasonable. Even the Companies Act requires that
companies give seven days’ notice if they want to convene a meeting so that
there is adequate preparation. This is necessary so that we have sufficient
power to protect everybody to enjoy his or her rights," he said.
Police Commissioner Solomon Mubata-pasango questioned the rationale behind
the provision saying it put State security at risk.
"What are we afraid of in giving a notice? If we don’t criminalise it we are
playing around with the security of the State," he said.
Mr Matshiya added that provisions in the Bill were tantamount to shifting
the role of the Zimbabwe Republic Police as constitutionally enshrined.
"According to the Constitution, it is the role of the police to protect; not
"This legislation attempts to shift that particular role enshrined in the
Constitution," he said.
Clause 4 of the Bill will curtail powers of senior police officers to ban
possession of traditional weapons like axes, machetes and others to
situations when there has been a serious breach of peace.
Currently, police can prohibit moving around with such weapons at the
slightest occurrence of a breach of the peace.
Under amendments proposed by Clause 6 of the Bill, the powers to prohibit
public gatherings will no longer be vested in the police but the magistrates’
courts, and a court order would be required to stop such meetings.
The Bill seeks to repeal Section 32 of the Act that makes it mandatory to
move around with national identity documents.
02 Feb 2010
Rumours are circulating that Grace Mugabe, wife of Zimbabwean president
Robert Mugabe, has invested millions of dollars in the construction of a
dairy-processing plant on her Gushungo Estates dairy farm. Grace was given
the highly productive land, formerly known as Foyle Farm, some years ago
during the height of her husband’s controversial and internationally
condemned land-reform programme.
According to reports from Zimbabwe, Foyle Farm used to supply large volumes
of milk to a Nestlé processing facility in that country. When Grace took
over the land, reportedly after a sustained campaign of violence against the
previous owners, she also took over the milk supply contract to Nestlé.
Pressure from human rights groups, who dubbed the produce “blood milk”,
prompted Nestlé to stop doing business with Zimbabwe’s first lady. It has
since temporarily suspended all its operations in the country. Watchdog
organisation Zimbabwe Democracy Now, said that the cancellation of the milk
supply contract by Nestlé is believed to have been the driver behind Grace’s
move to construct her own dairy-processing plant.
“I can’t confirm that Grace Mugabe is building her own plant, although I
have also heard rumours of it,” said president of the Zimbabwe Commercial
Farmers Union, Deon Theron. “If it’s true, it just shows how government
officials here are able to make themselves immune to whatever wrongs they
have done. Grace Mugabe has shown no remorse for her actions, and it’s a
crying shame that her actions are being allowed.”Theron was equally scathing
of the Zimbabwean government’s decision to give controversial South African
businessman, Billy Rautenbach, 100 000ha of land, reportedly to be used to
Rautenbach, who was recently acquitted of a list of criminal charges laid
against him in South Africa, was supposedly given the land because of his
close ties with President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party. It has also been alleged
that Mugabe and his minister of defence, Emmerson Mnangagwa, are
shareholders in the company.“Once again, this shows that land reform in
Zimbabwe is about who you are and who you’re connected to. Land reform
should be for the benefit of the nation, and not individuals. This is
absolutely 100% wrong. No good can come of it,” Theron said. – Lloyd
Tuesday, 02 February 2010
The three Botswana wildlife officers arrested in Zimbabwe for illegal entry
into the country will have to wait for a while before they can gain their
freedom, it has emerged.
The three, who are detained at Victoria Falls, were supposed to appear for
trial yesterday but it never commenced because the prosecutors had gone to
fetch state witnesses in Kazungula, Botswana's ambassador in Zimbabwe,
Gladys Kokorwe said yesterday. She said at the time of the interview that
she had spoken to her officers at noon but the trial had not commenced.
The three officers crossed into Zimbabwe by mistake last week when they were
tracking a lion that had been terrorising Lesoma residents. There is no
border fence between the two countries and it is said that the three
officers were new in the area. Attempts by Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Phandu Skelemani to have the matter resolved diplomatically hit a snag when
he tried to engage the Zimbabwe ambassador in Botswana. The ambassador told
him there is nothing the government could do because the police have made up
their mind that the three should face trial.
Skelemani, who is in Addis Ababa stated that he was going to engage the
Foreign Affairs Minister of Zimbabwe at the African Union (AU) meeting to
have the matter resolved amicably.
By Gerald Chateta
Published: February 1, 2010
Karoi - Mourners attending a funeral had to relocate their mourning venue
last weekend after members of the Central Intelligence Organization demanded
that they should divulge the whereabouts of exiled MDC political Activist
and former Prison Officer Shepherd Yuda, whose sister had died.
Family members had to find alternative accommodation after they were
threatened by the four men who visited them on Saturday midnight, dressed in
suits and demanded that they should tell them where Yuda was.
“We first of all asked for their identity cards which they refused to
produce (and) told them that Shepherd Yuda did not turn up for the funeral.
They gave us two hours to be ready for anything if we fail to tell them
where he was, before they left.
We had no choice but to rush to a police tent at Karoi Bus terminus where we
told the police about the threats, but before we got to the police station
we met a patrolling police officer who advised us to find an alternative
accommodation and come and make a formal report the following morning since
they were short staffed at the temporary police station, “said the victims”
three family members said.
However, the police refused to investigate.
‘These men could easily be thieves!,’ the police officer in charge Monday
evening merely said in response to the report.
But speaking to ZimEye the family members have said that the men did not
steal nor take anything from their homestead.
During the period running to the June 27 2008 controversial Presidential
run-off, and using a hidden camera Shepherd Yuda exposed vote rigging by
ZANU-PF at Harare Central Prison by filming top Prison officials forcing
junior officers to cast their ballot on ZANU-PF Presidential candidate
He later skipped the country through Zambia with his family after spending
weeks of hiding just after the documentary he shot had leaked to
He was also on the list of MDC activists who were targeted for abduction by
ZANU-PF in 2008 which leaked to the media. In 2001 Yuda was also arrested
and accused on unfounded charges of bombing the former Daily News newspaper’s
by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Tuesday 02 February 2010
HARARE – The European Union (EU) will lift sanctions against President
Robert Mugabe and his top allies only after the Zimbabwean leader and his
former opposition foes fully implement a power-sharing agreement signed in
2008, a group of British parliamentarians said in Harare on Monday.
“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 in the global political
agreement (GPA) and to stop using sanctions as an excuse,” Malcolm Bruce,
the chairman of the House of Commons International Development Committee,
said in a statement.
Bruce is in Zimbabwe together with seven other British MPs on a four-day
visit to review United Kingdom-funded aid projects in the southern African
The statement by Bruce comes days after Mugabe’s ZANU PF party announced it
would make no more concessions in talks with the former opposition MDC party
of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai until the sanctions are removed.
This was after British Foreign Secretary David Miliband had said in
Parliament that London would lift the punitive measures on advice from the
ZANU PF spokesman Ephraim Masawi dismissed Bruce’s statement, saying Mugabe’s
party will not be lectured by the British and insisted the MDC must ask its
Western friends to remove the sanctions.
“We have no reason to be lectured politics by the British. MDC is not
playing its role to have them lift. (David) Milliband said it all. MDC has
to ask the West to have them lifted. They have killed our country,” Masawi
Relations between Britain and Zimbabwe soured after London and its Western
allies imposed visa and financial sanctions on Mugabe and his top
lieutenants as punishment for violating human rights, stealing elections and
failure to uphold the rule of law.
Mugabe denies the charges and instead accuses Britain of reneging on
promises to fund land reform in Zimbabwe and charges that London and its
Western allies have funded his opponents in a bid to oust him from power as
punishment for seizing white land for redistribution to blacks.
Bruce sought to downplay the political significance of his group’s visit to
Harare – the first official trip to Zimbabwe by senior UK politicians –
saying the parliamentarians were in the country only to review how British
aid was being spent.
He said: “Our role is to provide independent parliamentary oversight of how
the British government spends its aid. We are not here to advise on
But the visit by Bruce’s team is being viewed in Harare political circles as
indication that London could be toying with the idea of renewing contact
with Mugabe, who still controls Zimbabwe despite agreeing to cede some of
his powers under the power-sharing agreement with Tsvangirai.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai last February formed a coalition government following
an inconclusive election. The government has done well to stabilise Zimbabwe’s
economy and end inflation that was estimated at more than a trillion percent
at the height of the country’s economic meltdown last year.
As a result living conditions for ordinary Zimbabweans have greatly improved
compared to 2008 when the country battled shortages of cash, fuel and every
basic survival commodity.
But unending bickering between ZANU PF and MDC over a host of outstanding
issues from their power-sharing agreement is holding back the unity
government and threatening to render the administration ineffective. –
by Own Correspondent Tuesday 02 February 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe is embroiled in a dispute with the diamond regulator
Kimberly Process (KP) over the appointment of a monitor to asses diamonds
emanating from the controversial Chiadzwa fields, government officials said
According to the government officials Mines Minister Obert Mpofu prefers a
monitor from an African country whereas the KP insists on the monitor coming
"Mpofu feels that the monitor has to come from an African country," a
government official who spoke on condition that his name was not published
"The KP says it prefers to have a monitor from Europe, but Mpofu feels that
a monitor from the EU will not give a fair balanced report because of the
perceived hostile EU policy on some government ministers drawn from ZANU PF.
The minister also feels that even a monitor from Asia or the Americas may
have biased views against the government or the mining at Chiadzwa which
might result in a negative report," he added.
The KP monitor has to assess diamond production at Chiadzwa and inspect if
there is no illegal diamond digging taking place in a bid to ensure
operations at the controversial field comply with KP requirements.
Although Mpofu was not available for comment as he kept on saying he was
attending a meeting, Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ)
acting head of marketing Masimba Chandavengerwa yesterday, told a
parliamentary portfolio committee on mining that there was dispute between
government and KP.
"There were allegations from previous KP visits, which the government felt
were not good," Chandavengerwa said, adding "We had agreed on a Nambian
monitor, but there are various CV's that are available to be looked at. The
KP wanted to send a monitor from De Beers, and someone else from Europe
maybe Belgium but the government wants an African monitor."
The dispute between Mpofu and KP comes after Zimbabwe was last month forced
to shelve the selling of the precious gem after the failure by Mbada
Diamonds - a joint venture between the government's Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation and a South African firm to follow the KP procedure.
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 world diamond industry 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. - ZimOnline
by Andrew Moyo Tuesday 02 February 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe's biggest platinum miner, Zimplats, has hailed the calm
operating environment in the country since formation of a unity government
between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai but
noted that the September 2008 power-sharing agreement had not been fully
Zimplats, which is owned by South Africa's Impala Platinum (Implats) - the
world's second biggest platinum producer - reported a US$50 million
operating profit in its quarterly report ending December 2009 released this
The platinum miner said a combination of higher sales volumes and improved
metal prices resulted in a 66 percent increase in revenues during the period
under review although it did not say if the improved political environment
had an effect on the performance.
"The socio-political environment remains calm despite the fact that the
agreement that brought about the three-party coalition government has not
been implemented in full," said Zimplats.
The firm however reiterated its previous calls for the Zimbabwean government
to honour its undertaking on tax, which has been the subject of a bitter tug
of war with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) in the past few years.
"As previously reported, payment of Additional Profits Tax (APT) by Special
Mining Leaseholders is provided for in the original long-term agreement
entered into with the government of Zimbabwe in 1994. In 2001, prior to
Zimplats commencing operations, the government gave a written undertaking
that Zimplats would not be liable for this tax. However, to date the
legislative changes required to give legal effect to this undertaking have
not been promulgated hence the demand for payment of the tax by ZIMRA," the
Ore milled was 27 percent up on the previous quarter while metal production
and sales volumes were up on the previous quarter in line with the higher
milled tonnage, added Zimplats
"The combination of higher sales volumes and improved metal prices resulted
in a 66 percent increase in revenue for the quarter. Operating costs were up
31 percent on the previous quarter reflecting, in the main, the higher
production base following the commissioning of the Ngezi plant.
The unity government between Mugabe and former opposition leaders Tsvangirai
and Arthur Mutambara, who is Deputy Prime Minister has been credited with
stabilising the country's economy to improve the lives of Zimbabweans,
raising hopes the country could emerge from a decade-long economic crisis
once described by the World Bank as the worst in the world outside a war
But failure by the government to attract direct financial support from
Western donor countries coupled with a determined push by hardliners in
Mugabe's ZANU PF party to collapse the administration have intensified
doubts about its durability.
Tsvangirai's MDC-T party accuses ZANU PF of flouting the power-sharing pact
after the veteran leader refused to rescind his unilateral appointment of
two of his allies to the key posts of central bank governor and attorney
Mugabe is also refusing to swear into government MDC-T treasurer Roy
Bennett, while the veteran President has also refused to appoint MDC members
as provincial governors
But Zimbabwe's former sole ruling party insists it has played its part to
uphold the 2008 pact that gave birth to the coalition government and accuses
the MDC-T of reneging on promises to campaign for lifting of Western
sanctions on Mugabe and his top allies. - ZimOnline
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has failed to refund over US$34 million
deposited by the country's leading platinum producer Zimbabwe Platinum Mines
(Zimplats) and is now asking government to assume the debt.
In a commentary accompanying financials for the quarter ended December 31
2009 Zimplats said the country's central bank had still not repaid the
". the RBZ owes Zimplats US$34.13 million that was placed with the central
bank and was to be drawn in Zimbabwe dollars to fund local costs. The
Zimbabwe dollar ceased to be a functional currency in February 2009 and the
RBZ has been unable to refund the deposit.
"The RBZ has recommended to the government that it assumes this debt. The
government is currently assessing the position as the RBZ owes a number of
companies," Zimplats said.
Zimplats said it was awaiting government's feedback on the issue.
This comes as the country's struggling apex bank was forced to extend for
another six months bonds issued to gold producers which had become due on
the first of this month.
One of the mines affected, Gwanda-based Blanket Mine said it was owed US$3
million including interest.
RBZ governor Gideon Gono announced in a monetary policy statement issued on
Friday that the bonds would be "rolled-over" for another six months while
negotiations over the re-capitalisation of the bank continued with treasury.
Meanwhile, Zimplats said, in the three months to December last year group
revenue rose to US$107 million, buoyed by firm world market metal prices.
This was a 66 percent jump on the US$65 million posted in the previous
Third quarter profits also improved 138 percent to US$50 million although
production costs were significantly higher.
"Operating costs were up 31 percent on the previous quarter reflecting, in
the main, the higher production base following the commissioning of the
Ngezi plant," the company said.
Zimplats, which is a subsidiary of South Africa-based Impala Platinum, owns
the Ngezi platinum mine and Selous metallurgical complex.
The firm also has a 50 percent interest in the Zvishavane-based Mimosa
Peta Thornycroft | Harare 01 February 2010
Police in Zimbabwe are warning they do not have enough money to feed people
in holding cells around the country. The whole justice system in Zimbabwe
is threatened by lack of adequate resources.
Although fewer people are being arrested now than in previous years, the
police say they do not have enough money to feed those held in custody at
Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said if arrested people are
not given food by relatives or from sympathetic policemen paying for food
out of their own pockets, detainees are going hungry. He said policemen,
like many other civil servants, are only earning about $150 a month.
Bvudzijena said the worst affected among those people arrested and held in
rural police districts. He said some charitable organizations helped feed
suspects in urban areas like Harare, but it is never enough.
The assistant commissioner said the police force received less than 10
percent of the funds it requested in the last budget. He said many police
vehicles no longer work and the police infrastructure is disintegrating
Insiders in the Department of Justice say it is also affected with a
shortage of prosecutors, magistrates, and other staff servicing the courts.
This is leading to longer stays in jail for prisoners awaiting trial.
Former Commercial Farmers Union president Trevor Gifford and a colleague
were supposed to appear in court Friday in the eastern city Mutare. But
there was no staff to process them and they were held in custody over the
They were arrested on contempt of court charges because, their lawyers say,
they tried to deliver a High Court order to a presiding magistrate.
Other Zimbabwe government ministries are also short of cash. Education
minister David Coltart said Sunday his allocation is $1 per child at school
per month. He said this is a shocking statistic affecting three million
Finance Minister Tendai Biti is raising about $90 million a month to run
Zimbabwe and there are few indications revenue is going to increase.
Feb 1, 2010, 19:34 GMT
Harare - A South-African linked company mining diamonds in the controversial
Chiadzwa diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe came under scathing scrutiny
from members of parliament (MPs) Monday, and was accused of operating above
Mbada Diamonds was stopped last month from holding its first sale of
diamonds after the government realized it would openly violate conditions
set by the Kimberley Process (KP), the international body set up to stop the
spread of blood diamonds being used to prolong conflict in war zones.
The company is jointly owned by major Johannesburg-based scrap metal dealer
Reclam, and the near-bankrupt state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development
The diamonds are produced from the hugely prolific Chiadzwa fields, regarded
as the world's biggest diamond find in more than a century, with a potential
output of at least 70 million US dollars a month.
Mbada and another South African-linked company started operating at Chiadzwa
in September last year, around the time that a KP meeting agreed not to
expel Zimbabwe from the organisation but set down operating conditions to be
met before it could export any diamonds.
A parliamentary committee on mining heard Monday from Masumba
Chandavengerwa, marketing manager of the state-owned Minerals Marketing
Corporation of Zimbabwe MMCZ that his company, the KP, the Mines Ministry
and the police minerals unit were taken by surprise when Mbada announced on
January 7 plans to auction 300,000 carats.
He said the move did not adhere to conditions laid down by KP that a monitor
appointed by the organisation had to be in place in Zimbabwe to validate the
origin and legality of diamonds before they could be exported. No KP monitor
was present here, he said.
Chandavengerwa said senior MMCZ executives turned up to check on the stones
to be sold at a fortified hangar at Harare international airport run by
Mbada, but the MMCZ had no idea how many diamonds were being airlifted by
Mbada from Chiadzwa to its Harare hangar.
He also said that the MMCZ had a marketing agreement with nearly all mineral
producers here, including Zimbabwe' two other mining companies, Rio
Tinto-owned Murowa Diamonds and River Ranch, but none with Mbada.
Tue Feb 2, 2010 1:22pm GMT
* Local ownership rules a threat
* Says partnerships key to Murowa diamond mine growth
* Plans fresh mining investments, expansion in Africa
* Zimbabwe draft law limits foreign ownership to 49 pct (Updates with
CAPE TOWN, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's plans to impose local ownership
rules on foreign firms threaten the diamond operations of mining group Rio
Tinto (RIO.L) (RIO.AX), a company official said on Tuesday.
Harry Kenyon-Slaney, Rio's chief executive for diamonds and minerals,
praised plans by the Zimbabwe government of national unity to seek dialogue
with mining companies on the planned local ownership reforms, which
authorities said are aimed at empowering locals by handing them a stake in
"We are staying on course in Murowa in Zimbabwe; the only threat to our
operations is the indigenisation programmes," Kenyon-Slaney told a mining
conference in Cape Town.
"Partnerships are also a key focus of our Murowa diamond mine in Zimbabwe,"
Murowa, Zimbabwe's largest diamond mine, produced 124,000 carats last year,
down 53 percent from 2008.
In November, Zimbabwe's government proposed in a draft law that "indigenous
Zimbabweans" take 51 percent ownership of all foreign companies, including
mines and banks. [ID:nL6670910]
But there have been conflicting statements by government officials about
local ownership since President Robert Mugabe formed a fragile unity
government a year ago with former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who
became prime minister.
Last September, Mugabe urged mining companies to invest in Zimbabwe and
sought to allay fears that such businesses could be expropriated.
Kenyon-Slaney said Rio planned to invest in new projects and expand its
mining portfolio in Africa, where it has operations and projects in
diamonds, uranium, iron ore and mineral sands.
"We will continue to improve our operations and look at other growth
projects," he said.
Kenyon-Slaney said political problems in Madagascar and Guinea, where the
company is developing mining projects, were also a source of concern, even
though growth in Africa remained the firm's "most exciting prospect".
by Gilbert Nyambabvu
PROSPECTIVE investors in the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) which
has been earmarked for divestment by government may have to fork-out up to
US$1 billion to get the moribund firm back on its feet.
The Zimbabwe government, which owns a controlling 89 percent interest in the
Redcliff-based company, wants to sell a 60 percent stake and the race to
acquire the firm is understood to have been reduced to two Indian-controlled
global steel players.
India's Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) is pitted against ArcelorMittal's
South Africa subsidiary with sources indicating that the acquisition
exercise may now be moving to the due diligence stage after which bids will
It however, remains unclear how much the Zimbabwe government wants for its
60 percent interest but industry officials say between US$600 million and
US$1 billion will be needed to retire the company's mountain of debts as
well as upgrade plant and equipment and recapitalise its operations.
Ziscosteel has a capacity to produce a million tonnes of steel per year but
the company is saddled with a debt of around US$300 million.
Major plant stopped operations in 2008 at the height of the country's
economic crisis and the government is now looking to revive the company.
Apart from the steelworks, Ziscosteel also owns the Buchwa Iron Mining
Company (BIMCO) which supplies iron ore from Ripple Creek and mines
limestone at a quarry close to the company's Redcliff base.
Government has over the years invested millions of dollars in upgrading key
plant at the company including developing the Ripple Creek Mine complete
with a conveyor belt that brings ore to Zisco as well as building new Sinter
Plant while key blast furnaces have been relined several times.
However there has been no return on the investment as the company continued
to struggle owing to lack of operating capital leading to the decision to
bring-in technical partners.
From Reuters, 1 February
Harare - Zimbabwe may have to import more than half the maize it needs this
year to cover a deficit after drought destroyed crops and left the country
facing a severe food shortage, a farmers' group said on Monday. The former
regional breadbasket has relied on food aid and imports since 2001, after
President Robert Mugabe's government seized commercial farms from white
Zimbabweans to resettle landless black Zimbabweans, 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 a 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
"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, said. "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),
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.
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 1 February
In a small farming community in central Zimbabwe recently, a decade of
President Robert Mugabe's land reforms was celebrated by giving away bags of
seed to a group of hungry farmers. The irony appeared lost on Walter Gore,
marking his eighth year as a "new farmer", as he danced over a donation from
a local Zanu PF official of a bag of maize seed and some fertiliser. He has
no doubts about who his saviour is. "If only everyone in the government was
like President [Robert] Mugabe," he said. Gore's piece of land lies in
Sherwood, once one of the country's richest wheat belts. But on this
scorching Saturday afternoon, the only wheat around was the loaves of bread
passed by officials to the dozen or so farmers gathered to receive aid. A
long dry spell is once again raising the threat of starvation - and raising
new tensions on the farms.
Even when the rain was poor, Sherwood would have been lush with produce at
this time of the year. But the irrigation equipment was stripped out and
"someone carried away the pump from the nearby dam", a bitter Gore said.
Close by, a farm owned by a senior Zanu PF minister stands like an island
amid the deprivation of his neighbours, his well-irrigated crops glistening
in the sun. With little coming from government, donors have stepped in with
an estimated $74-million in seed packs and fertiliser. The United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organisation says aid could yield Zimbabwe about 450
000 tons of grain, a quarter of the nation's annual grain requirements.
Meanwhile, the UN has raised a $378-million aid appeal to feed an estimated
two million people who will need food aid this year because of the poor
harvests. The government says 400 000 families have been resettled since 2
000. Many of them have made a success of their new circumstances, but most,
like Gore, cannot fend for themselves.
With no title deed to the land, he cannot access a bank loan, leaving him
and others dependent on donors - and at the mercy of wealthy politicians
looking to buy loyalty. As the threat of hunger grows, food aid is emerging
as the next major source of conflict in a coalition that has been fraught
with endless bickering since its formation a year ago. Zanu PF remains
suspicious of foreign aid groups, accusing them of using aid to buy support
for the Movement for Democratic Change ahead of future elections. Zanu PF
has also begun exploiting the suspicion that resettled farmers have of the
MDC, which draws much of its support from former landowners. A decade into
the land grab, nobody really knows who owns what land. The MDC is pressing
for a land audit, but Zanu PF is blocking the exercise. A new wave of farm
invasions has "come at the worst possible time as warnings are mounting
about imminent food shortages", said Deon Theron of the Commercial Farmers
Union (CFU), which represents mainly white farmers. Even Joseph Made, the
country's agriculture minister who in the past refused to acknowledge poor
harvests, has admitted that this year's harvest is not sufficient. "It's not
looking rosy," he said.
2 February 2010
Beitbridge Border Post is becoming a haven for criminals as illegal vendors,
touts, foreign currency dealers, bogus clearing agents among other criminals
have resurfaced despite the area being declared a security zone six years
Travellers continue to fall prey to touts and bogus clearing agents some of
whom masquerade as Zimra and immigration officials.
Cases of muggings continue surging, a development that has been attributed
to security laxity.
The border area was declared a security zone in April 2004 before
Government, through the Task Force on Image Tourism and Communications,
adopted zero tolerance to criminal activities in July 2007.
Stringent measures were introduced to restore order at one of the busiest
ports of entry in sub-Saharan Africa.
A recent visit to the border revealed that criminals were finding their way
through the porous perimeter fence while others were paying unscrupulous
security agents manning the Old Limpopo Bridge to gain access.
Dozens of touts, bogus clearing agents and illegal vendors and other
wheelers and dealers roam the area right under the nose of Zimra officials
Recently, a tout robbed an importer of R20 000 as she waited to pay duty for
her car at the Zimra Vehicles Section.
Poor lighting at the border post has also been attributed to the increase in
cases of theft, with an average of three cases reported a week.
The immigration department seems to be fighting a lone battle as they engage
in running battles with illegal vendors and touts.
In an interview, assistant immigration regional manager (southern region,
Beitbridge), Mr Charles Gwede, said they were engaging other stakeholders at
the border to restore order.
"As the immigration authorities, we are doing our best to deal with these
criminals. We arrest them and fine them under the Immigration and Protected
Areas Acts, but we would want to see those laws reviewed so that the
offenders get effective punishment or do time in prison.
"This is a protected area and we will not tolerate disorder. All
stakeholders should play their part so that we decongest the border and
Mr Gwede said the border area was declared a security zone hence the need
for them to be serious about implementing the relevant laws.
"A serious vetting of travellers needs to be done at all points of entry and
exit and in light of that, we have deployed our officers and security guards
to these points. At times we make use of the private security guards manning
the border." He said a contributory factor to the increase in criminal
elements was the poor town master plan, which overstretched into the border
At the instigation of the national economic priority development programme
in 2007 police intensified border patrols to restore order, but this has not
been consistently implemented.
Committee Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora told VOA his panel wants funds from
donors led by the United Nations Development Program to be transferred and
available to meet expenses before launching the outreach phase
Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington 01 February 2010
Zimbabwe's Parliamentary Select Committee for Constitutional Revision said
on Monday that it expects shortly to announce a date firm for the launch of
the public outreach phase of the process, with details on how it will
Committee Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora told VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
he and his fellow chairmen want to see funds from donors such as the United
Nations Development Program to be transferred and available to meet expenses
before scheduling the start of the outreach program.
Mwonzora dismissed recent press reports that the management committee for
constitutional revision, which includes power-sharing negotiators from the
three political parties in the inclusive government, barred the select
committee from paying members of parliament allowances for the use of their
The Zimbabwe Standard weekly newspaper reported that two weeks ago the
management committee ordered an immediate audit of the parliamentary select
committee's finances amid rumors of financial mismanagement.
Mwonzora confirmed to VOA reports that Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri
was demanding more than US$2.9 million to detach police to accompany
outreach teams during the constitutional process.
He said Chihuri indicated he would he would deploy 1,000 officers, but that
the select committee would have to provide transport and meals.
Mwonzora said his committee has forwarded the police commissioner's response
to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and other relevant ministries.
We have just included content from the National Constitutional Assembly Draft Constitution (2001) in our online constitution resource page.
The NCA’s Draft constitution emerged from public inputs which the NCA, working through its own structures and those of its member institutions, received between May 1997 and December 2001 (a period of four and a half years). The final draft of the NCA constitution was published in September 2001, and public debate encouraged through October and November 2001. The draft, included here in our constitution resource, was agreed and finalised at an all stakeholders conference held in December 2001.
A full copy of the draft constitution, in PDF format, is available for download from the ‘Constitution Documents’ tab on our resource page.
The NCA provide the following summary of the key features of its 2001 draft constitution.
Key Features of this Draft
This draft seeks to address the key issues of governance in Zimbabwe and has taken into account the NCA’s major concerns about the Draft of the Constitutional Commission. Its main focus is on having an accountable government through various checks and balances. Here are the main features:
Non Executive President and an Executive Prime Minister
The executive presidency was overwhelmingly rejected. This draft proposes a ceremonial President and an executive Prime Minister. The latter is a member of the National Assembly and is responsible and accountable to it. A unique feature demanded by the people of Zimbabwe is that the Prime Minister be directly elected by voters, not by Parliament.
Parliamentary System of Government
The Prime Minister, as head of government, is required to appoint most of his or her ministers from Parliament. Parliament has been given power to pass a vote of no confidence in the government, in which case, the Prime Minister will be required to resign. Parliament is also empowered to pass a vote of no confidence in a Minister, in which case that Minister must be removed. Although the Prime minister is directly elected by voters, Parliament may, by a 60% majority, remove him or her from office and this emphasises a fundamental departure from the executive President who has powers to dissolve Parliament should it pass a vote of no confidence in him or her.
Two Chamber Parliament
Parliament is composed of two chambers; a National Assembly and a Senate. There are adequate provisions to make Parliament really powerful. For example, most appointments by the executive require the approval of either the National Assembly or the Senate.
Representation of Interest Groups in the Senate
The Draft proposes the representation of interest groups in the Senate. The groups include women, youths, the disabled, trade unions, ex-combatants, farmers and business. These representatives will replace presidential appointees and will be elected by the National Assembly from a shortlist submitted by members of the public.
Mixed Electoral System
It is proposed that for the National Assembly, half the MPs be elected to represent constituencies under the “winner-take-all” system and the other half under a system of proportional representation.
Recall of Members of Parliament
There is a proposed provision for the electorate to be able to recall an incompetent or underperforming Member of Parliament.
Meaningful Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights proposed in this Draft is broad and meaningful. In addition to the well known civil and political rights, some of the rights included are: right to education, right to health, right to a clean environment, right to strike, rights of disabled persons and so on. Minority rights have also been protected.
As part of the Bill of Rights, this Draft proposes that the death penalty be abolished in Zimbabwe in respect of all other offences except serious cases of murder.
Free and Fair Elections
The Draft guarantees a multi-party system based on regular, free and fair elections. To achieve this ideal, the Bill of Rights provides a set of political rights and the Draft creates a truly Independent Electoral Commission to manage the whole electoral process.
Independent Commissions to enhance democracy
A number of independent bodies are created to enhance democracy. These include a Human Rights Commission, an Anti-Corruption Commission and a strong Auditor-General.
The Draft answers the call by many Zimbabweans for the devolution of governmental powers to people in provinces and other levels. To this extent, it provides for a system of provincial governments with a provincial assembly and an executive council headed by an elected Governor.
This Draft recognises the critical importance of land. It therefore allows government to compulsorily acquire land for equitable redistribution but requires fair compensation to be paid.
Posted by ZDN on February 1, 2010 They arrive by the truckload every weekday evening, their faces weary and bodies wilted after twelve hours spent picking fruit in scorching heat. They’re glad to be home. But for these Zimbabweans in De Doorns, a small town in the scenic Hex River Valley northeast of Cape Town, home is a tented community on the town’s only sports field. The nearly 1500 mostly Zimbabwean refugees have been here since November, when xenophobic attacks erupted in the nearby townships. Angry locals chased them out of their homes, accusing them of stealing their jobs.
“I was very afraid,” said Tsungai Chavhunuk, 30, who lives in the camp with her husband and 2 year old baby. “It was the first time in my life I’d been threatened so hard.”
And the harassment and abuse didn’t stop there. Chavhunuk, who came here from Harare three months ago, said the South Africans and Zimbabweans work together on the farms, where tension is rife.
“[The South Africans] are rough when working,” said Chavhunuk. “They tell us to go back to Zimbabwe.”
Even standing on the curb outside the refugee camp, insults are hurled at the Zimbabweans from passing trucks.
“Go back to Mugabe!” they shout. “Go back to Zimbabwe you ‘kuirikuiri’,” a derogatory term for “foreigner.”
Zimbabwe’s ongoing political crisis and economic collapse has led to an estimated 3 million Zimbabweans fleeing to neighboring South Africa in search of a better life, but rarely do they find it. Rampant unemployment, deplorable living conditions, and xenophobic attacks are some of the myriad challenges facing Zimbabweans that come to this country. And the situation is set to worsen as thousands continue to flock here daily.
“People are still pouring across the border,” said Braam Hanekom, chairperson of the refugee rights organisation People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty (Passop), which is spearheading relief efforts in the De Doorns camp. “The De Doorns situation is symptomatic of a much wider problem. More people spells disaster.”But the South African government is taking steps to mitigate such a disaster. In April 2009, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) announced a new system to regularise the legal status of Zimbabweans in South Africa, and it also placed a moratorium on deportations of Zimbabwean nationals. Until last year, 17,000 Zimbabweans were deported each month by South African authorities, according to United Nations and DHA figures. The government’s new stance is a stark departure from its previous policy of harassment, arrest and deportation.
“The national government has been extremely mature on this situation,” said Hanekom. “Home Affairs is taking the crisis seriously and they’re not trying to sweep it under the carpet.”
President Jacob Zuma has also increased pressure on Zimbabwe to resolve outstanding issues threatening the unity government. Ultimately, the lasting solution lies in the creation of a politically and economically stable environment in Zimbabwe. Most of the Zimbabweans in the De Doorns camp said they want to go back home, but it is too dangerous and not economically viable.
“If I went back I would definitely die,” said Happy, 25, a former member of the Zimbabwe Nation Army (ZNA) who fled the country to avoid political persecution. He chose not to disclose his last name for safety concerns.
“I would love to go home, home is best,” said Linda Shamu, 27, who has been here for six years. “But we need change in the country before we can go back.” Shamu left behind two children in Harare. “I miss them a lot,” she said. “Sometimes I just cry.”
If they can’t return to Zimbabwe quite yet, their hope is to be reintegrated into the community. But Mayor Charles Ntomi, whose phone appeared to be disconnected last week, has said reintegration is not possible at this stage. Locals said they are adamant they would drive the Zimbabweans out if they tried to return.
“We will braai them and turn them into KFC if they come back,” Pastor Frank Henke told the Cape Argus. “There’s no place for them here.”
A local shop owner said violence has increased in the community since the Zimbabweans moved in. She said locals were also resentful that their children had nowhere to play sports, as the refugee camp is erected on the only sports field in town.
Last Tuesday Hanekom met with Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana to discuss the crisis in De Doorns, a meeting that Hanekom said signified the national government’s commitment to resolving the issue.
“Having the Minister of Labor listen to us was a huge vote of confidence,” said Hanekom. “It tells us that they’re taking it seriously.”But conditions in the camp are deteriorating. Each small, oblong-shaped tent sleeps eight people, and the intense heat and overcrowded conditions have led to an outbreak of tuberculosis and diarrhea among the babies. Mike Moyo, 34, chairperson of the Committee for the Displaced in the camp, said there is no clinic or medication in the camp, with the only option being to risk an attack and walk to the local clinic 800 meters away.
“There were services in the first week, then none,” said Moyo.
He said Xhosa nurses at the clinic allegedly send the sick away without helping them. This mirrors a Médecins Sans Frontières report from June 2009 that revealed Zimbabweans across the country were being denied medical care based on their ethnicity.
The De Doorns attacks are one of a spate of xenophobic attacks against Zimbabwean nationals in South Africa in the last few years. Attacks in May 2008 led to 62 deaths and the displacement of thousands across the country.
“We belong to one mother, one continent,” said Happy. “Why must we fight?”
All photographs courtesy of People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP).
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare, Zimbabwe
Tue 02 Feb. 2010, 04:00 CAT
AROUND 28 per cent of students at the University of Zimbabwe have dropped
out of school because of lack of foreign currency to settle tuition fees,
according to University World News.
University World News is an online resource dedicated to providing coverage
of higher education managers, researchers, scholars and public officials to
keep abreast of developments in their field and in rival and partner
The University of Zimbabwe opened last week but students have been
struggling to raise fees of between US $300 and US $1,500 in a country where
the highest paid civil servant earns around US $200 per month and
unemployment is pegged at 90 per cent.
Zimbabwe abolished the use of the Zimbabwe dollar in February last year when
the inclusive government of President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai
Since then, the United States dollar, South African Rand and Botswana Pula
were declared legal tender, which has caused major problems for students who
have struggled to find the required funds.
The publication states that the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU)
held a crisis meeting with Prime Minister Tsvangirai last week and raised a
number of issues, including the dropping out of students.
Besides the problem of unaffordable fees, they discussed the continued
victimisation of student leaders by the security forces, mechanisms and
proposals to re-introduce the "learn now pay later scheme" to cater for
underprivileged students, and the role of students in the
The students' union said Prime Minister Tsvangirai had "welcomed the issues
raised and promised to look into the challenges even if it means sourcing
Last year, students were forced to barter their fees with groceries,
livestock and other valuables instead of cash.
"My examination of records maintained revealed that students had settled
their outstanding obligations in kind by tendering valuables other than cash
such as sugar beans, cows, goats, wheat, maize, provisions, fertiliser,
chemicals and fuel coupons," stated Auditor General Mildred Chiri in her
2009 first quarter report.
ZINASU also complained that the new semester had opened at the University of
Zimbabwe with no students able to stay in campus residences due to lack of
water and dilapidated infrastructure.
However, renovations are in progress.
Last year, the university was closed because of lack of water, prompting the
United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) to drill boreholes.
Students have since been forced to look for alternative accommodation
off-campus where, according to ZINASU, they are living in squalid and
grossly overcrowded conditions - as many as 56 in a house.
Some institutions of higher learning have declined to release the
examination results of students who failed to pay last year's tuition fees.
By Rejoice Ngwenya, AfricanLiberty.org
Feature Article | 4 hours ago
Dear Concerned Zimbabwe Observer,
Many people who have expressed contrarian views on the wickedness of Mugabe
, like yours, have only one slight problem - they won't swap citizenship
with me! We liberals in Zimbabwe [and there a miserly few of us] do accept
that Leander Starr Jameson and his paymaster, Cecil John Rhodes, galloped
across our fore fathers' land and shot their way to the Deeds Office in
1890. Rhodes' remains are now at Matobo Hills, a world heritage site that is
part of our revered National Parks. Guess who was forcibly evicted from
there in the 1900s? My mother's grandfather and his entire clan!
But you see, we, modern black Zimbabweans, are more civilised, albeit poorer
than the Pioneer Column. If a criminal rapes my daughter, I won't bring
myself to rape his sister, wife or girlfriend, No!, for this will reduce me
to his level of satanic mentality. The object lesson here, my friend, is
that Mugabe first accepted, at his inaugural speech, 18 April 1980, that our
history needed to be corrected, but in a civilised, law abiding way. This
meant that the second and third generation of white landowners who had
acquired their farms 'legitimately' - and done so well to make Zimbabwe a
net exporter of grain, flowers, fruits and tobacco, needed to be integrated
into the 'new civilisation'. So between 1980 and 2000, Mugabe had all the
opportunity of 'equalising' the situation, because, and get this straight,
the government owned more land than all private citizens combined. The
'willing buyer/willing seller' clause worked well as thousands of 'comrades'
[especially Joshua Nkomo's fighters], took up land offers and produced.
Of course many 'villagers' were crowded and cramped in Tribal Trust Lands,
but they were damn good farmers too! When Mugabe's political clock ran out,
and the Movement for Democratic Change was formed, Mugabe lost the February
2000 constitutional referendum and accepted 'defeat'. By the way, at that
time, I was chief rapporteur and convener in Professor Moyo's Constitutional
Commission. When we took the first draft to Mugabe, it contained a 'willing
buyer, willing seller clause', but Mugabe actually refused to accept it
arguing that free land was the only thing his government could offer. We
went back to plenary and Jonathan Moyo, like most senior officials in the
Commission, vowed that he would resign if Chief Justice Chidyausiku changed
the property rights clause.
The Chief Justice changed the clause, Professor Moyo did not resign, but I
resigned and joined the Election Commission. Professor Moyo was lured with a
big pay check to ZANU-PF as publicist. Now notice that the Commercial
Farmers Union saw the alterations and they then put their full support
behind MDC. Mugabe knew the danger of their political support to opposition,
so he vowed to 'destroy them'. John Nkomo, Cephas Msika and Dumiso
Dabengwa - the remnants of Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU [but now integrated in ZANU],
publicly refused to support the land invasions, but Mugabe and his thugs
showed them the middle finger.
Mugabe's 'land reform' is not about equity and justice, it is revenge.
Mugabe had previously murdered, in cold blood, 20 000 [twenty thousand] of
my tribesmen in Matabeleland in the 1980s, and I was prepared to forgive
him. But when he plundered property rights and his cronies took six - ten
farms each, displaced 500 000 farm workers and completely annihilated
commercial farming, I made up my mind that I would oppose him all the way to
We know that in the past five years, three 'land audits' have been carried
out but the results have not been published. Mugabe's cronies are the ONLY
beneficiaries to land. Gideon Gono, the rabid so-called Central Bank
Governor, has been doling out expensive farming inputs to party activist and
friends since 2007, but our country is on the brink of famine because
Mugabe's cronies were just interested in plundering produce and not making
their own. Last month, the GNU agreed to start another land audit, but
Mugabe's chief farm henchman, Joseph Made, says we can't have a land audit
now because it's 'too early'. "New farmers have not had an opportunity to
produce because of American and EU sanctions." You tell me, what are they
hiding? Why have they not produced anything in ten years?
So my friend, I don't know, and don't really care which planet you come
from - Mugabe has reduced me and my citizens to beggars. His thugs have
plundered everything. There are three million Zimbabweans, black
Zimbabweans, suffering outside our borders. The other ten million can no
longer feed or employ themselves - because there is a direct relationship
between property rights vandalism and productivity. I am in Zimbabwe, was
born here and lived on both sides of our history. I know what I am talking
about. When Ian Smith was opressing me, my father could send eight children
to college and feed them. There is not a single day people had no running
water in Harare, or electricity, because Ian Smith was organised. Mugabe's
brand of politics - unforgiving, vengeful, Marxist-Leninist paranoia
destroyed my country. I'd rather have a factory to manufacture cars than a
piece of land to grow corn. Mugabe wants to turn ten million citizens into
subsistence farmers - nonsense - his days are gone. History will judge him.
No credit must go to him. No credit goes to a man who has presided over a
murderous regime. No credit, whatsoever. If the devil buys you lunch, it's
probably spiked with snake venom. What credit can you give Idi Amin, Mobutu
Sseseseko? What credit can you give Adolph Hitler?
To term my letter a spitting image of colonial detractors is sure proof that
there are many people out there who have bought into Mugabe's political
decoy. Mugabe is a lunatic who experiments with people's life, a modern day
Dracula. The man is extremely cruel, his generosity and benevolence are used
as bait for votes. But I do appreciate that there is things you do not know
about our situation.
Rejoice Ngwenya is President of Coalition for Liberal Market Solution and an
associate of AfricanLiberty.org
So incredibly exciting! A film about a Zimbabwean band has made it onto this year’s Oscar nomination list, in the ‘Best Documentary Short Subject’ category.
‘Music by Prudence’ tells the story of Prudence Mabhena, the lead singer of Bulawayo band Liyana.
Zimbabwean singer songwriter Prudence Mabhena, age twenty-one, was born severely disabled into a society where disabilities carry the taint of witchcraft; she is more likely to spend her life hidden away in a tiny hut than on a stage in the center of a city. Her story is the story of many of the disabled kids of Africa, a story of abandonment and abuse. But Prudence and her seven young band members, all disabled, have managed to overcome stereotypes and inspire the same people that once saw them as a curse (taken from the documentary website)
These are all the incredible Liyana band members:
Prudence Mabhena is Liyana’s lead singer. She also composes in a wide range of styles and many topics. While challenges with Arthrogryphosis have placed her in a wheel chair, she is an independent, assertive woman, whose voice has been likened to the great South African liberation singer, Miriam Makeba.
Tapiwa Nyengera sings back-up, plays keyboard, and is the front man. He is a passionate and eloquent voice for the contribution the disabled can make to Africa and the world. He has spina bifida.
Energy Maburutse is first marimba player and back-up vocalist and the band’s resident jokester. He has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, brittle bone syndrome.
Honest Mupatse plays tenor marimba. He has hemophilia.
Marvelous Mbulo is a back-up singer and has muscular dystrophy.
Vusani Vuma, the bass marimba player, is hearing-impaired and has spent much of his life in silence.
Goodwell Nzou, plays traditional drums and percussion and sings back-up. A snake bit him when he was 11, requiring amputation of his leg.
Farai Mabhande, lead keyboardist, is an orphan from Bulawayo, who suffers from arthogryphisis.
Liyana (the name means ‘it’s raining’ in Ndebele) grew out of an arts project at King George VI, a school and centre for children with physical disabilities, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
One of the amazing success stories the school has achieved is its band, Liyana. This year the group of eight students, five in wheelchairs, two on crutches and one deaf, took second prize in an all Africa music competition. They were the only group in the competition who were disabled. The amazing thing about this band is its ability to get the audience to forget the disability and see only the entertainment. In 2006 Liyana toured Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands as their prize for the competition and in 2009 they spent a month in America wowing and inspiring audiences in California and New York (KGVI website).
Listen to them sing!
These are all the films nominated for an Oscar in the ‘Best Documentary Short Subject’ category:
Best documentary short subject Oscars 2010 Nominees: